Spare us these Hindu-sympathisers – J.K. Bajaj & M.D. Srinivas

Sita Ram Goel & Ram SwarupWe have got into the habit of looking at ourselves and the world from other’s perspective. Few of us have dared to see things in the light of our own self-interest and our own understanding of man and the universe. Shri Ram Swarup and Shri Sita Ram Goel are amongst the rare Indian scholars and public figures who have tried to do just that. And they have not done it merely as an academic exercise for themselves; instead, having looked at the world from an Indian perspective, they have tried to educate Indians about what they have seen. They have told us about the essential nature of the alien religions and ideologies with which we are surrounded, and some of which have taken root in India. They have shown us how these religions and ideologies militate against the essential Indian ways of comprehending and living in the world.

In the 1950s, they led an intense ideological movement against international communism, and some of the books they produced at that time, especially the two books of Shri Ram Swarup, Communism and Peasantry and Gandhism and Communism, still remain important documents for understanding the vacuousness of not only the philosophy and ideology, but also the economics of Leninist-Marxist interpretation of the communistic ideal.

Later, in the early 1980’s, they started “Voice of India”, an intellectual organization aimed at, as they put it, “providing an ideological defense of Hindu society and culture through a series of publications”. And since then they have published a number of books, explaining the nature and practice of Hindu thought, and that of Islam and Christianity. They have continuously meditated on defending the essence of Hinduism, from both the ignorance of Hindus themselves and the designs of alien religions and cultures.

Theirs is indeed a stupendous effort. To think seriously about Indian religion, culture and civilization and about ways of defending it against alien incursions at a time when most of thinking India had decided to forget about herself and to learn the new secular ways of the modern West, required extraordinary courage and commitment. Many of the books that they have written during this period offer an enlightening experience of the immense depth of Indian thought, and about the immensity of the effort mounted by Islam and Christianity to subdue the Indian way of thinking and being.

In this context, we must mention the seminal work of Shri Ram Swarup, The Word as Revelation: Names of Gods, which was published by Shri Sita Ram Goel in 1980. This extraordinary book shows how the daily practice of the ordinary believing Indian of nama-japa, of repeating the names of Gods, puts him in intimate contact with the varied aspects of the universe and the innermost essence of his being. Similarly, Shri Sita Ram Goel’s, Hindu-Christian Encounters, brings to light how not only the great Indian thinkers but also the ordinary Indians have always considered Christian thinking about divinity and creation to be somewhat naïve.

The effort of Shri Ram Swarup and Shri Sita Ram Goel, as we have said, is stupendous. And the Indians who are committed to a resurgence of Indian civilization owe a debt of gratitude to them. The public organizations that represent such resurgence, and which are jointly though somewhat incorrectly referred to as the Sangh Parivar, have been generous in paying due respect and honour to them. Even though Shri Ram Swarup and Shri Goel have often been critical of what they believe to be lackadaisical and compromising ways of the Parivar, the Parivar has cherished Shri Ram Swarup and Shri Goel as modern rishis.

Dr. Koenraad ElstThe Voice of India has recently published a book entitled, “Bharatiya Janata Party vis-a-vis Hindu Resurgence” by Koenraad Elst. According to the blurb, Mr. Elst was born a Catholic in Belgium and studied at the Catholic University of Leuven, before visiting India for the first time in 1988. He has earlier published some books on the Ayodhya issue and on the general religious-political situation in India; all of these were published by the Voice of India. From what he says in the present book, it seems he has over time rejected both the Church and Christ; and he makes it clear that he is not one amongst the Hindus. He does not say what religion he practices, but from the tenor of his various assertions it seems that he is an agnostic rationalist. This is important because the book he has written is purportedly meant to advise Hindus on how best to practice and defend their religion.

The book is generally aimed at Hindus of today, but as the title underlines, he is specially addressing himself to the Bharatiya Janata Party and its sister organisations in the Sangh Parivar. And the advice he has to give is indeed exhaustive. It covers almost every aspect of their functioning. He advises the party on what words to use to describe itself, what flag to adopt, whom to admit in its ranks, how to conduct its foreign policy, and what issues should constitute its electoral and action platform. For the members of the sister organizations he has advice about how and what they should understand about Indian history from the ancient times to today, what and how much they should read, what relative proportion they should keep between activist and intellectual pursuits and, in general, how they should comport themselves in public and private.

Such advice coming from a rank outsider is baffling; normally even insiders would refrain from offering such extensive directions to a political party or a public organization. After all parties and organizations have a history of their own; they work in the background of that history and the constraints imposed by the public life of the time. Others can probably comment on and analyze their overall ideological direction; they can also try to create pressure and opinion for action on some issue or along a direction that they particularly value. But, how can anyone, outsider or insider, presume to present an ideology, a code of conduct and a manifesto for another party or organisation?

