K. K. Muhammed: Left historians thwarted Babri compromise – S. Rama Krishna

K. K. Muhammed

“Left-leaning historians led by Irfan Habib, who was the chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research at the time, impelled Muslim groups active on the Babri Action Committee not to accept the Hindu groups’ argument that they had a claim on the site owing to the existence of a temple beneath the mosque’s structure.” – K. K. Muhammed

Prof Irfan HabibArchaeologist K. K. Muhammed has alleged that Left-leaning historians are to blame for not letting a compromise take place between Hindus and Muslims on the building of a Ram temple at Ayodhya even though archaeological evidence pointed to the presence of a Hindu temple beneath the site of the now demolished Babri Masjid.

“Left-leaning historians led by Irfan Habib, who was the chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research at the time, impelled Muslim groups active on the Babri Action Committee not to accept the Hindu groups’ argument that they had a claim on the site owing to the existence of a temple beneath the mosque’s structure,” Muhammed told this newspaper. Muhammed has mentioned in his recently published autobiography, Njan Enna Bharatiyan (I am an Indian), that a temple existed at the site, a revelation that created ripples.

Muhammed, 63, was born in the Muslim dominated Calicut. He studied in Delhi and worked at various places in North India. When he was studying at the School of Archaeology in Delhi, he participated in the excavation works at the Babri Masjid site in 1976-77. He was a part of a team led by the then ASI director general, Professor B. B. Lal. “We had found 14 pillars of a temple, which must have belonged to the 11th or 12th century. The masjid was apparently built on the debris of the temple,” Muhammed has mentioned in his autobiography written in Malayalam.

Muhammed said this was not the first time that he had mentioned about the existence of a temple pre-dating the mosque. “An amicable settlement should take place in the Babri Masjid dispute. The site can be handed over to Hindus for the construction of a Ram temple, but Hindus should take the initiative to offer an honourable settlement to Muslims. Direct talks should be held between Hindus and Muslims and no third-party should be involved,” Muhammed told this newspaper.

Muhammed, however, denied media reports that he had commented on the Taj Mahal or other monuments built by Muslim rulers. “I am an archaeologist and historical facts are important to me. I am not a spokesperson of the RSS or VHP,” he said.

K. K. Muhammed's book in MalayalamMuhammed is surprised to see the response to his autobiography. The 159-page book hit the stands on 16 January, and its first edition got sold within two weeks. Mathrubhumi, which published the book, is planning a second edition, while talks are also underway to translate the book into English and several other Indian languages.

When asked about the reaction of Muslims to his book, Muhammed said that most of them have appreciated his observations. “There are several Muslims who think that a reasonable solution can be found to the dispute. After all, Ram temple is to Hindus what Mecca and Madina are to Muslims,” said Muhammed, who retired from ASI two years ago and is currently working as project director of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Hyderabad. The trust has taken up the restoration of world heritage monuments Qutb Shahi Tombs at a budget of around Rs 100 crore.

Muhammed is also known for his restoration of the millennium old Bateshwar temples in Madhya Pradesh. He had also persuaded the Maoists in Chhattisgarh to join the restoration work of many temples in the forest areas. “The uniqueness of India is its secular credentials. We should all work to protect them,” he told this newspaper. – Sunday Guardian, 31 January 2016

K. K. Muhammed with Obamas

Sita Ram Goel: The sagely activist – Pradeep Kumar Goel with Rajiv Malik

Sita Ram Goel

Pradeep Kumar Goel“My father created an awareness of certain surreptitious forces threatening Hinduism and the fundamental culture of India. He made it his life’s mission to expose the real intentions of people who were disguised as benefactors but were secretly intent upon serving selfish ends. In his book entitled Hindu Society Under Siege, he clearly laid out how we Hindus are under attack from many fronts. He emphasized that the biggest problem was a lack of awareness of the problem.” – Pradeep Kumar Goel

Rajiv MalikSita Ram Goel will be remembered by Hindus in India and around the world for a long time. For most of the last half of the twentieth century, he and mentor-friend Ram Swarup produced hundreds of books, articles and pamphlets extolling the glories of Hinduism while warning of its most malicious foes. They were a bold and outspoken twosome who published their works through the Voice of India (VOI), a publication house they created just for this purpose. Although both Sita Ram Goel and Ram Swarup have now passed away, the VOI is still active—dedicated exclusively to the promotion of issues important to the modern-day Renaissance of Hinduism, a cause for which Sita Ram Goel gladly and courageously dedicated his life.

Born on October 16, 1921, Sita Ram Goel finished his formal education with an MA in History in 1944 from the University of Delhi. Yet he spent his entire life pursuing and sharing a broad spectrum of knowledge on a variety of subjects. He was well versed in several languages and came to be respected as a scholar of literature, philosophy, religion, and sociology. By his own account, he drew his primary inspiration on all these subjects from Plato and Sri Aurobindo.

Although he developed a keen interest in communism during his college years, he turned against the ideology in 1949 when he came to understand the plight of people living in communist Russia. After 1950, he committed himself to informing the Indian people of the real theory and practice of communism in Stalin’s Russia and Mao’s China. His careful and tediously researched work during this time rightly earned him a reputation as a formidable activist.

Rivals both respected and feared his mighty insights, which were too often too true and well-articulated to easily refute. Sita Ram Goel chose to fight his battles so far above the common, war-torn terrain of human emotions that contenders not matching his wit were left to look like fools. Hence, direct challenges to his writings were few, if any. The most damaging effect upon his work came from rivals following a strategy of “strangling by silence, ” a crafty tactic of blocking the publication of his name and his works. Such a passive confinement, however, was not nearly enough to stop his intellectual assault on anti-Hindu forces. The writings of Sita Ram Goel are alive and well today.

