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Book folder
Nationalism without a Nation in India
John Hickman. Contemporary South Asia. Abingdon: Mar 2000. Vol. 9,
Iss. 1; pg. 77, 2 pgs

What explains the failure of Indian nationalism to deliver an Indian
national identity? Given the recent electoral triumphs of the Hindu
communal nationalist BJP and allied parties, efforts to provide a
cogent answer to this question have assumed a new importance.
India's extraordinary social diversity continues to find expression
in an extraordinary diversity of political movements. <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>In the absence
of the political symbols and values that comprise a single national
identity, the resulting political conflicts are probably more
intense and difficult to resolve. What went wrong?</span> Although it is
written in the often `gummy' language of post-modernism, this work
by G: Aloysius offers an interesting answer derived from an analysis
that owes much to the theoretical work of Ernest Gellner and
Benedict Anderson on nationalism. Aloysius employs what he describes
as the historical sociological method to explore and ultimately
extract meaning from the ambiguous terminology used in the
ideological articulation of Indian nationalism. Basic to this
analysis is a definition of the nation as a modern form of society
characterised by a homogeneous culture or an `equitable' political
community which `precedes nationalism at least logically if not
historically' (pp 11-12). The nation is thus understood to be more
real than any nationalism(s) used to describe it or legitimate the
authority of its government.

Aloysius begins his investigation in the century before British
rule, a period in which the dominant Brahminic hierarchy and varna
ideology were subject to widespread and increasing contestation
inside and outside the community of Hindu believers. British
colonial rule turned back these challenges by upholding caste
segregation, guaranteeing the property rights of largely upper caste
rural elites, permitting a near monopolisation of modern English
educational opportunities by Brahmins, and recruiting much of the
bureaucratic personnel of the colonial state from among the upper
castes. `Viewed in the context of the slow erosion of pre-colonial
social structure that had been taking place, the impact of
colonialism was to arrest the social progress, economic
diversification and emergence of culture-based polities and revert
to an environment and climate of pan-Indian Brahminical feudal
consolidation ...' (p 51). Immediately before and after
independence, these upper caste elites legitimated their power with
an ideology that fused both religious and secular elements, and at
least partially masked their caste and class hegemony. Indian
nationalism is thus indicted as a device employed to secure
succession to state power from the British by the upper caste elites
who had been their collaborators in colonial rule, a device that was
also employed to overwhelm various regional nationalisms and
populist movements, which might have contested that succession to
state power.

In the penultimate chapter of the book, the focus shifts to M.K.
Gandhi. After offering obligatory praise for Gandhi as person and
politician, the author presents a harsh appraisal of Gandhian
ideology and political practice for using religion in the service of
upper caste interests. The religious language used in Gandhian
discourse `meant religion for the lower caste masses and politics
for the upper caste nationalists' (p 182). Exploiting Cow Protection
and the Khilafat as issues not only resulted in the `vertical
mobilization of Hindu and Muslim communities' but also `submerging
the struggling discourse of social mobility, education,
diversification of occupation for the lower castes' (p 185).
Partition and even deeper social division within the northern states
of independent India were the consequences of these efforts.

<span style='color:red'>The author concludes that Indian nationalism delivered a state but
not a nation because it was simply the ideological vehicle for upper
caste hegemony. By implication, this basic failure would explain the
success of a contemporary Hindu communal nationalism less
adulterated by egalitarian hypocrisies and of the multiple regional
nationalisms that challenge the unity and territorial integrity of
The reader should be cautioned that Aloysius repeatedly makes the
heroic assumption that members of social groups share common
consciousness. Shared religion, language, caste, or class are all
assumed to generate not only consciousness of group identity but
also agreement about common interests.

[Author Affiliation]
John Hickman
Berry College, USA

Nationalism without a Nation in India (by G. Aloysius) Delhi: Oxford
University Press, 1998 ISBN 0-19-564653-3
Book Review
Nationalism without a Nation
Reviewed By Yoginder Sikand

Name of the book: Pakistan-Nationalism without a
Editor: Christophe Jaffrelot
Publisher: Manohar, New Delhi
Year: 2002, Pages: 352
ISBN: 1-84277-116-7

Pakistan, the first country in the modern world to have been created in the name of religion, has, since its inception, been faced with the daunting task of nation-building and coming to terms with its diverse ethnicities. Much has already been written on the dilemmas that Pakistan faces, as it seeks to balance what often seem to be the mutually conflicting demands of Islamic universalism, on the one hand, and ethnic particularism, on the other. This collection of essays provides a broad account of the problems of nation-building in contemporary Pakistan. As the book's title suggests, the task of creating a nation on the basis of a universal religious ideology has not been easy, for Islam and nationalism seem to be at odds with each other.

