Dr. Koenraad Elst

Bengal: Nobody speaks up for Hindus

This is a reprint from NewsBred.

The fresh violence against Hindus in West Bengal calls for the collective conscience of this country.

DALALS (Damn Left and Lutyens Scribes), as expected, first ignored and then dumbed it down to the fabricated Governor-Chief Minister spat.

Political parties such as Congress, Communists and regional heavyweights, avoided mention of any atrocity against the Hindus. Rahul Gandhi trained his eyes and concern on PM’s silence on China.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), flogged everyday as the face of a communalist Saffron, haven’t uttered a word in anger. (So next time they are termed bigots, use this instance to shut the pseudo-sikulars up).

But then what’s new?

No less than 600 temples were destroyed in Bangladesh in 1992.  Thousands of Hindus were killed and raped; paraded naked on the streets of Bhola town, shops looted, deities desecrated.

There was little outrage in media or from any State.

In Pakistan, among the near 300 temples destroyed, the demolition of one was personally supervised by a minister in Lahore. Dozens of Hindus were murdered.

The collective silence of the world was deafening.

The exodus of Kashmiri Pundits is a reality. A community uprooted and displaced still carries psychological and financial scars.

But don’t expect it to shake the conscience of this country’s intelligentsia or media.

The partition of 1947 created a Muslim state in Pakistan and afforded them the “freedom.” But the Hindus “haven’t been recognized as a nation or a state nor a control over their own homeland,” as Abhas Chatterjee, author of The Concept of Hindu Nation, mentioned.

If any Jew is treated unfairly in any part of the world, the State of Israel, as their representative, loses no time in raising the issue. Contrast this with the case of Sunil Wadhera, a Hindu who died in an accident in Saudi Arabia a few years ago. As against a policy of compensation of 6-7 lakh dinars offered to a Muslim, Wadhera was extended only 17,000 dinars. Reason, he was a Kafir. “The value of his life was no more than a paltry sum,” wrote Abhas Chatterjee “What’s significant is that even against such an inhuman, outrageous affront, there was no State which could raise its voice on behalf of the Hindu.”

What had upset the discerners was that India, which all along had supported the Arab cause in Palestine, didn’t take up Wadhera’s matter with the Saudi government.

As scholar Dr. Koenraad Elst says: “The Hindu death toll in post-Independence riots in East Bengal already outnumbers the Muslim death toll in Hindu-Muslim clashes in the whole of South Asia by far.” Yet you would hardly find this mentioned in any discourse in mainstream media and academia.

In the East Bengal genocide of 1971, the main victims of Pakistan army’s brutality were Hindus (and this doesn’t include Bengalis). That genocide of millions outnumbers all other massacres in Partition and post-Partition by a mile. Yet, all governments, be it in India, South Asia or West, discourage any discourse on it. (But the unfortunate killing of a missionary such as Graham Staines or the cow vigilantism by a fringe is drummed up again and again as a proof of reactionary Hindus).

India’s Constitution has nothing recognizably Hindu about it. India’s Constitution was but an adapted version of the British Government of India Act of 1935. It was decreed by a ruling class of Indians who were largely lawyers of Western moorings.

The preamble of the Indian Constitution talks of justice, equality and liberty—all of them are Western notions, a byproduct of the French Revolution. Where’s Swami Vivekananda’s cry of Dharma and spirituality, renunciation and service, tolerance and harmony?, as Chatterjee observed.

The first thing Colonizers do is to make Colonies appear inferior to them, particularly in the matter of their culture. The first set of India’s ruling class more or less continued the depressing trend: a trend where everything connected with the essence of the land was derided as worthless. Observe the contempt of this anglicized set of DALALS today on the basic ethos of this land and you would have your answer.

Till Modi came, only Lal Bahadur Shastri and PV Narasimha Rao could be said to be practicing Hindus among the Prime Ministers; not the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty or VP Singh even though they never abandoned Hinduism.