On December 3, 2003, at the age of 83, Sita Ram Goel passed away peacefully in his sleep following a long illness. It was a quiet end to a humble yet dynamic life dedicated to the revitalization of Hinduism and the evolution of India. We at Hinduism Today were honored to have maintained a fruitful association with him for more than 20 years and will long remember our visits with him in New Delhi at his home and during his one visit with us here in Hawaii. He is survived by his two sons, Saroj Kumar Goel and Pradeep Kumar Goel.

Today, [Aditya Goel, Pradeep’s son] manages the Voice of India—[Pradeep passed away suddenly in January 2005]—which is supported both by donations and by VOI profits which are invested back into publications. Hinduism Today correspondent Rajiv Malik recently chatted with Pradeep in New Delhi about his father, the state of Hinduism today and the prospects for India tomorrow. Here are some excerpts.

When did you first realize your father was a Hindu activist?

• In 1952 my father brought us to New Delhi from Calcutta. I was just seven years old then and too young to understand the kind of work he was doing. In 1964 there was some talk of his being arrested, but even at that time I was not really aware of what was going on. All I knew was that he had written a book criticizing Nehru, following the war with China, and a lot of people were getting upset. As time went on, my father brought together some Hindu scholars interested in defending Hindu society. This group stimulated the creation of the Voice of India in 1980. It was only then that I began to read my father’s articles with interest and finally understood his work as a Hindu activist. At that time I was 35 years of age. Now I am 54.

•  What inspired your father to become an activist?

•  He felt that the Hindu society was going through a crisis and that a Hindu renaissance was necessary. He wanted to do his part in bringing about change, but gained the confidence and guidance to do so from Ram Swarup, his close friend and advisor. Together, these two men wrote pamphlets that were forceful and strong, with titles like Hindu Society Under Siege, Defense of Hinduism and Perversion of India’s Political Parlance. Eventually they decided that, to do this kind of controversial work, they needed their own publication house.

What was your father’s most important contribution to the Hindu renaissance?

• We are proud that he brought forward new ideas in defense of Hindu society, and that they were well written. We can now see that people from all over the country and around the world were affected by this literature. Even the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), both Hindu nationalist organizations, used his literature. Not having such material themselves, they used Voice of India publications to give their positions substance.

What was the core of your father’s message?

• In the good old days, my father used to run an organization called the Society for Defense of Freedom in Asia. Ram Swarup, who was also associated with this organization, helped to bring about its focus. He proclaimed that humanity had suffered three terrible tragedies: Christianity, Islam and Communism.

Christianity is not now as bad as it used to be. The cruelties once practiced in the name of that religion have been eliminated by reforms. Now the only threat from the Christians comes from their missionary work. Because of the collapse of Soviet Russia, communism has also suffered a setback and has been weakened. The biggest danger humanity faces today comes from militant Islam. Sooner or later, we must take care of this threat that comes from these people. My father was saying this years ago. As I review his works today, I realize that his assessment of so many things was absolutely correct. He was ahead of his time.

Did you ever feel that your father and your family were in danger because of his work?

• Were there ever any threats? I could not say that we were really ever in danger. We may have thought so at the time. But, yes, there were some threats. My father would get postcards saying he was indulging in anti-Muslim activities and that one day his sons and grandsons would be converted to Islam. Also, the fact that father’s friends were frequently coming to him and advising him to act cautiously had us all a little worried. But he used to say that he had fulfilled his duties and was ready to face whatever consequences might come. He definitely had some spiritual power backing him up. All these threats that we received affected our family only monetarily, and only for a short time.

Was there one single incident that alarmed you more than the rest?

• Yes, one incident stands out. We were working on the Hindi edition of Ram Swarup’s book, Understanding Islam Through Hades. We had finished printing the book and had taken it to the bindery. This bindery was located in the Muslim area of Old Delhi. Although a Hindu owned it, some of the workers there were Muslim.

One Muslim boy saw the word Hades in the title of the book and took it to a Muslim priest, who declared the book anti-Islam. About a hundred people then gathered around the bindery in protest, and the binder called my father on the phone saying, “These people want to burn down my shop!” The police picked up the son of the shop owner and took him to the police station for questioning. Because my father was the publisher of the book, he was also picked up. As a result of all this, our Hindu friends and well-wishers also gathered at the police station. That was a night of turmoil. Our whole family was quite disturbed and worried that father might be tortured.

The next day was Sunday. A special court was convened to listen to our case. Although my father was released, the case took a long time to settle. It was introduced in 1987 and was finally settled sometime in 2000. In the end, all that happened was we were asked to delete certain portions of the book. We complied. But the antagonism of the whole incident really wore us down.

Did your father have a support group during troubled times?

• Most of my father’s Muslim and Christian friends deserted him when they came to know that his writings spoke against their religious beliefs. Although father put across his views in a very polite and analytical manner, there was often strong reaction. He used to say that just because he criticized Christianity, that did not mean he did not like Christians. He even invited critics to speak up against Hinduism in his same spirit. However, he did emphatically declare that it was clearly not fair to condemn Hinduism, then convert people from it.

Back in the eighties, my father aggressively defended Hinduism when there was a mass conversion of Hindus to Christianity at Meenakshipuram in South India. That one event was an important signal to my father that Hinduism was facing a major crisis and that something should be done to meet the challenge.

Tell us about your father? What kind of person was he?

• He was a very simple man with very few requirements. His food was simple. His life was simple. When we provided him with a car on behalf of our business, we asked him many times to engage a driver, but he never did. He said that a driver would just waste a lot of time waiting around for him.

