Koenraad Elst

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I am neither a Hindu nor a nationalist. And I don’t need to belong to those or to any specific ideological categories in order to use my eyes and ears.
The lemma on me has ended up taking this form because some militant among your contributors purposely wanted to “warn readers” against me. Please cite me an instruction for encyclopedists that names “warning” among the legitimate goals of an encyclopedia... At any rate, in a encyclopedia, I count on being judged for what I myself have said or done, and not for the gossip my declared enemies have come up with... As the writer of thousands of pages of well-considered findings, I have a right to be evaluated on what I have actually written rather than on some vague rumours propagated by my self-declared enemies.

Koenraad Elst (born 7 August 1959) is a Flemish right wing Hindutva author, known primarily for his support of the Out of India theory and the Hindutva movement. Scholars have accused him of harboring Islamophobia.


I never use the word nationalism, certainly not as a model for Hindus to adopt. Nationalism is a misstatement of Hindu concerns. It leads to misconceptions.
But what I have written does not follow some party-line. In particular, I am anything but a “nationalist”... Indeed, I already expressed my scepticism of all nationalisms as far back as 1991.
Anyone who has read my book BJP vis-à-vis Hindu Resurgence will be surprised to see me described as an "advocate of the Sangh Parivar"... I suppose that in a world of partisan scholarship, where the party-line is scrupulously followed by activists and camp-followers alike, any attempt to remain objective must come across as counter-partisan, meaning partisan activism for the opposite side... Hindutva is a fairly crude ideology, borrowing heavily from European nationalisms with their emphasis on homogeneity. Under the conditions of British colonialism, it was inevitable that some such form of Hindu nationalism would arise, but I believe better alternatives have seen the light, more attuned to the genius of Hindu civilization.
This is in line with my oft-stated criticism of Hindu nationalism or “Hindutva”. I have consistently argued that nationalism was understandable in the context of the anticolonial struggle, but had now become counterproductive and leads to a misstatement of legitimate Hindu concerns. In fact, this is one of the points that define the specificity of my analysis of the Hindutva movement and should certainly figure in a lemma on me.... It would be more appropriate to say that I am the only Westerner who criticized the Hindutva movement all while knowing the subject. ... But the approved Western “experts” are just parrots of the Indian establishment, which in turn has historically been formed by an ideological interiorization of Western prejudices about Indian religions and society. Their position is that everything that conflicts with the conventional view must be “Hindutva”. .... One of the features typical of established India “expertise” is the conflation of the specific viewpoint that calls itself “Hindutva” (a Persian-cum-Sanskrit neologism thought up in the late 19th century and meaning “Hinduness”, effectively “Hindu identity”) with the broader Hindu activism. Hindutva, now incarnated in the mass organization RSS with its clumsy quasi-nationalist discourse, is easy to find fault with, so lazy academics with an anti-Hindu agenda call every utterance of Hindu survival “Hindutva”. It is only in this inaccurate and politically motivated sense that Wikipedia can call me a defender of “Hindutva ideology”. It amounts to siding with the trend that I have explicitly criticized – the very criticism this lemma ought to be describing objectively... I have analyzed the concept of Hindutva at length – to my knowledge, deeper than anyone else, including the “experts”.
But the negationists are not satisfied with seeing their own version of the facts being repeated in more and more books and papers. They also want to prevent other versions from reaching the public. Therefore, in 1982 the National Council of Educational Research and Training issued a directive for the rewriting of schoolbooks. Among other things, it stipulated that: "Characterization of the medieval period as a time of conflict between Hindus and Muslims is forbidden." Under Marxist pressure, negationism has become India's official policy.
In my study of the Ayodhya controversy, I noticed that the frequent attempts to conceal or deny inconvenient evidence were an integral part of a larger effort to rewrite India's history and to whitewash Islam. It struck me that this effort to deny the unpleasant facts of Islam's destructive role in Indian history is similar to the attempts by some European writers to deny the Nazi holocaust. Its goal and methods are similar, even though its social position is very different: in Europe, Holocaust negationists are a fringe group shunned by respectable people, but in India, jihad negationists are in control of the academic establishment and of the press.
[Censorship] is always the reaction of the out-argued. Countless times I have been censored, excluded, disinvited under pressure, as well as decried and covered with abuse. Some debating partners have also disinvited themselves upon hearing that I was going to be on the panel. At any rate, my critics always try something else than the simple scholarly avenue, which would be to prove me wrong.
Imagine the shrieks and howls in the secularists media in case of such a clear rejection of Islam's pretences, and you will understand why Hindu leaders shy away from it. But let then pause and think: is not braving the pandemonium of secularist indignation preferable to (self-) censoring the truth about Hindu society's mortal enemy? The European humanists (deists as well as atheists) who attacked the power position of Christianity, were very clear about their objective: Ecrasez l'Infame!
Wouldn't these "progressive" students like to see Elst's works banned?! That's what they are saying, but they don't have the courage to say so explicitly. ~ Ramesh Rao
Belgian Indologist Dr Koenraad Elst is a dangerous scholar. ~ Aravindan Neelakandan
These students don't want to give Elst a hearing. They are afraid that if he does get to speak, he might come across as a scholar who has indeed done his homework, a scholar who has collected data and is not merely parroting fancy theory and as someone seriously and effectively able to question the "given wisdom" of the "progressive scholars." ~ R.N. Rao
Being by definition the greatest expert in the world on this lemma’s subject, I know for fact that a lot of it is mendacious. It is either your own lie or the lie of a source that you have cited or reproduced in good faith, but either way, it is not truthful. It does not follow your self-imposed requirement of “objectivity”. It describes an imaginary strawman, not me... While untruth would be a serious flaw in any text, there are moreover several aspects in your article that could fit in some other genre, but not in an encyclopedia. This lemma relies on hearsay rather than certified facts, and it mostly discusses my supposed opinions, but leaves practically unmentioned what I have actually done. If I have a Wikipedia lemma at all, it is not because of opinions, which everybody has, but because of what I have achieved.... One thing of supreme importance to scholars, including most writers of encyclopedias, but only a bothersome trifle to the activists who wrote my lemma, is the question of truth... There is simply no excuse for this misinformation in an encyclopedia. ...
But the blot on the encyclopedia’s fair name is not just in the wrongness of the statement, but in its partisan and non-encyclopedic nature.... If Wikipedia wants to live up to its promise of being a reliable encyclopedic source, it will strike this and all sentences resembling it from its article on me. At most, it can use me as an example of how it was fooled by some of its all-too-partisan collaborators. Speaking of whom: the history page accompanying my page proves forever that some Wikipedia collaborators wanted to inflict on me the maximum harm possible, an attitude incompatible with work for an encyclopedia.
Banning this book would send a signal that the present establishment will do what it can to prevent Hinduism from rising up, from regaining self-confidence, from facing the challenge of hostile ideologies.
While one should always be vigilant for traces of totalitarianism in any ideology or movement, the obsession with fascism in the anti-Hindu rhetoric of the secularists is not the product of an analysis of the data, but of their own political compulsions.
Normally, the atheist Left should be the sharpest opponent of religious obscurantism and dogmatic adherence to anti-universalist belief systems like Islam. But in India, the two work happily together for the destruction of their common enemy: Hindu Dharma.
But the innermost and actually religious level of Hindu culture is an individual affair. And it could not have been otherwise. Action and ritual may be community affairs, but the basis of real religion is a culture of consciousness, and consciousness is individual.
Intellectually, these Nehruvian historians and pressmen stand thoroughly discredited. But they have power positions in the media and in the education and research establishments, so they still manage to black out criticism and alternative opinions.... They know they have been beaten at the intellectual level, but they use their power over the public arena to ensure that these challengers remain in the margins.
Negationism and history-distortion require a large-scale effort and a very strong grip on the media of information and education. As soon as the grip loosens, at least the most blatant of the negationist concoctions are bound to be exposed, and its propounders lose all credibility. In 1988, the schools in the Soviet Union decided to suspend the history exams because "the history books are full of lies anyway". The great lies and distortions of Soviet historiography are now items in the gallery of ridicule.
Future historians will include the no-temple argument of the 1990s as a remarkable case study in their surveys of academic fraud and politicized scholarship.
It is not unfair to conclude that some of the pro-BMAC authors have committed serious breaches of academic deontology. For me personally, seeing this shameless overruling of historical evidence with a high-handed use of academic and media power, was the immediate reason to involve myself in this controversial question.
In writing about India, it is all too common to starkly ignore the Hindu voice. .... The only Hinduism which they like is museum Hinduism; any Hinduism that displays a will to survive is treated with the same horror that would be aroused if a mummy were to show signs of life.
When dogmatic ideologues are giving scientists the kind of treatment which the experts of the Archaeological Survey of Indian have been receiving from the “eminent historians”, and assorted Babri Masjid lobbyists, it is time to stand up and be counted. I for one want to be counted among those who defend the freedom of research and the scientific method, rather than among those who shriek and howl about some evil spirit in whose name every lie becomes justified, and whom they call “secularism”.
But now, the historical evidence has definitively been verified. After every single historical and archaeological investigation had confirmed the old consensus, the secularists have now been defeated in the final test. The deceit turns out to be their own. Their lies stand exposed and recorded for all to see. Their strategy to sabotage peace and justice in Ayodhya was based on history falsification.
In the West, secularism implies pinpricking religious fraud and arrogance, but in India, secularists are the most eloquent defenders of myth and theocracy.
I have written thousands of pages on that very subject, on that which outsiders call “Hindu fundamentalism”, and I have several times promised a symbolic euro if anyone could substantiate the common accusation that I, not even a Hindu, am a Hindu “fundamentalist”. That euro is still with me so I can award it to Wallis if he finally does the job. Among civilized people, allegations come with evidence instead of with “bile” and “vitriol”. He may also try to explain away my own publications thematising specific criticisms of Hindutva. The difference with the secularist and especially the Western theses about Hindutva is that my critique is based on primary knowledge, not on hearsay from partisan sources.
I suppose that in a world of partisan scholarship, where the party-line is scrupulously followed by activists and camp-followers alike, any attempt to remain objective must come across as counter-partisan, meaning partisan activism for the opposite side.
Dr. Koenraad Elst, the undersigned, is by no means a “Hindutva historian”. Daniyal would have known that if he had cared to read books of mine such as BJP vs. Hindu Resurgence or Decolonizing the Hindu Mind. In those, I criticize the organized Hindu movement. The difference with Daniyal is, in all modesty, that I happen to know what I am writing about, while he doesn’t. To be sure, he doesn’t need to do the research I have done. He can just parrot the conventional wisdom mouthed by the secularists.
Ever since I have been writing on secularism and religious conflict, and particularly about Islam, I have had plenty of mud thrown at me. What I have never seen so far is an actual refutation of my central theses.
As for myself, I am my own man, not a party man. I deserve to have my viewpoints examined not on their real or imagined associations but on their merits. I want my real and stated positions attacked, not those at my declared enemies' convenience.
But I’ll admit that temperamentally, I do take a certain “delight” in exploring theories that go against the established consensus.
  • Tribal endogamy explains the Hindu caste system. As Vedic society, an advanced and differentiated society characterized by class (varna) hierarchy, expanded from the Northwest into India's interior, it absorbed ever more tribes but allowed them their distinctive traditions and first of all their defining tradition, viz. their endogamy. This way, endogamous self-contained units or tribes became endogamous segments of Hindu society, or castes.
    • Elst, K. The Sarna: a case study in natural religion [1]
  • Even the Buddha found a place on the saints' calendar under the name Saint Josaphat. ... The Gospels contain a number of almost literal repetitions of phrases, parables and scenes from the Buddhist canon, particularly from the Mahaparinirvana-Sutra: the master walking on water (and saying to the baffled disciples: "It's me"), the simile of the blind leading the blind, the multiplication of the loaves of bread, the master asking and accepting water from a woman belonging to a despised community, the call not to pass judgment on others, the call to respond to hostility with love, and other overly well-known motifs. Both doctrinal elements and biographical anecdotes have been borrowed. The Buddha's mother saw in a dream how a white elephant placed the promising boy in her womb while a heavenly being revealed the great news to the father, roughly like the annunciation to Mary and Joseph. The loose but devout woman Mary Magdalene is a neat copy of the Buddha-revering courtesan Amrapali. The iconography of Jesus resembles that of the expected future Buddha Maitreya, a name derived from maitri, "fellow-feeling, friendship", close enough to the Christian notion of agape/charity. The Maitreya is depicted with lotus flowers in the places where Jesus has stigmata of the crucifixion. This is becoming too much for coincidence, and the similarity is moreover strengthened by very specific details. Thus, Jesus relates how a widow offers two pennies from her humble possessions and thereby earns more merit than a wealthy man who gives a larger gift from his abundant riches. In Buddhist texts we find the same message in several variants, among them that of a widow offering two pennies; a holy monk disregards the larger gift of a wealthy man and praises the widow's piety. ... These similarities are certainly the fruit of historical contacts, though apart from the presence of a Buddhist community outside Alexandria (the Therapeutai), the details of the whereabouts of Buddhists in West Asia are as yet eluding us.
  • Yet, in 1989, all this evidence was brushed aside by a group of 25 academics from Jawaharlal Nehru University (Delhi), mostly declared Marxists, who issued a statement denying the existence of any evidence for the temple: The Political Abuse of History. Not that they offered any newfound data to support this dramatic reversal of the consensus, all they had to show was some totally contrived reinterpretations of a few of the existing data plus the worn-out slogans against "Hindu communalism". But the sympathy of the Indian and international media for their purported motive of "upholding secularism" assured the immediate worldwide adoption of the new party-line as Gospel truth: the demolished Rama temple had merely been a malicious invention of the ugly Hindu nationalists...
    I don't have the impression that the BJP's coming to power has made much of a difference. Earlier, you had schoolbooks denying historical facts that Tipu Sultan forcibly converted thousands of Hindus. Now, you may get textbooks denying that the Vedic Rishis ate beef. Apart from that, not much has changed. In the media, and academia, Hindutva is still in the opposition. True, under the market system, dissent is marginalised, ridiculed, suffocated financially, or rendered ineffective in other subtle ways, but I prefer all that to being murdered or imprisoned in a Gulag camp.
    • Hindutva is Elst-where, A brief interview of Elst in The Pioneer By Professor Ramesh Rao.
  • What is at stake here is the arrogant policy of Westerners, first to steal the cultural term Arya and distort its meaning in a racist sense, then to protest when Hindus fail to respect this new and distorted usage.


  • The very first day a genuine scholar sits down to check Nehruvian history-writing against the facts, the empire of the JNU professors is finished. Because you see, facts are more eminent than even Jawaharlal Nehru and his university historians.
    • Hindu Temples – What Happened to Them, Volume I (1990) p. 276, chapter 16, Party line history writing.
  • The essence of Hindu Dharma is not ‘tolerance’ or ‘equal respect for all religious’ but satya, truth. The problem with Christianity and Islam is superficially their intolerance and fanaticism. But this intolerance is a consequence of these religions’ untruthfulness. If your belief system is based on delusions, you have to pre-empt rational enquiry into it and shield it from contact with more sustainable thought systems. The fundamental problem with monotheistic religions is not that they are intolerant but that they are untrue (Asatya or Anrita).
    • In Sita Ram Goel: Jesus Christ - An Artifice for Aggression (1994)
  • The source of the Thomas legend is an apocryphal text called the Acts of Thomas. If the [Jesuits and other Christian] missionaries want to continue to present it as history rather than legend, they should accept the consequences. In that case, they must tell the public about the way in which Thomas’s journey to India started, according to the very same text: he left Palestine because his twin brother Jesus sold him as a slave (Thomas is also called Didymus, ‘the twin brother’)....
  • Without exaggeration, the BJP's Ayodhya campaign was the single biggest public relations disaster in world history...
    In the BJP statements of the last few years the most prominent 'communal' item is the Common Civil Code demand; but pushing that one would be a grave mistake. True, this is an impeccably secular concern, amounting to no more than the implementation of the existing Article 44 of the Constitution.But precisely for these reasons, this initiative should be left to the secularists, whose inaction on this point is a permanent measure of their dishonesty. There are excellent arguments against polygamy and unilateral talaq, but nobody will believe the BJP if it says that it was concerned about the plight of Muslim women...
    Instead, the BJP ought first of all to take up an issue which really matters for Hindu communal life abolishing the legal and constitutional discriminations against the Hindu majority, most urgently those in education and temple management. The constitutional bedrock of these discriminations is Article 30, which accords to the minorities the right to set up and administer their own schools and colleges, preserving their communal identity (through the course contents and by selectively recruiting teachers and students), all while receiving state subsidies. That right is not guaranteed to the majority, but should be....
    An analogous problem exists for the Hindu temples. Mosques and churches are exclusively managed by the respective communities, but Hindu temples are routinely taken over by the secular authorities. This results in misappropriation of the temple's income and its redirection to non‑Hindu purposes. It is also a major factor in the grinding poverty afflicting most Hindu temple priests and their families...
    Recently, the authorities moved court (unsuccessfully) to get the Shirdi Sai Baba temple in Hyderabad registered as a Hindu temple, all for wresting control of the institution and its funds. The BJP does not deserve to get a single Hindu vote if it doesn't address to this injustice.
    • BJP Retreat from Ayodhya The Observer Of Business And Politics(New Delhi, December, 1996.)
  • However, one may justify the term "Adivasi/Aboriginal" on the patronizing assumption that their lifestyle is culturally more "original", meaning "primitive"; but in that case, the labels "Christian" and "Adivasi" are mutually exclusive, since the act of conversion is a dramatic break with their ancestral traditions...
    Thus, since 1947, several legal amendments to prohibit and effectively thwart conversions by force or fraud (practices documented in the 1956 Niyogi Committee Report, internationally misrepresented by missionaries as an attack on the freedom of religion) were pushed by tribal MPs. For another example, the genuinely indigenous revolt led by Birsa Munda in 1899 was modelled on the Hindu reform movement Arya Samaj (he wanted his fellow tribesmen to renounce witchcraft, intoxication and animal sacrifices, and to wear the Brahminical sacred thread), and started with an attack on a mission post. Birsa receives only a single and quite scornful mention in this book, eventhough he is still a national hero for the Mundas...
    To fully understand this drama, we must bear in mind a few events which did not take place because they could not have taken place. No missionary has stepped in and courted martyrdom to defend the tribals and Hindus of Pakistan, in fact no missionary was around when the initial massacres took place in East Pakistan, because the missions have disinvested in Pakistan. The missions in Islamic countries find their converts harassed and even killed by their own families, their schools and churches attacked on all kinds of pretext, their graduates not given jobs. So, the missionary headquarters prefer to direct their energies to more hospitable countries like India. The fact that a missionary was killed by a "Hindu" while defending the Muslims, and not the other way round, proves in the first place that Catholic priests can function in India, much more than in Pakistan...
    One of the chief culprits behind the massacre was Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the patron of "secularism", who used Father Rasschaert's death as yet another occasion to parade his concern for the minorities in India, and to put "Hindus" in the dock. He himself (and the entire secularist establishment till today) reneged on his duty to defend the non-Muslims surviving in the Islamic state which he had helped to create. In the Nehru-Liaqat Pact of 1950, he had given up every right to interfere on behalf of the minorities in Pakistan. By effectively condoning the persecution of non-Muslims in Pakistan, he must accept a share in the responsibility for the retaliatory tribal violence which killed Rasschaert.
    • Elst, K. Father Rasschaert's martyrdom, India, Shanti Darshan Belgo-Indian Association (1996) [3]
  • Christians are not above the human inclination to vengefulness. Christian channels of information in India like to take a holier-than-thou attitude vis-a-vis Hindu-Muslim violence, but it may be recalled that in Nagaland and Mizoram, armed separatism is 100% Christian, and Christian Kukis are ethnically cleansed by Christian Nagas. Less well-known but even more sinister is the role of the Church in Tamil separatism in Sri Lanka. Many of the Tamil Tigers are Christian, including the late miss Dhanu, Rajiv Gandhi's suicide-murderer. The Church would like to get rid of the assertive Sinhalese Buddhists, who do not indulge in self-deluded Hindu nonsense that "all religions say the same thing", but firmly oppose the Christian mission. Consequently, it supports the creation of an autonomous territory for the Tamils, confident that the Tamils' ideological disorientation (a faint remainder-Hinduism weakened by decades of Christian schooling, Tiger Marxism and Dravidianist atheism) will allow Tamil Eelam to become a stronghold of the mission.
    • Elst, K. Father Rasschaert's martyrdom, India, Shanti Darshan Belgo-Indian Association (1996) [4]
  • Conversely, banning this book would send a signal that the present establishment will do what it can to prevent Hinduism from rising up, from regaining self-confidence, from facing the challenge of hostile ideologies.
    • In Freedom of expression - Secular Theocracy Versus Liberal Democracy (1998, edited by Sita Ram Goel) ISBN 81-85990-55-7
  • It is rank nonsense that the BJP position on a Common Civil Code (which is simply the implementation of the principle of equality before the law deemed essential to the very idea of a secular state) is based on a "racialization" doctrine.
    • Elst, K. Was Veer Savarkar a Nazi? , 1999 [5] and in Elst, K. (2010). The saffron swastika: The notion of "Hindu fascism".
  • In a sociological sense, I am still part of the Catholic community,... Nevertheless, I am no longer a Roman Catholic. I am a secular humanist with an active interest in religions, particularly Taoism and Hinduism, and keeping a close watch on the variegated Pagan revival in Europe...
    The Sangh Parivar is disinclined to educate its cadres on the illusory nature of Christianity, possibly because this would entail the tedious job of clearing the superstitious deadwood from Hinduism as well. It avoids polemicizing against Christianity as such and prefers to focus on the historical and contemporary misbehaviour of Christian missionaries: the Goa inquisition, the destruction of the Mylapore Shiva temple near Chennai, the expulsion of Riyang tribals from Christian-dominated Mizoram...
    Another mistake often made in Hindutva polemic against the missionaries is to deny that their motive is Christian religion. It is said that their real motive is political, that they serve the interests of a secular entity, typically European colonialism or American hegemonism. There is a historical basis for this suspicion, e.g. the militantly secularist French Third Republic (1870-1940) encouraged the missions as de facto French outposts and agents d'influence in the colonies. Conversely, tribal anti-British rebellions in India typically started with attacks on mission posts. It is also likely that during the Cold War, the CIA supported attempts to set up a Christian state in India's Northeast as an American foothold in Asia. Yet, apart from being largely anachronistic now, such scenarios simply don't represent the main thrust of missionary activity.
    • The Problem of Christian Missionaries , 7 June 1999. [6]
  • At the individual level, there is yet another gainful element in the missionary vocation except for the satisfaction of converting people. In many Protestant denominations, the mission is actually a profitable career, but more than the material aspects, there is a psychological stake involved. People who would be nobodies in Germany, the US or Australia, can derive enormous ego gratification from a missionary career: suddenly they are promoted to a frontline post in the war against idolatry, they are praised back home as messiahs to the poor lepers even when stationed in non-leprosy areas, they are revered by some of the illiterate villagers for teaching them beliefs which would only provoke laughter back home, and strangest of all, they are applauded by "secularists" whose Western counterparts would prefer to put an end to the whole circus of the Christian Churches. It is rewarding to be a missionary in India, and much safer than China or Pakistan.... These media give far less coverage to the numerous acts of terror against Pakistani Christians, because it would only make things worse for them. So they save their fire for the propaganda war against the Hindus, who have given Christians hospitality for a full sixteen centuries, and who today give them facilities and constitutional privileges which contrast with the restraints imposed on them in most Asian countries. Since the missionaries have no hope of converting Pakistan, they concentrate on converting India and consequently vilify Hinduism much more than Islam.
    • The Problem of Christian Missionaries , 7 June 1999. [7]

Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991)

  • Normally, the atheist Left should be the sharpest opponent of religious obscurantism and dogmatic adherence to anti-universalist belief systems like Islam. But in India, the two work happily together for the destruction of their common enemy: Hindu Dharma.
  • Objective outsiders are not struck by any traces of fascism in the Hindutva movements, let alone in the general thought current of anti-imperialist Hindu awakening.
  • While one should always be vigilant for traces of totalitarianism in any ideology or movement, the obsession with fascism in the anti-Hindu rhetoric of the secularists is not the product of an analysis of the data, but of their own political compulsions.
  • Not that an isolated occasion of saying the truth automatically leads to the disappearance of falsehood. Dharampal's famous book The Beautiful Tree completely demolished the myth that the Brahmins kept all the education for their own caste, and that Shudras were kept in darkness and illiteracy. Yet, the myth is still repeated... It is not enough to unearth the truth, it also has to be broadcast, and nobody should get away with pretending it isn't there.
  • From his high pedestal, Prof. Sharma could afford to disregard the 'very few authors whose work effectively addresses the feudalism thesis in a critical manner', and he 'appears to have been in no mood to take heed of criticism levelled at his work'. This disregarding and ignoring of counter-evidence is tactically the best way to prolong your dominant position (which is why this tactic was adopted by most secularists in the Ayodhya debate): it denies publicity and respectability to the critic's alternative thesis. But to the progress of science, this upholding of dogma and suppression of debate is detrimental. According to Prof. Wink, the effect has been this : 'Under the impact of the feudalism thesis the historiography of the period is still in utter disarray.'
  • This ... excuse of the provocative slogans leading mechanically to stone-throwing and worse, is used routinely by biased reporters.... A procession with about 100 women members of Durga Vahini had gone out to the Ghanta Ghar area. "There they raised communal slogans, resulting in stone-pelting and bomb-throwing." (Remark the belief in mantra magic: a slogan is uttered, and hocus pocus, a bomb explodes.)
  • This is not an idealization but a firm reality : no matter what the "evils of Hindu society" may have been, subjecting the individual's freedom of religion to any public authority is not one of them. No wonder that Voltaire, who strongly opposed the Church's totalitarian grip over men's lives, and may count as one of the ideologues of secularism, mentioned the religions of India and China as a model of how religion could be a free exploration by the individual.
  • Since quoting the Quran may get this book banned, I will merely give the verse numbers...
  • The British concoction hypothesis is not only untenable. It is so far off the mark, so totally out of tune with the known historical and cultural context, so totally unsuggested by any relevant document, that no unbiased historian would ever have come up with it. It warrants a suspicion against the pretended objectivity and scientific temper of the secularist participants in this debate... When you analyze and explicate all the implications of the secularist historians' version of the Babri Masjid story, you find that they in fact postulate a great many unusual entities. And they create them purely in the air.... This postulating of very improbable theoretical possibilities without any coherence is not really the scholarly defense of an alternative Ayodhya scenario, it is just a diversionary tactic made up to put the pro- Mandir people on the defensive. As the historian Sita Ram Goel has said, it is a typical strategy of unscrupled lawyers.... Of course, lawyers are paid by clients to try such un- truthful tactics, so we may perhaps forgive them. In the case of historians, or even for politicians claiming high ideals, this is unacceptable.
  • Whether the temple was destroyed by Mohammed Ghori in 1194, or by Babar, or by a ruler in between these two, or even by more than one of them (since Hindus were tireless rebuilders if given a chance), this all makes no difference to the facts pertinent for the Hindu case: one, there was a temple there since at least the eleventh century, attested by archaeology : two, the use of temple materials in the Babri Masjid entirely fulfills a set pattern of temple destruction followed by replacement with a mosque; three, Hindus continued to worship on the spot to the extent possible, as witnessed by travelers and locals, something they would never have done except on a specially sacred spot and in continuation of a pre-Masjid tradition.
  • In fact, this conclusion is merely a restatement of what was a matter of consensus until a few years ago. This time it is supported by a bundle of evidence, but it had been known all along. It is only recently that politically motivated academics have manufactured doubts concerning this coherent and well-attested tradition. And it is not on the strength of arguments, but exclusively through their grip on the media, that they temporarily managed to create the impression that the Hindu case was built on myth and concoction.
  • As Lenin, Goebbels and other masters of lies knew, it is sufficient to repeat a big lie often enough, to make it pass as truth. So, the truly outstanding feature of the Leftists' and Muslim fanatics' campaign of distortion has been its shameless persistence. No matter what hard evidence they got confronted with, the Romila Thapars and R.S. Sharmas just kept on lambasting the Hindu side for distorting history and concocting evidence and for merely bluffing in the face of "incontrovertible evidence that no Ram temple ever stood on the site". While they had not given any such evidence nor replied to the pro-Mandir evidence ..., they kept up the offensive and absurdly accused the other side of not facing the evidence. The way the anti-Mandir falsehoods have been given wide currency in 1989-91 will make an interesting case study for future scholars. A classic in propaganda.
  • Islam has till today retained a lot of its medieval self- righteousness. While native Americans who claim back ancestral sacred places may have to confront economical interests, juridical technicalities or other small-human opposition against their demands, there is now hardly any ideologically motivated resistance against respecting their culture and their historical sensitivities. But in India, and in the countries which Islam has carved out of if, there is still a strong presence of an ideological drive to islamize India, and to make this clear by wresting all kinds of real and symbolical concessions from the Hindus, and by refusing them any concession whatsoever in return. The symbols of humiliation that have been inflicted on the Hindus, are being defended.
  • The same would have counted in principle for the Ram Janmabhoomi. However, there the situation has been slightly more advanced : in 1949 it already became a Hindu temple again. And it is not the Hindus who have been demanding a hand-over, it is actually the Muslim groups like BMAC, BMMCC, IUML, Jama'at Islami. It is unbelievably arrogant that some Muslims could be against the hand-over of even one of the thousands of stolen Hindu places, and still have dared to demand the hand- over of that one mosque that they let slip through their fingers in 1949. They demand the return of 100% of the places they lost, and want to return 0% of the places they took. Who said that Islam believes in equality?
  • When it comes to dealing with the history of persecution and temple destruction by the Muslims, secularist historians throw all regard for hard evidence to the wind and replace it with a purely deductive (which is typically medieval) approach : Islam is tolerant, therefore the destruction and persecution cannot have taken place.
  • They themselves of course can get away with blatant lies, because they are shielded by a politically motivated press against any criticism that would threaten their eminence. But real scientists do not count on such exemptions.
  • Intellectually, these Nehruvian historians and pressmen stand thoroughly discredited. But they have power positions in the media and in the education and research establishments, so they still manage to black out criticism and alternative opinions.... They know they have been beaten at the intellectual level, but they use their power over the public arena to ensure that these challengers remain in the margins.
  • But the point is, while one cannot blame the Muslim propagandists for painting a rosy picture of the religion they try to sell, we now see eminent historians spreading this utterly untruthful item of propaganda, in books which are required reading in many universities. They even lecture others and call them communalists if they don't swallow these Islamic-cum-Nehruvian lies.
  • Once the support of the Nehruvian historians to such utter falsifications of history is tackled and exposed, they have no chance of saving their reputations or even the hold of their theories over the public arena. They have gone too far in their distortions of history, so they are very vulnerable. If they have held out in the role of oft-quoted "eminent historians" for so long, it is only due to the slackness and timidity of the Hindu intellectuals. Only because of a configuration of forces peculiar to India have the anti-Hindu historians been able to completely dominate the scene. In most free countries, they would have been exposed long ago. ... In a world where the wind of free inquiry blows, Marxist dogmas cannot hold out for long. They have been abandoned, except in those places where an artificial authority is attached to them by a partisan intelligentsia... So, in my opinion, the dominance of these Nehruvian and other Hindu-baiters need not last much longer. Their eminence will go down as soon as the debunking of their central myths has come centre-stage in the intellectual arena (which means that an issue-centered critique will suffice to do most of the job). And that can go unexpectedly fast, there are plenty of occasions at which the readers are interested enough to pick up an alternative thesis, if only it gets competently presented to them. ... From his high pedestal, Prof. Sharma could afford to disregard [his critics], and he "appears to have been in no mood to take heed of criticism levelled at his work". This disregarding and ignoring of counter-evidence is tactically the best way to prolong your dominant position (which is why this tactic was adopted by most secularists in the Ayodhya debate): it denies publicity and respectability to the critic's alternative thesis. But to the progress of science, this upholding of dogma and suppression of debate is detrimental.
  • Once this Marxist-inspired myth of Buddhism and Jainism as social reform movements gets debunked, the authority of those who publicly identify with this myth will also be questioned. The same counts for other such myths, artificially created by politically motivated people : once the myth goes its proponents lose their aura of authority. While a scrutiny of the individual record of the big-mouth secularists may be useful as long as this debate remains as nasty as it is now, it is the issue- centered criticism which will blow the secularists' authority away very soon. The myth of Brahmin oppression, the myth of Buddhism as a social reform movement, the myth of the Buddhist-Brahmin power struggle, the myth of the economical motives for the Muslim conquests and destruction, the myth of the non-existence of an indigenous and nation-wide Hindu culture, the myth of the social reforms brought by Islam, the myth of Hindu-Muslim amity, the myth of Nehru and of India as a a nation in the making, the myth of the Composite Culture, the myth that communalism is a British creation, all these myths are bound to give way once a substantial number of Hindu intellectuals apply their minds to them in a serious and scientific way, and then use the available channels to speak out.
  • But the innermost and actually religious level of Hindu culture is an individual affair. And it could not have been otherwise. Action and ritual may be community affairs, but the basis of real religion is a culture of consciousness, and consciousness is individual.
  • As the Chinese philosopher Confucius has pointed out, we can only begin to set the world in order, if we call things by their proper names. This whole Ayodhya problem would not have existed if secularist politicians and intellectuals had called the disputed building a non- mosque and an effective Hindu temple. Because that is what it is : a building containing idols is by definition not a mosque, and a building not used for namaz is in effect not a mosque. But a building where Hindus come to worship idols, is called a temple or Mandir... The reason why most of the common Hindus could be mobilized for the Ram Janmabhoomi cause, is not that the Hindus have become so fanatical. On the contrary, it is because they perceive that the building of the Mandir and the relocating of the existing structure is a very reasonable and justifiable project. They all know that Muslim rulers have brought immense suffering over the Hindu population for destroyed, no fanatic needs to tell them that. And they have heard that the disputed place is in use as a temple since 1949, that it is functionally not a mosque at all, so the rule that any other community's place of worship should be respected just doesn't apply. They do not see why anyone should object to their replacing the existing structure with proper Hindu temple architecture. They consider it an entirely internal affair of the Hindu community, and they perceive the attempts to stop them as yet another aggression against Hinduism by its enemies.
  • Finally, there is one more kind of India-watcher or India-fan in the West, with a typical and remarkable attitude to the Ayodhya affair: the"seekers". Some people staying in India for spiritual things, and who were told that I was writing about this Ayodhya affair, immediately came out with their superior scorn for such unspiritual quarrels: "What are those Kar Sevaks going to Ayodhya for? To lay the second brick?" What these people should realize, is that the society which has allowed ashrams to flourish, has only survived because it also had a martial component. Why are they not going to Afghanistan for yoga? because Hinduism in Afghanistan got militarily defeated and annihilated. Because Islam, which in their own woolly world-view is just as true as any other religion, has weeded out the kind of Pagan practices that they come to India for. If there is a part of the world left where the gurus can continue their traditions, it is because Hindus have fought. It is a non-violent part of the same martial tradition, that today Hindus are asserting themselves in Ayodhya.
    • chapter 7
  • Yet, almost all the Western papers have chosen to blacken Hinduism almost as thoroughly as the secularist Indian press has done.
    The first reason is that the Western correspondents in Delhi just don't know very much, and also don't feel the need to find out more. Their work is not considered important by their editors, because India is still perceived as a backward and economically unimportant country. Western correspondents in Delhi are very lazy. I have been to some press conferences concerning this Ayodhya affair (which involves principles, has generated an unprecedented mass movement, and has toppled a government), and not met any foreign press persons there. In Ayodhya and in the offices of those very people that could give authentic background information, again I did not see any foreign correspondents. I don't know what they tell their employers, but I can testify first-hand that they are not doing any journalistic work here, except for copying the Indian English-language papers. The second reason is that they very uncritically swallow that version of the facts which happens to reach them. Since they hang out a lot with the westernized clique that controls the media, education and the government, they don't know better than that those people's viewpoint is authoritative.
  • In their well-known and oft-quoted statement on the Ayodhya controversy, the JNU historians have rejected the contention that there was a temple on the disputed spot before the Babri Masjid was built there. This is a wildly improbable contention. There is a general cultural pattern that would have made people build a temple there, a very important one. If you go to Ayodhya and walk to the Masjid/Janmabhoomi, you will find yourself walking uphill, even after passing the Hanuman Garhi which itself is on a little hill. Relative to the flatness of the entire Ganga basin, the disputed split is quite an elevated place, and it overlooks Ayodhya. Now, either prince Rama was a historical character, born in the castle of the local ruler, which would logically (i.e. strategically) have been built on this elevation, and then his birthplace temple would also have to be there. Or we do not assume Ram's historicity (without necessarily excluding it) and we also do not assume that he was born there, which is the JNU historians' position, and then the question is reduced to whether people would have refrained from building a temple on this hilltop. Ayodhya is a place of pilgrimage and temple city of long standing. The JNU historians themselves cite evidence that it housed important temples of the Buddhists, Shaivas and Jains. In such a temple city par excellence, it is virtually impossible that the geographical place of honour would have been left unused. The contention that there was no temple on the Babri Masjid site goes against all we know of ritual patterns in the lay-out of sacred places the world over: it violates the principle of coherence.
  • There is one architectural argument which has not been used in the VHP evidence bundle, though it seems quite pertinent to me. The central dome of the Masjid is slightly deformed, and it is supported by a front wall that forms a sort of screen before part of the dome. The reason seems to be that the builders had to adjust the upper part of the Masjid to the walls and pillars of the pre-existing Mandir, which they were incorporating rather than razing them flat and starting totally anew.
  • While the minority separatists have the guns, the enraged Hindus will have the numbers.
  • And that from historians who themselves have distorted evidence in order to satisfy certain political compulsions : apparently a case of what psychologists call projection.
  • The entire JNU argument is a patchwork of such untenable ad hoc constructions.
  • In the longer run, some education in comparative religion is the solution, or at least a central part of the solution.
  • Once Hindu society has shaken off these Hindu-baiting leeches, i.e. when it is no longer under their mental spell, it can concentrate on developing and actualizing the treasures it has to offer to mankind, and achieving genuine national integration. Actually, this national integration that every talking body in India talks about, is a very natural condition and needs no achieving. Rather, it requires dropping a few things. It requires dropping the anti-Hindu separatist doctrines that have largely been created for the purposes of several imperialisms, and are now being kept afloat with a lot of distortive intellectual and propagandistic effort. Just drop this effort, and this country will naturally find back its unity.
  • On the one hand, there is the society that has continued the age-old civilization of this country. It has been badly bruised by centuries of foreign rule and oppression, with the moral losses more serious than the territorial and cultural ones : it suffers of self- forgetfulness and lack of self-respect. But it is still far better off than most of the cultures that have been overrun by the Muslim conquerors or the European colonizers. It has a real chance of coming through. On the other hand, there is a community, which is allowed to function within this larger society, but which has the roots of its separate identity outside this society's age-old civilization. These people's ancestors were in may cases pulled out of Hindu society and made members of the Muslim community under duress. Now, they would automatically evolve back into Hindu society, were it not for some politicians and theologians who instill a separate communal identity in them. The Ayodhya movement... is at the same time an invitation to the Muslim Indians to reintegrate themselves into the society and the culture from which their ancestors were cut off by fanatical rulers and their thought police, the theologians. It is thus an exercise in national integration.
  • At the intellectual level, Hindus will son be able to breathe freely. They will be able to rediscover and reformulate the numerous valuable expressions of the one Sanatana Dharma. They will be able to affirm the unity and integrity of this Sanatana Dharma, without being falsely accused of assimilative communalism when they restate the scientific fact that Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism are full members of the one Hindu commonwealth of schools and sects. They will be able to reaffirm the unity and integrity of Hindu society, and to debunk the casteist and regionalist separatisms that have been fostered by its enemies and equipped with a pseudo- historical basis. They will be able to put the evils of Hindu society into the correct historical perspective on the basis of the real facts, and judge them by universal standards rather than by the hostile ad hoc standards that have been applied to Hindu society by its enemies.
  • In Ayodhya, police killed sixteen, or one hundred and sixty- eight, or five hundred, or who knows, people who were unarmed and singing Ram Dhun.
  • I am not saying that they just should forget about these thousands of temples razed and replaced with mosques (and sometimes churches). Those thousands should not be ignored, to the extent that they can be useful in consciousness-raising. One level at which some evil- intentioned people try to rob Hindus of their consciousness, is history. History as an illustration of the intrinsic character of certain ideologies deserves to be highlighted. The time will come when closed theologies will bother humanity no longer, but for now, it is better to be aware of what they can do. In Europe, Nazi concentration camps are kept in their historical state, in order to teach future generations about what to avoid. In India too, monuments of intolerance should be preserved. School books, local guide books, even a signboard with an explanatory text in front of the building, should tell the history of every place of worship, truthfully.
  • If there are more such places (and the anti-Hindu crowd claims there are many), let these secularists put their evidence on the table. As a man of scientific temper, I will not forgive them if they repeat their allegation without substantiating it. You see, the case with allegations is simple : either you prove them, or you withdraw them and offer apologies. The secularists should not get away with doing neither one of these two.
  • The unacademic attitude of these JNU historians, who are stronger in character assassination than in historical method should make it clear to their critics that there is no reason to feel inhibited when it comes to exposing them. They really deserve to be shown up in public as the impostors they are.
  • But what to make of this misdirected allegation : is it utter dishonesty or utter ignorance? Either way, it is actively or passively part of a disinformation campaign concerning Hindu history, perversely calculated to make Hindus feel guilty for the kind of crimes Islam perpetrated against them, thus to paralyze and pre-empt criticism of Islam and similar ideologies.
  • So, the sweeping allegation of a common practice of temple destruction as a symbol of political self- assertion, is not based on the facts of history, and goes against abundant evidence to the contrary. A historian who proposes this theory, violates all standards of historical method, and must be deemed either incompetent or dishonest. But even if such a general rule had existed : the Muslim pattern of temple destruction does not conform to it... The far simpler explanation, corroborated by all the available documents, is that they had a theology of temple destruction, and that this led them to a behaviour pattern unknown in Pagan cultures : proportionate to their military might and to their fervour in the faith, they systematically destroyed Pagan temples. It didn't matter whether these temples had any riches in them or any political significance : in every case it was a scripturally ordained act of great merit to weed out Paganism by destroying Pagan temples and centres of learning, as well as by killing or forcibly converting the Pagans themselves.
  • The Indian Constitution is a mighty case of Hindu accommodation to some minorities' demands for privileges, but that hasn't stopped the Khalistanis from burning it, nor has it stopped the Babri Masjid movement from calling for a boycott of Republic Day 1987.
  • But the Marxists think that religion is an evil, because it is anti-reason ; while reason is a good in itself, which moreover emancipates man by equipping him with the intellectual as well as technological means to determine his own destiny. Now this notion of reason and religion stems from a specifically European situation, that conditioned Marx' thought about religion. The fact that Indian Marxists have simply transposed Marx' limited view to the Indian situation is just another example of how dogmatic Marxists generally are. It also shows how utterly ignorant the Indian Leftist (and generally secularist) intelligentsia is of India's home-grown religious culture.
  • Such superstitions which are in flagrant conflict with scientific universalism, should be dealt with by intellectuals, and the state will have done more than its share if it does not impede the broadcasting of their criticism of these superstitions. The state should just refrain from banning books eventhough they hurt the feelings of those steeped in the said superstitions. It should refrain from pressurizing or boycotting or prosecuting people who perform their legitimate task of educating people concerning such superstitions. It should refrain from imposing history-distortions on schoolbooks, i.e. from concealing the truth about the evil effects of such superstitions. (That the Indian state is so far not secular enough to refrain from this sabotage of the intellectual struggle against superstition, is shown in ch. 12)
  • A retired Indian Army commander has explained to me how an intervention force well within India's capacity, could have stopped the Chinese in Eastern Tibet. It would have been a war, but it would have been a genuine war of independence, and the number of casualties would have been far less than the lakhs of Tibetans that have by now been killed by the Chinese occupation force. Short, for such a noble cause, a prime minister with a kshatriya spirit would have gone in. And failing that, he could have opened a diplomatic offensive. But he chose to totally betray Tibet.... In his dealings with Pakistan too, he tried to "see their viewpoint also", and consequently made concessions of which millions of Hindus have suffered the consequences (handing over pieces of territory, stopping the reconquest of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir when it was succeeding, refraining from efforts to enforce the Pakistani part of the Nehru-Liaqat pact)... Some will not even grant him the essential Brahmin attribute: thought. All his writings are full of borrowed thought.
  • Then follow a number of explosions and acts of arson not specified as to community, which experienced readers tend to see as a strong pointer in a certain direction. [About press reporting on riots.]
  • Like so many times before, a secularist builds up this pre-riot crescendo, all the way up to the provocative slogans stage, and then disappoints the reader by hiding in a cloud of impersonal vagueness : Mayhem broke loose. What does he have to hide ?...
  • The application of this principle to the Indian situation is crystal-clear; the Muslim community should come out and recognize the atrocities which its earlier generations have inflicted on the Hindus, and make a gesture of goodwill to formally terminate that chapter in history... Leaving the Ram Janmabhoomi spot to the Hindus, to do with it as they please, would have been just such a gesture. A very easy one, for it cost nothing. The Muslim community was not even in control of the place, all they would have to do was not to interfere in what already was an internal Hindu affair. The fact that even this easy goodwill gesture was not made, at least by the externally recognized leadership of the Muslim community, is a very sad thing. On a world-wide scale, the time is ripe for such a recognition of past mistakes.
  • So, it is time to face the truth. Judging by the glasnost in the Soviet block and in the Catholic Church regarding past crimes, the time is ripe to finish the glossing-over which the secularists have been practicing and propagating. The rosy presentation of Islam which the secularist press is feeding the public, should be debunked.
  • In India, by contrast, the negationists who deny the existence of the centuries-long jihad, in which a systematic oppression and slaughter of Kafirs was pursued, are calling the shots...But in India, we find the unbelievable situation, that not only Muslim historians and public figures refuse to face the truth about Muslim history : neutral secular historians are also covering up and denying the crimes which Islam has systematically committed, and even many Hindus are denying the crimes committed against their own society.
  • That same thing which they call fascism when they wrongly attribute it to Hindu Rashtra, is effectively accepted in the case of a Muslim Rashtra, such as Pakistan. I at least have never heard any of them refer to Pakistan as fascist. Muslim Rashtra is not only not called fascism: Mr. Engineer even seems to take it for granted as a political framework, and therefore he tries to secure a place for the Hindus in it by declaring them people of the Book, rather than just Kafirs who could not be tolerated alive. Well how generous of him... The category people of the Book is an arch-communalist notion...
  • Ambedkar was a nationalist, and he saw through the anti-national, colonial inspiration of the Aryan Invasions theory (which the British called the furniture of Empire).
  • By now, the whole notion of Aryan invasions has come under fire. Western scholars start recognizing what many Indian scholars have since long pointed out : that there is not a single piece of proof for the whole theory, and that all the known relevant facts can just as well be explained with alternative and equally coherent theories.
  • Like the swastika, the term Arya, which is rather central in Hindu tradition and more so in Nazism, is in need of rehabilitation. ... When Buddha gives a short formulation of his teachings, he calls it the Arya Satyani, the four Noble Truths. While the term Arya is used only a few times in the Vedas, it was used a lot by the Buddhists and Jains. Today, everybody uses it all the time, though perhaps unknowingly : the honorific - ji, as in Gandhiji, is an evolved form, through Pali aya or aja and Apabhramsa aje, from Sanskrit arya.
  • Aryan and Semitic are shorthand for two radically differing approaches to religion... But the revealed monotheistic religions carry with them a typical fundamental doctrine that sets them apart from all other religions... Thus, the Semitic religions constitute a radical break with natural religiosity, which had always made nature share in the manifestation of the divine, and which had never thought of limiting the awareness of the divine to one community... In books written in a monotheistic cultural milieu, this revealed monotheism is always portrayed as a great step forwards in the march of humanity. However, in real terms I cannot see one genuine advantage that has accrued to humanity thanks to the is revelation-based monotheism.
  • Nazism itself, for all its anti-Semitic rhetoric, very much fitted into the Semitic tradition. As Girilal Jain has convincingly argued, Nazism was an extreme realization of the 19th century secular nationalism in Europe. This secular nationalism was in its general attitude towards mankind a direct heir to the Semitic legacy carried into Europe by Christianity. There is a straight lineage from Moses' Chosen People to Hitler's Herrenvolk (superior people). The radical division of mankind into the chosen insiders and the lost outsiders is very much present in this secular nationalism.... If we look at the basic points in the Nazi programme, we do not find anything there that can be traced to Germanic Paganism. ... Authoritarian political thought has nothing whatsoever to do with the Germanic tribal organization, which was largely democratic, with an elected king and a regular all-tribe assembly meeting. It had more to do with the secular organization of the Roman empire (which model had loomed large over the European polity all through the Christian period), which has also influenced the Church organization. ... The Nazi kind of nationalism was also of the Semitic kind. Rather than seeing the nation as one step on the ladder in the organizational hierarchy, below civilization and humanity, and above regional, tribal and family units, it denied this gradedness. Instead, it divided the world in outsiders and insiders, thus in principle opposing itself to the rest of the world, and imposed uniformity on the nation, discouraging all subnational groupings. Again, this exclusivistic and uniformist nationalism is opposed to the Pagan outlook...The dominance of monotheism has strongly promoted that single most essential trait of the monotheistic mind : simplistic crudeness. ... Their only concept of unity is to raze everything flat, then there will be no more difference and disunity, so that will be the realization of unity, equality etc.
  • In Pakistan, family planning is a joke. The responsible ministry is at present headed by a fundamentalist Muslim, Saddar Niazi, who boasts of being one of fifteen children. He has declared that the pressure for family planning was a holdover from the liberal secularism of Benazir Bhutto, and that he did not intend to implement the policies of a woman charged with corruption and overwhelmingly voted out in the 1990 election.265 His stand is not exceptional, rather it is the rule among Muslim governments. At any rate, Pakistan's birth rate stands at 3.2%, almost the doubt of India's. Indian Express, 12/12/1990.
  • However, as a citizen of a fully secular state, I strongly object to Mr .Abrahams minorityist statement. I have never heard of minorityism either as a term or as a concept somehow functional in our secular system. We do not give religious minorities a veto against decisions enacted by a democratic majority... In a secular democracy, the veto right of a religious minority is limited scrupulously to those decisions that directly the exercise of their religious freedom.
  • But I have heard of ten or so more people killed (and an unknown number injured) in communal violence during the 29 hours under consideration, in a very well-known incident : the shooting of unarmed Kar Sevaks in Ayodhya by the infantry of the ruling secularist sect, around noon on 30 October. In spite of mr. Jha's attempt to conceal it, most victims on his chosen day were Hindus, not Muslims.
  • In the forties, they opposed Partition, together with the Hindu Mahasabha. Everyone else ended up agreeing to it. Yet, in articles written then and today, you find that they are being accused, without any proof, of "provoking" Partition by "frightening" the Muslims into support for the Muslim League. Unbelievable: the only innocent ones are being made the culprits by the united front of culprits.
  • When reading the press reports about communal riots, one should make a distinction between two stages of riot reporting. The day after a riot breaks out, the press will just write what happened, in some detail. The report will be a little bit blurred by the obligatory usage of non-definite terms for the communities involved : "As members of one community passed through an area dominated by another community, stones were thrown at them", etc. But the experienced reader can mostly understand who is who... However, the editorials devoted to these instances of communal carnage are not interested in the details of the matter, and in their effort to allot guilt and suggest remedies, they often implicitly start from a riot scenario which is totally unsupported by the factual details that appeared in the first report.
  • The causes of two other riots are stated in the well-known indeterminate terminology: "Alleged misbehavior with a girl of the other community". but the two remaining riot causes, the only ones clearly saying which community was attacked (and leaving little doubt as to which community attacked), are these : "Stoning of Holi procession passing a place of worship", and "Alleged murder of the president of VHP, Kheda District, by persons belonging to other community". One might of course start blaming any possible (I hasten to prefix alleged) provocative slogans uttered by the processionists and by that local VHP leader; but normally, people who start the violence, like throwing stones or committing murder, are held responsible for these acts, and at least partly responsible for the reactive violence which they may trigger. It is humanly quite feasible to listen to objectionable and insulting slogans without having a knee-jerk reaction of throwing bombs. It is a free human decision to react with violence. At worst, slogans can be a reason for violence ; given human freedom, they can never be the cause. This fake excuse of the provocative slogans leading mechanically to stone-throwing and worse, is used routinely by biased reporters. For another example, on October 30 there was a riot in Bijnor, with officially 14 people killed, others say 55. A procession with about 100 women members of Durga Vahini had gone out to the Ghanta Ghar area. "There they raised communal slogans, resulting in stone-pelting and bomb-throwing." This cheap excuse for a pre-planned bomb attack is even contradicted by other information in the same article.... This case proves that newspapers keep on blaming the slogan-shouters even when it is crystal-clear from their own information that the violence was premeditated and engineered by the other side.
  • Indians may recall that such death sentences against people who have insulted the Prophet, have been carried out earlier this century: against Arya Samaj propagandists Swami Shraddhananda and Pandit Lekh Ram, and against Rajpal, the writer of the Rangila Rasool (more or less Playboy Mohammed). This was a book on the sex life of the Prophet and his wives, certainly insulting, and as a criticism of Islam rather beside the point, but understandable as a reaction against a similar vilifying Muslim pamphlet about Sita. These murders had the desired effect, for the Arya Samaj became less straightforward in its criticism of the Prophet.
  • There is in Chinese history one case of alleged religious persecution for purely economical reasons.So, the monasteries were abolished as a strictly institutional measure. The monks were not put to the sword, or forbidden to practice and teach Buddhism. It was simply not a case of religious persecution, which is a phenomenon quite alien to the entire Chinese civilization.
  • There is reason for suspicion against people who need to trample upon natural loyalties before they can establish their brotherhood. It is like a scorpion, who lifts his prey up from the ground and then stings. These natural social units are the ground under people's feet, and if you want to enlist them in your own power trip, you have to take them out of these natural units, and make them vulnerable to your claims on them, by isolating them.
  • It is quite possible to teach people universal values and awareness of the larger whole, without breaking open the existing divisions in society. Actually, calling clans and tribes a division conceals the fact that they are just as much units, levels of integration. Few buildings these days are built from one massive rock ; the normal thing to do is to integrate smaller units into bigger and yet bigger ones. The global civilization which we are building today, will not be made up of scattered individuals. Organizationally, it will be a hierarchy of intermediary levels of integration, a two- way combination of unity and diversity. The current revival of ethnicity throughout the world is just one example of man's natural resistance against atomization.
  • Moreover, on top of this undeniable political and legal discrimination, Hindus perceive a serious threat to the very existence of their culture and society, when they look across the borders and into the future. Their acute sensitivity to minorityism is strengthened by the perception that the minorities indulge in aggression against the Hindus wherever they get the chance, and that they are also growing stronger by the day.
  • When you consider the population trends in the Indian Subcontinent, it seems inevitable that Muslims will make up 50% of its population in less than eighty years. Extrapolating the trends within India, it will be less than fifty years until the Muslims are again 24% of the population, the percentage which in the forties was enough to enforce Partition. Add to that the millions- strong illegal Muslim immigration into India, which will only accelerate as population pressure increases in Pakistan and Bangla Desh. So, the majority status of the Hindus is by no means guaranteed. Moreover, the so- called minority is in fact the Indian department of a world-wide movement, from which it effectively gets moral and financial support.
  • In Bangla Desh the property of the Hindus has been threatened by the Enemy Property Act (the democratic caliber of Bangla Desh is poor, but it is quite certain that even otherwise, no majority would have come forward to prevent the enactment of this law).
  • The following is quoted as an example of distorted reporting in Pak papers : A wave of anti-Muslim riots has engulfed all corners of India these days and more than 50 cities are under curfew. Despite this, however, Muslims are being killed mercilessly...50 In India, this is something of a standard secularist column phrase on riots (see ch.11). And Aabha Dixit adds a comment on Pak reporting : The headlines only refer to the desecration of the Babri mosque. There is never a mention of the Hindus who fall to police bullets. Replace headlines with editorials, and this describes the situation in Indian secularist papers.
  • The foreign press has not added any extra facts or perspective to the reporting on Ayodhya. It has mostly copied the bias of the Indian press. Time Magazine gave a not too unbalanced report, but quoted two of the JNU historians without telling its readers that these are not neutral academics but highly involved parties in the controversy.
  • In his article "Why the riots always start with attack on Hindus" (Organiser, 13/1/1991), P.S. Yog builds a strong case for the assumption made in the title. He also quotes F.K. Khan Durrani (Meaning of Pakistan) saying : "The creation of Pakistan was necessary as a base for conquering the rest of India", and Jayaprakash Narayan remarking that the aim of communal riots seemed to be to secure a second partition of the country.
  • The secularists have been very unfair in their writings on the Hindutva movement, when they ascribed to it a grand design of a theocratic Hindu state. In bracketing theocratic with Hindu, they displayed their contemptuous willful ignorance about Hinduism; but the more important point is that they were wrong in ascribing any grand design to the Hindutva movement.
  • By placing the free choice of the individual above the duties or dogmas imposed by religion, secularism has done enough to emancipate man from religion. Man can choose a religious view or commitment rather than having it imposed on him. In that sense, secularism does not mean anti-religious activism. It only means subjecting religion to human choice, which was revolutionary enough in the European context of Church power trying to impose itself... So, secularism as a political term means : neutrality of the government in religious matters. That is all. Secularism does not mean that the state promotes one belief system, it means that the state limits itself to guaranteeing the individual's freedom to find out about these matters for himself. That at least is the correct meaning of the term "secularism" as it has historically developed in the West, in a period when individual freedom was considered the topmost value. If one chooses secularism as a component for a state system, it remains to be seen how this fundamental concept is worked out in the details of a secular Constitution, but that state neutrality and respect for the individual's intellectual and religious freedom should be the spirit of such a Constitution, is certain.
  • If in secular Europe, the pope speaks out against the Scorsese film on Jesus' temptations, without even trying to pressure governments to ban it, the European secularist press, as if to pre-empt any suggestion of a ban, makes it quite clear that there can be no question of anyhow restricting the public's access to the film. If people don't want to see it, let them not go see it. That is their freedom, like it is other people's freedom to go see it, unimpeded by papal or governmental bans... In Europe, we have come to protect our constitutional freedoms, and hardly any bigot will even think of either seriously campaigning for a ban or using violence to punish people who show interest in the material to which he objects. All right, there was a bomb attack on a movie theater showing the Temptation film. But the culprit was simply caught and put in jail. Nobody has suggested that we should ban the film in order to avert violence. If at all there is a threat of violence, then there are no two opinions about the duty of the state to uphold the constitutional freedoms, and to prevent terror-mongers from dictating who can see what.
  • Of course, it is only in the crassest propaganda literature that the Brahmins are dominant and therefore rich. According to a survey in Karnataka in the late seventies, Brahmins were the poorest community there. In a district in Andhra, 55% of the Brahmins lived below the poverty line, substantially more than the local as well as the national average.
  • It is again the secularists who, with their anti-Hindu propensities have laid the blame for Sikh separatism at the door of those Hindus who restate the demon- strable historical truth that Sikhs are nothing but a Hindu sect. Assimilative communalism, they call it. When Hindu historians point out the radical and irreducible difference between Hinduism and the closed monotheistic creeds like Islam, they are dubbed communalists; but when the same people point out the radical sameness of Sikhism and other varieties of Hinduism, then for that they are again dubbed communalists.
  • The second damage that has been done, with full co- operation of the secularists, is that the status of Sikhism as a separate religion has become firmly established in the minds of many Sikhs. This separate status is entirely a British fabrication, later amplified by Sikh who, like many Hindus, had come to think that being a Hindu is a shameful thing. The Sikhs have always been one of Hinduism’s many panths (sects). The claim to being a separate religion, which is now being propped up in many anti-Hindu books, has been conclusively disposed of by Rajendra Singh Nirala, an ex-granthi who came to realize that what the Akalis told him was not the same as what he used to recite from the Granth.
  • K.P. Agrawal took the trouble of counting how may hundreds of times Hindu names and concepts, like Parambrahma, Omkara, Veda, Hari, appear in the Guru Granth. "Ram" figures about 2400 times.

