Monday, March 30, 2015

India: Oppose Awarding Bharat Ratna to Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya and Atul Bihari Vajpayee by Harsh Thakor

                                                PANDIT MADAN MOHAN MALVIYA


Secular or patriotic  democratic forces in India have to condemn the Indian government posthumously giving the award of the Bharat Ratna to Atul Bihari Vajpayee and Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya.Today late Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya will be given the coveted award.
It is of no strange coincidence that in March 2015 the Hindu Mahasabha ,of which Malviya was one of the founders ,commemorates it’s centenary year.
In 2008 the government of India issued a stamp printing the photo of Malviya and in 1961 felicitated his centenary year.  
It reflects the blessings and patronage it gives to Hindu communal or fascistic ideology .
So many dead anti-colonial martyrs have been forgotten.
We have to particularly expose the felicitation of Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya. Some historians distort history by claiming Mohan Malviya was freedom fighter against British Rule. In fact he went out of the way to discourage the genuine anti-imperialist fighters and movements. He may have had some moralistic inclinations like on uplifting backward castes but nevertheless was a staunch proponent of the ideology of Hindutva.
He fought tooth and mail to promote the ideals of Hinduism which laid the seeds for such a movement taking a nationalistic form. Mohan Malviya laid the seeds for the formation of the Hindu Mahasaba in 1915 and later the R.S.S and Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
It is of no strange coincidence that in March 2015 the Hindu Mahasabha commemorates it’s centenary year. As an educationist he promoted the ideas of Hinduism and staunchly attacked Marxist ideals.
Historians have exposed the treachery of such figures in isolating progressive anti-imperialist movements.
Pandit Mohan Malviya sowed the very seeds of movements which later on took the form of the Rath Yatra in 1990 and precipitated the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992 or Godra riots in 2002.
The roots  of the Hindu communal fascist onslaught in India today are in the work of figures like Malviya  who launched a crusade against Christianity and Islam.
He was master in propagating that Hinduism comprised all the religions prevailing and promoted equality of all religions.
Atul Bihar Vajpayee encouraged the kar sevaks in the 1992 riots in Ayodhya. Today educational or cultural institutions go out of the way to promote teachings of the Bhagavada Gita or Vedanta, giving them a very progressive camouflage.
Corporates patronize institutionalization of Hinduism and teaching of religious Gurus or Organizations like Chinmaya mission.
Secular, scientific thinking is not promoted .In even primary schools Hindu communal teachings are imbibed which promote casteist ideals and indirectly even glorify fascism.
Progressive forces should not oppose people believing in God or being spiritual or upholding even some of the lofty ideals of the Bhagavad Gita which partially have scientific and progressive undertones but must unite to condemn those who wish to divide people on the basis of religion and caste .
Some teachings of the Vedas have scientfic relevance and are close to theory of evolution and people are entitled to their personal beliefs.
Even scientists like Oppenheimer, Einstein and now Hawkings quote certain teachings of the Gita.
A secular democracy is failing in it’s duty by felicitating historical figures who trampled against the ideals of secularism and democracy.
This year is the 50th anniversary year of the formation of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad founded by Swami Chinmayanda which has centres all over the world and great patronage of the India N.R.I’s.
Such missions have launched strong anti-marxist propaganda  and play an instrumental role in diverting the youth from anti-imperialist or progressive movements the world over.
No doubt it’s teachers comprise some of the most learned people and certain lofty ideals are expressed but overall they promote Hindu nationalism.
Middle class crowds and youth flock to discourses of such sections .In Mumbai there is a polarization of the Dalit sections with youth of other castes .
The Dalits vehemently oppose the casteist ideology in the Bhagavad Gita .
It is also of historical significance that the first leaders of the R.S.S. were great admirers of Hitler and Mussolini like Veer Savarkar or Moonje. During World War II RSS leaders openly admired Adolf Hitler.[39] Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, who became the supreme leader of the RSS after Hedgewar, drew inspiration from Adolf Hitler's ideology of race purity.[40]
RSS leaders were supportive of the Jewish State of Israel, including Savarkar himself, who supported Israel during its formation.[4 Promoting the Bhagavad   Gita as a national book in 2014 the Indian government has totally proved it’s Hindu communal credentials.
Communal historians distort the secular history of India by claiming that the Aryans were the original inhabitants of India and that Moghul rulers imposed tyranny on Hindus.
Today the scientific spirit is discouraged by organizations like Hare Krishna movement who oppose theory of evolution  and other scientific theories.
We need to build a secular cultural movement combating the trend of Hindu communal fascistic ideals  and even expose how leaders like Gandhi gave their patronage to leaders like Malviya.
Without hurting religious sentiments we  must make a critique of teachings of epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata, particularly on caste and also discover certain progressive aspects of the Gita in the Vedas.
We have to also build a movement to protect the rights of democratic intellectuals who expose religious communalism and promote scientific temper.
We need to bring out a series of articles exposing the anti-people historical role of forces like the Hindu Mahasabha who are just celebrating their centenary this month and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad who turned 50 in 1914.
The secular history of India has to be re-written and developed.We must remember how brilliantly the Hindu communal forces disguise or camouflage themselves through innovating different organizational forms.
The fascist nature of the Hindu Mahasabha  and R.S.S has to be exposed as well as their negative role in the anti British struggle and conspiracy against the genuine anti-Britsih resistance..
Even educated sections of the Indian intelligentsia is attracted to the ideals of Hindutva.
Above all  democratic intellectuals  have to guard themselves against the Hindi fascistic onslaught in times to come.
We have to particularly defend the rights of minorities like the Muslims and Christians who are facing attacks and never club minority communalism with the principal danger of Hindu majority communalism.