My father’s general approach to life was always very humanitarian. He never wanted anyone else to get held up because of him. When he was active, he never required people to come to his house for a meeting. Rather, he would go and meet them at a place of their choosing.

Although he could have easily remained fully occupied writing his own books, he was always willing to help edit and organize the works of others. In fact, he used to insist that it was a part of his duty to promote the work of other deserving scholars. His first concern was to help the Hindu cause. He was a selfless man.

Can you tell us a little about your mother?

My mother was always at home looking after us and performing her puja (worship). She was a pious lady. Her primary duty was to take care of the family. She was not really concerned with what my father was doing. She had a high regard for Ram Swarup and took him to be an enlightened person. She always assumed that, because my father was always working with him, nothing could go wrong. She died in 1981.

How did your father’s work impact you and the rest of his family?

• By 1980 my father had fulfilled his familial obligations and had lived a full life. All of his children were married and further business dealings were of no interest to him. He told us that he wanted to go full-time into writing and explained why.

“There are four types of debts, ” he said. “bhuta rin, deva rin, pitra rin and rishi rin. (Rin means “debt.”) Bhuta rin is one’s debt toward the ancestors. Deva rin is one’s debt toward the Gods. Pitra rin is one’s debt to the father, which includes taking care of the family. Rishi rin is one’s debt to the saints and rishis.”

My father felt that he was at the stage in life when he should be working to settle his debt with the rishis and saints by spreading their message. He felt that the vidya (knowledge) of the rishis should be passed on to mankind. He used to emphasize that he was doing this work without hope of getting a reward or becoming famous.

Did your father cultivate any “disciples” to carry on his work?

• Only Dr. Koenraad Elst, who lives in Belgium, could be considered a true disciple. Another person who was strongly influenced by my father and is now doing good work is N. S. Rajaram. Mr. Rajaram is based in South India and even today is a fearless fighter for the Hindu cause.

Other well-known scholars have extracted extravagantly from my father’s writings but have neglected to give him credit. This is plagiarism, no doubt. But my father used to insist that he was not bothered by it, so long as the right idea got promoted. Initially, I had our publication rights drawn up with a copyright clause, but my father directed me to remove it and let the people use the material any way they wanted.

Why did your father write only in English?

• Many people asked my father why he did not write in Hindi. His response was that because the Christians and Muslims were using English to put forward their message, and the media supporting them was English-based, he felt it was appropriate that his work should be published in English. He also made the point that the people who spoke Hindi as a first language were already with him ideologically and did not need to be educated or persuaded.

What do people most frequently request from VOI?

• We are contacted often for our publications on Hindu philosophy. Our best authors in this field are David Frawley and Koenraad Elst. Of course, the works of my father and Ram Swarup are also in demand, but they focused on Islam and Christianity.

How would you assess the current response to VOI publications?

• Today, the response is quite satisfactory, but our publications are fairly low-priced and therefore yield low profit margins for book sellers, which means the books are not usually kept in stock in the stores but rather are kept on display so that orders can be made directly to us by interested parties. Today, we have 95 titles in print. Twenty-nine are authored by Sita Ram Goel himself.

To be honest, the literary value of a book has little significance in the book selling business. The physical value of the book is what counts. If you want books by Aurobindo, you have to buy them from the Aurobindo Ashram. They are not available anywhere else. Books on Gandhi are only published by the government. It is the same with most good Hindu literature. If Gita Press does not publish it, no one will. There is just not much money in it.

What guidelines did your father set up for you to do this work, yet make a good living and support your family?

• My father’s guidelines stipulated first that I fulfill my responsibilities to my family. Then as time and resources allowed, I was to perpetuate the services of the VOI. To earn my livelihood, I manage Biblia Impex, a book export business that my father formed in 1964 to provide financial security for our family.

My father started Biblia Impex from a small table in a friend’s office. He would sit on one side of the table, and his typist would sit on the other side. He was one of the first Indian publishers to send books abroad without asking for advance payment. Other export businesses would never do this. They would always require money in advance. My father understood European integrity. He knew they were trustworthy.

Father used to tell me that I should not work for more than I required. Years ago, I had an opportunity to purchase some properties that could have made us very wealthy, but I did not do so.

What are your plans to keep your father’s books in print, as well as produce edited versions, collections, and more?

• My father used to make it clear that he had said what we wanted to say and that the work was complete. I feel that it is my duty now to see to it that the publications of the established writers for VOI—Sita Ram Goel, Ram Swarup, David Frawley, Rajaram and Koenraad Elst—are made available to the people. I will keep doing this as long as I am able.

So far as editing these publications is concerned, we would need some very highly qualified people to do this, writers who are at least as qualified as my father and Ram Swarup. At the moment, I am not aware of such people. It is far better that we just ask our established writers to present their own points of view rather than have them attempt to modify the works of people who were established experts in the subjects they handled.

What about bringing his writings to the Internet?

• Right now, we have 28 titles on the Internet. Our website is www.bharatvani.org/books. I must admit, however, that this effort is minimal at most. We just do not have the capacity to go into a more elaborate web presentation. Others might offer to undertake this work on our behalf, but we ourselves cannot. Our primary obligation is to perpetuate the printed material. Also, putting these works on the Internet is expensive. The Voice of India is not a commercial venture. Whatever money comes from selling the VOI publications is invested back into printing and distribution.

• Can you summarize your father’s legacy?

• My father created an awareness of certain surreptitious forces threatening Hinduism and the fundamental culture of India. He made it his life’s mission to expose the real intentions of people who were disguised as benefactors but were secretly intent upon serving selfish ends. In his book entitled Hindu Society Under Siege, he clearly laid out how we Hindus are under attack from many fronts. He emphasized that the biggest problem was a lack of awareness of the problem.