The list of Hindus’ grievances are many: From the Nehru-Liaquat Pact of 1950 which stops India from taking up the maltreatment of Hindus in Pakistan; to the prickly Article 30 of the Constitution; to the issue of Conversion; and to the matter of control over temple management; to name just a few, the majority in this country is increasingly mindful of being ignored by all and sundry.

The violence against Hindus in West Bengal (and Kerala) and the deafening silence of every stakeholder who claims to have interest of India at heart, is a historical fact. Hindus can’t understand why Ram Navmi is “communal” and “Muharram” a religious festival in certain parts of this country.

The last word of this piece must belong to Chatterjee alone. “We are still a subjugated, enslaved nation. Nehruvian Secularists are not our own people…We have to liberate our motherland from their stranglehold and earn our freedom.”

Remembering Bankim Chandra & Vande Mataram

Just two words—Vande Mataram—by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, who has his 179th birth anniversary (June 26, 1838) this Monday, tells a lot about we the Indians.

Vande Mataram epitomized India’s freedom struggle against the monstrous British Rule and ”every patriot,” as Acharya Kriplani was to write later: “from Khudiram Bose to Bhagat Singh to Rajguru died with Vande Mataram on their lips.”

Madan Lal Dhingra, inspired by Vande Mataram, shot dead Curzon Wyllie and embraced gallows. Veer Savarkar’s Vande Mataram vow led to him being arrested in England, brought to India, and sentenced to two life-imprisonments before being packed to Andamans.

Sister Nivedita and Bhikaji Cama differed in their own flags about India but didkeep Vande Mataram firmly in its centre.

All across the globe, from Lala Har Dayal’s Gadar Party whose many members greeted each other with the words; to mass of Indians in South Africa who welcomed G.K.Gokhale with this fervent cry, Vande Mataram galvanized millions of Indians at home and abroad for the liberation of the motherland.

It moved Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to say: “Bande Mataram literally means `I salute the motherland’. It is the nearest approach to India’s national anthem.”

Yet, Vande Matram was not destined to be India’s national anthem. All it got was to be the national song of the country, and that too just the first two paragraphs, as the honour went to Janaganamana of Rabindranath Tagore.

It might make no sense to the uninitiated readers as to why Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru thought Vande Mataram couldn’t lend itself to orchestral music or why even before an official decision was taken by the Constituent Assembly of India, Janaganamana was played as a national anthem in the UN General Assembly. Or why India’s first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad announced Janaganamana as national anthem on January 24, 1950 even before the Constituent Assembly could pass a resolution to this effect.

It might make more sense to readers if they relate the opposition to Vande Mataram by a section of Muslim leaders in today’s India,–on the grounds that it’s an idolatrous prayer–with the one of Muslim League in blood-soaked years of pre-independent India.

Vande Mataram, a part of Bankim Chandra’s celebrated novel Ananda Math, about the Sanyasi Revolt of the 18th century (1763-1800)–against the British East India Company who had just taken a foothold in India with the conquest of Bengal after the Battle of Plassey (1757)–was the battle-cry Congress had championed from the very early days of its inception in 1885..

The Vande Mataram song, which was written at least seven years before Ananda Math was penned in 1882, came into national consciousness due to events in the Barisal province of Bengal. On April 14, 1906, Indian National Congress was to meet at the venue and pledge against the partition of Bengal. A mammoth gathering burnt an effigy of Lord Curzon and rendered the air with the shrieks of Vande Mataram. The District Magistrate promptly put a ban on its singing but unmindful, a procession which had the likes of Surendranath Bannerjee, Sir Bipin Chandra Pal and Sri Aurobindo in the front, took to the streets. Police rained lathis and kicks on the peaceful and unarmed demonstrators.

The poem spread like a wildfire. Secret societies, like the one of Ananda Math, began springing all over the country. Lala Lajpat Rai started a journal called Vande Mataram. Subramaniam Bharati brought out the Tamil verse translation of the song. Vande Mataram even soaked the army in its spirit. Twenty-four young men of the Fourth Madras Coastal Defence Battery were sent to gallows and died singing Vande Mataram.

