August 2003




August  2003 



 Ancient musical
 instruments of India

 Robert Blackwill &
 What India means to 


 Karun Chandok - the 
 'Formula' of wins



 Government 2 citizen
 service delivery
 models - case studies
 from India


 Snehal Bhatt 
 - saviour of cobras

 Book Reviews - India

 Bunker - 13

 Book Reviews 
 - Pakistan

 Where they dream in


 Emigre Journeys


 Letter from Pakistan


 New research on
 eggs, meat & ghee


 Tarun Thakral & his
 vintage garage

 Real Issues

 Hindutva is not 

 Coffee Break

 Coke's toxic fertiliser 
 in Kerala

 Oldest planet sighted

 Bobby Jindal - the 1st
 Governor in USA?



 the craft shop

 Lehngas - a limited collection

 the print gallery


 Silk Road on Wheels

 The Road to Freedom

Enduring Spirit

 Parsis-Zoroastrians of

The Moonlight Garden

Contemporary Art in











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Swami Agnivesh

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Hinduism is a way of life. It is a distinct culture, marked by politeness, hospitality, an intricate web of social courtesies, values, and relationships. The sound and fury of Hindutva are at stark contrast to all this. To assume that Hindutva has any kinship with Hinduism is to insult our religion and common sense. Communalism and religious fundamentalism are signs of sickness; they flourish when religions decay and fall into the lap of vested interests. Hinduism stayed safe and steady despite every imaginable threat from outsiders. But this is the first time it is facing a massively organized and determined attack from within. When enemies put on the masks of saviours there is a need to wake up and resist them, lest by default a great spiritual tradition is degraded into a call girl at the disposal of communal politicians.


In its origin and spirit Hindutva is an atheist ideology. It derived its inspiration not from Ram, Shiva or Krishna, but from Hitler and Mussolini. Hindutva is not Hinduism. Hindutva language and strategies belong to the world of terrorism, not religion or spirituality. Bullying helpless people, murdering innocent women and children, intimidating dissent, committing rape, arson and loot, are what we expect from terrorists, not from so-called religious people.

Hindutva’s attempt to take Hinduism hostage has not succeeded because of the good sense and godliness of Hindus. All of us, who care for our glorious spiritual traditions and values, need to remain vigilant against this organized attempt to hijack Hinduism for political gains. Those who love and cherish the Vedic religion, and its sublime spirituality, cannot afford to keep quiet or idle any longer. They must unite and fight this fascist menace.

Hindutva made Lord Ram a hostage to communalism. In this process they degraded Lord Ram, who has stood for millennia as a shining embodiment of justice, into a caricature of cruelty and aggression. Millions among us were fooled into believing that Lord Ram was sulking like a child because a temple was not built for him where Babri masjid stood. Does Ram belong only to an acre of land in Ayodhya? Is he a tribal god or a universal embodiment of righteousness? Ram as the God of all-embracing righteousness –the way Guru Nanak, Maharshi Dayanand and Gandhiji understood him- was a liability for Hindutva. Gandhiji’s Ram was an integrative idea of God that embraced Ram as well as Rahim, whereas the Hindutva version is a tribal and intolerant caricature. First, they killed Gandhi; and now are out to get Gandhiji’s Ram.

It is amply clear that Hindutva has no place for Lord Ram. It is a political movement that uses the sacred name of Ram to secure power. It has insulted and caricatured Lord Ram more than any other external enemy of Hinduism. We must not allow this to go on.

The Vedas define temple spiritually. God does not live in structures of stone and lime, but in the hearts and minds of people of love. God abhors the ambience of hate.

Similarly, Trishul is Lord Shiva’s symbolic accessory. It cannot be ‘modified’ and turned into merchandise. According to reliable reports, VHP planned to distribute (read, sell) 1 crore trishuls. Sums varying from Rs. 50 to Rs. 100 were collected from each of the persons to whom trishuls were sold. The sale of 1 crore trishuls means a minimum profit of Rs. 50 crore! Surely, this is more profitable than treating cancer patients for a hundred years.

A third obvious example is the hijacking of saffron: our sacred colour. Saffron is our cherished colour of spirituality. It is a symbol of the spirit of sacrifice. Sacrifice is basic to universal spirituality. It is the seed of compassion. No religion can retain its spiritual health if its spirit of sacrifice is degraded into a spirit of murder and cruelty. The Hindutva camp has degraded saffron into the colour of murder and rape. Sadly, a handful of sadhus on hire have aided and abetted this attack on Hinduism. For those who, unlike them, value saffron as the symbol of a spiritual way of life, this is a cruel joke. Worse than pseudo-Gandhians who cheapened khadi, sadhus who sold themselves to the Hindutva camp have fouled saffron and destroyed its symbolic meaning and sanctity.


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