Even more baffling is the language Mr. Elst uses to convey his advice. The tone he adopts is that of a headmaster disciplining a wayward student; he freely uses derogatory words for the Parivar as a whole, and for the earlier as well as many of their current leaders. One of the milder epithets he bestows on the Sangh is that of “a big dinosaur with a small brain”, on which issue he writes a whole chapter.

However, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Sangh are probably well-equipped to defend themselves against this abuse; they are in fact quite used to such abuses, which the Indian literate community, and particularly the media, routinely keep showering upon them. Their preferred way is to ignore such abusive language and get on with the work on hand. But even then it seems somewhat surprising that they have allowed Mr. Elst into many of their inner councils, and that numerous major leaders of the Parivar have deigned to grant him personal interviews.

However, what is really worrisome about this book is not what Mr. Elst has said about the Parivar; they ought to and shall defend themselves in the way they think best. But while advising the Parivar, he has dared to abuse much that most Indians hold to be dear and venerable in their civilization and history.

Thus he makes fun of the principle of non-violence, as practiced by Indians in general and Mahatma Gandhi in particular, and tells us that the ahimsa that classical Indian texts talk about is something else than what Indians have understood. He claims that even Mahatma Gandhi did not understand what that ahimsa meant, and what he practiced in the name of ahimsa was “a morbid kind of personal asceticism” and “passive masochism”.

Mahatma Gandhi in fact comes for heavy abuse at the hands of Mr. Elst; he makes the term “Gandhian” sound like an abuse, and devotes two chapters on expounding how the Sangh Parivar has gotten into error by trying to follow Gandhi. Here he also tells us that the ambivalence of Mahatma Gandhi, and perhaps of much of Indian society, about modern technology and science, was decidedly un-Hindu, and Gandhiji had got “his retro-mania from Christian romantics like Thoreau and Tolstoy”.

He even manages to accuse Gandhiji of being politically ignorant and hints that the Mahatma might have been seeking medals of loyalty from the British. In the process, he betrays lack of real acquaintance with Indian history. At another place he informs us that the Muslims destroyed temples in India and the British made great efforts to preserve them. He is ignorant of the large amount of historical evidence that shows how the British systemically undermined resources of the great temples of India and brought them to the state of decay in which we find them today.

Mr. Elst’s iconoclastic foray does not end with throwing stones at Gandhiji. Taking a wild swipe at the heroes of recent Indian history, he tells us that some of Guru Govind Singh’s writings were “superficially defiant but essentially toadyist”; that Maratha warriors were “vassals of the Moghuls”; and Dayanand Saraswati was “a bit clumsy” though “on the right track”. Moving even further afield amongst the venerated of India and taking on our great saints and poets he expounds, “It is not impossible that mentally afflicted individuals have been attracted to the religious role, particularly in the exaltation-prone Bhakti movement, and that the talented ones among them have acquired some fame as poets. …”

Mr. Elst reserves his crowning insult for us Indians until the last chapter, where he informs us that he has undertaken this effort to educate us for our own good, and that to him or to the west in general it matters little whether we survive or die. “Come to think of it”, he tell us, “I have very little personal stake in the political success of Hindu revivalism and the continued existence of Hinduism. Of course, there is an invaluable heritage contained in the Upanishads and other Hindu books; but they are available in Western libraries, we can take from them what we like without needing the help of a living Hindu. …If Sanskrit scholarship or yogic expertise dies in India, I am sure some aficionados in the West will keep it alive as a matter of antiquarian hobbyism … It is always deplorable when a dinosaur dies, but we can survive the demise of really existing Hinduism without serious losses. …”

Incidentally, neither the language nor the content of this epistle of Mr. Elst to the Hindus is new. During the nineteenth century, the West sent us a number of young men to teach us what Hinduism really meant, what was the “true” meaning of classical Indian texts, and how we needed to change and reform ourselves in order to be worthy of our great heritage. The writings of those scholar-missionaries are often as acerbic and presumptuous as that of Mr. Elst, though many of them were much more careful and painstaking scholars.

David FrawleyIt is difficult to understand why the Voice of India has considered it fit to publish this book that dares to abuse what we venerate, takes us so lightly and shows such condescension towards us as a people. Before we try to formulate some answer to that question, let us note that the Voice of India has recently been publishing and promoting the works of another “Hindu sympathiser” from the West, Mr. David Frawley. Mr. Frawley, in his books like “Arise Arjuna: Hinduism and the Modern World” expresses much the same thoughts and sentiments as that of Mr. Elst, except that his language is more restrained, though not less condescending.