Negationism in India, (1992)

  • In India, the negationists have managed what European negationists can only dream of: turn the tables on honest historians and marginalize them. People who have specialized in adapting history to the party-line, are lecturing others about the political abuse of history. By contrast, genuine historians who have refused to tamper with the record of Islam (like Jadunath Sarkar, R.C. Majumdar, K.S. Lal) are held us as examples of communalist historywriting in textbooks which are required reading in all history departments in India.
  • But the negationists are not satisfied with seeing their own version of the facts being repeated in more and more books and papers. They also want to prevent other versions from reaching the public. Therefore, in 1982 the National Council of Educational Research and Training issued a directive for the rewriting of schoolbooks. Among other things, it stipulated that: "Characterization of the medieval period as a time of conflict between Hindus and Muslims is forbidden." Under Marxist pressure, negationism has become India's official policy.
  • India has its own full-fledged brand of negationism: a movement to deny the large-scale and long-term crimes against humanity committed by Islam. This movement is led by Islamic apologists and Marxist academics, and followed by all the politicians, journalists and intellectuals who call themselves secularists. In contrast to the European negationism regarding the Nazi acts of genocide, but similar to the Turkish negationism regarding the Armenian genocide, the Indian negationism regarding the terrible record of Islam is fully supported by the establishment. It has nearly full control of the media and dictates all state and government parlance concerning the communal problem (more properly to be called the Islam problem).
  • Negationism and history-distortion require a large-scale effort and a very strong grip on the media of information and education. As soon as the grip loosens, at least the most blatant of the negationist concoctions are bound to be exposed, and its propounders lose all credibility. In 1988, the schools in the Soviet Union decided to suspend the history exams because "the history books are full of lies anyway". The great lies and distortions of Soviet historiography are now items in the gallery of ridicule.... Just like the Russians have thrown Soviet historiography into the dustbin, Indian negationism will also be thrown out in the near future.
  • Of course I have nothing to do with racism and xenophobia, and I have my life-story to prove it. Given the democratic slump in Europe, I am convinced that a measured and carefully monitored immigration is necessary. My hometown is host to people from every country, and I have a lot of foreign friends, mostly Indian and Chinese. So, I am not at all against immigrants, and I have personally helped some to integrate or to get naturalized as citizens of my country. But my criticism of Islam stands: Islam is intrinsically separatist and hostile to neighbour communities.
  • In my study of the Ayodhya controversy, I noticed that the frequent attempts to conceal or deny inconvenient evidence were an integral part of a larger effort to rewrite India's history and to whitewash Islam. It struck me that this effort to deny the unpleasant facts of Islam's destructive role in Indian history is similar to the attempts by some European writers to deny the Nazi holocaust. Its goal and methods are similar, even though its social position is very different: in Europe, Holocaust negationists are a fringe group shunned by respectable people, but in India, jihad negationists are in control of the academic establishment and of the press.
  • The Islamic reports on the massacres of Hindus, destruction of Hindu temples, the abduction of Hindu women and forced conversions, invariably express great glee and pride... European negationists applaud Hitler's reign and deny its horrors. Indian negationists eulogize Islamic rule and deny its millionfold murders and the catastrophe it wrought in Indian cultural, political and religious life.
  • Without really noticing, the Western press has become the mouth-piece of the Marxist-Muslim alliance which dictates political parlance in India. I assume only a few frontline journalists are conscious participants in the ongoing disinformation campaign.
  • These days, reporting on the communal in situation in India consists in highlighting the splinter in the Hindu eye and concealing the beam in the Muslim eye. At the time of the 1991 Lok Sabha elections, the German left-leaning weekly Der Spiegel summarized the communal riots in independent India as follows: "Since 1947, Indian statisticians have counted 11,000 riots with 12,000 Muslim victims." Hindu victims are not even mentioned, as if you were reading a fundamentalist paper like Muslim India or Radiance.
  • It is always easy to blame the state and the men in uniform. But Islamic terror essentially does not emanate from uniforms and state power, but from a belief system which even the ordinary people have been fed. That is why a lot of Islamic terror never gets recorded by human-rights organizations like Amnesty International. A Christian Pakistani friend complained to me that Amnesty had not spoken out against the religious persecutions in his homeland, even when these are a grim and undeniable reality. The fact is that much of this persecution and discrimination is not ordered by the state (the type of culprit with which Amnesty is familiar), but is a spontaneous attitude among sections of the Muslim population, egged on by nothing except the omnipresent Islamic doctrine.
  • Nehru's absolute refusal to support the Tibetans even at the diplomatic level when they were overrun by the Chinese army, cannot just be attributed to circumstances or the influence of collaborators: his hand-over of Tibet to communist China was quite consistent with his own political convictions.
  • There is no Schopenhauer anymore who dares to speak openly of the contrast between the humane philosophies of South and East Asia and the barbaric fanaticism taught and practised by Mohammed.
  • The pogroms in Pakistan and Bangladesh after the demolition of the Babri Masjid left 50,000 Hindus homeless in Bangladesh and triggered another wave of refugees from both countries towards India. In Pakistan, 245 Hindu temples were demolished, in Bangladesh a similar number was attacked, and even in England some temples were set on fire by Muslim mobs.
  • This sophisticated verbiage cannot conceal that the book's approach is merely the standard secularist version propagated by Indian establishment historians since decades. There is nothing new and provocative about a book that claims to explain communalism without touching on its single most important determinant, viz. the doctrine laid down in Islamic scripture, and that blurs the clear-cut process of India's communalization by Islam with the help of scapegoats like colonialism.
  • The Ayodhya conflict offers a good examples of the absurd standards applied by reporters. A Hindu sacred site, back in use as a Hindu temple (since 1949 with, since 1986 without restrictions) after centuries of Muslim occupation, is claimed by Muslim leaders, who also insist on continuing the occupation of two other sacred sites in Mathura and Kashi (and numerous other sites which the Hindu leaders are not even claiming back). Claiming the right to occupy other communities' sacred sites: if this is not fanatical, I don't know what is. Yet, the whole world press is one the side of the Muslims, and decries a Hindu plan to build proper temple architecture on the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya as fanatical. These are not just double standards, but inverted standards.
  • The unanimous and entirely coherent testimony that the wars in Hindustan were religious wars of Muslims against Kafirs is a different matter altogether: denying this testimony is not a matter of small adjustments, but of replacing the well-attested historical facts with their diametrical opposite.
  • Imagine the shrieks and howls in the secularists media in case of such a clear rejection of Islam's pretences, and you will understand why Hindu leaders shy away from it. But let then pause and think: is not braving the pandemonium of secularist indignation preferable to (self-) censoring the truth about Hindu society's mortal enemy? The European humanists (deists as well as atheists) who attacked the power position of Christianity, were very clear about their objective: Ecrasez l'Infame!
  • When negationists are confronted with the evidence of persecutions by Islam, they are sure to mention a few cases where Muslim rulers patronized the building of Hindu temples. In some cases this is deceitful: in the JNU historians' pamphlet "The Political Abuse of History", they mention three such cases, but on closer inspection two of them do not concern Muslim rulers, but their Hindu ministers (in his rebuttal, Prof. A.R. Khan called this "not only concealment of evidence but also distortion of evidence"). But all right, a few Muslim rulers have made gifts to Hindu institutions. The negationists insist that these few gifts make up for the systematic Islamic persecutions. By contrast, their blatantly unequal standards do not allow them to accept the systematic patronage of the institutions of Buddhists and Jains by Hindu kings through the ages as compensation for the few isolated and aberrant cases of religious conflict.
  • The extreme ignorance and gullibility of the foreign press provides the negationists with a strategic cover. Most English-knowing Indians believe that the Western intelligentsia is more objective and competent, and they keep on believing this even in domains where the West is completely ignorant and incomponent. So the negationists feel supported in the back by an outside world which they can manipulate but which many in India still consider as a standard of truth. If the Hindu leadership had taken the trouble of studying the mental determinants of India's political configuration, it would have blown this cover away by spreading first-hand information to the foreign media, and educating them about the Stalinist-Islamic grip on the Indian establishment... And so, Western India-watchers go on licking the boots of the aggressor, and keep on twisting contemporary news in the media, and to a lesser extent even historical facts in academic publications, to the advantage of the Muslim side. They have not invented the Indian brand of negationism, but they are amplifying and fortifying it.
  • The ideal of Pakistan was launched by Iqbal in 1930, and in 1940 it became the official political goal of the Muslim League. Aligarh Muslim University has often been described as the cradle of Pakistan. From their better knowledge of and appreciation for modern culture, the Aligarh thinkers accepted the modern value of religious tolerance. Not to the extent that they would be willing to co-exist with the Hindus in a single post-colonial state, but at least to this extent that they wanted to do something about the image of intolerance which Islam had come to carry. Around 1920 Aligarh historian Mohammed Habib launched a grand project to rewrite the history of the Indian religious conflict.
  • Mohammed Habib's excise in history-rewriting cannot stand the test of historical criticism on any score... The unanimous and entirely coherent testimony that the wars in Hindustan were religious wars of Muslims against Kafirs is a different matter altogether: denying this testimony is not a matter of small adjustments, but of replacing the well-attested historical facts with their diametrical opposite. Habib tried to absolve the ideology (Islam) of the undeniable facts of persecution and massacre of the Pagans by blaming individuals (the Muslims). The sources however point to the opposite state of affairs: Muslim fanatics were merely faithful executors of Quranic injunctions. Not the Muslims are guilty, but Islam.
  • Within one century after Columbus' arrival, the entire native American population of the Caribbean islands was exterminated, probably 8 million people. In continental Latin America, only 12 million people survived after a century of colonization - while the population in 1492 is estimated at up to 90 million. True, many died because of new diseases which the colonizers had involuntarily brought with them, and many died not by massacre but under the hardships of slavery (which also happened to many prisoners in the Nazi work camps), but the number of literally massacred people still amounted to millions. In North America too, the 2 million native inhabitants of Patagonia (southern Chile and Argentina) were gradually but systematically killed to the last, as were all the inhabitants of Tasmania in a single campaign, and most of the aboriginals of Australia: in these cases, the genocide was entirely intentional.
  • The extermination of native populations in America and Oceania by Christians could not have taken place on the same scale if those populations had not been Pagans. Modern Christians claim that not the missionaries but the uneducated and un-Christian gold-seekers were responsible for the plight of the native Americans; but even if we disregard the destructive role played by many misionaries, the fact remains that even the most illiterate Christian adventure remembered one thing from his Christian upbringing, viz. that Pagans are inferior to Christians and that in dealing with them, different ethical standards apply. Intra-Christian wars were never that extreme, and the worst wars in Christian Eruope before the secularization of politics in the 18th-19th century was precisely religious wars against Pagans or heretics: the war of the Teutonic Knights against the Baltic Pagans (ending in the annihilation of Paganism by the 15th century), the Crusade against the Manichean Cathar sect in southern France (1209-29, an intentional genocide), the "thirty years' war" between Catholic and Prostestant powers (1618-48, killing 5 million Germans, one third of the population).
  • Of the Gypsies, at least 400,000 were killed in the same annihilation camps as the Jews, and some more Gypsies were killed in ordinary massacres. It is remarkable that the Gypsies are hardly ever mentioned in connection with the Nazi extermination campaign, as are the estimated 6 million Russians who died in Nazi captivity (apart from another 20 million Russians who died in war circumstances). Then again, it is only natural: all people who have suffered, complain of (or at least notice) a general lack of interest from outsiders in their experiences. The remarkable thing is rather the enormous attention which has been given to the genocide committed on the Jews.
  • It should be borne in mind that the number of people killed by the Soviet regime between 1917 and 1985 is estimated at between 34 million (on the basis of official figures) and 67 million (according to Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn). In the same order of magnitude we find Tse-tung's number of victims (some 30 million), during the communist take-over, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Till today, there is a Chinese Gulag archipelago in the occupied territories of Tibet (including Chinghai), East-Turkestan and Inner Mongolia.
  • For a scientist, the place where findings are published, or the name of the author, or any other social circumstances of their publication, are of absolutely no consequence to the correctness of their contents. Only for party-line historians like those of JNU,, who count more on power positions than on facts to convince people, the argument of authority is all-important. So, if in my book I have chosen to analyze at length (and partly repeat) the arguments given in the course of a debate conducted on the opinion page of the Indian Express, this does not in any way diminish the value of these arguments. I cannot help it that a number of the documents, facts and insights presented by people like Prof. A.R. Khan, Prof. Harsh Narain and Mr. A.K. Chatterjee, have been ignored in nicely published books by prestigious authors like the JNU historians, Prof. R.S. Sharma and Mr. A.A. Engineer. So I prefer genuine facts published to cheap paper to the distortions on the shiny paper of Prof. Gopal's own book.
  • My position, that a Hindu sacred place should simply be left to the Hindus, will be shared by any unbiased person: it is a natural insight not needing any "influencing", to approve a community's right to its own traditional sacred places.
  • This first volume also contains a list of over 200 temples destroyed in Bandgladesh in November 1989 under pretext of protest against the Shilanyas (laying of the first stone) ceremony of the prospective Rama temple in Ayodhya. Muslims have raised a hue and cry over the demolition of the Babri Masjid (which they had not used since decades), but few outsiders seem to realize that destruction of the religious places of minorities is a routine affair in Islamic states...
  • Harsh Narain,... presents four pieces of testimony for the local tradition... One of these testimonies narrowly escaped oblivion: it was part of a manuscript that was recently published as a book by a Muslim foundation, which decided to omit the chapter containing the inconvenient testimony. Fortunately, a descendant of the author had the controversial chapter published separately. A similar story is told in greater detail by Arun Shourie (sacked in 1990 as Indian Express editor after exposing V.P.Singh's deal with secularists like imam Bukhari) about yet another piece of Muslim testimony for the pre-existence of a Rama temple at the Babri Masjid site. A book mentioning this tradition had been published in tempore non suspecto, but recently efforts had been made to get back all the copies from places where unbelievers might get access to it.
  • Whatever the mistakes committed by the Hindu Ayodhya movement on the ground, at the intellectual level it is a struggle for truth and honesty, against attempts (some petty, some high-handed) to falsify history. On the other hand, the stand taken by leading negationist historians in this debate wil be studied in the future as a classic in latter-day Marxist history falsification.
  • Making people believe in a history of Hindu-Muslim amity is not an easy task: the number of victims of the persecutions of Hindus by Muslims is easily of the same order of magnitude as that of the Nazi extermination policy, though no one has yet made the effort of tabulating the reported massacres and proposing a reasonable estimate of how many millions exactly must have died in the course of the Islamic campaign against Hinduism (such research is taboo). On top of these there is a similar number of abductions and deportations to harems and slave-markets, as well as centuries of political oppression and cultural destruction.
  • The last jihad against the Hindus before the full establishment of British rule was waged by Tipu Sultan at the end of the 18th century. In the rebellion of 1857, the near-defunct Muslim dynasties (Moghuls, Nawabs) tried to curry favour with their Hindu subjects and neighbours, in order to launch a joint effort to re-establish their rule. For instance, the Nawab promised to give the Hindus the Ram Janmabhoomi/Babri Masjid site back, in an effort to quench their anti-Muslim animosity and redirect their attention towards the new common enemy from Britain. This is the only instance in modern history when Muslims offered concessions to the Hindus; after that, all the concessions made for the sake of communal harmony were a one-way traffic from Hindu to Muslim.
  • As soon as the British drew them into the political process (founding of Muslim League in 1906) in order to use them as a counter-weight against the Indian National Congress, they immediately made heavy and hurtful demands on the Hindus, such as the unlimited right to slaughter cows, and they started working for political separation. First they obtained separate electorates where Muslim candidates would only have to please Muslim voters, and later they would succeed in separating a Muslim state from India. By the twenties, they took to the unscrupled use of muscle power in a big way, creating street riots and outright pogroms.
  • In the first months of 1990, the entire Hindu population (about 2 lakhs) was forcibly driven from the Kashmir Valley, which used to be advertised as a showpiece of communal harmony. Muslim newspapers and mosque loudspeakers had warned the Hindus to leave the valley or face bullets.
  • The Aligarh school has been emulated on a large scale. Soon its torch was taken over by Marxist historians, who were building a reputation for unscrupled history-rewriting in accordance with the party-line.
  • To explain the popularity of the myth even among local Muslim writers in the 19th century, most of them say it was a deliberate British concoction, spread in the interest of the divide and rule- policy. They affirm this conspiracy scenario without anyhow citing, from the copious archives which the British administration in India has left behind, any kind of positive indication for their convenient hypothesis - let alone the rigorous proof on which a serious historian would base his assertions, especially in such controversial questions.
  • In their pamphlets and books, the negationists simply kept on ignoring most or all of this evidence, defiantly disregarding historical fact as well as academic deontology.
  • The concluding paragraph of A.K.Sinha's rebuttal to Irfan Habib's speech points out the contradiction between the earlier work of even Marxist historians about ancient India (in which they treat the epics as sources of history, not mere fable) and their recent Babri-politicized stand: "Today, even taking the name of Mahabharata and Ramayana is considered as anti-national and communal by the communist leaders, Babri Masjid Action Committee historians and the pseudo-secularists. What do they propose to do with all that has been published so far in [this] context by the Marxists themselves, notably D.D. Kosambi, R.S. Sharma, Romila Thapar, K.M. Shrimali, D.N. Jha and others? I have been thinking about the behavious of our Marxist friends and historians, their unprovoked slander campaign against many colleagues, hurling abuses and convicting anyone and everyone even before the charges could be framed and proved. Their latest target is [so] sobre and highly respected a person as prof. B.B. Lal, who has all his life (now he is nearing 70) never involved himself in petty politics or in the groupism [which is] so favourite a sport among the so- called Marxist intellectuals of this country. But then [slander] is a well-practised art among the Marxists."
  • Subsequently, instead of entering the ring, attacking or countering their opponents' case with positive evidence of their own, the challengers set themselves up as judges of the other side's argumentation. This is indeed reminiscent of the negationist Institute for Historical Review announcing a prize for whomever could prove that the Holocaust had taken place.
  • More Marxist wisdom we encounter in Romila Thapar's theory (in her contribution to S. Gopal's book on the Ayodhya affair, Anatomy of a Confrontation) that the current Hindu movement wants to unite all Hindus, not because the Hindus feel besieged by hostile forces, not because they have a memory of centuries of jihad, but because "a monolithic religion is more compatible with capitalism" (to borrow the formulation of a reviewer). She thinks that the political Hindu movement is merely a concoction by Hindu capitalists, or in her own words "part of the attempt to redefine Hinduism as an ideology for modernization by the middle class", in which "modernization is seen as linked to the growth of capitalism". She reads the mind behind the capitalist conspiracy to reform Hinduism thus: "Capitalism is often believed to thrive among Semitic religions such as Christianity and Islam. The argument would then run that if capitalism is to succeed in India, then Hinduism would also have to be moulded in a Semitic form". It is always interesting to see how Communists presuppose the superiority of Hinduism by denouncing Hindu militancy as the semiticization or islamization of Hinduism. But the point is that the political mobilization of Hindu society under the increasing pressure of hostile forces is explained away as merely a camouflage of economic forces. One smiles about such simplistic subjection of unwilling facts of Marxist dogma. Especially because such analyses were still being made in 1991, and are still being made today: in India it has not yet dawned on the dominant intelligentsia that Marxism has failed not only as a political and economical system, but also as a socialogical model of explanation. On the contrary, Indian Marxists even manage to make foreign correspondents for non-Marxist media swallow their analysis, e.g. after the Babri Masjid demolition, even the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Seitung explained Hindu fundamentalism in the same socio-economical terms, complete with urban traders who are looking for an identity etc. Incidentally, Romila Thapar is right in observing that certain Hindu revivalists ae trying to "find parallels with the Semitic religions as if these parallels are necessary for the future of Hinduism" (though her attempt to force the Ram Janmabhoomi movement into this mould, with Rama being turned into a prophet and the Ramayana into the sole revealed Scripture etc., is completely unfounded and another pathetic case of trying to force unwilling facts into a pre- conceived scheme). She sounds like favouring a renewed emphasis on "the fact that the religious experience of Indian civilization and of religious sects which are bunched together under the label of Hindu are distinctively different from that of the Semitic". It is true that some Hindu revivalist movements have tried to redefine Hinduism in terms borrowed from monotheism, with rudiments of notions like an infallible Scripture (back to the Vedas: the Arya Samaj), iconoclastic monotheism (Arya Samaj, Akali neo-Sikhs), or a monolithic hierarchic organization (the RSS). But the reason for this development cannot with any stretch of the imagination be deduced from the exigencies of capitalism. An honest analysis of this tendency in Hinduism to imitate the Christian-Islamic model will demonstrate that a psychology of tactical imitation as a way of self-defence against these aggressive Semitic religions was at work. The tendency cannot possibly be reduced to the socio- economical categories dear to Marxism, but springs from the terror which Islam (not fedualism or capitalism, but Islam) had struck in the Hindu mind, and which was subsequently fortified with an intellectual dimension by the Christian missionary propaganda against primitive polytheism. Those Hindus who were waging the struggle for survival against the Islamic and Christian onslaught have come to resemble their enemies a bit, and have interiorized a lot of the aggressors' contempt for typical Hindu things, such as idol- worship, doctrinal pluralism, social decentralization. It is for Hindu society to reflect on whether this imitation was the right course, and whether it has not been self- defeating in some respects.
  • Since the 1950s the history market is being flooded with publications conveying the negationist version to a greater or lesser extent. The public is fed negationist TV serials like The Sword of Tipu Sultan, an exercise in whitewashing the arch-fanatic last Muslim ruler. Most general readers and many serious students only get to know about Indian history through negationist glasses.
  • When the Khumar Rouge were in power, less that 1,000 of the 65,000 Buddhist monks managed to survive : what did the Indian Marxists (card- carrying and other) say then?
  • The article effectively obeys the negationist directive that "characterization of the medieval period as a time of Hindu- Muslim conflict is forbidden".
  • It also contains blissful nonsense about communal amity in places where the original sources only mention enmity. Thus, it says that Bahmani sultan Tajuddin Firuz extracted tribute payments and the hand of the king's daughter from the Hindu bastion Vijayanagar after two military campaigns, and that this resulted in "the establishment of an apparently amicable relationship between the two rulers". Jawaharlal Nehru considered the induction of Hindu women in Muslim harems as the cradle of composite culture (his euphemism for Hindu humiliation), but it is worse if even the venerable Encyclopedia considers the terms of debate as a sign of friendship. At any rate, the article goes on to observe naively that peace lasted only for ten years, when Vijaynagar forces inflicted a crushing defeat on Firuz. In this case, the more circumspect form of negationism is at work: keeping the inconvenient facts out of the readers' view, and manipulating the terminology.
  • But the viewers were not told where Romila Thapar stands, they were led to believe that this was a neutral observer who had been asked for an objective explanation. The same thing has happened a number of times in both Time Magazine and Newsweek: Bipan Chandra, Romila Thapar and their comrades get quoted as if they are non-partisan authorities. Though anti-Communist in their general reporting, when it comes to India, these papers (unknowingly?) present the Marxists' viewpoint as objective in-depth background information.
  • The very fact that Muslims in India loudly complain about their situation (e.g. about their low educational level, which is 100% the fault of their own mullahs), proves that they are relatively well-off: as I have had the occasion to observe, Hindu visitors or refugees from Pakistan often do not dare to speak of the horrible conditions in which they are forced to live under Muslim rule, because they fear for their relatives, and because the constant terror has conditioned them never to raise any objections against the Muslim master race. Inside these Muslim states, the remaining Hindus are even more careful never to displease the Muslim masters. For unthinking journalists, their silence is proof that all is well for the minorities in Muslim states, and so they prefer to listen to the vocal malcontents who air the Muslim grievances in tolerant India. Whoever shouts loudest, will get our correspondents' attention, if only because India reporting is mostly of a very low professional quality.
  • Without really noticing, the Western press has become the mouth-piece of the Marxist-Muslim alliance which dictates political parlance in India. I assume only a few frontline journalists are conscious participants in the ongoing disinformation campaign....Regardless of the moral quality of such distortive reporting, it goes to show to what extent the negationist faction in the Indian media has managed to picture the Hindus as the bad guys in the eyes of the world.
  • A few more examples of how Western India-watchers swallow Indian secularist disinformation. The pro-Ram Janmabhoomi demonstration in Delhi on 4 April 1991 was not reported in 99% of the Western papers and electronic news channels. I have inquired among journalists about what they had received on their telexes concerning the largest-ever demonstration in the biggest democracy in the world. It turned out that these had mentioned 3 lakh demonstrators (when even the government-controlled police had given the estimate of 8 lakh), and not made the object of the demonstration clear at all. The Indian sources had deliberately blurred and minimized the information, so that the Western media had, in good faith, not deemed it worth mentioning.
  • Foreign correspondents in Delhi should realize that the Indian media and academia are entirely untrustworthy when it comes to reporting on the Hindu-Muslim conflict. When you report the truth about the democratic opposition in China or Tibet, you don't copy the People's Daily.. So, when you want to understand the Hindu backlash, you don't believe strictly partisan sources like the Times of India, or party-line historians like those from JNU or AMU.
  • Many foreign groups of people persecuted for their religion came to seek reguge in India. The Parsis have thrived. The heterodox Syrian Christians have lived in peace until the Portuguese came to enlist them in their effort to christianize India. The Jews have expressed their gratitude when they left for Israel because India was the only country where their memories were not of persecution but of friendly co-existence. Even the Moplah Muslims were accepted without any questions asked. All these groups were not merely tolerated, but received land and material support for building places of worship.
  • Among those who like to say that "all are equally guilty", we also find the Christian missionaries. They too have a history of persecutions and temple destructions to cover up, not only in Europe and America, but in India as well. The Portuguese organized a branch of the Inquisition in Goa, and they practised conversion by force on a large scale. The French and British missionaries were less brutal, often resorting to subversion tactics and inducement by means of material advantages for converts, but they too have a record of temple destructions in India. Hundreds of churches contain rubble of the Hindu temples which they replaced. We may look a bit more closely into one case which sums it all up: the Saint Thomas church on Mylapore beach in Madras. According to Christian leaders in India, the apostle Thomas came to India in 52 AD, founded the Syrian Christian church, and was killed by the fanatical Brahmins in 72 AD. Near the site of his martyrdom, the Saint Thomas church was built. In fact this apostle never came to India, and the Christian community in South India was founded by a merchant Thomas Cananeus in 345 AD ( a name which readily explains the Thomas legend ). He led 400 refugees who fled persecution in Persia and were given asylum by the Hindu authorities. In Catholic universities in Europe, the myth of the apostle Thomas going to India is no longer taught as history, but in India it is still considered useful. Even many vocal secularists who attack the Hindus for relying on myth in the Ayodhya affair, off-hand profess their belief in the Thomas myth. The important point is that Thomas can be upheld as a martyr and the Brahmins decried as fanatics. In reality, the missionaries were very disgruntled that these damned Hindus refused to give them martyrs (whose blood is welcomed as the seed of the faith), so they had to invent one. Moreover, the church which they claim commemorates Saint Thomas' martyrdom at the hands of Hindu fanaticism, is in fact a monument of Hindu martyrdom at the hands of Christian fanaticism: it is a forcible replacement of two important Hindu temples (Jain and Shaiva), whose existence was insupportable to Christian missionaries. No one knows how many priests and worshippers were killed when the Christian soldiers came to remove the curse of Paganism from Mylapore beach. Hinduism doesn't practise martyr-mongering, but if at all we have to speak of martyrs in this context, the title goes to these Shiva-worshippers and not to the apostle Thomas.
  • One could understand people telling lies when it serves their own interest; but people who tell lies when it is the truth that would serve their interest, really deserve to be kicked around. This truly strange and masochistic behaviour can only be understood if we keep in mind that Hindu society is a terorized society. During the Muslim period, all those who stood up and spoke out against Islam were eliminated; and under Nehruvian rule, they were sidelined and abused. The oppressed Hindus started licking the boot that kicked them, and this has become a habit which in their slumber they have not yet identified and stopped.
  • "Those who deny history are bound to repeat it": that is what many critics of Holocaust negationism allege. This seems slightly exaggerated, though it is of course the well- wishers of Nazism who practise negationism. In the case of Islam, it is equally true that negationism is practised by the well-wishers of that same doctrine which has led to the crimes against humanity under consideration. While Nazism is simply too stained to get a second chance, Islam is certainly in a position to force unbelievers into the zimmi status (as is happening in dozens of Muslim countries in varying degrees), and even to wage new jihads, this time with weapons of mass-destruction. Those who are trying to close people's eyes to this danger by distorting or concealing the historical record of Islam are effective accomplices in the injustice and destruction which Islam is sure to cause before the time of its dissolution comes. Therefore, I consider it a duty of all intellectuals to expose and denounce the phenomenon of negationism whenever it is practised.
  • As we might expect from Marxists who seek to mould rather than inform public opinion, this listing of evidence has been done with some editing.
  • It is obvious that an inscription of this quality, if it had been cited in support of the Hindu claim to the Babri Masjid Ram Janmabhoomi site, would have been dismissed by the Marxist historians as ridiculous and totally groundless. They would not view it as a serious obstacle to their foregone conclusion that there is absolutely definitely no indication whatsover at all that a Hindu temple was forcibly replaced with a mosque. But in this case, we are asked to see it as evidence that Shaivas attacked Jain temples, and that Hindu tolerance is a myth.
  • The fact that Islam sits lightly on most Muslims in Indonesia, has not prevented a hard core to display the patented behaviour pattern of Islam. In Irian Jaya (West New Guinea), the Papua tribals are overrun by immigrant Muslims from Java. Many of them have already been converted by force or social pressure. In ex-Portuguese East Timor, which Indonesia has annexed against the United Nations' will, massacres of Christians or Animist natives by Muslim immigrants and soldiers have happened on a large scale. In Bali, the Hindus are not exactly persecuted, but Muslim immigrants from Java have acquired the positions of power. By the standards which Indian Muslims use to measure "discrimination against the minorities", the Hindus of Bali could claim that they are discriminated against. Nevertheless, the situation in most of Indonesia still seems to be much better than in Bangladesh (let alone Pakistan), and the communities live together rather peacefully. But it has taken tough rulers to uphold this relatively stable pluralism.
  • After independence, the Islamic persecution of Hindus has continued in different degrees of intensity, in Pakistan, Bangla Desh and Kashmir (as well as heavy discrimination in Malaysia). This is not the place for detailing these facts, which the international media have been ignoring completely. What may cut short all denials of this continued pestering of Hindus in Muslim states, are the resulting migration figures: in 1948, Hindus formed 23% of the population of Bangla Desh (then East Pakistan), in 1971 the figure was down to 15%, and today it stands at about 8%. No journalist or human rights body goes in to ask the minority Hindus for their opinion about the treatment they get from the Muslim authorities and populations; but they vote with their feet.
  • Not satisfied with denying the crimes of Islam, the negationists have recently made a big effort to spread the notion that Hinduism itself is guilty of just the same things of which it accuses Islam.... A handful of negationist historians have tried to substantiate the allegations against Hinduism and spared no effort to collect instances of Hindus acts of persecution.

Indigenous Indians: Agastya to Ambedkar (1993)

  • The expansion of the kurgan culture over Europe, in three successive waves, is fairly well-attested archaeologically. About the supposed spread of the Indo-Europeans to India and Iran, Mrs. Gimbutas does not give details, and in the extant literature no archeaologically supported scenario of the Asian movement of the Indo-Europeans is available, the way we have mapped their spreading into Europe. On the contrary, when it comes to Asia, we find even the topmost indo-europeanists relying on the outdated theories à la Mortimer Wheeler, the chief proponent of the “Aryans destroyed Harappa” scenario, without fully checking the factual basis of these theories... While the Indo-European expansion in Europe is being researched thoroughly, their presence in Asia is still perceived through the misty glasses of outdated but uncritically accepted hypotheses, Much of current thinking on early Indo-European history in Asia is a projection of the better-known patterns of their expansion in the Balkan.
    • Indigenous Indians, Elst K. , 1993:20-21
  • “The Islamic doctrine of slavery was closely linked with the doctrine of the inescapable struggle between believers and unbelievers… and Pagans were routinely sold into slavery if they had the misfortune of being captured by Muslims.”
    • Elst, Indigenous Indians, 375, 381. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
  • Until Mr. Van Lysebeth shows an authentic Hindu source explaining these destructive historical references as the real meaning of the elements of the Vedic sacrifice, 1 would describe his suspicion that “Indians are careful not to tell us”, as a good example of interpretative delusion, a common symptom in paranoia patients. ‘When someone is obsessed with a belief which is not well supported by reality, he starts giving distorted interpretations to ordinary events, e.g. seeing a genocide commemoration in an ordinary sacrifice ritual. The most lucid students of Vedic and other rituals have lately been emphasizing that rituals are not meant to “symbolize” anything in the first place. And if throwing grains into the fire symbolizes the destruction of someone else’s harvest, are we going to accept that all sacrifices of animals, flowers etc. in all the religions of the world prove that all the communities concerned have a history of genocide and that their commemorative rituals seem harmless only to the naive observer? Clearly, one of Mr. Van Lysebeth’s sources has been projecting his own ethno-paranoid notions onto normal religious practices which are merely the Vedic representatives of a world-wide tradition of ritual and sacrifice.
    • Indigenous Indians, Elst K. , 1993:13
  • All his invective against the “racist Brahmins” in the ensuing chapters is all based on a fond repetition of some hearsay from political agitators, without any scientific basis.
    • Indigenous Indians, Elst K. , 1993:27
  • Moreover, the majority of humanity belongs to nations who entered their present habitat less than 5000 years ago.,, Labelling inhabitants of 5 millennia as invaders is the most cranky form of irredentism ever enacted; it can have no place in serious political thought, and it is tells quite a story that such things are heard in India... ‘Trying to disprove that one’s ancestors migrated into their present habitat 5000 years ago, should be a strictly academic exercise with absolutely no political consequences for the present, if only because it is applicable to the majority of mankind, including many “natives” who have (by committing mostly unrecorded aggressions) displaced other natives. Unfortunately, India, with its sense of organic unity in disarray, is attracting vultures who have the effrontery to label the bulk of the Hindu population as invaders in order to justify their own imperialist or separatist schemes.
    • Indigenous Indians, Elst K. , 1993:66
  • Dr. Ambedkar has become a saint, and his opinions can now only be recited and quoted as final authority, but not subjected to any criticism on penalty of being dubbed "Brahminical reactionary".
    • Indigenous Indians, Elst K. , 1993:390
  • Dr. Ambedkar was a complex personality, not fit for simple glorification, nor of course for vilification. Undoubtedly, he was a very strong man, who stood his ground, and who rendered sterling services to the nation. On his intellectual achievements, our judgment will be more diversified.
  • He was essentially a Western-educated man, and had imbibed some of the condescending incomprehension so typical of westernized Natives. Yet, among this class of Western-educated Indians, there is hardly any who has to such extent freed himself from pervasive prejudices and fashionable beliefs, such as the claim of a racial basis of caste. Because he himself had suffered the humiliation which many caste Hindus kept on inflicting on the untouchables, it is not abnormal that he was intemperately bitter against Hinduism. Nevertheless, he remained loyal to Hinduism in the broad sense, and rejected eager offers to take his followers into mass conversion to soul- greedy and imperialist religions.
  • If we have uttered some criticism of his intellectual shortcomings regarding specific subjects, we could do so in a spirit of respect because we are also aware of his substantial intellectual qualities and merits, apart from his well-known political achievements for his country and his community. As an independent thinker, Dr. Ambedkar contrasts brightly with wind-bags like M.N. Roy and Jawaharlal Nehru, whose parrotting of fashionable slogans has not prevented them from remaining trendsetters for the secularist elite which is still ruling India. If he was not perfect in every respect, we would say that there is only so much which a man can do in a lifetime, so if a busy politician could not always find the time to seek out all the historical facts about complex subjects, it is really not abnormal.
  • This book contains some strong criticism of Church and missionary policies. For me personally, formulating this criticism has not been easy. I have missionaries in my family, and in a sociological sense, I am a member of the Catholic community in my country. Therefore, some of this will not go down well with people near and dear to me. Criticizing Islam, is simple, criticizing Christianity is more complicated, because my own relation with it is more com- plex, and because Christianity itself is a more complex doctrine and movement than Islam. However, Christianity in India is not the toothless, softened Christianity which I am familiar with, but has retained the aggressiveness and self-righteousness of the colonial period; and even the European Churches become a little bit aggres- sive again when advertising their work among the wretched Pagans of India. Therefore, I see no reason to mince words and to spare the Christian establishment when it comes to exposing its divisive and subversive role.
  • At the end of it, I for one, am not aware of any point at which the Invasionists could honesttly say: “This here, this proves the Aryan Invasion.” Being convinced of an Indian Urheimat is yet another matter. The case for considering the Vedic and the Harappan culture as instances of one and the same civilization is fairly strong, though much research remains to be done. But this does not necessarily imply that the Harappan culture was purely Indo-European, nor does it prove that the Harappan language was native to India. The case for placing the Indo-European Urheimat in northern India is still too outlandish to mention in decent company, but we cannot say that solid findings are available that conclusively refute it. On the contrary, it is the dominant South Russian Urheimat theory that finds itself unsupported by most types of evidence. The Indian Urheimat theory...is at least fully compatible .... 162-3
  • Before independence, the term adivasi was already useful as an ideological tool for relatively justifying the foreign occupation of a country, as it implied that the country had been ruled by “foreigners” since thousands of years. But it was after independence, when colonization had become a dirty word even in its source countries, that the term adivasi would get its full impact. 165-6
  • Father Hermanns is particularly angry with a publication titled The Adivasis — So-Called by G.S. Ghurye, the great social scientist who had mapped the nasal indexes and skull indexes of all the communities in India. Speaking with authority, Ghurye rejects the motivated notion of “adivasi”: as the article’s title eloquently says, the so-called adivasis are not more adivasi than the targeted non- adivasis. Nearly all Indians are sons of the soil, and no one in India has any more right to call himself a true native than the next man. The pure race is a myth, a myth that has become frowned upon thanks to Hitler's terrible use of this myth. But in India, inter- ested quarters continue to use this myth of “racial integrity”. Father Hermanns calls it an “aboriginal claim”, though it is in fact a West- ern notion attributed and taught to the tribals by the missionaries, because this myth has been serving them so well for over a century now.
  • The Sikhs, the most conscious Hindus of the time, saw it for what it was: an attempt to restore the Moghul empire. ‘The Mutiny was a culmination of the Faraizi and Wahhabi jihads which Muslims had been waging earlier, and wherever Hindus were in a minority, it led to forced conversions and killings of Hindus, ostentative cow-slaughter and other classics of Islamic politics. 216
  • In the Indian subcontinent, Muslims numbered less than 20% in the census of 1881, and more than 24% in the last all-subconti- nental census in 1941. After that, the difference in growth rate between Muslims and non-Muslims has even increased, as birth control became common among the latter, much less among the former. Now, every decade the Muslim percentage in the Subcon- tinent increases by about 1.5%, with the rate of increase itself in- creasing. In 1800, Muslims were 1 in 7, in 1850 they were 1 in 6, in the 1880s they became 1 in 5, around 1950 they were 1 in 4, and shortly after the year 2010 they will be 1 in 3. Already, militant Muslims are talking of Akhand Bharat, a kind of re-unification, and especially Bangladesh suggests that there should be an open bor- der: the perspective of numerically overtaking the Hindus at least in parts of India is beckoning. In truncated India, Muslim population has officially grown 3% in forty years (from less than 10% to nearly 13% in 1951-91), and Muslim leaders claim that the true figure of Muslim population is about 3% higher. In Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal too, the Muslim percentage has continually increased (a small de- crease in Pakistan between 1971 and 1981 is explained by the fact that Ahmadiyyas were officially stamped non-Muslims in 1974). 225

The Ayodhya Demolition: an Evaluation (1995)


K. Elst : The Ayodhya Demolition: an Evaluation, in India., & Dasgupta, S. (1995). The Ayodhya reference: The Supreme Court judgement and commentaries.

  • The debate has not genuinely altered the old consensus, but it has been an interesting case-study in manipulation by unscrupled academics. How else should we call the practice of seemingly learned publications advertising themselves as "objective" studies of the controversy, but systematically concealing the arguments put forth by one of the parties? ... The VHP scholars have pointed out 4 cases of attempted fraud by their opponents (removing relevant old books from libraries, adding words on an old map).
  • The Islamic claim to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is even more transparently fraudulent... Any secularist willing to uphold this claim as historical? Or otherwise ready to show the courage of his conviction and demand that the Muslims relinquish their claim to the Temple Mount so as to be morally in a poistion to demand a similar abandonment of "mythical" claims from the Hindus?... In the case of Christians and Muslims, no one demands that they prove the historicity of the stories underlying the sacred status of their places of pilgrimage. Demanding the same of Hindus is an insulting display of double standards.
  • If I am to believe newspaper reports (in reporting on the communal conflict, that is always a big "if").
  • [The statement] is merely a typical exercise in the mendacious secularspeak of the Nehruvian elite...
  • The more books and articles on Ayodhya and on "communalism" I look into, the more I feel confirmed in my assessment that the Hindu presentation of their own case regarding Ayodhya is the single worst public relations job in world history.
  • Future books on the affair will certainly include a chapter on "the Ayodhya scandal": the unscrupled use of academic and media power positions by the secularists to suppress relevant evidence, and the gullibility of foreign scholars relying on hearsay from Indian colleagues whose bona fides is open to question. (...) Future scholars of political and communications science will study the reporting on the Ayodhya affair as an absolute classic of brilliantly successful disinformation. ...
  • The buffoon of the affair is the Western class of India-watchers .... they have swallowed the anti-Hindu propaganda hook, line and sinker.
  • While Hindu activists are always treated like animals in a zoo, never allowed to speak for themselves, always condemned to be judged by what someone else has written on the signboard in front of their cage, Muslim fanatics are invited to serve as zoo guides, competent to inform the ignorant outsider about the meanness of these beasts safely locked up in their cages.

BJP vis-à-vis Hindu Resurgence (1997)

  • In Europe, with its centuries of struggle against Christian hegemony, nobody minds that the ruling party in Germany is called Christlich-Demokratische Union.... But in India, any hint of a "Hindu" party upholding "Hindu values" (even if explained as a "common Indian heritage shared by the minorities as well") is declared intolerable by judges and journalists,-- and by the leaders of the very party concerned.
  • The strange thing about the BJP is that its voters consider it a Hindu party, its enemies denounce it as a Hindu party, but the party will call itself anything except a Hindu party.
  • The best example of this alleged similarity is the common complaint about the Islamic birth rate. On the Hindutva fringe, there are pamphlets which falsely cite the World Health Organization as having established that within twenty years or so, Muslims will be the majority in India. More serious publications, including Organiser and BJP Today, report a slower but nonetheless impressive increase in the Muslim percentage of India's population, recorded in every decadal census since 1881, and projected to continue at an even faster rate in the coming decades. In essence, this picture is correct: the percentage of Muslims shows a persistent increase at the expense of the Hindu percentage, with the rate of increase itself increasing. Given the higher Hindu participation in the birth control effort of the 1960s and 70s, we must now be witnessing a cumulative effect, of a proportionately smaller number of Hindu mothers (born in that period) having in their turn each a smaller number of children than the proportionately larger number of Muslim mothers, on average. On top of the higher birth rate of Muslims within the Indian Union, there is the dramatic influx of millions upon millions of Bangladeshis and also some Pakistanis.
  • The fact that in 1991 the Indian government has chosen to replace a real census count of religious adherence with an estimate is itself an indication that the Muslim percentage is now rising at an alarming rate. In fact, the estimate was demonstrably rigged. It shows a slight decrease in the rate at which the Muslim percentage increases: up by 0.52% between 1971 (11.21%) and 1981 (11.73%), up by 0.47% between 1981 and 1991 (12.20). However, all data about the Hindu-Muslim differential in birth control and birth figures imply that the rate of Muslim increase is itself increasing, even without counting the estimated ten million Bangladeshi Muslims who entered India between 1981 and 1991. On top of the native increase, we must add the figure of the said immigrants, which by itself amounts to more than 1% of India's population, twice as high as the total growth of the Muslim percentage as claimed by the Government. For once, I agree with Imam Bukhari, who has been saying for long that the Indian government systematically understates the number of Muslims in India. The total increase between 1981 and 1991 must be at least 1.5%. Assuming that the 1981 figure is correct, the 1991 figure is definitely higher than 13%, or at least 1% higher than the government claims.
  • The clearest eye-opener is the birth-rate in the relatively affluent Muslim-majority district of Malappuram in highly-literate Kerala; at 75.22%, the female literacy rate in Malappuram is twice as high as for most Hindu communities in the Hindi belt. In the decade 1981-91 its population grew by 28.74%, well above the national average of 23.50% and more than twice the Kerala average of 13.98%. This disproves the usual excuse that the birth-rate automatically follows the poverty rate and the illiteracy rate. Most Hindu Scheduled Caste people whom I know have settled for smaller families, but by and large, Muslims have not changed their appetite for large families. Ever since the propagation of birth control among the Hindu masses, rich and literate Muslims have more children than poor and illiterate Hindus.
    • Citing Baljit Rai: Is India Going Islamic?, p.103-106
  • The line about Muslims not tolerating a Muslim girl marrying a Hindu boy even in a movie refers to Mani Ratnam's movie Bombay, a target of Muslim protests for showing just such an affair.
  • So far, so good: the Sangh is right about the substantial increase in the Muslim percentage of the Indian population. A realistic projection into the future of present demographic (including migratory) trends does predict a Muslim majority in the Subcontinent by the mid-21st century, and a Muslim majority in the Indian Union by the turn of the 22nd century (in some regions much earlier). Though generally correct, this type of calculation is subject to an unkind comparison: the same type of projection occupies the minds of white racists in the USA. They expect that whites will cease to be the majority there by the mid-21st century, and they too are worried and unable to stem the tide. But there are two important differences.
  • The first one is that the non-whites in the USA do not or need not form a genuine problem for US whites, because people of different ethnic backgrounds can and do share in the same American Dream, can and do participate in a common American society. By contrast, Islam in India is intrinsically separatist and aiming for hegemony and ultimately for the destruction of Hinduism through conversion or otherwise. There is nothing intrinsically anti-white about blacks, but there is definitely something intrinsically anti-Hindu about Islam. For this reason, the concern of whites about the growth of non-white groups in the USA is reprehensible, but the concern of Hindus about the growth of Islam is entirely justified.
  • The second difference is that people's membership of certain racial groups, black or white or other, is unchangeable; while the potentially alarming adherence of people to Islam is entirely changeable. And it is at this last point that the BJP-cum-secularist acceptance of the Islamic identity of the Indian Muslims distorts the picture.
  • In 1994, the Churches created a similar stir, on the occasion of a very small incident in the Chennai area. After reading Ishwar Sharan's book The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple, which argued that a number of churches including the one commemorating Saint Thomas's alleged martyrdom had been built on destroyed Shiva temples, a back-bench member of the RSS-af­filiated Tamil organization Hindu Munnani went to a church in Pon­dicherry, equipped with the parapher­nalia for puja, and inquired where the Shiva lingam was, so that he could worship it. He had learnt that the Cathedral had been built on the site of the Vedapuri-Ishwaran Temple after the temple had been destroyed in 1748 by the Jesuits aided by the them French governor of Pondicherry. Immediately, the Catholic Church was alarmed and warned that the Hindu fundamentalists were trying to create a second Ayodhya affair... Though focusing on conflictual chapters in history has been decried and condemned in the strongest terms when Hindus did just that during the Ayodhya campaign, it is a per­fectly respectable activity in other parts of the world.

The Demographic Siege (1997)