Below  I am re-producing an article by A.K.Noorani in Frontlineof great relevance
In a definitive essay entitled “Role of Benares in Constructing Hindu Identity” (Economic & Political Weekly, April 13, 2002) the distinguished Italian scholar Marzia Casolari recorded Madan Mohan Malaviya’s role in this process:
“Benares became one of the centres, if not the main centre, for the construction of a politicised Hindu identity. The life of the town was involved at several levels.
“One of the key figures of this process was certainly Madan Mohan Malaviya. He was associated to the ‘Bharat Dharm Mahamandal’ right from its foundation at Haridwar in 1887. While the Maharaja of Darbhanga was the main patron of the organisation, Malaviya, at the time director of the newspaper Hindustan, was elected ‘mahopadeshak’, or chief preceptor.… When, in 1910, the British authorities began to consider the association as a dangerous body, one which might promote potentially seditious activities, Malaviya dissociated from the Mahamandal but continued to take part in its annual meetings.…
“Malaviya had been much more involved in the activities of the ‘Prayag Hindu Samaj’, right from its foundation in Allahabad in 1880. This association had a more militant outlook than the Mahamandal. It promoted the improvement of Hindu society and religion and the training of Hindus to oppose and resist their enemies. As an eminent member of the movement for the promotion of Hindi as national language and the creation of Hindu educational institutions, at the end of the 19th century, Malaviya began to consider the foundation of a Hindu University. In 1904-05 he began to work concretely on this project.…
“The Benares Hindu University [BHU] received the government’s sanction at the end of 1915, was inaugurated in February 1916, and started to function officially on 1 April of the same year. Malaviya was Vice-Chancellor from 1919 to 1939.…
“The foundation of the BHU was the accomplishment of Malaviya’s efforts to strengthen the Hindu sense of identity and cohesiveness. The BHU thus became the public platform from which Malaviya propagandised his political ideas.
His was a two-pronged approach. As a prominent member of the Hindu Mahasabha, of which he was President in 1923, he could finally extend his programme of reorganising Hindu identity and society to the national level.
Founding Hindu primary schools with Hindi as official language, and grass roots level Hindu organisations, as well as participation in the ‘shuddi’ movement, were the main lines of Malaviya’s political involvement. I do not agree with the interpretation according to which ‘the Hindu Mahasabha was the daughter of the movement for the creation of the BHU’.
 I think it was just the opposite; the BHU was the result of the increasing sense of militancy in the Hindu segment of Indian society. Ultimately, Malaviya’s project of founding a Hindu University was part of a wider project for the promotion of Hindu education, and it also attracted many other organisations and supporters in other parts of northern India. He was part of a political milieu that considered Gandhian non-violence a form of cowardice and harmful to Hindu Society.…
Certainly, Malaviya’s project had a great deal in common with the RSS programme of building up the Hindu national character. Physical education and military training of BHU students took place under Malaviya’s exhortations. Indeed, the BHU had a most vigorous University Training Corps (UTC). Malaviya had never been a member, but he encouraged students to take part in the activities of the RSS and authorised an RSS building within the campus.
The BHU branch of the RSS became very active from 1928, thanks to Malaviya’s sanction and the activity of a number of volunteers. The BHU was thus finally absorbed in the milieu of militant Hinduism. Nevertheless, on several occasions in his public speeches Malaviya underlined the necessity to Indianise military service, almost in the same terms and with the same emphasis used by B.S. Moonje.
“It is well known that Golwalkar was himself a ‘creature’ of the BHU, where he graduated in biology and subsequently worked as a zoology lecturer. He joined the RSS at the BHU, after a visit by Hedgewar to the University in 1931.
“On Malaviya’s invitation, Jawaharlal Nehru also visited the BHU in November 1933. He considered ‘the Hindu University as the very citadel of Hindu communal thought’. It was not out of coincidence if in his speech he condemned communalism and criticised the activities of the Hindu Mahasabha. He labelled the organisation as reactionary and allied to other reactionary elements in India and Britain. From the point of view of a secular observer of the 1930s, the BHU therefore presented itself as a workshop of communal ideas and policies.”
In this, Nehru was alone.
Contrast the hostility of our political class and our media to Aligarh Muslim University with its benevolence towards the BHU.
Shrewd politician