Mr. Frawley’s corpus is much larger than that of Mr. Elst. It includes, besides exhortative books like the one mentioned above, works that offer interpretation of the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Ayurveda, the classical Indian astronomy, the Tantra, the Yogic philosophy, and ancient Indian history and archaeology. To those who may be baffled at such extensive scholarship, Mr. Frawley replies, “…The only answer is the samskaras, the impressions from previous births. This was a knowledge that came with me, that I was born with, the result of a previous life which I have since come to remember in various aspects. …”

In fact, giving a somewhat detailed narration of his first acquaintance with the Vedic corpus in original Sanskrit, Mr. Frawley says:

“… A few years later when I was twenty-seven, having gone through most of what was available in English on the Vedas, I decided to look at the Vedas and Upanishads in the original Sanskrit. …I started with the Sanskrit texts and a Sanskrit grammar book and began trying to figure out the language myself, starting with the oldest Rig Veda itself. It was a rather unusual and haphazard way to learn Sanskrit …but somehow it worked. The Vedic language gradually unfolded its meaning… (and) I soon discovered that the interpretations generally accepted for the older Vedas – not only those done by modern Western scholars but the traditional school of Sayana – as Aurobindo had noted, were indeed limited and erroneous. …”

It is obvious that Mr. Frawley is not bound by the discipline of any school of Vaidika learning. He claims that the true Vedas have been revealed to him and it has been shown to him that traditional understanding of the Vedas is wrong; what can restrain him from imputing whatever meaning he likes on the Vedas?

“We are entering”, he say in a recent essay, “a new era of civilisation today, in which religion must be radically recast, if not discarded. Only those religions willing to undergo a radical transformation are likely to survive. This change will be in the direction of experimental spirituality, in which the individual’s direct experience of God or truth becomes the most important thing, and religious dogma and institutionalism is set aside.”

Given his claims of being the object of divine revelations and his disdainful opinions about disciplined Vedic learning, it is doubtful that any Hindu, who knows of the humility and discipline expected of a person desirous of approaching the Vedas, would even imagine that Mr. Frawley’s interpretations might be meaningful or trustworthy.

This brings us back to the question of why the Voice of India is publishing books by such authors. These authors are not only putting their fanciful interpretations on what it means to be a Hindu, but are also speaking in a tone that is likely to lower the respect we have for ourselves, and make us lose confidence in our capacity to put our house in order by our own effort.

Ordinarily, such books would not come to notice of many. But the books come with the blessings of Sri Ram Swaroop and Sri Sita Ram Goel; so they have to be taken note of by concerned Indians.

These books raise important questions that Sri Sita Ram Goel and Sri Ram Swaroop have themselves often raised in their writings. There are mainly four issues to which they have been drawing our attention. One, how does India come to terms with her non-Hindu, and especially Muslim, population and assert her essentially Hindu character? Two, what kind of understanding does India come to terms with the world today, which seems to be fundamentally devoid of a spiritual underpinning? Three, how to deal with the ascent of the representatives of the modern adharmika persuasions within India, operating in the name of secularism, communism, liberalism, and freedom of the individual, etc.? Four, given the presence of the faithful of alien religions and thoughts within India, and being surrounded by a world hostile to dharma, what aspects of Hinduism should we emphasise and nurture so as to overcome the situation?

Finding answers to these questions is essential today; with economic liberalisation and globalisation, the adharmika world has begun to loom larger on the horizon. But such serious questions can hardly be discussed when they are presented in the insulting language that Mr. Elst uses.

Sri Ram Swaroop and Sri Sita Ram Goel have been proposing a considered approach of their own to these questions. And it is probably true that the answers they have proposed and the dangers that they have pointed out have not been adequately addressed by those who ought to be concerned about such issues. Being the elders of our society, they indeed have the right to be angry and even to rebuke the present day Hindus for being careless and lazy.

However, if learned, highly committed and concerned elders like them begin to allow amateur Indologists of the West to teach and rebuke India, then we are indeed back to the dark days of the nineteenth century, when the intelligentsia of India began to look up to the William Joneses and Max Mullers of the world to teach us about our heritage. Yet, unlike Elst and Frawley, Jones and Muller were disciplined scholars in the western tradition, and they put on no airs of being particularly sympathetic to Indian thought. In any case, we really had no choice but to suffer them because they happened to be representatives of the alien powers ruling over India. Perhaps from them we did learn something of the way West understands us; though that learning cost us dearly as a civilisation. What do Elst and Frawley have to teach us? Why inflict them upon us? - The Weekend Observer, January 31, 1998 as posted in the Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai.

» This article is a review of Bharatiya Janata Party vis-à-vis Hindu Resurgence by Koenraad Elst, Published by Voice of India, pp. 177. Rs. 90.