  • In late 1995, "the Chalvey Muslim boys" in the Chalvey area of Slough (between London and Oxford), circulated a "notice" in and around the Slough & Eton Secondary School, informing the public that: "We Muslims don't want Kafirs such as Sikh and Hindu children to mix with our children, specially our girls. Two years ago a Sikh boy was friendly with a Muslim girl and we made his life so difficult that he committed suicide. If your children come to this school, we will bully your boys the way we did to the boy who committed suicide, and we will make your daughter pregnant and change them into Islam. We mean what we are saying, and if you ignore it you will be very sorry." (Appendix)
  • Swami Shraddhananda quotes from the 1911 Census Report (para 172 ff.) to show the reasons why the Muslim populat­ion is growing faster than the Hindu population, whose per­cent­age of the total population is steadily declinin­g. The Census Direc­tor had writ­ten: "The number of Muham­mada­ns has risen during the decade [1901-11] by 6.7 per cent as compared with only 5 p.c. in the case of Hindus. There is a small but continuous accession of converts from Hinduism and other religions, but the main reason for the relatively more rapid growth of the followers of the Prop­het is that they are more prolific."
  • One of Mukher­ji's conclud­ing sen­tences, "They count their gains, we calculate our losses", became the title of a Hindu Mahasabha pamphlet as late as 1979.
  • For those who dismiss U.N. Mukherjee's reasoning as an obvious and ridicu­lous case of paranoia, it may be useful to verify this prediction for the subsequent 80 years. Of­ficial census data show that the Hindu per­centage has decli­ned, and the Muslim percentage increas­ed, in every single successive census in British India, free India, Pakistan and Bangl­adesh.
  • In trun­cated India, the Muslim population has grown 2.69% in forty years (from 9.91% to 12.6% in 1951-91), but Muslim leaders like Imam Bukhari routine­ly claim that the true figure of the Muslim popul­ation in the Indian Repub­lic is about 3% high­er. There are indeed some probl­ems with the official figur­­es­­ for the Indi­an Republic, e.g. there is a suspic­ion that many illegal Bangladeshi immigrants are lying low and avoid­ing the census personnel because they are used to a regime which is not so leni­ent with un­sol­ici­ted im­migrants (Banglad­esh pushed back the Muslim Rohin­gya refug­ees from Myanmar in 1992-93). But for the present­ dis­cus­sion, it is probably best to keep these al­leged un­registered mil­lions outside our considerations and stick to verified figures. Even without this unknown "dark figure" of unregistered Muslim inhabitants, it is only very slightly exag­gerated to say that in the Indian Repub­lic, ever since 1951, "the propor­tion of Mus­lims has been gradually but steadily increa­sing every decade by roughly one percentage point"­.
  • All kinds of local and regional data confirm the faster muslim grow­th rate. The two provinces with the highest relative population growth bet­ween 1981 and 1991 are Kashmir (28%) and Lakshadweep (27%), both with a Muslim minority though in very divergent economic and political conditions; fol­lowed by Madhya Pradesh (26%) and Uttar Pradesh (25%). In Uttar Prade­sh, between 1981 and 1991, the Muslim percentage rose from 15.53% to 17.33 %, in Bihar from 14.13% to 14.81%, in West Bengal from 21.51 to 23.61%. While in Bihar birth control seemed to have a slight effect in a decrease of the decadal increase from 30.03% in 1971-81 to 29.5% (still more than 5% higher than the Hindu figure) in 1981-91, there was a much larger increase in the decadal increase in U.P. from 29.11% to 36.54%, and in West Bengal from 29.55% to 36.89%.
  • Ever since regular census operations were started, the per­centage of Muslims has grown every decade in British India, in­dependent India, Pakis­tan and Banglade­sh.
  • The Muslim percentage has not only incre­ased, but the rate of increase itself has increased.
  • This is very clear when we take a long-term perspective: in the fifty years between 1941 and 1991, their per­cent­age has risen 5.64% (from 24.28% to 29.92%), substan­tially more than the 4.31% gain in the sixty years bet­ween 1881 and 1941. At this rate, the Muslims in the Subcon­tinent must have passed the 30% mark in the mid-1990s and will pass the miles­tone of becoming more than half the num­ber of Hindus (ca. 32% to ca. 64%) before the census of 2011.
  • Simi­larly calculating from the available figures for the three coun­tr­ies, the Hindu per­centage had come down to 65.15% in 1991. To evaluate the trend of the Hindu percentage, we must take into account that the pre-Indepen­dence census always had a tentative category "trib­al" or "animist", variously defined and therefore making odd quantitative jumps (but always between 2.26% and 3.26%), from 2.57% in 1881 to 2.26% in 1941. After Indepen­dence, this category was included in the Hindu categ­ory. So, putting everything on the post-In­dependence deno­mi­nator, we include the "animists" in the Hindu percentage to get a total Hindu percentage of 77.35% for 1881, 71.72% for 1941, and 65.15% for 1991. Here again, we see a long-term ac­celerat­ion of the ob­served trend: a decrease of 5.63% in the sixty years between 1881 and 1941, and a larger decre­ase of 6.57% in the shorter period of fifty years bet­ween 1941 and 1991.
  • So, all the predictions quoted above are far too conservative, for they are based on a linear projection. In reality, the observed trends are accelerating, so Mus­lims will need far less than 316 years to out­number the Hindus. According to Muk­herji, the Hindu percentage of ex-British India (including India, Pakistan, Banglad­esh and Burma) should now have declined by about 13%, down to 54% of the total.
  • It gets even more dramatic when you look at it this way: in 1984, a generat­ion of Muslims which was about 12% of the population had produ­ced a generation of children, certainly not more than 30 years younger on average, which constitu­ted more than 16%. This would mean an unpreceden­ted growth rate of more than 4% in less than 30 years, or rather, a growth with over a third of the original per­centage (4 to 12). For a little thought experiment: if this differential growth rate is kept con­stant, we get 16.81% of Muslims in ca. 2014, over 22% in 2044, near­ly 30% in 2074, 40% in 2104, crossing 50% in ca. 2125 etc., all with­out coun­ting the effect of Muslim immigration.
  • The one general prediction to which the data cer­tainly compel us, is that the Muslim percentage will be increas­ing at an ac­celerating rate for at least another generation; and also beyond that, unless the present generation of young adult Muslims brings it procreati­on rate down to the average Indian level.
  • In Pakistan and Banglad­esh, the Mus­lim per­centage has con­tinually increased, partly by pester­ing the non-Muslims out, partly by conver­sions under pres­sure (pres­surizing people to marry their daugh­ters off to Muslims, allocating jobs on conditon of conver­sion, etc.), and partly by higher birth-rates. Bangladeshi Muslim expan­sion has al­ready destroyed the Chakmas and other non-Muslim popu­lat­ions in the Chitta­gong Hill Tracts, with the eth­nically cleansed minorities fleeing to India's North-East, there to create friction with the host popul­ation. But the most wor­rying from the Indian viewpoint is not the rise in percentage but the rise in absolute figures: in parts of Pakistan and in the whole of Ban­gla­desh, sheer living space is becoming extremely scarce, and these countries may pursue a policy of pushing their surplus population into India.
  • Incidentally, in Nepal the breakt­hro­ugh of Islam (nearly non-exis­tent in the 1970s) is simply spectacular, and is again due in large meas­ure to im­migrat­ion from Banglad­esh. In Sri Lanka, the Muslim per­centage is slowly rising by demograp­h­ics alone.
  • So, every decade the Muslim per­cent­age in the Subcon­tinent incre­ases by more than 1%, with the rate of incre­ase itself incr­eas­ing. In India, the rate of incre­ase in the Muslim per­centage is considerable, though lower than the subcontinental total, but is rising faster due to the differential in the use of birth control and the incre­asing Muslim immigration. In Hin­dutva circles, this remarkable demogr­aphic dif­feren­tial is interp­reted as the result of Muslim "demographic aggres­sion".
  • Hindu Revivalists are glad to quote unsuspect secular sources to confirm their worst misgivings about Muslim demographic aggres­sion from Bangladesh. A 1992 report prepared by B.B. Dutta for the North-Eastern Congr­ess Coordination Com­mittee meeting in Guwahati looked into both types of im­migration and notes: "Between 1971 and 1981, Bangladesh census records show a reduc­tion of 39 lakhs in the minority population. "Between 1981-89, 36 lakh religious minorities were missing from that coun­try. "In 1972, there were 7.5 lakh Bihari Muslims in the camps in Dacca. As a result of mediation by Saudi Arabia only 33,000 of them were accepted by Paki­stan. At pres­e­nt, there are less than two lakhs in the camps, where have the rest gone? (...)
  • Is there anything demonstrably intentional about this Islamic demo­gra­phic expansion? In an article seek­ing to "explode the myth" of Mus­lim demo­gra­phic aggres­sion, jour­nali­sts Namita Bhan­dare, Louise Fernan­des and Minu Jain them­selves admit that accor­ding to of­ficial surveys, "the disapproval of family planning is highest among Muslims", while "the practice of family planning methods in 1980 was lowest amongst Muslims (only 23% of those surveyed prac­tised it as op­posed to 36% Hin­d­us)". They furt­­­­­­­­­­h­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­er admit that between 1971 and 1981, "the Hindu po­pu­l­ation was up by 24.1­5%, whereas the Muslim popula­tion shot up by 30.59­%". Further, they give the decline in fer­tility levels in the same period: 20.1% decline for urban and 20.0% for rural Hindus, 18.5% for urban and 17.3% for rural Mus­lims. This means that the al­ready lower fertility level of the Hindus is declining faster than that of the Muslims.
  • Let us hear the same indications from an official source: "The total fertility rate (TFR) is 3.4 children per woman. (...) Muslims have con­siderably higher fer­tility than any other religious group. Muslim women have a TFR of 4.4, which is 1.1 children higher than the TFR for Hindu women."
  • The implication of these data is that the Muslim rate of growth in percentage of the Indian population will go on incre­asing. Instead of extrapolating across cen­turies, we may make a safer prognosis for the next few decades. It is safe to pred­ict that the 2001 census will show another sharp increase in the rate at which Muslims are demograph­ically catching up with the Hindu majority. It is then that the full effect of the birth control cam­paigns of the 1960s and 70s will become visible. Given the higher Hindu participation in the birth control effort of the 1960s and 70s, we must now be witnes­sing a cumulative effect, of a proportionately smaller number of Hindu moth­ers (born in that period) having in their turn each a smaller number of children than the propor­tiona­tely larger number of Muslim mothers, on average.
  • Baljit Rai, a retired police officer who was a personal witness to India's failure in con­tain­ing the rising tide of il­legal im­migration from Bangladesh, refu­tes this ar­gument by poin­ting to the birth rate among Kerala Muslims, who have a high level of education and a relativ­ely high stan­dard of living. Mani Shankar Aiyar had clai­med on the basis of statewise figures for the south­ern states that "Muslim birth rates in all these en­light­ened states are very much lower than Hindu birth rates in unen­lightened states like Uttar Prad­esh". However, Rai's clos­­er­­ analy­s­is of the figur­­­­­­­­­­­­­­es­ shows that the Kerala Mus­lims have a higher birth-rate than the natio­nal Hindu average and even than the Hindu average in poor and back­ward states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan: the population growth (+28.74% for 1981-91) in the Muslim-majority district of Malappuram (with female liter­acy at 75.22%, far higher than among Hindus in the Hindi belt) is more than twice as high as the aver­age for Kerala (+13.98), and well above the Hindu national aver­age (+23.50).
  • A secularist journalist confirms: "In spite of this 'near total literac­y' the popula­tion growth rate of Muslims who constitute one-fourth of Kerala's population is as high as 2.3 per cent per year, which is more than even the natio­nal PGR [= population growth rate] of 2.11 per annum and is almost double the PGR of Hindus in Kerala it­se­lf."
  • The figures for Kerala exemplify a general rule: at any given level of literacy and economic status, Muslims will have a marked­ly higher birth rate than their Hindu counterparts, even to the extent of having a higher birth rate than Hindus in a lower educa­tional or income brack­et. A secularist journalist, Pranay Gupta, estimates that in Hyderabad, which has a large Muslim middle-class, a typical Muslim family has eight child­ren while a Hindu family has four.
  • Pakis­tan is Asia's­ fastest­-growing non-Arab count­­­ry,­ doubling its popu­lat­ion every 24 yea­rs.
  • Leave alone Urdu pamphlets, a neatly published English book from the impec­cably Islamic Noor Publishing House (Delhi), Muham­mad Samiul­lah's Mus­lims in Alien Socie­ty, is suf­ficiently explicit about the demog­ra­phic desig­ns of contemporary Is­l­am. Samiul­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­lah rejec­ts family­­ plan­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ning as a W­est­­­­­­­ern ploy to diminis­­h the num­bers of the Muslim population in order to maintain its hegemo­ny. The core of his argument is that birth control has no sanct­ion from the Quran nor from the example and sayings of the Proph­et. Since others have claim­e­d just the op­posite, a close reading of the source texts of Islam is needed.
  • As Samiullah notes, Moham­med sanct­ioned, even com­manded, the practice of coitus inter­ruptus, the then most read­ily availa­ble method of birth control, in the after­math of the battle of Badr, his first great victory which yiel­ded him a number of woman hostages. For the present dis­cus­sion, the point which Samiul­­­­­­­­­­­­­lah wants to make is that this guidel­ine laid down by the Prophet was contrad­icted by the Prophet himself on later oc­casi­ons. Samiul­lah reco­unts a number of Ahadis (episodes of the Prop­het's life ser­ving as the authoritative basis of Is­lamic law) where the Prop­het opposed this method of birth control.
  • Thus, after the cam­paign against the Banu al-Mus­taliq, the Mus­lims wanted to rape the hostages and asked Moham­med whether they should practise azl, but the Prop­het replied, with reference to the futility of human scheming before God's omni­potence: "It does not matter if you don't do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrec­tion will be born." Since this (and similar ones) is a later Hadis than the one containing his pro-azl in­junction at Badr, it over­rules the ear­lier one, at least accor­ding to the theologi­cal principle that in case of contradiction, the earlier pronoun­cement is overruled by the later one.
  • That this natalist position has struck roots among ordinary Muslims may be illustrated with the case of Moham­med Tofazzal Mollah: he was sacked as Imam at the village mosque of Bahipara (northern Bangladesh) because his wife had been sterilized after having given birth to six childr­en. The village population ral­lied behind the two Maulanas who had issued the fatwa condemning the poor Imam. See: "Imam faces fatwa as wife refuses to con­ceive", Indian Express, 18-11-1993.
  • Demography is a bigger concern today because Islam is fighting for its survi­val, if not for world supremacy. Muhammad Samiullah is explicit about the good reason for natalism: "There is no denying the fact that the politi­cal prest­ige and military strength of a country depends upon the size of its popul­ation. (...) In the Islamic context greater populat­ion has a double sig­nifica­nce because one cannot wage an effective Jihad without an expanding popula­tion."
  • And why stop our conclusion with finding the Hindu position right? The data just surveyed also teach us something about the secularists who have ridiculed and thoroughly blackened the said Hindu position: they are wrong. We have not used any esoteric figures inaccessible to the common man; all these data were at the disposal of the secularists. Yet, some of them insist that the Muslim percentage will remain constant, or that the Muslim incre­ase is proportionate to relative Muslim poverty. The fact deserves to be noted: a whole class of leading intellec­tuals brutal­ly denies easily verifiable facts, i.c. the accelerating increase of the Muslim and the decrease of the Hindu per­centage, and the inten­tionality behind this Muslim demographic offensive.
  • One of the most painful aspects of Muslim demographic warfare is the open attempt by Muslims to grab non-Muslim girls to use them for their own demographic ambitions, meanwhile also inflicting a good dose of humiliation on the accursed kafirs. In Bangladesh and in Muslim-major­ity areas inside India, this often takes the form of simply kidnapping girls, or of threatening their families to marry them out to Muslims. In the open market-place of the West and of westernized circles in India, it takes the form of normal courtship, with the limitation that in case of a Muslim girl befriending a non-Muslim, family pressure is used on her, or physical threats on him or on both, to stop the affair; since the same is much less likely to happen in the reverse case, the net result is a considerable traffic of non-Muslim girls into Muslim households.
  • In NRI papers, you can occasionally read the testimony annex war­ning of Hindu women who sorely regret their mistake of having married a Muslim. E.g. one Hindu woman from the West Midlands (UK) warns Hindus to be alert when "some undesirables (...) who cannot tolerate a Muslim girl marrying a Hindu boy even in a movie, let alone in real life (...) try to take advantage of the innocence of Hindu girls to trap them in mar­riages." When a Hindu girl is approached by a Muslim, "she should be immediately alerted that he is actually fulfilling the Islamic command of grabbing and converting non-believer women by all possible means. It is not a reflection of my personal bitterness, I remind you of fatwas issued by Mullahs in England for Muslim boys in colleges and univer­sities to marry Chris­tian, Hindu and Sikh girls". Pratibha Bhambri: "Hindu Girls, Don't Get Trapped!", India Post, 26/7/1996. The line about Muslims not tolerating a Muslim girl marrying a Hindu boy even in a movie refers to Mani Ratnam's movie Bombay, a target of Muslim protests for showing just such an affair.
  • A Sikh youth writes to the editor, lamenting yet another case of a girl trapped in a Muslim marriage and about to be taken to Pakistan: "It seems to be fashionable amongst some misguided members of our com­munity to think that the Muslims aren't really out to convert and brain­wash young Sikh and Hindu schoolgirls. They think that all these Sikh-Muslim fights are about young hotheads and extremists just out to cause trouble.(...) What I want to know is what these people are going to do about this schoolgirl. Is their idle chit-chat about Asian unity going to return her to her family? (...) Brothers and sisters, don't take anybody's word for it but see for yourself what the Muslims are doing to us.(...) Just talk to the schoolboys who have been bullied and terrorised for years by Muslim gangs. Just talk to schoolgirls whom the Muslims have threatened with rape. Just talk to the parents of Sikh and Hindu girls who have run off and converted.(...) These problems are real and becom­ing worse.(...) time is not on our side and the number of Sikh and Hindu schoolgirls who are running away and converting is increasing each day."

Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate, (1999)

Shiva is by no means a non-Vedic god, and Indra never really disappeared from popular Hinduism but lives on under another name.
To whom it may concern: the present writer, at any rate, is neither a Hindu nor a nationalist.
  • Shiva is by no means a non-Vedic god, and Indra never really disappeared from popular Hinduism but lives on under another name.
  • One thing which keeps on astonishing me in the present debate is the complete lack of doubt in both camps. Personally, I don’t think that either theory, of Aryan invasion and of Aryan indigenousness, can claim to have been "proven" by prevalent standards of proof; even though one of the contenders is getting closer. Indeed, while I have enjoyed pointing out the flaws in the AIT statements of the politicized Indian academic establishment and its American amplifiers, I cannot rule out the possibility that the theory which they are defending may still have its merits."
  • The greatest hurdle has been my own anxiety in treading unsure ground, where every hypothesis which is now carrying the day may be blown away by a new discovery tomorrow. Even now, it hurts to release a book in mid-debate, knowing that much of it will be dated by the time a new consensus will have evolved. But then, I am confident that this painful awareness of uncertainty has been the right attitude and the best starting-point for uprooting the false certainties of some and for clearing the bewilderment of others. While too many debaters are still at base one, unfamiliar with the newest arguments and insufficiently alert to the strong and weak points of the several types of evidence in the balance, I hope this books helps the debate in moving on and reaching its conclusion.
  • Until the mid-19th century, no Indian had ever heard of the notion that his ancestors could be Aryan invaders from Central Asia who had destroyed the native civilization and enslaved the native population.
  • If IE is the basis of European identity, one can understand that a European Urheimat for IE would be preferred over an Asian one. Consequently, some of the Nouvelle Droite authors are very attached to the idea of the Aryan Invasion as a necessary implication of the presumed European character and origin of the IE family. .... As a corollary to their Eurocentric view of IE history, Nouvelle Droite authors tend to accept the AIT and, along with it, the view of the caste system as an apartheid system between IE immigrants and Indian natives.... This is the way to remain stuck in Eurocentric theories of bygone days, which is more or less the story of the whole pro-AIT argument.
  • By contrast, I do not know of any question of ancient history which is as loaded with actual political significance as is the AIT in India. The AIT was turned into a political tool in order to question the Indian identity of the Indians, and thereby weaken the claims of Indians to their own country. This political use of the AIT continues till today, especially at the hands of what Hindu nationalists call “the anti-national forces”. Christian “liberation theologians”, Islamic missionaries, assorted separatists and like-minded anti-Hindu or anti-India activists are still highlighting the AIT...
  • Numerous allegorical interpretations can be imposed on any text or symbol; in New Age bookstores, you can find books on the “esoteric meaning of fairy tales”. But this is mostly just what the Germans call Hineininterpretieren, “interpreting meanings into the text”. None of the authors imposing an invasionist interpretation on Hindu scriptures, rituals and symbols, has ever shown how their reading is anything more than just that. They are merely, as the saying goes, elated to discover the Easter eggs which they themselves have concealed.
  • When in 1998, the new BJP Government nominated people of its own choice to the Indian Council of Historical Research, a roar of indignation went up among Indian Marxists against this “politicization of scholarship”, highlighting to the alert observer the extent to which the Marxists themselves had treated the ICHR as their own playground, and how, like spoilt children, they couldn’t stand losing it.
  • The idea of a continuous and glorious civilization in North India dating back more than 5,000 years does not fit in well with this vision. That of the barbaric Aryans imposing foreign rule on the hapless natives is much more useful, esp. for characterizing Indian society as “oppressive”. This way, lingering colonial prejudices of Western scholars and the class interests of India’s anglicized elite and anti-Hindu intelligentsia reinforce each other to create the strange spectacle of Indians and indologists virulently opposing any rethinking of India’s past which might increase the weight of India’s own contribution to her own history.
  • It is bad form and bad scholarship to bypass someone’s arguments to attack his motives, and even worse to replace his stated motives with imputed motives, but this is one phenomenon which outside observers of the debate will have to get used to: Indian Marxism has given wide currency to the approach of “I don’t care what arguments you come up with, I’m going to tell you what your true motives are, you reactionary pig”.
  • In the present case, Christians and secularists who try to make the (largely mythical) association of ancient IE Pagan culture with Nazism stick to the old enemy: Pagan religion, including the neo-Paganism now emerging in many European countries.
  • If historians and linguists sometimes display great ingenuity in explaining away (or just ignoring) facts inconvenient to their pet theory, this should be seen as merely a case of the universal tendency to stick to established beliefs until the evidence to the contrary becomes really overwhelming. Scientists - in any field - abhor the disorder created by information which is incompatible with the established theory, and therefore rightfully continue to assume that a second look will smoothen this initial incompatibility and “domesticate” the new information. They have a very functional kind of immunity to facts disturbing the paradigm which underlies their research.
  • The derivation of a judgment on the Urheimat question from the alleged motives of the proponents of the contending theories is all-pervading and vitiates the whole debate. Yet, if a theory can be considered wrong simply because it is being used for political ends, it is clear that the AIT itself must be the wrongest theory in the world: one looks in vain for a historical hypothesis which has been more tainted with various political uses including the most lethal ones.
  • It must also be admitted that other Indian leaders have accepted the idea of an Aryan invasion without being any the less patriotic for it. Congress leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak (Arctic Home in the Vedas, 1903) and Hindu Mahasabha ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (Hindutva, 1923) had also interiorized the AIT, simply because it seemed hard to refute. To most English-educated Indians of their time, the prestige of Western scholarship was so overwhelming that it seemed quixotic to go against it. But it was not hard for them to combine patriotism with a belief in a fragmented and conflictual origin of their nation, 3,500 years ago. After all, most nations in the world are younger than that. The USA was built on broken treaties, slavery and genocide, only a few centuries ago, yet there exists a heartfelt and legitimate American patriotism. The strange thing is not that Tilak, Nehru and Savarkar could be Indian patriots all while believing in the AIT, but that Marxists and missionaries question the legitimacy of Indian nationhood on the basis of a theory pertaining to events thousands of years in the past.
  • Most importantly, for the ancient period, Indian Marxist and other anti-Hindu historians posit a massive conflict (between Aryan invaders and natives) in spite of the total absence of either textual or archaeological evidence for such conflict; while for the medieval period, they wax eloquent about an idyllic “composite culture” and deny a massive conflict spanning centuries (viz. between Muslim invaders and Hindu natives), against the copiously available evidence for this conflict, both textual and archaeological. This observation is entirely correct: both ancient and medieval history have been rewritten in the sense of belittling and blackening Hindu civilization and extolling its enemies.
  • While there is solid evidence that the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya had been built in forcible replacement of a Hindu temple, rubble of which was used in the Masjid’s construction, this fact has been denounced as “Hindu chauvinist propaganda”, and an entirely fictional claim was upheld that the Masjid had been built on an uncontroversial site, so that there was of course no trace of evidence for a preceding temple demolition. Indian Marxists could reasonably have taken the position that while the temple demolition was a historical fact, this was no reason for a counter-demolition today. However, inebriated by their power position, they went farther and denied the temple destruction altogether, against the evidence, thinking they could get away with it. As usual, they could count on their Western contacts to cover them: to my knowledge, not a single Western academic has critically examined the Indian Marxist claim that the historical temple demolition at the Babri Masjid site was Hindu chauvinist fiction. All of those who have actually written about the Ayodhya affair, have acted as amplifiers to the Indian Marxist propaganda, explicitly or implicitly defaming those Indian colleagues who stuck to the evidence that a Hindu temple at the controversial site had indeed been destroyed.
  • Here again there is a parallel: informed Hindus are pained by the denial of their centuries of suffering at the hands of Islam, and are likewise pained by the denial of their millennia of civilization-building, a denial which goes by the name of Aryan Invasion Theory... for Indians, the AIT likewise implies the denial of a long stretch of Indian history. The AIT denies principally the history of the Solar and Lunar dynasties and other tribes living in Aryavarta (the area from Sindh to Bihar and from the Vindhyas to Kashmir), as covered in the Flu for a period from the dawn of proto-history to the 1st millennium BC. The major motifs (epics, artistic standards, schools of philosophy) of Indian civilization are embedded in that history, which is simply denied in its long pre-1500 BC phase, and vilified as merely the cultural superstructure of an ethnic subjugation of pre-Aryans by Aryans in its post-1500 BC phase.
  • At any rate, AIT defenders display a tendency to exceed the topic of debate and launch unwarranted attacks ad hominem.
  • However, it is not Rajaram’s school of thought which has given political implications to the question of the geographical provenance of India’s population. As we have seen, it is precisely the AIT which has been used systematically as a xenophobic political argument against those groups considered as the progeny of the “Aryan invaders”. Even most AIT opponents subscribe to the prevalent theory that mankind probably originated in Africa, so that all Indians, like all Europeans, are ultimately immigrants. The ridiculous argument of doubting the legitimacy of a community’s presence in India on the basis of an ancestral immigration of 3500 years ago has been launched in all seriousness by interest groups wielding the AIT as their major intellectual weapon, not by the critics of the AIT.
  • That the Indian academic community “has no mind of its own” has the following basis in fact: India has only just begun to decolonize at the intellectual level, and the view of Indian history instilled in the pupils of India’s elite schools is still strictly the view inherited from colonial historiography. In another sense, however, the anglicized academic establishment certainly has a mind of its own: while the colonial British still had a condescending sympathy for native culture, the new elite is waging a war against it as a matter of cultural self-exorcism and of political class interest. It knows its own mind very well and has concluded that the AIT serves its interests better than a version of history which would boost native Indian self-respect. Of course, India is not the Soviet Union of Stalin’s and Lysenko’s days, so when the international academic opinion shifts away from the AIT, the Indian establishment will have to follow suit; but as long as the matter is in the balance, it throws its entire weight on the side of the AIT.
  • Some Indian scholars impute to the AIT critics motives or presuppositions which themselves imply the AIT, and which exist only in the eye of the beholder, meaning the AIT believer.
  • Indian Marxists have the power but lack the numbers, so they have cultivated alliances with all actual or potential enemies of Hinduism.
  • The debate on the Aryan Invasion Theory is not logically affected by the political motives of its participants, though these motives are sometimes palpable through the rhetoric used. Mapping these motives as a matter of history of ideas (and not as a way to decide the AIT question itself by means of political association) allows us to point out the following: on the pro-AIT side, justification of European colonialism, illustration of the racist worldview, delegitimation of Hinduism as India’s native religion by missionaries of foreign religions, Indian Marxist attempts to delegitimize Indian nationalism, and several separatisms in India seeking to bolster the case against Indian unity; and on the anti-AIT side, Indian nationalism seeking to make India’s civilisational unity more robust, and to score a point against the aforementioned “anti-national forces”.
  • The astronomical lore in Vedic literature provides elements of an absolute chronology in a consistent way. For what it is worth, this corpus of astronomical indications suggests that the Rg-Veda was completed in the 4th millennium AD, that the core text of the Mahabharata was composed at the end of that millennium, and that the Brahmanas and Sutras are products of the high Harappan period towards the end of the 3rd millennium BC. This corpus of evidence is hard to reconcile with the AIT, and has been standing as a growing challenge to the AIT defenders for two centuries.
  • The status quaestionis is still, more than ever, that the Vedic corpus provides no reference to an immigration of the so-called Vedic Aryans from Central Asia. This need not be taken as sufficient proof that such an invasion never took place, that Indo-Aryan was native to India, and that India is the homeland of the Indo-European language family. Perhaps such an invasion from a non-Indian homeland into India took place at a much earlier date, so that it was forgotten by the time of the composition of the Rg-Veda. But at least, such an “Aryan invasion” cannot be proven from the information provided by the Vedic narrative itself.
  • The balance-sheet is that some branches of the IE family have no memory of any migration, some have vague memories of their own immigration into their historical habitat, the Iranian branch has a distinct memory of migration from India to Iran, and only the Indian branch has a record of emigration of others from its own habitat.
  • So, Indian archaeologists should come out of their defensive position and see for themselves what evidence there may be for the presence of Indian colonists in Central Asia and for an India-to-Europe migration. It is quite possible that such evidence is already on the table but that no one has interpreted it correctly due to the widespread AIT bias.
  • The Aryan invasion of India has somehow gone missing from the archaeological record.
  • Indian authors are right in pointing out that this (scriptural references) is systematically the weakest part in AIT argumentations, as the knowledge of Vedic literature among Western scholars is either too limited or too distorted by AIT presuppositions.... The actual reading of Vedic information has so far been the weakest arrow in the invasionists’ quiver.... With every invasionist attempting to strengthen his case by appealing to the testimony of Hindu scripture, the collective failure becomes more glaring.
  • Politicized Indian invasionists usually claim goddess worship as a redeeming native, non-Aryan, “matriarchal” and “humanist” contribution to the “patriarchal” and “oppressive” Hindu religion, but now it turns out to have been brought along by the Bactrian invaders: how one invasionist can upset another invasionist’s applecart.
  • We don’t get to see that clear contrast between Harappan and Vedic which most scholars have taken for granted. What we see is on the one hand plenty of elements which are simply in common between the Vedic and Harappan cultures, and on the other certain late-Vedic innovations which constitute a departure from the common IE heritage but which are perfectly explainable through internal developments, particularly in proto-scientific knowledge and material control of the environment.... this continuity may also be symptomatic for a profounder continuity pertaining to fundamental cultural traits.


  • I am neither a Hindu nor a nationalist. And I don’t need to belong to those or to any specific ideological categories in order to use my eyes and ears...
    As a political framework, secularism requires that all citizens are equal before the law regardless of their religious affiliation. That is a definitional minimum. An Indian secularist would therefore first of all be found on the barricades in the struggle for a common civil code, against the existing legal apartheid between Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Parsis. But the only major party to demand the enactment of a common civil code, as mandated by the Constitution, happens to be the BJP. On election eve, the others run to the Shahi Imam to pledge their firm commitment to the preservation of the Shari'a for Muslims. In the West and in the Muslim world, the upholding of religion-based communal legislation is rightly called anti-secularist. I have often discussed this point with Indian secularists. Their usual argument is that, you see, India is a peculiar case, the uniform civil code issue has been "hijacked" by the Hindus, and for now the country needs these separate civil codes. I am not convinced, but even if we concede that India is better off with the present system, that still doesn't make it secular. The opponents of the common civil code, the upholders of discrimination against the Hindus in education and temple management, the defenders of a special status for states with non-Hindu majorities -- they should have the courage of their conviction and call themselves "anti-secular". ..
    Gujarat has not been "claiming" attention all by itself. An intensive effort by the usual suspects has kept attention as much as possible away from other scenes of communal violence. In the past months, how many people have been killed by Christian separatists in the Northeast, by Communists in Kerala or Nepal, by Muslims in Bangladesh or Jammu? As for Gujarat itself, how many Hindus have been killed by Muslims even after Godhra? The secularists have been acting as if attacks on Muslims in Gujarat are the only communal flashpoint. This is typical of hate discourse: apart from pure lies, the main technique consists in exclusively highlighting the - sometimes admittedly real - crimes of the targeted group and keeping instances of its innocent victimization out of view...
    By all means, preserve the Godhra articles and columns in a special folder, one day they will be the object of a spectacular case study in the human capacity for doublethink. Though disgusting, it was at the same time quite funny to watch the extreme inventiveness of the secularists in blaming the victims. They were very annoyed that the Gujarat carnage was so unambiguously started by Muslims with their massacre of Hindu pilgrims, mostly women and children. So, they falsely started describing the victims as "extremists" and inventing stories of how these Hindu children had kidnapped a Muslim woman into their riding train. That canard was borrowed from an Islamist website. There is never much difference between secularist reporting and Islamist propaganda anyway, which is why Indian theocratic Islamists call themselves "secularists". The latest is their "report" claiming that the Hindus in the train had themselves lit the fire, in a gigantic mass suicide. Well, I suppose free speech includes the right to spread nonsense. On the bright side, I noticed Vir Sanghvi's article pointing out the crass double standards of his colleagues in their Godhra reporting. When a white missionary is murdered by tribals in Orissa, we are expected to recoil in indignation, but when Hindus are murdered by the dozens for the umpteenth time, we are expected to agree that they had it coming.
    • An Interview With Koenraad Elst. Interviewer : Dr. Ramesh Rao at sulekha.com, 2002 [8]
  • The secularists had made all these shrill predictions that a BJP government would open gas chambers for Muslims, throw them in the ocean, etc. But for four years, in spite of numerous massacres of Hindus by Muslim terrorists, the Indian Muslims were left alone. Islamic terrorists killed forty BJP activists, allegedly "Hindu Nazis", in Coimbatore. What would real Nazis do in that case? ... By contrast, the BJP did not retaliate at all. Hindus were being killed with great frequency in Jammu, even the parliament buildings in Srinagar and Delhi were attacked, yet the Muslims remained unharmed. So, the secularists were losing credibility day by day. They needed the Gujarat carnage, they thanked Allah when it finally materialized. They were suddenly back in business, getting invited all the way to Washington to tell their scare stories. ..
    What real knowledge of the religio-political situation have those theories ever added? Read those books and you will see that "constructs" and "conceptual tools" fill the pages that should have contained real information instead. Such scholars collect just enough primary information to prove that they did get in touch with their topic, or more often they borrow even that minimum of information from like-minded publications, and then they put these raw data through the theory machine, yielding a theory sausage peppered with a few data selected for their fitting into the theory's expectations. Most of them borrow not just data, but also opinions and judgments without critically examining them. At the same time, they manage to disregard pertinent data which stare every normal observer in the face. .. If I am right then they are wrong, so their prestige may stand or fall with the elimination of my position from the debate...
    Indian secularism is systematically dishonest in its assessment of the religions hostile to Hinduism. Thus, after the Staines murder, which apparently resulted from the well-attested resentment of the tribals against the divisive effect of conversion on their communities, the secularists massively denied that the Christian missionaries are in India for purposes of conversion. In reality, the project of converting all mankind is intrinsic to the Christian religion. In Catholic school, I always learned that the missionaries provide medical and educational services primarily in order to make the targeted communities receptive to conversion. Staines' own bulletin to his Australian sponsors proved he was doing conversion work. The Southern Baptists reconfirmed in 1999 that Hindus are doomed unless they become Christians. The Pope himself came to Delhi to say in so many words that the Church intends to "reap a harvest of faith" in India. Yet this self-evident fact is still dismissed by vocal secularists as a figment of Hindutva paranoia.
    • An Interview With Koenraad Elst. Interviewer : Dr. Ramesh Rao at sulekha.com, 2002 [9]
  • In the preceding years, India was tormented by communal riots over all kinds of issues, most of them unrelated to Ayodhya. The demolition led to a brief round of Muslim revenge actions plus the Shiv Sena retaliation in Mumbai, but then rioting stopped for nine long years. The demolition clearly had a cathartic effect on the rioters. To be sure, Islamic terrorism has continued, but Hindus refused to be provoked. They did not take out their anger on their Muslim neighbours after the Mumbai blasts of March 1993, nor after any of the numerous massacres of Hindus and Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir, nor after the bomb attack in Coimbatore, nor after the attacks on the parliament buildings. Hindus have shown remarkable restraint...
    My favourite among Indian Prime Ministers is definitely Narasimha Rao. He undid the Nehruvian legacy and stemmed the rising tide of the fateful consequences of Nehru's follies. He actually implemented the BJP programme, just as Atal Behari Vajpayee is now implementing the Congress programme. Rao started liberalizing the economy, lifting the stifling socialist controls. He opened diplomatic relations with Israel. He defeated the Khalistani terrorists, nipped the beginnings of Tamil Tiger separatism on Indian soil in the bud, and pushed back Kashmiri terrorism to the point where the Kasmiri people stopped supporting it so that it is now manned entirely by foreign mercenaries. And he allowed the demolition of the Babri Masjid...
    After that event, general Perwez Musharraf seriously counted with an Indo-Israeli attack on its nuclear capability, even with the destruction of the Pakistani state. So he saw no way out but to offer his services to the US. But he made it clear, in an Urdu speech to his people, that he was not becoming America's friend. He related how the Prophet Mohammed had used alliances as stratagems in order to eliminate other allies: using the Jews to eliminate the Pagans of Medina, than befriending the Pagans of Mecca to eliminate the Jews, and finally breaking his treaty with the Meccans to defeat them. But since the CIA has explained that none of its employees know Arabic, I guess they didn't pick up those Urdu hints either. Imagine, in the war on terrorism they don't care to learn the two languages most commonly used by terrorists. Musharraf is taking the Americans for a ride. I understand that president Bush wants to keep the Muslim world divided by enlisting some Muslim regimes in his own crusade, but I doubt he will outwit them. I think he is in for a serious humiliation. I admit this sounds like the old European armchair scepticism of American interventionism. But let's face it: American foreign policy is utterly confused, and mere muscle-flexing cannot be a substitute for a coherent vision.
    • An Interview With Koenraad Elst. Interviewer : Dr. Ramesh Rao at sulekha.com, 2002 [10]
  • In December 1990, the short-lived Socialist-dominated government of Chandra Shekhar invited the two lobby groups involved, the Vishva Hindu Parishad and the Babri Masjid Action Committee, to mandate a team of scholars for discussing the historical truth of the matter. Misled by the media into believing that the Hindu claims were pure fantasy, the BMAC office-bearers arrived ill-prepared, expecting a cakewalk over the discredited case of the VHP fanatics. They were speechless when the VHP team presented dozens of documents supporting their case...
    This was reckless, for if the political choice for the preservation of the mosque were based on the historical non-existence of the medieval temple at the site, then the eventual discovery of such a temple would justify a contrario the replacement of the mosque with a restored temple. At least in theory, but the Marxists were confident that their opponents would never get the chance to press this point. Under the prevailing power equation, they expected to get away with a plain denial of history rather than a mere insistence on divorcing history from politics.
  • Former Times of India editor Girilal Jain chaired the press meeting presenting my book. It was on this occasion that BJP leader L.K. Advani gave a speech on his Ayodhya policy, waving my book in his hand, and that he made his offer to persuade the VHP to confine their campaign for the liberation of Hindu temple sites to the Ayodhya site, i.e. to drop their claim on the mosque-occupied Krishna Janmabhoomi site in Mathura and Kashi Vishvanath site in Varanasi. That way, my ... first book made the front page of most Indian newspapers.
    • Koenraad Elst, ed.: India’s Only Communalist. In Commemoration of Sita Ram Goel, Voice of India, Delhi 2005
  • Today, it's a dangerous topic for Sinologists who want to be taken seriously. In the 19th century already, organizers of academic conferences decreed that the voguish topics of "the origin of language" and "the Book of Changes" be disallowed as unfruitful and attractive of sloppy thinking. So don't tell any of my friends in academe that I went to Ruigoord.
  • In the name-change debate, the usual double standars apply: indignation over the Hindu-nationalist Shiv Sena's "Mumbai", tacit acceptance of the Communist Party (Marxist)'s "Kolkata" or the ethnic-chauvinst Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's "Chennai". But that's so common we needn't discuss it here.
  • At any rate, if the name must be restored to its original form, why not go the whole hog and return to the name given to the capital by its founder Yudhishthira hero of the Mahabharata, probably ca. 1500 BC), viz. "Indraprastha"? That is what the Hindu-nationalist party Jan Sangh used to promise decades ago, and likewise "Karnavati" for Gujarat's metropolis Ahmedabad. And promises should be kept.
  • Restoring the capital to its traditional name would be a resounding international statement of self-respect.
  • Islam's money and muscle power may look impressive, certainly capable of doing some real damage to targeted countries and societies, but Islam has no chance of becoming the religion of a science-based, space-conquering world society. Exclusivist revelations have no appeal among educated people, especially after they have acquainted themselves with the Vedantic or Buddhist philosophies. That is why the Churches are investing huge resources in the battle for Asia's mind, where they face their most formidable enemy. That is why they are so active in India: not only is India's atmosphere of religious freedom more hospitable to them than the conditions of Islamic countries, or even of non-Islamic countries where proselytization is prohibited (countries as divergent as China, Myanmar, Israel, and, at least formally, Nepal); but they also know and fear the intrinsic superiority of the Indian religion.
    • Quoted in "The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple: Third Revised Edition" by Ishwar Sharan (2010) [12]

The prolonged partition and its pogroms : testimonies on violence against Hindus in East Bengal 1946-64 (2000)

  • When we compare the literature on the Shoah, the mass killing of Jews by the Nazis, with that on the mass killing of Hindus during and after the Partition of India, we find that the former is of immense magnitude, filling while libraries at specialized institutes, the latter quite the opposite. ... By contrast, literature on Partition is marginal and can hardly fill a single bookshelf. Scholarly studies on the genocidal waves characterising the unequal coexistence of Hindus and Muslims in East Bengal are extremely few, as are those on the Partition massacres in Punjab in 1947. (Preface)
  • For those who still have a sense of proportion, it will be clear that Hindu acceptance of or complicity with or overreaction against Islamic aggression is but a secondary phenomenon, which on a scale of moral guilt comes nowhere near the primary phenomenon of Islamic self-righteousness and intolerance. The Muslim death toll in 20th century South Asian interreligious violence is much smaller than the Hindu death toll... at least one and possibly several million of Hindus killed in East Bengal... In fomenting so much hatred against the unbelievers as has been witnessed in action in the Subcontinent in the past decades and centuries, Islam has given a testimony of itself. (Preface)

Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse's defence (2001, 2018)

  • Great debaters like Yajnavalkya or Shankara would not be proud to see modern Hindus fall for anti-intellectual soundbites like “equal respect for all religions”. Very Gandhian, but logically completely untenable. For example, Christianity believes that Jesus was God’s Son while Islam teaches that he was merely God’s spokesman: if one is right, the other is wrong, and nobody has equal respect for a true and a false statement (least of all Christians and Muslims themselves). Add to this their common scapegoat Paganism, in India represented by “idolatrous” Hinduism, and the common truth of all three becomes unthinkable. It takes a permanent suspension of the power of discrimination to believe in the syrupy Gandhian syncretism which still prevails in India. The Mahatma’s outlook was neither realistic nor Indian. Not even the Jain doctrine of Anekantavada, “pluralism”, had been as mushy and anti-intellectual as the suspension of logic that is propagated in India under Gandhi’s name. It could only come about among post-Christian Westerners tired of doctrinal debates, and from their circles, Gandhi transplanted it to India.
    • chapter Gandhi the Englishman
  • Firstly, the communal tension in India stopped at once (not in Pakistan; in its eastern sector, i.e., today’s Bangladesh, pogroms of the minorities continued until 1950). When earlier that month the Mahatma had started a fast unto death for communal harmony, the riots in Delhi had already stopped; Hindu and Sikh refugee organizations had promised to Gandhi that they would vacate the Muslim houses and mosques which they had occupied. But this victory for Gandhian non-violence and ‘change of heart’ was wearing off, especially because new refugees kept coming; because there was still no news from Pakistan of any similar abating of the violence against the minorities there; and because many people, including Godse, were indignant at the Government’s paying ₹550 million to Pakistan under Gandhi’s pressure. But just when communal violence was about to resume, Gandhi’s death sent a shock wave through India which stopped the anti-Muslim agitation completely and ushered in a period of relative communal peace which was to last well into the 1960s.
  • Colonial scholars in the heyday of racial theory understood this as 'skin colour', and the caste system as a kind of Apartheid... However the projection of the colonial situation onto the ancient past has by now been thoroughly refuted...
  • This way, Godse (born 1910) exacted ‘punishment’ for Gandhi’s alleged pro-Muslim policies. These were particularly his acceptance in June 1947 of the plan to partition India into a secular state, retaining the name India and a Muslim state called Pakistan; and more immediately his fast, earlier in January 1948, on behalf of the safety of the Delhi Muslims threatened by angry Hindu refugees pouring in from Pakistan, and in support of Pakistan’s demand that India pay them ₹550 million as their share from the treasury of British India. Under protest, the Indian Government had given in to the latter demand because of Gandhi’s pressure, and in spite of the presence of Pakistani invasion troops on Indian territory in Kashmir. Surely this was the first time in history that a country deliberately financed its battlefield opponent, and not everyone was pleased with this display of Gandhian values.
  • Let us now look in more detail into the organizational estrangement between Godse and his mentor Savarkar. Of the events ‘which painfully opened my eyes about this time to the fact that Veer Savarkar and other old leaders of the Mahasabha could no longer be relied upon’, Godse mentions the following examples. In 1946, Savarkar went out of his way to personally reprimand Godse when Apte and he had heckled Gandhiji during a prayer-meeting in a Hindu temple in Bhangi Colony (Delhi), where Gandhiji had read passages from the Quran in spite of protests by the Hindu worshippers, and where he had spoken in defence of Bengal Chief Minister Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, the man possibly politically (and probably also directly) responsible for anti-Hindu pogroms in Calcutta and Noakhali.
  • The one difference between Godse and the so-called secularists in India is that Godse swore by genuinely secular and democratic principles, so that ‘all Indians should enjoy equal rights and complete equality on the basis of democracy’ and no special privileges on the basis of communal identity, such as weightage in parliamentary representation for the Muslims. Congressite and leftist secularists, by contrast, supported communal representation and weightage back then, and still support separate Personal Law systems for different communities defined by religion today. If words still have a meaning, Godse’s vision of independent India’s polity was more secular than that of the self-styled secularists.

Decolonizing the Hindu Mind (2001)

  • Hindus are damned if they do, damned if they don't. (p. 97)
  • In writing about India, it is all too common to starkly ignore the Hindu voice. .... The only Hinduism which they like is museum Hinduism; any Hinduism that displays a will to survive is treated with the same horror that would be aroused if a mummy were to show signs of life. (p. 73-74)
  • Even Muslim activists whose counterparts in Turkey or Egypt denounce secularism as a demonic betrayal of Islam, call themselves “secularists”. Check the editorials of Syed Shahabuddin's monthly Muslim India, or the Jamaat-i-Islami weekly Radiance: they brandish “secularism” in every issue... Other Milli (i.e. of the Muslim nation) resolutions include a call for separate electorates (MPs elected by joint electorates are denounced as “lackeys of the Hindus”) and the creation of autonomous states in Muslim-majority areas.
  • This effort is shared with other Indian intellectuals, e.g. with Claude Alvares who shows how “attempts were made to destroy non-Western technologies”, and until recently if not today, “even the idea that other cultures may have had thriving technologies was calculatingly destroyed.”
  • Macaulay's policy was implemented and became a resounding success. The pre-Macaulayan vernacular system of education was destroyed, even though British surveys had found it more effective and more democratic than the then-existing education system in Britain. The rivalling educationist party, the so-called Orientalists, had proposed a Sanskrit-based system of education, in which Indian graduates would not have been as estranged from their mother civilization as they became through English education, and in which they could have selectively adopted the useful elements of Western modernity, more or less the way Japan modernized itself.
  • In fact, India is by no means a Hindu state; it was not based on the refusal to co-exist with others, as Pakistan was; and it is not squeezing out its minorities, as Pakistan is. The best refutation is provided by the highly anti-symmetrical migration stream: the constant trickle of Hindu refugees from Pakistan and Bangladesh is not matched by a similar trickle of Muslim refugees from India, but by a vast movement of Muslim migrants from Bangladesh illegally settling in India.
  • I also intend to restore objectivity. This is an urgent necessity in view of two challenges. (...) This means in practice that once you have identified an author as representative of the wrong interest group, his arguments are ipso facto wrong or vitiated. In a large part of the academic publications, this position is implicit in their way of foregoing any serious evaluation of arguments formulated by Hindu revivalists, as if the identification of the propounder of the argument as a “Hindu fundamentalist” were sufficient to put it beyond the pale of rational discourse. Thus, the Hindu litany of grievances against the inequalities imposed on Hinduism by the Indian state (which makes up a very large part of this literature) is commonly only mentioned as an object of ridicule, never of proper investigation. The second problem is that many India-watchers who have ordinary notions of objectivity (...) have none the less published books and papers on the present topic which suffer serious lapses from the normal scholarly standards. The exacting standards of objectivity are obviously a permanent challenge to scholars in any field, but this field, or at least its present-day state of the art, presents some peculiar problems. In some cases, the bias may be in the mind of the India-watcher, but the overriding problem is that even scholars and journalist who do try to be objective are handicapped in this endeavour by their reliance on Indian sources which have considerable standing but are none the less far from objective.
  • So, “tyranny by the majority” is and remains an inherent danger of democracy. And this would bring us to an old debate: in order not to lapse into barbarism, democracy needs the basis of a strong ethical culture in the population. Generally speaking, democracy has certain cultural prerequisites which fall outside the institutional democracy concept itself.
  • Particularly the Delhi Sultanate was hardly a functioning empire but rather an uneasy foreign occupation, with the occupiers settled in citadels and the countryside prey to unending and uncontrollable unrest. In the Mewat region south of Delhi, the Shudras led the unrelenting resistance against the Sultans, waging a guerrilla operation from hide-outs in the forest. Sultans Nasiruddin and Balban (thirteenth century) had to clear away the forest before they could hunt down and forcibly convert a substantial part of this population.

The Saffron Swastika (2001), Volume I

  • This book is part of a polemic. So far, the polemical arrows have all been shot from one side, replies from the other side beignn extremely rare and never more than piecemeal. (Foreword)
  • Among academic Hindutva-watchers, it is common to write papers which are in effect polemical, invariably in a hostile sense, and yet to insist on the academic status of such works, a priori shielded from allegations of bias, and available for quoation as arguments of authority to trump objective research findings. In well over half the publications on Hindutva, the most elementary rules of scholarship are thrown to the wind: the uninformed reader may be beguilded by the wealth of footnotes, but when you actually read them, you find that very few of them refer to primary sources. Supposed experts on Hindutva generally make do with a few worn-out or misinterpreted quotations, and the rest of their expertise consists in quoting what the enemies of Hindutva say about their favourite hate object. (Foreword)
  • As everyone knows, the New York Times is a secularist, anti-Christian and pro-Israeli paper. That should give it a fair amount of common ground with the Hindu nationalists, yet in reality we find the New York Times to be as hateful in its reporting on Hindu nationalism as are more obviously hostile media emanating from Islamic or Christian-missionary circles... in the Hindu-Muslim conflict of the past decade, the New York Times has consistently supported the Muslim side and amplified all the Muslim propagandist story lines. ... Yet, when the Christian missionaries launched a slander campaign against the Hindus in the winter of 1998-99, and even when their allegations had been refuted in official investigations, the New York Times retained its usual anti-Hindu bias, effectively supporting the missionaries.
  • We will not change the subject and discuss the large though unknown number of Hindus killed by Christian separatists in Mizoram and Nagaland over the decades, nor the terror of Christian natives in Fiji against Hindus, the latter phenomenon... is not the target of any protest in the world media, and the first is never even mentioned, so I suppose we need not attach any undue importance to the death of Hindus at the hands of Christians.
  • Until recently, the most common smear was of a different type: the projection of Christian intolerance and of the enemy-image of "Islamic fundamentalism" onto Hinduism.
  • Among the media lackeys of the Nehru-Gandhi clan, the adepts at bringing up "fascism" references when discussing the BJP never showed any interest in Sonia's well-established Fascist connection. Indeed, her case illustrates how one person's real fascist link can weigh like a feather while another (say, Hindu nationalist) person's imaginary fascist link weighs like a mountain.
  • The Indian leader who came closest to implementing Mussolini's programme was Indira Gandhi with her abolition of Maharaja privileges, her nationalization of the banks, and her formally legal instauration of dictatorship in 1975... For the Fascist's daughter Sonia Manio, joining Indira Gandhi's regime must have felt like coming home except for the issue of natalism, all these points apply in ample measure to the Congress (Indira) of the 1970s.
  • We have to agree that it [Hindu nationalism] is a type of nationalism, though as such it really is only the most conspicuous tendency within a broader movement vaguely known as Hindu revivalism. Some Hindu thinkers usually classified with Hindu nationalism, such as Ram Swarup and Girilal Jain, explicitly questioned nationalism as the right paradigm for the concerns of Hinduism in the 20th century. ... Hindu nationalism entirely falls outside the category vaguely designated as "authoritarian nationalism".
  • Under Nehru, Indian history was unhistorically turned into a struggle of secularism and egalitarianism against the reactionary forces... It is a matter of the sneaking totalitarian thrust of contemporary globalist culture that it demonizes references to the pas, e.g. ... when Hindus mention the pre-Islamic "Golden Age" when India was free from foreign (Islamic or Christian) occupation.
  • If we would argue ad hominem rather than ad rem, we could make short work of the whole issue: the most vociferous advocates of the "Hindutva is fascism" thesis are openly connected with ideologies whose record in humanism and tolerance leaves much to be desired: Stalinism or Islamism.
  • But that is a very small problem for a CPM politburo member trained in Leninist manipulation... But the profession of Hindutva-watching, like Kremlinology of yore, is mostly an exercise in discerning hidden meanings and secret motives.
  • An authentic Hindu perception of history and of the present scene would use the secular concept of 'nation' more sparsely, and certainly not make it the cornerstone of Hindu politics. It is increasingly clear that 'Hindu nationalism', the attempt... to formulate the defence of Hindu interests in terms of secular nationalism, will turn out to be only a passing phase in the Hindu revival.
  • The shift from India to Europe as the preferred Urheimat was formally due to new linguistic insights.. but it was coincidentally also well-tuned to new political concerns. Apart from rising nationalism which explains the scramble among scholars to grab the Urheimat status for their own country, the main factor was European colonialism, then at its apogee. It seemed natural that the continent whose manifest destiny was the domination of the world, had also brought forth its own proto-historic Indo-European culture and language. Conversely, it seemed illogical that a backward country like India, badly in need of the White Man's civilising mission, could have brought forth the superior European culture.... In the same period, race theories conquered the intellectual scene, fitting neatly with the Europe-to-India scenario for the spread of Indo-European. It all fell into place: the Aryans had been white Nordic people who, with their inborn superiority, had developed a culture and technology which allowed them to subdue less advanced races: dark-haired Mediterraneans and West-Asians, and dark-skinned Indians. The linguistic "aryanization" of India by white Aryan invaders from Europe formed a complete case study of all that the upcoming racist worldview stood for.
  • There is in Sanskrit literature exactly "one 'goldhaired' person that is not a god".... Quite possibly [he] was not gold-haired at all: he may have had one of the epithets of the solar deity Vishnu as his given name, just as most people called Nilakantha, "blue-throated" (after Shiva when he had swallowed poison) are not blue-throated at all.
  • That Indian subpopulations are closer to one another than to their neighbours outside South Asia in a genetic tree of mankind has been outlined by Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza.
  • There are no limits to secular dishonesty...
  • Certain scholars are just too attached to the stigmatizing power of the term 'racism' to drop it when it proves inaccurate. Confusing scholarship with a political crusade, they openly announce that they will go on using the term even when they themselves realize it is inaccurate... In serious discipline, such unabashed subordination of scholarly standards... to a political agenda would simply disqualify [Dipesh] Chakrabarty as a scholar, but in Hindutva studies, his attitude is the rule rather than the exception.
  • Why are acclaimed Hindutva-watchers unable to see the obvious? What coloured glasses are they wearing? It is these academic ideologues of distortion who should be made the object... of research... To actually quote statements which might exonerate Hindutva spokesmen is not normally done in academic "research" on Hindutva... It is not far-fetched to surmise that Pandey and Jaffrelot were so eager to stigmatize Hindu nationalism, to criminalize as "racist" a doctrine which is admittedly not "eugenic or biological", that they just could not bring themselves to respect the established meaning of the central term in their plea.
  • Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke squarely places himself outside the scholarly community and inside the Indian Marxist propaganda machine by asserting the following howler...
  • If it had been otherwise, the large and well-funded industry of Hindu-baiting would have dug up all the incriminating evidence long ago and publicized it no end.
  • Come to think of it, this is really a strident indictment of the entire tradition of "Hindu fascism" scholarship: so many faithful copiers and parotters from Paris to Berkeley, and still this while school has never even produced a single "systematic analysis" of its favourite study object.
  • Such slick generalizations are the stock-in-trade of hate-mongers... such are the defamatory tactics Hindus are up against.
  • The current tendency to accuse the Hindu movement for cultural decolonization of India of “fascism” is nothing but a replay of an old colonial tactic against the freedom movement. More generally, we can say that every propaganda trick tried against the Hindutva movement by the secularists was once tried against the freedom movement either by the colonialists or by their Muslim communalist allies...
  • Kautilya, in his secular treatise on statecraft, the Arthashasatra (9:1:17) defined the chakravarti-kshetra, the domain of Vedic culture which an energetic ruler should strive to unite , as extending "from the Himalaya to the seas",.... The final editing of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata is not dated later than the first centuries AD, and they are fully familiar with the concept and surface of India, as are Kalidasa's Raghuvamsha and the Puranas.
  • Further, it says that the religious minorities must "not claim any privileges", something with which any democrat and secularist would wholeheartedly agree: privileges on the basis of creed are against the equality principle which is fundamental to the law system of a modern state. It is one of the absurdities of Indian "secularism" that it contains a number of communal inequalities in law:
    · Separate family law codes for Muslims, Christians and Parsis, epitomized by the Muslim right to polygamy; this constitutes the denial of the very first defining principle of the secular state, viz. legal equality of all citizens regardless of religion;
    · exemption of mosques and churches (as opposed to Hindu temples) from intervention in their management and appropriation of their funds by the secular authorities;
    · special safeguards of the communal character (in recruitment of teachers and students, in the contents of the curriculum) of Christian and Muslims schools all while retaining their subsidies, which are denied to Hindu denominational schools (Art. 30 of the Constitution);
    · a large number of occasional advantages for the minorities in everyday political practice, e.g. subsidies for the Muslims who perform the pilgrimage to Mecca, as contrasted with pilgrimage taxes to be paid by Hindus going to Amarnath and other Hindu places of pilgrimage.
  • The "fascist" aberration which Golwalkar made in the paragraph under discussion actually consists in accepting the Muslim-cum-British view of the Muslims' separate nationhood, and thinking through its implications for the status of Muslims in a Hindu state. To him (at least at the time of writing), the Muslims were indeed, in accordance with their own self-definition, a nation separate from the Hindu nation, and it logically followed that they could not be full citizens of a state constituted by and for the Hindu nation. Most Muslims supported the two-nation theory (the overwhelming majority of the Muslim electorate voted for the Muslim League in 1946, while no sizable section of the non-enfranchised lower-class Muslims expressed its opposition, on the contrary), so it was on their own premise that they could not be full citizens of a non-Islamic Indian state,-- unless they changed their attitude and chose to identify with India rather than with the Ummah.

The Saffron Swastika (2001), Volume II

  • Perhaps it is a matter of comfort for the Hindus that Hindutva-watching is not the only field where incriminating claims are made loosely and then repeated ad nauseam by others without verifying primary sources.
  • It is interesting to watch these notions spreading from Indian secularist militants to their indological acolytes and on to the general Western intellectual, who simply has no clue on critically evaluating them.
  • The observed differences are much smaller than those between Indians collectively and Europeans (or Africans etc) collectively. A survey has confirmed that there is " a closer resemblance between castes of different varnas within a region than between sub-populations of the casete from different regions.
  • For some reason such statements of BJP egalitarianism are never quoted in studies of Hindu nationalism.
  • But clearly the opportunity for a highly profitable confusion is so exceptionally good here, that the know will not be untied by those who have an interest.
  • It is quite significant that here and on many other occasions, the standard secularist allegations against the Hindu movement are literal rehashings of the Muslim League propaganda against the Freedom movement.
  • That the BJP would adopt the Manusmriti as the Indian constitution, is just one of those ludicrous claims made in the free-for-all of India-watching.
  • The official guru of the RSS is the Saffron flag [...] "it represents the tradition and history of the Hindus"[...] The flag's saffron colour evokes fire, the medium of sacrifice, and thereby encapsulates the whole Vedic religion.
  • Mrs Gandhi invoked the "threat of fascism", meaning the RSS, as a justification for the suspension of democracy. On the strength of the evidence of 1975, the allegation of "fascism" and of anti-democratic intentions levelled against the Hindu movement is not that inccocent: it is a rhetorical preparation to anti-democratic measures of the "secularist" parties... We should also keep in mind that the amendment to the Constitution which declared India a "secular, socialist" republic was passed without proper parliamentary debate in 1976 at the height of the Emergency dictatorship. The facts of history do not support the linkage of "Hindu communalist" with "anti-democratic", nor that of "secular" with "democratic".
  • The Babri Masjid demolition provided the excuse for certain politicians and intellectuals to bare their despotic fangs.
  • Where words lose their meaning, people are about to lose their freedom...By this standard, India is in some real danger, for the elite does use some Newspeak frequently... Thus demanding a Civil Code common to all citizens... counts as anti-secular... When Kashmiri Hindus have to flee their homes after reading open threats in the Urdu papers and seeing relatives butchered, they are called "migrants"; but when Bangladeshi Muslims terrorize their Hindu neighbours and then migrate from their Islamic state to India in search of job opportunities, they are called "refugees". This type of inversion of word meanings is part of a wider mind-set of mendaciousness expressed through more ordinary lies, often of breathtaking effrontery. Thus only in the Orwellian world of Indian secularism is it possible to denounce as "vicious hate propaganda" the VHP's factual observation that the Christian missionaries aim for the complete conversion of India...
  • Indeed, no amount of history rewriting can alter the fact that India was partitioned (over nearly a million dead bodies) under Muslim pressure, and that what was carved out of India was an Islamic state. And no amount of hermeneutics can interpret this as an act of loyalty towards India. From the viewpoint of pluralistic and democratic India, the 93% Muslim voters just before Independence who voted for the Muslim League wit its one-point programme of partitioning India and creating Pakistan, were effectively traitors.
  • Ever since regular census operations were started, the percentage of Muslims has grown every decade in British india, independent India, Pakistan and Bangladesh... Their percentage has consistetnly increased with the rate of increase itself increasing.
  • Numerous Hindus have been killed by Christian separatists in Nagaland and Mizoram, while the outside world believes that it is the meek Christians who are threatened and persecuted in India by the ugly fanatical Hindus because all the media coverage has been given to the killing of a few Christians in Orissa.
  • At least since the Bombay blasts of 12 March 1993, bomb attacks against Hindu Nationalist targets have been a regular fact of life, though I know of no Western paper or academic publication which has cared to mention the phenomenon.
  • Shielding the perpetrators and attacking the victims: along with Hindu Revivalists, the neutral observer must raise the question why Hindus are getting such vicious treatment in the world media.
  • Considering that blood is a priceless influencer of people's sympathies, riot reporting is a favourite hunting ground for aspiring moulders of public opinion. ... the English-language papers which determine the international impression of India's communal situation have specialized in the anti-Hindu variety, at least in the 1980s and early 90s.
  • Till today, Hindu-Muslim riots in India, Pakistan or Bangladesh are almost always started by Muslims. In the case of Pakistan and Bangladesh this is entirely obvious...
  • But that "pogrom" was a media invention... With this atrocity propaganda, the media provoked the Muslims into a "retaliation" which was all too real.
  • Having talked with hundreds of BJP and RSS activists... including notorious fire-breathers like Vinay Katiyar and Sadhvi Ritambhara, I have yet to meet these hidden hardliners.
  • We are foregoing consideration of the more fundamental question as to which is more fanatical: to demand back the sacred places which are those of your own religion, dedicated to your own gods..., or to wilfully remain sitting on someone else's sacred sites, and knowing fully well that you yourself would not allow anyone to touch your own sacred sites.
  • Fact is also that ever since the Ayodhya demolition, there has been a steady series of bomb attacks on RSS/BJP targets (e.g. killing a dozen poeple in the RSS office in Madras) and murders of BJP office-bearers.
  • Contrary to a widespread impression, the typical victim of Hindu-Muslim violence is a Hindu. Not, of course, that this justifies any of the occasional Hindu violence, but the fact itself deserves to be noted.
  • Consider also the numbers: of thirty million Muslims in truncated India, four million moved to Pakistan, or less than one in seven; of twenty million Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan, seven million fled to India, or more than one in three. Moreover, in the next decade, another four million Hindus fled East Pakistan.
  • Hindus suffered such attempted extermination in East Bengal in 1971, when the Pakistani Army killed 1 to 3 million people, with Hindus as their most wanted target. This fact is strictly ignored in most writing about Hindu-Muslim relations, in spite (or rather because) of its serious implication that even the lowest estimate of the Hindu death toll in 1971 makes Hindus by far the most numerous victims of Hindu-Muslim violence in the post-colonial period. It is significant that no serious count or religion-wise breakdown of the death toll has been attempted: the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi ruling classes all agree that this would feed Hindu grievances against Muslims.... Even apart from the 1971 genocide, "ordinary" pogroms in East Pakistan in 1950 alone killed more Hindus than the total number of riot victims in India since 1948.
    • Koenraad Elst, "Was There an Islamic "Genocide" of Hindus?" [13], (read at the World Association for Vedic Studies’ conference in Hoboken NJ, 2000), also in Saffron Swastika, 818ff.
  • I am aware that the following verdict is extremely unpopular among both politicians and intellectuals, but they should learn to face facts at last. The division of guilt for India's Hindu-Muslim conflict is extremely uneven. Hinduism may be guilty of social inequality, superstition and other evils, but intolerance of differences in religion is not one of them. It is unambiguously Islam which has brought religious persecution to India. It is Islam and Islam alone which has caused the Hindu-Muslim conflict with its many millions of mortal victims. Even when individual Hindus strike at Muslims... they are merely playing a part in a drama which Islam alone has inflicted on India...
  • It is only when the interest in Classical culture was revived and when secular modern medicine discovered the importance of cleanliness, that the missionaries started including this un-Christian value in their kit of trinkets with which to bribe the jungle-dwelling Heathens.
  • It is when I loot at Catholicism in India that I start to understand the sharp aversion of many non-Catholics and ex-Catholics. This is still the militant Church of old, arrogant and aggressive. One such show of arrogance and aggression is the Church's media campaign to blacken any Hindu assertiveness, including attempts to brand Hindutva organizations as "fascist".
  • An audience calculated to be trapped in exonymous terminological games about "Lebensraum" can also be counted upon to recoil in horror when the word "Aryan" enters the scene.
  • So, the missionaries' rendering of the alleged RSS view of history is hardly incriminating, except that their own whitewash of these violent invasions incriminates them as moral accomplices to aggression and war crimes... the whole "glaring parallel" exists onnly in the eye of the missionary beholder.
  • In India, by contrast, the Church is still its old aggressive self. Rather than questioning its own record, it tries to project its own crimes onto its heathen enemies. The Catholic Bishop's Conference of India is in no position to pontificate about anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-democratic or anti-secular sins imputed to the Hindus.
  • In India, by contrast, massive violence against Hindutva activists.. has gone unanswered. Hundreds of Hindutva activists have been murdered and no one has taken revenge... Indeed, for decades on end, lambasting Hinduism and Hindutva have been the cheapest and surest career moves for Indian intellectuals and international India-watchers.
  • The Bhagalpur riot of 1989, one of the biggest massacres in India since Partition, provides a case study in manipulation at the source, viz. the politically appointed official enquiry committee. The one-man commission consisting of Justice (retd.) R.N.Prasad was not finding a BJP or otherwise "Hindu communalist" hand behind the riots, so the Stte Government of Bihar led by Laloo Prasad Yadav expanded the commission to three members. The two new members then duly made the required "discoveries" and brought out another report..., finding the BJP guilty... The Bhagalpur riot took a terrible toll among Muslims, which the fact that the Muslims started the violence in the first place cannot justify; nevertheless, Bhagalpur still has a large Muslim population, and Bangladeshi infiltrators still consider it safe enough to settle there in their thousands. In fact, the migration figures are the best refutation of the "Hindu bully, Muslim victim" myth: as against the constant trickle of Hindu refugees out of Pakistan and Bangladesh, there is no Muslim flight out of India, but on the contrary a massive Muslim influx into India.
    • Elst, K. (2010). The saffron swastika: The notion of "Hindu fascism". p 764ff
  • Most secularists pretend not to know this unambiguous position of Savarkar’s (in many cases, they really don’t know, for Hindu-baiting is usually done without reference to primary sources). Likewise, Savarkar’s plea for caste intermarriage to promote the oneness of Hindu society is usually ignored in order to keep up the pretence that he was a reactionary on caste, an “upper-caste racist” (as Gyan Pandey puts it), and what not. There are no limits to secularist dishonesty, and so we are glad to find at least one voice in their crowd which does acknowledge these positions of Savarkar’s.... This is just another case of secularist justice: Hindu are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
  • Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke has written a book on the strange case of a French-Greek lady who converted to Hinduism and later went on to work for the neo-Nazi cause, Maximiani Portas a.k.a. Savitri Devi. The book is generally of high scholarly quality and full of interesting detail, but when it comes to Indian politics, the author is woefully misinformed by his less than impartisan sources. He squarely places himself outside the scholarly community and inside the Indian Marxist propaganda machine
  • It is in this context that in 1940, Savarkar launched his slogan: “Hinduize all politics, militarize Hindudom.” This slogan is nowadays often quoted out of context to impute to Savarkar a fascist-like fascination with “war for war’s sake”. But it meant nothing of the kind. He wanted Hindus to get military experience for a specific purpose, viz. that after the war, England would find a vast number of combat-ready Indian troops before her...
  • It must also be noted that Savarkar never went as far in his cooperation with the British as the Communists who supported the British (after they became a Soviet ally in 1941) by betraying Congress “Quit India” activists to them. While the Communists were Soviet loyalists who saw Indian opponents to the war effort as simply their enemies, Savarkar was an Indian patriot who differed with the Gandhian patriots (as with Bose) regarding the means but agreed with them on the goal, viz. India’s independence, and therefore left them to their own designs without interfering.

