From Saraswati to Cesspit – McCarthy-ian fall of the Hindu mind – 5
by Radha Rajan on 18 Jul 2010 30 Comments

Piteous call of the Hindu Nation

In the story of the third avatar of Mahavishnu as Bhagwan Varaha, Prithvi or Mother Earth is abducted by asura Hiranyaaksha, brother of the better known asura, Hiranyakashipu, Prahalada’s father. Hiranyaaksha holds Prithvi in captivity in Rasaatala, a region which must be understood as the very depths of the netherworld located somewhere in the cosmos.


With Prithvi in captivity in Rasaatala, Brahma’s Creation could not manifest itself on earth. Brahma therefore prayed to Mahavishnu to rescue the Mother from Hiranyaaaksha’s clutches in the netherworld. How Mahavishnu emerged from the nostrils of Brahma as a tiny boar who then assumed the fearsome form of the mighty Varaha, how Bhagwan Varaha cleaved the netherworld with his hooves, how he slayed Hiranyaaksha and lifted Prithvi from the depths of the netherworld perched on his mighty tusks, forms the story of Varahavatar, the third avatar of Mahavishnu.


As if to emphasize the continuing threat to her very existence, a few yugas later, Prithvi’s daughter Sita, in human form, is abducted on earth, this time by another asura Ravana, and is held in captivity in his kingdom in Lanka. A few years later, after Ravana is slayed and Sita returns to Ayodhya, Prithvi’s daughter is condemned by her own people and her husband, the king of Ayodhya, banishes his pregnant wife from the kingdom and after she is left alone and defenseless in the forest, Sita is rescued by Rishi Valmiki; thereafter Sita lives with dignity in Rishi Valmiki’s ashram but she lives in exile. 


Sita never returns home to Ayodhya and when years later there is still not a single powerful voice from among the people of Ayodhya to speak for dharma, for Sita’s honour and against Srirama’s decision to banish her from Ayodhya, and when her husband remains unrelenting, Sita calls upon her mother Prithvi to rescue her from the mental captivity of exile and humiliation on earth. The end of Sita’s life on earth is no less than the beginning of the end of dharma and the end of treta yuga


Ramayana, the epic story of Hindu dharma’s Purushottama, is effectively ended when not a single citizen of Ayodhya speaks up for Prithvi’s daughter. Decline in dharma among the people of Ayodhya and decline in courage to establish dharma by restoring the honour of a wronged woman was the beginning of the end of Srirama’s ramarajya and his avatar on earth, thus establishing the truth that a nation dies not only when forces of evil threaten our territory and physical existence, but also when the nation’s people fail to act to defend dharma and dharti.


In an earlier yuga, Mahavishnu as Vamana spanned the three worlds in cosmos, including the netherworld, with his feet to establish Hinduism’s eternal truth that the cosmos, including the earth, remains as close to perfection as Brahma created it only when forces of adharma are subdued, tamed or vanquished; and that therefore it is the primary responsibility of god and man to uphold and protect dharma.


Hindus would be extremely foolish to think these narratives, including the story of Hayagriva the asura stealing the Vedas in Matsyavatara, are meant only to be told by elderly Hindus to their grandchildren at bedtime. There are some salutary lessons for Hindu nationalists in these historical narratives and an enduring relevance for all Hindus for all times; the first one being that the offender of dharma, when the offence threatens very existence, or threatens the dharmic foundations of life, is killed.


If adharma is not ended, as it happened in Ayodhya, then ramarajya is ended and even our gods in human form have to end their time on earth, thus condemning the people to live a godless life. The corollary to this lesson is that, on earth, on the territory of the Hindu bhumi, it is the king or the state which is the ultimate protector, upholder and defender of dharma. In Hindu tradition of statecraft it is the responsibility of the people to kill a king who has failed to protect the nation or the people. In contemporary times, Hindus must leave no stone unturned to destroy the anti-Hindu polity holding sway in the country to capture state power and make it a Hindu instrument to protect the territory and people of the Hindu nation.   


Adharma has to be ended forcefully whether on earth or outside the earth. It is ended by our gods if the battle between dharma and adharma is waged outside the boundaries of earth; and on earth it is ended by the king. This is the enduring lesson of our puranas and ithihasa. Our kings, when confronting a grave threat to the rashtra, did not hold forth on the virtues of dharma-adharma unity and inter-faith dialogue; nor did they think dharma could be protected by travelling to asuraloka to lecture asuras on the merits of dharma. They did not argue that we are all descendants of the same forefathers either, or that we all share a common history, as excuses not to fight to end evil.