See also

16 Responses

  1. Ishwar Sharan, one of the Indian ladies you’ve had problematic dealings with has posted this concering the Kausthub Desikachar scandal. Its either her or someone trying to sound like her, but the comment is very much in line with the way she thinks. Ironic though that she employed no apologetics wrt Nithyananda Swami. Perhaps that’s because her enemy Rajiv Malhotra supported him.

    Radha Rajan October 17, 2012 at 9:46 pm:

    These white christians would go to any lengths to abuse and defame revered Hindus traditions and practices. One sure way to do this is to plant women of questionable motives into sacred institutions and then have them cry rape. There is a serious attempt to defame yoga because of its Hindu religious-spiritual roots and content. I can understand white christians and other whiteskins doing this but why are white spittle licking idiot Hindus doing this?

    _________

    From;

    http://www.yogadork.com/news/update-sad-details-of-kausthub-desikachars-psychopathic-abuse-of-power-sexual-misconduct-and-the-preserving-his-familys-legacy/

    Appearantly the only person allowed to say peep about another Indian is Ms. Radha Rajan.

    • These ladies have done very good work for Hindus in India, especially considering our lack of working Hindu intellectuals. However their psychotic hatred of the white colonial period under the British, when great wrongs were done to Hindu India, have warped their view of Europe, the US. and the white race today. This is unfortunate because except for their vicious and persistent racism, what they have to say is interesting and important for Hindus in India.

      In the new book of Dr. Elst’s (below this comment), he has very perceptively identified these ladies as “white supremacists”. By this he means that they attribute all political, economic and religious action in the world today to the US and its white European NATO allies. THEY DO NOT ALLOW ANY AGENCY TO BROWN AND YELLOW ASIANS AT ALL. You can see how ridiculous this position is, as Asians play a major role in all spheres of world activity and decision-making today. The Episcopalian Church in Korea has 30,000 missionaries operating in the world. That is only one Church in Korea. There is an equal number of Kerala Christian missionaries spread throughout the world evangelising the heathen and the back-sliding European Christian (who is thinking of converting to Buddhism).

      But these ladies are not alone in their redundant, prejudiced views. The RSS and VHP hold that India was divided in 1947 by the British. This is historically untrue. India was partitioned by Indian Muslims through the agency of the All-India Muslim League. It is on record that two British governor-generals had told Jinnah that they were against partition and the formation of a separate Muslim state (as for one thing, it was not in England’s economic interest to partition India).

      But the RSS, the VHP, the Hindu Mahasabha, etc insist it was all British doing and that the AIML was only an agent of the British. The British did agree to accommodate Jinnah’s demand in the end (as did Gandhi) as they had no alternative — their Indian army was restive, there was a mutiny in the Indian navy at Bombay, and they realised they could not hold their “jewel in the crown” any longer by force.

      My view is that it is very dangerous for Hindu intellectuals to ignore the wealth and power of the various Indian Churches, the Marxists and Secularists, the Maoists (who work hand-in-glove with the Churches), and various other anti-Hindu activists that operate within India today. These ethnic Indian outfits and Churches are far more independent of their White brother abroad than these ladies acknowledge. And though they may get some money from German, Danish, and US donors, they make their own political decisions here in India without reference to the Vatican or other Western institutions.

      As for the godmen who go abroad to US, it is understood that most are interested in white thighs and white money only. This is very unfortunate for Hindu Dharma as it gives Hinduism a bad name everywhere including US state FBI offices (who are always looking for a cult to attack).

  2. Koenraad Elst

    Dr Elst has cogently replied to the critique of J.K. Bajaj & M.D. Srinivas posted here in his new book called The Argumentaive Hindu: Essays by a Non-Affiliated Orientalist published by Voice of India, New Delhi.

  3. Though I am mere a tiny creature before you all, I must say that revered Sandhya Jain is hardly a hindu intellectual.

    The way she defends Stalin and brings in conspiracy theories is abonimable for a hindu who should speak only truth.

    as Shree IS pointed out, there are many intellectuals who parrot communist ideas while passing as a hindu as there are numerous instances of them taking awkard positions like Stalin and his so called social welfare schemes, allying with Gaddafi, calling Israelis as behind all attacks and last but not least praising china for its stand against west none of which is less deadly for hindus.

    What we need is original thinkers like Shree SR Goyal but he hardly touched on Political models due to fight he lonely carried out again the pretamatas of Islam, Communism and Christianity.

    Whether one likes it or not but Elst and Gurumarthy both have better ideas than many native bred hindus who merely pour marxist rhetoric.

