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.

Koenraad Elst (born 7 August 1959) is a Belgian Indologist, historian, and writer. He holds three MA degrees (in Sinology, Indology, and Philosophy) as well as a PhD magna cum laude from BHU on Hindu Nationalism. Elst is the author of over twenty books on Indian history, Hinduism, and Indian politics. In particular, his interests include the root of Indo-European languages, the Ram Mandir dispute, secularism in India, and the historical legacy of Mahatma Gandhi. Elst has critiqued aspects of Islam, for which he has been criticised by some scholars.

Quotes[edit]

  • 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. (Gruber & Kersten 1995, Derrett 2001) 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. (Lindtner 2000) 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.

1990s[edit]

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. 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.
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.
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.
In the West, secularism implies pinpricking religious fraud and arrogance, but in India, secularists are the most eloquent defenders of myth and theocracy.
  • 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
  • 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 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.
  • 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 Problem of Christian Missionaries , 7 June 1999. [2]
  • 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.

Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991)[edit]

Online
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Negationism in India, (1992)[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hindu society is a terrorized 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.

The Ayodhya Demolition: an Evaluation (1995)[edit]

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)[edit]

  • 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.

Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate, (1999)[edit]

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.

2000s[edit]

  • 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.
    • From an interview with Dr. Ramesh Rao (2002) at sulekha.com [3]
  • 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".
    • An Interview With Koenraad Elst , 2002 [4]
  • 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.
    • Found and Lost: The Ayodhya Evidence (2003) [5]
  • 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
  • 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) [6]
  • 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?" [7]

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

  • 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)

Who is a Hindu, (2001)[edit]

  • 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.

Decolonizing the Hindu Mind (2001)[edit]

  • 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.

The Saffron Swastika (2001), Volume I[edit]

  • 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...
  • Long centuries before any foreigner had settled in India, the unity of the country was materialized in symbols. What more suggestive than that, for instance, of Sati, Siva's consort, whose body, divided after her death in fity-one pieces, is lying still in fifty-one different places, theorfore revered as 'tithasthans', throughout the Indian peninsula? .... 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 fo the Ramayana and the Mhahabharata is not dated later than the first encturies AD, and they are fully familiar with the concept and surface of India, as are Kalidasa's Raghuvamsha and the Puranas.

The Saffron Swastika (2001), Volume II[edit]

  • 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 nationlism.
  • 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.
  • 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

Ayodhya: The Case Against the Temple (2002)[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Ayodhya, the Finale (2003)[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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...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.... 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.
  • 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.

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

  • 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?

The Problem with Secularism (2007)[edit]

  • 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.
    • K. Elst: Religious Cleansing of Hindus, 2004, Agni conference in The Hague, in The Problem with Secularism (2007)
  • 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.

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

  • 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.
    • Also in: Lets combat communalism (Elst, 2001)
  • 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.
    • Hinduism, Environmentalism and the Nazi Bogey -- A preliminary reply to Ms. Meera Nanda, In: Return of the Swastika: Hate and Hysteria versus Hindu Sanity (2007), chapter 3.
  • 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.
    • Hinduism, Environmentalism and the Nazi Bogey -- A preliminary reply to Ms. Meera Nanda, In: Return of the Swastika: Hate and Hysteria versus Hindu Sanity (2007), chapter 3.
  • 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)
  • 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. ... And then it gets really bad: ... 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. (Ch 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)
  • 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)

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

  • 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’.”

2010s[edit]

  • 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, [8]
  • 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.
    • The Ayodhya conflict solved, 20 Feb 2019 . [9]
  • 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) [10]
  • 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) [11]
  • [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) [12]
  • 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) [13]
  • 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

The argumentative Hindu (2012)[edit]

  • 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. ... [14]
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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. (283-7)

On Modi Time (2015)[edit]

  • 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)

Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse's defence (2018)[edit]

  • 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...

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

  • 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)[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

2020s[edit]

  • 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 [15]
  • "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."

Quotes about Koenraad Elst[edit]

  • 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. 
  • 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 [16]
  • 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" [17]
  • 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 [18]
  • 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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