Our kings (by civilisational definition, they are kings subordinate to dharma) used the moral authority and power vested in their danda to remove the offender permanently. Danda is state and state power and its primary responsibility is to protect the ethos and territory of the Hindu nation. State and state power in Hindu civilisational understanding is intended primarily only to protect the Hindu nation and her people.


Kautilya defined nation or rashtra as both territory and the people who belong to that territory. Savarkar carried forward this basic definition of rashtra and defined who belonged to the nation; by implication, Savarkar also defined who could not claim the territory of the nation or rashtra. Savarkar, departing radically from Gandhi’s unrealistic idea of nation, made the critical distinction between who could claim to belong to the nation and who could claim the territory of the nation, and stated that those whose pitrus or forefathers were born on this bhumi belonged to this nation; but only they, for whom this bhumi was both pitru bhumi and punya bhumi could claim the right to the territory of the Hindu nation.


No ambiguities here or woolly-headed, wishful thinking about nation and nationhood. Gandhi declared that this nation belonged in equal measure to “Muslims, Christians, Beni-Israelis, Parsis and Hindus”, in that order. But Savarkar declared that Muslims, Christians, Beni-Israelis and Parsis can claim to belong to this nation of their immediate ancestors if they so desired (according to Savarkar’s definition of who belonged to this nation), but cannot claim territory in the name of their religion.


There is paradigmatic difference between the nation belonging to someone and someone belonging to the nation. The critical distinction between Gandhi and Savarkar on the issue of nation and nationhood is –

-        Gandhi said the nation belonged to all those who resided on the territory

-        Savarkar said not all people who lived on the territory of the nation can claim to belong to the nation

-        Savarkar also made the crucial distinction between belonging to the nation and claiming the territory of the nation as a separatist demand


By Savarkar’s definition, Christians and Muslims, Jews and Parsis, adherents of religions not native to this bhumi, whether they came here as refugees, traders, shopkeepers, freebooters, colonizers or murdering hordes of invaders, cannot claim the territory of the Hindu bhumi in the name of their religion. For Hindu nationalists, this and this alone should be the core tenet of their political ideology.


The 1857 first war of independence exposed the fatal flaw in the Hindu intellect – its inability to know the enemy. Bahadur Shah Zafar saw in the events of 1857 a glimmer of opportunity to expand the decrepit Mughal Empire beyond Delhi’s Red Fort. Knowing the enemy, in the war of 1857 against the East India Company, did not strain the Hindu intellect because the white man belonged to an alien race.


Hindus generally were willing customers for the Muslim con that they were both fighting a common enemy and that they both wanted the same objective. Hindus except those waging that war in Central India under the leadership of Tantia Tope, were fighting the British East India Company no doubt, but they were also fighting to bring back Muslim rule over India again! The stated objective of the Muslims in the war of 1857 was to install Bahadur Shah Zafar as Emperor of India. Hindus had no similar stated (Hindu) objective and no (Hindu) candidate for emperor. At best, this was only half-baked Hindu nationalism.


In the British East India Company, Hindus saw an alien race practicing an alien religion ruling over them and identified it as their enemy; but with Muslims, Hindus, including important Hindus like Gandhi, only saw “brothers’ belonging to a different sampradaya. That Islam and Christianity whether packed in white skin or brown, had only insatiable greed for territory not their own, was never understood by Hindu leadership, both political and religious. Unfortunately for Hindus, even Aurobindo, the only political thinker and writer of the times besides Tilak, was no exception to this rule.


The ninety years between 1857 and 1947 was the most critical period in history for Hindus, and yet the Hindu political and religious leadership of the times never saw it that way. They never realized that 1857 gave them the impetus to free the Hindu nation from both White Christianity and Brown Islam. This suicidal failure in the Hindu intellect to know-the-enemy was however well understood by the British and Muslims, both.


The self-destructive Hindu failure to know-the-enemy led to the suicidal disjunct between religion and politics as we know from the vivisection of August 1947; the failure to know-the-enemy and the religion-politics disjunct was best exemplified by Vivekananda, Aurobindo, Gandhi, and the RSS. Notwithstanding their other exemplary work in Hindu society, considering the position they continue to hold in the nation as icons and powerful forces, it is time to ask the question if, in this period, they heard the distressed call of the Hindu nation and if they responded effectively.