  4. Ishwar Sharan ji, I figured I’d comment here regarding your dealings with Sandhya Jain and Radha Rajan.

    No matter how much sadhan you practice, how much ashirvad you get from your gurus and ishta-deva, no matter even if you were to be objectively revealed to all Indians as Bhagwan him/herself – there will always be a very large majority of Indian Hindus to whom you will remain a niche mleccha, no matter how many times they may touch your feet and call you Swami ji.

    This was made blantantly clear to me during my life in India as a “videsi bhakta”.

    I noticed how even Vijaya Rajiva here, while remaining generally non-racist, still switched back and forth between her usage of “non-Hindu” and “non-Indian” when referring not to Elst, who is admittedly not a converted/practicing Hindu, but to non-Indian Hindus, you among them, I believe.

    I have long since given up trying to fit in with Indian Hindus. They simply will NOT accept non-Indians. I speak in general here, of course there are some that will genuinely accept, but much of it is just lip service.

    As soon as you disagree with them, particularly concerning a culture tradition or trait, they will accuse you of “u-turn” provided they have read Rajiv Malhotra’s work, which some have. It doesn’t matter that you are 100% committed to your sadhan as given to you by your guru, as well as learned in the shastric siddhanta of your particular tradition, if you dare to question ANYTHING about India or Indians, you are “u-turning away from Hindu Dharma”!!!

    It is almost as if their own self-worth and self-conception is predicated on to what extent non-Indian Hindus completely conform to their ideas of what it means to be Indian.

    Moreover like you said, many are largely out of touch and living in an internalized colonial era bubble.

    On the other thread a commenter going by moniker “Rajan” (not Radha Rajan, simply Rajan), said that in “the West” Vedas and Yoga are being sanitized and stripped of their Hinduism. I can’t speak for European countries but I can tell you here in USA it is the opposite. Yoga is becoming more and more Hinduized. Murtis are popping up in yoga centers and being offered agarbati and fruit. Asana is giving way to Pranayama and Vedantic discourses. Kirtan has completely taken over the California yoga scene. In short, Hinduism is the “new black” in the American yoga scene and guess what? VERY FEW INDIAN HINDUS ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THIS AND RIDING THE WAVE.

    They are content to go to work, go home, argue on Indian blogs about how Hindus are persecuted and “being digested by Western Universalism” and in short remain in their own very small, very closed Desi Hindu circles than associate with neech mlecchas doing yoga, pranayama, kirtan and yoga sutra/vedanta sutra study.

    In front of their very eyes a sort of Hindu Revolution IS taking place in the US, but damn if they’ll even notice, much less get involved.
    Smack my head, these people are just impossible to figure out, or please.

  5. The issue is not Elst some of whose work I appreciate but whose tone and language I feel is counterproductive and deprecate, but the relevance of the masters (or misleaders) to the present situation. I was as close to Sitaram and Ram Swarup as most and contributed several works to Voice of India (and Aditya) though nowhwere as prolific as Elst or Frawley. In the twenty years or so since I first encountered VOI founders (Sita Ram approached me, not the other way though it makes little difference today), I have seen the following significant developments:

    1. Western Indology along with its centerpiece of the Aryan myth (and AIT) has all but collapsed though kept alive by its political patrons like the Dravidian parties and its beneficiaries (like Asko Parpola) for non-academic reasons. I want to emphasize the point that this was due largely to the efforts of outsiders (non-traditional) scholars like myself, Frawley and the like and NOT because of the views and polemics of traditional scholars and/or Hindu activists. Though I appreciate their efforts they were were usually dismissed as biased, emotional and unscientific. My standing as an academic (in science) helped as did the acceptance of my views, statements and articles in the media and even hostile publications (like THE HINDU).

    (Traditional scholars and Hindu activists have failed to reach beyond their limited circles to the general public, let alone face hostile critics — something they need to work on. This applies to Elst also.)

    2. This has made an impact and text books are making changes but it is a slow process. Indology has all but disappeared from Western academy and departments are being closed and broken up even at places like Harvard and Cambridge U.

    3. Based on my association with universities and academia in India as well as the West, I have to say that Elst has made little direct impact on these developments though he has some fans (including myself to a degree). To begin with his writing tends to be personalized and polemical which causes it to be dismissed as unscholarly. Also, he has a tendency to muddy the waters with theories of his own like the OIT, PIE, etc borrowing flash in the pan ideas from unsound thinkers like Talageri and giving them undue importance. This will never cut any ice in serious circles. (Even if you fight do it with a credible scholar, not some obscure amateur. There is a saying in Kannada — “Better to fight with a perfumer than hobnob with a dung carrier.”

    4. My colleagues and I, notably Frawley and the late Natwar Jha went on to provide an alternative and a historical context based on natural history, genetics and the like. Elst and his ilk are trying to repackage IE, PIE, etc, serving old wine in new bottles but with different conclusions. Lacking a foundation (other than IE linguistics, which has no evidence other their own opinions), it is fashion that will not last.