Christophe Jaffrelot's opening essays deals with the basic problem afflicting Pakistan: a perennial search for identity and unifying symbols seeking to bring together a diverse collection of peoples who share little in common other than their religion. The 'two-nation' theory, on which the Muslim League under Jinnah based its project for a separate Pakistan, has meant, Jaffrelot says, that Pakistani nationalism has always sought to define itself against the Indian/Hindu other. In other words, it is a negative self-identity, premised essentially on an unrelenting anti-Indianism. This has not proved an effective way of uniting the various different ethnic groups in the country, however. Jaffrelot shows how, increasingly, groups such as the Mohajirs, the Sindhis and the Baluchis, following the example of the Bengalis of the erstwhile East Pakistan, have been increasingly resentful of what they see as Punjabi domination, with the Punjabi-dominated bureaucracy and army employing Islam as a tool for keeping other ethnic groups in their place. Four incisive articles that follow the introduction, each dealing with various aspects of the ethnic question in Pakistan. Ian Talbot discusses the notion of the 'Punjabisation of Pakistan', arguing that although in the decades after independence Punjabi domination has clearly increased, not all regions and social classes in Punjab have actually stood to gain, as the benefits of economic development have largely accrued to certain social and economic classes concentrated in a few districts of the province. Yunas Samad describes the chequered history of the Mohajirs of Pakistan, Urdu-speaking refugees and their descendants, concentrated, for the most part, in urban Sind. He shows how Mohajir identity has undergone a radical shift over the years, with the community having been, in the first years of Pakistan, a dominant factor in the country's bureaucracy and polity, and now being increasingly pushed aside by Punjabis and Pathans. Alongside this, Mohajir self-perceptions have also been dramatically transformed. <span style='color:red'>From being vociferous champions of the 'two nation' theory and Islamist politics, they are now among its most bitter critics. </span>This process of reformulation of ethnic identities in Pakistan cannot be separated from the process of sectarianism, as S.V.R.Nasr and Mariam Abou Zahab show in their contributions. They argue that as the Pakistani state has increasingly sought to use Islam as a tool of legitimation, the <span style='color:red'>official version of Islam has been challenged by rival versions, thus giving rise to extreme sectarian strife, as between the Shias and the Sunnis, and, among the Sunnis, between the Deobandis and the Barelwis. The principal dilemma that Pakistan faces today in seeking to fashion a coherent national identity is the challenge of seeking to reconcile Islamic internationalism with Pakistani nationalism.</span>
Increasingly, the Pakistani state has sought to use Islamist groups to serve its own internal and external interests. As an inevitable consequence, militant Islamist factions have mushroomed, and today threaten to drown the country in civil strife. Saeed Shafqat's essay deals with the shift from what he calls 'official Islam' to 'militant Islamism', focusing in particular on the Lashkar-i-Tayyeba, the armed wing of the Ahl-i-Hadith. Oliver Roy's essay deals with the Taliban, tracing Pakistan's role in bringing the Deobandi student militia to power in Kabul to serve its own interests, a project that has now ended in miserable failure. Gilles Dorronsoro's piece deals with the same issue and makes largely the same observations. The take-over of the Kashmiri struggle for self-determination and independence by pro-Pakistan Islamists, sponsored and armed by the Pakistani state, exhibits how Islam has become a convenient tool for pursuing strategic objectives, Sumit Ganguly argues in his paper titled 'The Islamic Dimensions of the Kashmir Insurgency'. As in the case of Afghanistan, Pakistan's deliberate use of Islam as a weapon has not only wrought tremendous destruction in Kashmir, but has also meant a radical negation of the indigenous Islamic ethos, based as it is on a generous tolerance and acceptance of diversity. Linked to the Islamic question is the manner in which Pakistan has sought to negotiate its own foreign policy. Mohammed Waseem's article traces the links between Pakistani domestic and foreign policies, focusing in particular on the Islamic dimension. The use of Islam as a means for pursuing Pakistan's own objectives in Kashmir, sidelining the pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation front and, in its place, propping up a plethora of pro-Pakistan Islamist outfits, has had, as Amelie Blom writes, crucial unintended consequences for Pakistani civil society, leading to sharp sectarianism and general instability. Ian Talbot rounds off the discussion with a general discussion on the role of the army in moulding Pakistani foreign policy. If the general tenor of the articles is depressing, Pierre Lafrance's piece, the last in the volume, suitably titled 'And Yet Pakistan', ends on a more cheery note. Despite the manifold and increasing challenges that Pakistan is beset with, it has still managed to survive. But between mere survival and thriving there is more than a world of difference. q
Saffron Book


