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.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Unending story of Hindu bashing

By Shyam Khosla

Historians narrate and interpret major events in such a manner that people can appreciate developments in a correct perspective. However, sections of our historians have no such commitment. They grow with prejudices and indulge in propagating falsehood to malign those whose world view they don’t agree with. They fish out incidents and project them out of context to justify falsehood they wish to propagate. A notorious gang of “eminent historians” that have captured levers of power in major academic and media establishments use its clout to debunk those who dare to disagree with their interpretation of history and promote fellow travellers to misguide and confuse public mind. Even ordinary work of members of the group is glorified. They ensure that only like-minded persons get good reviews and awards go to only those who subscribe to a particular ideology. The latest addition to the ranks of “eminent historians” is Banglore-based Ramchandra Guha—notorious for his anti-Hindutva bias and Sangh bashing. In a recent article titled “The original Hindu Rashtra” published on the edit page of The Hindustan Times, he selectively quotes from a small booklet published more than four decades ago, under the title, King Mahendra and RSS, to indulge in his vicious hobby. It is a blatant attempt to distort events in 1960s to malign and demonise RSS. He ridicules King Mahendra of Nepal’s aborted visit to Nagpur at the invitation of the second Sarsanghachalak Shri Guruji (M.S. Golwalkar) by selectively quoting from the aforementioned booklet and deliberately ignores several important facts mentioned in the booklet to give a distorted view about Shri Guruji’s mission.

Since Guha has brought back into public domain the sad chapter of recent history, it is in public interest to briefly narrate the background of the developments and the facts of the case to inform people of the dirty role certain people played to derail a sincere attempt to strengthen Indo-Nepal ties. It is well known that Nepal and India share deep historical, religious and cultural ties. Even politically, New Delhi wielded great influence over the Himalayan Kingdom with which we have open borders. What is not widely known is that India played a major role in the escape of King Tribhuvan and the royal family from the clutches of ruthless Rana rulers of Nepal in 1950. The royal family, barring one of the grandchildren of King Tribhuvan, took refuge in Indian Embassy and was later flown to New Delhi in an IAF plane. New Delhi brought pressure to build on Ranas that led to the collapse of their dictatorial, inefficient and corrupt regime and restored the dignity of monarchy in Nepal. Pandit Nehru did all this on the premise that our neighbour will have a constitutional monarchy and democratically elected Government. That the history didn’t take the route the first Indian Prime Minister visualised is another story.

What is relevant at this point of time is that a country with which we had very close and pleasant relations for long started drifting towards China during the run up to the Chinese aggression of 1962 and in the aftermath of our humiliating defeat in the border war. This naturally caused deep concern to New Delhi as well as concerned citizens. It is in this context that Shri Guruji undertook a pilgrimage to Pashupatinath on the occasion of Mahashivratri in the year 1963. Not surprisingly, he utilised his visit to call on King Mahendra. During the hour-long cordial conversation, Shri Guruji cautioned the King about China’s expansionist designs and emphasised “unbreakable religious and cultural” ties between the two countries and the need to further strengthen friendly relations. The King too broadly agreed with the RSS leader and readily accepted the invitation to visit Nagpur at a mutually convenient date so that Hindus of India could honour a Hindu king.

Guha whose aim appears to be to make fun of RSS move never thought it fit to quote from that very booklet that Shri Guruji on his return from Kathmandu wrote to the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister about the nature of his talks with the King and his impressions of the visit. Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru promptly responded to Shri Guruji’s initiative and expressed his broad agreement with his assessment of the situation. The “historian” with a closed mind gives the impression, as if the RSS wanted to draw some mileage from the royal visit. The fact of the matter is that the RSS mission was to wean away Nepal from Chinese camp and to strengthen Indo-Nepal ties. Although Shri Guruji kept aloof from politics and had absolutely no political ambition, he made several interventions at crucial times to protect national interests. His crucial role in persuading the Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir to stop vacillating and sign the instrument of accession to India is well known. Shri Guruji had rushed to Srinagar to convey to Maharaja Harisingh that his dream of independence was neither in his interest nor that of the people of the state did play a part in persuading the Maharaja to take the correct decision.

As a journalist working for a multi-lingual news agency—Hindusthan Samachar—in Kathmandu in 1960s, this writer had a ringside view of these developments. Senior Sangh leader Bhau Rao Deoras went to Kathmandu in 1964 to hand over Shri Guruji’s invitation to the King to be the chief guest at Nagpur Makar Sankranti Utsav in January 1965. The King conveyed his willingness to participate in the function through the then Chairman of the Council of Ministers (as the Prime Minister was then known) Dr Tulsi Giri. Shri Guruji promptly wrote to President S. Radhakrishnan and Prime Minister Nehru about King Mahendra’s acceptance of his invitation. In view of the sensitivity of the issue, he flew to Delhi to personally brief the President. Despite RSS efforts to keep the Government in the loop, the Congress Government scuttled this noble mission. It is a sad story of our short-sighted leaders and bureaucrats sacrificing national interests at the altar of petty partisan and personal interests. Equally agonising is the falsehood the South Block tried—albeit without much success—to spread by suggesting that it had no role in the cancellation of the visit. Ironically, the first announcement about the cancellation of the visit was made by the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi. Dr Giri, in an interview with this correspondent on the very next day denounced South Block’s claim as a “blatant lie”. He made it clear that the King had reluctantly cancelled the trip on the advice of the Indian Government. This interview was widely carried by sections of Indian media. King’s letter to Shri Guruji is significant in this connection. It inter alia reads, “I extremely regret to inform you that on account of various unavoidable circumstances of which you are aware, it would not be possible for me to attend the same (function). I do hope you will kindly understand my difficulties and also appreciate how ruffled are my feelings in not being able to attend (the function) as a Hindu”. So, the King wanted to be at Nagpur as a Hindu. How unfortunate that New Delhi couldn’t stomach it. King Mahendra’s decision to participate in a function organised by a Hindu organisation that was perceived to be anti-Communist had sent shock waves to Pakistani and Chinese lobbies. New Delhi’s stupid action in aborting the visit came as a great relief to these elements.

Dr Giri’s response put the entire episode in the right perspective. He angrily asked, “What is wrong with His Majesty addressing the RSS (function)? No one objected to the Pope addressing the Eucharistic Congress in Bombay. No one had anything to say when the Tunku suggested an Islamic alliance on his visit to Rawalpindi nor when President Ayub entered into a pact with Turkey and Iran. Why then should anybody object to a Hindu King addressing a Hindu organisation, thereby emphasising the unity of Hinduism”? Guha must have read all this in the booklet he based his article on. But he had no use for such sentiments. He makes fun of Dr Giri by telling him that his prophesy about Hindu Nepal never going red has been proved wrong. He is entitled to celebrate Maoists victory in Nepal in utter disregard to its implications for our national security. It is not surprising given the Communists’ track record of supporting China on the Sino-Indian border dispute and providing the ideological justification for the Partition of our motherland.

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