    5. Then we come to the review of Elst (and/or his book) by Srinivas and Bajaj (whom I hold in high regard). I like to put them the same question: “How do Gandhi and his ahimsa help us defeat the asuric forces today?” Or should we let Hinduism and everything it stands for be destroyed for the sake of the noble dogma of ahimsa — the Gandhian version (which is non-Hindu)? This was essentially the advice Gandhi gave to Hindu and Sikh refugees — “Go back and face death and molestation at the hands of Muslims.” (He advised the British also to allow the Nazis to take over Britian and not offer any resistance.) Gandhians like to skirt around such hard realities by holding up abstractions.

    In summary, I see nothing wrong with Elst’s criticism of Gandhi who seems to be rapidly declining with the passage of time. I find their criticism of Frawley gratuitous, uninformed and peevish. Srinivas and Bajaj may have done some useful work in a small way, but offer no solutions to the challenges today or any guide to the future especially for young people which is my main concern. (Do we keep studying and praising Gandhi and his ahimsa?) I see it as little more than self-indulgence.

    • @Dr. Rajaram,

      Re: the Aryan Invasion theory, a job well done ! There were many outstanding participants in that controversy and especially during that era. Congratulations !

      Re: Hindu activists per se. Many were involved with important domestic issues, they still are, such a the protection of temples, the protection of cows and the whole wretched question of the indiscriminate slaughter of cows (currently Srimathi Radha Rajan and her colleagues have produced a film called Their Last Journey Home). All heart breaking stories for Hindus and as well for humanitarians. And so it is a question of a division of labour.

      Re: Dr. Elst, I have made my position clear.

      Re: David Frawley, some questions have been raised recently about his interventions around the question of Hindu Christian dialogue and the thorny issue of Conversions. It is reported that he has not played a constructive role here, especially in regard to the latter.

  6. There are three points made in this article that I would like to expand on (and therefore add to the confusion of the debate).

    1. Today Dr. Elst’s critique of M.K. Gandhi would be quite acceptable and indeed Hindu intellectuals in various publications have treated Gandhi much more harshly than Elst has, even denying him the fatherhood of the independent Indian nation (though officially it is maintained).

    2. Sita Ram Goel had a very poor relationship with the Sangh Parivar and was eventually ostracised by the RSS, the VHP, and (I believe) the Hindu Mahasabha. Their main quarrel with SRG was that he told the plain truth about Islam as a religion and about Muslims and Islam in India, which they did not want discussed in public.

    SRG was banned from publishing in the Organiser because of his criticism of Nehru and V. K. Krishna Menon. He had great contempt for Nehru and Menon as he regarded both as communists and traitors to the nation.

    Ram Swarup had a much better relationship with the Sangh Parivar as he had a softer personality and was more conciliatory when dealing with opponents. For example, he was critical of this writer for his treatment of Fr. Bede Griffiths, which he considered overly harsh (though he changed his mind after Griffiths attacked him).

    3. SRG and RS (like this editor) appreciated Dr. Elst’s work though they may not have agreed with all his perceptions and conclusions. In their time there were few coherent, informed Hindu intellectuals working in defence of Hindu culture and civilization, and though Elst was not a Hindu he wrote in the Hindu interest when few others did. Things have changed today with many informed Hindu intellectuals writing and speaking-out.

    Sita Ramji was very much aware that there was an element among Hindu nationalists who would not tolerate being lectured by foreigners. He warned this writer to be quiet or be attacked and maligned by the most vicious stalinist methods which Hindu activists were well equipped with and knew how to use effectively against each other — (it is a fact proved here that Hindus fight each other better than they do the common enemy, because they are close to each other notwithstanding their differences, but cannot reach the enemy which is protected by the State). He said that most Hindus preferred their ignorance and dearly held fanciful opinions to getting informed and having to think seriously for themselves. This was especially true if they were being informed by a white foreigner. He had a very low opinion of what passed for the Hindu intelligentsia of his time as he believed they were all tainted with Marxist ideas and thought processes. He held Hindus in general to be the least self-critical and self-reflective people, though their religion and philosophy taught the very opposite. All these “flaws” within the Hindu character he attributed to the damage done to the Hindu psyche by the Muslim invasions and later by British scholars and missionaries who had an undue influence on Hindu history and the Bengali brain — Bengalis were supposed to produce the leading Hindu intellectuals of the day.