Vivekananda’s lasting legacy is a monastic order allegedly committed to seva; a monastic order however which went to the Supreme Court to proclaim that it was not Hindu. The cult of Ramakrishna, like the cults of Ram Mohan Roy and Dayananda Saraswati, proved for the third time that cults not rooted in traditional sampradayas acquire Abrahamic traits and eventually lose direction and become un-Hindu, non-Hindu, anti-Hindu or totally wayward. In the end they become irrelevant.


The temple, the meditation hall, call it what you will, built over a decade ago inside the Ramakrishna Mission campus in Chennai boasts of its secular identity by flaunting the OM, the cross and the crescent on the panels of the temple doors. If one discounts the consciously chosen non-Hindu identity of the Ramakrishna Mission from Vivekananda’s legacy to the nation, then what is left of Vivekananda as lasting legacy is his address to the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, in September 1893, the same year that Aurobindo begins his unparalleled, brilliant political writings as a member of the Indian National Congress.


Dressed like a Benedictine monk in saffron, Vivekananda spoke about aspects of Hindu religion in an address lasting four minutes to a largely White Christian audience in flawless English. Vivekananda told the world gathering how Hinduism taught the world tolerance, universal tolerance, universal acceptance, and also that Hindus believed all religions to be true.


It is not surprising therefore that Vivekananda’s idiom has defined the Hindu part of all contemporary inter-faith dialogue, and also that staunch votaries of inter-faith dialogue within the RSS and among Hindu religious leaders are New-Age Hindu globe-trotting gurus, neo-vedantin sanyasis and Vivekananda bhaktas. This is the right time to ask who put the idea into Vivekananda’s mind that he should travel abroad, and who ensured the invitation to this hitherto unknown Hindu swami to address the World Parliament of Religions? This is also the time to ask, given Vivekananda’s brilliant intellect and his total understanding of the nature of Islam and Christianity, if he could not have used his genius better in the cause of the enslaved Hindu nation?


Not once, but twice in his short life, Vivekananda travelled abroad. The question remains, ‘why’? Why did he choose to do what he did when the country was in turmoil and when the urgent need was to end colonial Christian and Islamic rule over the Hindu nation? Who turned the brilliant Vivekananda away from political nationalism? Vivekananda’s genius and his legacy did not free the Hindu nation from bondage, nor did it settle issues of nation and nationhood. Then what was the goal Vivekananda set for himself, for his brilliant intellect? 


Vivekananda and Aurobindo heard the piteous call of the Hindu nation, but instead of heeding the call they chose some kind of sanitized spirituality devoid of religion and political consciousness over their responsibility to arouse and organise Hindus to capture the state and state power to protect the Hindu nation. Both Vivekananda and Aurobindo spoke about the inherently evil course of the history of expansionist Islam and Christianity; they may have written eulogies to sanatana dharma but failed ultimately to tell us how this timeless civilization could be protected without state power.  


The collective legacy of Vivekananda, Aurobindo and Gandhi is beginning to look increasingly like a bubble because sixty-three years after independence from colonial rule, the Hindu nation remains trapped within the eclipse.


The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was an original and brilliant idea that was given shape and form by a group of Hindu nationalists led by Dr. Hedgewar as an antidote to the growing strength of the Muslim League and the growing de-Hinduisation of the INC. The RSS was unique in its conception and growth; it did not think dialogue with white Christians or lecturing to white Christians about Hinduism was necessary nor did it foolishly believe that Hindu-Muslim unity was necessary or even possible because we are ‘brothers’. Its focus was the Hindu people and the Hindu nation.


The RSS set itself to the task of organizing Hindu society by bringing Hindus to their shakhas, where they were given lessons in self-identity as Hindus, where the nation was proclaimed proudly to be a Hindu nation. It evolved into a powerful Hindu organization – disciplined, nationalist and purposeful. But while the RSS was born of an original idea, as it grew and took shape, like Bhima it represented sheer strength but like Bhima again, it was not a thinker; it has so far not had the benefit of an intellect of the mettle of Vivekananda, Aurobindo or Savarkar. It has been content until now to allow journalists and columnists doubling as power brokers to think and articulate on its behalf.  