Awake and Unite!

After centuries, a unique opportunity has come our way. The current can be the Indian century provided we Indians amalgamate as metals in an alchemy. Combined to create a national synergy so that the efforts of four Indians lead to the result of five or six. That is the only way we can generate surpluses in order to leapfrog across lost centuries.

For the greater part of history, brawn has dominated brain, muscle has overruled mind. World War II was an epic example of the resulting brutality. Now, at last, a time has come when the brain is beginning to ride the body. The greed of nations no longer covets the territory of other countries. Colonialism ended decades ago as land ceased to be the principal source of wealth. In the process, trade has replaced war as the instrument for centuries to enrich themselves. The Indian generally, and the Hindu in particular has preferred trade to war.

At the dawn of this millennium, there are high hopes and many expectations. With the advent of the computer revolution, we are set to play a big role in information technology. Five million or more Indians are likely to get rich as a result. That is a matter not only of hope but also honour. But India is a nation of a hundred crore. What about the rest of our people? Just as a chain is as weak as its weakest link, a society is as woeful as its poorest section. Unless we enable all our people to have a chance to be well off, India will not be united enough to seize the opportunity.

Apart from the difference between the poor and the rich, there are several obstacles in the path of Indian unity. The Muslim contempt and the Hindu hatred must be overcome.

This is the deepest and the wildest schism in our society. Without removing or bridging it, India cannot be truly one nation. I have therefore devoted a great deal of space to this syndrome. Many leaders ranging from Emperor Akbar to Bhakta Kabir to Mahatma Gandhi have all failed to bridge the schism except temporarily or in a few sectors. Their approach was to placate whereas mine is to be open and frank. Unless everyone is enabled to express oneself freely, no true dialogue, or understanding can come about. After all, there can be no true friendship without frankness. How can there be a true friendship unless the two speak up the truth about each other?

Women must get their equal place in society. Casteism must go. There should be no need for anyone to feel like a dalit or a neglected tribal. This book shows how these gulfs can be bridged. Unless every region of the country makes equable progress, national unity will be difficult to sustain. The backward region would have a grievance while the prosperous area would consider the poor an economic drag. The vast difference in the employment prospects of those educated in English and the rest has to be removed, if ours is to be a united society.

A bane of our country are the anti-Hindu Hindus who enjoy all the legitimacy of their Hindu pedigree including names such as Sitaram, Harkishan and yet spend all their lives trying to divide our society by inciting the poor without reducing their poverty, instigating the Muslim without redressing his grievance. In fact, they form a perennial fifth column. Are they not a symptom of a masochistic trait? Or, are they a cancer that destroys the pride and self-confidence of Indians as a nation? Or else how can India tolerate a street in the middle of New Delhi that commemorates Aurangzeb?


About The Book

Anti Hindus has been an attempt by Prafull Goradia to highlight the contempt towards the Hindu ethos that prevails amongst the intelligentsia in India.

Anti-Hindus, Prafull Goradia says, consists of sadists, like painter Maqbool Fida Hussain, who harbour contempt for the Hindus; as well as masochists, like S. Gopal, who derive gratification by flagellating their own people.

Anti Hindus talks in detail about M F Hussain's paintings and draws a comparison between Hindu and Muslim subjects. Ironically, Muslim and Christian subjects have been portrayed as fully clothed decent people while Hindu subjects have been dealt in an embarrassing manner in his paintings.

To make the readers fully aware of the corrupt ideas of Hussain, Anti Hindus has 32 colour photographs of his paintings that describe him as a sexually perverse person whose revolting paintings of Hindu Goddesses and women copulating with animals are bound to throw any normal person into a state of frenzy.