He and Ram Swarup were always challenging Christian and Islamic tactics, and in their analyses of these strategies did much to clarify Hinduism. Initially people did not know how to compare Hinduism with Christianity and Islam. People assumed that because the Christians set up hospitals and schools, they were good people with well-meaning intentions. They did not understand that they might have ulterior motives.

My father realized that, to expose these Christian missionaries, it was necessary to analyze their literature and critique them in a logical manner. This in itself was a big revelation that brought about many positive results.

The people also did not understand Islam. None of us knew about Mohammad Sahib, Akbar, Babar and Aurengzeb. We just thought that they were rulers of India. We had no idea about the many injustices they had ruthlessly inflicted upon Hindus. Ram Swarup and my father presented the activities of these people clearly and within a historical perspective. They won our hearts with their minds.” – Hinduism Today, July/August/September, 2004

Voice of India Publishers

The “eminent historians” have blood on their hands – Koenraad Elst

Koenraad Elst“As a weapon against Hinduism, and as a way to whip up Muslim emotion, they alleged that the Hindu claimants of the Ram Janmabhumi site had been using false history. In fact, history was only peripheral to the Hindu claim on the site: it is a Hindu pilgrimage site today, and that ought to suffice to leave it to the Hindus. Yet, secularism’s favoured ’eminent historians’ insisted on interfering and said that there had never been a temple at the site.” – Dr Koenraad Elst

K. K. MuhammedLast week a few marginal media reported that archaeologist K. K. Muhammed had a startling revelation on the responsibility for the Ayodhya controversy and all its concomitant bloodshed.

Young people may not know what the affair, around 1990, was all about. Briefly, Hindus had wanted to build proper temple architecture on one of their sacred sites, the Rama Janmabhumi (“Rama’s birthplace”). So far, the most natural thing in the world. However, a mosque had been built in forcible replacement of the temple that had anciently adorned the site: the Babri Masjid. Not that this should have been a problem, because the structure was already in use as a temple, and the site was of no importance to the Muslims, who never go on pilgrimage there. So, Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress government was manoeuvring towards a compromise allotting the site definitively to the Hindus all while appeasing the Muslim leadership. This was not too principled, just pragmatic, but it had the merit of being bloodless.

Unfortunately, this non-violent formula was thwarted. An unexpected factor came in between. It stimulated and hardened Muslim resistance and especially, it made politicians hesitant to move forward on Ayodhya. As a consequence, street rowdies took over, killing hundreds. The Hindu-Muslim violence culminated in a multiple Muslim terror attack in Mumbai on 12 March 1993, which set the pattern for later terrorist attacks from New York and Paris to Mumbai again. On the other hand, it threw the issue into the BJP’s lap, making it the principal opposition party in 1991 and ultimately bringing it to power.

Ram Lalla VirajmanSo, who thwarted the Ayodhya solution, thus creating a new type of terrorism as well as setting the BJP on a course towards power? Though the contentious site had no special value for the Muslims at first, it had suddenly become the Mecca of another influential community: the secularists. They made it the touchstone of secularism’s resistance against “aggressive Hindu fundamentalism”.

As a weapon against Hinduism, and as a way to whip up Muslim emotion, they alleged that the Hindu claimants of the site had been using false history. In fact, history was only peripheral to the Hindu claim on the site: it is a Hindu pilgrimage site today, and that ought to suffice to leave it to the Hindus. Yet, secularism’s favoured “eminent historians” insisted on interfering and said that there had never been a temple at the site.

Then already, the existence of the temple was known from written testimonies (Muslim and European) and from B. B. Lal’s partial excavations at the site in 1973-4. Until the 1980s, the forcible replacement of the temple by the mosque had been a matter of consensus, as when a 19th-century judge ruled that a temple had indeed been destroyed, but that it had become too late to remedy this condition. The British rulers favoured the status-quo, but agreed that there had been a temple, as did the local Muslims. It is allowed for historians to question a consensus provided they have new evidence, but here they failed to produce any.

Yet, in a statement of 1989, JNU’s “eminent historians” turned an unchallenged consensus into a mere “Hindutva claim”. It is symptomatic for the power equation in India and in Indology that this is a repeating pattern. Thus, in the Aryan Homeland debate, the identification of the Vedic Saraswati river with the Ghaggar in Haryana is likewise being ridiculed by secularist academics and their foreign dupes as a “Hindutva concoction”, though it had first been proposed in 1855 by a French archaeologist and has been accepted ever since by most scholars.

Rama & Ayodhya by Meenakshi JainAfter the historians’ interference, the Indian mainstream politicians did not dare to go against the judgment of these authorities. The international media and India-watchers were also taken in and shared their hatred of these ugly Hindu history-falsifiers. Only, the Court-ordered excavations of 2003 have fully vindicated the old consensus: temple remains were found underneath the mosque. Moreover, the eminences asked to witness in Court had to confess their incompetence one after another (as documented by Meenakshi Jain: Rama and Ayodhya, 2013): one had never been to the site, the next one had never studied any archaeology, a third had only fallen in line with some hearsay, etc. Abroad this news has hardly been reported, and experts who know it make sure that no conclusions are drawn from it. After the false and disproven narrative of the eminent historians has reigned supreme for two decades, no one has yet bothered to demythologize their undeserved authority.