Who is a Hindu, (2002)

  • As so often in Indo-Pakistani and Hindu-Muslim comparisons, the argument is reminiscent of the inequality between the contenders in the Cold War: you could demonstrate for disarmament in the West, but to demonstrate for this in the East Bloc (except if it were for unilateral disarmament by the Western “war-mongers”) would have put you in trouble.
  • The neologism âdivâsi constitutes one of the most successful disinformation campaigns in modern history.
  • In the West, secularism implies pinpricking religious fraud and arrogance, but in India, secularists are the most eloquent defenders of myth and theocracy.
  • Until 1989, there was a complete consensus in all sources (Hindu, Muslim and European) which spoke out on the matter, viz. that the Babri Masjid had been built in forcible replacement of a Hindu temple."
  • Thus, to depict Rama as a virile warrior was a sin against Hinduism, an imitation of colonialist virility myths, a betrayal of the feminine passivity of genuine Hinduism. Or, to organize the Hindu religious personnel on a common platform (the Dharma Sansad, more or less 'religious parliament') is an un-Hindu imitation of the Bishops' Synod in the Catholic Church. Or, to alert the Hindus against Muslim or Christian conversion campaigns is an abandonment of the cheerful Hindu indifference to sectarian name-tags, the only thing which really changes upon conversion. Indeed, anything that could play a role in upholding and preserving Hinduism was found to be un-Hindu, while anything that could make or keep Hinduism defenceless and moribund, was glorified as true Hinduism. Anything that smacked of vitality and the will to survive was dubbed 'Semitic'.
  • People (...) have to make choices in life, and in their decisions there will always be a dark side available for foul mouths to pick on.
  • Indians in Southeast-Asia were never known as 'Hindu', but the Arabs, Turks, Mongolians and other northern and western foreigners adopted the Persian name as their own word for 'India' and 'Indians', e.g. Arabic Hind, Turkish Hindistan. Xuan Zang ... notes in so many words that the name Xin-du (regular Chinese rendering of Persian Hindu)1 or, as he corrects it, Yin-du, is used outside India but is unknown within the country, because the natives call it Aryadesh or Brahmarashtra.
  • In Swami Dayananda's view, the term Arya was not coterminous with the term Hindu. The classical meaning of the word Arya is 'noble'. It is used as an honorific term of address, used in addressing the honoured ones in ancient Indian parlance. The term Hindu is reluctantly accepted as a descriptive term for the contemporary Hindu society and all its varied beliefs and practices, while the term Arya is normative and designates Hinduism as it ought to be. ... Elsewhere in Hindu society, 'Arya' was and is considered a synonym for 'Hindu', except that it may be broader, viz. by unambiguously including Buddhism and Jainism. Thus, the Constitution of the 'independent, indivisible and sovereign monarchical Hindu kingdom' (Art.3:1) of Nepal take care to include the Buddhist minority by ordaining the king to uphold 'Aryan culture and Hindu religion' (Art.20: 1). ... The Arya Samaj's misgivings about the term Hindu already arose in tempore non suspecto, long before it became a dirty Word under Jawaharlal Nehru and a cause of legal disadvantage under the 1950 Constitution. Swami Dayananda Saraswati rightly objected that the term had been given by foreigners (who, moreover, gave all kinds of derogatory meanings to it) and considered that dependence on an exonym is a bit sub-standard for a highly literate and self-expressive civilization. This argument retains a certain validity: the self-identification of Hindus as 'Hindu' can never be more than a second-best option. On the other hand, it is the most practical choice in the short run, and most Hindus don't seem to pine for an alternative.
  • The Sikh Gurus Tegh Bahadur, beheaded by Aurangzeb in 1675 for refusing to convert, and his son Govind Singh, who founded the military Khalsa order and whose four sons were killed by the Moghul troops, are very popular in Hindutva glorifications of national heroes'. Their pictures are routinely displayed at functions of the RSS and its affiliates, and their holidays celebrated, e.g.: 'Over 650 branches of Bharat Vikas Parishad observe Guru Tegh Bahadur Martyrdom Day'. Ch. 8
  • Ram Swarup relates how the British had been disappointed with the conclusions of the first scholar who investigated and translated Sikh Scriptures, the German Indologist and missionary Dr. E. Trumpp, who had found Guru Nanak a 'thorough Hindu' and his religion ‘a Pantheism derived directly from Hindu sources’....So, according to Ram Swarup, other scholars were put to work to rewrite Sikh history in the sense desired by the British: ‘Max Arthur Macauliffe, a highly placed British administrator (...) told the Sikhs that Hinduism was like a 'boa constrictor of the Indian forest' which 'winds its opponent and finally causes it to disappear in its capacious interior'. The Sikhs 'may go that way', he warned. He was pained to see that the Sikhs regarded themselves as Hindus which was 'in direct opposition to the teachings of the Gurus'. Ch. 8
  • However, what is worthwhile to bear in mind is that, despite these innovations, this new community, the Khalsa Panth, remained an integral part of the Hindu social and religious system. It is significant that when Tegh Bahadur was summoned to Delhi, he went as a representative of the Hindus. He was executed in the year 1675. His son who succeeded him as guru later described his father’s martyrdom as in the cause of the Hindu faith, ‘to preserve their caste marks and their sacred thread did he perform the supreme sacrifice’. The guru himself looked upon his community as an integral part of the Hindu social system. Ch. 8
  • The Guru Granth equally contains writings of some non-Sikh bhakti poets including Kabir, and thousands of references to such Hindu concepts and characters as Rama, Krishna, Veda, Omkara, Amrit. (An near-exact count is given in K.P. Agrawala: Adi Shrî Gurû Granth Sâhib kî Mahimâ (Hindi: “The greatness of the original sacred Guru scripture”), p.2, and in Ram Swarup: “Hindu roots of Sikhism”, Indian Express, 24-4-1991. Examples: ca. 8,300 times Hari (630 times by Nanak alone), 2,400 times Râma (the god-name whose constant remembrance leads to Liberation), 550 times Parabrahman (the Absolute), 400 times Omkâra (the primeval sound Om).) Sikh names are full of Hindu elements: Hari (= Vishnu), Rama, Krishna and his epithets (Har-kishan, Har-govina), Arjun, the Vedic god Indra (Yog-indr, Sur-indr). (About Sikh devotion to Ram, see Rajendra Singh: Sikkha Itihâsa mein Râma Janmabhûmi.) The Hari Mandir, dedicated to Hari/Vishnu, is as sacred to Vaishnavas as any of their non-Sikh temples; its tank was already an old Hindu place of pilgrimage, where Maharana Ikshvaku is said to have performed yajnas. (The 1875 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica says in its entry on Amritsar that it has sacred tank with a temple dedicated to Vishnu in the middle). Ch. 8
  • A more specifically religious indication is that Master Tara Singh, the acknowledged leader of the Sikhs since at least the eve of Partition, was a cofounder of the Vishva Hindu Parishad in 1964.(...) Even Khushwant Singh admitted that RSS and BJP activists had saved many Sikhs while Congress secularists were killing them: “It was the Congress leaders who instigated mobs in 1984 and got more than 3000 people killed. I must give due credit to RSS and the BJP for showing courage and protecting helpless Sikhs during those difficult days. No less a person than Atal Bihari Vajpayee himself intervened at a couple of places to help poor taxi drivers.” Ch. 8
  • A Hindu-friendly India-watcher of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, a parastatal world-watch bureau in Washington DC, has remarked that this alleged semitization, which is but a pejorative synonym for self-organization, may simply be necessary for Hinduism's survival. He points out that in Africa, the traditional religions are fast being replaced by Christianity and Islam precisely because they have no organization which can prepare a strategy of self-defence. African traditionalists are not denounced as 'semitized fundamentalists' because in effect, they submit to the liquidation of their tradition by mass conversions....It is hard to find fault with this observation.... Consider: why was the Roman Empire christianized, but not the Persian Empire? ...the difference was precisely that the Roman state religion was not 'semitized', while the Persian state religion was. The Roman state religion was pluralistic and didn't have much of a policy, while the Mazdean state religion in Persia did organize the opposition against Christian proselytization, mobilizing both the state and the population, and developing a combative 'Semitic' character in the process (the Mazdean oppression of Christianity led to the migration of some Syrian Christians to Kerala in the 4th century, where they survive till today). ... Ram Swarup analyzes the political intention behind laudatory labels like 'tolerant' and hate labels like 'Semitic'. He too points to Africa as an instance of what to avoid: 'The African continent has been under the attack of the two monolatrous religions, Christianity and Islam, for centuries. Under this attack, it has already lost much of its old culture. .... Some time ago, there was an article in the London Economist praising it for taking this attack with such pagan tolerance...' This praise of religions which submit to being annihilated ('tolerant') and the concomitant opprobrium for religions which don't, indeed the condemnation of the very will to survive as 'fanatical', is reminiscent of a French saying: 'This animal is very mean: it defends itself when attacked.'

Ayodhya: The Case Against the Temple (2002)

  • In his seminal book Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them, independent Hindu historian Sita Ram Goel has listed two thousand cases where a mosque was built in forcible replacement of a Hindu temple. Not one of these verifiable items has been proven false, not by Sikand nor by Eaton or other eminent historians. It is also instructive to see for oneself what Eaton's purported eighty cases are, on pp. 128-132 of his book. These turn out not to concern individual places of worship, but campaigns of destruction affecting whole cities with numerous temples at once. Among the items on Eaton's list, we find Delhi under Mohammed Ghori's onslaught, 1193, or Benares under the Ghurid conquest, 1194, and again under Aurangzeb's temple-destruction campaign, 1669. On each of these three occasions, literally hundreds of temples were sacked. In the case of Delhi, we all know how the single Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque replaced 27 temples, incorporating their rubble. At this rate, Eaton's eighty instances easily match Goel's two thousand, perhaps even the unnamed Hindutva author's sixty thousand.
    • chapter Vandalism sanctified by scripture, also in Outlook India, published on 31 August 2001
  • Look how claims are smuggled into this conclusion which have not been established in Sikand's argumentation. Even by Sikand's own figures, Hindus and Muslims were far from "equally" guilty... One of the best-documented defects of any religion is the role of Islamic doctrine in the destruction of other people's cultural treasures, rivalled only by Christianity in some of its phases, and surpassed only in the 20th century by Communism. A secularist should subject the record of Islam to criticism, not to a whitewash.
    • chapter Vandalism sanctified by scripture, also in Outlook India, published on 31 August 2001
  • The present book is my last contribution to the literature on what is known in India as “communalism”, meaning the conflict between the different religions, principally Hinduism and Islam.... I am very fortunate in having discovered the problem at an earlier stage of life and being offered a forum where I could contribute to the research into and reflection on its causes. In terms of my own potential, I feel I have exhausted the topic and I now intend to move on (or return) to more fundamental subjects of philosophy and religion.
  • Future historians will include the no-temple argument of the 1990s as a remarkable case study in their surveys of academic fraud and politicized scholarship. With academic, institutional and media power, a new academic-journalistic consensus has been manufactured denying the well-established history of temple demolition by Islamic iconoclasm to the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi site; at least among people with prestige and influence but no firsthand knowledge of the issue. But the facts will remain the facts, and their ongoing suppression is bound to give way as new generations of scholars take a fresh look at the data.
  • The debate has not genuinely altered the old consensus, but it has been an interesting case-study in manipulation by unscrupled academics. That, at least, seems to be a fair description of learned publications advertising themselves as “objective” studies of the controversy, but systematically concealing the arguments put forth by one of the parties.
  • After all, the call for historical proof was only launched by India’s secularists spoiling for a fight, as a dispersionary tactic... They themselves have not contributed any evidence to the search for the historical true story, they were actually demanding from the Hindu side what they themselves never provided, - indeed, never intended to provide. In the process, their ulterior motives have come to light...
  • The aim of the pro-Babri Masjid historians was never to settle any historical questions. If it had been, then they would not have opposed the VHP’s request to organize systematic excavations at the site; nor would they have concealed the pro-temple evidence in their publications. Their aim was merely to distract public attention from the obvious and extremely simple solution of this controversy. The fact that this solution would be in favour of the Hindu claims was apparently unbearable to them because of their seething hatred of their ancestral religion.
  • This raises the issue of a possible settlement with the Muslims, and the terms in which such a settlement should be formulated. But note that no secularist opinion leader in India nor any Western observer has highlighted these offers, let alone given them his explicit support. Their preference is with the most obscurantist and militant tendency in the Muslim community.
  • Remark first of all the Christian imagery in the last sentence: “The Hindu community must bear the cross on its chest.” This illustrates what we had suspected all along: the English-speaking elite in India has preserved the mind-set of the Christian-British colonial rulers. The ruling class has borrowed its religious imagery from Western Christianity, just as it has borrowed its secularism from the anti-religious reaction in the late-Christian West. Mentally, India is to an extent still under Brown Sahib colonial domination, and the legal apparatus which denies Hindus the right to their sacred site can, in circumstances critical to the establishment’s legitimacy, still be used as an instrument of colonial oppression.
  • Hindu society is guilty of trying to manage its own affairs at its own sacred site, so it deserves to be punished with administrative restrictions on its access to the Rama-Janmabhoomi, and perhaps with further judicial restrictions later. The judges simply confirm what is explicitly laid down in article 30 of the Constitution: minorities enjoy privileges which are denied to Hindus, including the non-interference by the government in the affairs of their places of worship. Hindus have no right to complain when the government takes over Hindu temples, nor when it works hand-in-glove with Islamic activists trying to take over a Hindu sacred site. They should be satisfied with the status of second-class citizens, to which they have been so well accustomed by centuries of colonial rule, Islamic as well as Christian.
  • It is an old dictators' trick to associate criticism with crime and disorder, and too often we have seen secularists reduced to this sleight-of-hand of identifying rational criticism of Christianity and Islam with communal riots.
  • It is not unfair to conclude that some of the pro-BMAC authors have committed serious breaches of academic deontology. For me personally, seeing this shameless overruling of historical evidence with a high-handed use of academic and media power, was the immediate reason to involve myself in this controversial question.
  • The atmosphere at the conference was frankly hostile. (...) It was up to people from the audience to protest and oblige the chairperson to allow me to read out my paper. When it was my turn, I was heckled somewhat by the Leftist crowd, especially by a well-known Indo-American Communist academic, who was rolling his eyes like a madman and making obscene gestures until an elderly American lady sitting next to him told him to behave. At the end, Mathew came to collect a copy of my text (the book version, of which I had some author's copies handy), called me a "liar, and told his buddies that they needed to write a scholarly rebuttal. Which is still being awaited today.
  • One Western author who has become very popular among India’s history-writers is the American scholar Prof. Richard M. Eaton.... A selective reading of his work, focusing on his explanations but keeping most of his facts out of view, is made to serve the negationist position regarding temple destruction in the name of Islam. Yet, the numerically most important body of data presented by him concurs neatly with the classic (now dubbed “Hindutva”) account. In his oft-quoted paper “Temple desecration and Indo-Muslim states”, he gives a list of “eighty” cases of Islamic temple destruction. "Only eighty", is how the secularist history-rewriters render it, but Eaton makes no claim that his list is exhaustive. Moreover, eighty isn't always eighty. Thus, in his list, we find mentioned as one instance: "1994: Benares, Ghurid army. Did the Ghurid army work one instance of temple destruction? Eaton provides his source, and there we read that in Benares, the Ghurid royal army "destroyed nearly one thousand temples, and raised mosques on their foundations. (Note that unlike Sita Ram Goel, Richard Eaton is not chided by the likes of Sanjay Subramaniam for using Elliott and Dowson's "colonialist translation.") This way, practically every one of the instances cited by Eaton must be read as actually ten, or a hundred, or as in this case even a thousand temples destroyed. Even Eaton's non-exhaustive list, presented as part of "the kind of responsible and constructive discussion that this controversial topic so badly needs", yields the same thousands of temple destructions ascribed to the Islamic rulers in most relevant pre-1989 histories of Islam and in pro-Hindu publications.... If the “eighty” (meaning thousands of) cases of Islamic iconoclasm are only a trifle, the “abounding” instances of Hindu iconoclasm, “thoroughly integrated” in Hindu political culture, can reasonably be expected to number tens of thousands. Yet, Eaton’s list, given without reference to primary sources, contains, even in a maximalist reading (i.e., counting “two” when one king takes away two idols from one enemy’s royal temple), only 18 individual cases.... In this list, cases of actual destruction amount to exactly two...
  • It is also instructive to see for oneself what Eaton’s purported “eighty” cases are, on pp. 128-132 of his book. These turn out not to concern individual places of worship, but campaigns of destruction affecting whole cities with numerous temples at once. Among the items on Eaton’s list, we find “Delhi” under Mohammed Ghori’s onslaught, 1193, or “Benares” under the Ghurid conquest, 1194, and again under Aurangzeb’s temple-destruction campaign, 1669. On each of these “three” occasions, literally hundreds of temples were sacked. In the case of Delhi, we all know how the single Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque replaced 27 temples, incorporating their rubble.
  • One of the contenders in the Ayodhya history debate, the “hypothesis” that the Babri Masjid had been built in forcible replacement of a Hindu temple, had been a matter of universal consensus until a few years ago. Even the Muslim participants in court cases in the British period had not challenged it; on the contrary, Muslim authors expressed pride in this monument of Islamic victory over infidelity. It is only years after the Hindu take-over of the structure in 1949 that denials started to be voiced. And it is only in 1989 that a large-scale press campaign was launched to deny what had earlier been a universally accepted fact.
  • Tellingly, they do not mention the outcome of the debate, but reiterate the ludicrous demand they made while attending the debate as BMAC advocates, viz. that they be considered “independent historians” qualified to pronounce scientific judgment in a debate between their employers and their enemies... Of course, the government representative dismissed this demand as ridiculous. Yet, the BMAC has continued to call them “the independent historians”, and they themselves have continued to demand that the VHP submit its case to “independent arbitration”, i.e. by their own kind. These two telling details of the Ayodhya debate story have, of course, been withheld from the reader in the booklet published by the BMAC team, and in all subsequent publications by the anti-temple party.
  • The next meeting was scheduled for the next day, January 25. But there, the BMAC scholars simply did not show up. The unambiguous result of the debate was this: the BMAC scholars have run away from the arena. They had not presented written evidence worth the name, they had not given a written refutation of the VHP scholars’ arguments, they had wriggled out of a face-to-face discussion on the accumulated evidence, and finally they had just stayed away. Thus ended the first attempt by the Government of India to find an amicable solution on the basis of genuine historical facts.
  • The fact that Hindu temple materials (14 black-stone sculptured pillars) have been used in the Babri Masjid is not an unusual feature requiring a special explanation; on the contrary, it was a fairly common practice meant as a visual display of the victory of Islam over infidelity. It was done in many mosques that have forcibly replaced temples, e.g. the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi (in which a part of the Kashi Vishvanath temple is still visible), the Adhai-Din-ka-Jhonpra mosque in Ajmer, the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque in Delhi, or, outside India, the Jama Masjid of Damascus (which was a Christian cathedral)... There are Hindu temple materials in mosques attributed to Babar in Sambhal (replacing a Vishnu temple, and dated by archaeologists to the Sultanate period, just like the Ayodhya “Babri” Masjid) and Pilakhana. Local tradition affirms that the Babri Masjids in Palam, Sonipat, Rohtak, Panipat, and Sirsa have replaced Brahminical or Jain temples. The contemporary Tarikh-i-Babari describes how Babar’s troops “demolished many Hindu temples at Chanderi” when they occupied it.
  • Bhupendra Yadav’s nice little scenario is of course purely hyothetical and unsupported by any document whatsoever, but that doesn’t seem to trouble him. At any rate, after the cream of India’s secularist historians have used all their resources to create a semblance of credibility for the no-temple case, all that Bhupendra Yadav can come up with, is the hypothesis that: 1) the Hindus of Ayodhya had left the geographical place of honour in the middle of their city “vacant”, unlike the people of every other city in the whole world; 2) they had laid the foundations (the pillar-bases of burnt brick) for a pillared building which they never constructed, and waited for others to come and put these foundations to proper use. This hypothesis is pretty farfetched. But at least Mr. Yadav has the merit of explicitating what most people who deny the temple destruction scenario only claim by implication. ... This would mean that every now and then, these inconsistent Hindus or Muslims just made a hole in the ground, arbitrarily planted a pillar-base somewhere, never to build a pillar on it, then forgot about it till a few decades later, another joker repeated this meaningless ritual, coincidentally yielding an orderly pattern of pillar-bases. This is secularist archaeology for you.
  • In Ayodhya itself, several Rama temples were destroyed by Aurangzeb (Treta-ka-Thakur and Swargdwar), a fact which even the official polemicists against the Rama-Janmabhoomi have not dared to deny.
  • The VHP-mandated scholars have, in their argumentation, pointed out no less than four attempts where scholars belonging to the anti-temple party have tried to conceal or destroy documentary evidence. Those are of course cases where the attempt failed because it was noticed in time, but the question must be asked how many similar attempts have succeeded.
  • The VHP-mandated scholars, for their part, have not been aggressive enough to take the struggle into the enemy half of the field by focusing public attention on the quality of the evidence presented by the BMAC-mandated scholars and their allies in academe and the media. That is why the latter have gotten away with creating the false impression, at least among those unacquainted with the actual contents of the debate, that the pro-temple case is weak and fraudulent while, purely by implication, their own case must be unassailable.
  • It is not reassuring to watch the ease with which foreign scholars have absorbed or adopted the non-temple thesis from their Indian colleagues (whom they assume to be neutral observers) even without being shown any positive evidence. In academic circles in the West, my own restating the status quaestionis in terms of actual evidence has only earned me hateful labels and laughter, and this from big professors at big universities whose prestige is based on the widespread belief that scholarship goes by hard evidence, not politically fashionable opinions. Never has any of them offered hard evidence for the newly dominant view, or even just shown a little familiarity with the contents of the debate.
  • Foreign scholars might have played the role which the Supreme Court judges rejected: that of independent arbitrators. But as it turned out, the established Western academics, to the extent that they cared to look into the Ayodhya debate at all, have only looked through the glasses which the India’s Marxist-Muslim combine has put on their noses.
  • On the contrary, they have fully used their power in the media, academic and publishing sectors to muzzle the protemple voices and keep the pro-temple evidence out of public view, rather than face it and possibly refute it. When confronted with inconvenient new evidence dug up by their opponents, the knee-jerk reaction of the secularist scholars and media was to allege “concoctions”, “fabrications” and “Goebbelsian lies” at the top of their voices, and foreign scholars have sheepishly followed their lead.
  • The physical danger in writing against the temple is imaginary; by contrast, it is dangerous to uphold rather than oppose Hindu activist positions. It is a fact that throughout the 1990s, many office-bearers of the RSS, the BJP and their Tamil affiliate Hindu Munnani have been murdered; but that was more because of the demolition and other political matters than because of any statements on the historical background of the Hindu claims on Ayodhya. At one point, the publishinghouse Voice of India, which has published the Vishva Hindu Parishad’s statement and several other writings on the Ayodhya evidence, has had to seek police protection for a few days, but the threats had to do with “insults to the Prophet” and not with the Ayodhya evidence.
  • In terms of status and career, a non-conformistic stance in favour of the temple cannot be maintained without sacrifice. By contrast, joining the anti-temple party has always been a smart career move. Far from requiring bravery, posturing as a “committed secularist” up in arms against “obscurantist and communalist history manipulation” will only earn you praise... India’s secularist academics and journalists form a society of mutual praise, and the cheapest way of getting applause in elite India is to attack the Hindu movement.
  • Future books on the affair will include a chapter on “the Ayodhya scandal”: the unscrupled use of academic and media power positions by India’s secularists to suppress relevant evidence, and the gullibility of foreign scholars relying on hearsay from Indian colleagues whose bonafides is open to question.
  • There is ample archaeological evidence that the whole Ramkot hill was covered with a temple complex, as is only to be expected at the geographical place of honour in a temple city.
  • The above are cases where the attempts to suppress evidence have failed. It is quite probable that other attempts have succeeded. There may well be documents containing pertinent information, particularly about the site’s history during the Sultanate period (1206-1525), which have escaped the notice of Prof. Harsh Narain (the only scholar of Persian and Arabic in the VHP team) because they had been removed in time from the places where they could normally be found. Such documents would mostly be in Persian and available only in the libraries of Muslim institutions. In some of these, Prof. Harsh Narain has effectively been denied access as soon as his involvement in the Ayodhya argument became known. How many pieces of pertinent material have been concealed, removed, destroyed or altered is anybody’s guess.
  • If any proof is needed that the BMAC has been defeated in this debate, it is this: no one sympathetic to the Babri Masjid cause has made any reference to the outcome of this debate all through the subsequent years, eventhough the Ayodhya issue frequently reappeared in the news. Politicians have made a show of their “secularism” and their opposition to “religious fanaticism” by organizing “fact-finding missions” to Ayodhya and issuing statements on the dispute, but they have not made any reference to the outcome of the scholars’ debate at all. When reading about the subsequent course of the Ayodhya controversy, one might get the impression that the scholars’ debate never took place.
  • A good side-effect of the Ayodhya dispute has been the increased awareness about the ongoing debate over Indian history-writing. The “eminent historians” have been complaining that the writers of evidence-based history are polluting the stream of history scholarship. Those who are too remote from the available sources or not intellectually equipped or simply too lazy to verify these claims may well be taken in by this allegation. Those who care to inquire, however, are bound to find that it the other way around: it is the “eminent historians” who have polluted the channels of history teaching with their systematic distortions.
  • Thapar and Sharma are quoted as representatives of Indian Marxism in Tom Bottomore’s History of Marxist Thought, Oxford 1988, entry “Hinduism”; Habib has subtitled his recent book Essays in Indian History (Tulika, Delhi 1995) as Towards a Marxist Perception.
  • So this is the evidence given, the whole reason for abandoning a well-researched view of history: “One could argue...” It is in the nature of historical evidence (as opposed to evidence in physics) that it can always be “argued”, that is, explained away if inconvenient. Fossiles disprove the Biblical Creation Theory? No, for one could argue (and some Evangelical fundamentalists do argue) that God created the world with fossiles and all, if only to put the faith of palaeontologists to the test- Of even the hardest evidence one could argue that it may have been planted, doctored, misplaced, and that it should therefore be rejected by historians.
  • At any rate, the BMAC’s frontal display of contempt for logic and rational method has not pitted any secularist against the BMAC position. For them no allegations of replacing historical knowledge with myth or “faith”; which adds further illustration to our view that the whole rhetoric of historicity vs. faith was never anything else than a dispersionary tactic to put the Hindus on the defensive.
  • Under India’s secularist regime, Hindu society is an underground society, and sometimes it is inevitable that moral imperatives in the service of Hindu society can only be realised by such surreptitious surprise action.
  • Considering the foolish haughtiness with which the Allahabad High Court had just decided, days before the gathering scheduled for 6 December, to postpone once more their verdict on the acquisition of some of the Ayodhya land by the UP government (intended as part of a strategy towards a peaceful solution), after a full 42 years of endless litigation, it is not fair to accuse the over-enthusiastic Rama devotees of disrespect towards the judicial process and the democratic order which it is supposed to uphold. Rather, they have shown disrespect towards the misuse of the courts for political games, and they have rightly revolted against the judges’ contempt for Hindu society, which was evident from their unwillingness to settle the dispute brought before them, concerning no less a site than the Rama-Janmabhoomi.
  • One imagines the scornful secularist reaction if the Vishva Hindu Parishad had based its Ayodhya claims on a dream; yet, the numerous Christians in India’s secularist coalition have not made any plans to relinquish the Church’s dream-based claims on the pilgrimage sites in Palestine.
  • In normal academic practice, the debate on an issue on which such a consensus exists, would only have been opened after the discovery of new facts which undermine the consensus view. The present debate is between a tradition which numerous observers and scholars had found coherent and well-founded, and an artificial hypothesis based on political compulsions instead of on newly discovered facts.
  • testimony to the same effect is also given by the Portuguese historian Gaspar Correa, who describes how Hindus continued their annual procession to the site of the Kapalishwara temple on Mylapore beach (Madras), even after the temple had been forcibly replaced with a Catholic church, vide Ishwar Sharan: The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple, Voice of India, p.18-19 (1st ed., 1991) or p-93-94 (2nd ed., 1995).
  • Of course, this collection of contemporary, often politically motivated articles and statements does not have any proof value. At best, some of the names under the articles could constitute an “argument of authority”, but even that is diluted by their juxtaposition with political agitators and plain cranks. More than an argumentation, this presentation of many conflicting opinions is a dispersionary tactic to keep the opposing party busy with refuting the weirdest viewpoints.
  • It is quite bizarre that scholars trying to prove a point discredit their own case by using a proven forgery without any comment.
  • Instead, just like B. B. Lal’s report, this inscription became a skeleton in their closet, which they have to keep from public view as long as possible.
  • Prof. B.B. Lal has formulated this conclusion on different occasions, including articles in Purâtitattva no. 16, 1987, and in Manthan, October 1990. In a letter to the Times of India, published on 1-3-1991, he concludes that “what is known as Ayodhya today was indeed the Ayodhya of the Valmiki Ramayana”.
  • The political equation behind all this intrigue is rarely understood by non-Indians. Thus, it requires quite a historical excursus to explain why declared Marxists like Irfan Habib, R.S. Sharma and Romila Thapar are making common cause with Islamic fundamentalism in its struggle against Hindu pluralism.
  • Among those who uphold the temple thesis, you find scholars who did not support the movement for replacing the mosque structure with temple architecture, and who explicitly distanced themselves from the Vishva Hindu Parishad’s campaign, e.g. Prof. A.R. Khan and archaeologist Dr. R. Nath. By contrast, I am not aware of anyone in the anti-temple party who supported the right of Hindus to build a temple at the site: every one of them explicitly subscribes to the position that Hindu attempts to reclaim this Hindu sacred site should be thwarted.
  • Against the near-universal consensus that all sacred sites are to be respected, Islam is taking the position that it has the right to occupy and desecrate the sacred sites of other religions. Genuine secularists must oppose and thwart this obscurantist design, and allow the normal process of Hindu architectural renovation to take its course.
  • The matter should have been put to rest there, but some Marxist polemicists just cannot let go of what they had hoped would be a trump card in their struggle to death against Hinduism.
  • All it demonstrates is the bullying rhetoric so common in the debate between the scientific and the secularist schools of Indian history.
  • At any rate, it is precisely the primary sources which leave no stone standing of the edifice of Nehruvian history-rewriting.
  • It may be remarked here in passing that Prof. Thapar also demonstrates her very weak grip on religious issues with her little excursus on the occasional Muslim interpretation (rendered more plausible by the imprecision of the Arabic script in transcribing Indian words) of Somanâtha as “Somanât”, and hence of the temple as a place where the Arabian Goddess Manât was worshipped. In spite of her own position, she actually hits the nail on the head in her rendering of what she describes as Turco-Persian myth-making: “The link with Manat added to the acclaim for Mahmud. Not only was he the prize iconoclast in breaking Hindu idols, but in destroying Manat he had carried out what were said to be the very orders of the Prophet.”
  • In spite of Sikand’s attempt to whitewash Aurangzeb, evidence remains plentiful that this Moghul emperor committed acts of persecution and iconoclasm which would generally be considered vicious (they certainly would if committed by Hindutva activists, witness the torrent of abuse after the demolition of the Babri Masjid).
  • A remarkable aspect of the Ayodhya debate is the complete lack of active involvement by Western scholars. Their role has been limited to that of loudspeakers for the secularist-cum-Islamist party-line denying that any temple demolition had preceded the construction of the Babri Masjid.
  • Given the widely acknowledged importance of the Ayodhya conflict, one would have expected at least some of the well-funded Western academics to embark on their own investigation of the issue rather than parroting the slogans emanating from Delhi’s Jama Masjid and JNU. Their behaviour in the Ayodhya debate provides an interesting case study in the tendency of establishment institutions and settled academics to genuflect before ideological authorities overruling proper scholarly procedure in favour of the political fashion of the day.
  • For Prof. Eaton’s information, it may be recalled that an extreme and willful superficiality regarding all matters religious is a key premise of Nehruvian secularism. While such an anti-scholarly attitude may be understandable in the case of political activists parachuted into academic positions in Delhi, there is no decent reason why an American scholar working in the relative quiet of Tucson, Arizona, should play their game.
  • According to the cover text on his book, Eaton is professor of History at the University of Arizona and “a leading historian of Islam”. Had he defended the thesis that iconoclasm is rooted in Islam itself, he would have done justice to the evidence from Islamic sources, yet he would have found it very hard to get published by Oxford University Press or reach the status of leading Islam scholar that he now enjoys. One can easily become an acclaimed scholar of Hinduism by lambasting and vilifying that religion, but Islam is somehow more demanding of respect.
  • So, this is where the story comes from: an unnamed friend of an unnamed acquaintance of Sitaramayya knew of a manuscript, but he took the details of it with him in his grave. This hearsay in the third degree is the “document” on which secularist journalists and historians base their “evidence” of Aurangzeb’s fair and secularist disposition. This is how they go about “exploding the myth” of Islamic iconoclasm. Their “debunking” of genuine history as preserved and presented by Hindu historians stands exposed as sheer bluff.
  • So now, we finally know where the story comes from: an unnamed mullah friend of an unnamed acquaintance of Sitaram ayya's knew of a manuscript, the details of which he took with him in his grave. This is the "document" on which secularist journalists and historians base their "evidence" of Aurangzeb's fair and secularist disposition, overruling the evidence of archaeology and the cold print of the Maasiri Alamgiri, to "explode the myth" of Islamic iconoclasm spread by the "chauvinist" Hindutva propagandists. Now you just try to imagine what the secularists and their mouthpieces in Western academe would say if Hindus offered evidence of this quality.
  • What are the facts? The official court chronicle, Maasir-i-Alamgiri, fills many pages with items like this “His majesty proceeded to Chitor on the 1st of Safar. Temples to the number of sixty-three were here demolished. Abu Tarab, who had been commissioned to effect the destruction of the idol temples in Amber, reported in person on the 24th Rajab, that threescore and six of these edifices had been levelled with the ground.”2 It says in so many words that Aurangzeb “ordered all provincial governors to destroy all schools and temples of the Pagans and to make a complete end to all Pagan teachings and practices”. Moreover, it records: “Hasan Ali Khan came and said that 172 temples in the area had been destroyed”, etc. Aurangzeb’s supposed intolerance can be deduced from his actual policies, known to us through his own chronicles as well as other sources. ...About Benares/Varanasi, we learn from the Maasir-i-Alamgiri: “News came to court that in accordance with the Emperor’s command his officers had demolished the temple of Vishvanath at Banaras”.
  • The violent tendencies of Islam are not a propaganda bandied about by some querrulants, but a daily fact of life for Hindus in Jammu or Dhaka. It is simply impossible to understand Hindu Revivalism for people who are adamant about disregarding or denying these facts.
  • Why not admit straightaway that the violence suffered by Hindus from Pakistan-sponsored terrorists is a plain fact and therefore also a legitimate Hindu concern?
  • To say Mahmud patronised Alberuni is a bit of a stretch - for Alberuni was a captive from one of Mahmud’s western campaigns and, while he travelled in Mahmud’s train, he enjoyed no special privileges. (his bitterness towards Mahmud is quite explicit in his Kitab-al-Hind.)
  • The Christian-dominated Korean leadership has even been accused by neutral observers of military persecution of Buddhism, esp. the crackdown in October 1980, see Encyclopedia Brittannica, Book of the Year 1988, entry Buddhism.
  • This point has been developed in the VHP’s official rebuttal to the BMAC’s evidence bundle: History vs. Casuistry. Of course, that document is absent from the bibliographies of practically all secularist publications on Ayodhya in India and abroad even though it represents the official position of the secularists’ own chosen enemy, the position which their publications purport to be rebutting.
    • chapter 9

Ayodhya, the Finale (2003)

  • At this stage in my life, a polemic on the Ayodhya affair is essentially a blast from the past. In recent years, I have reoriented my scholarly interests towards more fundamental philosophical studies and questions of ancient history, rather than questions in the centre of contemporary political struggles. The nastiness, the personal smears, the sheer heat of this kind of debate now seems most unpleasant to me, though once I enjoyed rushing headlong into it. But the whole polemic is also a blast from the past in a less personal sense. In terms of the development of civilization, it is an anachronism... Given the importance of the Ayodhya dispute and my old familiarity with it, I felt I had to come down from my ivory tower and engage in this polemic once more. When dogmatic ideologues are giving scientists the kind of treatment which the experts of the Archaeological Survey of Indian have been receiving from the “eminent historians”, and assorted Babri Masjid lobbyists, it is time to stand up and be counted. I for one want to be counted among those who defend the freedom of research and the scientific method, rather than among those who shriek and howl about some evil spirit in whose name every lie becomes justified, and whom they call “secularism”.
  • For those unfamiliar with modern Indian history: the Marxists, already pushy for acquiring as much power in the institutions as they could grab, were handed a near-monopoly on institutional power in India's academic and educational sector by Indira Gandhi ca. 1970. Involved in an intra-Congress power struggle, she needed the help of the Left. Her confidants P.N. Haksar and Nurul Hasan packed the institutions with Marxists, card-carrying or otherwise. When, during the Emergency dictatorship (1975-77), her Communist Party allies threatened to become too powerful, she and her son Sanjay removed them from key political positions but, in a typical instance of politicians' short-sightedness, they left the Marxists? hold on the cultural sector intact. In the good old Soviet tradition, they at once set out to falsify history and propagate their own version through the official textbooks. After coming to power in 1998, the BJP-dominated government has made a half-hearted and not always very competent attempt to effect glasnost (openness, transparency) at least in the history textbooks. This led the Marxists to start a furious hate campaign against the so-called 'saffronization' of history.
  • As a general rule, you can predict what the secularist position on any issue will be once you know what the militant Islamist position is. From justifying terrorism to misrepresenting the Ayodhya evidence, the two are rarely very different.
  • These days, much-acclaimed characters like John Dayal, Harsh Mander and Arundhati Roy lie in waiting for communal riots and elatedly jump at them when and where they erupt. They exploit the anti-Hindu propaganda value of riots to the hilt, making up fictional stories as they go along to compensate for any defects in the true account. John Dayal is welcomed to Congressional committees in Washington DC as a crown witness to canards such as how Hindus are raping Catholic nuns in India, an allegation long refuted in a report by the Congress state government of Madhya Pradesh. Arundhati Roy goes lyrical about the torture of a Muslim politician’s two daughters by Hindus during the Gujarat riots of 2002, even when the man had only one daughter, who came forward to clarify that she happened to be in the US at the time of the “facts”. Harsh Mander has already been condemned by the Press Council of India for spreading false rumours about alleged Hindu atrocities...
  • The BMAC team also put forth the demand that they be recognized as “independent scholars” entitled to sit in judgment on the controversy between their BMAC employers and their VHP opponents. The government representative did not grant this hilarious demand. At the meeting scheduled for 25 January 1991, they simply didn’t show up anymore.
  • Here, the supposed Hindu fundamentalists have been abiding by the findings of science, while the so-called secularists have been on the opposite side, the side of dogmatism and obscurantism.
  • The existence of the medieval temple had long been firmly established. There was testimony upon testimony of Hindus bewailing and Muslims boasting of the replacement of the temple with a mosque; and of Hindus under Muslim rule coming as close as possible to the site in order to celebrate Rama’s birthday every year in April, in continuation of the practice at the time when the temple stood. None of the written sources, whether Hindu, Muslim or European, contradicted the pre-existence of a Rama temple at the site.
  • This was reckless, for ... the eventual discovery of such a temple would justify a contrario the replacement of the mosque with a restored temple. At least in theory, but the Marxists were confident that their opponents would never get the chance to press this point. Under the prevailing power equation, they expected to get away with a plain denial of history... Ever since, the secularist historians have been bluffing their way through the controversy.
  • Isn’t that funny: people wearing the mantle of the academic quest for knowledge who denounce the search for knowledge on the dogmatic plea that the outcome is known beforehand? ...Even back then, given all the earlier evidence, everything indicated that something would be discovered. They themselves cannot have been ignorant of this, so their opposition was a deliberate attempt to obstruct the progress of scientific knowledge.
  • The party most likely to be elated over the non-finding of traces of a temple should have been the anti-temple lobby... yet it complains that the ASI team did find evidence, only it was of the pro-temple kind, hence “fabricated”. In the free-for-all of Indian secularism, we needn’t fuss over the fact that this grim allegation against the integrity of highly qualified scientists was levelled without any evidence.
  • By contrast, the VHP took a very lackadaisical attitude towards the excavations, arguably the moment of truth for the temple party....It seems they trusted in India’s national motto, “truth shall prevail”, even and especially against the decibels of those who rely on propaganda rather than on the quiet convincing power of the facts.
  • Just how silly can you get? While papers and columns keep on being written about the true meaning of “secularism”, shouldn’t someone try the meaning “buffoonery”?
  • Most people who plan a building first conceive a plan and then lay foundations in a pattern dictated by the building-plan. Hindus, by contrast, are like perennial children playing in the sand: they put some stones in the ground here, and a few more there, then a next generation puts in a few more, all without rhyme or reason and definitely without building anything on all these buried stones, so as to keep the site empty for any incoming Muslim invaders to build their mosque on it. Fifty-three years after India adopted a Constitution which calls on all citizens to “develop the scientific temper” (Art. 51.A.h), the country’s academic positions are occupied by crackpots. ... For most human beings, it must be inconceivable to just put a pillar base into the ground once in a while, and then another one, without alignment, without any plan to make them support a preconceived building. But I suppose this has to be the secularist way of doing things.
  • The existence of that temple had been a matter of consensus among Muslims, Europeans and Hindus, both nationalist and anti-nationalist, until the JNU professors issued their fatwa to disregard the evidence and deny history.
  • For fourteen years, the secularists had worked hard to keep the lid on the Ayodhya evidence and they didn’t want some puny radar scanner or muddy-handed archaeologist to bring the facts to light and thereby expose their mendaciousness.
  • After all the wild claims made about their findings, the experts themselves have finally spoken... In a normal setting, the ASI findings should finish once and for all the campaign of history denial by the Marxists and their Muslim camp followers. But the world of Indian secularism is a fantasy-land where hard facts don’t count for much. So, a great many diehards unflinchingly reject the findings of science.
  • But the dominant position certainly is to minimize the importance of the ASI findings. This is a general phenomenon in the whole secularist press: instead of a thorough analysis and a lively debate worthy of the importance and unequivocal verdict of the report, the page is turned as quickly as possible. This is, of course, a strong indication that the report’s findings are embarrassing for the secularists because they go against what the secularists have been saying for all these years. Like spoilt children, the secularists are used to having it all their own way, and when reality interferes, they close their eyes, shut off their ears and refuse to know. And they will lie and cheat in order to prevent others from knowing.
  • All very well, but we should not forget that that point could have been reached fourteen or more years ago. What the recent excavations have merely confirmed was already well-known in 1989. The only problem was the mendacious denial of the historical facts by screaming and bullying secularists. Which, in turn, emboldened the Muslim hardliners into the most intransigent position in Court, in the political arena and on the streets. Think of the riots and the waste of energy that India could have been spared if the secularists had not obstructed the course of justice (or inter-communal negotiations, or a political settlement) with their denial of the historical reality underlying the Ayodhya dispute. I venture to put forth the view that these secularists have blood on their hands.
  • The findings have uncovered the material remains of historical facts, and these facts were public knowledge for centuries, viz. that a Hindu temple had been forcibly replaced by a mosque. Before and after 1989, the Hindu nationalists have simply stood by this public knowledge, while the secularist lobby led the Muslims into disbelieving their own chronicles (which amply attested their pride in having performed the Islamic duty of iconoclasm at Ayodhya) and denying the facts.
  • These riot vultures do a lot of damage to India, among other reasons because they are so eagerly believed abroad.... Since approximately the Stone Age, Engineer has been travelling to riot spots in India (butchering of minorities in Pakistan and Bangladesh somehow doesn’t interest him as much) with prefabricated riot reports invariably showing the same ingredients: Hindu pre-planning, Muslim victimhood, anti-Muslim complicity of the police and some local politicians. With the “facts” of the matter fixed beforehand, the main purpose of his visits is to note down some local names in order to give his reports more credibility. ... Undeniably, Asghar Ali Engineer remains a formidable master of disinformation. This makes him an excellent representative of Indian secularism and of the anti-temple campaign in particular.
  • In India, political incidents frequently pit Hindu nationalism, or even just plain Hinduism and plain nationalism, against so-called “secularism”. In practice, this term denotes a combine of Islamists, Hindu-born Marxists and consumericanized one-dimensionalists who share a hatred of Hindu culture and Hindu self-respect. What passes for secularism in India is often the diametrical opposite of what goes by the same name in the West.
  • The true story has been explained threadbare long ago, but for poor listeners like Mr. Engineer, we may repeat that Lal’s excavation focused on the ancient period and that from the viewpoint of Ramayana studies, the medieval layer with its unmistakable temple foundations was indeed devoid of much interest. The discovery of temple remains was nothing unexpected or controversial at the time, given the consensus (still prevalent in the late 1970s) on the site’s known history of Islamic iconoclasm. Yet, after the normal bureaucratic and human-inertial delays, as the 1980s were advancing, the ASI started deliberately postponing the formal publication of Lal’s findings because secularist opinion had started mobilizing against the longstanding historical consensus. The reason for the endless procrastination must have been the same reason why the court case has been dragging on for decades: fear of getting involved in controversy, particularly one where the facts would force a stance favoured by the Hindu side. In other words, fear of being demonized by the secularist establishment with its bloodhound attitude towards dissent.
  • One such secularist, a modern man ready to deal with the matter pragmatically, was Rajiv Gandhi. He allowed the Hindus to prepare for the construction of a new temple with the ceremonial laying of a foundation stone (shilanyas) on November 9, 1989. He pressured the Chandra Shekhar government, which was dependent on Congress support, into organizing the scholars’ debate about the historical evidence, in the full knowledge that the temple party would win such a debate hands down. The thrust of his Ayodhya policy was to buy off Muslim acquiescence with some of the usual currency of the Congress culture: maybe nominating a few more Mians as ministers, banning a few Islam-unfriendly books (hence the Satanic Verses affair), raising the Hajj subsidy, providing cheap loans to the Shahi Imam’s constituency, donating government land for some Islamic purpose, things like that. Meanwhile, Hindus would get their temple. Muslims would have scolded their leaders for selling out, Hindus would have lambasted theirs for cheapening a noble cause with such horse-trading, but in the end, everybody would have accepted it....Whatever may be said about and against Rajiv Gandhi, he had the calibre and the cool secular distance from religious passions to see such a policy through....But in 1991 India’s top pilot was killed, and worse, in his years as India’s most important politician, dark forces had started fighting his reasonable and pragmatic policy tooth and nail. The problem was not with the obscurantist Mullahs, because in those days, a seasoned Congress leader knew how to strike win-win deals with them. The poison issued from the secularist intellectuals who raised a media storm against the historical consensus, the one factual certainty underlying all the political confusion. Their stance hardened Muslim intransigence, emboldened the Left in its anti-Hindu strategy and created international public opinion against the temple plan...
  • The irresponsible and downright evil campaign of history denial by the secularist opinion-makers has prolonged the Ayodhya dispute by at least a decade. Denouncing all pragmatic deals, these secular fundamentalists insisted on having it their way for the full 100%, meaning the total humiliation of the Hindus. They exercised verbal terror against Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao and all politicians suspected of wanting to compromise with the Hindu movement, making them postpone the needed steps towards the solution. This way, they exacerbated the tensions in return for the pleasure of indulging their self-image as implacable secularists. A real secularist would have sought to minimize a religious conflict, but this lot insisted on magnifying it and turning it into a national crisis. For them, it was a holy war, a jihad, just as it was for their Islamist pupils and paymasters.
  • So, the blood of all the people killed in Ayodhya-related riots from 1989 onwards is at least partly on their heads. The spate of violence in Gujarat in 2002, the “genocide” about which they can’t stop talking, and which was triggered by the Godhra massacre of Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya, may well have been a late result of their slanderous effort to identify Ayodhya with deceitful Hindu fanaticism. Those holier-than-thou secularists are not so innocent... But now, the historical evidence has definitively been verified. After every single historical and archaeological investigation had confirmed the old consensus, the secularists have now been defeated in the final test. The deceit turns out to be their own. Their lies stand exposed and recorded for all to see. Their strategy to sabotage peace and justice in Ayodhya was based on history falsification. With all the blood on their hands, they have disgraced the fair name of secularism... Ideas have consequences, and so do lies.
  • The BMAC team’s argumentation of 1991 and several other anti-temple pamphlets were published by the People’s Publishing House, a Communist Party outfit. ... And while they were unchaining all their devils against glasnost, in early 2003, the Marxists ruling West Bengal deleted from a textbook a passage in which Mahatma Gandhi’s biographer Louis Fischer called Stalin “at least as ruthless as Hitler”.
  • Likewise, in the Central-Indian town of Jhabua, a quarrel among mostly christianized tribals led to the rape of four nuns. With no Hindu nationalists in sight, the media decided nonetheless that this was an act of Hindu nationalist cruelty against the poor hapless Christian minority. Though the official investigation confirmed the total innocence of the Hindu nationalists in this affair (more details on these and similar cases in Arun Shourie, Harvesting Our Souls, ch.1), their guilt has been consecrated by endless repetition in the media. While the media in India couldn’t prevent the truth from quietly making itself known, the international media have never published a correction, and the story of “four nuns in Jhabua raped by Hindu nationalists” now keeps on reappearing as an evergreen of anti-Hindu hate propaganda.
  • Irfan Habib is also counting on the readers’ forgetfulness concerning one of the central findings in the ASI report: there was a very large temple, the foundations of which far exceed the circumference of the Babri mosque. He wants us to believe that the pillar-bases were actually the floor of the Babri Masjid, but a large part of the foundations was located outside the confines of the mosque and hence cannot possibly be confused with the mosque floor, except by a highly prejudiced mind.
  • This shows what accomplished liars the Marxists are: they posit not just one lie, as amateurs would, but also all the ramifications of that lie.
  • Their effort has indeed been very strenuous... They were issuing statements all the time, grim one day, furious the next, scholarly never.
  • In disinformation campaigns, the first stage of planting false news must be followed up with a second stage of making the false news into a familiar presence. ...Clearly, some people were leaving no stone unturned to make this claim part of the received wisdom.

Gujarat after Godhra: Real violence, selective outrage (2003)

  • It is all very well for intellectuals in their air-conditioned offices to bemoan the unbelievable impact of either mean-spirited or silly rumours in the genesis of communal riots among the common folk. But in this instance, in their own reports on and analysis of communal violence, factual data were just as shamelessly replaced with invention, rumours and conspiracy theories. In this respect, religious extremists such as the Shahi Imam have behaved themselves better than the secularist campaigners who pose as the guardians of modernity and the scientific temper. Arundhati Roy risked the international fame she so clearly cherishes by going public with blatant lies about atrocities against named Gujarati Muslim women who turned out to be either non-existent or abroad at the time of the riots. Perhaps a fiction writer can afford this, but the news media with their deontology of accuracy and objectivity made themselves guilty of similar howlers. Internationally influential media like the Washington Post copied from an Islamist website rumours about Hindu provocations behind the Godhra carnage, falsely claiming a Gujarati journalist as source, and never publishing a correction when the journalist in question denied ever having put out such a story. With such media, who needs rumors?
  • In the Gujarati town of Godhra, on 27 February 2002, a Muslim mob set on fire a train wagon carrying passengers returning from a Hindu pilgrimage to Ayodhya, killing 58. This incident ignited a cycle of communal violence affecting much of the state of Gujarat, which remained in a state of crisis or at least unease for six months. More than a thousand people (about 800 Muslims and 250 Hindus) were killed in riots, and many more rendered homeless and forced to seek shelter in refugee camps. Strangely, the effective cut-off date for this period of tension was another violent incident: on 24 September 2002, two Muslim terrorists entering the Hindu Swaminarayan shrine of Akshardham in Gandhinagar. The events of Godhra and Aksardham define the time-bracket of the present study.
  • The extremely brazen-faced application of double standards in the name of secularism was a ubiquitous feature of the media's reporting and comment on the Gujarat riots. By now the complaint that "you secularists weren't half as indignant, in fact entirely uninterested, when a quarter million Hindus were cleansed from Kashmir" is entirely worn out and boring, but only because it remains unanswered and hence in need of being repeated.