There can be no greater perversity than shown by the portrayal of deities in union with animals in Hussain's paintings and also the anti-Hindu features written by Hindus themselves, Goradia writes. Men like Hussain were sadistic in drawing satisfaction by hurting the sentiments of Hindus, Goradia feels.

Anti-Hindus also focuses on how Gandhi, a devout Hindu, slowly started getting more and more anti-Hindu as his public life progressed. Goradia feels that Gandhi was so obsessed by the belief of Hindu-Muslim unity that he was ready to sacrifice or sell out Hindu interests, Hindu honour and Hindu blood.

Anti-Hindus further describes India's first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru as an anti-Hindu. The book talks about how Nehru, being Gandhi's favourite, was chosen over Sardar Patel as the Congress president in 1946. In fact, none of the members of the provincial committee had voted for Nehru for the post. So Nehru was a leader without any followers at that point of time. Afraid of Hindu nationalism and looking around for allies, he soon found support in the Muslims who had not emigrated to Pakistan. Internationally then, the Third World was largely pro-Soviet, one whose leader was Nehru. So at home, the communists sided with Nehru making him a pro-Muslim, a pro-communist and an anti-Hindu.

In this manner, Anti Hindus, packed with various news paper articles, writings, excerpts from books and photographs tries to do justice to the analysis of the prevaling anti-Hindu sentiments in India.

Muslim League's

About The Book

The Hindus of Nehruvian India bent over backwards to placate the Muslims. Section of the Constitution, for example Articles 29 and 30, which were proposed early in 1946 in order to try to persuade the Muslims to withdraw their insistence on partition, remained in the supreme statue even after 1947. The reactionary Muslim Women's Bill was passed to overturn the Supreme Court judgement in the Shah Bano case. Yet the Community, by and large, has been unhappy.

In the midest of such hopelessness, patriotic citizens search for solutions, anywhere and everywhere. One obvious solution lay in the vision of Qaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah who had demanded not only territorial vivisection of India, but also an exchange of population whereby all non-Muslims would migrate to Hindustan and all Muslims would inhabit Pakistan. UNFINISHED AGENDA is the story of this unfulfilled dream.

Review of the book by Priyadarsi Dutta in the Pioneer of March 30, 2003:

Within half a year of his magnum opus Hindu Masjids, Praful Goradia is back with Muslim League's Unfinished Agenda. Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf during his July 2001 visit to India spoke of Kashmir as an unfinished agenda of Partition. Then President KR Narayanan blunted him by saying that peaceful co-existence between the two dominions, India and Pakistan, was an equally unfinished agenda. Evidently, both missed, or dared not speak about, the original unfinished agenda of Partition set by the Muslim League. It is to the credit of Prafull Goradia, ex-MP and former editor of BJP Today, to redeem it. Exchange of Population was the `Unfinished Agenda' of the Muslim League as envisaged by the father figures of Partition.
Pioneer 27th January 2004
Demeaning Shivaji, denigrating dharma

By Sandhya Jain

Having purchased and read James Laine's Shivaji: Hindu King in
Islamic India only after it was officially withdrawn by the
publishers, I cannot view the events at the Bhandarkar Oriental
Research Institute (BORI) as totally unjustified. Certainly, attacks
on centres of learning have no place in Hindu ethos and must not
recur. Yet, having gone through 105 pages of shoddy polemics posing
as historical research, I am constrained to state that Oxford
University Press needs to re-examine its commissioning policy if it
hopes to retain credibility as a publishing house.

Moreover, the BORI scholars acknowledged by Laine must honestly
inform the nation of the extent to which they are responsible for the
unwarranted assertions – we cannot call them conclusions, as no
evidence has been adduced or offered – in the impugned book. Far from
being a meticulous scholar who has uncovered unpalatable truths about
a revered historical figure, Laine is an anti-Hindu hypocrite
determined to de-legitimize India's ancient civilizational ethos and
its grand rejuvenation by Shivaji in the adverse circumstances of the
seventeenth century. BORI is not generally associated with
substandard scholarship, and should explicitly declare its position
on the actual contents of the book.