For close observers, the news of the eminent historians’ destructive role was not surprising. I had spoken on it in passing in my paper “The three Ayodhya debates” (St Petersburg 2011, available online), and in an interview with India Facts (8 Jan. 2016): “The secular intelligentsia … could reasonably have taken the position that a temple was indeed demolished to make way for a mosque but that we should let bygones be bygones. Instead, they went out of their way to deny facts of history. Rajiv Gandhi thought he could settle this dispute with some Congressite horse-trading: give the Hindus their toy in Ayodhya and the Muslims some other goodies, that will keep everyone happy. But this solution became unfeasible when many academics construed this contention as a holy war for a frontline symbol of secularism.”

Facile dismissals are sure to be tried against me. They will be harder when the allegation comes from an on-site archaeologist, moreover a Muslim.

The media had allotted an enormous weight to the Ayodhya affair: “Secularism in danger”, “India on the brink” and similar headlines were daily fare. When the Babri Masjid was demolished by impatient Hindu youngsters on 6 December 1992, the Times of India titled its editorial: “A requiem for norms”, no less. Given all the drama and moralistic bombast with which they used to surround this controversy, one would have expected their eagerness to report K. K. Muhammed’s eyewitness account. But no, they were extremely sparing in their coverage, reluctant to face an unpleasant fact: the guilt of their heroes, the “eminent historians”. These people outsourced the dirty work to Hindu and Muslim street fighters and to Islamic terrorists, but in fact it is they who have blood on their hands. – The Pioneer, 26 January 2016

Babri Masjid Demolition

K. K. Muhammed’s autobiography reveals Left is not right about Ayodhya – Balbir Punj

ASI Ayodhya Excavation Graphic

Balbir Punj“[Former ASI Regional Director] Muhammed, who was in-charge of the excavations at Ayodhya, has revealed two important things: one is that the Left historians of the day led by Prof Irfan Habib ensured that the proposal to hand over the [Ram Janmabhumi] site to the Hindu community did not succeed. … The second revelation is the conclusion of the excavation team of the Archeological Survey of India that the  disputed mosque at Ayodhya was indeed built over and with the parts of the temple that existed there by Mughal Emperor Babar’s commander Mir Baqi.” – Balbir Punj

K. K. MuhammedFresh light on the events before the demolition of the old mosque built over the Ramjanmabhumi temple surfaced the other day in  the then superintendent archaeologist K. K.  Muhammed’s recent book, Njan Enna Bharatiyan (“I an Indian”), his autobiography in his native Malayalam.  As yet I have seen only the news report on the release of the book brought out by the prestigious Kerala newspaper publishers of the Mathrubhumi. An English rendering of the book, I hope, will soon be brought out as it will have countrywide readers.

Mr Muhammed, who was in-charge of the excavations at Ayodhya, has revealed two important things: one is that the Left historians of the day led by Prof Irfan Habib ensured that the proposal to hand over the site to the Hindu community did not succeed. They encouraged the extremist view among the Muslims against any agreed and peaceful transfer. Such an agreed transfer was one of the solutions being considered in the late 1989-91. The second revelation is the conclusion of the excavation team of the Archeological Survey of India that the  disputed mosque at Ayodhya was indeed built over and with the parts of the temple that existed there by Mughal Emperor Babar’s commander Mir Baqi.

Mir BaqiThe conclusion was based on the evidence of, among other things, basalt stone pillars with the Hindu symbol of  Poorna Kalasha in the construction of the mosque structure and underneath it. This matter has been discussed so often and in so detail that we need not go into it. What is evident in Mr Muhammed’s revelation is his intense devotion to facts and truth, a trait alien to most of the secularists. It is the Left historians’ role in distorting historic truth that should be a matter of public concern. Under successive Congress governments at the Centre, distortion of Indian history through the ancient technique of suppressio veri, suggestio falsi, had been turned into a fine art by the so-called academicians.

Siraj ud-DaulahThe distortions have been widespread. Siraj ud-Daulah of Bengal was a cruel despot but he is projected as a patriot just because he fought against British colonialists. Tipu Sultan of Mysore has to be upheld as a patriot and his evident misdeeds against the Hindu majority and minority Christians is to be pushed under the carpet. The Congress government in Karnataka recently dug up the past to showcase Tipu with an obvious communal motive. The Left historians have done much damage to Indian history in many other ways. They have found apologies for Aurangzeb’s anti-Hindu and anti-Sikh guru massacres by picking up a few donations the emperor made to some temples. They have sought to obfuscate the terrible pain inflicted by successive Muslim invaders on the majority population of the country and the choice these invaders placed before the people: convert or be killed.

Tipu SultanNobody in his senses would even suggest that the present day followers of the religion should pay for the sins of their ancestors. But at least, a seeker of truth for its own sake would agree that what academicians should present is the fact and leave the interpretation of the past in the context of the present to the others. One readily agrees that present values should not be applied to a past generation. For the Left movement, ideology is supreme, truth and facts secondary. Interpretation of ideology is obviously the prerogative of the leadership. Needless to say, the caucus of the day controlling the organization constitutes the leadership. So, everything—history, economics, human relations, international affairs—is subordinate to the whims of those at the helm at a point of time.

As  a result, there is usually an ocean of difference between what the Left preaches and practises. Communists claim to be fighters against imperialism. But during the Quit India Movement of 1942, they abused national leaders such as Gandhiji and Netaji and worked as spies for the British Empire. After India became independent, they launched an armed war against free India.

M. A. JinnahHowever, the worst sin Communists committed was to work for the vivisection of India and join hands with Jinnah and the British for the creation of a theocratic Pakistan. And now, they claim to be flag bearers of secularism! While the Communist Party of India, both factions, have sought to win power through the parliamentary system, some starry-eyed academics continue to nurse the Marxist-Leninist dreams of violent overthrow of the state apparatus even in our country, giving the Naxalites an ideological justification for their armed insurrection against the democratic system.