The Problem with Secularism (2007)

  • Admittedly, a Muslim lobby had been formed which insisted on reoccupying this Hindu sacred site. However, the existing Congress culture notoriously knew how to deal with such problems: give the Muslim lobbyists some ministerial posts, some public largesse for their institutes or a raise in the Hajj subsidies, and they will come around. A small application of this approach was the annulment of Syed Shahabuddin's announced march on Ayodhya in 1988 in exchange for the governmental ban on Salman Rushdie's freshly-released book The Satanic Verses. A similar but bigger concession might have annulled the Muslim claim on the Ayodhya site. It would not have been the most principled policy, but it would have avoided a lot of communal blood-letting.
  • The sudden denial of this history by a circle of Marxist historians was not based on any new evidence but purely on political compulsions. It seems that their long enjoyment of a hegemonic power position in academe had gone to their heads, so they thought they could get away with crude history falsification.
  • Nonetheless, the Marxist historians had their way. In their shrill manifestoes, these secular fundamentalists slandered the genuine historians who stood by the facts, and they denounced the Hindus' perfectly reasonable expectation that a Hindu sacred site be left in the exclusive care of the Hindus. They did this with such titanic vehemence that the pragmatists were thrown on the defensive.
  • In a normal course of events, i.e. without the interference of secularist shrieks and howls, this would have set the stage for the peaceful construction of a new temple in the 1990s...
  • Architecturally, the building was and remained a mosque, while functionally, it had been and continued to be a Hindu temple.
    • chapter What if Rajiv Gandhi hadn't unlocked the Babri Masjid in 1986? also in 'Outlook India' (issue dt. 23 August 2004)
  • What the BJP government claims to offer, what all scholarly historians want, and what is loathed by the Marxists who have dominated the cultural and educational establishment since decades, is glasnost: openness, an end to the dead hand of Marxist dogma in Indian history-writing. However, it is quite wrong to say that the Sangh Parivar takes this job “very seriously”. It took three years before relieving leading Marxists of their influential positions (Prasar Bharati, NCERT, IHC). Most of its new nominees were not up to the job, some because of ill-health (e.g. K.S. Lal and B.R. Grover, both now deceased), some because they had never functioned in an academic setting. It should not be forgotten that for decades, at least since ca. 1970 when the Marxists led by P.N. Haksar and Nurul Hasan were given a lot of effective power in this sector in return for their support to Indira Gandhi, distinctly non-Marxist young historians found their access to an academic career blocked by the Marxist hegemons. Of the new textbooks, some are impeccable and are welcomed as undeniable improvements, e.g. Meenakshi Jain’s presentation of the Muslim period, arguably the most sensitive and controversial part of the series. Some of the others, by contrast, have been criticized or ridiculed even by fair-minded observers.
  • I strongly deny having ever been "anti-Muslim", for I make it a point to frequently insist that "not Muslims but Islam is the problem". However, I do readily admit to being a "fellow-traveller" of Dharmic civilization in its struggle for survival against the ongoing aggression and subversion by well-organized hostile ideologies. Only, I must add that in Hindutva-watching publications of the past decade, I have never encountered any journalistic or academic "expert" who was not a fellow-traveller of one of the warring parties.
  • Distortive or even totally false reporting on communally sensitive issues is a well-entrenched feature of Indian journalism. There is no self-corrective mechanism in place to remedy this endemic culture of disinformation. No reporter or columnist or editor ever gets fired or formally reprimanded or even just criticized by his peers for smearing Hindus. This way, a partisan economy with the truth has become a habit hard to relinquish. And foreign correspondents used to trusting their Indian secularist sources have likewise developed a habit of swallowing and relaying highly distorted news stories. Usually, the creation of a false impression of the Indian communal situation is achieved without outright lies, relying rather on the silent treatment for inconvenient facts and a screaming overemphasis on convenient ones. (...) So, moral of the story: feel free to write lies about the Hindus. Even if you are found out, most of the public will never hear of it, and you will not be made to bear any consequences.(...) These days, noisy secularists lie in waiting for communal riots and elatedly jump at them when and where they erupt. They exploit the anti-Hindu propaganda value of riots to the hilt, making up fictional stories as they go along to compensate for any defects in the true account. John Dayal is welcomed to Congressional committees in Washington DC as a crown witness to canards such as how Hindus are raping Catholic nuns in Jhabua, an allegation long refuted in a report by the Congress state government of Madhya Pradesh and more recently in the court verdict on the matter. Arundhati Roy goes lyrical about the torture of a Muslim politician's two daughters by Hindus during the Gujarat riots of 2002, even when the man had only one daughter, who came forward to clarify that she happened to be in the US at the time of the “facts”. Harsh Mander has already been condemned by the Press Council of India for spreading false rumours about alleged Hindu atrocities in his famous column Hindustan Hamara. Teesta Setalwad has reportedly pressured eyewitnesses to give the desired incriminating testimony against Hindus in the Gujarat riots.
  • Since some ignorant dupes of these Marxists denounce as “McCarthyist” anyone who points out their ideological inspiration, it deserves to be emphasized that “eminent historians” like Romila Thapar, R.S. Sharma and Irfan Habib are certified as Marxists in standard Marxist sources like Tom Bottomore's Dictionary of Marxist Thought . During the official historians' Ayodhya temple/mosque dispute in 1991, the pro-mosque team's argumentation and several other anti-temple pamphlets were published by the People's Publishing House, a Communist Party outfit. One of the recent textbook innovations most furiously denounced as “saffronization” was the truism that Lenin's armed seizing of power in October/November 1917 was a “coup d'état”. And in early 2003, while they were unchaining all their devils against glasnost , the Marxists ruling West Bengal deleted from a textbook a passage in which Mahatma Gandhi's biographer Louis Fischer called Stalin “at least as ruthless as Hitler”. Such are the true concerns of the “secularists” warning the world against the attempts at glasnost in India's national history curriculum.
  • What anti-American Muslims also fail to understand, is the structural economic reason for America's preferring the Muslim world over the fledgling infidel superpower India. The Muslim world is not very dynamic and has a lot of purchasing power, so it is the perfect market for American hi-tech (and low-tech, e.g. agricultural) products. India, by contrast, has only limited purchasing power but is a very dynamic competitor in all advanced industrial sectors. For this reason, and also to compensate the Muslim world for the permanent grievance over American support to "the Zionist entity", America is bound to take the Muslim side in purportedly peripheral conflicts, especially against India. The peptalk about India and the US being "natural allies" as "the biggest and the oldest democracy" has little impact on real-life policies. In practical terms, Bush and Hathaway are the running-dogs (or rather, to borrow another Leninist term, the "useful idiots") of Pakistani jihadism. ... In the Indian subcontinent, there is no danger whatsoever that anyone will get this impression, for the reality is too obviously the opposite. American meddlers, Hathaway among them, consistently turn a blind eye towards Hindu victims of Muslim violence, in India as well as in Pakistan and Bangladesh. America has consistently given material and diplomatic support to the very forces which have been butchering Hindus. If Hathaway wants to thwart religious "charities" promoting both "religious bigotry" and "violence and religious and ethnic intolerance", he can start much closer to home. American Baptist and Evangelical groups are financing the propagation of Christian religious bigotry of the most obscurantist kind in India's Northeast and tribal belts. Much of this bigotry has resulted in armed separatism, terrorism and ethnic cleansing of tribes refusing to become Christians.... The Indian people is not financing movements violently disrupting American society. By contrast, American citizens are financing Church activities in India which often shade over into armed separatism, social disruption of tribal societies and ethnic cleansing. The American state is arming Pakistan, and even if it were to fully stop arms deliveries to Pakistan, it still carries a legacy of having armed the Pakistani Army and trained the Pakistani secret service, agents of terror against Indian citizens and the Indian state. The guilt for keeping Indo-American relations unfriendly is entirely on the American side. If Dr. Hathaway believes in a "new partnership between our two peoples", he had better advise his Government to investigate American private support to missionary-cum-terrorist subversion and to halt every form of American state support to Pakistani jihadism. (Ch. 1)
  • One of the more disturbing and sterile approaches which Hansen has borrowed from his secularist sources, is the tendency to psychologize, and to bury hard facts under a cloud of psychobabble: "construct", "identities built around a threatening other", "domesticating public spaces", "myth of Hindu effeminacy".... The book contains some of the familiar tricks known from the M.J. Akbar school of Hindutva‑smearing, e.g. just as MJ Akbar once cleverly described Veer Savarkar as "a co-accused in the Mahatma murder trial" without mentioning that Savarkar was fully acquitted and not even indicted again in the appeals trial, we find Prof. Hansen casting suspicion on L.K. Advani by describing him as "indicted in a massive corruption scandal in 1996" (p.266) without mentioning that the investigation cleared him completely of the charges (which were minor, the "massive" scandal mainly pertaining to dozens of Congress secularists, as Hansen fails to explain).
  • For those who look at facts rather than at newspaper headlines, it is obvious that there is no danger whatsoever of the US giving the impression of valuing a Muslim life less than a Hindu life. Rather the reverse, and this consistently for decades. In 1971, the Pakistani Army was butchering Hindus in East Bengal by the hundreds of thousands (many times the total number of victims of Hindutva since then), yet the USA stood by Pakistan and did nothing to rein their Islamic allies in. Throughout the 1990s and till today, Pak-backed terrorists have been butchering Hindus in numerous shootings and bomb attacks and ethnically cleansing them from the Kashmir Valley, yet the USA have not used their leverage with Pakistan to stop this continuous terror wave. Dr. Hathaway's misrepresentation of this highly unbalanced American policy adds insult to injury.
  • But meanwhile, the stark fact is that the continuous trickle of Hindu refugees from Pakistan and Bangladesh is not reciprocated by a symmetrical phenomenon of Muslim flight from India. On the contrary, even in BJP-ruled India, even in Mumbai a.k.a. Shiv Sena City, there is a continuous influx of Bangladeshi Muslim fortune-seekers. They vote with their feet to refute Mira Kamdar's alarmist stories.
  • In India, however, "secularism" has acquired a wholly different meaning. Ever since the term was propagated by Jawaharlal Nehru, being an Indian secularist does not require you to reject theocracy and the intrusion of Religion into politics. On the contrary, every obscurantist in India swears by "secularism". The word's effective Meaning has shifted to a concern quite unknown to its European coiners, viz, the struggle against Hinduism. ... It is a different matter that the hollow and crassly superficial Ideology of Nehruvian secularism is secure in its power position because of the absence of credible challengers. With a political opposition claiming to be "positive secularists" and "genuine secularists", India's official "pseudo-secularism" has no one to fear.
  • This was logical, for the site has a sacred significance for Hindus as the putative birthplace of Rama, while it had no special status for Muslims. Historical documents confirm that Hindus continued to go on pilgrimage to the site all through the centuries of Muslim occupation, while no Muslim ever went on pilgrimage there... This was a strange claim to make, for two reasons. Firstly, it was untrue. Until then, all parties concerned had agreed that the mosque had been built in forcible replacement of a temple. What is nowadays rubbished as "the VHP claim" was in fact the consensus view. Thus, in court proceedings in the 1880s, the Muslim claimants and the British rulers agreed with the Hindu claimants on the historical fact of the temple demolition, but since it had happened centuries earlier, they decided that time had sanctioned the Muslim usurpation and nullified the Hindus' legal claim. Further, numerous documents and several archaeological excavations confirmed the history of the temple demolition (with the court-ordered excavations of spring 2003 removing the last possible doubts). The sudden denial of this history by a circle of Marxist historians was not based on any new evidence but purely on political compulsions. It seems that their long enjoyment of a hegemonic power position in academe had gone to their heads, so they thought they could get away with crude history falsification. Secondly, the question of the site's history was beside the point. The decisive consideration for awarding the site to the Hindus, both for the Hindu campaigners themselves and for Rajiv Gandhi, was not the site's sacred status in the Middle Ages, but its sacredness for Hindus today. It is the Hindus of 1986 or indeed of 2004 who have been going on pilgrimage to Ayodhya, and they are as much entitled to find a Hindu atmosphere there, complete with Hindu architecture, as Muslims are entitled to find an Islamic atmosphere in Mecca. The VHP has been blamed for politicising history, but it was its opponents who complicated matters by bringing in history, and false history at that... Nonetheless, the Marxist historians had their way. In their shrill manifestoes, these secular fundamentalists slandered the genuine historians who stood by the facts, and they denounced the Hindus' perfectly reasonable expectation that a Hindu sacred site be left in the exclusive care of the Hindus. They did this with such titanic vehemence that the pragmatists were thrown on the defensive. ... Rajiv Gandhi didn't give up, though. In 1989, he allowed the Shilanyas ceremony, in which the first stone of the planned temple was put in place. In 1990, as opposition leader, he made Chandra Shekhar's minority government organize a scholars' debate on the history of the site, obviously on the assumption that this would confirm the Hindu claim. And so it did, for the anti-temple historians showed up empty-handed when they were asked to provide evidence for an alternative scenario to the temple demolition. In a normal course of events, i.e. without the interference of secularist shrieks and howls, this would have set the stage for the peaceful construction of a new temple in the 1990s, with some compensation for the Muslim community, and the conflict would have been forgotten by now.
  • Mrs. Teesta Setalwad, is a convert from secular Hinduism to Islam, and she has the typical zeal of the convert. She was repeatedly caught in the act of lying during the secularist attempts to exploit the Gujarat riots of spring 2002. She even went on record thinking up a justification for the Muslim arson attack on the women's wagon of a pilgrims' train in Godhra, killing 58 innocent Hindus. A Muslim girl whom she had paraded as her crown witness in her culpabilization of the Gujarati Hindus, came out to accuse her of kidnapping and of coercing her to give false testimony in court. Of course, the poor girl stood no chance against Mrs. Setalwad's well-financed media machine, so she was convicted of perjury (which she at any rate committed, but more likely when initially toeing the Setalwad-dictated line than when recanting), but Mrs. Setalwad's insulted-royalty conduct during the whole controversy clearly revealed just what type of character gets attracted by the secularist hate industry. In these circumstances, I take it as a point of honour to find myself the target of criticism in her paper.
  • Anyone who has read my book BJP vis-à-vis Hindu Resurgence (1997) will be surprised to see me described as an "advocate of the Sangh Parivar". ... Ayub Khan reveals his own outlook of political activist rather than intellectual observer by brushing aside the actual contents of these criticisms, so inconvenient to the case he is making. ... But then it is true that I haven't repeated the hysterical discourse so common in journalistic and academic writings on Hindu nationalism and the Sangh Parivar. Thus, before the BJP came to power in 1998, I had never written that the BJP would build gas chambers for Muslims or dump them into the ocean, which clearly put me outside the consensus of the experts. I suppose that in a world of partisan scholarship, where the party-line is scrupulously followed by activists and camp-followers alike, any attempt to remain objective must come across as counter-partisan, meaning partisan activism for the opposite side. .. If the media and later also the academic India-watchers had done their job, Advani could have cited many commentators pointing their fingers away from him, but in the event I turned out to be the only one. No special merit, on the contrary: I only did what was normal, it's the others whose conduct was partisan to the point of being bizarre... I agree that unabashed "polemical attacks" need not necessarily stand in the way of getting a Ph.D. in Indian Studies, but that's only if they are attacks on the Hindu side. By contrast, I have had to scrupulously limit myself to a description of certain criticisms of Christianity and Islam. However, having been pampered and shielded from criticism for all these years, Indian Islamists just cannot tolerate the experience of merely seeing certain criticisms of Islam reproduced in print. ... It is perfectly normal to discuss a pro-Hindu movement by analysing its pro-Hindu publications. What is rather less normal, though it is very much the done thing, is to discuss a pro-Hindu movement on the basis of almost exclusively anti-Hindu publications. ... Hindutva is a fairly crude ideology, borrowing heavily from European nationalisms with their emphasis on homogeneity. Under the conditions of British colonialism, it was inevitable that some such form of Hindu nationalism would arise, but I believe better alternatives have seen the light, more attuned to the genius of Hindu civilization.
  • The first part of South Asia to be cleansed of Hinduism was Afghanistan. The 10 th century saw a life-and-death struggle there between Muslim invaders and the local Hindu population and dynasty. In this case, the replacement was not just religious, of Hindus by Muslims, but also ethnic, viz. of Indo-Aryans by Iranians. The fact of an at least partial physical replacement of the native population by invaders is attested by the linguistic shift. Until then, in much of the present-day Pashtu-speaking region of Pakistan and Afghanistan, an Indo-Aryan Prakrit was spoken (remember how the Sanskrit grammarian Panini was a native of Peshawar). It was replaced with Pashtu, an Iranian language.
  • Gandhi refused to see the realities of human nature; of Islamic doctrine with its ambition of domination; of the modern mentality with its resentment of autocratic impositions; of people's daily needs making them willing to collaborate with the rulers in exchange for career and business opportunities; of the nationalism of the Hindus who would oppose the partition of their Motherland tooth and nail; of the nature of the Pakistani state as intrinsically anti-India and anti-Hindu.
  • It cannot be denied that Gandhian non-violence has a few successes to its credit. But these were achieved under particularly favourable circumstances: the stakes weren't very high and the opponents weren't too foreign to Gandhi's ethical standards.
  • For a “less than patriotic record”, Mr. Khan may look to the Muslim League, which firmly collaborated with the British and received the overwhelming majority of the Muslim votes in the 1945-46 elections on the single-point programme of rejecting the secular state in favour of Islamic separatism. Chapter 10. Let's combat communalism.
  • Where and when have Mr. Goel’s arguments about Islamic doctrine and history been “refuted”? ... Ayub Khan seems to have a rather airy and self-serving understanding of the precise logical concept of “refutation”.
    • (Elst: Let's Combat Communalism)

Return of the Swastika : Hate and Hysteria versus Hindu Sanity (2007)

  • My job was not to survey other people's opinions about the Hindu movement. That would have been an interesting exercise, especially if it is called by its name, viz. a survey of outsider opinions, and not (as many such academic publications are) falsely presented as a study of the Hindu movement itself. By contrast, I endeavoured to get beyond the secondary--source and mainly hostile-source "research" that has so disastrously filled up this field of study, and focus on the primary sources instead.
  • Indeed, over the years I have had many a good laugh at the pompous moralism and blatant dishonesty of India's so-called secularists. Their specialty is to justify double standards, e.g. why mentioning murdered Kashmiri Pandits is “communal hate-mongering” while the endless litany about murdered Gujarati Muslims is “secular consciousness-raising”. Sometimes they merely stonewall inconvenient information, such as when they tried to deny and suppress the historical data about the forcible replacement of a Rama temple in Ayodhya by a mosque: given the strength of the evidence, all they could do was to drown out any serious debate with screams and swearwords. But often they do bring out their specific talents at sophistry, such as when they argue that a Common Civil Code, a defining element of all secular states, is a Hindu communalist notion, while the preservation of the divinely-revealed Shari’a for the Muslims is secular. That’s when they are at their best.
  • It is only in the mid-1990s that I took an interest in European neo-Paganism, partly on Ram Swarup's advice.....I have also never participated in any of the meetings of the various embryonic attempts at creating a "Pagan international", whether the Pagan Federation, the World Council of Ethnic Religions or the World Council of the Elders of the Ancient Traditions and Cultures. But I wish them all the best, for they consist mostly of nice people and I can easily see through the attempts by so-called secularists to blacken them and to deny to them the right of international networking which is deemed only natural in the case of Christians or Muslims.
  • The Jesuits are wiser than the secularists, who are smitten with hubris and drunk on their currently unlimited power. … The secularists’ lies are bound to get exposed one day, and their names will become synonymous with “liar”, but the Jesuits have famously perfected the art of “lying without lying”. Rarely do they get caught in the act of uttering an actual lie, even when their audience comes away with an understanding of matters that is different from the truth. ...The BBC has learned a thing or two from the Jesuits. It is often aggressively partisan but has perfected the art of creating a false semblance of even-handedness. ...Under the present power equation, where the pro-Hindu forces have almost no capable presence in the media and among the influential experts, this kind of libel against a Hindu-minded government is virtually inevitable. It will keep on happening until Hindus get their act together and their message across. On the bright side, though, we should also notice that the Hindu-hating coalition is practically admitting the hollowness of its case if it is reduced to proving “Hindu fascism” with nothing better than the misrepresentation of a provincial school textbook... The uninformed public (which includes quite a few so-called experts) may be fooled by the Hindu-baiters’ bluff, but anyone who scrutinizes the arguments will see through it. The record of BJP governance has utterly disproved the shrill allegations of “Hindu fascism”. (Ch 1)
  • There are more points in Ms. Nanda's paper which are worthy of further discussion, but for now I will conclude with an observation on what seems to be her sincere declaration of interest. Among the points that "worry" her, she mentions this as the final one:... Here, she really lays her cards on the table. It is very good that, unlike many other "secularists", she does not try to be clever and claim to speak for "true Hinduism" against a "distorted Hinduism" of the Hindu revivalists. Instead, she clearly targets Hinduism itself, deploring any development which might make Hinduism "gain prestige". Let us see if I can translate that correctly: wanting something or someone to suffer rather than to prosper is what we call "hate". She hates Hinduism, and her academic work is written in the service of that hate. To me, that is not the end of the matter. As a Catholic, I was taught never to give up hope, one of the great Christian virtues along with faith and charity.... I don't mind discussing this matter, for there is nothing shameful about the day when I saw through the usual hateful misrepresentation of "Hindu chauvinism", meaning Hindu self-defence against the aggression by so-called "secular" religions and ideologies. There is nothing shameful about my outgrowing silly beliefs such as the still-widespread belief in India's mock secularism. (Ch 3)
  • For the priests and medicine men of isolated pockets of resistance against christianization or islamization somewhere in Africa or America, it must be quite a boost of faith in the future to see this kind of international gathering under the auspices of the most successful resister, Hindu Dharma. (Ch. 6)
  • Gandhi was gravely mistaken in thinking that you can make the enemy disarm by first disarming yourself. Yet, he was right in setting his sights on peace. Being prepared for war was the right tactic, but its target should have been a bloodless crisis management, not war. Strength should be mustered not to make but to avoid war, the source of many evils.
  • Then again, if the company people keep is to decide whether they are politically respectable, then the Nouvelle Droite stands exonerated. The lengthy attention in articles, and subsequently the invitation to contribute, which Alain de Benoist received from the American liberal periodical Telos, would not have been possible if the top-class intellectuals on the Telos editorial board had smelled a Nazi there. The membership list of the patronage committee of the periodical Nouvelle Ecole includes many top-ranking intellectuals including a virtual who’s who of Indo-European studies. Many of the professors in this field clearly don’t see the New Right as a continuation of the worst possible misuse of their field of scholarship, viz. the Nazi distortion of the “Aryan” heritage.
  • My own reasons for rejecting the Nouvelle Droite after initial sympathy in the early 1990s were mainly the following: (1) a specific instance of papering over the nasty collaborationist aspects of the careers of two Belgian writers in Nouvelle Droite articles about them, exposed in a reader’s letter; not being very knowledgeable about that part of our history, I felt cheated; (2) the lack of scholarly seriousness among its second-rank writers and their palpable subjection of method to eagerly held beliefs, esp. on topics like Pagan and Indo-European history; (3) my suspicions against the rather pompous use of obsolete terminology (e.g. why describe a hoped-for confederal democratic unity for Europe as an “Empire”, after the model of the Holy Roman Empire, when “confederacy” would do the semantic job less ambiguously?) as arguably an implicit admission of nostalgia for premodern social relations; (4) my nagging suspicion that its critique of egalitarianism in the name of “differentialism” could at heart simply be a plea against equality in favour of inequality, Old-Right style; (5) its sympathy for Islam, one element which it does indeed have in common with Hitler and Himmler and the authors discussed by Poewe, and strange for alleged neo-Pagans given that Mohammed’s career consisted in the extermination of Paganism from Arabia; (6) its lack of a credible philosophical or religious backbone, compensated for with restless explorations of Pagan mythologies and frivolous exercises in aimless erudition or contrarious rhetoric (the annual conference in Paris is called Journée de la Pensée Rebelle, “day of rebellious thought”, a sign of prolonged adolescence), which struck me by its contrast with the solid philosophical and religious grounding of modern Hindu thinkers whom I had read, such as Sri Aurobindo, or whom I knew in person, particularly Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goel; and finally (7) my scepsis vis-à-vis its central theme of “identity”. .... Wisely or unwisely, I have not taken my scepticism to be a reason for any active hostility to the Nouvelle Droite people, some of whom I count as friends. This is a Christian trait: Jesus spent time with sinners, and I have always been an opponent of boycotting people. Time permitting, I accept invitations from that side, so that I spoke at their conference in Antwerp in 2000, if only as a stand-in for an announced speaker who had cancelled at the last minute for health reasons (Pim Fortuyn, no less, the Dutch liberal sociology professor who criticized Islam, subsequently went into politics, and ended up murdered by a leftist). In the Nouvelle Ecole issue of the same year, I had a little joust with Prof. Jean Haudry about the Aryan invasion theory, a thesis defended in the past by colonialists and Nazis, and now by European rightists and Indian leftists. As a privileged witness, I would consider it a reassuring fact that the Nouvelle Droite clearly doesn’t mind giving a hearing to people it disagrees with. That in itself is a commendable counterpoint to the prevalent leaden atmosphere of la pensée unique, i.e. of the single imposed opinion.
  • In Hindu scriptures, the Chakravartin is described as a suzerain who receives tribute from subject rulers, but who respects the autonomy (swarajya) and local customs (swadharma) of his subject nations. Is that what Hitler did? The Buddhist ideal of the Chakravartin was emperor Ashoka, who had his regrets about his initial military conquest (needed to round off his predecessors’ conquests upto India’s natural borders, easy to defend) chiselled in stone pillars. He explicitly dropped the ambition of further military conquest and opted for “religious conquest” (Dharma-Vijaya) instead. And lest anyone start misquoting this, the meaning of “religious conquest” is not something like Jihad, Islamic war against the Infidels, but simply promoting morality and sending out Buddhist missionaries. Far from illustrating that Buddhism had its imperialists too, as the Trimondis present it, the story of Ashoka is one of pacifism.
  • The claims she makes there about my own position are factually wrong and seem to be based on what Prof. Meenakshi Jain has aptly called "the Marxist bush telegraph". ... Ms. Nanda has described how environmentalism in India is often clothed in Hindu language and symbolism. Thus, in trying to protect trees, women tie rakhi-s, the auspicious red threads which sisters tie around their brothers' wrists on the Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan, around these trees.
    • (Chapter 3)
  • And then it gets really bad: "Indian government funded in part the work of ISKCON (Hare Krishna) in re-forestation of Vrindavan. Department of environment is supporting temples to maintain sacred groves. Ecological aspects of Sanatana dharma have been included in the school text books of at least one state, UP." Let's put this in perspective. Most relevant secularist school textbooks, not only in UP, contain the highly disputable claim that Islam stands for "social equality", but we are asked to feel scandalized that a similar claim is made for Hinduism and ecology. Christian and Muslim denominational schools which receive state funding under Art. 30 of the Constitution (unlike Hindu denominational schools, which are excluded from this provision for not being "minority institutions"), mix their educational task with not just the exercise but also the propagation of religion. Yet the secularists never express any objection to this massive nationwide intrusion of religion into education at vast taxpayers' expense, not even when one of them is inflaming her audience against the participation of Hindu organizations in state-funded environmental policies.
    • (Chapter 3)
  • If half the length of the paragraph about a conference of traditional religious leaders in Mumbai is actually about "Nazi and neo-Nazi groups" (this even though most of the participants belonged to peoples who have suffered under the white racism championed by Hitler and hence were most unlikely to support neo-Nazism), it is likewise quite fair and appropriate to question the author's motives. ...The claim about a non-monotheistic international may be embryonically correct, though it partly stems from a projection by Marxist circles of their own working-style onto other movements. ... If so, we should wish this effort at cultural decolonization all the best. ...Nothing evil has been decided or planned there, unless Ms. Nanda wants us to believe that the rejection of Christian proselytism (i.e. the planned destruction of religious traditions through the conversions of their practitioners) is somehow evil. ... Those elders could have told Ms. Nanda a thing or two about the destructive role of the Bible-toting and Doomsday-predicting and Pagan-slandering missionaries in their respective societies. ...It remains a scandal that men of such merit are smeared with insinuations of Nazi links. And it will not do to plead that the explicit slander sentence: "The Elders are Nazis", is missing. (Ch 3)

Asterisk in bharopiyasthan: Minor writings on the Aryan invasion debate (2007)

  • Against this background, it is not so strange anymore that Indian Marxists have become zealous defenders of a colonial-originated thesis about ethnic movements of four thousand years ago, simply because that thesis is functioning as the war-horse of the united anti-Hindu forces. The greying Indian Marxists are trying to widen their shrinking base by uniting with forces they would once have denounced as obscurantist and populist-retrograde.
  • A wholly different political element in Prof. Hock's contributions concerns his characterization of the non-invasionist school. He repeatedly identifies it as the “Hindu nationalist” school. But this mistakenly attributes a political identity and motive to a scholarly hypothesis about ancient Indian history. I don't call the AIT party “the European racist school” or the “Dravidian chauvinist school” eventhough those terms do explain the motives behind at least a part of the pro-AIT polemic, past or present.
  • To whom it may concern: the present writer, at any rate, is neither a Hindu nor a nationalist.
  • Let me put on record here that in my 9 years of close involvement in this debate, I have seen time and again that it is the invasionist school which, when it did not refuse the debate, has spoiled the debate by replacing argument with mud-slinging.
  • By relating an ancient instance of white colonization in a dark subcontinent, it confirmed the colonial worldview.
  • Even then, the Marxists didn't take kindly to this first fresh breeze of glasnost, hence their campaign against new anti-colonial and allegedly "saffron" accents in the textbooks.
  • For all their focusing on the all-purpose bogey of Hindu nationalism (or worse isms), it is remarkable that Indian Marxists and their Western disciples have completely failed to study this ideology. During my Ph.D. research on this very topic, I found that practically all secondary publications in the field, including some influential ones, dispensed almost completely with the reading of primary sources. Typically, a few embarrassing quotations, selected by Indian critics of Hindutva from some old pamphlets (mostly Golwalkar 1939), are repeated endlessly and in unabashedly polemical fashion.
  • A shameful example of the total reliance of Western scholars on outright partisan secondary Indian sources while passing judgment on a Hindu nationalist position was the Ayodhya temple/mosque dispute... Until the late 1980s, there was a complete consensus among all Hindu, Muslim and Western sources about the fact that the mosque had been built in forcible replacement of a temple, a very common occurrence throughout Muslim-conquered territories. This consensus, nowadays mischaracterized as the Hindu nationalist position, was since confirmed by new findings and remained strictly unchallenged by any counter-findings. Note indeed that all the official and unofficial argumentations against the temple limited themselves to downplaying the impact of some of the evidence for the temple, and never offered even one piece of positive testimony for an alternative scenario. Yet, the dominant Marxist circles decreed that there had never been a temple at the site (e.g. Sharma et al. 1991) and lambasted Western scholars who had earlier confirmed the consensus as handmaidens of Hindu fundamentalism (Gopal 1991:30),-- enough to send these scholars into prudent retirement from the Ayodhya debate, vide Van der Veer 1994:161. Lately the Marxists have had to swallow that maximalist position and revert to the more reasonable political position that temple demolitions of the past do not justify mosque demolitions in the present; but for more than a decade, their leaden dogma has stifled the history debate, viz. that the temple demolition was merely a "Hindu chauvinist fabrication". Those who stuck to the old consensus view, the one confirmed by the evidence, have had tons of mud thrown at them not just by Indian Marxists but by their Western dupes as well, e.g. Hansen 1999:262. Not one of the latter ever took issue with the actual evidence, behaving instead as obedient soldiers carrying out and amplifying the Indian Marxist ukase. At the time of this writing, Indian archaeologists are digging up more Hindu religious artefacts from underneath the temple/mosque site (Mishra 2003), yet the Financial Times (Dalrymple 2003) carries a long article extolling Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib, ridiculing the consensus view on Ayodhya along with the non-invasionist "myth", denouncing Ayodhya consensus representative K.S. Lal (conveniently dead and unable to defend himself), and bluffing about "all the evidence" disproving the Ayodhya temple's existence but not actually mentioning any of it.
  • If we want to know about Hindu nationalist involvement in the Aryan invasion debate, the Indian Marxist school and its Western spokesmen cannot help us. Their treatment of the topic is typically shrill in language and unconcerned about concealing their bias. Even when kept scholarly in tone, it is invariably very poor on primary data.
  • The political instrumentalization of theories about Indo-European origins has yielded coalitions of strange bedfellows. On the side of the hypothesis of an Aryan invasion of India, we find old colonial apologists and race theorists and their marginalized successors in the contemporary West along with a broad alliance of anti-Hindu forces in India, most articulate among them the Christian missionaries and the Marxists who have dominated India's intellectual sector for the past several decades. This dominant school of thought has also carried along some prominent early votaries of Hindu nationalism. On the side of the non-invasionist or Aryan-indigenist hypothesis, we find long-dead European Romantics and a few contemporary Western India lovers, along with an anti-colonialist school of thought in India, mainly consisting of contemporary Hindu nationalists. Obviously, among the subscribers to either view we also find scholars without any political axe to grind.
  • Far from being an idiosyncratic innovation, Savarkar’s definition is in fact coterminous with the original understanding of the term “Hindu” by those who introduced it into India, viz. the Muslim invaders: “any Indian who is not a Parsi, Jew, Christian or Muslim”. Moreover, this concept has been retained as the definition of “legal Hindu” (i.e. Indian citizen to whom the “Hindu law” concerning marriage and inheritance applies) in the Hindu Code of 1955 and approximately also in Art. 25 of the Constitution, which applies the term “Hindu” for its purposes to Sikhs, Jainas and Buddhists. So, Savarkar’s definition is very sensible both historically and legally.
  • Unfortunately, scholars tend to cite a colleague's mere hypothesis as an argument of authority. So many certainties in this field are merely someone’s casual opinion quoted over and over again.
  • But I’ll admit that temperamentally, I do take a certain “delight” in exploring theories that go against the established consensus.
  • Further, I have powerful enemies in academe, esp. in the US, and they will gladly exploit any slander they expect to get away with, in this case slander invested with Harvard authoritativeness. They have no scruples about using allegations that they know to be lies if these lies can do the job of harming. If I don’t contradict these lies, they will use that as an extra argument in their innuendo, “and Dr. Elst has never even denied it!”
  • But the solution is not to “get around these stubborn, disturbing facts” of astronomy by smugly dismissing them as testimonia non grata. Nor to declare dogmatically that “we know that it can't be correct”.
  • I believe that this observation was impeccable, and still is. If Prof. Witzel sees something “disingenuous” about this, it may well be in the eye of the beholder.
  • But because this blatant special pleading was in the service of the established theory and not of some “far- fetched” alternative, nobody objected. Well, I'd say: Occam's Razor applies.
  • After moving the date around over a whole millennium, it is no surprise that this “harmony” with the established hypothesis emerges. Understandably self-confident, they find the Easter egg that they themselves have concealed.
  • Prof. Asko Parpola's well-known decipherment of the Indus script as proto-Dravidian doesn't prove its own starting-point, and may turn out to be no more than an imaginative though admittedly masterly groping in the dark.
  • The theory of which we are about to discuss the linguistic evidence, is widely known as the ‘Aryan invasion theory’ (AIT). I will retain this term even though some scholars object to it, preferring the term ‘immigration’ to ‘invasion’. They argue that the latter term represents a long-abandoned theory of Aryan warrior bands attacking and subjugating the peaceful Indus civilization..... What makes an immigration into an invasion is not the means used but the end achieved: after an invasion, the former outsiders are not merely in, as in an immigration, but they are also in charge. If the newcomers end up imposing their (cultural, religious, linguistic) identity rather than adopting the native identity, the result is the same as it would have been in the case of a military conquest, viz. that outsiders have made the country their own, and that natives who remain true to their identity (such as Native Americans in the US) become strangers or second-class citizens in their own country.” ....It is entirely reasonable to call this development an ‘invasion’ and to speak of the prevalent paradigm as the ‘Aryan invasion theory’.”
  • Another reason for not relying too much on the theories of the linguists is that Austronesian linguistics is a very demanding field, comprising the study of hundreds of small languages most of which have no literature, so the number of genuine experts is far smaller than in the case of IE, and even in the latter case linguists are nowhere near a consensus on the homeland question. Linguistic evidence is very soft evidence, and usually the data admit of more than one historical reconstruction, so I don't think there is any compelling evidence against a Sundaland homeland hypothesis. Conversely, archaeological and genetic evidence in favour of the spread of the Austronesian-speaking populations from Sundaland seems to be sufficient.
  • It is quite certain that some of these Austronesians must have landed in India, some on their way to Madagascar, some to stay and mix with the natives. Hence the presence of some Austronesian words in Indian languages of all families, most prominently ayi/bayi, "mother" (as in the Marathi girls' names Tarabai, Lakshmi-bai etc.), or words for "bamboo", "fruit", "honey". More spectacularly, linguists like Isidore Dyen have discerned a considerable common vocabulary in the core lexicon of Austronesian and Indo-European, including pronouns, numerals (e.g. Malay dva, "two") and terms for the elements. Oppenheimer doesn't go into this question, but diehard invasionists might use his findings to suggest an Aryan invasion into India not from the northwest, but from the southeast.
  • But he does mention the legend of Manu Vaivasvata saving his company from the flood and sailing up the rivers of India to settle high and dry in Saptasindhu. Clearly, the origins of Vedic civilization are related to the post-Glacial flood, probably the single biggest migration trigger in human history.
  • Another language family originating in some part of Sundaland was Austro-Asiatic, which includes the Mon-Khmer languages in Indochina (its demographic point of gravity being Vietnam) but also Nicobarese and the Munda languages of Chotanagpur, at one time possibly spoken throughout the Ganga basin. It is the Mundas who brought rice cultivation from Southeast Asia to the Ganga basin, whence it reached the Indus Valley towards the end of the Harappan age (ca. 2300 BC). In this connection, it is worth noting that Oppenheimer confirms that "barley cultivation was developed in the Indus Valley" (p.19), barley being the favourite crop of the Vedic Aryans (yava). Unlike the Mundas who brought rice cultivation from eastern India and ultimately from Southeast Asia to northwestern India, and unlike the Indo-European Kurgan people whose invasion into Europe can be followed by means of traces of the crops they imported (esp. millet), the Vedic Aryans simply used the native produce. This doesn't prove but certainly supports the suspicion that the Aryans were native to the Indus Valley.
    • Elst K. An Atlantis in the Indian Ocean (Review of Stephen Oppenheimer's Eden in the East) in Asterisk in Bhāropīyasthān p 66 ff. also at [14]

Linguistic Aspects of the Aryan Non-Invasion Theory (2008)

Elst, K: Linguistic Aspects of the Aryan Non-Invasion Theory, in Bryant, E. F. (2008). The Indo-Aryan controversy: Evidence and inference in Indian history. London: Routledge.
  • It is widely assumed that linguistics has provided the clinching evidence for the Aryan invasion theory (AIT) and for a non-Indian homeland of the Indo-European (IE) language family. Defenders of an “Out of India” theory (OIT) of IE expansion unwittingly confirm this impression by rejecting linguistics itself or its basic paradigms, such as the concept of IE language family. However, old linguistic props of the AIT, such as linguistic paleontology or glottochronology, have lost their persuasiveness. On closer inspection, currently dominant theories turn out to be compat- ible with an out-of-India scenario for IE expansion. In particular, substratum data are not in conflict with an IE homeland in Haryana–Panjab. It would, however, be rash to claim positive linguistic proof for the OIT. As a fairly soft type of evidence, linguistic data are presently compatible with a variety of scenarios.
  • It is against the stereotype of overbearing macho invaders, but the Aryans secretively stole their way into India, careful not to leave any traces.
  • Rajaram’s remark that scholars often treat mere hypotheses (esp. those proposed by famous colleagues) as facts, as solid data capable of overruling other hypotheses and even inconvenient new data, is definitely valid for much of the humanities. But then, while some linguists have sometimes fallen short of the scientific standard by thus relying on authority, it doesn’t follow that linguistics is a pseudo- science.
  • But meanwhile, to my knowledge, ever since Dyen’s publication, no expert has come forward to corroborate his hypothesis or develop it further. That’s only an argument from opinion trends, possibly even reflecting mere inertia and conformism, but it cannot be ignored altogether.
  • We have looked into the pro and contra of some prima facie indications for an OIT of IE expansion. Probably none of these can presently be considered as decisive evidence against the AIT. But at least it has been shown that the linguistic evidence surveyed does not necessitate the AIT either. One after another, the classical proofs of a European origin have been discredited, usually by scholars who had no knowledge of or interest in an alternative Indian homeland theory.
  • It is too early to say that linguistics has proven an Indian origin for the IE family. But we can assert with confidence that the oft-invoked linguistic evidence for a European Urheimat and for an Aryan invasion of India is wanting. We have not come across linguistic data which are incompatible with the OIT. In the absence of a final judgment by linguistics, other approaches deserve to be taken more seriously, unhindered and uninhibited by fear of that large-looming but in fact elusive “linguistic evidence for the AIT.”