    Sita Ramji’s position and attitudes must be seen in the context of his time. He was very pessimistic of Hindus every rising above their sorry condition — therefore he would not be a Hindu according to Dr. Rajiva’s definition (though in fact he was a pure Vaishnava completely devoted to Sri Krishna of the Mahabharata). He was embittered by the treatment meted out to him by various entities in the Sangh Parivar and was deeply disappointed by the BJP’s political leadership after the Ayodhya demolition. He saw the Ayodhya demolition as a unique opportunity for Hindus to regain their self esteem and rightful place in their homeland, that was squandered by a very stupid, fearful and venal political leadership .

    He was right too.

    (Disclaimer: This is my personal view of Sita Ram Goel and Ram Swarup. In fact Dr. Elst can give a much truer picture of both thinkers as he worked closely with them. I believe he has already done so somewhere in a book.)

  7. What the authors want to do is ‘shoot the messenger, ignore the message’. Then there is a doha of one of the Bhakti Age poets which says ‘Keep your critcs always near you so that you know where you are going wrong and keep correcting your mistakes’. The authors seem to ignore this also. In a situation when the Hindu way is under severe attack, we cannot afford to snub our friends and well wishers.

    Yes, if there was any proof of some hidden agenda of theirs (could be to soften us towards the designs of Christianity) then this kind of reaction is understandable. But I could not smell anything of that kind in the articles by Elst or David Frawley that I have read.

    Then there is a rustic saying in the villages of southern Haryana. Even at the risk of sounding crude I can’t resist the temptation of quoting it. The context is that we occasionally give salt to our domestic animals like bulls and others. Now when a villager wants to give salt to a donkey for helping the donkey’s digestion the donkey alleges that the villager wants to make him blind by feeding salt to him! This article seems a similar allegation to me. Or have we totally lost all confidence in ourselves so much so that even a well meaning advice sounds harmful to us ?

    • I agree fully that Elst is only a messenger and has no designs on taking over the Hindu motherland or corrupting the Hindu mind with his agnostic ideas and rationalism.

      It is because Elst is a messenger, even an unwelcome one sometimes, that Voice of India and this web site publish him — and will continue to publish him if they find something in his work of use to Hindus in their struggle to regain control of their homeland.

    • @Kishan, this article was written in 1998 when there was clearly a Macaulay’s children’s syndrome to accept everything a non Hindu said as gospel truth, and yes to lose self confidence. In that sense Dr. Elst was riding a wave. Today the situation has changed. There are many Hindu intellectuals and scholars who write in academic spaces, in journals, blogsites etc. on the Hindu situation. Recently, a few weeks ago there was an excellent Hindu Economic Conference held in Malaysia (I believe). Participants were conscious of their Hindu heritage, and many who were businessmen actually were exhorted by others to serve the country with their business acumen and their investmensts. The wealthy Hindus in the diaspora are also contributing their wealth to the Hindu cause, although some of them tend to attack the Veda Agama tradition (which is a serious mistake, in my opinion). The Veda Agama tradition is the backbone of Hindu India and must be protected and preserved (Please see the many articles I have written on that topic in Vijayvaani.com. Also my most recent article ‘ A Critical Examination of Shri Aurobindo’s Secret of the Veda’ . All are readily available if you type in Vijaya Rajiva and the articles will appear from the archives).

      To resume, the criticisms offered by the two authors have a general applicability and there is no point in non Hindus continuing to flog the same old dead horse of Hindu incompetence. Dr. Elst did it then, and still does it. He should be challenged on that score, if nothing else. One esteemed Hindu woman intellectual earnestly prayed that Elst would not distract us with inanities. My own impression in the last few days, after the varied responses to my own articles on the topic of the Elst interventions, is that yes he is distracting us, but that unfortunate situation must be dealt with.

      And it is not a question of present day Hindus not having the self confidence. It is that one should always be alert to the asuric forces and their stratagems. Dr. Elst is, I believe, not their ally, but his writings are no longer relevant and to the extent he flogs a dead horse, he might, objectively speaking (whatever his subjective intentions) be assisting the asuric forces.

      Part of the reason is that he is non Hindu and does not understand the many pronged strategy that has helped Hindus in the past, and will no doubt help them in the future. Part of the reason is that he is no longer well informed about the activities of Hindus at the present time. Put bluntly, he has to catch up on what is going on.

      • Indeed, Dr. Rajiva, Dr. Elst continues to distract us because you will not let your issues with him rest even after you have made your point.

        You have allowed Elst to hog the limelight and take over the whole show!

        The discussion — if that is the right word — began with an article on caste and how the Church uses it as a tool to attack Hindus. But it turned into a discussion of Dr. Elst himself and the larger subject of caste and the Church was forgotten except for a few references.

        Vicious, racist, ad hominem attacks were made on him by the Hindustan harpies (a political category, not a term of abuse) and yourself. Another commentator riding on the back of the harpies, was so violent and abusive that he was necessarily banned from the web site forever.