Abu Bakr al-BaghdadiMuch the parallel situation prevails among some extremists among the worldwide Islamic community. The so-called Islamic State (IS/ISIS) is an outgrowth of that. What leads some members of the followers of Islam in countries from India to Britain is this Middle Age hangover. Most of the victims of this Middle Age hangover are the Muslims themselves with mosques of one set of followers being attacked with bombs by the other set, civilian population under the constant threat of annihilation by rival claimants to being true followers of one religion.

American President Obama in his State of the Union message to the US Congress mentioned the need for the religious community to look inward and find out why the call for violence and the appeal of forcing their religion over the whole world through brutality are finding response within the community. He wanted an internal movement to scotch such beliefs.

A handout picture released by the King Faisal Foundation on March 1, 2015 shows Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz (L) presenting Zakir Naik, president of the Islamic Research Foundation in India, with the 2015 King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam in Riyadh. Naik was honoured for being one of the most renowned non-Arabic speaking promoters of Islam. He founded the Peace TV channel, billed as the world's only channel specialising in comparative religion. AFP PHOTO / HO / King Faisal Foundation == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - (MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / HO / King Faisal Foundation" )The interior change cannot come and the attraction of thrusting your faith down the throats of resisting people cannot go away so long as the theology that nurses this sick mindset is not discussed and disowned by the faithful.

Those claiming to fight faith-inspired terror are shy of doing this unpleasant job. Look at the contradictions. Saudi Arabia has joined other nations in an international effort to eradicate the power and reach of organizations like the IS and al-Qaeda. But the same royalty is funding a vast network of religious schools among Muslims that exclusively plant and promote dreams of Islamic glory of the past, including in India.

Musharraf & Bush (2006)Same is true of Pakistan. It’s a petri dish of terror and it’s victim as well. Interestingly, both are close allies of the US in its fight against terror! The world can hardly hope to vanquish terror with such dishonesty. The Indian archeologist, a practising Muslim who proudly calls himself a “Bhartiya” in his autobiography, is a shining example of academic honesty, a trait anathema to the Left. Wait for the Communist-Muslim communal pack’s reaction to Mohammad’s revelation on Ayodhya. – The New Indian Express, 23 January 2016

» Balbir Punj is a Delhi-based commentator on political and social issues and a BJP member of the Raja Sabha. E-mail: punjbalbir@gmail.com

Dr. R. Nagaswamy with Ayodhya Hindu artefact photo.

Why is Indian history an area of darkness? – Shohan Saxena

Indian soldiers with tri-colour in Kargil.

Since the last Republic Day 2015, 84 Indian Army officers and soldiers have given up their lives for the country in the line of duty. We remember them here. Jai Hind!

Shoban Saxena“For a country that claims to have a 5000-year-old civilization, Indians have a rather poor sense of history. For some reason, it has always had the culture of the here and now. There was little recording of the past, only a retelling and that too by poets who mixed fact with fiction and myth with reality.” – Shoban Saxena

R. C. MajumdarIn Ancient India, R. C. Majumdar, the doyen of Indian historians, wrote, “One of the gravest defects of Indian culture, which defies rational explanation, is the aversion of Indians to writing history. They applied themselves to all conceivable branches of literature and excelled in many of them, but they never seriously took to the writing of history, with the result that for a great deal of our knowledge of ancient Indian history we are indebted to foreigners.”

For a country that claims to have a 5000-year-old civilisation, Indians have a rather poor sense of history. For some reason, it has always had the culture of the here and now. There was little recording of the past, only a retelling and that too by poets who mixed fact with fiction and myth with reality. Kalhana, the author of Rajatarngini, a 12th-century history of the kings of Kashmir, said it all in the book’s opening lines book: “Who but a poet can bring back the past in sweet composition, and what can make it intelligible if his art cannot?” India has always had more poets than historians.

So, when we want to know about ancient India, we have to turn to the Greeks—Herodotus’s Histories, Megasthenes’s Indica, Ptolemy’s Geographia. Our knowledge of the “Golden Age” of Indian history is dependent on the travelogues of Chinese monks—Fa Hien, Hiuen Tsang and I-Tsing. We are indebted to Arab travellers such as Al Beruni and Ibn Battuta for richly recording life in medieval India.

Does this mean Indians don’t have a sense of history? Or are they incapable of writing it? Author Pavan K. Varma believes Indians don’t have an immediate connect with their history. “We take pride in the golden age of the Guptas or the era of the great Mughals, but care little about the history that is part of our lives. People living in Hauz Khas in Delhi don’t know what it stands for; those in Masjid Moth have never bothered to find out what it connotes,” says the diplomat who has written a series of books on contemporary India.

Prof Vamsee JuluriAmerican Howard Zinn’s best-selling A People’s History of the United States opened his compatriots’ eyes to little-acknowledged truths about their history. There has been substantial work on subaltern history in India, but it’s yet to have an impact on ordinary people. Vamsee K. Juluri, professor of media studies at the University of San Francisco and author of The Mythologist, believes Indians have just started to write popular history. “We have too many extremes in the telling of the national story. The popular one, the one of movies, is frequently shallow and elitist. The academic one tends to be too narrow and insensitive to sentiments and realities. We need histories that move people, that begin with things the average reader knows, and then expands their understanding from within about why things are the way they are,” he says.

Varma says, “As a people we tend to fall in love with the dominant mythologies about ourselves. My books ruthlessly interrogate these myths. The answers they provide are not always negative, but the requirement to put a mirror before ourselves is particularly important for post-colonial societies who have faced cultural rupture and discontinuity.

