November 8, 1998
Akhilesh Mithal

This is not the Real Hindutva


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It is time to recall respect and reassert the duties of the householder as laid down in the epics which enshrine the tradition.


Loss of Independence or political slavery — it has a telling effect physically as well as materialistically. Wealth is looted. (Robert Clive became the richest man in the four kingdoms of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland after a single battle — the Battle of Plassey, 1757).

All productive areas and occupations of the economy where wealth could be created or accumulated (plantations, mines, trade, commerce and banking) went into the hands of the British even as East India Company spread across the land. The earnings of the Indians while working in the civil and military administration of the Mughal and successor Indian states ceased.

The senior jobs were no longer open to Indians as the British monopoly reigned between 1757 and 1947.The effect was not only destabilising but also humiliating. The thundee sadaks or mall roads (roads that were lined with trees which were watered daily), were closed to the natives.

First class compartments in trains, first class cabins in ships and exclusive clubs in district headquarters — the Yatch Club or the Bengal Club, the Madras Club, the Tolly and other such institutions — were all “out of bounds” for Indians. The Yatch Club in Bombay even sported the sign: ‘Indians and dogs not allowed’.

All these manifest and patent vestiges and marks of slavery disappeared albeit only gradually from August 15, 1947.What remains — and this is the area of real and lasting damage — is the hurting and the distorting, the twisting and the traumatic wounding of the Indian mind, spirit, soul and heart.

Today, the presidents of “Tolly” (and so on) are all men with English attitudes and Indian names. The IAS are pale imitations of the so-called “steel frame” of the ICS. They have no access to Indian ideals, preoccupations or ethos. Their “Convent” or St Stephen’s and “Harvard/Cambridge” education has rendered them un-Indian and failed to make them “Quite Anglo-Saxon Protestant.”

This, alas, also applies to the RSS as can be seen from the doings of Murli Manohar Joshi and Sushma Swaraj. The Calvinist ethic prevents them from feeding the hungry with the personal or State charity which used to be a bounden duty in “Indian” times — be it the Maurya, Gupta Sultanate or Mughal, Maratha or Tippu Sultan.Since we talked of hunger, we must not ignore sex.

To the British goes the great (not to say the everlasting!) credit of giving India its first few and now endlessly continuing generations of “sex-starved” Indians. But this is a topic we shall dwell upon in future columns to come.Today, we concentrate on hunger. Even the Swedes have recognised hunger in their bestowal of the Economic Nobel upon Amartya Sen.

Let us begin with the most blatant example of injustice, deprivation and discrimination we see in India on the Indian roads and pavements every day. There are hungry children, women and old men and cripples forced to beg and to draw attention to their “need based” requirements at all crossings. The presence of an all “white” face, rich stranger will allay their hunger and provide succour (they hope!).

A large number of “NGOs” funded by the West have sprung up and many “professional” do gooder Indians are making an excellent living out of them. But the hungry children remain to infest road crossings.If the ruling RSS today were Hindu or even Muslim in genuine terms, they would have returned to the Indian tradition of feeding the hungry without being held back by the Calvinistic idea that one must eat only what one has earned by the sweat of one’s brow.

It is time to recall respect and reassert the duties of the householder as laid down in the epics which enshrine the tradition.We quote from the Mahabharata: “There is no giving or bestowal (daana) which is greater than that of food and water. This is because all of life and of existence and living of created beings arise from food (unnaa) and are sustained by it.”

Neh tusmaata puramam kinchida susiti meya muneh, unnaat praanabhritaastaa pravutuney hee survasarvasaaha

Food (unna) itself takes birth and finds life existence and sustenance from water. No life can exist or be sustained without food; food which is born out of water.”

Unna vaapi prabhaavati paaniyaata kurusottamaa; neea jaayeyhi vinaa kinchida sumpruvurtatey

The sages and seers of yore have described food (unna) as life’s breath (praana) of living beings. And, O Lion amongst men! (the reference is to Yudhishtira) It is water from which all the varieties of food (unna) take birth. Therefore, there is no greater daana (giving, bestowal, charity) than water. The giving of nothing else can compare with the giving of water.”

Annameyva manusyaanaam praanaanaa-hurmaneesinah, tachcha sarvum naravyaagraha paaniyaata sampravartatey; tasmata paaneeyadaanaada vai naa varam vidyatey kvachit

Perhaps a redefinition of Hindutva, one that emphasises compassion, concern, mercy and charity to the underprivileged, the halt, the lame and the blind will enable the RSS government to achieve grace and support.

In this world as well as in the hereafter. Perhaps they will not then have to resort to assembling the already carved pillars and brackets to construct the Ram temple in Ayodhya on December 6, 1998. Having failed to provide governance, they have to provide for as honourable exit as they can manage.

They don’t care for the consequences which readers know could well be unprecedented violence and untold suffering for the poor and the underprivileged in India.Time to change. To revert to original Hindutva!


Akhilesh Mithal, 1991-1999. All rights reserved.
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