  • Instead, at a time when their power in academe and the media was absolute and unchallenged by any capable Hindu opposition (as demonstrated in M.M. Joshi’s textbook reforms, a horror show of incompetence), it went to their heads and they thought they could get away with denying history. They did indeed get away with their bluff, and may well continue to do so for some more time. However, the prevalent power equation will not last forever, and one day the “secularist” exercise in history denial will be seen for what it was.’
    • Guha vs Elst, 2010, [15]
  • The more serious obstacle was the shrill and intimidating campaign of history denial by a section of partisan academics and journalists (with the whole guild of Western India-watchers in their pocket). Screaming “secularism in danger!” and raising the stakes beyond all proportion, they continued to dominate public discourse until September 2010. They managed to turn the old consensus into a mere ”belief” of “Hindu extremists”. But insiders knew they had been checkmated in 1991. Rajiv Gandhi had forced minority government leader Chandra Shekhar to organize a scholars’ debate, where newly presented evidence only confirmed the old consensus view. The anti-temple academics got no farther than proposing some feeble insinuations against a selected few of the documents and archaeological findings. They did not come up with a single piece of evidence in support of an alternative scenario...
    On that basis, the High Court has now given a verdict acknowledging the historical and archaeological evidence and reprimanding the anti-temple academics for their grossly flawed methods of research and argumentation. Moreover, the judges ordered the site henceforth to be treated as indeed the Rama Janmabhumi, the birthplace of Rama. Everybody remains free to believe otherwise, but the belief of millions of Hindus concerning Rama’s birth there is to be respected as much as, say, the Islamic belief that the Kaaba was built by Adam. No Muslim is ever told that he can only go on Hajj pilgrimage after proving this belief about the Kaaba; and neither should Hindus be required to prove Rama’s birth location.
    • Ayodhya verdict a Congress Party achievement 2010
  • At the same time, some old and enduring problems refuse to go away, or are even getting worse. Divisions along religious, linguistic and caste lines are eagerly played up by interested parties. And these are not always the ones identified as trouble-makers in the mainstream media. Thus, many self-styled human-rights watchdogs and do-gooder NGOs, both native and foreign, are more part of the problem than of the solution. Often they are agents of social strife and promoters of artificial resentment, sometimes also conduits of foreign interference.
  • The second peak coincided with India’s postcolonial stagnation, when its people’s dynamism and creativity was stifled by Nehruvian socialism.
    • [16] foreword to the book India Charming Chaos by Johnny Fincioen. , 2011
  • We should of course not take Mukhia’s word for it (the eminent historians have a well-established reputation for mendaciousness), and “numerous” is certainly an exaggeration, but it remains possible. ..
    Anyway, I would like to see the secular improvement, e.g. how do you translate the frequently-used Arabic verb q-t-l, Persian kushtan, both meaning “kill”. There aren’t too many nuances to that, are there? Elliott’s translations were correct, but yes, they were selective. ..
    So be it, but historians have other sources for their history-writing and are not parrots of a party or movement. The main exception are the Indian secularists, whose conclusions are invariably those desired and taught by the Nehruvian rulers...
    As a matter of fact, 60,000 may just happen to be a good number, for the documented cases of temple destruction (and they already run into the thousands) are necessarily only a fraction of the more everyday cases, which must have been even more numerous. But we as historians can only deal with documented cases, especially since these are difficult enough. Indeed, of the ca. 2,000 cases listed by Sita Ram Goel, and more than 20 years after having been out in the open, not one has been refuted by Prof. Mukhia and his school...
    Needless to say, my arguments have never been refuted by anyone. Secular historians are so sure about controlling the information flow through education and the media that they don’t bother to interfere when their falsehoods are exposed...
    Half-literate secularists keep on repeating this story a decade after it has been refuted in my paper...
    The eminent historians have blood on their hands. ..
    Maybe the more abstruse elements in the narrative were subject to mistranslation, but the relation between Hindus and Muslims was pretty straightforward and hard to mistake for friendship.
  • It has oddly fallen to the Right to defend the West against Islam. In the past, the struggle against religion would have been deemed naturally Leftist.... It is not so sure that the “Islamophobes” really are Rightists, though. They are against hate, therefore against an ideology of hate; and they are for multiculturalism, therefore against an ideology that is the enemy of multicultural societies. Thus, in 1947, South-Asian Muslims forced the Partition of India on the Hindus, Sikhs and Christians (killing a million and forcing some fifteen million to flee) because they did not want to live in a multicultural society with these others. As his life’s mission, Mohammed himself changed Arabia from a vibrant multicultural society into a monolithic Islamic one.
  • That is just my dissenting opinion, which I don’t conceive of as an “attack”. I find differences of opinion quite normal, the very stuff of intellectual life, and those who can only see them as attacks are not intellectuals.
  • But it is so much easier if you can recognize the enemy by his skin colour instead of by a complicated thing such as his religious ideology. And Hindus, just like most people, like to take the easy option. Moreover, this reduction of complex ideological issues to race is highly secular.
  • The clumsy performance of Hindu-American organizations in debates and struggles such as the one about the California textbooks (which gave a hostile outsider account of Hinduism, contrasting with the insider accounts of Christianity, Judaism and Islam and the fairly respectful account of Buddhism) in 2005-2009.
  • In my opinion, Prof. P.’s overreaction is at least partly the psychological consequence of his sneaking realization that he is standing on very shaky ground.
  • The philosopher of science Karl Popper defined a scientific statement as one that can be falsified. Well, to start with, Goel in his book (1990-1991, second edition 1997) gives some 2000 falsifiable claims of Islamic temple destruction. More than twenty years have elapsed, yet none of these 2000 has effectively been falsified by Morgan and his friends, though they are numerous and well-funded. Nor has the qualitative part, Goel’s presentation and discussion of the Islamic theology and history of iconoclasm, been refuted.
  • Some encyclopedias say that both the Moghul emperor Aurangzeb and the Persian king Nadir Shah trained their cannon on the Buddhas. Cannon in those days were not very high-tech, so they only managed to damage the giant Buddhas somewhat, not to fully destroy them. ... In nearby Dunhuang, in the Chinese province of Xinjiang, something similar happened. The Buddha statues were systematically defaced or beheaded by the Muslims, but their feet or trunks remained standing – proof enough for Islamophiles to present it as proof that Islam tolerates Buddha statues.
  • When a knave writes a book, he is soon followed by a bunch of fools.
  • The easiest way before an Indian audience to get hands clapping, is to accuse the British of the Partition of India.
  • To be sure, the British were guilty of many things, and the fixation of Hindu nationalists on them is understandable. Principally, they caused several very serious famines, they dismantled the technology and economic structure of India, and they imposed a foreign ideology that harmed the natives’ self-respect.
  • Islam is against multiculturalism unless it is treated with utmost respect and has at least the perspective of becoming dominant.
  • Outsiders notice how the inward-looking education of Muslim youth in Muslim schools (facilitated by their constitutional privilege of subsidized yet totally autonomous communal schools, a privilege denied to Hindus in the prevalent reading of Art.30) leads to their unemployability in the modern labour market; but the Muslim leadership, encouraged by the secularist media, prefers to deny its own responsibility and blame Muslim disadvantage on others. This mentality of resentment feeds terrorism, as indeed acknowledged in the Indian Mujahedin manifesto. Likewise, that the police more easily suspects Muslims and tends to associate them with terrorism is true, but not unrelated to their own actions (e.g. the Jamia Millia VC's recent refusal to cooperate with the police when some of his students were suspect).”
  • This terror attack gets a lot more attention because of the foreigners involved as victims, but in scale it is not unusual. When the victims are merely Indian, and merely Hindu (the death roll in e.g. the latest Delhi attacks shows that the terrorists carefully located their bombs so as to kill as many Hindus and as few Muslims as possible), the media are not that interested.
  • Academics are often far ahead of the rest in forging contrived explanations for simple facts, but in this case, even the meanest politician mouths the artful delusion that 'terrorists have no religion'.”
  • But then a conflict arose between the Vedic Indians and the Iranian tribes. Two highlights are decribed in the Rg-Veda: the Battle of the Ten Kings (7:5 and 7:18), named after the western alliance facing the Saraswati-based Vedic king Sudās, and a few generations later the Vārsāgira Battle (4:15 and 1:122:13), named after the patronymic of its commanders on the Vedic side. In the latter battle, one of the enemy (and allegedly defeated) kings is called Istāśva, the Sanskrit equivalent of Vištāspa, the royal patron of Zarathustra. It is highly plausible that the emerging opposition between Devas and Asuras, with the former worshipped and the latter demonized by the Indians and the latter worshipped but the former demonized by the Iranians, finds its origin in this war. Thus, we can imagine that both sides invoked the storm-god Indra before the battle, but that he awarded victory to only the Indian side. The Iranian side, instead of looking for an explanation for their defeat in their own ritual or ethical shortcomings (as religious people tend to do), squarely blamed Indra and broke off their relationship with him. This way, a mundane event led to a whole theological construction of an enmity between two classes of gods, and ultimately to the dualism of cosmic good and evil that has been deemed distinctive of Mazdeism for most of its history.
  • Unlike in the case of the Buddha, the monotheistic tag has stuck to Zarathustra. In non-specialist circles, the received wisdom nowadays is that he was a kind of Iranian Moses and that his religion may also have influenced the Israelites in a pro-monotheistic sense.
  • As recently also pointed out by Prof. S.N. Balagangadhara and Mr. Rajiv Malhotra, Western Hinduism experts are, with only little hyperbole, the only academic specialists who actively work for their own field of study to die. (Well, I’ll grant you the criminologists.)
    • Elst, Koenraad. The Wikipedia lemma on "Koenraad Elst": a textbook example of defamation (2013) [17]
  • In reality, the notion of an Aryan Invasion was imported into India from Europe, and its political abuse had dire consequences for India. Of course Hindus then chose to react to it. And just as naturally, they hadn’t made an issue of it in the preceding millennia, when they didn’t know any other version than that the “Aryans” had always lived in India. Noting these facts is not political, but insinuations against this objective attitude are. [..] Someone also quotes Prof. Robert Zydenbos without mentioning that he has a serious axe to grind. In an Indian Express column at the very beginning of the Aryan invasion debate, he likened critics of the Aryan Invasion Theory to the Nazis, no less, forgetting that this simile is generally a give-away of unscholarly intent, and that the Nazis themselves were very much on the side of the European homeland hypothesis, implying an Aryan invasion of India. I pointed out that this theory deserved to be called the “Hitler-Zydenbos theory”, after two of its best-known proponents. Though he had ventured outside his field, misunderstood the whole Aryan debate and should simply have admitted and corrected his mistake (the record shows that I myself always do this), he took it as a grave insult to his authority and has been nurturing a desire for vengeance ever since. On the Religion In South Asia list, he broke the list’s academic decorum by calling all Hindu nationalists, a category intended to include me, as “the scum of the earth”. On the secretive Scholarly List Services list, he (together with Michael Witzel) has been advocating censorship of me. That is always the reaction of the out-argued. Countless times I have been censored, excluded, disinvited under pressure, as well as decried and covered with abuse. Some debating partners have also disinvited themselves upon hearing that I was going to be on the panel. At any rate, my critics always try something else than the simple scholarly avenue, which would be to prove me wrong.
    • Elst, Koenraad. The Wikipedia lemma on "Koenraad Elst": a textbook example of defamation (2013) [18]
  • [About the Koenraad Elst article on Wikipedia:] Being by definition the greatest expert in the world on this lemma’s subject, I know for fact that a lot of it is mendacious. It is either your own lie or the lie of a source that you have cited or reproduced in good faith, but either way, it is not truthful. It does not follow your self-imposed requirement of “objectivity”. It describes an imaginary strawman, not me... While untruth would be a serious flaw in any text, there are moreover several aspects in your article that could fit in some other genre, but not in an encyclopedia. This lemma relies on hearsay rather than certified facts, and it mostly discusses my supposed opinions, but leaves practically unmentioned what I have actually done. If I have a Wikipedia lemma at all, it is not because of opinions, which everybody has, but because of what I have achieved. I have not merely uttered views, but also offered arguments for them, discovered or outlined facts to support them, convinced people, and very moderately changed the ideological landscape. People who consult the Wikipedia about me, probably want to know what I have done that made a difference.... Anyway, name me a single lemma that starts out with a living author’s membership of the editorial board of a trimonthly paper 18 years ago, which met 6 or 7 times in this period, and where no decisions whatsoever were taken; when the same author has written more than 20 books, some of them best-sellers or otherwise remarkable... But of course it is not my task to prove my innocence. Since you leveled a claim that is meant (and read) as an allegation, it is your task to prove you claim – or to withdraw it... One thing of supreme importance to scholars, including most writers of encyclopedias, but only a bothersome trifle to the activists who wrote my lemma, is the question of truth... It might have been different if anyone had proven me wrong, but that hasn’t happened. Lambasted and called names, often enough, but refuted, never... The conflation of two unrelated issues is another indication that you have no grasp of the subject and merely quote by hearsay a few claims made by various parties and that fit in your mission of doing me maximum harm... There is simply no excuse for this misinformation in an encyclopedia. ... Drawing attention to facts doesn’t require a political position. By contrast, your article’s insistence to present my awareness of this fact as something bizarre that needs to be boxed up into a political position, itself betrays a political agenda... If I am not, it should be easy for legitimate scholars to prove me wrong, rather than to lambast or censor me. But you fail to quote even one who has done that. You only quote their gossip and scatologism... Welcome to conspiracy country! People who have proven unable to refute me on the Indian application of the simple notion of “secularism”, now resort to accusing me of ulterior motives. ... Well, there you have it. The lemma on me has ended up taking this form because some militant among your contributors purposely wanted to “warn readers” against me. Please cite me an instruction for encyclopedists that names “warning” among the legitimate goals of an encyclopedia... Indeed it serves no purpose to take sides for or against me. But as is clear from your many readers that I have had to deal with, the lemma strongly takes sides, viz. against me. This is intentional, as illustrated by a contributor’s insistence to “warn readers”... At any rate, in a encyclopedia, I count on being judged for what I myself have said or done, and not for the gossip my declared enemies have come up with.
    • Elst, Koenraad. The Wikipedia lemma on "Koenraad Elst": a textbook example of defamation (2013) [19]
  • Please show me what is “Right-wing” about my critique of various aspects of Islam. Karl Marx said that “criticism of religion is the beginning of all criticism” (he too would be called an “Islamophobe” today), and I have taken this maxim to heart, whereas the contemporary Left looks the other way when it is even mentioned. That so-called Right-wing movements say similar things will not do; Left-wing individuals and movements have done so as well... Quote me a Right-wing sentence from my discourse (say, a rejection of democracy), or else strike these insinuations from your article.... This is in line with my oft-stated criticism of Hindu nationalism or “Hindutva”. I have consistently argued that nationalism was understandable in the context of the anticolonial struggle, but had now become counterproductive and leads to a misstatement of legitimate Hindu concerns. In fact, this is one of the points that define the specificity of my analysis of the Hindutva movement and should certainly figure in a lemma on me.... It would be more appropriate to say that I am the only Westerner who criticized the Hindutva movement all while knowing the subject. ... But the approved Western “experts” are just parrots of the Indian establishment, which in turn has historically been formed by an ideological interiorization of Western prejudices about Indian religions and society. Their position is that everything that conflicts with the conventional view must be “Hindutva”. I have explicitly analyzed and refuted that assumption at length, and if your contributor had actually read me, he would have known that and mentioned it... At any rate, the “experts” have political opinions, but because these are so dominant, these are taken in stride and often not even noticed as such. Their viewpoints can definitely not be invoked as “scholarly” let alone “impartisan” findings just because they sport academic titles. Indeed, exposing the political bias in the dominant academic output on India has precisely been one of the cornerstones of my work, and a decent lemma on me would have to mention this... One of the features typical of established India “expertise” is the conflation of the specific viewpoint that calls itself “Hindutva” (a Persian-cum-Sanskrit neologism thought up in the late 19th century and meaning “Hinduness”, effectively “Hindu identity”) with the broader Hindu activism. Hindutva, now incarnated in the mass organization RSS with its clumsy quasi-nationalist discourse, is easy to find fault with, so lazy academics with an anti-Hindu agenda call every utterance of Hindu survival “Hindutva”. It is only in this inaccurate and politically motivated sense that Wikipedia can call me a defender of “Hindutva ideology”. It amounts to siding with the trend that I have explicitly criticized – the very criticism this lemma ought to be describing objectively... I have analyzed the concept of Hindutva at length – to my knowledge, deeper than anyone else, including the “experts”. So I challenge you to give me one quote of mine that substantiates your description... In 1996, I spoke in Boston before the Union of Concerned Scientists. Upon their enquiring about what the BJP in power would do, and whether it would go nuclear, I said that it would do nothing which the “experts” foresaw (Muslims in gas chambers, etc.),... Unlike the “experts”, I am willing to repeat now what I said in 1996, because I have been proven right in every respect.... Of course I have accepted invitations to speak on Hindutva platforms, as on many others, but it is quite wrong to deduce from this that my viewpoints and those of the organizers are the same. My viewpoints are only those which I myself pronounce, on those platforms as on others. In fact, intellectuals tend to find it insulting to be described as party activists. They may perhaps inform the official doctrine of a party or organization, but it is insulting to reduce the complexity of their thought to the simplicity of a party manifesto. This is what is called a “category mistake”... To them, ignorance is virtuous; and that is the secret behind the shoddiness of my lemma too.... Since when does an encyclopedia deal in fantasies?... Anyway, this is all Leftist fantasy, and it is just shameful that this is included in an encyclopedia article... You or your sources are simply inventing this. If not, show me. And I don’t mean the gossip by my enemies, quoted on your talk page as authoritative, but an actual text by me. As the writer of thousands of pages of well-considered findings, I have a right to be evaluated on what I have actually written rather than on some vague rumours propagated by my self-declared enemies.
    • Elst, Koenraad. The Wikipedia lemma on "Koenraad Elst": a textbook example of defamation (2013) [20]
Indeed, exposing the political bias in the dominant academic output on India has precisely been one of the cornerstones of my work, and a decent lemma on me would have to mention this... To them, ignorance is virtuous; and that is the secret behind the shoddiness of my lemma too.
  • Most non-academic readers will be surprised to hear it, but the ruling convention among India-watchers is to have and express a fierce hatred of Hinduism. “South-Asian Studies” is one of the rare disciplines where the so-called experts actively work for the destruction of their major object of study. So, the one and only way of making the study of Śaiva Tantra respectable, and to be seen practising it, is to distance it as far as possible from “Hinduism”.
  • Moreover, modern scholarship has acknowledged Hindu attempts at defining a common ground since at least the 13th century. The several compendia of philosophies, typically treating Buddhism on a par with Sāṁkhya and other schools, served to see a common ground and aim in the different schools of what is now called Hinduism.
  • This assumption of Christian categories is typical of “Nehruvian secularism”, the state ideology in India and in the South-Asian Studies departments of the West.
  • The remarkable thing about Arthur Schopenhauer is that he built such a large part of his philosophy on the Upanishads and Buddhism when these were as yet so little-known (around 1820). Only towards the end of his life did he master Sanskrit, so he had to make do with just a few translations. For the Upanishads, he used Anquetil Duperron’s French translation from a Persian translation of the original Sanskrit. Yet, his understanding of them was better than that of many later thinkers. (In the same period, Georg Hegel wrote a undoubtedly biased but fairly insightful commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita.)
  • Schopenhauer fully acknowledged his Asian sources and never tried to hide these or to claim their ideas as his own. In that respect, he doesn’t seem to fit Rajiv Malhotra’s scheme of the “U-turn”.
  • „Complex“ has acquired a specific connotation. It is often used when established scholars are confronted with hard but inconvenient evidence for a position not their own. ... “Complex“ is a tactic against something straightforward and simple.
  • The concept of Dharma Yuddha is akin to the later European concept of Just War. The Just War theory is linked with names like Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Hugo Grotius. It lays down that war should only be started in self-defence, after attempts at a peaceful solution, and with a real chance of victory. During the war, the means used should be commensurate with the aim, non-combatants should be spared, and peace overtures from the other side should be answered. The same principles are already articulated briefly in the Dhanurveda and the Mahabharata.
  • This Sikh separatism caught on, and by the 1920s Sikhism was led by a faction pushing for a distinct religious identity. Since they could not start altering their holy Granth, a collection of hymns with Hindu themes, and standing proof of Sikhism’s Hindu character, they altered or reinterpreted everything else. Thus, for their holiest shrine, the Sanskrit name Hari Mandir (“Vishnu temple”) was replaced with the Urdu name Darbar Sahib (“revered court-session”). Hindu icons such as the Vishnu statue in the Hari Mandir were removed, along with the Brahmins serving them. To take distance from Hinduism, Islamic concepts were borrowed or Hindu terms were reinterpreted in an Islamic sense. Thus, an Islamic fatwa became the Sikh hukumnama (“command-letter”).
  • In contrast with our own Christian upbringing which taught us a very small world, Tantra knows an infinite number of universes, themselves already as large as the modern physicists’ universe. All these together are the Mother, all universes are part of it, but the Mother is not just the physical dimension, She encompasses deeper, more subtle levels of reality as well. Navarātrī is the time to contemplate this.
  • In Gielen’s opinion, the main difference between the Abrahamic and the Dharmic religions is it “for every one of the Indic religions it is very difficult to arrive at a minimum definition because of the internal diversity”. (p.40) He doesn’t mention Christianity’s or Islam’s ambition of world conquest nor their history-centricity (followers have to believe in certain historic events around Jesus c.q. Mohammed in order to be real members), which Hindu scholars would consider far for fundamental differences.
  • To take Sikhism as a separate religion, after summarizing its genesis as a sect within the Hindu movement of Nirguna Bhakti (“devotion to the one without qualities”), is another compromise with prevailing opinion. The scholarly but isolating view is that this is simply a Hindu sect.
  • Dirghatamas was one the earliest and greatest Vedic seers, author of many well-known sayings and similes including “the wise call the true one by many names”; Yajnavalkya was the greatest Upanishadic thinker and originator of the notion of the Self (fundamental also to Buddhism, though adversatively); and Abhinavagupta was a polymath and greatest thinker of Kashmiri Shaiva Tantra.
  • Long ago, when I looked in the Leuven Theology library for the Niyogi Committee Report, which documents the misbehavior of the Christian missionaries in Central India in the 1950s, I couldn’t get it (someone whispered that it was in their confidential collection, but don’t know), while the Christian reply to it was readily available. The dominant view of India in Catholic circles remains that Hindus and Muslims are barbarians killing people who don’t belong to their own religion, but that the few Christians among them are innocent sheep. Thus, our press has reported the riots against Christians in Orissa in 2008, but not the trigger of those riots: the murder of a Hindu monk and four of his assistents by Christians (whom spokesmen of the Church then tried to disown, blaming the Maoists). If you don’t go to the source of the information, you are a victim of the control of the information stream by various anti-Hindu forces, and so the European-Christian understanding of Indian religious affairs in completely warped.
  • I have studied Hindu nationalism for 24 years, reading its less-known literature and interviewing hundreds of activists including 3 presidents of its core organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and 3 presidents of the Bharatiya Janata Party (which no scholar on which Gielen bases himself, has ever done), and inevitably also getting to talk to its many enemies; and I have never encountered a single case of a “forced conversion to Hinduism”. Among Christians, this notion of their victimhood at the hands of the ugly overbearing Hindus is very popular, but if you look more closely, little remains. Anyway, if there were a case of forced conversion, it would not prove the strength but the weakness and clumsiness of Hinduism. Forced conversions are not much practised anymore. Today Islam and Christianity, which in the past had millions of forced conversions to their credit, operate more subtly. When a Hindu falls in love with a Muslim, he or she is almost invariably pressured by the Muslim family to convert. Christians use untold billions of dollars to make it materially and socially profitable to convert, and use every trick in the book to lure the tribals and other poor Hindus. Strictly speaking, however, their conversions are not forced – but nonetheless ethically questionable.
  • The very notion of conversion is un-Hindu, it is a projection of a Christian concern.
  • To allow the “freedom to convert” as part of the freedom of religion (as the Indian Constitution does) betrays a Christian bias. And of course, any account of the religious situation is not complete without identifying the utterly anti-Hindu design of India’s state religion, viz. secularism. In Europe, this was an arrangement created in defence against the influence of Christianity against the state, but in India, it was introduced as a weapon to belittle Hinduism, and is therefore strongly supported by the (disproportionately powerful) Churches.
  • G.W.F. Hegel already wrote a philosophical discussion of the Bhagavad Gītā in 1829. Even earlier, J.W. Goethe and Franz Schubert praised Kālidās’s play Śakuntalā. Arthur Schopenhauer practically built his philosophy on the precedent of the Upaniṣads, the “confidential teachings” of the Veda (“knowledge”) collections of hymns, and on Buddhism.
  • A detail worth analyzing is how the age-old Sāṁkhya cosmological scheme of triguṇa, “three qualities”, authentically fits the famous parable of Camel-Lion-Child.... In Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, in the protagonist’s first sermon, he discusses the three transformations, the three phases of growth. Firstly, the human mind becomes a camel, slow and eager for heavy loads, obedient but strong, labouring and blindly following. This is evidently the pole tamas. Secondly, it becomes a lion, full of fury and passion, not obeying the “you should” commandment, but asserting his “I will” volition and his freedom. This is visibly the pole rajas. Finally, it becomes a child, light and innocent. This is the stage of transparency, of the third pole, sattva. This way, Nietzsche’s newfound simile actually corresponds to an age-old thought model, best articulated in Sāṁkhya.
  • Throughout his text, Mr. Iyer presupposes one of the most common weapons which the enemies of Hinduism use: changing the definition of “Hinduism” to and fro, depending on their own best interest. Thus, the Christian mission lobby swears that “tribals are not Hindus”, except when tribals defend themselves against encroachment by Bengali Muslim settlers or take revenge on the Christians for having murdered Swami Lakshmananda and four of his assistants; then they are suddenly transformed into “Hindus”... It is now a mark of anti-Hindu polemicists that they manipulate the meaning of “Hinduism”, and interpret it more broadly or more narrowly as per their convenience.
  • All the same, he paid homage to the gods on some occasions. His breakthrough to liberation was followed by an intervention of the supreme gods Brahma and Indra, asking him to share his bliss and teach his way to liberation with others – the very start of Buddhism. Had the Buddha or even the later editors of the Pali Canon been as anti-Vedic as the present neo-Buddhists imagine, they could easily have censored this episode out. At the end of his life, during which he was regularly consulted on political matters because he was after all very at home in statecraft, he was asked by the authorities of a republic to formulate the qualities by which a state prevents decline. In reply, he listed the “seven principles of non-decline”, and among them is an abiding maintenance of ancient religious traditions, including rituals and pilgrimages. The ancient religious practices which he knew, were Vedic or at any rate Hindu ones. Buddhist monks later carried Vedic gods such as Indra, Brahma, Ganapati and Saraswati to foreign lands. Japanese temples are dedicated to Benzai-ten or Saraswati, some house the “twelve Adityas/Ten”. The Shingon sect of Buddhism has a quasi-Vedic ritual called “feeding the gods”, exactly the same conception as in the Vedas. Thai and Indonesian Buddhists have adopted the cult of Rama, whom the Buddha did not really worship but whom he venerated as a great scion of the Aikshvaku lineage to which he himself belonged, and of whom he claimed to be a reincarnation. Neo-Buddhists object to the long-established Puranic teaching that both Rama and the Buddha are incarnations of Vishnu, but the germ of this teaching was planted by the Buddha himself when he claimed that Rama and he were the same person.
  • That e.g. book 6 is older than book 3 may not be universally acknowledged, but that the family books predate the others is a widely shared opinion, which I learned in university in the eighties, from AIT believing-professors and before the Aryan question became an issue again. And in this scheme, the elephant is mentioned before the Afghan animals, of whom the camel is only one.
  • This is an explicitly post-Rg-Vedic texts, so the Rg-Veda was already complete by the time the Aryan Invasion Theory lets the Aryans invade India. It is quite amusing to read the mental and verbal acrobatics which conformistic scholars try out to neutralize this inconvenient evidence.
  • His presence soon became a crusade against Hinduism and Hindu self-defence as well as against me personally. On his labyrinthine website, now defunct, he posted some interesting and decent articles about European or general religious history, but when it came to India or Hinduism, he merely reproduced all the worn-out secularist hate rhetoric. ... no upper-caste chauvinists, RSS or non-RSS, would ever use the intrinsically anti-Hindu neologism Dalit (which, like Adivasi or “aboriginal”, is a falsely native-sounding recent Christian coinage)... Since the concert of anti-Hindu reporting is rarely interrupted by a corrective voice, you can spend a career parroting anti-Hindu “information” without even realizing that something is amiss. But if you then do get to hear such a corrective voice, you may feel highly embarrassed for having been fooled all this time by your trusted “secularist” sources. At that point, you can either revise your position, thus putting yourself in the despised camp of the objective reporters, routinely denounced as “Hindutva apologists”; or you can cling to the more profitable dominant camp and try to stamp out the dissident voices. It seems that, after having encountered my criticism of the secularist make-believe discourse somewhere, John Hopkins has made his choice and reconfirmed his adherence to the anti-Hindu camp.
  • Conversion itself, not just the embracing of a new tradition (which any Hindu is free to do, all while staying a Hindu) but the renouncing of one’s previous religion, as the Hindu-born politician Ambedkar did, is a typically Christian concept.
  • When the medieval Muslim invaders brought the term into India, they used it to mean: any Indian except for the Indian Muslims, Christians or Jews. It did not have a specific doctrinal content except “non-Abrahamic”, a negative definition. It meant every Indian Pagan, including the Brahmins, Buddhists (“clean-shaven Brahmins”), Jains, other ascetics, low-castes, intermediate castes, tribals, and by implication also the as yet unborn Lingayats, Sikhs, Hare Krishnas, Arya Samajis, Ramakrishnaites, secularists and others who nowadays reject the label “Hindu”. This definition was essentially also adopted by VD Savarkar in his book Hindutva (1923) and by the Hindu Marriage Act (1955).
  • But the word “Hindu” is a favourite object of manipulation. Thus, secularists say that all kinds of groups (Dravidians, low-castes, Sikhs etc.) are “not Hindu”, yet when Hindus complain of the self-righteousness and aggression of the minorities, secularists laugh at this concern: “How can the Hindus feel threatened? They are more than 80%!” The missionaries call the tribals “not Hindus”, but when the tribals riot against the Christians who have murdered their Swami, we read about “Hindu rioters”. In the Buddha’s case, “Hindu” is often narrowed down to “Vedic” when convenient, then restored to its wider meaning when expedient.
  • Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha was a Kshatriya, a scion of the Solar or Aikshvaku dynasty, a descendant of Manu, a self-described reincarnation of Rama, the son of the Raja (president-for-life) of the Shakya tribe, a member of its Senate, and belonging to the Gautama gotra (roughly “clan”). Though monks are often known by their monastic name, Buddhists prefer to name the Buddha after his descent group, viz. the Shakyamuni, “renunciate of the Shakya tribe”. This tribe was as Hindu as could be, consisting according to its own belief of the progeny of the eldest children of patriarch Manu, who were repudiated at the insistence of his later, younger wife. The Buddha is not known to have rejected this name, not even at the end of his life when the Shakyas had earned the wrath of king Vidudabha of Kosala and were massacred. The doctrine that he was one in a line of incarnations which also included Rama is not a deceitful Brahmin Puranic invention but was launched by the Buddha himself, who claimed Rama as an earlier incarnation of his. The numerous scholars who like to explain every Hindu idea or custom as “borrowed from Buddhism” could well counter Ambedkar’s rejection of this “Hindu” doctrine by pointing out very aptly that it was “borrowed from Buddhism”.
  • At the bidding of the Vedic gods Brahma and Indra, he left his self-contained state of Awakening and started teaching his way to others. When he “set in motion the wheel of the Law” (Dharma-cakra-pravartana, Chinese Falungong), he gave no indication whatsoever of breaking with an existing system. On the contrary, by his use of existing Vedic and Upanishadic terminology (Arya, “Vedically civilized”; Dharma), he confirmed his Vedic roots and implied that his system was a restoration of the Vedic ideal which had become degenerate. He taught his techniques and his analysis of the human condition to his disciples, promising them to achieve the same Awakening if they practiced these diligently.
  • Buddhist buildings in India often follow the designs of Vedic habitat ecology or Vastu Shastra. Buddhist temple conventions follow an established Hindu pattern. Buddhist mantras, also outside India, follow the pattern of Vedic mantras. When Buddhism spread to China and Japan, Buddhist monks took the Vedic gods (e.g. the twelve Aditya’s) with them and built temples for them. In Japan, every town has a temple for the river-goddess Benzaiten, i.e. “Saraswati Devi”, the goddess Saraswati. She was not introduced there by wily Brahmins, but by Buddhists.
  • Next, consider the insights captured in the literature they transmitted. Many great ideas that were to come in full bloom in later philosophies of India, East Asia, and more recently the West, already existed in germ in the Vedic hymns thousands of years ago. Thus, the correspondence between microcosmos and macrocosmos, between man and universe; the identity of man with the intelligence of the sun (so’ham); or the vibratory nature of reality (aum), still central also in Buddhism (om namo amituo fu, om mani padme hum) and in Sikhism (omkar), are already themes in Vedic poetry. Such elementary concepts as the division of the year in 12 and 360, and such profundities as the monistic unity underlying the plurality of gods, or the distinction between the ordinary self acting and the real Self merely observing, are all present in a single Vedic hymn – ideas to which entire schools of philosophy are mere commentaries. Later, the doctrine of the Self was explicitated by seers like Yajnavalkya, who is up there with Plato as an ideas man next to whom a whole philosophical tradition is but a series of footnotes. Even the Buddhist no-Self doctrine, which spread around Asia, can only be comprehended by presupposing the concept of the Self.
  • The reductionist interpretation as “nothing but” sexual symbolism is simply wrong and shows the limited framework of psycho-analysis. The smaller cannot contain the greater, and psycho-analytical models cannot grasp the vastness and complexity of Hindu cosmology.
  • The RSS was born as a child of the Freedom Movement. One source of fledgling RSS activity was as security brigade for the 1925 meeting of the Indian National Congress, the official Freedom Movement. This was the source of its uniforms and drills. The other was Dr. Hedgewar’s own brief involvement with the Anushilan Samiti (“Self-Culture Committee“), a Bengali revolutionary organization. This explains its secretiveness and its method of communication through personal emissaries rather than paper documents.
  • In 2001, Rupa published the bulky book version of my PhD thesis, and reported to me that it became a bestseller. It is not the usual RSS self-praise but not the usual RSS-bashing of the "experts" either. In that year, I also brought out the two-volume The Saffron Swastika. On the Notion of ""Hindu Fascism", the only book in the world to analyse this much-used line of discourse (except for my sequel from 2006, Return of the Swastika), both by foreign India-watchers and by the Indian secularists; and Gandhi and Godse, the analysis of the reasons for the Mahatma murder through the murderer's self-justification speech.
  • Outsiders all learn two facts about the Hindu movement: that one of its members killed the Mahatma, and that Guru Golwalkar declared himself a Nazi. You can hide your head in the sand all you want and declare smugly that you don't have to care about these outsiders, but the hostility against the Hindu movement is very much a fact and determines the world in which that same movement has to function. It explains why successful Indians play down their Hinduism, why Narayan Murthy finances American anti-Hindu Sheldon Pollock's Sanskrit studies instead of many more competent Hindus, why the BJP hires secularists and when in power fails to pursue a Hindu (so-called "communal") agenda, etc. So, I have taken it upon myself to give a fair account of the Gandhi murder and Nathuram Godse's speech, and to analyse (and refute) the Nazi allegation against Golwalkar. There are 7 billion people on earth, yet in both these crucial cases I am the only one to have done so.
  • Then came Who Is a Hindu?, about whether tribals, Buddhists etc. are Hindus, also an item with important ramifications. I zoomed in on Buddhism in my Dutch book De Donkere Zijde van het Boeddhisme ("the dark side of Buddhism"), half of which is an analysis of the relations between the Buddha and Hinduism. This is a very consequential matter, as the Buddha has become a weapon against Hinduism and most scholars assume the "Hinduism bad, Buddhism good" principle. Again, I am the only one in the world to have thematized this issue.
  • I have crossed swords with Mira Kamdar, Christophe Jaffrelot, Meera Nanda, Amber Habib, MF Husain as well as his critics, DN Jha, Harbans Mukhia, Wiliam Dalrymple, Edward Said, Ramachandra Guha, Ashish Nandy, Edward Luce, Vikas Swarup, Martha Nussbaum etc. The record shows that I have not limited myself to the gullible and the already-converted.
  • So, you may continue to throw mud at me. But I trust that through all this mud, an inconvenient fact will shine through: I have done only this much, but at least I have done it. You may try to give a dirty twist to it by calling it "insufferable grandstanding" or, even worse, "white skin". But when all is said and done, a simple fact remains standing: I did it, you did not.
  • By temperament I tend to applaud reversals in received opinion.
  • And now, I begin to wonder whether the people concerned really belong to the same team. While we are arguing against the Aryan Invasion Theory, they are declaring the Aryan debate over. While we are on the battlefield fighting, they are powdering their noses for the victory parade. Is this still the same team?
  • Rahul Chandra documented the situation of the Hindus in Pakistan, mostly Sindh, and why many feel compelled to flee to India. Especially the vulnerability of girls to abduction by and forced marriage to Muslims forces them to flee.
  • If the secularists didn't control the bottleneck of information on India, the West would be far less anti-Modi.
  • Nationalism is a misstatement of Hindu concerns.
  • The more usual reaction among internet Hindus is effectively: "We are heading for another defeat, and we won't let this white interloper snatch this defeat from us. We have an inalienable right to our defeats!"
  • The typical Hindu attitude to Islam is “under-informed but over-opinionated” wishful thinking.
  • By coincidence, I met Khushwant Singh on the airplane Delhi-Frankfurt some 22 years ago. Frankly, I got a rather good personal opinion of him. It was timely that we met, because I needed to prove my existence. He had just written a newspaper column stating that my book on Ayodhya had been written by Sita Ram Goel using a European name as pseudonym to confer an air of outside objectivity on his pro-temple thesis. Well, that matter was settled then.
  • Indeed, the best appreciation of Nehruvian secularism is that it is the incomprehending tourist view of India’s religions.
  • He also did the secularist thing in supporting the Emergency dictatorship. Nehruvian secularism, being a despotism by nature, always disliked unmanipulated democracy. Indeed, it was under the Emergency that the Costituion was enriched with the declaration of India as a “secular, socialist”republic, the only part of the Constitution without genuine democratic legitimation.
  • Yet, unlike other secularists, he did occasionally criticize even Islam and Christianity. But not too much, so he did support the ban on Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses: avoiding the inevitable bloodshed was more important than upholding freedom of speech. In this manner, the religious obscurantists always have their way on condition of credibly threatening violence, for then the secularists will present it as virtuous and wise to drop freedom of speech and give in to the demand for book-banning.
  • At any rate, the vibrant interaction of ancient India’s intellectual landscape, where free debate flourished, was nothing like the modern situation where her own school has locked out the Hindu voice and the latter has reactively demonized her.
  • But the power equation is such that the comforts of conforming still lead most to the anti-Hindu side. The opportunists changing sides are still a minority, the anti-Hindu discourse remains the dominant one. The best proof is that the ruling BJP, supposedly a Hindu party, is still acting out the worldview of the “secularists”. They are not actively challenging it or changing the intellectual power equation. It is perhaps fortunate for the Hindu side that the “secularists” have denounced it for so long as a Hindu party, for that is what makes the opportunists turn superficially pro-Hindu now.
  • Yes, the genocide accompanying the birth of Pakistan and later of Bangladesh are two events that should not be forgotten, eventhough her own school has tried to whitewash, minimize or obscure them. The largest religious massacre of independent India’s history, that of the Sikhs by the Congress “secularists” in 1984, also comes in for closer scrutiny and for a demythologizing analysis about the true nature of Congress dynasticism. On a smaller scale, Hindus have also misbehaved, either out of smugness or out of desperation, and that too deserves study; except that it has already been made the object of publications so many times while the former subjects remain orphans.
  • Many Christian beliefs and practises, as well as the reflexes of the Christian apologists, are explained by such concepts as “confirmation bias”, “cognitive dissonance” and “selective attention”, the findings of evolutionary biology (which finds traces of morality even among the higher animals, independent from any divine revelation of the Ten Commandments) and the notion “meme”.
  • Christian apologists tend to dismiss these sceptics as “village atheists” and pretend that there is a more sophisticated angle from which all these anomalies suddenly become logical.
  • At this point, I can reveal that the book was purposely incomplete. I had intended to add a chapter on a subject quite unknown to Somers, viz. Mohammed. My venerated publisher Sita Ram Goel dissuaded me from going ahead with this, as it was likely to provoke Muslim violence, which would only be contained after it had already done its damage.
  • Hindu-Christian “dialogues”, which the Christians prepare as publicity exercises and as psychological warfare, and where their naïve Hindu partners show up confused and unprepared, usually result in the embarrassment of the Hindus, who becomes hopelessly defensive when the inevitable subject of caste is raised.
  • Apologists of Islam are indeed typically "under- informed but over-opinionated".
  • “Islamophobia”. This is a militant Islamic term, literally declaring criticism of Islam a mental illness and effectively criminalizing it.
  • So this is my final opinion on the officially propagated islamophilia: a mixture of ignorance and hypocrisy.
  • Life is short, but longer than necessary to fathom Islam, which is a simple subject. I still read about the history of Islam on occasion, but actually this doctrine and its application offer me no intellectual challenge anymore. That does not mean it has lost my interest, but our knowledge of Islam is quite sufficient for basing action on. I remain available for formulating a policy regarding Islam based upon scientific knowledge, not the fairy tales and taboos of the current policies. But about Islam as a doctrine that motivates the actions of Muslims over the centuries, there is nothing new to understand anymore. There remain many people to convince, but mostly they have already heard the facts and simply decided to remain deaf to them. You can take a horse to the river but you cannot force it to drink. Some people are simply happier in their delusions, and only a rough collision with reality will be able to help them.
  • That Taslima Nasrin has been persecuted in Bangladesh since 1993, was not due to her feminist commitment, as our media claimed, but to her plea against the violent persecution of the Hindu minority in December 1992, which most of her vocal sympathizers at the time of her European award stubbornly concealed or distorted.
  • I wrote twelve years earlier about Islam, and the primary reason for this was a meeting in Varanasi in 1988 with a family of refugees from Bangladesh, who after intense persuasion told me with great difficulty the story of their persecution by their Muslim neighbors.
  • I could add that even far better known gurus involve themselves in “communal” causes, which is natural, as in the dominant media parlance, “communal” is simply a pejorative term for "Hindu".
  • Christianity’s self-righteousness due to a belief in being the sole possessors of the truth, and the consequent contempt for non-Christians, a far more negative attitude than anything the Pagans could muster; or in other words, the unmatched power of hatred; as well as the consequent importance they attach to religious identity, which means the pressure to convert in a mixed marriage is usually on the Pagan partner.
  • It happened to my European ancestors long ago, and I see it happening today in India. The Christian plan is to make the same destruction of Paganism happen all over India as well as the rest of the world. However, the rediscovery of the indigenous Pagan heritage among the natives of Latin America as well as those of Europe threatens to jeopardize their project, though as yet only marginally. They have a more acute fear of Islam, in spite of (or, on the contrary, proven by) their numerous gestures of reconciliation with Islam, such as the Pope’s apology for the Crusades, contrasting with their lack of apologies to the heirs of the far more unjustly treated Pagans.
  • We hear frequently in the news that as late as in 2014, there is still a Kashmir question, with the same line of control as in 1948, an effective boundary between the recaptured territory and the third of Kashmir that is still under Pakistani occupation. In that area in 1947-48, Pakistan has wiped out all non –Muslims, and it has refused to vacate the conquered territory, a condition imposed by the UN for a plebiscite.
  • The book reports correctly that there has been a shift from the study of the classics ("Indology") to the sociological approach ("South Asian Studies") within the Orientalist departments.
  • Conversely, the western pelvic floor muscle exercises that every pregnant woman nowadays, are actually inspired on the yogic mula bandha ("root lock"), not to mention the numerous neuro- and psychological techniques that are based on ancient Indian meditation exercises. A recent example is Mindfulness, a velvet version of Vipassana meditation which was, among others, already practiced by the Buddha.
  • History moves in strange ways, and it is a fact that through WW2, Hitler bankrupted Britain and forced it to relinquish its prized Indian possessions; but he was no friend of the Hinduism or the Indians
  • Hindus who want to study any aspect of National-Socialism or World War II are very poorly equipped to see through this pro-Christian and anti-Pagan slant in many works on the subject. We have the impression that our correspondent has swallowed it hook, line and sinker.
  • The ancient Arab traders went on pilgrimage to the Somnath temple, because in the moon-bearing Shiva they recognized their own moon-god Hubal. And conversely, Indian traders doing business in Arabia went to the Kaaba in Mecca because its presiding deity Hubal was clearly their own Shiva. Yes, in the human netherworld there were local differences, but these were not consequential. The places from which you see the starry sky are different, but the stars in heaven are the same. So, I have decided to focus on the absolute unity of heaven, more than on the relative difference of the vantage-points on earth. Therefore, I don’t care anymore about being from here or from there, the truth would in each case turn out to be the same. It doesn’t change anything to my worldview or my way of life whether I artificially try to change myself into a Hindu or naturally define myself as being European and all other levels of identity that happen to apply to me.
  • At least he is not being misled by gross mistakes, as would be the case with the many flawed contributions on easily the most-consulted source, Wikipedia. That might be a decent source on neutral topics like physics, but on Hindu subjects it is emphatically not recommended by the specialists. Nor is any contributor to the Encyclopedia of Hinduism grossly biased; they are truer to its scholarly ethic of being a neutral and non-controversial source of information. This, again, will come as a pleasant surprise for those who rely too much on Wikipedia, where many topics of serious debate have been hijacked by one of the contending parties, shutting the other’s party’s version out or ridiculing it. In the present case, we are dealing with a real scholarly work.
  • But the scholarly finding is that it has indeed changed. Caste in the age of the Ṛg-Vedic “Family Books”, India’s oldest documents, was non-existent, or at least never mentioned. Later it was understood to be hereditary though only in the fatherly line, and for the last two thousand years, it was the boxed-in endogamous institution that we have come to know.
  • The Buddha made his own version of Hinduism, as any Hindu Guru is entitled to, and as arch-Hindus like the Vedic Seer Dirghatamas before him or the philosopher Shankara after him have also done. But he never broke away from any existing religion. On the contrary, when he was asked near the end of his life what the secrets of a stable society are, he mentioned among other things the continued respect for the existing sages, pilgrimages and (by definition pre-Buddhist) sacred places.
  • Likewise, central concepts of Sikhi are properly derived from ancient Hindu concepts, e.g. the mantra So’ham (“I am He”, viz. He who lives in the sun) has Vedic origins but reappears in glory in Sikh scripture and practice. The entry Dasham Granth recounts how the last Sikh Guru Govind Singh had stories from the Puranas translated for his flock. It hardly makes sense to argue this point further, for there are literally hundreds of indications for the view that Sikhi is just one among the many Hindu traditions.
  • Note that we need not agree with the Śāstrakāra-s that the varnāśramadharma is truly “Vedic”, for we do not find it in the first nine books of the Rg-Veda. Even in the tenth book, the last and youngest one, we find it mentioned only once, and there only in the vaguest use, viz. the Purusa Sūkta’s recognition of the existence of four functions in society, without any details of how their personnel is recruited nor of how they should conduct themselves vis-à-vis one another, the very stuff that is the main focus of the Śāstra-s. Like medieval and contemporary Hindus, the Śāstra composers may have considered as ”Vedic” everything they held sacred, regardless of whether a particular norm or custom is indeed traceable to the Veda-s.
  • If the word Ārya had not become tainted by the colonial and racist use of its Europeanized form Aryan, chances are that by now it would have replaced the word Hindu (which many Hindus resent as a Persian exonym unknown to Hindu scripture) as the standard term of Hindu self-reference.
  • Even Harvard professor and Aryan Invasion Theory champion Michael Witzel admits that no material evidence of Aryans moving into India has been found “yet”, that is after two centuries of being the official hypothesis sucking up all the sponsoring... I have verified at several specialist conferences, most concerned linguists do not work on the problem of the origins, which has an aura of obsoleteness, and blindly follow the dominant theory because it happens to be what their textbooks contained.
    • Even the greatest specialists have failed to prove the Aryan Invasion Theory – Koenraad Elst [21] 2015.
  • Mediocre people are good at inventing endless objections against people who really make a difference.
  • The first step of an establishment against a vocal opponent is always to deny him legitimacy, then to pretend that there is no real debate, only a querulant rebelling against established common sense.
  • Clearly, it had to do precisely with those unwelcome ideas, which could henceforth be put down as "the fantasies of a known plagiarizer". That way august professors could now invoke an academic-sounding pretext for not addressing the contents of his books. They could now strike their familiarly condescending airs and dismiss his contributions with a good conscience.
  • Two millennia of ardent belief in the need to "educate all nations" has equipped the Churches with an impressive array of organizations and techniques geared towards conversion. With their strategic eye, Christian scholars have not missed the opportunity offered them by Rajiv's carelessness, to silence him. You can't blame fighters for fighting.
  • Modi as an economic miracle-worker surely helped, but Modi as the man who has survived an unparallelled twelve-years-long onslaught by the secularists, that is what made him the Emperor of the Hindu Heart (Hindu Hrdaya Samrat).
  • A modern lawyer like Muslim League leader Mohammed Ali Jinnah completely thought inside the modern democratic framework where numbers are important. But to an obscurantist like Azad, this didn’t matter: democracy was only a temporary circumstance that need not stand in the way of turning a united India into a Muslim empire. Moreover, Muslims could convert Hindus, and through their superiority in demographic growth (from 19% to 24% in the sixty years before Independence), they would eventually become the majority. Moreover, Azad seized upon Mahatma Gandhi’s proposal to form an all-Muslim Cabinet as the ultimate “compromise” (i.e. surrender) to avert Partition. So, he dreamed of Islamizing all of India rather than only the Pakistani part of it.
  • But on the rare occasions where the elite tries to argue against Ghar Wapasi, my insights may make a difference, and ultimately some of them may percolate to the mass level.
  • As we know, the Veda mentions neither Christ nor Mohammed, let alone Macaulay or Marx, so it was a communalist book denying the minorities a place in the sun.
  • Like so much in Hindu Nationalist discourse, it is neither here nor there.
  • In reality, the British gave Savarkar two life sentences and many years of actual imprisonment for his proven anti-British opposition, much harsher than anything that the luxury inmates Gandhi and Nehru have had to endure, let alone the caviar Communists at Frontline.
  • Then, we see Mahatma Gandhi for the umpteenth time called the “Father of the Nation”. Though quite vain (as when he condoned the crowd demanding that MA Jinnah address him as “Mahatma” rather than “Mister”), Gandhi himself would have rejected this epithet. It stems from the new-fangled Nehruvian notion that India is a “nation in the making” conceived by the political unification under Queen Victoria, whereas Gandhi saw himself as a son of an age-old nation. This falsehood is a cornerstone of the Nehruvian rhetoric, but then nobody in his right mind had considered falsity and Nehruism incompatible.
  • Barman is a frog in the well who projects his own limited and ignorant Nehruvian worldview onto more mature views... Of course, in Barman’s game, it is “heads Hindus lose, tails anti-Hindus win”.
  • Upadhyaya had the merit of coining the phrase “Integral Humanism”, which in a nutshell says everything Dharmic politics should be. It would still be a good thing if the BJP today would highlight “Integral Humanism” as its real ideological commitment, instead of weasel terms like “Nationalism”. Call it “Dharma” for Indians and people with a vivid Indian connection, “Integral Humanism” for foreign consumption or in English-language media.
  • Could the reason be that Modi partakes of the intellectual culture of the RSS: borrowing from Nehruvian sources, playing by the rules laid down by the enemy? But such considerations are outside the Nehruvian worldview, which catalogues anything done by any Hindutva hate figure as wily, fanatic, part of a tough secret plan motivated by Hindu interests. It just doesn’t occur to Barman that nominal Hindu Nationalists are really obedient playthings in his own side’s own hands. Not that they themselves fail to treat Hindus as enemies, but Hindus refuse to see this and treat them as their own standard, as their Guru. Even when securely in power, Hindu Nationalists still crawl before the secularist standard.
  • They have never developed an ideological backbone; instead, they have continuously borrowed conclusions from the Nehruvians and others who did their own thinking for non-Hindu purposes. They had the pick-pocket mentality of getting things on the cheap, of being mentally lazy and borrowing their ideas from elsewhere.... They essentially live up to the standards set by their enemies because their movement has never seriously developed a perspective of its own.
  • How does the West look at India? The Western public is completely, and the professional India-watchers largely, dependent on information filtered by a Delhi bottleneck under firm Nehruvian control. This is not a matter of “sepoy” intellectuals blackening India and Hinduism at the behest of an American conspiracy. It is a two-way influence, with Indians trying to live up to Western fashions and Westerners trying to align with Indian ideological norms.
  • About the outspokenly partisan perspective of the book, we can be brief because no attempt is made to hide it. Thus, if we are going to discuss "democracy in India", it should be hard to leave the Emergency and the Sangh Parivar's opposition to it unmentioned; yet these are carefully and completely hushed up.
  • But if riots are deemed so important, surely attention is paid to the far larger killing of the Sikhs in 1984 by Congress secularists; or to the East Bengali massacre of Hindus in 1971 that dwarfed all Indian communal killings since Independence combined? No, this book only notices killings when Hindus are (or can be portrayed as) the perpetrators.
  • In American academe, the demand of objectivity, on which scholarly authority is based, is suspended in works about Hindu politics.
  • In modern India scholarship, or rather “South Asia Studies”, this anti-Hindu bias is supported, either by hiding it and denying that it even exists (“India’s secularism is threatened by Hindu majoritarianism!”) or, more rarely, by openly acknowledging and defending it. Thus, in her keynote address at the 2014 conference of the European Association of South-Asian Studies in Zurich, Delhi Law Professor openly admitted and speciously justified the anti-Hindu discriminations, to general acclaim. These academics, whose authority is based on the public’s assumption that academia equals objectivity, are in great majority partisan on the anti-Hindu side, passively or actively.
  • And you don’t even have to utter this hate: most Hinduism-haters have perfected the art of claiming to love what they seek to destroy.
  • Tribals are emphatically called “not Hindu” in Christian and “South-Asianist” publications, but when they misbehave and kill Christians or Muslims, they suddenly get transformed into “Hindu rioters”. So, picking and choosing which manipulated meaning best serves their case is common among Hindu-bashers.
  • Christian missionaries as the most strategically savvy part of the secularist coalition just love the fragmentation of Hinduism. Instead of a potentially solid enemy, they would find a string of separate sects ready to be swallowed each on its own terms. Most Indology Departments share this strategic vision, though they are less explicit about it.
  • Finally: I don't know if CW even means what he writes here, because he has to write it. If he wrote the truth, it would be denounced as ‘Hindutva’ and he could forget his academic career.
  • That is still entirely true. Name me a single established professor who made his career all while being known as a Hindutva supporter. I, by contrast, can easily enumerate a lot of professors who have been known all along as Communist or as generally anti-Hindu and certainly anti-Hindutva, without this standing in the way of their promotions.
  • He would like to impute his own conformism with the dominant school of thought to a jaundiced perception caused by sour grapes. Note again that I have given no occasion for this, it is entirely in the eye of the beholder.
  • I have written thousands of pages on that very subject, on that which outsiders call “Hindu fundamentalism”, and I have several times promised a symbolic euro if anyone could substantiate the common accusation that I, not even a Hindu, am a Hindu “fundamentalist”. That euro is still with me, so I can award it to Wallis if he finally does the job. Among civilized people, allegations come with evidence instead of with “bile” and “vitriol”. He may also try to explain away my own publications thematising specific criticisms of Hindutva. The difference with the secularist and especially the Western theses about Hindutva is that my critique is based on primary knowledge, not on hearsay from partisan sources.
  • “To toe a party line” is usually said of people who hide their real convictions to parrot an officially sanctioned doctrine. In Wallis’s case, there is no longer any reason to assume that he has to conceal his own belief in order to toe the party-line. From his writing, it appears that he genuinely believes the party-line, which he has interiorized.
  • The crucial fact here is that the academics’ position proved to be wrong, while my position was simply the scholarly position and proved to be right. If there could still be any debate about this in the 1990s (debate which was not really allowed, because overruled by an emphatically imposed new orthodoxy), there is no debate now, after the Court-ordered excavations of 2003 and the Court verdict of 2010. So, I was vetoed for being right, at the most for being dissident, not at all for being substandard nor for being “fundamentalist”.
  • But I do notice that someone who knows nothing about me except for my scholarly comment on his own work, gladly embarks upon an unsolicited psycho-analysis. And this is again entirely part of the Zeitgeist in his circles. He may find himself so very special, but in fact he is a very banal and predictable follower of the Wendy Donigers, Paul Courtrights and Jeffrey Kripals of this world.
  • But of course, if Wallis hopes to make me say that Shaivism is un-Hindu after all, he is living in a fool’s paradise.
  • I would prefer to debate this with the ones whose framework you (and perhaps your Indian Shaiva informers) have naively borrowed and interiorized, and for whom you are only a useful idiot.
  • I may also add that in Christian cosmology, this central fire reappears as the centrality of hell within the planet standing in the centre of the geocentric universe. Theologians had a conscience problem here, for situating hell-fire underground amounted to putting Satan in the centre of the universe. You have to pay Satan his due, but this was just too much honour.
  • As for Weber, his view is fairly representative of general Western opinion (partly by having created it) regarding the Hindu-Buddhist counterpart to the role of the Protestant work ethic in the genesis of capitalism. He had concluded that the Orientals certainly succeeded in launching a mercantile capitalism but, partly because of their otherworldly religion, failed in creating modern industrial capitalism. However, he also had testified in 1916 how, in the middle of WW1, he had found his study of the Hindu-Buddhist worldviews invigorating. We were going to recreate some of that spirit.
  • . Yet, secular and leftist Westerners are nonetheless heirs to Christian strategies and modes of thinking. Thus, many of the Christian Saints have a narrative of martyrdom, and usually it is that which made them Saints. The early Church deliberately spread or concocted martyrdom stories, for it empirically found these successful in swaying people towards accepting the Christian message.
  • Most Hindus are not aware that a war is raging for the destruction of their civilization. They don’t come out of their comfort zone, out of their career and family concerns, and hence have never developed a sense of the enormous hostility that is targeting them in the ugly wide world. Foreign experts in Arabic or Chinese tend to sympathize with the civilization or polity they study, and to defend it against prejudices and hostile stereotypes; but in “South Asian” Studies (the terms “Indian” and “Hindu” are taboo in those circles), the opposite is the case. Thus, like every immigrant group, US-based Hindus wish to correct the school books to make them less hostile and more accurate regarding Hindu history, and then the South Asia scholars move in not to support but to thwart them.
  • And this moronic Hindu love of Christianity and Islam does partly go back to Vivekananda’s sayings like the famous “Islamic body, Vedanta brain” quote. Vivekananda could not foresee that the next generations of Hindus would degenerate to such a level of loss of the power of discrimination that they (including monks from his own Ramakrishna Mission) would start to pontificate about an illusory “equal truth of all religions”. So he never focused on that problem, and later thinkers like Ram Swarup and now Rajiv Malhotra had to take it up.
  • Moreover, it is a bit rich to call Indian Muslims and Christians "minorities". Not only are they more numerous than the population of many countries (say, Saudi Arabia), but they are only the Indian branch of worldwide movements. They benefit from international financial and media support that the Hindus cannot even dream of.
  • More fundamentally, the concept of "minority" is reprehensible in itself. Every democrat can understand that the law should equally apply to all, regardless of religion. Every Indian citizen may sociologically be a member of one or more communities, but legally, he is just an Indian citizen. That is the minimum for a state to be secular. India today is not a secular state at all. An Indian political analyst or a foreign India-watcher outs himself as incompetent when he asserts or implies: "India is a secular state." It is not.
  • This shows the systematicity of secularist propaganda. While the Eminent Historians thought they could simply enforce their denial of Islamic iconoclasm, their American sympathizer Richard Eaton understood that at least some iconoclasm had to be admitted, but that the blame for it could be passed on to the Hindus. So he spun the story that a few cases of "idol abduction" by Hindu warlords, who re-installed captured icons in their own temples to continue their worship, amounted to the same thing as the thousandfold Islamic cases of destruction of icons. Immediately the secularists seized upon this story and propagated it through all channels. By contrast, my paper refuting this story was completely ignored by the Hindu militants, too smug and lazy to even take notice. The result in a sizable anti-Hindu switch in public opinion, even among common Hindus.
  • “Eminence” in this case refers to their position and relative glory. The Communists always made sure to confer position and prestige, as opposed to the Sangh Parivar, which fawns over people with position but doesn’t realize that those people have only acquired their position by toeing the anti-Hindu line. In a way, you have to concede that the Left has honestly fought for its power position. Half their battle was already won by the Hindu side’s complete absence from the battlefield....
    The topic in general is important, though. The Leftist dominance of the Humanities departments in India, often amounting to total control, results from the wilful and systematic “ethnic cleansing” (to borrow Madhu Kishwar’s term) of any young scholar suspected of pro-Hindu sympathies. Exceptions are the people who entered on the strength of ideologically neutral work, or of initially toeing the line, but coming out with pro-Hindu convictions only after getting tenure. ...
    This cleansing of enemies stems from the old Marxist mentality: a war psychology treating everyone with a different opinion as an enemy inviting merciless destruction; and a boundless self-righteousness rooted in the belief of being on the forward side of history. As an ideological wave, Marxism is waning even in India, but that attitude is still rife among the anti-Hindu forces, both in India and among Western India-watchers....
    Meanwhile, the written record emphatically points to an emigration scenario. That the Iranians lived in India and had to leave westwards is reported in the Rg-Veda, a text thoroughly analysed and shown to support an “Aryan emigration” by Shrikant Talageri. It can equally be deduced from the Avesta. Even earlier migrations are mentioned in the Puranas. These are of course very mixed and unreliable as a source of history, but it is a bad historian who discards them altogether. Their core, later fancifully embellished, consists in dynastic lists. Keeping that ancestral information was the proper job of court poets, and they devised mnemotechnical tricks to transmit it for many generations. In this case, it too does convey a basic scenario of indigenousness and emigration....
    The version of history taught by the Nehruvians was politically motivated. The feeble Hindu attempt to counterbalance this (“saffronization”) in ca. 2002 was confused and largely incompetent. Humbled by this experience, the BJP today is not even trying to impose its own version. Contrary to the Nehruvians’ hue and cry, allegations about the BJP’s interference in history-teaching or more generally in academe are simply not true....
    In the case of the Eminent Historians, it is also time for the surviving ones to own up their responsibility for the whole conflict. The then PM, Rajiv Gandhi, was on course towards a peaceful settlement, allotting the site to the Hindus and buying the militant Muslim leadership off with some typically Congressite horse-trading. Not too principled, but at least with the virtue of avoiding bloodshed. It is the shrill and mendacious declaration of the Eminent Historians in 1989, amplified by all the vocal secularists, that made the politicians back off. ...
    Not only have they falsely alleged that no Rama temple ever stood on the contentious site: their more fundamental lie was to bring in history at all. Ayodhya belongs to the Hindus not because it was their pilgrimage site a thousand years ago, nor because of “revenge” for a temple destruction effected eight hundred or five hundred years ago, but because it is a Hindu sacred site today. No Muslim ever cares to go to Ayodhya, and in spite of being egged on by the Eminent Historians, enough Muslim leaders have expressed their willingness to leave the site to the Hindus. This whole controversy was unnecessary, but for the Nehruvians’ pathetic nomination of the Babri Masjid as the last bulwark of secularism. ...
    That a Hindu temple was demolished by Muslim invaders is certain, on that we all agree. But there is less consensus around, or even awareness of, the fact that this happened several times: by Salar Masud Ghaznavi in 1030 (the rebuilt Rajput temple after this must be the one of the excavated pillar-bases), by Qutbuddin Aibak’s troops in 1193, and by Mir Baqi on Babar’s behalf in 1526....
    What it was that was replaced by Babar’s mosque, is not fully clear. I speculate that in the rough and tumble of the collapsing Delhi Sultanate, Hindus had managed to take over the site and started worship there eventhough the building they used was a mosque imposed on the site. That was exactly the situation in 1949-92, and I think it also applied towards 1526. Babar destroyed a Hindu pilgrimage centre, a Hindu presence at the site, but not the Rajput temple from the 11th century of which the foundations were excavated in 2003....
    Was the temple’s demolition just an odd event, or was it the necessary materialization of an ideology, repeated many times and in many places? When Mohammed Shahabuddin Ghori and his lieutenants conquered the entire Ganga basin in 1192-94, they destroyed every Hindu temple they could find. Only a few survived, and that is because they lay out of the way of the Muslim armies, in the (then) forest, notably in Khajuraho and in Bodh Gaya. But all the Buddhist universities, all the temples in Varanasi etc. were destroyed. Ayodhya became a provincial capital of the Delhi Sultanate, and it is inconceivable that the Sultanate regime would have allowed a major temple to remain standing there. ...
    In her book from 2013, Rama and Ayodhya, Prof. Meenakshi Jain has detailed all the scholarly evidence and the debate around it, including the embarrassing collapse of the Eminent Historians’ case once they took the witness stand in Court. She shows that the Rama cult has already left traces more than 2000 years ago. Attempts to make Rama worship a recent phenomenon were just part of the sabotage attempts by the Eminent Historians. Also, the site of Ayodhya, though probably older, is at least beyond doubt since Vikramaditya in the 1st century BC. All indications are that the disputed site was already visited by pilgrims as Rama’s birthplace since well before the Muslim conquest.
  • This was a nice summary of the power equation in the reporting on India worldwide and in all the different segments of the media: all press correspondents in and "experts" on India look at Indian society and esp. the communal conflict through the glasses that a handful of Secularists have put on their noses, reproducing the latter's anti-Hindu bias and disinformation.
    However, contrary to what the observers all think or say, the present BJP government under Narendra Modi, while numerically strong, is ideologically extremely weak. It is not in any way Hinduizing or "saffronizing" the polity or the education system. It is continuing the Congressite-Leftist anti-Hindu policies mandated by the Constitution, or at best looking the other way but not changing the Constitution to put a definitive stop to such policies. Thus, subsidized schools can be Christian or Muslim, but not Hindu: in the latter case, either they get taken over by the state and secularized, or at best, they have to do without subsidies. Temples are nationalized and their income channeled to non-Hindu purposes, a treatment against which the law protects churches and mosques.
  • A survey of the relevant Constitution articles with their discriminations against Hinduism shows unambiguously: India is not a secular state at all. The most poignant example is the discrimination in education by art. 30, which has led to the attempt by Hindu sects and organization to have themselves declared non-Hindu. There are no Christian or Muslim sects declaring themselves non-Christian c.q. non-Muslim (on the contrary: the Mormons call themselves Christian and the Ahmadiyas Muslim, though their parent religions have doubts about acknowledging them), but a big handful of Hindu sects do clamour for the exit: there you have an objective criterion for the claim that being a non-Hindu brings tangible privileges that would not exist in a secular state. This Article 30 is the basis for the Right To Education Act (2008), which imposes a heavy burden on Hindu schools alone, forcing hundreds of them to date to close down.
  • But then, among the organizers of the Indology session, I am a controversial name because of my known skepticism towards the pious lies of my peers, their so-called secularism paradigm flavoured with anti-Brahmanism. That far at least the anti-Hindu "South-Asian Studies" school has penetrated in the Orientalist institutions, unlike in the other sections, where scholars aren't expected to militate against their chosen object of study. In spite of Said's fantasies, most Orientalists had or have a tendency to "go native", to sympathize or identify with the culture they study; most Sinologists can argue the case for China with conviction, or at least tone down and relativize any criticism that is unavoidable. By contrast, only in the case of India is a scholar accepted in his peer group if he gives proof of a bias against the country and religion he has chosen to study.
  • Contrary to their Arabic or Chinese counterparts, the Indian Studies departments have been structurally anti-Hindu for decades, so the absorption of this bias is no surprise... In most cases, no malice need be involved: the Indology departments typically attract India-lovers who innocently swallow the uniquely hostile bias without really realizing it.
  • People like the Brahmo Samaj, Arya Samaj, RK Mission and Mahatma Gandhi remained totally blind for the scholarly deconstruction of the Bible which was going on in the West,showing how spurious Christian historical claims often were, or how borrowed "Christian" customs often were. Instead, they swallowed the missionary idealized image of Jesus and of Christian history hook, line and sinker and even made it part of their worldview and ritual.
  • Still, sum total, linguistics has so far only provided a malleable type of evidence, a probability but not the final word. At any rate, the findings of Historical and Comparative Linguistics turn out to be perfectly compatible with a scenario of Indo-European emigration from an Indian Homeland, and marginally even indicate it. ... Archaeology is a harder science, though less informative about the language of the society studied. It failed to find any traces of the momentous event that an Aryan invasion must have been... Today the nonagenarian dean of Indian archaeology (B.B. Lal) concurs with most of his younger colleagues that there is no archaeological trace of an Aryan invasion.... The invading Aryans are taken to be fundamentally different in culture from the Harappans, and since the Harappan cities declined only after -1900, the invasion must be more recent than that, and the Vedic corpus (clearly set in India though tortured in vain to yield mentions of a westerly homeland or an invasion) even more recent.
    • Elst, K. The unique place of Shrikant Talageri’s contribution to the Indo-European Homeland debate. Foreword in : Talageri, S. G. (2019). Genetics and the Aryan debate
  • ...so it cannot be dismissed as merely a “Hinduchauvinist fantasy”. But dismissed it is, mostly in very cavalier rhetoric which betrays the philologists’ unfamiliarity with the cogency of scientific reasoning.
  • What is more obvious to an outsider than to a Hindu (though best articulated by Shrikant Talageri) is that today’s mainstream Hindu Dharma is a mixture of several historical contributors. One is the Vedic tradition embodied in the Brahmin caste, to the extent that Bharat as a punyabhumi (“land of spiritual merit”) coincided for some two thousand years with all the regions where Brahmin communities had settled. It originated among the Paurava tribe in Haryana along the Saraswati banks, and gradually “conquered” all of Bharat, i.e. kings who wanted their part of the Vedic civilization’s prestige invited Brahmin communities to settle....
    With the fratricidal Mahabharata war in the -2nd millennium (my guess is ca. -1400), the Paurava expansion as a kingdom came to an end, and the Yadava tribe became dominant in the West. The episode where Krishna tells the villagers in Vrndavan to stop their preparations for celebrating the Paurava god Indra’s festival and worship the mountains, trees and cows instead (and where he holds up the Govardhan mountain as an umbrella against Indra’s wrath), encapsulates an important evolution within Hindu Dharma, viz. the shift from the Vedic gods to the Hindu pantheon we now know. Or to be more precise, the entry of already-existing non-Vedic strands of Hindu Dharma into the Vedic tradition. It also emphasizes the importance of nature-worship among Hindus, with its circumambulation of the Narmada, or its the pilgrimage to the river Ganga, the Kailash mountain, or the ice lingam in Kedarnath....
    A third important contributor was the Bihari culture. I once knew a girl of the Dutch Hindu community (from Surinam but ultimately from eastern UP and western Bihar) who was a bit shy about her family name Bihari, because she had heard that Bihar was the most backward part of Bharat. So we went through Bihari history together. It turned out to be extremely glorious. Not only did the first great empires originate there, Kapila was from there – the founder of one of the two defining philosophies of Hindu Dharma, viz. Sankhya-Yoga, and venerated as the philosopher par excellence in the Gita. The first Upanishadic seers, starting with Yajñavalkya, ultimately the originators of the other great philosophy, Vedanta, developed their ideas at king Janaka’s court in Videha, i.e. northwestern Bihar. Also from Bihar was Mahavira, leading light of Jain Dharma (Jainism). Finally, from the Sankhya tradition sprang Bauddha Dharma (Buddhism), with Shakyamuni himself growing up in Kapilavastu, which had been built next to Kapila’s hermitage. To a large extent, all these visionaries perfected and systematized ideas that had already been present in the local Bihari culture, such as the idea of reincarnation and the practice of renunciation and meditation. Today Bihar is undergoing a bit of a dip, but it is the cradle of what has been called “the greatest achievements of the human mind”....
    Recently, there was another review of the textbooks, where the Hindus scored a small success. The “South Asia scholars” wanted to systematically replace “ancient India” with “South Asia”. Yet, the name “India” itself is ancient, and was used by the Greeks. Moreover, names are freely projected into the past elsewhere, e.g. “China” did not exist prior to 230 BCE, and even later was only used by foreigners, yet we call the Xia dynasty of ca. 1800 BCE “ancient Chinese”. “Africa” historically referred only to its northern coastal zone, and was again not used by the Africans, yet we speak of the dawn of mankind hundreds of thousands of years ago in “East Africa” as the “African dawn”. So, this zeal to obliterate “India” (Bharat) clearly sprang from this special anti-Hindu animus. Fortunately, enough scholars saw reason, and this proposal was scrapped....
    But back to your question. “Hindu” in the sense of “Dharmic” was at one time not confined to the Subcontinent, just like now. Manu says that the Greeks and the Chinese were at one time Aryas, but fell from that status by not observing the Arya practices. Disregarding the historicity of that statement, its point is that it doesn’t link Dharma to Indianness. Which is correct. India has been overemphasized by the objective circumstance of the freedom movement (but that was long ago) and then by Hindu eagerness to replace Hindu Dharma with an unassailably secular term....
    On the other hand, I am aware that all kinds of psychotherapies, neuro-scientific theories and the mindfulness industry borrow heavily from Hindu traditions without acknowledging their source. Hindus are often so naïve as to think that the West has “also” come up with theories and practices similar to yoga (when in fact the West has been borrowing from the East since at least Pythagoras), or even to look in awe at Western “inventions” and “innovations” that really are not Western at heart. It is not impossible that traces of meditation practices originated in the West, such as the “staying in the now” practiced every day by the Greco-Roman Stoics, but there is very little of it, or it has been destroyed during Christianization. So, let’s be practical and accept that if we want to study meditation, we will have to borrow from Bharat....
    It is precisely because there is a conflict, an attack on Hindu Dharma requiring Hindu alertness to it, that Hindus are rewarded for being supercilious or lackadaisical, and punished for being politically conscious.
  • https://twitter.com/Koenraad_Elst/status/1154125843008040962 Academic philosophy is very Asiaphobic, not because of "racial nationalism", as the reviewed author claims, but because of human inertia: all those Kant & Hegel professors fear losing their authority when having to deal with Bâdarâyana or Zhuangzi. 2019
  • https://twitter.com/Koenraad_Elst/status/1141946362612867072 In NYC I heard of a campaign by a group called Sadhana: "Hindus against Hindutva". But whenever anyone, highlights the injustices against Hindus, he is at once called: "Hindutva!" They themselves conflate the two concepts. They hate Hindutva only because they hate Hinduism. 2019

Humour in Hinduism (2011)

  • Here is the world-sacralizing polytheistic idolatrous religion par excellence, and it has a tradition of humour as rich and variegated as its pantheon.
    • Koenraad Elst, “Humour in Hinduism,” Humour and Religion: Challenges and Ambiguities., 2011, 51–52 in Humour and Religion edited by H Geybels and W V Herck, 2011. quoted from Thom Hamer, A Critique of Humoristic Absurdism, 2020.