Largely, contemporary India awaits its historians. “Indians have not even been keen to tell the story of the India that has emerged since 1947,” says Mihir Bose, journalist and author who has written on the history of Bollywood and cricket. “The wall between academic historians and popular historians seems as strong as the old Hindu divide between the higher castes and untouchables. Often the best material on India is to be found in western libraries.”

Is that the reason the best-known book on Indian independence, Freedom at Midnight, was a collaboration between a Frenchman and an American  — Times of India, Chennai. Oct. 18, 2010

» Shobhan Saxena is a Sao Paulo-based journalist for The Times of India. He is the first Indian journalist to live and report from South America.

Indian Leaders

Sita Ram Goel: Modern India’s greatest intellectual kshatriya – David Frawley

Sita Ram Goel (1921–2003)

Vamadeva Shastri (David Frawley)“An intellectual kshatriya reflects the diplomatic approach of Hindu thought of sama, dana, danda, and bheda. One offers dialogue and conciliation to friends who may be temporarily alienated by misunderstandings (sama). One controls by strength and clarity (dana) those who are wavering in support, but not necessarily inimical in their views. One uses strict rules and critical engagement (danda) for those who are hostile, but still can be brought in line. And one creates division and defeats in debate (bheda) those who are unwilling to accept the truth.” – Dr David Frawley

Ram SwarupSita Ram Goel was one of India’s most important and original thinkers in the post-independence era. His writings are central to the Hindu awakening worldwide over recent decades that is now growing rapidly. While his guru and colleague, Ram Swarup, laid the spiritual and philosophical basis for the movement, the detailed analysis and in-depth articulation for it was supplied by Sita Ram.

The current generation of Hindu writers owes much to Goel for charting a clear course to follow. Yet few are aware of him today in 2016, more than a decade after his passing, or have examined in detail the great scope and legacy of his many profound books and articles. A new encounter with the teachings of Sita Ram Goel would be of great benefit to many and should be encouraged by all.

An intellectual kshatriya

While I was traveling in England in 1996, giving a series of lectures on Hindu dharma throughout the country, the idea of the need for a new “intellectual kshatriya” or intellectual warrior class for Hindu society dawned upon me. Yet returning back to the USA, where I live, I almost forgot about the concept.

Somehow Sita Ram Goel, whom I had been working with for several years, heard of my idea and asked me to develop it further, which I then did in various books and articles.

The idea of an intellectual kshatriya is that of a person who defends Hindu dharma with a determined intellectual power and unwavering discrimination—which is the necessity of this information age and the clash of cultures occurring today.

It requires critical thinking and original insight, not a mere repetition or imitation of past systems of thought or the words of previous thinkers. It requires that one is incisive, even harsh if necessary in order to counter wrong views, like a surgeon working to remove a cancerous tumor—particularly relative to groups whose vested interests prevent them from looking at Hindu dharma with open minds.

In this regard an intellectual kshatriya reflects the diplomatic approach of Hindu thought of sama, dana, danda, and bheda. One offers dialogue and conciliation to friends who may be temporarily alienated by misunderstandings (sama). One controls by strength and clarity (dana) those who are wavering in support, but not necessarily inimical in their views. One uses strict rules and critical engagement (danda) for those who are hostile, but still can be brought in line. And one creates division and defeats in debate (bheda) those who are unwilling to accept the truth. This is the traditional Hindu kshatriya approach going back to the Vedas.

If we stop short at sama or a conciliatory approach in all circumstances, afraid that we might offend someone by speaking the truth, we will not be able to deal with the powerful and insidious forces that dominate this world and try to undermine Hindu dharma in any way that they can.

A Hindu voice is crucial today, as is a Hindu critique of civilization, trapped as the world is between a regressive religious exclusivism, on one side, and a destructive consumerism, on the other. The Hindu mind can show how to change the world in a direction that is in harmony with dharma, and which transcends the limitations of both current politics and organized religion.

The crucial role of Sita Ram Goel

I can think of no other modern writer who better epitomizes this role of an intellectual kshatriya than Sita Ram Goel, who pioneered this approach. He realized the necessity of challenging and countering the forces seeking to destroy Hindu culture, exposing their wrong ideologies and biased theologies, as well as the misguided actions that their thoughts and beliefs must eventually result in.

Some people may recoil at times from Sita Ram’s frank language and bold critiques. Such people are usually those who do not understand the harshness of the intellectual battle that has been going on in India for decades.

While Hindu dharma is regularly denigrated and distorted by missionary, leftist and Marxist forces (which often have foreign funding and are well entrenched in the media and academia), Hindus are expected to be kind and tolerant in return and not criticize anyone in their defense, should they speak out at all. Such a defeatist attitude is what Sita Ram reacted against and provided a clear alternative for.

Sita Ram was writing from the front-lines of the battle, not from a convenient view on the sidelines. He had to speak loudly to awaken Hindus, who have been passively accepting the undermining of their culture even in their own homeland.

How I Became A Hindu by Sita Ram GoelExamining the Marxist version of India’s past

Sita Ram himself was the subject of several organized campaigns of vilification and attempts to silence his voice. And he did not seek to placate anyone, including other Hindus. He could be strong if not strident in his criticism of Hindu groups who he felt were on the wrong tract or intellectually deficient. He was never an apologist and never made excuses, but always held to the truth regardless of those who might be uncomfortable with it.

Sita Ram was a prolific writer with several dozen books to his credit covering a broad range of social, historical and religious issues. He emphasized an English idiom of expression in order to reach the current intellectual class dominating the country, but was also well-informed about the traditional literature on the topics that he examined.

A communist in his youth, his own intellectual journey back to Hindu dharma is an important story in its own right that he documents in his book How I Became a Hindu, which should be carefully studied. He was one of the main Hindu writers who challenged communism in India, when it was fashionable for everyone to be a leftist, starting with Nehru himself. Sita Ram inspired and helped many new Hindu writers, including the American publication Hinduism Today.