Malaviya, for all his religiosity, was no saint but a politician who did not scruple to use means which only a politicians of a particular type use. Motilal Nehru discovered this trait during a hotly contested election and bitterly wrote to his son Jawaharlal on December 2, 1926:
“It was simply beyond me to meet the kind of propaganda stated against me under the auspices of the Malaviya-Lala gang. Publicly I was denounced as an anti-Hindu and pro-Mohammedan but privately almost every individual voter was told that I was a beef-eater in league with the Mohammedans to legalise cow slaughter in public places at all times. Shamji contributed to this propaganda in no small measure by saying that it was I who prevented his ‘Cow protection bill’ from being debated in the Assembly. He stood from the Fyzabad Division for the Assembly, the other two candidates being a Swarajist and Daddan Saheb of Amethi. The Swarajist was a well known and influential member of the bar but Daddan Saheb’s money won the day. Shamji was financed by Malaviya but Daddan was declared as his Party’s candidate.…
“Communal hatred and heavy bribing of the voters was the order of the day. I am thoroughly disgusted and am now seriously thinking of retiring from public life. What is worrying me is how to occupy my time. I am waiting for the Congress Session at Gauhati and keeping mum in the meanwhile. The Malaviya-Lala gang aided by Birla’s money are making frantic efforts to capture the Congress. They will probably succeed as no counter effort is possible from our side.
I shall probably make a public declaration after the Congress Session and with it resign my seat in the Assembly though I am still acclaimed as the leader of the strongest party in the country. We can do no possible good in the Assembly or the Councils with our present numbers and the kind of men we have. I fear there will soon be defections from our ranks but apart from this it is impossible to achieve anything. As for work in the country, I can see nothing which I can take up with any chance of success. My National Union for Hindu-Muslim Unity is of course there but in the present state of communal tension my voice will be a cry in the wilderness. I shall consult Gandhiji but as you know his hobbies do not interest me beyond a certain point” (Jawaharlal Nehru, A Bunch of Old Letters, Asia Publishing House, 1958, pages 49-50.)
The Lala was Lala Lajpat Rai, another Sangh Parivar hero, and the Birla was G.D. Birla, in cahoots with the Mahasabha and also an associate of Gandhi.
Scholars do not paint a flattering portrait of Malaviya either. Walter K. Anderson and Shridhar K. Damle wrote: “Hindu leaders called a national meeting at Benares in August 1923 to revive the Hindu Mahasabha, and it was attended by a broad spectrum of the Hindu community.
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, a spokesman of Hindu revivalism in the United Provinces, stated that the major objectives of the session were to ‘devise means to arrest the deterioration and decline of Hindus and to effect the improvement of the Hindus as a community’. Malaviya, in his presidential address to the session, stated that, ‘If the Hindus made themselves strong and the rowdy section among the Mahomedans were convinced they could not safely rob and dishonour Hindus, unity would be established on a stable basis.’ To attain this end, he suggested that caste Hindus accept untouchables as ‘true Hindus’, and end their segregation at schools, wells, and temples. He also suggested that a movement should be launched to reclaim Hindus who had been willingly or forcibly converted” (The Brotherhood in Saffron, 1987, pages 28-29).
Malaviya influenced many Congressmen, particularly Purshottam Das Tandon. Malaviya played the sinister role of a Trojan horse within the Congress. “Under Malaviya, the Mahasabha had made significant inroads into the political machinery of Congress, opposing both the Gandhian and Swarajist factions and their (divergent) strategies of non-cooperation.
By 1926, the Mahasabha had not only claimed the right, within Congress, of its local Sabhas to nominate their own candidates for local elections but had attempted to get Congress to abstain from provincial elections where the Mahasabha proffered an alternative candidate representing ‘Hindu interests’. Communal organisations had been blacklisted by Congress in 1925 and 1926. The Swaraj Party, then controlling Congress, was to curtail the influence of the Mahasabha, viewing the latter as a communal organisation (Gordon 1975). Congress later resolved in 1934 to forbid any of its members to simultaneously belong to the Hindu Mahasabha, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh or the Muslim League. From the early 1920s, the attention of the All-India Hindu Mahasabha turned towards the issue of religious conversions and shuddhi, and the formation of the All-India Shuddhi Sabha in 1923 under the aegis of the Arya Samaj” (Chetan Bhatt, Hindu Nationalism, Berg, Oxford, 2001, page 61). The Swarajists were led by Motilal Nehru.
 In which Madan Mohan Malaviya has been conferred Bharat Ratna by the Narendra Modi government. Who was Malaviya?

