Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi

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Munshi on a 1988 stamp of India

Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi (pronounced [kə.nəi.ya.lal ma.ɳek.lal mun.ʃi]; 30 December 1887 – 8 February 1971), popularly known by his pen name Ghanshyam Vyas, was an Indian independence movement activist, politician, writer and educationist from Gujarat state. A lawyer by profession, he later turned to author and politician. He is a well-known name in Gujarati literature. He founded Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, an educational trust, in 1938.

Quotes[edit]

  • Yesterday you referred to Hindu revivalism. You pointedly referred to me in the Cabinet as connected with Somnath. I am glad you did so; for I do not want to keep back any part of my views or activities….I can assure you that the ‘Collective Subconscious’ of India today is happier with the scheme of reconstruction of Somnath sponsored by the Government of India than with many other things that we have done and are doing...
    The intention to throw open the temple to harijans has evoked some criticism from the orthodox section of the Hindu community. However, the objects of the Trust Deed make it clear that the temple is not only to be open to all classes of the Hindu community, but, according to the tradition of the old temple of Somnath, also to non-Hindu visitors. Many have been the customs which I have defied in personal life from boyhood. I have laboured in my humble way through literary and social work to share or reintegrate some aspects of Hinduism, in the conviction that that alone will make India an advanced and vigorous nation under modern conditions...
    It is my faith in our past which has given me the strength to work in the present and to look forward to our future. I cannot value India’s freedom if it deprives us of the Bhagavad Gita or uproots our millions from the faith with which they look upon our temples and thereby destroys the texture of our lives. I have been given the privilege of seeing my incessant dream of Somnath reconstruction come true. That makes me feel – makes me almost sure – that this shrine once restored to a place of importance in our life will give to our people a purer conception of religion and a more vivid consciousness of our strength, so vital in these days of freedom and its trials.”
    • Letter to Pandit Nehru.. Kanhaiyalal M. Munshi , reproduced in his famous book Pilgrimage to Freedom. [1]
  • To be a history in the true sense of the word, the work must be the story of the people inhabiting a country. It must be a record of their life from age to age presented through the life and achievements of men whose exploits become the beacon-lights of tradition; through the characteristic reaction of the people to physical and economic conditions; through political changes and vicissitudes which create the forces and conditions which operate upon life; through characteristic social institutions, beliefs and forms; through literary and artistic achievements; through the movements of thought which from time to time helped or hindered the growth of collective harmony; through those values which the people have accepted or reacted to and which created or shaped their collective will; through efforts of the people to will themselves into an organic unity. The central purpose of a history must, therefore, be to investigate and unfold the values which, age after age, have inspired the inhabitants of a country to develop their collective will and to express it through the manifold activities of their life. Such a history of India is still to be written.
    • in History and Culture of the Indian People Volume 7: The Mughul Empire [1526-1707]
  • In its (secularism) name, anti-religious forces, sponsored by secular humanism or Communism, condemns religious piety, particularly in the majority community..
  • In its name, again, politicians in power adopt a strange attitude which, while it condones the susceptibilities, religious and social, of the minority communities, is too ready to brand similar susceptibilities in the majority community as communalistic and reactionary.
  • How secularism sometimes becomes allergic to Hinduism will be apparent from certain episodes relating to the Somnath temple
  • These unfortunate postures have been creating a sense of frustration in the majority community.
  • If however the misuse of this word 'secularism' continues...if every time there is an inter-communal conflict, the majority is blamed regardless of the merits of the questions; if our holy places of pilgrimage like Banaras, Mathura and Rishikesh continue to be converted into industrial slums... the springs of traditional tolerance will dry up.
    • Kanhaiya Lal Munshi in a letter to Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru, quoted (partially) in Kishwar, Madhu (2014). Modi, Muslims and media: Voices from Narendra Modi's Gujarat. p.210, with quote from K.M. Munshi, Indian Constitutional Documents: Pilgrimage to Freedom, 1902-1950. and Pilgrimage to Freedom by K.M. Munshi, p. 312) (also in Gujarat Riots: the True Story: The Truth of the 2002 Riots, also in Hindutva For The Changing Times, also in Profiles in Deception: Ayodhya and the Dead Sea Scrolls , also in BJP's White Paper on Ayodhya & the Rama Temple Movement, also in Politics in India, 1992-93, and numerous other books)
  • The modern historian of India must approach her as a living entity with a central continuous urge, of which the apparent life is a mere expression. Without such an outlook, it is impossible to understand India, which…stands today strong…determined not to be untrue to its ancient self.
  • Readers were regaled with Alexander’s short-lived and unfructuous invasion of India; they were left in ignorance of the magnificent empire and still more enduring culture which the Gangetic Valley had built up by the time. Lurid details of intrigues in the palaces of the Sultans of Delhi…are given, but little light is thrown on the exploits of the…heroes and heroines who for centuries resisted the Central Asiatic barbarians...the Great National Revolt of 1857 gave the readers a glimpse of how the brave foreigner crushed India. It is only outside so-called historical studies that the reader found how…patriotic men and women of all communities…rallied…to drive out the hated foreigner. The multiplicity of our languages and communities is widely advertised but little emphasis is laid on certain facts which make India what she is.
  • I have seen and felt the form, continuity and meaning of India’s past. History, as I see it, is being consciously lived by Indians. Attempts to complete what has happened in the past form no small part of our modern struggle; there is a conscious as well as an unconscious attempt to carry life to perfection, to join the fragments of existence, and to discover the meaning of the visions which they reveal.
  • The role of alien invasions in the history of India, hitherto exaggerated, deserves to be reduced to its appropriate proportions…But during all this period, the vitality of the race and culture…expressed itself with unabated vigour. The history of India is not the story of how she underwent foreign invasions, but how she resisted them and eventually triumphed over them.
  • All of us acquiesced in what Jawaharlal Nehru had already done... only one or two venturing to voice feeble criticism. Among them was Sri N.V. Gadgil for whom there was a snub: “Don’t you realize that the Himalayas are there?” I timidly ventured to say that in the seventh century Tibetans had crossed the Himalayas and invaded Kanauj.... To my knowledge the meeting suggested by Sardar did not take place... Comment is hardly necessary.
    • K.M. Munshi, Pilgrimage to Freedom, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay, 1967, Volume I, p. 175ff and in Arun Shourie - Self-Deception _ India's China Policies_ Origins, Premises, Lessons-Harper Collins (2013)

Somnath The Shrine Eternal[edit]

  • In the year A.D. 1000, he turned his attention to India and gave it a foretaste of total war which she did not know before. Jn Central Asia unlike in India wars were fought for destruction and not for incre acknowledgment of the eonqueror’s suzerainty—dtgvijaya. There were no laws, no morals to circumscribe the barbarities of war; and Nor- thern India, wrapped in the security which the Imperial Gurjars had provided, saw with startled awe, torrents of barbarians sweeping every thing before them, intent on murder, rape and loot.

External links[edit]

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