The argumentative Hindu (2012)

  • For South Asia, the authors’ data, based on many surveys and sources beside the official census reports, confirm the picture given by A.P. Joshi, M.D. Srinivas and J.K. Bajaj in their detailed study Religious Demography of India (Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai 2003). In every state in India without exception, including the economically and educationally most advanced, the Muslim growth rate is far above replacement level and far above the figures for the Hindu majority and for other minorities. If stated by a Hindu, Indian secularists usually dismiss this finding as mere “hate propaganda”. In 1993, Mani Shankar Aiyar claimed that the Muslim percentage in India would forever remain at 11%; but only 15 years later, it is easily 14%. And on top of this, India is outpaced by her Muslim neighbours Pakistan and Bangladesh, whence millions more are bound to seek living space in India.
  • With 4,6 children per woman in 2005, Pakistan grows faster than the Arab countries (except for Yemen and the Palestinians) and much faster than India. Indeed, it is on course to overtaking the US as third most populous country in the world well before the end of the century. Bangladesh used to be praised by demographers because it realised a downturn in birth rate in 1970, decades before reaching 50% female literacy (simply due to the physical pressures of overpopulation), but now disappoints them with a continually low marriage age and with a birth rate steady at ca. 3 per woman.
  • The “symmetry fallacy” of evenly distributing guilt between two warring parties, in this case by pretending that Muslims in India had been given the same eliminationist treatment as Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan, is one of the cheapest disinformation techniques around, because it resonates with the public’s mental laziness so averse to making distinctions.
    • Chapter 1. Reviews.
  • Among Indian secularists, the done thing is to deny the long history of Islamic temple-destruction. Government policy is to sweep the topic under the carper whenever it raises its head, as by fortuitous archaeological discoveries. Thus, at the Rudramahalaya complex in Siddhpur, Gujarat, ASI excavation work was stopped under Muslim pressure, when temple remains came to light. When a flood brought Hindu sculptures under and around the Bijamandal mosque in Vidisha (where four successive Hindu temples had been destroyed by Shamsuddin Iltutmish, Alauddin Khilji, Bahadur Shah of Gujarat and Aurangzeb) to the surface in 1991, the ASI was likewise prevented from excavating further.
  • One was the shrill and intimidating campaign of history denial by a section of partisan academics and journalists, with most Western India-watchers in their pocket. Screaming “secularism in danger!” and raising the stakes beyond all proportion, they continued to dominate public discourse until at least 30 September 2010. They managed to turn the old consensus into a mere ”claim” by “Hindu extremists”. But Rajiv Gandhi tried to call their bluff.
  • Ever since I have been writing on secularism and religious conflict, and particularly about Islam, I have had plenty of mud thrown at me. What I have never seen so far is an actual refutation of my central theses.
  • But the blot on the encyclopedia’s fair name is not just in the wrongness of the statement, but in its partisan and non-encyclopedic nature.... If Wikipedia wants to live up to its promise of being a reliable encyclopedic source, it will strike this and all sentences resembling it from its article on me. At most, it can use me as an example of how it was fooled by some of its all-too-partisan collaborators. Speaking of whom: the history page accompanying my page proves forever that some Wikipedia collaborators wanted to inflict on me the maximum harm possible, an attitude incompatible with work for an encyclopedia. Shouldn’t Wikipedia fire them and wipe out everything they wrote? Of course they can still contribute blogs and columns, by preference under their own full names, but they have proven themselves not to be encyclopedic authorities. ... [22]
  • As for myself, I am my own man, not a party man. I deserve to have my viewpoints examined not on their real or imagined associations but on their merits. I want my real and stated positions attacked, not those at my declared enemies' convenience.
  • But what I have written does not follow some party-line. In particular, I am anything but a “nationalist”... Indeed, I already expressed my scepticism of all nationalisms as far back as 1991, in my book Ayodhya and After.
  • The Muslim electorate massively voted for Partition in 1945, drove most Hindus from West Pakistan in 1945 and the same more gradually in East Pakistan or Bangladesh, but kept India as a joint account where Muslims were not only welcome but even enjoyed certain privileges.... In the last and only de facto referendum, the last election before independence, 87% of the Muslim electorate voted against India and in favour of the Muslim League and its programme: the Partition of India. While the Hindus voted for a multicultural India, the Muslims voted against India and against multiculturalism. That is a historical fact, and Meera Nanda cannot alter it.
  • Similar is also the way the French-speaking Belgians and the Indian Muslims have managed to confirm their privileges through legislation and the creation of institutions. Thus, the bolts in the Belgian Constitution to “protect” the numerical minority and prevent the majority from ever acting like a majority, or the notion of “secularism” and the Article 30 protecting only minority institutions in the Indian Constitution. For the majority, there are institutions rewarding pro-minority opinions, such as the King Baudouin Foundation c.q. the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.... A difference is of course the nature of the opponent:... Islam is intrinsically anti-Pagan and hence anti-Hindu. The Indian Muslims have killed a few million Hindus within living memory, whereas the occasion when the French killed a handful of Flemish lies centuries in the past. Or to revert that: the Hindus are being tested a lot harder than the Flemish for their patience with the other community.
  • This refusal to distinguish between the stealing of a sculpture [by Hindus] and the attempt to finish off a religion is typical of the wilful superficiality and studied silliness that constitutes so much of Indian secularist discourse. [...] Till today, Hindu-Muslim riots are typically started by Muslims. If Hindus restrain themselves, the riot remains small and is not reported in the international media. Only if Hindus mobilize does it become a newsworthy riot, and those are the cases where the victims on the Muslim side can be numerous. This way, a false impression is created of Muslims living in constant persecution by an overbearing Hindu majority. A proper perspective is given by comparing with the situation in Pakistan and Bangladesh, where all Hindu-Muslim violence without exception has Muslims as perpetrators and Hindus as victims, because the fearful Hindu minority wouldn’t dare to act against the Muslims, not even in retaliation. Moreover, for every instance of violent Hindu reaction in India, there are a dozen where the Hindus control their anger.
  • Vijay Prashad is a familiar type: a Nehruvian secularist, i.e. an institutional winner but a loser on contents. He was one of the people who clamoured, after my Ayodhya lecture in Madison WI 1996, that “a scholarly rebuttal should be given”, but whose scholarly rebuttal is still awaited. For a while he took part in a debate with Rajiv Malhotra, for which a whole yahoo list was created, but he wimped out. On the Hindu Holocaust too, he takes comfortable conformistic positions but he has never written a serious rebuttal of the “Hindu nationalist” (actually purely historical) theory that Muslims killed millions of Hindus...
    Vijay Prashad who negates history but has never been able to produce a single paper establishing his conformistic whitewash of Islam, is now berating the museum-opener and writer of factual Hindu-Muslim history as having ‘little idea of how to read historical texts’. Texts of which he himself leaves the reading to Romila Thapar. As long as the power equations remain as they are, he will have more success with his lies than we with the facts, that cannot be helped; but eternity will know Vijay Prashad as a liar. ...
    Quite a few RISA (Religion in South Asia) scholars are inveterate enemies of freedom of speech. When I spoke on the Aryan Invasion Theory in Prof. Andrew Sihler’s Department at the University of Wisconsin in 1996, Biju Mathew and Vijay Prashad of the Forum Of Inqilabi (= Revolutionary) Leftists distributed a leaflet demanding that I be denied a platform to speak at American Universities. This leaflet was subsequently condoned explicitly by Prof. Michael Witzel (7-2-2003) and Prof. Robert Zydenbos (10-2-2003) on the secretive Scholarly Services list. So we know where the enemies of liberty are.
    • Another secularist whitewash of Islam, in Chapter 8
  • In reality, the Kashmiri Line of Control, with a battlefield at over 5000 metres of altitude and several wars over it, was the last thing the British wanted; only Jawaharlal Nehru could pursue a policy with this result. Viceroys Lord Victor Linlithgow and Lord Archibald Wavell told Muslim League leader Mohammed Ali Jinnah to his face that they were in no mind to divide their Indian Empire, so Jinnah had to impress upon their successor Lord Louis Mountbatten his determination by means of violence. The British only gave in when Muslim pressure grew too strong – on them, but also on the Hindu politicians, who one after another acquiesced in the Partition, and this well before it actually took place. Yet, the British are constantly blamed for “vivisecting India”, both by the Nehruvians and by most Hindu Nationalists, all for fear of hurting the Muslims by telling them the truth, viz. that nobody but the Muslim League (and its very comfortable majority among the Muslim electorate) was guilty of the Partition.
  • This blaming Westerners naturally extends into the field of scholarship. Thus, the evil of Indians aping Westerners is blamed on Westerners, including Orientalists, in that they are said to have deduced many Indian achievements from foreign sources and thus hurt Indian self-esteem. E.g., even now the Dutch Orientalist Johannes Bronkhorst derives Buddhist Abhidharma and debating techniques from Greek philosophy, just as many before him allotted a pivotal role to the Greeks in developing the best of Hindu civilization, including the Buddha statue and the culture of Mandirs (temples) and Murtis (idols). David Pingree and Kim Plofker derive much of Indian astronomy from Mesopotamia. They are probably wrong, but I would plead for their apoliticism and innocence.
  • The author notes that colonialism in its last phase justified itself no longer as an instrument to “civilize the savages” but to “protect the minorities” (p.40). The reader can take the hint that neocolonial interferences in South Asia, often through NGOs, use the same justification.
  • He doesn’t find it difficult to show that the term “Hindu” is fairly recent and introduced by Muslims in the catch-all sense of “any Indian non-Muslim”.
  • Perhaps he doesn’t realize the implication of his own position, viz. that by these standards, proselytising religions like Christianity and Islam, even without counting crusades and jihad, are ipso facto intrinsically “intolerant”. That point has indeed been made often enough by apostate Christians and Muslims, but in India it is usually vetoed as “Hindu communalist propaganda”.
  • Khilji’s starring role in the destruction of Indian Buddhism is well-documented in contemporaneous Muslim sources and cannot be shifted to unnamed Hindu bogeys so cavalierly.
  • On the one hand, there was the intense hate-driven effort at history-rewriting by the Islamo-secularists... On the other, there was the incompetent and confused Hindutva brigade.. (154)
  • If ever the need arises, I will not have much difficulty in proving that 'Indian Marxists captured the institutes of learning' , that they 'enjoy the support of academics in the West', and that a great many among the latter are 'fed with falsehoods' (and liking them). It is also a matter of common knowledge as well as personal experience that both groups are trying to shut off any voices deemed pro-Hindu... from many public forums.
  • The effort by Indian Marxists, in league with their Western dupes, to mother the debate by imposing the theory inherited from the colonial age, needs to be defeated.... Good research is bound to eclipse dogmatism in the end. (196) Much of the effort of history distortion during the decades of unchallenged Marxist supremacy in the Indian history establishment was devoted to whitewashing this painful episode... (197)
  • This new Marxist line of anti-Hindu argument deserves closer scrutiny as a case study into the power of tenacious manipulation in influencing public discourse. (200)
  • The crime is not that a usurper structure was demolished, but that the government (egged on by the English media, the CPM, the JNU historians and similar usual suspects) had been thwarting the restoration of a Hindu sacred site to its pilgrim constituency, the Hindus. The right policy would have been to acknowledge and act upon the self-evident principle that a Hindu sacred site should be in Hindu custody and adorned with Hindu architecture. Will the secularists insist on the imposition of a Rama temple on the Kaaba site in Mecca, or on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem? Of course not, and for the same reason there should not be a mosque on a hill that for centuries has been the main site dedicated to Rama.
  • But in 1989-92, that option was thwarted by the offensive of Babri ultras, and by this I don’t mean the warriors for Islam but the conformistic intellectuals shrieking and howling that the contentious building was the last bastion of “secularism”, a matter of high principle, of life and death. Under their fierce calls for “hard secularism”, no administrator dared to reduce the controversy to its true and manageable proportions anymore. Not the Congress, not the various left-populist parties, and not the BJP either. They were all paralysed and consequently bought time all while taking sides against the weaker party, the pro-temple movement with its vacillating and politically incompetent leadership. (259)
  • I was scheduled to do a debate with Prof. Chetan Bhatt.... But when he heard that the other panellist would be me, a known critic of the whole notion of secularism, he told the organizers that something had come up and he couldn't be there. ... how scared the secularists must be of facing an actual dissident. Perhaps it is that decades of unchallenged hegemony have made them weak.
  • In 1996, when I delivered a lecture... a Communist student group called Chingari, "spark", along with Biju Mathew of FOIL, the Forum of Indian (now Inqilabi, "Revolutionary") Leftists, distributed a pamphlet in which they demanded that I be denied a platform. This demand was later supported .... by Prof. Michael Witzel and Prof. Robert Zydenbos. (262)
  • We need not even look very far: of the one to three victims of the Bangladesh war in 1971, most were Hindus, totally dwarfing those who were killed in religious riots in remainder-India since 1947. In 1947 too, the Hindu refugees from West Panjab killed by their Muslim neighbours far outnumbered the East Panjabi Muslims who didn’t make it to the Promised Land they themselves had created.
  • The VHP-employed team presented the already known documentary and archaeological evidence and dug up quite a few new documents confirming the temple demolition (including four that Muslim institutions had tried to conceal or tamper with). The BMAC-employed team quit the discussions but brought out a booklet later, trumpeted as the final deathblow of the temple demolition “myth”. In fact, it turned out to be limited to an attempt at whittling down the evidential impact of a selected few of the pro-temple documents and holding forth on generalities of politicized history without proving how any of that could neutralize this particular evidence. It contained not a single (even attempted) reference to a piece of actual evidence proving an alternative scenario or positively refuting the established scenario. ... In normal circumstances, it is not a court's business to pronounce on matters of history, but then whom else could you trust to give a fair opinion when the professional historians were being so brazenly partisan?... Today, I feel sorry for the eminent historians. They have identified very publicly with the denial of the Ayodhya evidence. While politically expedient, and while going unchallenged in the academically most consequential forums for twenty years, that position has now been officially declared false. It suddenly dawns on them that they have tied their names to an entreprise unlikely to earn them glory in the long run. We may now expect frantic attempts to intimidate the Supreme Court into annulling the Allahabad verdict, starting with the ongoing signature campaign against the learned Judges’ finding; and possibly it will succeed. But it is unlikely that future generations, unburdened with the presently prevailing power equation that made this history denial profitable, will play along and keep on disregarding the massive body of historical evidence. (277-83)
  • It seems that white people on average are quite silly, for most of us have lapped up the version of Indian history propagated by India's "eminent historians" whose eminence results from their toeing the hegemonic party-line rather than from a respect for the data in the primary sources. (305)
  • (Quoting Artboxone:) The behaviour and character of academic mullahs is once again consistent with their sorry record of misdeeds. (363)
  • At some point, a theistic coup d’état has eclipsed the godless schools of thought and written them out of the record. The Gītā is a blatant instance, with Krishna imposing his presence as object of devotion on chapters named after (and giving an otherwise fair summary of) godless philosophies like Sānkhya.... The Gita is [in Prof. Kedar Nath Mishra's words] a “hodge-podge” of all the then-thriving schools of Hindu philosophy, given a veneer of “synthesis” by having them all gathered under a single umbrella of Krishna devotion... The Gita’s role in Hindu tradition is to incorporate diverse schools of thought, including Sankhya atheism, into an overarching theistic and devotional worldview. (24-37)
  • In the Hindu sphere of influence, by contrast, this kind of sobriety and intellectual discipline is the exception rather than the rule. Serious integrated teaching of Vedic tradition is as yet available only on the margin, as in the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam. (115)
  • [Robert Zydenbos said: Hindu nationalists are] the scum of the earth.
  • It is a fact as well as a matter of wonder that sixty-five years after India gained her independence, it still makes perfect sense to discuss “decolonization”. The omnipresence of the English language is the most visible factor of a permanently colonized condition, others are the total reliance on Western models in the institutions and in the human sciences. But unlike China, that has wholeheartedly suppressed its own cultural identity (except in language) to embrace Soviet and Anglo-Saxon standards and ideas, India has maintained more of its identity and shows a stronger resistance. That is why in India, the colonized condition can be an issue at all.
  • Recently, China has rediscovered its identity, witness the numerous Confucius Institutes. China has less complexes about its identity than India, which wouldn’t dream of naming its cultural representation after one of its ancient sages. At the same time, it has a far more historical view of decolonization: somehow there are no Chinese intellectuals imagining that the colonial Opium Wars are still going on.
  • To sum up, Edward Luce is a typical Western press correspondent in Delhi. He doesn’t hate India or Hinduism, but has innocently lapped up all the prejudices of the so-called secularists. On the Delhi cocktail circuit, trendy Indians gain prestige by showing off their Western friends and at the same time feed them their own view of things. The reading the correspondents do is mostly from the English-medium secularist press, which again corroborates these prejudices. And since exploring alternative viewpoints is both labour-intensive and unrewarding, indeed risky for their reputation in case they were to acknowledge any merit in the Hindu critique of the reigning secularist paradigm, they happily limit themselves to reproducing what their select group of native informers tells them.

On Modi Time (2015)

  • In the very long run, of course, truth will be restored. If you can learn anything at all from history, it is that everything changes. So, the present power equation that has made these distortions possible, won’t endure forever. It is a foregone conclusion that one day, the negative role of the secularist historians will be seen for what it was. Western Indologists who chose to toe the secularist line, even against their own research findings, will not look good either. (Chapter : Ayodhya Interview 2013)
  • The secular intelligentsia… could reasonably have taken the position that a temple was indeed demolished to make way for a mosque but that we should let bygones be bygones. Instead, they went out of their way to deny facts of history. Rajiv Gandhi thought he could settle this dispute with some Congressite horse-trading: give the Hindus their toy in Ayodhya and the Muslims some other goodies, that will keep everyone happy. But this solution became unfeasible when many academics construed this contention as a holy war for a frontline symbol of secularism.
  • The site [at Ayodhya] is venerated as Ram’s birthplace, and therefore deserves protection by a state that calls itself secular, not because something happened there hundreds of years ago, but because this belief is alive right now. (Ch 8)
  • Thus, I once heard a Hindu nationalist pleading for renaming Delhi as Indraprastha, the city founded right here by Mahabharata hero Yudhishthira. This ancient-new name would constitute a statement heard loud and clear around the world. (Ch. 9)
  • However, I would like to put this criticism in perspective. The RSS and its daughter organizations do get things done. During natural disasters, RSS relief teams are always first on the scene, a fact carefully hidden from the public by the media. During the Partition, RSS workers saved the lives of Congress politicians stuck in Pakistan, often only to find that these same politicians, once safely in India, condemned “the communal forces”, meaning the RSS.... Till today, the commitment of RSS workers is such that they risk their lives for being known as Hindu activists: in some regions, Communists or Muslims regularly kill RSS workers. (Ch 9)
  • The only initiative it took was the history textbook reform but, necessary as this attempt at glasnost [Russian: “openness”] after decades of Marxist mind control was, it turned out to be a glaring failure. You cannot neglect scholarship for decades on end and then expect to improve on the slanted but nonetheless professional scholarship your enemies have produced. (Ch 9)
  • Moreover, the Hindu case for the Rama temple (or rather, the scholarly case) has survived a 20-year-long storm of ridicule and denunciation, only to be proven right in the end. The world media and the professional India-watchers in Western universities had all the while parroted their Indian secularist contacts and ridiculed the Hindu position. As Dr. Meenakshi Jain... has documented, when the case was finally taken up by the Court of Justice, the “eminent historians” had to admit under oath that they hadn’t studied the matter, that they were not qualified, that they had not visited the site, all while they had pontificated against the old consensus that the mosque had forcibly replaced a temple. So, Hindus can now hold their head high when building the temple, while the secularists have only covered themselves with shame. (Ch 9)
  • Unfortunately for all of them, the Archaeological Survey of India (2003) and the Allahabad High Court (2010) reconfirmed the old consensus: of course, a Hindu temple had stood at the site and had been forced to make way for the mosque. So, all these Leftist efforts to impose a rewritten version of history had been in vain. Moreover, in her recent book Rama and Ayodhya, Meenakshi Jain has documented what a sorry figure these supposed “experts” have cut when they were questioned in court during the Ayodhya proceedings. One after another was forced to admit that he didn’t really know, that he hadn’t been to the site though pontificating on its archaeology, that is was all just a hypothesis. So, those were the people who had been cited as authority by all the politicians, journalists and India-watchers. If the truth of their politically motivated deception is given proper publicity, their game will be over. (Ch. 16)
  • Dr. Koenraad Elst, the undersigned, is by no means a “Hindutva historian”. Daniyal would have known that if he had cared to read books of mine such as BJP vs. Hindu Resurgence or Decolonizing the Hindu Mind. In those, I criticize the organized Hindu movement. The difference with Daniyal is, in all modesty, that I happen to know what I am writing about, while he doesn’t. To be sure, he doesn’t need to do the research I have done. He can just parrot the conventional wisdom mouthed by the secularists... (Ch. 17)
  • Meanwhile, the AIT has been far more associated with politics than any Out-of-India Theory. From British colonialism over National-Socialism to Dravidianism and neo-Ambedkarism, it has been politically used in far more countries, for a far longer time, and not by a handful of marginal scholars but by governments and by elites wielding political and cultural power. Indeed, if the AIT didn’t enjoy the premium of its association with power and status, I don’t think Daniyal would be supporting it. Like most secularists, he doesn’t have a clue about this intricate question and merely makes whatever the establishment says into his own “opinion”. (Ch. 17)
  • To be sure, the usual suspects are bound to oppose this civilizational viewpoint. With their studied superficiality, the secularists view India as a hodge-podge of “communities”, of which a very recent one, concocted by the “Orientalists”, is Hinduism. Just as I finish this article, my attention is drawn to a French magazine celebrating the appointment of an Indian secularist historian to the Collège de France with an interview. There, he speaks out against the very notion of a Hindu civilization. The whole is not real, only the fragments are. The notion of an over-arching civilizational unity and long-term continuity may be obvious in China, and get applause there, but in India it is “communal!” (Ch 18)
  • The negationist stand against the pre-existence of the Ayodhya temple was an extreme example of how the Humanities often serve to provide a scholarly veneer to theses that arise purely from political motives. (Ch 19)
  • An even more damaging part for the secularists is Meenakshi Jain’s presentation of their own testimonies in court. For the first time, we get to see how one after another, the secular “experts” collapse or lose their credidibility when subjected to cross-examination. One after another admits under oath that he or she has no experience with or no professional competence on the history or archaeology of Ayodhya. Their bluff was enough to fool the mass of secular politicians and gullible press correspondents, but failed to stand up to critical questioning. The Indologists who have invoked those “experts” as arguments of authority, can somewhat restore their lost honour by publicly naming and shaming them and by apologizing for following in their footsteps and ridiculing the old consensus – rather than, at best, looking away and pretending there never was an Ayodhya controversy in the first place; or, worse, still keeping up the false allegations that once swept the concerned public opinion across the globe. (Ch 23)
  • India consists only of minorities. Hinduism is a commonwealth of many communities, each a minority. One has to be very gullible (or so absorbed by “development”, as the present BJP team claims to be) to swallow this notion of “minority” with all the privileges that go with it. So, of course a Hindu government means no harm to the minorities, and should not. As an old VHP slogan said: “Hindu India, secular India”. It is only secularist propaganda that claims an equivalence between Hindu activism and trouble for the minorities: the more Hinduism, the more oppression for the minorities. This is a false projection of the Pakistani situation: the more of the dominant religion, the more the Hindu minority suffers. ... The Rajinder Sachar Committee (under PM Manmohan Singh) ruled that Muslims are entitled to huge privileges given their “minority” status, as if the Hindus have to compensate them for anything... I am not in favour of historical entitlement,... but if at all any compensation is to be paid, it is not the Hindu community that has a debt to service... From the secularists, the omnipresent “minorities” propaganda is to be expected, they will use any and every discourse that can put Hindus on the defensive. Not so expected is that many in and around the BJP have swallowed the notion of “minorities” hook, line and sinker, including even their entitlement to privileges. (Ch 32)
  • As for the Aryan Invasion Theory, which in every variant boils down to an invasion scenario (though its fashion-conscious camp-followers prefer the weasel word Migration), it is sub judice, or at least, it is the object of a debate. That the Russia-centred “Kurgan Hypothesis is the [most] widely-accepted model”, may over-awe the common bourgeoisie as well as conformist academics, but carries little weight with real scholars. Every new theory started out in opposition against the established position. So, on the Aryan question, the evidence will have to decide.
  • I remember Vijay Prashad and Biju Mathew calling for a denial of any platform to myself, and big professors like Michael Witzel and Robert Zydenbos seconding this call; but I don't remember Wendy Doniger coming out in my support.... In most cases, the people clamouring "freedom of expression" on this occasion are very selective in their love of freedom, which they would gladly throw overboard as soon as it concerns the expression of an opinion less dear to them. I have the impression that Wendy herself is in this category too, but she may convince us otherwise by showing off her earlier acts of solidarity with besieged writers.
    • Elst, K. On Modi time (2015). Chapter: Banning Wendy Doniger's "The Hindus"

Western indology and its quest for power (2017)

K. Elst in Western indology and its quest for power, 2017, Chapter 3, Dr. K.S Kannan_ Gopinath K_ Ashay Naik_ Koenraad Elst_ Naresh P Cuntoor_ Satyanarayana Dasa_ Jayaraman Mahadevan_ Meera H R_ Manogna Sastry - WESTERN INDOLOGY & ITS QUEST FOR POWER_ Proceedings of the... Chapter 3 Sheldon Pollock’s Idea of a “National-Socialist Indology”
  • Pollock’s attempt to even link the Out-of-India Theory with the Nazi worldview is the diametrical opposite of the truth; it was the rivalling Aryan Invasion Theory (which Pollock himself upholds) that formed the cornerstone and perfect illustration of the Nazi worldview. This linking could only pass peer review because of the general animus against Hinduism and Indo-European indigenism in American academe. The whole forced attempt to associate Hinduism with National-Socialism suggests a rare animosity against Hinduism.
  • For Grünendahl, this is merely an example of how the primary sources of German history contradict the free-for-all that amateurs make of it.
  • But the objective finality of Pollock’s thesis is more specific, viz. to blacken the Indian homeland hypothesis by associating it with National-Socialism. Reality, however, is just the opposite: more even than other Europeans, the Nazis espoused and upheld a westerly homeland and the invasion hypothesis. This invasion happens to be a corner-stone of Pollock’s worldview, with invader castes guilty of expropriating and subjugating the natives, who became the lower castes. Hitler-Pollock, same struggle!
  • It is one thing to hold a view that, upon analysis, turns out to be mistaken. To err is but human. However, one should become extra careful when the view one expresses, is an allegation. It becomes even more serious when it is the worst allegation one can possibly make, viz. the accusation of responsibility for the Holocaust. The situation with allegations is simple: either you prove them, or you yourself are guilty of slander. This then can be held against Pollock: he has made a grave allegation, yet has failed to buttress it with proof, though not for lack of trying.

Still no trace of an Aryan invasion: A collection on Indo-European origins (2019)

  • So: as of 2011, after many decades of being the official and much-funded hypothesis, the Aryan Invasion Theory has still not been confirmed by even a single piece of archaeological evidence.
  • When Europeans first thought up the AIT around 1820 (after having espoused the OIT for half a century) and then took it to India, many Indians simply denied that anyone had come from anywhere, and pointed out correctly that nothing amounting to what is known as the Aryan invasion (with the importation of Sanskrit from outside) is described in scripture... Both Sanskrit professor Nicholas Kazanas (Athens) and myself have many anecdotes up our sleeves of how any Homeland debate in which the OIT figures, is being stonewalled by AIT-leaning linguists... Then again, this genocide does exist, viz. as part of the Dravidianist mythology, especially in its missionary version, because of overcompensation for the real genocide of natives in the Americas that accompanied their Christianization. (Ch. 30)
  • This type of gossip is very popular among illiterates who lack the habit of serious debate on issues, and of seasoned debaters who realize that in a given case, no argument ad rem will succeed, and who therefore resort to an argument ad hominem. A quotation that deserves repetition in almost every debate on the Aryan question, and many other debates besides, is: “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”
  • I have been disinvited at several conferences (and no doubt silently excluded from speaking there at many more) because, though my abstract was judged interesting enough, someone up there was briefed about my views and associations, and intervened to my detriment.
  • There, in Europe, we really have an invasion of Aryans moving in from the east. And now that we know what a real Aryan invasion looks like, we note that it is completely missing in India.
  • Also, the steppe does not support large populations, whereas India was a demographic heavyweight, then already. It is not impossible for (all-male) bands of steppe warriors to conquer centres of civilization, but leaving a lasting imprint is rarer. .... And such invaders should have completely changed the linguistic and cultural landscape of mighty India?
  • The final paragraph is merely an exercise in slamming open doors. Or so it seems, for several in-your-face assertions are built into this innocuous piece of journalistic emptiness.
  • This is a phrase absolutely no one will disagree with; though it conceals the more pressing question how weighty the different contributions are, and the false implication that these are all equal. Yet, it is here for a reason, part of The Hindu’s editorial line: it is meant as a punch in the face of the Hindu Nationalists, who stress unity. Not racial unity, as is here falsely intimated, but still some kind of pan-Indian sense of national unity, translating today in e.g. the conviction that Kashmir belongs with India. Therefore, among secularists, it is always welcomed if an anti-unity statement of any kind is smuggled in. .... Here we get the bulwark part of the secularist view of ancient India: the Harappan population spoke a different language than the Northwest-Indian population today, mostly taken to be Dravidian; and their civilizational innovations starting with agriculture had been borrowed from abroad, viz. from West Asia. This latter point is important to stress, as Hindu Nationalists might get the pretentious idea that some inventions had been done in India and even by Indians; Allah forbid!
  • Alan Bomhard... locates its homeland in the Mesolithic (pre-agriculture, maybe 15000 BCE) fertile crescent, particularly Northern Mesopotamia. A subfamily containing Uralic, Altaic and Indo-European developed in what is now Northern Aghanistan and Tajikistan, whence Uralic and Indo-European went westward in a parallel movement, but in the latter case also southward to India. I would say that India and Afghanistan are close enough, and that Bomhard, like everyone else, is conditioning by assuming the AIT beforehand. Well, no matter, I hope to meaningfully contribute to this ambitious debate. The idea of a genealogical tree of language families, ultimately uniting Nostratic with Sino-Caucasian and Amerind, and finally with the African and Australian languages, certainly offers an exciting perspective. Nostratic would also mean that the Aryans, along with the Dravidians, did invade India, though possibly much earlier than in the AIT. Unless the fertile Indus Valley itself can be shown to be the Nostratic homeland: a demographic concentration of people in South Asia at a time when much of Eurasia was not or hardly inhabitable, makes sense, as well as their northwards expansion after the Ice Age. In that case, the whole discussion starts again, ten thousand years earlier.
  • Many Indian archaeologists have abandoned the AIT and turned against it because after 150 years of being the official and well-funded theory it has still not been corroborated by any archaeological proof.
  • For me, the point of this example, or of some names in Mallory’s historical survey, is that this academic discipline has thrown up quite a few people in positions of authority who in seriousness held theories that could not stand the test of common sense.
  • Of the other arguments, he knew a few but more have been added since: (1) linguistic paleontology: agreed here not to prove a cold homeland or any homeland at all; (2) common developments with Greek, and generally the geographical distribution of the isoglosses, is better explained by an Indian “extreme” homeland than by radiation from the Russian centre; (3) Finno-Ugric has hundreds of Iranian loanwords but imparted no words to Iranian or Indo-Aryan (the seeming exception of Guṅgu, “moon”, can either be a coincidental homonymy, date from an earlier Nostratic period, or was somehow a loan from Indo-Iranian), which is typical for a colonial situation, with Scythian Iranian imparting words and also borrowing some but not communicating them back to the homeland; (4) Mitannic can be shown to belong to the youngest layer of the Ṛg-Veda, so allowing for the language to emigrate and to become a dead substrate of Hurrian (and the similar case of Kassite), the Ṛg-Veda must have been complete by 1800 BC or so; 5) geographical distribution has the homeland typically in a far corner (Amerind superfamily, Bantu/Austronesian family, Turkic group, Arabic/Russian language), not in the centre (IE: Volga), which also is not the zone of greatest diversity, on the contrary; (6) Vedic literature contains a few astronomical passages datable because of the precession (ca. 1° in 71 years), e.g. Kauṣītaki Brāhmaṇa 2300 BC instead of ca. 1000 BC, Vedāṅga Jyotiṣa 1300 BC instead of ca. 400 BC, incompatible with an invasion scenario ca. 1500 BC; (7) kentum substrate in Bangani, India, e.g. dokru instead of expected daśru, “tear”; (8) Vedic and Puranic literature refers several times to emigrations, never to early immigrations, and the Northwest was not venerated as an area of origin; (9) the agricultural terminology proves, contra Masica, to be compatible with an Indian homeland.
  • So that is what an Aryan invasion looks like. And that precisely is what is totally missing in the archaeological record of India. As robustly as the Aryan invasion of Europe has been proven, as conspicuously absent is the evidence for an Aryan invasion of India.
  • At a conference where India’s top archaeologists announce one after another that the excavations in the sites where they work, keep on throwing up more evidence of continuity and a glaring absence of signs of an invasion, is can safely be said that the existing invasionist hypothesis has been rendered highly improbable.
  • Both genetic and archaeological proofs of intrusions into Europe from Russia are plentiful, but in India these are significantly missing.
  • The notion that the Aryans had come from outside was unknown to the indigenous oral and scriptural traditions, and no traces of any foreign memories have been found in spite of a determined search. At the textual level too, the much-sought-for evidence of any Aryan invasion (or “infiltration”, or “immigration”) remains unfindable.
  • However, all the deductions that had to buttress any of these non-Indian Homeland hypotheses, can be shown to be either immature and superseded by newer insights or linguistically illegitimate: they combine legitimate linguistic categories with non-linguistic assumptions or leaps of faith. Thus, the linguistic distance between reconstructed Proto-Indo-European and Vedic Sanskrit, very small but not negligeable, does not imply anything firm about the geographical location of the Homeland,-- save for making close proximity to India very probable.

Hindu Dharma and the Culture Wars (2019)

  • The RKM professes a syncretism, combining elements from different religions. Ramakrishnaism is the syncretism par excellence, affirming “all” religions to be true. As the Church Fathers wrote, syncretism is typical of Paganism. The Roman-Hellenistic milieu in which the first Christians had to function, was full of syncreticism, with Roman matrons worshipping Isis with the babe Horus (an inspiration for the image of Mary holding the babe Jesus), legion soldiers worshipping Persian-originated Mithras, and imperial politicians worshipping the Syrian-originated Sol Invictus... Against this syncretism, they preached religious purity: extra ecclesiam nulla salus, outside the Church no salvation. They had no problem admitting that Paganism was naturally pluralistic, but what is the use of choosing between or combining different kinds of falsehood?
  • Thus, after the Meenakshipuram mass conversion to Islam in 1981, non-converted villagers reported: ‘Of course, there have been marriages between Hindu harijans and the converts. Whether it is the bride or the groom, the Hindu is expected to convert to Islam.‘
  • As we know, the Veda mentions neither Christ nor Mohammed, let alone Macaulay or Marx, so it was a communalist book denying the minorities a place in the sun.
  • Like so much in Hindu Nationalist discourse, it is neither here nor there.
  • Really becoming monotheists would mean for Hindus, rewriting the (say) Hanumān Cālīsā, and inserting into it an injunction: “Hanumān wants you to go and destroy the temples of Śiva! And destroy the statues of Sarasvatī too, and the sculptures of the rest of them. Hanumān alone!” For a “monotheist” is not someone who worships one god – sticklers for precision in the science of religion would call that a “henotheist”. A Hindu who worships a chosen deity is not a “monotheist” but a henotheist. (And usually a “serial henotheist” at that, sometimes worshipping others as well.) A monotheist worships one god to the exclusion of all others: they are deemed false and/or evil... “Monos” does not mean “one”, it means “one alone”. It is not inclusive but exclusive. It is the very opposite of what our Vedic verse expresses. That mantra is not directed against anything, but if at all you want to bring monotheism into the picture, then it is against monotheism.
  • At least five thousand years before Akbar, this area was the habitat of Ilā, the daughter and eldest child of Manu. He in turn was the founding patriarch of mankind, or at least of a part of it. His daughter, in spite of her primogeniture, had to leave the succession to the throne to her younger brother Ikṣvāku, who stayed in the paternal capital Ayodhyā and founded the Solar dynasty. Being myself an eldest son but second child, I know how it must have felt: Ikṣvāku always looked up to his elder sister and felt a bit indebted to her. On her part, Ilā moved out to Pratiṣṭhānapura, next to the virgin land where Akbar was to build his divine city. This is where her son Purūravas founded the Lunar Dynasty. One descendant of theirs, Nahuśa, moved westwards to the Sarasvatī valley, where one of his own descendants was Yayāti, after whose five sons the “five tribes” were named. Pūru headed the central Paurava tribe. One of his progeny was Bharata, after whom India is still called Bhāratavarṣa. In his clan grew a tradition of composing hymns, and these were collected in the Vedas. Later sources describe Dīrghatamas as his court priest. The Vedic seers rightly glorified their ancestress Ilā, who became a goddess and member of a typical goddess triad: Ilā, Bhāratī and Sarasvatī.
  • Instead, I stand by another Sanskrit maxim. It is one that can’t be shaken by any possible context, because it is always a reliable guiding principle: Satyameva jayate, “truth verily triumphs”, “truth shall prevail”. This is from the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, and nothing in the context gives a different or contrary message. It has become India’s national motto, and I feel so strongly about it that I have put in on my business card. When it conflicts with more popular phrases, I will drop those others any time. (9. Pluralism in Ila's city )
  • Let us only note that the missionaries are responsible for associating Hinduism with Sati much more prominently than would be fair. The missionary assault on Hinduism dramatized the practice of Sati, which had been “an ‘exceptional act’ performed by a minuscule number of Hindu widows over the centuries”, of which the occurrence had been “exaggerated in the nineteenth century by Evangelicals and Baptist missionaries eager to Christianize and Anglicize India”. (p.xix)
  • Contrary to a common assumption, the practice was not confined to the Rajputs or to the martial castes in general, where passion and bravery were prized. Prominent Hindu rulers like Shivaji Bhonsle and Ranjit Singh were followed on their pyres by a big handful of wives and concubines. Among the lower castes, like among the Muslims, life usually resumed and a widow soon remarried, not to let any womb go to waste. But nevertheless, a British survey in Bengal found that no less than 51% of Sati women belonged to Shudra families. Among the other upper castes, and among the majority of women even in the martial castes, widows would be confined to a life of service and asceticism. But no matter how rare the actual practice of Sati, it remained a glamorous affair, honoured among the Hindu masses with commerorative stones (sati-kal) and temples (sati-sthal).
  • Many Hindus believe that Sati is an external contribution, probably triggered by the Muslim conquests. In reality, Sati is as old as scriptural Hinduism. Already the Rg-Veda (10:18:7-8, quoted and discussed on p.4--5) describes a funeral where the widow is lying down beside her husband on the pyre, but is led away from it, back to the world of the living. So it already provides a description of a Sati about to take place, as well as of the Brahmanical rejection of Sati.... Likewise, the Mahabharata, the best guide to living Hinduism, features several cases of Sati. Most prominent is the self-immolation by Pandu’s most beloved wife Madri. Less well-known perhaps is that Krishna’s father Vasudeva is followed on the pyre by four wives, and that Krishna’s death triggers the self-immolation (in his absence) of five of his many wives. But unlike Mohammed, Krishna need not be emulated by his followers. By contrast, Rama’s influence on the women in his life is not such that they commit Sati (on the contrary, his wife Sita comes unscathed out of the flames of her “trial by fire”),-- and he counts as the perfect man, the model whose behaviour should serve us as examplary.
  • On the other hand, an irrational anti-Hinduism is a reality. It is precisely through comparison with Islam that this becomes glaring. Whenever a group of people gets killed in the name of Islam, immediately the politicians concerned and the media assure us that this terror “has nothing to do with Islam”. In the case of Hinduism, it is just the reverse. Of any merit of Hinduism, it is immediately assumed that “it has nothing to do with Hinduism”, whereas every problem in India is automatically blamed on Hinduism, from poverty (“the Hindu rate of growth”) to rape.
  • When I wrote my book The Argumentative Hindu (2012), I seriously wondered whether to include my exchanges with the RISA (Religion In South Asia) list about the dishonourable way listmaster Deepak Sarma and the rest of the gang overruled list rules in order to banish me, and how many prominent Indologists actively or passively supported their tricks. I didn’t consider my own story that important, but finally I decided to do it, just for the sake of history. Future as well as present students of the conflicting worldviews in India and among India-watchers in the West are or will be interested in a detailed illustration of how mean and how pompous the anti-Hindu crowd can be in defending their power position.
  • I am presently concentrating on more complex and more important issues in the history of Hindu thought, while the history of Islam has lost my interest because it is so simple and our conclusions about it are not at all threatened with a need for revision. As a doctrine, it is a mistake, and as a historical movement, it has a very negative record vis-à-vis Unbelievers, especially the Hindus. The secularists and their foreign dupes may cry themselves hoarse in their denial of these straightforward and amply proven facts, they don’t stand a chance, though not for want of trying.
  • Let us note finally that on this issue, Audrey’s book is representative of a wider concern to whitewash Aurangzeb. In their all-out war on Hinduism and specific Hindu ideas, the South Asia scholars tend to practise Groupthink; there is rarely anything original, they only outdo each other in how daring they can make their own articulation of ever the same position. (13. The Aurangzeb debate )
  • To sum up, the presently-discussed thesis by Audrey Truschke comes to add to the numbers of what formally look like studies in history, but effectively are meant as strikes in the ongoing battle against self-respecting Hinduism. (13. The Aurangzeb debate )
  • It explains, to name a current and important example, the grim and determined passivity of the Modi government regarding specifically Hindu demands, such as the abolition of the blatantly anti-Hindu (so, communally partisan and hence anti-secular) Right to Education Act, which has forced hundreds of Hindu schools to close down. ...
  • A much later revolution in European thought was wrought by Immanuel Kant, who admitted the decisive influence (“awakened from my dogmatic slumber”) from David Hume’s sudden development of a quasi-Buddhist view. Hume doesn’t mention Buddhism, and would perhaps have been laughed out of court if he had, but recently we have discovered that his philosophical awakening had been triggered by his reading two detailed accounts of Buddhist thought by Catholic missionaries posted in Tibet c.q. Thailand.
    Thus, Gandhi was wrong to equate Hinduism with non-violence, which is extolled as a virtue on the spiritual path, but not a virtue for the warrior. No matter how the warrior class is recruited, at any rate it is deemed necessary in the real world. Hinduism is a complete system: it accounts for society’s needs as much as for the requirements of the spiritual path. Gandhi’s version of Hinduism was very unbalanced and morbidly moralistic. It ought to be a warning sign for Hindus that the secularists are so insistently dangling Gandhi as a role model before them.
    In Gandhi’s days, this critical role vis-à-vis Christianity and (at the cost of a number of murders) Islam was taken by the Arya Samaj, which Gandhi lambasted. His role in this regard was entirely negative, abolishing the power of discrimination in the Hindu worldview. He thus prepared the ground for the wilful superficiality characteristic of the Nehruvians. He also, through his wider inflence on all Hindus, prepared the ground for the complete ideological illiteracy among RSS men, along with Golwalkar.
    Today in the West, nationalism has gone out of fashion; but in India, nothing ever dies, and so nationalism keeps on working its distortive influence on the movement for Hindu self-defence.
  • Naturally, there was no hint that an endless series of murders of RSS men has been committed by Kerala Communists, Khalistanis in Panjab, and others.
  • However, contrary to what the observers all think or say, the present BJP government under Narendra Modi, while numerically strong, is ideologically extremely weak. It is not in any way Hinduizing or "saffronizing" the polity or the education system. It is continuing the Congressite-Leftist anti-Hindu policies mandated by the Constitution, or at best looking the other way but not changing the Constitution to put a definitive stop to such policies. Thus, subsidized schools can be Christian or Muslim, but not Hindu: in the latter case, either they get taken over by the state and secularized, or at best, they have to do without subsidies. Temples are nationalized and their income channeled to non-Hindu purposes, a treatment against which the law protects churches and mosques. And this is no less the case in BJP-ruled states, where the Government could have chosen not to avail of the opportunities given to it by the Constitution.
  • In their own internal functioning too, the AAR scholars and Indologists don’t put a premium on the freedom to express dissident opinions. Here I speak from experience, having been banned from several forums where Wendy Doniger and some of her prominent supporters were present and gave their tacit consent. The most high-profile target of this policy has probably been Rajiv Malhotra, a sharp critic of Indologist mores and anti-Hindu bias, some of whose experiences in this regard have been fully documented... Briefly: while everything pleads against this act of book-burning, the American India-watchers are not very entitled to their much-publicized indignation... To an extent this is simply true, there is no level playing field, and the American academics including Wendy Doniger herself have done their best never to give the Hindus a fair hearing....
  • By the way, notice my term: a “self-identifying Hindu”. As the case of Malhotra has amply exemplified, it suffices to stand up as a Hindu, or to own up Hinduism, in order to be dubbed “Hindu Rightist”, “Hindutva ideologue”, as well as “fanatic”. “rookie” and all the fair names Hindus have been called by Prof. Truschke’s august school of thought. To them, the acceptable Hindu, or what Malhotra calls a “sepoy”, is one who never identifies as a Hindu, but rather as “Indian” (or better, “Bengali”, “Malayali” etc.), “low-caste”, and ideologically “secularist”. The exception is when countering criticism from self-identified Hindus, for then, he is expected to say: “But me too, I am a Hindu!” That way, he can fulfil his main task: as long as there are Hindus, he must deny them the right to speak on behalf of Hinduism and to give it a presence at the conversation between worldviews.
  • But on Truschke’s own side, the dividing line between bullies and academics is not so neat. Why stoop to street bullying if you have tenure? It is far more effective, then, to resort to academic bullying. Thus, in their intervention in the California Textbook Affair, where Hindu parents had sought to edit blatantly anti-Hindu passages, the explicitly partisan intervening professors even managed to get themselves recognized as arbiters in the matter. This would have been unthinkable if those bullies had not been established academics. (And this I can say eventhough my criticism of the Hindu parents’ positions exists in cold print.) Her focus on street bullies has the effect of misdirecting the reader’s attention, away from the more consequential phenomenon of academic bullying.
  • This “bullying” had best been compared to the “bullying” on the other side. Like, for instance, the two attempts by Leftist students to silence me, as a twice scheduled speaker, at the Madison WI South Asia Conference in 1996 and a private event preceding it, hosted by Prof. Andrew Sihler. Or the successful protests against the Dharma Civilization Foundation’s offer to fund a chair at UC Irvine, when so many US chairs are comfortably being funded by the Saudis. ... * I myself have been barred from several Indologist forums by active intervention or passive complicity of the same Professors who otherwise clamour “censorship!” when anything at all happens to a book they favour. ... But when I appealed to them to intervene for annulling my banning from the Religion in South Asia (RISA) list, which had been done in violation of its own charter, they all looked the other way. ... A recent example. In 2014, I read a paper on the Rg-Vedic seer Vasishtha and his relative divinization in a panel on “divinization” at the European Conference for South Asia Studies in Zürich. My paper was enthusiastically received, also by the panel’s organizers when I sent in the final version for publication. First they accepted it, but then, I received an embarrassed e-mail from the organizers stating that they could not include my paper, without any reason given. Upon my enquiring, the half-line reply said that it did not fit their project. In all its insignificance, this still managed to be a blatant lie, and their earlier acceptance confirmed that this could not have been the reason. But some higher up had warned them that I am to be treated as excluded, just like on many other occasions. ... Far more seriously, both in America and in India, scholars suspected of pro-Hindu sympathies are blocked in their access to academe, and their work gets studiously ignored. For India, a tip of the blanket over this hushed-up phenomenon was lifted by Dr. A. Devahuti: Bias in Indian Historiography (1980). It is seriously in need of an update, but I am given to understand that one is forthcoming. For America, a start was made by Rajiv Malhotra with his books Invading the Sacred (2007) and Academic Hinduphobia (2016). ... Anyway, she calls “alleged Hinduphobia” nothing more than “a strawman stand-in for any idea that undercuts Hindutva ideology”. The term was made popular by Rajiv Malhotra, whom I have never known to swear by “Hindutva”, a specific term literally translated as “Hindu-ness” but now effectively meaning “the RSS tradition of Hindu Nationalism”. At any rate, one does not have to follow Hindutva, or even be a Hindu or an Indian, to observe that American India-watchers utter a strong anti-Hindu prejudice in their publications. Not to look too far, I can find an example in myself: I have written a number of publications criticizing both Hindutva as an ideology and the Hindutva organizations, yet I can off-hand enumerate dozens of illustrations of Hindu-baiting by supposed India experts in the West as well as by their Indian counterparts.
  • There are some cornerstones of the Indological worldview which tolerate no criticism nor alternatives, so these are to be carefully ignored. Thus, Shrikant Talageri’s case against the Aryan Invasion Theory, the bedrock of the “academic” view of ancient Hindu history, is painstaking, detailed, voluminous, factual and well-formulated, yet Truschke’s own entire tribe of “academics” simply goes on ignoring his case without bothering to refute it. (Well, there are two articles talking down to him, but we mean actual refutations, not mere denials.) If academics were to live up to the reputation they have among laymen, they would have set aside their current business to deal with this fundamental challenge to their worldview.
  • One consequential instance in India was the Ayodhya scholars’ debate in the winter of 1990-1991, organized by the Janata (Left-populist) government headed by Chandra Shekhar. This was won hands down by the scholars affirming the existence of a Hindu temple underneath the Babri Masjid, first against a delegation of Muslim leaders unfamiliar with historical methodology, selected by the Babri Masjid Action Committee, then against a group of Marxist academics called in by that same Committee for saving the day. The latter’s position was but an elaboration of the official orthodoxy created by a group of academics from JNU when they issued a statement, The Political Abuse of History (1989), denying the existence of temple remains underneath the Babri Masjid. It had been taken over as Gospel truth by most of the academic and journalistic India-watchers in the West, including Truschke’s mentors. They kept the lid on the debate’s outcome... After Court-ordered excavations in 2003 had definitively confirmed the existence of the temple, acknowledged in the Court verdict of 2010, they have all turned conspicuously silent on Ayodhya.
  • To think highly of the academic world presupposes a link between scientific achievement and academic rank, and this largely makes sense in the exact sciences. In the humanities, especially in the social “science” and literature departments, this link is also deduced, but only as a parasitical extension of the conventions in the exact sciences. Much of what passes for scholarship these days is only ideology wrapped into jargon. Some sophomores take it seriously: having just gained entry into the academic world, they idealize it and are proud of their belonging to a higher world distinct from lay society. And most laymen believe it: over-awed by status, they assume that academic status presupposes both knowledge and objectivity, the basis of academic authority.
  • A prastha is an open space, a clearing in the forest where you go and settle, a “colony”. Thus, a vanaprastha, an elderly person who withdraws from society, is “one who goes and settles in the forest” or “one who has the forest as his colony”.
  • Among secularists, there is predictably an attempt to sow doubt about this. In his 2015 book Where Stones Speak: Historical Trails in Mehrauli, the First City of Delhi, Rana Safvi argues that the finds under the Purana Qila have not been established to be the Pandavas’s city, which was but “mythological”. In particular, they are claimed not to contain the characteristic Painted Grey Ware, as per the 1954 excavations by India’s top archaeologist BB Lal. However, 62 years later, the nonagenarian Lal edited the brochure of the present exhibition and, taking into account several excavations since then (which Safvi feigns to ignore), he asserts that PGW was indeed found there, and that it was certainly the city of the Pandavas. Mehrauli was not the oldest part of Delhi, Indraprastha was.
  • Sheldon Pollock, a very good Sanskritist at least in a purely linguistic sense, is more explicitly involved with the anti-Hindu discourse promoted in India by the missionaries and the Ambedkarites, and their first line of attack, the “secularists”. He has pioneered some valid insights into the Sanskrit “cosmopolis”, which did not oppress vernacular languages from Gandhari to Javanese but fruitfully coexisted with them to their mutual benefit. But at the same time, he has helped greatly in belittling and politicizing the Ramayana and in promoting the “Hinduism bad, Buddhism good” thesis. .. This is not very original, in fact it is only a sophisticated formulation of widely-held views. Thus, Pattanaik attributes the same viewpoint to another big name we just met: “Doniger’s essays on the Puranas make you see Hinduism as a violent authoritarian force challenged by non-violent egalitarian Buddhism.” But in this discourse of hate, which instrumentalizes Buddhism as a bludgeon to beat Hinduism with, Pollock has gone farther than all others. In 1993 he published a paper arguing that Hinduism (particularly the Mimansa school, Brahminical par excellence) sits at the centre of Nazi doctrine. Yes, it is long ago, and partly explainable from the war psychology emanating from the Ayodhya controversy, in which he explicitly sided with the negationist school denying Islam’s well-documented destructive role in Hindu history. But he has never retracted this position and has remained a leading voice in anti-Hindu and anti-Brahmin discourse.
  • Being placed on a high pedestal is central to both strategies. Criticism also evokes a similar reaction in both sides – they quickly declare themselves as misunderstood heroes and martyrs, and stir up their legion of followers. Doniger and Pollock have inspired an army of activist-academicians who sign petitions to keep ‘dangerous’ Indian leaders and intellectuals out of American universities and even American soil”: Subramanian Swamy, Narendra Modi, and in similar controversies Rajiv Malhotra, the Dharma Civilization Foundation and others. Indeed, the Indological community’s touching (occasional) concern for freedom of speech is not erga omnes.
  • Now that our mythographer has gone off track, he extemporizes all at once about “White Knights” with a “Hindutva obsession”, opposing “multiple truths” and waging a “Crusade against Muslims”, out to “dehumanise” the opposition. Here I confess, I simply can’t keep up with his cannonade. I think he is referring to himself when he speaks of “rejecting the model of conversation”.
  • Wendy Doniger’s conception of Hinduism deserves a more thorough treatment, much of which has already been pioneered by Rajiv Malhotra. But one general observation, which counts for the whole current of psycho-analytical “deconstruction” of Hinduism, is that the clumsy Freudian concepts she uses are simply not sufficient to understand Hindu explorations of consciousness and human nature. I once heard an Indian psychologist who had guzzled down big doses of this psycho-analytical framework, pontificate that a Guru is followed because he is a “father figure”. You could see him savour this expression, as if he considered what he had said as very profound. Well, there are many types of father figure, but only few have the specific qualities needed to be a Guru; and psycho-analysis has never been able to turn anyone into a Guru in the Hindu sense. The smaller cannot contain the greater.
  • With my limited means, I used to assume I had something to contribute there, viz. a more accurate picture of Indian history compared to the facile or plainly mischievous assumptions that the Left has tried to instil in the next generations. Then there is the reason Sir Edmund Hillary gave for climbing the Everest: “Because it was there.” When I noticed the big power-wielders in the Indian landscape with their rope tricks fooling people on the Ayodhya temple or the Aryan debate, the adventurous White man in me was awakened to go “hunting tigers out in Indiah”. That is, at least, if you try to think up a subsconscious personal reason. My conscious reason was that so much bluff as was spread by the Indian intellectual establishment simply had to be answered and defeated... Me, I only see specific errors being made, and I am simply the much-needed schoolteacher wielding his red pencil. If that can lead anyone to his Promised Land, fine, but I don’t even look that far, I just want those errors out of the way. Perhaps Bhangi (sweeper) would be a good caste for me.(21. A diversity of white saviours )
  • When the freedom movement started thinking in terms of a future independent state, then conceived according to the prevailing model of the nation-state, it became aware of the need for national symbols. For the flag, quite sensibly, it toyed with the idea of reusing Shivaji’s saffron flag, as uniformly orange as Moammar al-Qadhafi’s Libyan flag was uniformly green. But a movement courting Muslims for support preferred to keep this crystal-clear symbol at a distance.
    But the Congress chose the tricolour, a communal flag of a composite culture with orange on top standing for Hinduism and green at the bottom for Islam, an embodiment of Swami Vivekananda’s success formula: ‘Vedantic brain and Islamic body.’ Like with the green colour in more recent political flags, Hindus need not stick to the communal interpretation of the Muslims and Nehruvians: Long before Islam existed, green was already around and had a natural meaning: opulence, prosperity, as well as nature. Likewise, orange forever remains the colour of fire, of tapas (‘heat’, asceticism), of spirituality.
  • The middle strip is white, a colour that plays a role in both (actually, in all) religions and suggests purity. Mahatma Gandhi tried to adorn it with his pet spinning wheel, but the Nehruvian alternative won through: ‘Ashoka’s wheel’, in blue. Jawaharlal Nehru, ‘India’s last viceroy’, was a champion of both the Moghul and the British colonial cultures and quite ignorant of the native culture, so he did not know that the twenty-four-spoked wheel long predated Ashoka. It was the symbol of the Chakravarti, or the ‘wheel turner’, the axis in the wheel of the samrajya, ‘unified rule’, ‘empire’, a principle already sung in the epics.
    Making India into a Chakravarti-kshetra was an old ideal, and Ashoka admittedly came close to realizing it: He was almost a ‘pan-Indian’ ruler. However, he did not originate this notion. The spoked wheel embodies the relation between a single centre and numerous (‘twenty-four’) secondary centres on the periphery, i.e., the central authority spreading its umbrella over the several states with their swadharma (ca. ‘own mores’) and swatantra (‘autonomy’). As such, it is a fine symbol of India’s federalism, for ‘unity in diversity’.
  • Sindh, the province around the lower Indus River, happens to be the root of the name ‘India’ itself, derivative from the Greek river-name Indos, from the Persian form ‘Hindu’ of Sanskrit ‘Sindhu’, i.e., the Indus river. It contains Mohenjo-Daro, with the Priest King, the Dancing Girl and Shiva Pashupati, famous icons not of ‘5,000 years of Pakistan’ but of Hindu civilization. Of course, Sindh deserves to return to India. One day, when Pakistan has lost its reason for existing, it will.
  • India only calls itself secular since 1975, when Indira Gandhi’s Emergency dictatorship inserted the words ‘secular, socialist’ into the Constitutional description of India as a ‘democratic, federal republic’. That makes these two words the only ones in the Constitution that never went through a proper parliamentary debate; the least democratic part of it. In the days of the Constituent Assembly, by contrast, Dr B.R. Ambedkar, chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, explicitly refused to include ‘secular’. When, twenty-eight years later, the term did get inserted, it had acquired the meaning ‘anti-Hindu’, yet most Hindus accept the term because they naïvely assume it still has the meaning ‘secular’.
  • What SR Goel called “the business of blaming the British” is a trick of misdirection, popular among stage magicians, which only a buffoon would believe.
  • Anyway, during the discussion, I used the Indian word “tamasic” rather than the English equivalent “deluded” and “slothful”.... Falling back on the nationalist paradigm makes Hindus misunderstand issues. It is of course far easier to separate people by skin colour than by ideology, very appealing to the lazy, tamasic mind. But it is sure to make you mistake enemies for friends, and friends for enemies. If you think you can afford that on a battlefield, suit yourselves.
  • Do keep in mind that both parties had the same goal: Islamic world conquest. The wrongly called “nationalist Muslims” went straight for it, largely because the modern world was unfamiliar to them, while the separatists made temporary concessions to the new circumstances and first wanted to consolidate Muslim power in Pakistan. Initially they were even willing to settle for Dr. BR Ambedkar’s proposal to exchange populations, so that no Muslim would stay behind in remainder-India. They couldn’t believe their luck when on this score, India’s hands were tied by Gandhi and Nehru, so that while the Paki Hindus had to flee, the Indian Muslims could stay where they were, thus forming a fifth column for the next phase of Islamic expansion.
  • Rather, the Iranian division of society has a similar origin as the same division in Indian society. The Iranians came from India, as Shrikant Talageri has convincingly demonstrated. Moreover, the division is a natural one, present in every society. It may be tempting to push responsibility far from you, preferably to a foreign source, but in this case the Iranian option doesn’t fulfil your wish. Their status of “foreigner” is ambiguous, given that they came from India and are one of the “five peoples” alongside the Vedic tribe, deemed to descend from the two brothers Anu c.q. Puru, two of the five sons of Yayati. Iranians are quite present in the Veda, such as through the sages Bhrigu and Cyavana.
  • Ostensibly the hymn is from the final stage of Rig-Vedic composition, shortly before Veda-Vyasa’s final editing of the hymns into the fully-formed Vedas. It soon became the Vedic bedrock of varna doctrine and gets reproduced or quoted to that effect in younger Vedic writings, including the Atharva & Yajur Veda (so, there also interpolations?), the Panchavimsha Brahmana, Taittitiya Aranyaka, Mahabharata and Bhagavata Purana.
  • And here too, there are other, non-controversial parts that get overlooked. Thus, the hymn opens by saying that the Universal Man (Purusha) has a thousand heads. That means: the Universal Man is a community of ordinary individual men. Hindus sometimes felt the need for a leader, but hey, the Purusha Sukta rightly prescribes: we together are that leader. When we put our limited heads together, we together become the Cosmic Man. Isn’t that profound? If I were a Hindu, I would be proud of my Purusha Sukta. I would never want it to be a mere interpolation from an obscure foreign source.
  • In any Kulturkampf (culture war), control over the curriculum fed to the next generation is the primary issue. Note however that in India today, this is a war with only one warring camp. On the Hindu side, there is some grumbling on Twitter about biased textbooks, but nothing at the official level. Five years of BJP government (2014-19) have not yielded any impact at all on the curriculum, not even an attempt, and BJP ministers have expressed themselves as proud of that: “Look how secularist I am!” Their highest goal in life is a pat on the shoulder from the secularists, but they live in a fool’s paradise if they expect ever to get it.
    In the expression “BJP secularism”, the latter word has its acquired Indian meaning. In its original meaning, a “secular state” would be one where all citizens are equal before the law, regardless of religion. It would therefore not have a concept of “minority”. Statisticians are free to divide a population in any number of groups fit for their purposes, but in politics and law, the concept of “minority” has no place. In India, its impact is downright evil. So, I believe, India is a blatantly unsecular state, with separate Civil Codes according to religion, with Constitutional discriminations against the Hindus, and with numerous policies privileging this or that minority or the minorities collectively. When in office, the BJP (both under AB Vajpayee and under Modi) has kept on toeing the line laid down by the dominant Nehruvian discourse. It has not abolished any of these anti-secular arrangements in law or politics, and has continued to apply the Nehruvian categories in its own policies. In its election Manifesto 2019, it does not even pay lip-service to the interests of secular democracy in its original sense, let alone to those of Hinduism, but devoutly promises to work for the welfare of the enumerated minorities.
    Because in the rest of the world it is unambiguous: “secular” means disregarding the citizens’ religious identities. In India, by contrast, it means an endless concern with religious identities, at least of the minorities (who are hardly the poor, hapless groups suggested by that term, but are the Indian chapters of wealthy multinationals). It effectively means “anti-Hindu”, nothing else. That is why minority clerics whose Arab colleagues would abhor “secularism”, call themselves secularists in India. Deep down, many votaries of Nehruvian secularism have a bad conscience about their mendacious use of the term, and so they cackle endlessly about it.