However, Muslim League opposed Vande Mataram from the very beginning. In its 1908 session, it was deemed sectarian. In 1923, Maulana Mohammed Ali, as the president of Congress, opposed it.

Congress, in conformity with its Muslim-appeasement stance, introduced Mohammad Iqbal’s Hindustan Hamaara. The Muslim leaders wanted Iqbal’s song to replace Vande Mataram. The All-India Muslim League passed resolutions condemning Vande Mataram. The Congress Working Committee in 1937 maimed the song Vande Mataram to just two paras. The Muslim League wasn’t satisfied still. Jinnah asked Nehru in 1938 to completely abandon Vande Mataram. To placate the Muslim League, the Congress decided to allow the singing of a song by Basheer Ahmad, Quran recital as well as a prayer in English in the assembly.

As for Janaaganamana, famous Indologist Dr. Koenraad Elst has this to say:

Janaganamana itself is controversial because Tagore had allegedly written it in honour of the King of England, George V, the janaganamana adhinayak, master of the people’s minds, and the bharata bhagya vidhata, shaper of India’s destiny, mentioned in the opening line. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence for this, and there is no convincing alternative explanation for the said opening line. In his 1911, Delhi Durbar, George V had annulled the partition of Bengal, conceding a nationalist demand, and that could give this glorification of the king a nationalist twist.”

When a nation is founded on secular lines, implying that religion wouldn’t play a role in its governance, it’s a debatable if national interests or sentiments are decided on the whims of a community. France has put a ban on burqa (veil) in public places. Same is now the stance in Australia. Germany’s Chancellor Angelo Merkel has a similar view and parties in Britain have long called for ban on veils.

However in India, appeasement only ended up vivescating one-third of the undivided India.

Meanwhile, it has kept Bankim Chandra, arguably Bengal’s greatest literary figure, alive to this day. One of the first graduates of Calcutta University, Bankim Chandra  became a deputy collector in due course, like his father, Yadav Chandra Chattopadhyaya. He eventually became a deputy magistrate before his retirement in 1891. Three years later, he was dead.

Bankim Chandra was best summed up by Sri Aurobindo in these words: “And when posterity comes to crown with her praises the Makers of India, she will place her most splendid laurel not on the sweating temples of a place-hunting politician, nor on the narrow forehead of a noisy social reformer but on the serene brow of that gracious Bengali who never clamoured for place or power, but did his work in silence for love of his work, even as nature does, and, just because he had no aim but to give out the best that was in him, was able to create a language, a literature and a nation.”

“Nehru Conspiracy” & Dr. Mookerjee’s death

Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee’s death which falls on Friday (June 23, 1953), and which Atal Bihari Vajpayee termed as “Nehru Conspiracy” , was as turbulent as his heroic life.

The founder of Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), the precursor to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Dr. Mookerjee had been arrested and kept without medical care in degrading conditions for over a month in Srinagar in May-June 1953  by the Sheikh Abdullah’s J & K government,

Despite his known heart condition which the rarified air of Kashmir didn’t help, Dr. Mookerjee was finally offered the care of a hospital just a couple of days before his death—shifted in a small jeep instead of an ambulance and kept in a gynaecology ward, according to present BJP president Amit Shah–and administered penicillin injection despite his protestations that he was allergic to it, as BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra asserted in a TV show, citing evidence of an eyewitness.

Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru refused to entertain a written appeal of Dr. Mookerjee’s mother for an impartial inquiry as she believed her son’s death was a murder as the family members hadn’t been allowed to meet him during his long confinement—nor his two companions allowed to visit him—apparently illegal for it was done without a formal, legal trial.