Goel took up difficult issues like the massive Islamic destruction of Hindu temples, which others preferred to ignore or gloss over. He warned of the danger of Islamic terrorism long before it erupted on the world scene after 9/11, which type of attacks he predicted.

He challenged the Christian missionary assault on India, exposing its agenda of conversion in the guise of social service, and its exclusivist dogma using Hindu tolerance to hide its aggression. Whatever subject he examined, he dealt with directly, thoroughly and rationally, letting the facts speak for themselves.

Sita Ram Goel deserves heartfelt appreciation for the tremendous service that he has rendered Hindu society and the cause of truth. For any deep study of the social and historical aspects of Hindu dharma, one should first examine his many books. While the truth is not always pleasant to face, one must clearly do so in order to effectively move forward.

May we follow Goel’s example and create the type of Hindu intellectual class he showed was necessary, not only for the sake of India but for the entire world! – India Facts, 21 January 2016

» Many of Sita Ram Goel’s books are available on-line at Voice of Dharma. His out-of-print booklets and those of Ram Swarup, can be accessed at Voice of India.
» Dr David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Sastri) is an American Hindu teacher (acharya) and author, who has written more than thirty books on topics such as the Vedas, Hinduism, Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedic astrology, published both in India and in the United States. He is the founder and director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which offers educational information on Yoga philosophy, Ayurveda, and Vedic astrology.

Sita Ram Goel & Ram Swarup

Macaulay acolytes halting transition of our heritage – Anirban Ganguly

Dr Anirban Ganguly“Sri Aurobindo’s words flow across the decades to inspire: ‘Low-pitched and narrow ideals, small hopes and aims, petty caution and cowardice as well as short-sighted and faint-hearted leadership—all these paltry things can never be the right material for building the strength of a nation.’ Our politicians, reminded Sri Aurobindo, ‘should always keep in mind the saying from the Mahabharata: niriho nasnute mahat, the unaspiring shall never enjoy greatness.'” – Dr Anirban Ganguly

Fernand BraudelIn his A History of Civilizations (pdf), a classic study of the origins and evolutions of civilisations, legendary French historian Fernand Braudel (1902-1985) came up, among other things, with a simple and yet perceptive description of civilisation. “A civilisation”, he wrote, “can be approached, only in the long-term, taking hold of a constantly unwinding thread—something that a group of people have conserved and passed on as their most precious heritage from generation to generation, throughout and despite storms and tumults of history.” It is this active preservation and passing on that keeps lighted aspirations for greatness in a people and civilisation.

Sita Ram Goel (1921-2003) This effort at conserving “their most precious heritage”, in the Indian context suffered repeatedly but faced one of its toughest challenges during the British colonial phase and after that, ironically, post independence. The challenge of de-nationalisation or de-culturisation during the colonial or Macaulayean phase and its resistance by some of our most avant-garde thought leaders who ensured that some of that “precious heritage is preserved, defended and re-articulated in a modern idiom and context” is best described by that intrepid ideological anchor, late Sita Ram Goel. About the English system of education, as introduced in India, Goel noted that it aimed at “promoting and patronising a new Indian upper class who, in turn, would hail the blessings of the British Raj and cooperate in securing its stability in India.”

The predominance and hegemony of the Macaulayean system swept off many future leaders. It gave rise to a headstrong and intellectually captive breed of opinion-makers and directors of India’s destiny, who Ananda K. Coomaraswamywere disconnected and divorced from her civilisational ethos, her aspirations, and from the moorings of her spiritual culture and its essential and perennial messages that had once attracted almost the entire thinking world to her doorstep. Despite this intellectual hegemony, India’s “most precious heritage” survived to a great extent because, epoch leaders like Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Lokmanya Tilak, Subramaniam Bharati, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya, Veer Savarkar, M. S. Golwalkar, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, to name a few among a select pantheon, succeeded in escaping “its magic spell” and in rediscovering “their roots”. They were, as Goel argued, “great souls, strong enough to survive the heavy dose of a deliberate denationalisation.”

Unfortunately, post Independence, Indian education, cultural planning and action, and the over-all Indian societal ambience and direction failed to ensure that this “most cherished heritage” hardly ever got opportunities to express its many dimensions or direct the course of our national life—both in the field of policy, education and culture. The Nehruvian establishment also created a narrative that was neglectful or lethargic towards the vision and articulations of these epochal thought leaders. Such a reductionist Sri Aurobindoapproach compounded with the hatred for Indian culture perpetrated by Communists and their suppression of these leaders prevented the growth, in Sri Aurobindo’s words, “of a large and noble political ideal”—it killed all aspiration for greatness.

That reductionism is now being reversed and Sri Aurobindo’s words flow across the decades to inspire: “Low-pitched and narrow ideals, small hopes and aims, petty caution and cowardice as well as short-sighted and faint-hearted leadership—all these paltry things can never be the right material for building the strength of a nation.” Our politicians, reminded Sri Aurobindo, “should always keep in mind the saying from the Mahabharata: niriho nasnute mahat, the unaspiring shall never enjoy greatness.”

While Narendra Modi works and aspires towards that civilisational greatness for India, some unaspiring present day Macaulay acolytes ceaselessly work to halt it. They refuse to recognise and project India’s “most precious heritage passed on from generation to generation”. – The New Indian Express, 17 January 2016

» Dr Ganguly is Director, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation,  New Delhi.  Follow him on Twitter @anirbanganguly.

Fernand Braudel Quote

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,308 other followers

%d bloggers like this: