Pseudo-Secularism

Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

“A secular assault on Constitution” —L.K. Advani

V.S. Naipaul in Hindi

A report by Aniket Raja

“Our Constitution is being trampled by our own ‘secular’ colleagues. Safeguarding the Constitution is the need of the hour,” said Shri L.K. Advani, the BJP President and former Deputy Prime Minister of India, while releasing the Hindi translation of Sir V.S. Naipaul’s book, A Wounded Civilisation (Ek Aahat Sabhyata), in New Delhi recently. He was referring to the political turbulence in Goa and Jharkhand and said that it was a disgrace that in one of the largest democratic countries of the world the Constitution was being mutilated. Shri Advani emphasised that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was committed to protect the wounded culture and safeguard the Constitution of India. Referring to the book, Shri Advani said that the book refers to one of the critical periods of the nation, i.e. the Emergency.

Dr Chandan Mitra, Editor, The Pioneer and MP, Rajya Sabha, who presided over the function, said, “Sir Naipaul in his book has rightly stated that a civilisation is destroyed not by the destruction of its physical attributes but gets destroyed by its intellectual depletion.” Dr Mitra said that India has lost the common sense of asking questions, to introspect and to learn from its past. He said, “It has become a tendency in us to ignore our rich culture. It is very unfortunate that we do not give respect to our talents until they are recognised by the West, he pointed out.

Dr Mitra regretted that the history which was being taught at the school level was factually incorrect. He expressed his faith in the younger generation which “would seek inspiration from the rich culture and heritage of India and make all efforts to keep it intact.”

“A hundred years have been enough to wash me clean of many Indian religious attitudes, and without these attitudes the distress of India was—and is—almost insupportable. It has taken me much time to come to terms with the strangeness of India.”—V.S. Naipaul

Congratulating Prabhat Praka-shan for taking out the Hindi translation of Sir Naipaul’s book, Dr Mitra said that though the book was written a good thirty years back, the issues that were raised in the book held equal relevance even today.

Sir V.S. Naipaul, the Nobel laureate, who was present on the occasion, expressed his gratitude to the publishers for publishing the Hindi translation of the book. Speaking on the occasion he said that when he visited India for the first time in 1962, it turned out to be a very strange land for him. Sir Naipaul said, “A hundred years have been enough to wash me clean of many Indian religious attitudes, and without these attitudes the distress of India was—and is—almost insupportable. It has taken me much time to come to terms with the strangeness of India, to define what separates me from the country, and to understand how far the attitude of someone like myself, a member of a small and remote community in the new world, has diverged from the attitudes of the common man of people to whom India is still everything.”

He said that when he came to India in 1975 to write this book he faced a lot of problems in gathering information as he could not move out freely due to the imposition of Emergency in the country. “People were afraid to speak up”, he said.

Prof. Devendra Swaroop, an eminent historian and former editor of the Hindi weekly, Panchajanya said that it is a matter of coincidence that the Hindi translation of Sir Naipaul’s book which was written during the period of Emergency is being released at a time when the opportunist forces are again challenging the Constitution.

The function which was attended by eminent authors, thinkers, journalists and personalities from all walks of life, was compered by Shri Prabhat Kumar.

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