Dr. Mookerjee had decided to take on the prevailing political situation in Kashmir where the state not only had its own constitution, it’s own flag but even it’s own Prime Minister (Sheikh Abdullah) whose permission was necessary for other citizens of the country to enter the state! Dr. Mookerjee’s war-cry that “Ek Desh Mein Do Vidhan, Do Pradhan aur Do Nishan Nahin Chalenge” (One nation can’t have two constitutions, two Prime Ministers and two Flags) would resonate for decades to come.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the future Prime Minister, who had partly accompanied Dr. Mookerjee in that fatal march to Srinagar as a journalist, insisted it was a conspiracy to let Dr. Mookerjee enter Srinagar so as he could then  be incarcerated and dealt with severely. As Vajpayee was to recall: “later, we came to know that J & K government and Nehru government had entered into a conspiracy, as per which it was decided that Dr. Mookerjee would be allowed to enter J & K but not be allowed to leave.”

Dr. M.S. Gowalkar, chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Nagpur, in a premonitory caution, had warned Dr. Mookerjee he was putting his life to risk.

The academicians and historians over the years have provided several clues to Nehru’s antipathy towards Dr. Mookerjee who was his colleague in independent India’s first cabinet as industry minister not long ago.

However, three years into his job as a Union minister, Dr. Mookherjee had resigned on April 8, 1950 against the Nehru-Liaqat Pact. In Indologist Dr. Koenraad Elst’s words, the Pact was an “unequal treaty in which Nehru promised Pakistani Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan not to interfere in the treatment of the minority Hindus across the border, even while the latter were suffering large-scale atrocities in East Bengal.” The Indian part of the Pact didn’t hold water as a stable communal cease-fire had descended on India after the day of Gandhi’s murder.

Dr. Mookerjee was often at crossroads with Indian National Congress (INC) during the Freedom Struggle, including Quit India Movement (1942), which he didn’t support along with the Hindu Mahasabha of which he was a part.

Critics cite it as proof of Dr. Mookerjee and Hindu Mahasabha’s corrosive role in India’s freedom struggle. However a contrary view is that Hindu Mahasabha suspected Congress to have a “Muslim-appeasement policy” with no regard to the concern and well-being of the Hindus. They believed Quit India Movement was no better than a vent to let out the frustrations of Indians and was as phoney as the “non-cooperation” and “civil disobedience” movement. None of these achieved their objectives and were fake movements.

Dr. Mookerjee’s role in the partition of Bengal into West Bengal and East Pakistan is glorious beyond words. When the Muslim League government of Bengal in 1946 had butchered and raped minority Hindus by several thousands during the “Great Calcutta Killings” and “Noakhali Riots” of a genocidal nature, Mookherjee had championed the cause of Bengal partition so as Hindus could be safe in West Bengal rather than be subjected to genocide in East Pakistan. The Bengal Muslim League and its leader Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy had earlier sought to create an un-partitioned, an independent Bengal state—which won’t be part of either Indiia or Pakistan!!!. Suhrawardy was conscious that with its coal mines and jute mills, as well as Calcutta and its mighty port, would all go to Hindu-majority West Bengal.

The calamity of great Bengal famine of 1943 which cost 38 lakh lives also saw Dr. Mookerjee at his best. He led the Relief Coordination Committee which set up 5000 relief kitchens for famine-stricken people. He had then hit out at Food Minister of Bengal, Suharawardy, and his business friend Ispahani, with these words: “Bengal has not seen greater acts of official crime in its long history.”

Dr. Mookerjee, born on July 6, 1901, was also an illustrious scholar and became vice-chancellor of Calcutta University at the age of 33, like his father Ashutosh Mookerjee once was. Dr. Mookerjee was part of Congress and a member of the Bengal legislative assembly in 20s and 30s. Disillusioned by Congress and its policies against Hindus, he had joined the Hindu Mahasabha in 1939.

Dr. Mookerjee’s speech at Banaras Hindu University in 1940 is still relevant today:

“If I have understood the history of my country alright, a pacifism that refuses to take up arms against injustice and makes one a passive spectator of oppression and aggression, does not represent the real teaching of India…

“Disruptive forces are at work within the country itself…A divided India was always a prey to the foreign invader from the days of Alexander and Mahmud of Ghazni to those of Vasco de Gama, Dupleix and Clive.

“There is much disharmony and disunity in India today. Communal differences have taken such an acute turn that fanatic claims for the vivisection of our Motherland are widely asserted.”

These words ring a bell even today.