But unlike Bhima who knew his purpose in life was to use his phenomenal strength forcefully and violently against the Kauravas and other asuras, the RSS has failed even in critical moments to demonstrate its physical strength. It has been content with merely swinging the mace without throwing it at the enemy’s head. Our enemies are now convinced and so are RSS supporters that the RSS will never throw the mace because, said their spokesperson barely a few days ago, the RSS does not believe in violence. So how is the RSS different from Gandhi, or Advani and Vajpayee, who kept the army standing interminably at our borders, ready for combat, without however sending them into Pakistan?    


Gandhi collected people by the thousands at his prayer meetings – the majority of whom were Hindus, but these meetings were not intended to organize Hindus; Gandhi’s prayer meetings did little for the Hindu nation and these mammoth gatherings served no Hindu purpose. In stark contrast, every mammoth rally of the Muslim League organized the Muslims as Muslims under one banner and carried them surely towards realizing their demand for Pakistan.


It is time to ask why, despite being a Hindu organization, the RSS did not organize the Hindus to mount an effective challenge to the Muslim League; why it did not make common cause with Savarkar like the Khilafat Committee made common cause with the Muslim League and later merged itself into the League; why, despite knowing that Gandhi was leading the freedom struggle towards vivisection, it did not check Gandhi in time or mobilize Hindus to demand Gandhi’s ouster from the political arena; why did the RSS accept Gandhi’s paralyzing and self-destructive creed of non-violence and refuse to meet the Muslim League head-on even when it knew that Hindu non-violence made vivisection inevitable?


While the Muslim League had to be confronted physically, anti-Hindu Nehruvian secularism had to be confronted and defeated by the mind. Nehruvian secularism, unlike the Muslim League, was not a physical structure; it was an idea, like the RSS was an idea. Hedgewar’s RSS failed to check the Muslim League because of its unwillingness to confront violence with violence. Guruji Golwalkar’s RSS failed to check Nehruvian secularism and defeat it because, while Nehru and his successors used state power to enforce the ideology of Nehruvian secularism in politics and administration, the RSS despite being a wholly Hindu idea, never aspired for Hindu state power.


RSS kept politics at bay, it had no use for intellectual articulation and its ideology was therefore never concretized as a workable political alternative. The RSS is the best example of a failing idea because of its stubborn refusal to put a thinking head on the body and to accept the necessity for self-conscious Hindu state power. Guruji’s RSS became a full-fledged seva organization maybe because Dr. Hedgewar pulled Guruji of revered memory from out of the Ramakrishna Mission to head the RSS after his time.


The RSS today finds itself in the same predicament as Hanuman who did not know his own strength and did not know why he was made strong and mighty. Hedgewar and Savarkar must come together within the RSS today and Bhima’s body must have Srikrishna’s brain and mind. RSS cannot be doing blood donation camps, Ramayan katha, Ramsetu padayatra and seva in bastis at the cost of active intervention in politics. The RSS must do all this only in conjunction with and not instead of its relentless quest to capture state power.    


Self-styled intellectuals who claim they are swayamsevaks and karyakartas have failed so far to write one paper or write one book to goad the RSS towards realizing the need for state power. They have failed to critique history from the perspective of Hindu nationalism and have also failed to provide the intellectual input with which to deal with the growing menace of jihad, religious conversion and foreign money.


There is a palpable decline in courage in Hindu organizations, in Hindu intellectuals and in Hindu society. The decline in courage and ethics among intellectuals within Hindu organizations has been the most serious cause for concern in recent times.


  • And decline in courage is ironically emphasized by occasional explosions of anger and inflexibility on the part of the same bureaucrats when dealing with weak governments and with countries not supported by anyone, or with currents which cannot offer any resistance. But they get tongue-tied and paralyzed when they deal with powerful governments and threatening forces, with aggressors and international terrorists (Solzhenitsyn at Harvard).


Replace bureaucrats with “Hindu intellectuals in Hindu organizations” and replace weak governments and countries with “individuals” and currents with “persons” and we get an accurate picture of the state of the RSS today. It is not just individuals, but the collective Hindu mind which has suffered the McCarthy-ian fall from Saraswati to cesspit.


RSS cannot ignore the piteous call of the Hindu nation any longer. The incumbent Sarsanghachalak has his task cut out for him. He has to get Bhima to throw the mace at the enemy’s head; before that he must equip Bhima’s body with Srikrishna’s head. Hindu nationalists have the right to expect no less from him.



The author is Editor,

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