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ssaulting_India's pluralist ethos (Letter) - The Hindu

D. Harikumar, Kochi ()
November 6, 1998

Title: ssaulting India's pluralist ethos (Letter)
Author: D. Harikumar, Kochi
Publication: The Hindu
Date: November 6, 1998

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

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

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

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

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

The Vedas and the Upanishads have nothing to do with the Hindu

religion. They only expound the theories of the existence of the
world and the do's and don'ts for the creatures living in it. We
just cannot wish away the fact that everything that we consider
our contribution to mankind lies in Sanskrit. Until and unless
we, learn that language how can we come to know the greatness
and pitfalls of our tradition?

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


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