Below I am reproducing an article written by R.Ramkumar in December 2014 by
A leader of the Hindu Mahasabha in the 20th century, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya helped establish the Bharat Dharm Mahamandal in 1887, and was its Chief Preceptor. The mandal aimed at the promotion of religious education based on Sanatana Dharma and knowledge of sacred texts. Malaviya was also a founder member of the Prayag Hindu Samaj in 1880. The Samaj had more militant aims than the Mandal: to promote Hindu society and Hindu religion, and train Hindus to oppose and resist their enemies.
True to its spirit, Malaviya argued in 1923: "Friendship could exist between equals. If the Hindus made themselves strong and the rowdy section among the Mahomedans were convinced they could not safely rob and dishonour Hindus, unity would be established on a stable basis." For him, the reason why Hindu-Muslim unity was weak was because the Hindu was not united. Peace could be achieved only by showing the enemy (i.e., the "bad elements among the Muslims") the possible destruction that a reciprocal attack could result in.
Thus, Hindu militancy could be a deterrent to the "threat" that Hindus faced from Muslims! In this way, "sanghatan" became an established aim of the Hindu Mahasabha under Malaviya. No wonder, he received the award when an RSS man is the Prime Minister.

Malaviya was also one of the first Hindu leaders in the 1920s to rake up issues of relationships between Hindu women and Muslim men, and give it a communal colour (see his presidential speech in 1923 at the Hindu Mahasabha conference in Banares). This was one of the foremost expressions of what the RSS now calls "Love Jihad".