        The harpies then attacked this editor and issued fatwas of excommunication against him because he didn’t abandon Elst on their demand and couldn’t be bullied into conforming to their stalinist political agenda — a geopolitical agenda that has nothing to do with Hindus or Hindustan.

        And so the discussion and distraction of Elst has continued till today — at your command (the posting above being your special request).

        As a political philosopher, you know better than I do that an author and polemicist like Dr. Elst thrives on this kind of negative attention. All publicity is good publicity from his point of view. You and the harpies have given it to him on a platter, along with new material for a least two books!

        And as an western academic experienced in this kind of controversy, you should know when to stop your blather after you have made your point. But like the dog that barks at shadows you don’t know when to stop. And indeed you can’t be stopped! You will only bark louder, hysterically, if somebody tries to shush you — as the harpies did try to shush you when they advised you not to allow Elst to distract with inanities.

        With inanities! But you think Elst possesses weapons of mass destruction! And you have gone after them just like Bush went after Saddam Hussein’s imaginary weapons of mass destruction — knowing full well they didn’t / don’t exist.

        So the distraction of Dr. Elst’s inanities, and yours, continues, Madam Professor. By your own royal prerogative — so claimed — and with your own generous help.

        • IS I don’t know what the source of your animosity is towards those whom you call ‘harpies’. There is some history here which I am not familiar with. Re: myself as an academic who has stood behind lecturns I am used to strong criticisms. I am one of the lucky ones. No one threw paper balls at me ! However, I am puzzled by your interventions against me. Even the respondents who disagree with me, are quite moderate and restrained. But your criticisms seem over the top. I see nothing racist about my criticism of Elst’s approach and the warnings sounded against taking him too seriously are quite appropriate. And that is also what the article by MD Srinivas is also doing. And one of the puzzling questions they raise is why the Sangh Parivar orgs. continued to give him access to their meetings etc. I heard from a knowledgeable source that Elst’s disenchantment with them was mainly because of his not being given a leadership role there !

          You might consider my criticisms ‘vicious’ but I find that label again surprising. As Hindus we do have to be vigilant, but it seems any criticism against an outsider is seen as ‘vicious’. Perhaps it is time that you distanced yourself from such people, even though your spontaneous feelings of sympathy for them are quite understandable.

          When Dr. Rajaram said something quite dramatic against the Agama, you apologised in a soft tone about his not knowing much about it. It took the respondent who called himself Anonymous to smash the two of them together ! Well done !

          But with us ladies, harpies as you call us, you are unrelenting. I find it quite revealing, especially when our comments are directed against ‘outsiders’.

          Re: giving him publicity, well yes, it is a negative publicity in which Elst may flourish, good luck to him ! And good luck to Bharata Bharati also ! I notice that other articles do not seem to draw the participation that this topic does. There are significantly larger numbers of comments on this topic than the other articles. Some of the other articles don’t even have a single comment !

          The outstanding Hindu woman intellectual was concerned that Elst’s inanities would distract us. My reply to her was: they may, for a while, but in the end it will clarify certain things to us and it is worth that effort, for the sake of Bharat.

          • You have a very short memory, Dr. Rajiva. But there is a full record of this controversy on this web site. You might go back to the beginning and take a look at it.

            As for reader statistics on this site, I can tell you that your own articles have never attracted more than 20 / 25 hits in total (for comparison Nithyananda gets over 100 / 150 hits a day). That is out of an average of 700 / 800 visitors a day that can easily rise to a 1000. Last week an obscure article posted a year ago attracted 2000 visitors in a day and a half. That is the way things work. I can see who reads what and where they come from and how they got to this site. I do not care about comments. They are a lot of work and there is also a lot of crackpots on the Internet. A few persons like Anonymous and some others have come to be regulars and I appreciate their contributions very much.

            On the other two sites I edit no comments are allowed at all. Serious people with something important to say will always find me out and get in touch.

            I am giving you the last word here (this editor’s comment doesn’t count) and closing this post page. I do not mind your criticisms or insinuations or pretended ignorance of the facts. You do not fool anybody here even if they are not equipped to answer you cogently. And I hold no animosity for you or the harpies (I have always supported their work and yours and given all of you unlimited space to publish in). I am just expressing what I see as the editor who has also become the issue (which ideally shouldn’t have happened). As I said at the beginning, there is a detailed record of this controversy on this web site. You might go back to the beginning and review it for your own edification.

  8. http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=2455

    Vindicating traditional historiography: Ramayana accurate portrayal of ancient India , Come Carpentier de Gourdon. This article does not preach or teach , but is written well.

  9. Thank you IS. Compared to this broadside my critiques of Elst appear to be mild! Ofcourse my approach is from a different angle.

Comments are moderated

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,012 other followers