2. Ideological Defence of Hindu Society
2. Ideological Defence of Hindu Society
SITA RAM GOEL
Ideological aggression, if not resisted in proper time, leads invariably to physical aggression.
Instead of promoting a physical clash, ideological defence
i. prevents it most of the time because the aggressor stands warned that he would be resisted;
ii. or minimises one-sided violence because the victim also stands well-prepared;
iii. and often helps the aggressor to drop his habit because he comes to know that the other side knows his designs or that there is another side of the story.
- Hindu society has been facing ideological aggression.
i. from Islam, for more than thirteen hundred years with the result that Islam has gained a large population of converts who have staged repeated rounds of violence besides partitioning the country and forming permanently hostile states on both sides of our borders;
ii. from Christianity, for nearly five hundred years with the result that native converts in the North-East now feel sufficiently strong to mount a series of violent insurrections;
iii. from Communism, for more than fifty years during which we have witnessed several rounds of violence.
Hindu history goes to show that Hindu society has rarely put forward an ideological defence and all along tried to correct the aggressor by the catholicity of its spiritual culture.
While Hindu society has survived due to its intrinsic strength, it has not been able to stop ideological aggression followed by physical aggression, and has suffered staggering losses in terms of territory, population and morale, which is more important.
By now Hindu society has been thrown on the defensive to such an extent that even a mild protest against further aggression invites accusations of intolerance, communalism and chauvinism.
The aggressive ideologies operating within the Hindu homeland have entrenched themselves in the shape of whole communities and have many centres and seminaries which send out an ever-increasing number of ideologically equipped cadres for spreading their tentacles farther a field.
Being foreign in their origins, these ideologies have powerful international allies who provide to them massive aid and abetment - financial, diplomatic and moral-psychological.
On the other hand, traditional Hindu saints, sannyasins and scholars have not been able to meet the challenge
i. either because it does not register in their awareness on account of their total preoccupation with indigenous themes;
ii. or because they regard these aggressive ideologies as similar to Hindu sects which have to be accommodated in the over-all framework of traditional Hindu tolerance;
iii. or because they do not understand the true character and dimensions of aggression, even when they recognise it as such.
- The English-educated Hindu elite which controls the commanding heights in government, educational institutions and mass media has failed the test
i. either because it has become indifferent to Hindu society as a result of having imbibed the current cosmopolitan culture;
ii. or because it has been trained to look at Hindu society through eyes which are not of its own ancestral culture and, as a result, has become sceptical about, if not actually hostile to the merits of Hindu society;
iii. or because it is too ignorant of Hindu spirituality, cultural creativity, social philosophy and historical traditions to put up a worthwhile defence even when it is sympathetic and wants to stop the aggression.
- This desperate situation has been made more difficult by a degenerate politics through which vote-hungry, sloganised, short-sighted and nominally Hindu politicians
i. weaken Hindu society by dividing it on the basis of caste, sect, language and region;
ii. disarm Hindu society by sanctimonious and one-sided appeals in the name of traditional Hindu tolerance;
iii. strengthen alienated and aggressive communities by supporting their separatist demands in the name of secularism.
It is high time for Hindu society to take up a determined stand against ideological aggression and organise its own defence on an ideological basis.
The defence has to be simultaneous on two fronts:
i. strengthening, reforming, revitalizing and reaffirming our own religious, cultural, educational and social institutions and traditions;
ii. exposing the true character of aggressive ideologies with reference to their own sources and history and in the light of Hindu thought.
The first task has to be shouldered mainly by Hindu religious leaders and socio-cultural movements, though there is ample scope for Hindu scholarship to present the deeper unity of Hindu schools of thought and spirituality, of Hindu cultural variety and of Hindu social traditions, as also the heroic strain in Hindu history, with a view to restore Hindu pride in its own rich heritage.
The second task is essentially that of Hindu scholarship which can collect, collate, interpret and present correct knowledge not only about the character of aggressive ideologies but also about their means and methods.
- This ideological struggle for defence of Hindu society and against aggressive ideologies has to be viewed and waged not only in the Indian context but also on a global scale so that
i. we find our own international allies in ideological forces which are in accord with our own culture;
ii. we are able to turn back the aggressive ideologies in their own bases abroad.
- A start can be made in the shape of a Hindu Centre in India which
i. will contact and bring together whatever scholars with a Hindu perspective are already available in the country;
ii. reorient such scholars as have the requisite intellectual equipment but lack the Hindu perspective;
iii. train new scholars with a Hindu perspective in different disciplines.
- In due course, this Centre can become the mother of many more centres in India and abroad, all of which can be, at some stage, coordinated into an International Hindu Centre.
- Utmost care should be taken to see that the whole effort in developing this scholarship is thought-oriented and not status-oriented, which means that
i. scholars who have the Hindu perspective as also the courage to present it publicly should be cultivated and honoured;
ii. scholars who have the Hindu perspective but not the courage to present it publicly in the prevailing atmosphere should be given every support so that they come out into the open;
iii. scholars who have status in the present set-up but not the Hindu perspective should be ignored or at least not provided with an additional platform;
iv. scholars who play the tune for whoever pays them should be scrupulously avoided.
The Hindu perspective relating to different problems and fields of scholarship can be evolved by a committee of religious and socio-cultural leaders and scholars who have given thought to the current situation.
Another committees of men of means and influence should be formed to raise the necessary resources.
This was written at the behest of Shri K.S. Sudarshan of the RSS to serve as the working paper of a series of seminars at different places in the country. The first seminar was held at the Deen Dayal Research Institute, New Delhi, in 1983 and was attended by several bigwigs of the RSS as well as the VHP. The writer of the working paper had also been invited. But when he saw the working paper that was distributed to the participants, he found that it was not the paper he had written but its ‘summary’ distilled by some Sangh scribe. The logic, language and spirit of the original paper had been more or less completely knocked out. (The Sangh Parivar never touches anything which does not originate from within it, or unless it has been messed up by one of its members. No Hindu outside the Sangh Parivar carries any credit with the Parivar unless the person has status either in terms of wealth or in the eyes of the secularist establishment.) The discussion that followed was a free for all, the underlying refrain being that the Sangh ‘knows it all, has always known it, and can and will solve all problems in due course’. The only substantial contribution was made by an RSS lawyer hailing from Anantnag in Kashmir. ‘I have studied Islam in depth,’ he said, ‘and found it to be a great religion. I cannot understand anyone placing Islam in the dock.’ Ironically enough this defender of Islam was literally the first to be shot dead when the ethnic cleansing started in the Valley in the winter of 1989. The V.P. Singh Government with I.K. Gujral as its Minister of External Affairs, provided the opportunity the Islamic terrorists were waiting for.