It was also Malaviya who initiated the programme of "shuddhi" (alongside "sanghatan") of the Hindu Mahasabha, which aimed at reconverting those who moved away from Hinduism in the past. In a resolution passed under his leadership, the Hindu Mahasabha, for instance, asked the Hindu religious leaders of Malabar to " all the converts and restore them to their former caste and social status". Emphasis: former caste and former social status! Is it a surprise, then, that he is being awarded the Bharat Ratna when the "ghar wapasi" campaign is at its peak?

Malaviya was the founder of the Banares Hindu University (BHU) and its Vice-Chancellor between 1919 and 1939. The BHU was established with the aim of promoting Hindu education. It was Malaviya as the Vice-Chancellor who allowed the RSS to open a branch and run a shakha inside the university premises in 1929. Thus, he was instrumental in saffronising the BHU, giving every course a communal colour and transforming the campus into a hotbed for communal politics in northern India.

Along with Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a life-long RSS pracharak and one who incited karsevaks in Ayodhya with his speeches, the Bharat Ratna to Malaviya represents the new trend of transforming communal leaders of the past into national icons; what secularism remains with such icons?
A reproduced research by TEKJHAR JHA.
Madan Mohan Malviya, for whom a Bharat Ratna award was announced last week, was not the only central figure in establishing Banaras Hindu University. That claim has been made by independent researcher Tejkar Jha, who is giving the final touches to a book on the history of BHU.  Jha, the author of Bihar in the Eyes of British Travelers and Painters: 1780-1850 and Pictorial Biography of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, discussed his latest research with

What made you start your research on Banaras Hindu University?

 I visited the BHU in 2012 and saw that every room had a photograph of Madan Mohan Malviya with the caption "Founder of BHU". The question arose, what is the evidence to suggest this? We are talking about an institution created in 20th century, not in ancient period or medieval times. In BHU, the documents of the period from 1905 to 1916 were missing. Hence, I thought to reinvestigate the matter and bring out the whole truth regarding the establishment of BHU.

 Was Madan Mohan Malviya not the founder of BHU?

 No, Madan Mohan Malaviya was at the most a fringe player in the movement that led to the foundation of BHU. He neither had the means to establish a university, nor had the clout to obtain a sanction from the government. He was also not in a position to sell the idea to zamindars and ruling chiefs. Due to these reasons, he could not achieve anything from 1904 (the time he says that he conceived the idea and brought out a prospectus) to 1911 (when he joined hands with [British Theosophist and Home Rule League founder] Annie Besant and the Maharaja of Darbhanga). Thereafter, when the Society for establishment of Hindu University was formed, Malaviya was just an ordinary member.

On the other hand, Maharaja of Darbhanga Rameshwar Singh acted as the president of the Society for Hindu University, led the movement by corresponding with the government and touring the country for collection of funds. (Report published in London Times, June 27, 1913).

Are you saying that as per contemporary documents, it was not Malviya but Maharaja of Darbhanga who was the real founder of BHU?

 No institution can be founded by one single person. The era of 1910-1920 was completely dominated by the colonial power. Gandhi had not emerged and Congress was just a small party and was opposed to the government that had to sanction the institution. Again, India was still under-developed industrially, hence the money required could only come from the zamindars and ruling chiefs. So who was the person who could have equal access to both the government of the day and the zamindars/ruling chiefs? Obviously Malaviya could not be the one.

I do not say that Malaviya should not be given the credit, but he was certainly not the main player. Annie Besant gave her Central Hindu College for the university, and Maharaja of Darbhanga, Sir Rameshwara Singh, led the movement that resulted in the establishment of BHU. As the president of the Society for Hindu University, he interacted with the government and got the funds from zamindars and ruling chiefs by visiting everyone several times. He himself donated Rs 5 lakhs. That is why it is his signature that is found on most important correspondence of the period and it is his name that appeared in contemporary media reports as the main figure behind the movement for BHU.

Even at the Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony on February 4, 1916, the Maharaja of Darbhanga made the speech on behalf of the Society for BHU, as its President, and the Viceroy replied to it. No other person made any speech on the day. Also, it was he who got all the congratulatory telegrams, including that from Sir Harcourt Butler (member, education in Governor General’s Council).

 What sources did you consult to arrive at this conclusion and what do these documents say?