  • Between 1988 and 1993, we saw numerous street riots; a political crisis including the fall of VP Singh's Central Government in 1990 and the rise of the pro-temple BJP from 2 seats before the elections of 1989 to 121 after those of 1991; the occasion for starting the Satanic Verses affair, with the ban on Salman Rushdie's novel as bargaining chip for the cancellation of a Muslim "march on Ayodhya"; the demolition of the mosque building on 6 December 1992 by Hindu activists defying the orders of their more prudent leaders; more political crisis with the dismissal of four BJP state governments; and a crescendo of revenge violence spilling over to Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the UK, culminating in a new model of terrorism on March 12, 1993, when simultaneous explosions at different localities in Mumbai killed hundreds....
    Suddenly it seemed that the Bābrī Masjid had become the last bulwark of secularism besieged by irrational forces. This contributed substantially to the shrillness of the controversy, making it acquire a Holy War character, needlessly dramatic and bloody.
    • Encyclopedia of Indian Religions, Hinduism and Tribal Religions, Springer Nature B.V. 2022 (Entry Ayodhya)
  • Increasingly, leftist intellectuals on the European continent are realizing that the instrumentalization of postmodern "cultural relativism" as a shield against criticism of Islam's treatment of women and of non-Muslims just can't be reconciled with their basic commitment to equality and emancipation.
  • The enemies of Hindu Dharma and of India can get away with any lie or distortion because they have the media and the India-watching academics and movie directors at their disposal. They will exploit any mistake the Hindus make, knowing fully well that they do not have the same luxury of getting away with missteps. Any sin against the canon of scholarship will be used to create an impression of an “anti-science” mentality, of “amateurism” at best, but more likely of “superstition” or “jingoistic history distortion”. In fact, even in the case of utmost Hindu conscientiousness, they will still throw all these swearwords at the Hindus and thereby still condition numerous mediocre minds against the Hindu position (or more precisely, against the historical truth), at least in the short term; but in that case, at least knowledgeable and discerning people will come over to the Hindu side of the argument, and they will make the difference in the long run...
    The mass killing of Hindus by Islamic Mujahedīn (Arabic: “those who strive [on the path of Allah]”) is a historical reality, costing many millions of Hindu lives. A recent Nehruvian-cum-Marxist current in Indian and India-watching historiography tries to deny this fact, but the evidence is plentiful, much of it from the horse’s mouth: the Muslim chronicles that take great pride in being able to describe the destruction of Pagan people and Pagan culture. This Negationism is an interesting topic, both for refuting it as a matter of correct history-writing and for analysing its psychological and political determinants.
  • The concomitant archaeological evidence is rarely of human massacres, as the Hindu victims were not buried; if at all given a funeral, it was cremation, thus “destroying the evidence”. But demolished forts, burned cities and temples levelled or replaced with mosques are ten a penny. Many more deserve to be inventorized, but with those we know, we already get a fair idea of the magnitude of the Islamic destruction. Historians and archaeologists have their work cut out for them in tabulating more than a millennium of Islamic destruction across a whole subcontinent, especially after half a century of willful neglect of this dimension of India’s history.
  • This is already clear if we limit our count to the 20th century, omitting all the killings and other crimes against humanity since the first (failed) naval invasion in 636 or the first occupation of Sindh by Mohammed bin Qasim in 712, and all that happened in the intervening centuries. In the Partition of 1947, the Hindu-Sikh death toll easily amounted to 1 million+ in West Pakistan alone. In East Pakistan, it ended up becoming a similar number, though the killing there was drawn out over several years. In 1971, in the repression campaign that led to the war that led to the country’s liberation and recreation as Bangladesh, the Pakistanis and their Jamaat-i-Islami allies killed nearly 2,4 million Hindus, 80% of the total death toll of some 3 million (as per the government of Bangladesh itself). Add the great killings of many thousands in the Moplah Rebellion of 1920-21, the Direct Action Day of 1946, the many recurring pogroms in East Pakistan, the large-scale riots in India (admittedly with a two-sided death toll), the constant petty terror in Pakistan and Bangladesh, the expulsion of the Pandits from Kashmir (1990), and you get very close to the 5,3 million estimated for the Holocaust.
  • India too had its share of human-engineered famines. Yet, while they killed many millions, with more than 3 million in the 1943 Bengal famine alone, they cannot be characterized as “genocide”. They were facilitated by the perpetrators’ active disdain for Hindus (Sultanate) or Indians (British), which was very explicitly stated by Winston Churchill even much before he deliberately refused to alleviate the Bengal famine. But an intention to eliminate them rather than just treat them harshly remains to be proven. Rather: these famines were collateral damage of punitive land tax policies (Sultanate) or of motherland-oriented economic reforms (British Empire).
  • Hindus have suffered a unique experience of oppression at the hands of Muslim invaders and their successors, including many instances of mass killing. It covered more than a thousand years and a whole Subcontinent.
  • "The facts here are very clear, but rest assured that they will be contested. Like most Hindu-Muslim riots, this riot started as a Muslim pogrom on Hindus, with some spectacular killings of Hindu policemen, but then Hindus started striking back, and ultimately the Muslim death toll surpassed the Hindu one. Similar to Gujarat 2002, which started with a Muslim pogrom of 59 Hindu women and children in the women's wagon of a train returning from Ayodhya, locked in and burned to death. Then the Hindus retaliated, and it ended with some 300 Hindus and 800 Muslims killed. In international reporting, the all-explaining opening move is scrupulously left out, as if you have WW2 start on 6 June 1944 with the Allied "aggression” on Europe and highlight the higher death toll on the German compared to the Anglo-American side. "Major media have been caught in the act of fabricating fake news, e.g. the Wall Street Journal brought an interview with policeman Ankit Sharma's brother, who described how a (Muslim) mob had stabbed his brother to death. In the published version, the WSJ inserted that this mob was shouting a Hindu battle-cry to shift the blame to the Hindus to save their narrative that the Hindus were committing a pogrom. Fortunately, the brother and other witnesses publicly denied this and pointed out the WSJ's manipulation. Scroll.in and other papers published a photograph of a Muslim mob on the attack, easily recognizable by their clothes, and captioned that this was a “Hindu mob". When this was exposed, Scroll removed the photograph, i e. the evidence, but maintained its mendacious narrative. Same manipulation in Wikipedia, which suppressed corrections; or how blatantly fake news was quickly turned into the received wisdom."
  • Some discriminations are rather academic and only consequential at several removes. Thus, the understanding of religious freedom as guaranteed in article 25, especially the inclusion of the right to propagate one's religion and thus to encourage others to convert, is tailor-made for the Christian mission. This interest group had successfully lobbied to ensure that the right to convert be included in the Constitution. It also fits the Islamic design to islamize all of mankind, but the notion of conversion is foreign to Hindus and even more to Parsis. So the constitutional right to convert seemingly creates a level playing field, counting for all religions, yet in practice it upholds a right central to Christianity and Islam but meaningless (except negatively) to Hinduism. It legalizes the aggression by the foreign and conquering religions to the detriment of the indigenous religion.
  • At the initiative of the Scheduled Tribes, targets par excellence of the missionary efforts, several Indian states have enacted laws against forcible or fraudulent conversion (which according to the missionaries and their secularist allies are non-existent anyway). But these state laws can never acquire teeth as long as the Constitution guarantees the right to propagate religion. Thanks to this unshakable guarantee, the missionary apparatus considers these anti-conversion laws as but an impotent scarecrow, useful only to underpin its own internationally propagated image of hapless victims being persecuted by an overbearing Hindu majority.
  • The most consequential and effective discrimination is comprised in article 30. It guarantees *to the minorities* (leaving the majority unmentioned) the right to found and manage educational institutions. This means that Hindu schools can be nationalized or subjected to other government controls from which minority schools are exempt. In application of this discrimination, the Right to Education Act, enacted by the Congress-Communist combine in 2008, imposes a back-breaking burden on Hindu schools (putting hundreds out of business) from which it exempts minority schools.
  • That the Constitution discriminates against Hinduism, and that this has large-scale consequences for the transmission of Hinduism to the next generation, is one of India's better-kept secrets. Most academics suppress this information and pretend loudly that India is a secular state, i.e. a state with equality of all citizens before the law. It is not, and the good implication is that for secularists it will be hard to object to a reform that would turn India into a secular state, one in which no religion is discriminated against.
  • The British, by contrast, could rule India with more limited violence largely outsourced to native Sepoys, but their influence penetrated far more deeply. Firstly, they managed to pit several Hindu sub-groups against the mainstream: most obviously the Sikhs, for whom the status of separate religion was made of whole cloth, promoted as a social reality and underpinned at the scholarly level.
  • Today, most Anglophone secularists are nearly as knowledgeable about Hindu culture as first-time foreign tourists who have crammed up the Lonely Planet Guide’s few pages summarizing India’s religious landscape.
  • So they shifted to the thesis of a subtle infiltration under the archaeological radar, yet revolutionary in its impact: unlike the Scythians, Greeks, Huns or Kushanas, these intruders succeeded in not just conserving their language and religion, but imposing both on the far more numerous natives.... Most of India was not a colony yet, and the heyday of racial thought contaminating “Aryan” studies had yet to arrive... Thus, in the Rg-Vedic description of the Battle of the Ten Kings, it was commonly pretended that the enemies were “black aboriginals”. In reality, the names of the kings and of their tribes (most notably Dâsa, Dasyu) are recognizably Iranian, and their characterization as “the black tribe” is a mistranslation. The word Asiknī does not refer to a skin colour, but to the area they come from, the basin of “the Black River”, the Vedic name of the Chenab... Today, the AIT camp is a happy valley protected from the rising waters of counter-evidence by a protective dam. But the waters keep rising, and the time can't be far off when the waters will overcome the dam and drastically impact the cosy life in the valley.
  • https://twitter.com/Koenraad_Elst/status/1220326841866522626 Sorry to note that one of my readers is still so ignorant that he can be swayed by genetic data, which are just not the point. 100 years ago, an "Aryan" was a tall whitish long-skull, & I thought we had left that race/language identification behind. Yet now he is a R1a1-carrier. 2020
  • https://twitter.com/Koenraad_Elst/status/1218415843123572736 Celebrate good times, come on! Let's celebrate! On 19 January, it is the anniversary of chasing all the Hindus out of Kashmir. Then as now, the slogan was "Azadi Hinduon se!" So, the Urdu crowd at Shaheen Bagh protesting asylum for refugees from Islamic persecution, celebrates. 2020
  • https://twitter.com/Koenraad_Elst/status/1224184598805938181 The scholarly truth (now vindicated) on Ayodhya was always decried as merely a "Hindutva claim". With permission: here you have similarly interiorized the description of the upholders of objectivity & encyclopedia standards as a mere party to a quarrel, viz. "Elst's supporters".
  • I never use the word nationalism, certainly not as a model for Hindus to adopt. Nationalism is a misstatement of Hindu concerns. It leads to misconceptions.
    • Koenraad Elst on Twitter [24]
  • I scrupulously distinguish between "Hindu" & "Hindutva", as do Shashi Tharoor etc., correctly if the history of these terms is any guide. Wikipedia ignores my many explicitations on this (first in BJP vs. Hindu Resurgence, 1997) when it mendaciously associates me w Hindutva.
    • Tweet on Twitter [25] Feb 16, 2021
  • Time to apply for a teaching post at Rutgers. Unlike most Western universities where Iz!@m is concerned, it offers "academic freedom"!
    • Tweet on Twitter [26] Mar 11, 2021
  • Approaching the Court for banning Q verses can serve to highlight their hateful character (seemingly the only way to do so when no prominent does) & the double standards next to other hate speech. OK as a taunt to H-bashers, but please don't take this censorship call seriously.
    • Tweet on Twitter [27] Mar 11, 2021
  • Nor are you the first Sikh to be sanatanized. Guru Nanak was a Sanatani Hindu. All the Gurus were. Tegh Bahadur & Govind Singh explicitly invoked Hindu Dharma. But then McAuliffe & other Brits came to bribe you & turn you against Sanatana Dharma. So you profitably became McSikhs.
  • First-time arrival at the Babasaheb Ambedkar Airport in Nagpur. A local RSS worker is taking me to the RSS headquarters. According to Wikipedia, they have been my employers for years. If so, I can now collect millions in arrears; if not, it's Wiki that owes them to me.
  • The Kerala Files also highlights the babe-in-the-wood nature of Hindu girls, as contrasted w/ Xian girls, who count as a harder nut to crack. Like Muslims, & unlike Hs, Xians are indoctrinated at school & at home. But it turns out that rohypnol is a good jihadi nutcracker.
  • Having researched several more books on this topic and the disinformation techniques determining the reporting about India’s political relations, we are now convinced that the last few decades’ main corpus of research literature on this topic will become a laughing-stock once the power equation that fosters such disinformation has lapsed.
    No one can be forced to do the honourable thing. As free speech absolutists we also don’t believe in punishing people for failing to do the honourable thing. Honour has no use; you just have it, or you don’t.

Ever closer to Bhāropīyasthān (2020)

  • The bygone identification of a race with a language is hailed again, though now defined by genotype. Invasionist polemicists argue in all seriousness about the evidential value of the “Aryan gene”, R1a1. Genes, like skulls, do not speak: while a human migration may be proven by a sufficient number of such findings, we still would not know what happened to their language.
  • So, we plead against this rhetoric of excluding opponents from the debate. It is unbecoming of scholars to declare themselves above pertinent evidence, even if coming from a school alleged to have unpleasant motives.
    • Ever closer to Bhāropīyasthān, State of the Art of the Out-of-India Debate. Published in the Festschrift/tribute of Lambert Isebaert: Etudes Classiques vol.88, Université de Namur 2020, p.85-108.

Why the Common Roots of Homer and Vyāsa? (2021)

  • Today, this reluctance to posit a central indebtedness of Indian culture to European conquerors (for that is how the Greeks ended up in India) tallies well with the Zeitgeist in the West, where the European element in every form of progress or achievement is downplayed and the contributions of others emphatically highlighted or magnified. But then again, regarding India, there is a Zeitgeist within the Zeitgeist: even within the existing ‘down with us’ atmosphere in Europe, there persists a secondary agenda borrowed mainly from India’s Nehruvian secularists, viz., belittling Hinduism.
    • Elst K., Why the Common Roots of Homer and Vyāsa? in Udayanath Sahoo (editor), Shobha Rani Dash (editor) - Great Indian Epics_ International Perspectives-Routledge (2021)

Divinizing the Veda : the Problem of Traditionalism (2021)

  • A historical view of caste, by contrast, concedes candidly that caste was intertwined with Hinduism for long, but equally shows that caste was initially absent and only intruded in stages. Hinduism can flourish all while letting caste wither away. That may satisfy at least the more fair-minded among Hinduism’s critics.
    • Divinizing the Veda : the Problem of Traditionalism. Dr. Koenraad ELST, in Prof. Bhaskarnath Bhattacharya, ed.: Vedavidyāśrīḥ / Gems of Vedic Wisdom. Prof. Shashi Tiwari Felicitation Volume (Pratibha Prakashan, Delhi 2021), p.170-186:

The Buddha and Management (2022)

Elst, Koenraad. "The Buddha and Management: His Own Hands-On Experience." Spirituality and Management: From Models to Applications. Singapore: Springer Nature Singapore, 2022. 33-43.
  • Sita Ram Goel imaginatively fills in the details in a Hindi historical novel: Sapta-Śı̄la, BibliaImpex, Delhi 1960; 2nd edition 1999. Incidentally, in the 1957 Lok Sabhā election, Goel stood as candidate for the opposition (anti- Communist, free marketeer) Swatantra Party in the Khajuraho constituency. Many readers noticed in the rendering of Vars.akāra’s conduct the mannerisms typical of Jawaharlal Nehru and connected this with Goel’s politics. In the preface to the second edition, Goel tries to dispel this notion but settles for the assessment that such a likeness is inevitable. The saboteur Vars.akāra tries to subvert a society, corrupting it from within and taking away its commitment to its civilizational values, as a precursor to its eventual decay and defeat; and Nehru was often accused precisely of just such civilizational subversion.

Forever Ayodhya (2023)

Forever Ayodhya, 2023, Aryan Books International
  • That is when a group of "eminent historians" started raising the stakes and turning this local communal deal into a clash of civilizations, a life-and-death matter on which the survival of the greatest treasure in the universe depended, viz. secularism. Secure in (or drunk with) their hegemonic position, they didn't limit themselves to denying to the Hindus the right of rebuilding their demolished temple, say: "A medieval demolition doesn't justify a counter-demolition today." Instead, they went so far as to deny the well-established fact that the mosque had been built in forcible replacement of a Rama temple.
  • The VHP-employed team presented the already known documentary and archaeological evidence and dug up quite a few new documents confirming the temple demolition (including four that Muslim institutions had tried to conceal or tamper with).
  • Most spectacularly, they managed to get the entire international media and the vast majority of India-related academics who ever voiced an opinion on the matter, into toeing their line. These dimly-informed India-watchers too started intoning the no-temple mantra and slandering the dissidents, to their faces or behind their backs, as "liars", "BJP prostitutes", and what not. In Western academe, dozens chose to toe this party-line of disregarding the evidence and denying the obvious, viz. that the Babri Masjid (along with the Kaaba in Mecca, the Mezquita in Cordoba, the Ummayad mosque in Damascus, the Aya Sophia in Istambul, the Quwwatu'l-Islam in Delhi, etc.) was one of the numerous ancient mosques built on, or with materials from, purposely desecrated or demolished non-Muslim places of worship.
  • In normal circumstances, it is not a court's business to pronounce on matters of history, but then whom else could you trust to give a fair opinion when the professional historians were being so brazenly partisan?
  • The Supreme Court sent the matter on, or back, to the Allahabad High Court, which, after sitting on the Ayodhya case since 1950, at long last got serious about finding out the true story. It ordered a ground-penetrating radar search and the most thorough excavations. In this effort, carried out in 2003, the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) employed a large number of Muslims in order to preempt the predictable allegation of acting as a Hindu nationalist front. The findings confirmed those of the excavations in the 1950s, 1970s and 1992: a very large Hindu religious building stood at the site before the Babri Masjid. The Allahabad High Court has now accepted these findings by India's apex archaeological body. But not everyone is willing to abide by the verdict.
  • Prof. Romila Thapar claims that the ASI findings had been "disputed". Oh well, it is true that some of her school had thought up the most hilariously contrived objections...
  • The picture emerging from all this clutching at straws was clear enough: there is no such thing as a refutation of the overwhelming ASI evidence, just as there was no refutation of the archaeological and documentary evidence presented earlier.
  • . But it is unlikely that future generations, unburdened with the presently prevailing power equation that made this history denial profitable, will play along and keep on disregarding the massive body of historical evidence.
    • Chapter 1. Eminent Historians Displeased with the Ayodhya Verdict
  • Perhaps Sinha’s allegations of “fabrication” are a projection of his very own conduct?... So, Rajesh Sinha, well on his way to becoming an “eminent historian”, is wrong. I don’t know whether he is deluded or deliberately lying, both are ailments common among his tribe.... So let us finally bypass all the querulous claims by our zealous secularist and see for ourselves what Ibn Battuta himself says.
    • Chapter 2. The Meaning of Hindu Kush . (also in The argumentative Hindu (2012), 283-7, Meaning of Hindukush)
  • We could say that Hindus are multicultural at heart, or open-minded. But that quality didn’t get rewarded, except with a betrayal by their Muslim regiments during the battle of Talikota (1565): they defected to the enemy, in which they recognized fellow-Muslims. When the chips were down, Hindu open-mindedness and syncretism were powerless against their heartfelt belief in Islamic solidarity. In September 2012, Dalrymple went to Hyderabad to praise the city and its erstwhile Muslim dynasty as a centre of Hindu-Muslim syncretism; but fact is that after Partition, the ruler of Hyderabad opted for Pakistan, against multicultural India. When the chips are down, secular superficiality is no match for hard-headed orthodoxy.
  • In India, and increasingly also in the West and in international institutions, we are faced with a similar phenomenon, viz. Jihad negationism. This is the denial of aggression and atrocities motivated by Islam. Among the differences, we note those in social position of the deniers and those in the contents of the denial. Jihad deniers are not marginals who have sacrificed a career to their convictions, on the contrary; they serve their careers greatly by uttering the politically palatable “truth”. In India, any zero can become a celebrity overnight by publishing a condemnation of the “communalists” and taking a stand for Jihad denial and history distortion. The universities are full of them, while people who stand by genuine history are kept out. Like Jawaharlal Nehru, most of these negationists hold forth on the higher humbug (as historian Paul Johnson observed) and declare themselves “secular”.
  • India is experiencing a regime of history denial. In this sense, the West is more and more becoming like India. There are some old professors of Islam or religion (and I know a few) who hold the historical view, viz. that Mohammed (if he existed at all) was mentally afflicted, that Islam consists of a manifold folie à deux (“madness with two”, where a wife supports and increasingly shares her husband’s self-delusion), and that it always was a political religion which spread by destroying other religions. But among the younger professors, it is hard to find any who are so forthright. There is a demand for reassurance about Islam, and universities only recruit personnel who provide that. Indeed, many teach false history in good faith, thinking that untruth about the past in this case is defensible because it fosters better interreligious relations in the present. Some even believe their own stories, just like the layman who is meant to lap them up. Such is also my impression of William Dalrymple.
    • chapter 6. Vijayanagar Negationism
  • Note the unscholarly language, and this at his advanced age. We are dealing with a verbal street-fighter who has been given a post as an academic. Further down, we see him belittling his opponent, typical for the nouveau riche who thinks the world of his own status... The article is, as usual in secularist polemics, an exercise in misdirection.
  • But Marxism has conditioned the Indian history discourse, even through many who would reject the “Marxist” label for themselves. It will take time to undo its influence.
  • By contrast, Jha the history professor has repeatedly been caught in distortions and manipulations in this debate alone, yet he reckons he can get away with those.
  • Jha seems to suggest that publishing these allegations (which he doesn’t refute) was only safe with the NDA in power. Apparently the UPA would have done the Eminent Historians’ bidding and arrested Shourie for slander.
  • The rest of his final allegation is an exercise in guilt by association. This is beneath the standards of an intellectual but proper for a political polemicist.
  • To sum up: like any stage magician, Jha indulges in misdirection. While he himself has been caught in the act of misquoting his source (Yadava), and repeats this act of dishonesty in this very article, he tries to offset his embarrassment by a flight forward, viz. heaping imaginary allegations and plain swearwords upon his critic.
    • chapter 7. An “Eminent Historian” Attacks Arun Shourie
  • It is in the Ayodhya debate that I have learned the power of historical scholarship. After the 1989 statement by the JNU historians, starring Romila Thapar, the historical position, though having been a matter of consensus between all the parties involved, was suddenly tabooed. There had already been partial archaeological excavations confirming that there had been a temple on the site where the Babri Masjid was built. Even if you decided to doubt the consensus, the balance of evidence was already clearly on the side of the temple. Yet, the whole mediatic and political class, and all the foreign India-watchers, suddenly had to pretend that the historical position was but a ridiculous Hindutva concoction. Well, through all this commotion, the historical facts remained what they were, and they were amply confirmed by the excavations of 2003. There are still a few Leftists maintaining that there had never been a temple at the site, but most people concerned just look the other way, embarrassed at having been led by the nose so badly. And with such a death toll as a result. .... But no, the “eminent historians” preferred lies and bloodshed (and apparently also the rise of the BJP). It is not often in history that the intervention of intellectuals has had so much effect at the mass level.
  • Here we meet the problem once more that we just discussed: scholars willfully ignoring the conclusions from related disciplines. Western linguists who support a more westerly Homeland (hence an Aryan invasion from there into India) ignore the findings of Harappan archaeology. The latter only confirms a complete cultural continuity since before the Harappan cities and lasting through their abandonment. It has failed to find a single trace of Aryans entering India. By contrast, in Central Europe, an invasion from the east ca. 2900 BCE, amply attested both by archaeology and by genetics, has been identified with Indo-Europeanization. That is what an “Aryan invasion” looks like, and it is completely missing in India. Yet, of this state of affairs in Harappan archaeology, Western scholars are completely ignorant; or else they fail to draw conclusions from it for their own field.
  • Last March I participated in a conference of Indian archaeologists in Delhi. One archaeologist after another testified how his own Harappan excavation site only threw up cultural continuity instead of an Aryan immigrant revolution. Everybody there was skeptical of the invasion theory. I was sitting next to the nonagenarian éminence grise of Indian archaeology, Prof. BB Lal, who had just publicly said: “Vedic and Harappan are but two sides of the same coin.” At that very time, I received an e-mail from a top American linguist defending a westerly Homeland theory, shared by virtually all his colleagues. I then realized that this was a unique situation: a consensus of top scholars for theory White, and a consensus of scholars in a very related field for theory Black, with neither feeling challenged to respond to the other. Historians ignoring the astro-chronological evidence, linguists ignoring the archaeological evidence: this is abnormal and unhealthy, and the first thing to do now is to break through these walls and get people to listen to the other side.
  • As Talageri has shown, the horse sacrifice originates in the Vedic period and then becomes prominent. Subsequently it was exported to Central Asia. If remains of an Ashwamedha are found there, it is not earlier but later than the Vedic testimonies of this ritual. Its performers are not on the way to, but on the way from India. There is to need at all to deny the Central-Asian findings related to the Veda, only the implied chronology of the Vedas is wrong. Which is no wonder, as the present chronology is not based on anything.
  • If scholars write, say, “Kena Upanishad (ca. 500 BCE)”, I always wonder: “How do they know that?” For doing proper history, the first thing to straighten out is the chronology of ancient India. In that respect, Romila Thapar has always been a follower, not a leader. Her school has been dominant for half a century, yet no progress at all was made in this respect, they merely parroted the dates that British scholars had thought up.
  • Lack of historical consciousness. The definition of “Hindu” is very simple. Originally a purely geographical Persian term for “India(n)”, the Muslim invaders introduced it with a mixed geographical-religious meaning: “an Indian Pagan”. Christians and Muslims were not included because they were no “idolaters”, and Parsis were not because they were not deemed Indian. But all Indian Pagans, including Brahmins and other castes, Buddhists (“clean-shaven Brahmins”), Jains, tribals, even communities yet to be born, like Lingayats, Sikhs, the Ramakrishna Mission, they were all “Hindu”. In Islamic theology, they were all going to hell anyway. To the Muslims, distinctions of social rank or religious tradition didn’t matter in the least. Their negative definition of “Hindu” was taken over in the definition used in the Hindu Marriage Act, and essentially also in VD Savarkar’s definition of “Hindutva”.
  • Why, in fact, has Romila Thapar been interviewed? Though she was already well-known, her hour of glory came with the unnecessary and artificial Ayodhya controversy. But in that controversy, she was on the wrong side. It doesn’t always come about, but in this case it did happen: justice. The wrong side, though absolutely dominant for more than a decade, was proven wrong. Her major claim to fame is now as the historian who was proven wrong, and this in a self-created controversy. I feel for her, she threw away her good reputation at the end of her career. Then again, she can still win it back by crossing the floor in time. She is in an excellent position, for instance, to create the much-needed dialogue between the different schools and disciplines in East and West; to stop the stonewalling, the guilt-by-association and the ridiculing that obstruct or poison the debate.
  • For her class of people, a “professional historian” is a historian with academic status. They are very status-conscious and constantly pull rank, especially when faced with informed arguments. For a scholar, this is weak, but for sophomores, it is uppermost in their minds: climbing the status ladder. When you know the academic circles, you become far less inclined to be over-awed by academic status: many professors have obvious ideological prejudices and bend their findings to suit their presuppositions. Moreover, in many countries to some extent, and certainly in India, scholars in the humanities are selected for ideological conformity with the dominant school. After nearly half a century, this has led to a situation where a post of “eminence” is simply equivalent with ideological conformity, at least passively (not raising your head), often actively (furthering the dominant paradigm).
  • Let us be clear that the Nazis completely supported the Aryan Invasion Theory, like she does. Hitler, Thapar, same struggle! This theory was the perfect paradigm of the Nazi worldview: (1) the dynamic White Aryans trekked all the way to India and naturally defeated the indolent Black Aborigines; (2) these race-conscious Aryans imposed the caste system as an Apartheid system to protest their racial purity,-- an example to follow; (3) unfortunately, some race-mixing took place nonetheless, and the Aryan castes, though still superior to the Aborigines, became inferior to their European Aryan cousins; (4) but fortunately, now they were being uplifted again by the rulership of their British cousins, the best thing that ever happened to India.
  • Unfortunately, anti-Hindu intellectuals act as gate-keepers and make communication between India and the West difficult for non-established Indian historians.
  • And this makes me think of one more important aspect of the Aryan debate. A debater confident of his position will seek to debate the strongest version of the opposing position. In that case, the Thapar school would have discussed Talageri’s work threadbare. In reality, they prefer to highlight the Hindutva buffoons who think “history-rewriting” means restating Puranic accounts of history. They seek out the weakest version and then thump their chest at having refuted or ridiculed it. This is seeking cheap success rather than seeking the truth. It is a trick used by the not-so-competent.
    • Chapter 9. Interview about Romila Thapar’s Viewpoint
  • After the historians’ interference, the Indian mainstream politicians did not dare to go against the judgment of these authorities. The international media and India-watchers were also taken in and shared their hatred of these ugly Hindu history-falsifiers. Only, the Court-ordered excavations of 2003 have fully vindicated the old consensus: temple remains were found underneath the mosque. Moreover, the eminences asked to witness in Court had to confess their incompetence one after another (as documented by Meenakshi Jain: Rama and Ayodhya, 2013): one had never been to the site, the next one had never studied any archaeology, a third had only fallen in line with some hearsay, etc. Abroad this news has hardly been reported, and experts who know it make sure that no conclusions are drawn from it. After the false and disproven narrative of the eminent historians has reigned supreme for two decades, no one has yet bothered to demythologize their undeserved authority.
    • Chapter 10. Ayodhya: The Guilt of the ‘Eminent Historians’ and in The guilt of the "eminent historians" (published in The Pioneer, 26 Jan. 2016)
  • The media had allotted an enormous weight to the Ayodhya affair: "Secularism in danger", "India on the brink" and similar headlines were daily fare. When the Babri Masjid was demolished by impatient Hindu youngsters on 6 December 1992, the Times of India titled its editorial: "A requiem for norms", no less. Given all the drama and moralistic bombast with which they used to surround this controversy, one would have expected their eagerness to report KK Muhammad's eyewitness account. But no, they were extremely sparing in their coverage, reluctant to face an unpleasant fact: the guilt of their heroes, the "eminent historians". These people outsourced the dirty work to Hindu and Muslim streetfighters and to Islamic terrorists, but in fact it is they who have blood on their hands.
    • Chapter 10. Ayodhya: The Guilt of the ‘Eminent Historians’ and in The guilt of the "eminent historians" (published in The Pioneer, 26 Jan. 2016)
  • In 1991 already, an officially organized scholars’ debate highlighted plenty of evidence for the demolished-temple scenario, but it effectively got drowned out by all the loud anti-temple shouting that bullied most public figures into conformity. In the Court-ordered excavations of 2003, however, archaeologists dug up the foundations of the temple and provided the definitive proof: the Eminent Historians had taken the nation for a ride. All the “experts” who had parroted their mendacious account were left with egg on their faces. This explains why all of them have firmly looked the other way and discouraged anyone from further writing about the affair... The first major politician to call for the liberation of the Rama Janmabhumi was Gulzarilal Nanda, the former Congress interim-PM. Congress PM Rajiv Gandhi was working on a peaceful arrangement for a Hindu temple at the site, a move thwarted by the shrill and mendacious claims made from the Eminent Historians’ pulpit.
    • ch 11. Chronicle of the Ayodhya Controversy
  • But the secularist historians publicly intervened and put everyone on notice that the misplaced Babri Masjid which Muslims had imposed on the site centuries ago was the last bulwark of secularism.
  • However, the Muslim hardliners could console themselves that, on present demographic trends, India will turn Islamic-majority anyway, at which time all open accounts can still be settled.
  • And, of course, they never asked of the Muslim party by what right a mosque had been imposed on the temple site, even though it directly implicates their scriptures and the example set by their Prophet, who had personally destroyed the murtis in the main pilgrimage site of the Pagan Arabs, the Kaaba in Mecca.
  • In her book 'Rama and Ayodhya' (2013), she had already shown that the Leftist academics who had fought for the Babri Masjid, had crumbled under judicial court-examination. This time, we are given to deal not just with their lack of genuine expertise, but with actual deceit and deliberate lies by some of them. Back in 1990, in his article “Hideaway communalism”, Arun Shourie had already brought to light four cases where Muslim authorities had tampered with old documents that showed how the Muslim community itself had always taken for granted the mosque’s location on land venerated as Rama’s birthplace. Now, Irfan Habib’s seemingly strongest piece of evidence (not for the temple’s non-existence, of course, but at least for the untrustworthiness of some pro-temple spokesmen) turned out to be false.
  • During the demolition on 6 December 1992, many Hindu artefacts had turned up, albeit in less than desirable circumstances from an archaeological viewpoint. Proper excavations at the site in mid-1993 found some more, before the thorough Court-ordered excavations by the Archaeological Survey of India in 2003 uncovered the famous pillar-bases, long ridiculed as a “Hindutva concoction” by the secularists but henceforth undeniable. Among the first findings during the demolition was the Vishnu Hari inscription, dating from the mid-11th century Rajput temple, which the Babri Masjid masons had placed between the outer and inner wall. Several Babri historians dismissed the inscription as fake, as of much later date, or as actually brought by the Kar Sevaks during the demolition itself.
  • Prof. Irfan Habib, in a combine with Dr. Jahnawi Roy and Dr. Pushpa Prasad, dismissed this inscription as stolen from the Lucknow Museum and to be nothing other than the Treta ka Thakur inscription. The curator kept this inscription under lock, but after some trying, Kishore Kunal, author of another Ayodhya book (Ayodhya Revisited, 2016), could finally gain access to it and publish a photograph. What had been suspected all along, turns out to be true: Prof. Habib, who must have known both inscriptions, has told a blatant lie. Both inscriptions exist and are different. Here they have been neatly juxtaposed on p.104-5. Yet, none of the three scholars has “responded to the publication of the photograph of the Treta ka Thakur inscription, which falsifies the arguments they have been persistently advocating for over two decades.” (p.112)
  • It is no news if a secularist tells a lie: they have been doing it all along. Only, in the past they could get away with it, as the media and the publishers toed their line and withheld the publication of facts that pin-pricked their authority. ... Since the suppression of the truth concerning Ayodhya was part of a power equation to the secularists’ advantage, the waning of that power equation means that future scholars will now become free to take the mendaciousness of the then secularists into account.
  • Congress PM Rajiv Gandhi thought he could handle this challenge, but the initiative was wrested from his hands by the secularist historians. With their shrill statements about “secularism in danger”, they raised the stakes enormously. The rest is history.
    • Chapter 13. Epitaph for the Ayodhya Affair
  • It is in itself commendable that they point out the political intentions of these academics. These have a purpose other than dispassionately seeking the truth, which to Marxists would only be “bourgeois objectivity”. While not in itself disqualifying their research, it should at least set some alarm bells ringing. But this political bias only enjoys the unquestioning approval of the new generation of dupes.
    • ch 14. The NCERT’s Denial of Islamic Iconoclasm’s Uniqueness
  • And yet, their sound and fury was nothing but smoking mirrors, a grand tamasha of fake moralism and non-existent facts. They claimed that the science of history could not allow the restoration of a temple that had never existed. In reality, they could not muster even a single discovery that would have questioned the old pro-temple consensus. The debate that ensued was totally asymmetrical: they demanded evidence from the pro-temple site, which was duly produced, both existing proofs and extra new discoveries; while they themselves never came up with anything. Later they were summoned to Court to divulge their expert opinions, but (as documented by Prof. Meenakshi Jain in her comprehensive book on the Ayodhya evidence, Rama’s Ayodhya, 2013) one after another, they confessed to their lack of competence in the matter. So, even though the media have kept the lid on this information, the pro-temple side has won the history debate fair and square. Of course there had been a temple, and for those who still feigned to doubt it, the temple foundations were fully excavated in 2003.
    • chapter 16. The Ayodhya conflict solved
  • At any rate, the Mendacious Media only hand out such plum posts to people whom they deem ideologically reliable, i.c. “secularist”.
  • So, Singh misrepresents Muslim attacks on Hindus, such as the “Great Calcutta Killing”, which took place when the British were on their way out and the provinces had native autonomy. This pogrom, which convinced the British that their resistance to the Partition plan was useless, was planned by the Muslim League, with the passive connivance of the police which was under control of the Muslim League state government. He, however, denies Muslim agency by calling it a “large-scale riot” and a “massacre of Hindus and Muslims” (p.181). This is the usual media discourse: two-sided violence or even one-sided Muslim violence is presented as a Hindu attack on the poor hapless Muslims (as in late February 2020, when the Wall Street Journal and Scroll.in notoriously misrepresented a photograph of a Muslim rioters’ attack in Delhi as showing a Hindu attack), and only when the Muslim initiative is too glaring to be denied, their rearguard tactic is to present it as two-sided. In the case of the Great Calcutta Killing, this was purely a one-sided attack by the Muslim League on the Hindus, with the passive complicity of the state police, which only started to intervene as soon as the Hindu side managed to mobilize for self-defence.
    • chapter 18. The Truth about Ayodhya that Many Journalists Seem to Ignore
  • So, the actual Ayodhya debate, about the history of the site, was starkly avoided. In the past, the Indologists all meekly parroted India’s Eminent Historians that there never was a temple there, that it was merely a Hindutva concoction. It would be in the scholarly fitness of things if they were to face their mistake, acknowledge that they had made a false allegation of a “concoction” and that the evidence has robustly confirmed the demolished temple scenario. But they haven’t done that on any forum whatsoever.
  • The judicial aspects were safer ground for the Eminent Historians and their foreign allies: the insiders among them know of their hilarious defeat in the scholarly debate, so they avoid or muzzle any mention of it. Their ostentatious position of around 1990 was proven wrong and is now all the more embarrassing in proportion to how high-profile it was back then. So, their loyalists in the US likewise tiptoe around the issue.
  • Even many of their followers abroad have gone remarkably silent on the Ayodhya history: they still do obligatory instalments on what they call “Hindu history manipulation”, but whereas the Ayodhya debate used to be their crowning example, now it has gone down the memory hole, though in fact it was the one case that was fought out in the public square and came to a clear verdict both scholarly and judicial, viz. to the complete detriment of the anti-Hindu camp.
  • Otherwise, the no-temple claim has been buried even by India’s anti-Hindu forces, and though this news has clearly not reached all their loyalists, their American friends have clearly come to toe their line.
  • Throughout the whole field of Hindu Studies, you just have to get used to the omnipresence, though in different doses, of the Marxist-inspired reduction of religion to worldly categories. Prominent among these is “appropriation”, as in e.g. “cultural appropriation” or indeed “sacredness as a form of land appropriation”. There are power dynamics, to be sure, but you’re never going to understand Rama worship and the place of the Ayodhya site in it by forever dragging it down to the political level; just as Romila Thapar or Richard Eaton were fated never to understand the Muslim invaders’ iconoclastic zeal given their reduction of temple destruction to a mere political statement. It is an occupational hazard of post-religious scholars of (or opinionators on) religion that they just don’t understand the passion involved in their subject, including the destructive passion springing from a religion’s iconoclastic doctrine.
  • To be sure, economic and political dimensions of religious activity also exist, and may present legitimate objects of study. We can’t hold it against Jacobsen individually that he chose this theme, but having followed the scene for decades, we know that the academic authorities in this field do channel all scholarly energy towards this reductionist view of Hinduism. This is much less true for other religions: it is Hinduism that is very disproportionately targeted for reduction to its external dimension.
  • “Contrary to what Christopher Fleming claims, the court-ordered excavations in 2003 did yield evidence that the structure replaced a Hindu temple: this (rather than the plentiful documentary evidence) was the main ground for the UP High Court's 2010 verdict. It confirmed what earlier partial excavations since 1974 had found. Far from being a ‘Hindutva concoction’, it was confirmed by the participant senior archaeologist KK Mohammed. The High Court also called a line-up of ‘eminent historians’ who had earlier pleaded in public that there never had been a temple there, to the witness stand. One after another, they collapsed and were reduced to stammering: ‘I have never been to the site’, ‘I am not an archaeologist’; their evidence for a non-temple scenario amounted to exactly zero, and they were fiercely reprimanded by the Court for their misuse of authority to mislead the public.
  • “The Ayodhya evidence debate has presented the hilarious sight of an entire academic and mediatic establishment in India and abroad denying what had been a matter of consensus till the mid-1980s, and this on the strength of strictly no evidence at all. In all these years, documentary and archaeological evidence for the demolished temple has been accumulating, and some has kept on coming to light even after the debate had ended. This to the extent that the judges simply couldn't push a verdict going against this wealth of evidence. Now that the Ayodhya dispute is over, the question remains when all these academics are going to climb down from the denial of history on which they had staked their august reputations. The present power equation, which has allowed them to get away with this historical negationism in years past, and to keep the lid on their defeat now, is not going to last forever.”
  • Talking to those people is like tossing a message in a bottle into the ocean. Probably it will go nowhere, but there still is that slim chance of someone somewhere picking it up. It just might set a consciousness revolution in motion.
    • Chapter 21. What the West’s Academy Has to Say on Ayodhya
  • In India there are some who speak of "Hindu genocide" or "the Hindu Holocaust".... The term [Hindu holocaust] once again draws attention to other people's experience, while the uniqueness of the Hindu experience still remains underexposed. There are indigenous terms, and it is now necessary to choose one as the default term and promote it. These include Hindū-vaṁśa-vicchédana or Hindū-saṁhāraṇa, "genocide of the Hindus". Since I also find that term imprecise, I will stick to the more general Hindū-hatya, "slaughter of the Hindus."
  • The primary fact in India's religious conflict is that Hinduism is fighting for its survival in its only homeland, while the "minorities" (in fact the Indian branch of powerful and wealthy multinationals) are only angling for additional conquests.
    • ch 22. Negationism in India, and in De Morgen
  • Of Egypt and Mesopotamia, no history could have been reconstructed without recourse to their king-lists, yet in the case of India, many scholars pooh-pooh these as another case of chaotic Hindu fantasizing.
    • ch 28. Why Itihāsa Means “History” Why “Itihasa” means “history”

Quotes about Koenraad Elst

We may therefore conclude with the trite but entirely apposite expression that Koenraad Elst is still far ahead of his time, and is likely to stay so for a very long time to come. ~ R. Sitaraman
  • The most recent and comprehensive update on the Aryan Invasion Theory debate is given by Koenraad Elst.
    • Subrata Chattopadhyay Banerjee - The Development of Aryan Invasion Theory in India_ A Critique of Nineteenth-Century Social Constructionism-Springer (2020)
  • Elst had much better command of political and social issues in India than I ever gained, unmatched by any western writer and researched in great detail. Elst is a thorough scholar and supremely rational in all that he does. His work on the Ayodhya movement was definitive.
    • David Frawley, How I Became a Hindu: My Discovery of Vedic Dharma p. 96
  • On the eve of his departure, Koenraad Elst asked me if I would publish a book on Ayodhya which he planned to write on his return to Belgium, I did not take him seriously. I did not know at that time that the thirty one years old Belgian we had met was a prodigy, and that he felt so deeply about Hindus having a good case but presenting it very badly. The script of his Ram Janmabhoomi Vs. Babri Masjid: A Case Study in Hindu Muslim Conflict, was dropped on my table by the postman exactly after a month. I could not stop after I started reading it. I took it to Ram Swarup the same evening. He read it during the night and rang me up next morning. Koenraad Elst's book, he said, should be published immediately.
    • Sita Ram Goel (1998) How I became a Hindu.
  • It is difficult to take seriously an author who draw his historical evidence from newspaper reports and speak of the centuries when there were Muslim rulers in India as "a blood-soaked catastrophe".
    • Sarvepalli Gopal (1993). Anatomy of a Confrontation: Ayodhya and the Rise of Communal Politics in India. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 21. 
  • Scholar Koenraad Elst was removed from RISA (Religions in South Asia) list by Vijay Prashad and Biju Mathew, seconded by Michael Witzel and Robert Zydenbos, and Wendy Doniger who controlled RISA did not come out in his support. He observed that people who clamour loudly for “freedom of expression” are very selective in their love of freedom. (Koenraad Elst, December 2, 2014,Banning Wendy Doniger’s “The Hindus”) RISA is a unit within the American Academy of Religion which was formed in 1909 as Association of Biblical Instructors for scholars of Biblical studies to stimulate scholarship and teaching in Christianity. In 1933, this was changed to National Association of Biblical Instructors, which in 1963 became American Academy of Religion.
    • Cultural Terrorism - Conflicts and Debates On Cultural Pasts, B.S.Harishankar, p 153
  • Such is his importance in Hindutva circles that L.K.Advani quoted him at length while deposing before the Liberhans Commission investigation the demolition of Babri Masjid.
    • Ayub Khan, quoted from Elst, Koenraad. The Problem with Secularism (2007)
  • One such admirer of the Hindu nationalism who has his other foot in Flemish nationalism in his native Belgium is Koenraad Elst. Elst is a protégé and intellectual heir of Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goel. His interest in New Age and neo-paganism brought him to India where he wrote his doctoral dissertation on Hindu revivalism which was later published as a popular book, Decolonising the Hindu Mind. In this book he advocates the tough line against Islam and Christianity favoured by the Swarup-Goel school. Even as he was advocating hard line Hindutva, Elst was sympathetic to the European Right: from 1992-95 he served as the co-editor of TeKoS, the journal of the Belgian New Right. [...] Elst claims that he has rejected the new right philosophy of de Benoist even though he admits that he occasionally attends their gatherings. Be that as it may, he remains deeply involved in anti-islamic causes. He is the regular contributor to The Brussels Journal, a right wing blog which the Belgian government has repeatedly charged for fomenting racism and violence. The Journal has connections with Vlaams Belang which opposes the purported islamicisation of Europe and demands deportation of immigrants who fail to assimilate into Belgian culture. Going by his essays posted on Brussels Journal, Elst is using the writings of his VOI mentors to peddle the worst kind of islamophobia imaginable.
    • Meera Nanda (2009). Hindu Triumphalism and the Clash of Civilisations. Economic and Political Weekly. pp. 112-113. 
  • Koenraad Elst... comes across as usual: objective and blunt. It might not exactly endear the followers of Hindutva to him, but what he says is too important to be ignored. Belgian Indologist Dr Koenraad Elst is a dangerous scholar. With a cruel pleasure the establishment media and mediocre scholars bracket him with crackpots like P N Oak and zealots like N S Rajaram. Interestingly, both the establishment Hindutva side (as far as that exists) as well as the newly emerging ‘Internet’ Hindutva types are not exactly comfortable with him. Nevertheless, when the dust settles, his books will stand as invaluable testimony and source to express the Hindutva side of things in the most honest manner possible. Blunt but honest... He has razor sharp academic rigour and an objectivity rarely seen today among the academics dealing with this particular issue... He is one person from the Hindu side who knows the webs getting woven, ammunition being forged and stereotypes being constructed within the academia that will have serious ramifications for the Hindutva movement.... By promoting this book among Hindus, discussing and debating it, we will be doing a great service to ourselves. We will equip ourselves to fight our battles better. If this book does not get the enthusiastic reception it deserves among us, then it is a sad commentary, not on the non-existing marketing skills of Elst, which he does not need, but on us — our inability to respect Saraswati.
    • Aravindan Neelakandan, Why Koenraad Elst Is Important For Hindutva May 07, 2019 [28]
  • Elst has done a lot of research on Ayodhya and endeavours to provide evidence to prove the Babri Masjid was indeed built on a site that once housed a Hindu temple. He has strongly challenged views of scholars like Richard Eaton who seek to secularise the iconoclasm of Muslim rulers. The standard trope in modern historical studies seems to be that Hindu temples were destroyed not only by Muslim rulers but also by Hindu rulers as part of establishing their authority. It disregards all Hindu memory and Islamic writing that shows motivation of Muslim rulers at its core was religious, designed to replace the Hindu faith with Islam. This is aligned with Western academic anxiety at being seen as Islamophobic – no points lost if one is Hinduphobic. Elst provides the fodder to challenge this view... Both Elst and Frawley provide strong arguments to support the ‘Out of India’ theory that seeks to establish India as the true homeland of the Aryan race or Sanskrit language, claiming it gave civilisation to the world... Despite their deep knowledge of Hinduism, neither Elst nor Frawley, neither Doniger nor Pollock, believe in letting go and moving on, which is the hallmark of Hindu thought, often deemed as a feminine trait. Instead, Elst and Frawley keep drawing attention to injustice done by colonisers, goading Indians to rise up and fight, a violent tendency that is the hallmark of Western thought, often deemed as a masculine trait... Elst and Frawley follow the Abrahamic mythic pattern that establishes them as ‘prophets’ leading the enslaved – colonised – Indians back to the ‘Vedic Promised Land’.
    • Devdutt Pattanaik, quoted from Elst, Koenraad. Hindu dharma and the culture wars. (2019). New Delhi : Rupa.
  • Elst, as his substantial "underground" following knows, is a linguist, historian, political scientist, prolific writer, brilliant mind and a wonderful raconteur.
    • Prof. Ramesh N. Rao, in Review of The Saffron Swastika - The Notion of Hindu "Fascism" [29]
  • Elst, an "outsider" has done a better job than any "insider" in challenging the "official" versions of history and the politically correct rendering of events and issues in modern India. ... These students don't want to give Elst a hearing. They are afraid that if he does get to speak, he might come across as a scholar who has indeed done his homework, a scholar who has collected data and is not merely parroting fancy theory and as someone seriously and effectively able to question the "given wisdom" of the "progressive scholars." Their gratuitous use of the term "Hindu right-wing" to describe people who do not belong to their camp (the camp that now labels itself "progressive" instead of taking on the opposite of "right wing, " i.e., "left wing") shows how quickly and easily these people use the tactics of demonizing and caricaturing, which they, most of all, should know is part of Goebbelsian and communist propaganda technique. ... Elst is absolutely right in his claim that some scholars in India have "white-washed" the Muslim invasions of India. ... . Wouldn't these "progressive" students like to see Elst's works banned?! That's what they are saying, but they don't have the courage to say so explicitly.
    • Prof. Ramesh N. Rao, in Review of Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society [30]
  • ... the prolific and sometimes anxiously contested Belgian researcher of Hindu movements and politics, Koenraad Elst. While Elst’s numerous writings on various topics are more suitable for debate by scholars in other disciplines, what may be relevant here specifically is his attempt to critically distinguish Hindu rhetoric of grievance from a more rigorous and analytical understanding of the Hindu experience of religious coercion and violence from monotheistic imperial forces in the past.
    • D Sharma, Ethics, Ethnocentrism and Social Science Research, 2020
  • Elst has been able to demonstrate that the 'secularist' positions is an ex-ante one. That, since the political implications of letting the 'Hindu' view go uncontested appear unpalatable, historical evidence has been proffered as a counter to faith.
    • Harsh Sethi, Justifying Hindu Hurt, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Jan. 26, 1991), pp. 167-168 Published by: Economic and Political Weekly
  • It was in this atmosphere of biased media and hostile narrative management amounting to outright historical negationism in the pre-internet age by the professional historians projecting Hindus as persecutors of Muslims in a 'majoritarian' (a rhetorical and pejorative perversion of the word 'democratic') state that Elst wrote his book Ram janmabhoomi vs. Babri Masjid: A case study in Hindu-Muslim conflict. It essentially reinstated the historical consensus regarding the Islamic practice of building of mosques on the site of demolished temples that has happened throughout medieval Indian history, besides debunking the historians' claims about the Babri mosque having been constructed on virgin land. This theme, along with exposing the partisan historians' claims and their deliberate distortion of history found in the primary sources has been the focus of his books on the debates over Ayodhya...
    In the opinion of this author, it is in his treatment of the question of Indo-European origins that Elst really comes into his own, bringing his multi-disciplinary expertise ranging across fields such as astronomy, linguistics, philosophy, philology and comparative mythology to bear on the problem, providing the careful scholar and inquisitive layman alike with an unparalled view of the settled and debatable parts of the problem. Given his vast range of study and research, he has been able to comment on the problem in a truly synthetic and holistic manner that often escapes the attention of specialists in one sub-discipline (e.g. archeoastronomy or linguistics or history). The books he has authored on this topic besides his numerous articles published on various fora should be topics for discussion and inclusion into Indian educational curricula, especially in higher education. And not merely for the amount and variety of information therein, but for his uniquely balanced perspective in weighing the objective worth of arguments on historical issues without impugning the alleged or imagined political motives of the proponents...
    Frequently accused of pandering to the 'evil Hindu nationalists' by his detractors who do not seem to have read his writings, he has in fact stated that nationalism is actually a "misstatement of Hindu concerns". Moreover he has extensively and frequently criticised the Hindu nationalist political movement for being anti-intellectual, unconcerned with Hindu issues related to the uneven application of Article 30, and frequently betraying the aspirations of its own rank and file Hindu membership as well as its own election manifesto. ..
    In the vaster canvas of Indian civilization, we may view Koenraad Elst not only as an academic researcher, but the latest representative of a larger movement from Europe going back to the Greeks who followed in Alexander's wake, observing, cataloguing and commenting on the "customs and manners" of Indians in general and Hindus in particular. What distinguishes him is his warm sympathy for his subject and his tangible intellectual services rendered to the Hindus in the process of setting the historical record right, ever tempered with an uncompromising respect for truth and fact. This last attribute regularly places him on the receiving end not only of adverse criticism, but also on occasion, outright dismissal and diatribes from diverse quarters ranging from western academics to modernist Hindu revivalists to traditionalist Hindus. We may therefore conclude with the trite but entirely apposite expression that Koenraad Elst is still far ahead of his time, and is likely to stay so for a very long time to come.
    • Sitaraman, R. (2023). "Belgian Decolonizer of the Hindu Mind: Koenraad Elst, Unaffiliated Orientalist". In: Blyth, C. (eds) 'Other' Voices in Education—(Re)Stor(y)ing Stories. SpringerBriefs in Education. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-99-5495-7_5
  • One wonders how he survives with 4 children... just his Indian book sales??... Obviously, the point is not Elst's private life or his unnamed children. Rather, his financing. Which is a mystery. We know that he is financed by some Indian publishers and that he gives lectures here and there. But there must be other sources. And his financing is of *some* interest, given the various VERY political stances he takes. This is not an ivory tower scholar, but a rather public figure, and we thus can take interest in his financial dealings, like those of -- ahem, much better known politicians, say Rev. Jackson or Mrs. Blair or of our great leaders here. Thus: curious... about the politics behind this. Why : to start with, obvious extremist right wing politics apart, Elst et al., are giving Indology a bad name. We have *some* social reponsibility.
    • Michael Witzel, quoted from Vigil, 'Thus Spake Professor Michael Witzel A Harvard University Case Study in Prejudice?' (2006)
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