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Assaulting India's pluralist ethos (Letter)
Author: D. Harikumar, Kochi
Publication: The Hindu
Date: November 6, 1998
http://www.hvk.org/articles/1198/0010.html 

Sir, - This has reference to the articles, ssaulting India's pluralist ethos (The Hindu, Oct. 26) by Ms. Malini Parthasarathy and "BJP belies hopes of moderation" (The Hindu, Oct. 28) by Mr. Inder Malhotra. The core of their argument is that the (so-called) Indianisation, nationalisation and spiritualisation of our education is the worst thing than can happen to the nation. The reasons are many - dilution of minorities' rights, negation of the constitutional spirit, Hindutva overtones and compulsory teaching of Sanskrit are a few.

Let us take the dilution of minorities' rights first. It is amazing to find that whenever a social or historical evaluation is done, these progressive intellectuals have invariably kept the mirror towards Europe and Germany, in particular. According to them, we needed so and so articles in our Constitution because history warranted them in the Constitutions of the European countries. But they conveniently forget that, since time immemorial, it is only in India that the minorities - be they religious, linguistic or ethnic - have never been discriminated against. And even the controversial new proposals of the Government have nothing in them to curt Bail the rights of the minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. On the contrary, it is proposed to extend them to all religious orders of this country. One fails to understand how a move to extend a right to all citizens can be counted as divisive.

Then comes the negation of the constitutional spirit. Ms. Malini Parthasarathy has taken pains to buttress this point. The enlightened groups of people who pored over the draft of the Constitution 50 years ago also included a directive in it that the citizens of this country shall have a uniform civil code. It was also explicitly made known by Nehru himself that Article 370, giving special status to J & K, was a temporary one. But unfortunately in the eyes of secular intellectuals, all those who ask for a common civil code or deletion of Article 370 are
fundamentalists and fanatic zealots. It is this kind of selective interpretation that has done maximum harm to the cause of secularism.

Regarding the Hindutva overtones, whether one likes it or not, it has been a Hindu nation, it is so even now and will remain so; not because the Hindu religion is in a majority, but the ethos which has shaped our nation has come to identity itself with Hinduism. Hinduism is nothing but a geographical-cum-cultural concept. The Church of England is the official religion of the U.K. The U.S. President-designate has to swear by the Bible and in 1983 the American Senate unanimously voted to celebrate 1984 as Bible Year. Yet we do not hold them as fundamentalists because they only conform to the ethos on which these nations were evolved. Though it is only 50 years since we
got political freedom, it is a fact that both the fundamentalists and the secularists alike boast of a history of at least 5,000 years. In our case it is the Vedas, the Upanishads and the epics which have shaped the ethos on which this nation is evolved. For those who think that the word "Hindu" is religious and is of a recent origin, let me quote from Agama Purana: Himaalayam samaarabhya / Yaavad Indu
sarovaram / Tham deva nirmitham desom / Hindustaanam prajakshatheth.

It means, "This God's own land which extends from Himalaya to Indu sea is called Hindustaanam." Still, the son of this soil, irrespective of his religious belief, finds it difficult to call himself a "Hindu." The fault lies in our education system.

The Vedas and the Upanishads have nothing to do with the Hindu religion. They only expound the theories of the existence of the
world and the do's and don'ts for the creatures living in it. We just cannot wish away the fact that everything that we consider our contribution to mankind lies in Sanskrit. Until and unless we, learn that language how can we come to know the greatness and pitfalls of our tradition?

As Max Mueller, the propagator of the Aryan invasion theory, wrote to his wife, "It took only 200 years for us to Christianise the whole of Africa, but even after 400 years India eludes us, I have come to realise that it is Sanskrit which has enabled India to do so. And to break it I have decided to learn Sanskrit." The soul of India lies in Sanskrit. And Lord Macaulay saw to it that the later generations are successfully cut off from their roots.

 


 

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