 I collected 180 pages of government correspondence, speeches, Society's Reports, tour reports, letters from ruling chiefs and general people, newspaper reports (original copies) and about 138 pages of similar documents from Butler Collection kept at British Archives. These documents either are directed to Maharaja of Darbhanga or originate from his table. The London Times report refers only to Maharaja Darbhanga and Sir Harcourt Butler. Needless to say, the Maharaja of Darbhanga played the most important role. While presenting the Bill for setting up BHU in March 1915, Sir Harcourt Butler says, “Before I go further I must congratulate the Committee, and especially the Maharaja Bahadur of Darbhanga, Mrs. Besant, Dr. Sundarlal, Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya, Rai Bahadur Ganga Prasad Verma, Sir Gooroo Dass Bannerji, Dr. Rash Behari Ghose, and outside the committee such active helpers as the Maharaja of Bikanir and the Maharaja of Banaras, on the success which has already crowned their efforts.”

Similarly, a leading magazine from Calcutta – The Hindoo Patriot (January 11, 1915) – writes, “In the Maharaja  Bahadur of Darbhanga, the promoters have found a superb leader whose enthusiasm is equaled only by his influence and the future historian of the Hindu University will delight to dwell upon those highly successful tours of the Maharaja Bahadur from one end of the country to the other, which had brought such substantial accessions to its funds in all the successive stages of the movement.” In other documents also the Maharaja is referred to as the leader of this movement.

Where does this leave Malviya?

Malaviya was a member of the Society. But in contradiction to the rule no. 5 of the Memorandum of Association of the Society for BHU, he took honorarium for working for the Society. He then donated this amount to the University Fund. Malaviya worked on the ground-level coordinating with several people. So he too is entitled to the status of founder but not as the main founder. The first history of the BHU was written during his tenure as the Vice Chancellor in 1936 by a senate member, Mr. Sundaram. This book, BHU 1905 to 1935, does not give any clear picture of the establishment work from 1911 to 1916. No document save the two from October 1911 (letters from Maharaja of Darbhanga to Butler and the reply) is mentioned in the book. The role of the Maharaja of Darbhanga and Annie Besant as also of the zamindars of Bengal, Bihar, UP is played down.

You said Malaviya received honorarium for working for the Society formed to set up the BHU. Why was it given to him in violation of the rule?

 There is no record showing why he was given honorarium in violation of the rule no. 5. It is mentioned clearly on Page 81 of the book by V.A.Sundaram that Malaviya received an honorarium for his work for the Society and donated it to the University Fund.

How did this happen?

Since the first book on the history of BHU was commissioned by Malaviyaji, as the Vice Chancellor of the University, does not carry the documents from 1905 to 1919 and declares Malaviyaji as the “founder”, I think, the onus lies on Malaviyaji for deliberately hiding the facts. The Maharaja of Darbhanga Sir Rameshwara Singh died in 1929, Sir Sundar Lal (the secretary of the Society formed to set up the BHU) died in 1917, and most others also passed away by the time this book was commissioned. Malaviyaji, who was in power, could now dictate the selective choice of documents.

What precisely was the role of Malaviya in setting up BHU?

Malaviyaji, like Annie Besant and Rameshwara Singh, had also visualised a university for Hindus. He worked amongst the masses to popularise the scheme. He also toured with the Maharaja of Darbhanga on a few occasions. The documents don’t suggest anything else which Malaviyaji did.


                                                                   Annie Besant
Annie Besant is often forgotten even as it was she who set up the college that was later developed into the BHU. What was her role in this entire movement?

 Annie Besant had a college (Central Hindu College) which she wanted to develop as a university. She had named her university as The India University. Later she decided to join hands with Malaviya and the Maharaja because she was not capable of getting the funds (Rs.1.5 crores) for setting up a Private Residential University.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Combating fascism is necessary. But, to do that, is it necessary to attack Hinduism? it is better to promote the best traditions of Hinduism, rather than try and destroy Hinduism itself.

By attacking your own culture, you do not realize that you at the same time alienate millions of poor peasants and workers who are proud of their ancient religion.