Laine exposes his agenda when he foists the unnatural concept of
South Asia upon the geographical and cultural boundaries of India;
this is awkward because his discussion is India-centric and specific
to the Maharashtra region. He is also unable to disguise his
discomfort at the fact that Shivaji withstood the most bigoted Mughal
emperor, Aurangzeb, and established political agency for the
embattled Hindu community, amidst a sea of Islamic sultanates. This
has so unnerved Laine that he repeatedly makes inane remarks about
Hindus employed under Muslim rulers and vice versa, to claim that the
two communities lacked a modern sense of identity, and could not be
viewed as opposing entities. What he means, of course, is that Hindus
of the era cannot be ceded to have had a sense of `Hindu' identity.

Reading the book, I was struck by the fact that it did not once
mention Shivaji's famed ambition to establish a Hindu Pad Padshahi.
This is a strange omission in a work claiming to study how
contemporary authors viewed Shivaji's historic role, and the
assessment of his legacy by subsequent native and colonial writers.
The most notable omission is of the poet Bhushan, who wrote: "Kasihki
Kala Gayee, Mathura Masid Bhaee; Gar Shivaji Na Hoto, To Sunati Hot
Sabaki!" [Kashi has lost its splendour, Mathura has become a mosque;
If Shivaji had not been, All would have been circumcised

Bhushan's verse has immense historical value because the Kashi
Vishwanath temple was razed in 1669 and thus lost its splendour, and
the Krishna Janmabhoomi temple was destroyed and converted into a
mosque in 1670. Bhushan came to Shivaji's kingdom from the Mughal
capital in 1671, and within two years composed Shiv Bhooshan, a
biography of Shivaji. It clearly states that Shivaji wanted to set up
a Hindu Pad Padshahi.

Hence the view that Shivaji had no ideological quarrel with Aurangzeb
and was only an adventurer in search of power and resources is
juvenile. Laine obviously subscribes to the secularist school of
historiography that decrees that Hindus must forget the evil done to
them, a phenomenon Dr. Koenraad Elst calls negationism. But history
is about truth, and Hindu society's long and painful experience of
Islamic invasions and the subsequent Islamic polity has been so well
documented in standard works like Cambridge History of India, that it
is amazing a modern historian should claim there was no tension
between Muslim rulers and their Hindu subjects.

Shivaji strove consciously for political power as an instrument for
the resurrection of dharma (righteousness), a quest he termed
as "Hindavi Swarajya," a word having both geographical and spiritual-
cultural connotations. When still in his teens in 1645 CE, Shivaji
began administering his father's estate under a personalized seal of
authority in Sanskrit, an indication that he envisaged independence
and respected the Hindu tradition. A 1646 CE letter to Dadaji Naras
Prabhu refers to an oath that Shivaji, Prabhu, and others took in the
presence of the deity at Rayareshwar, to establish "Hindavi

Shivaji was aware of the economic ruin and cultural annihilation of
Hindus under the various sultanates. He desired to end this
suffering, but was personally free from bigotry, as attested by
contemporary Muslim chroniclers, notably Khafi Khan. It is therefore
galling when Laine smugly proclaims: "I have no intention of showing
that he was unchivalrous, was a religious bigot, or oppressed the
peasants." A.S. Altekar (Position of Women in Ancient India) has
recorded how Shivaji, in stark contrast to Muslim kings and generals
of his era, ensured that Muslim women in forts captured by him were
not molested and were escorted to safety. It is inconceivable that
Shivaji would not know that Hindu women similarly situated would have
to commit jauhar. It is therefore incumbent upon Laine and BORI to
explain what "unchivalrous" and "bigot" mean.

The insinuation about "bigot" is especially objectionable in view of
Laine's insistence that Shivaji had no particular interest in Hindu
civilization and no proven relationship with the revered Samarth
Ramdas or sant Tukaram. A Maharashtrian friend suggests that Laine
has probably not read the references cited in his book! What the
reader needs to understand is that Ramdas' historical significance
lies in the fact that he openly exhorted the people to rise against
oppression and hinted in Dasbodh that Shivaji was an avatar who had
come to restore dharma. By denying that he was Shivaji's spiritual
mentor, Laine seeks to disprove that the great Maratha wanted to
establish a Hindu Pad Padshahi.

Ramdas, a devotee of Rama (Vaishnava sampradaya), visited the
Khandoba temple at Jejuri, Pune; apologized to the god (Shiva) for
boycotting the temple due to the practice of animal sacrifice there;
and built a Hanuman temple at its entrance. I mention this to debunk
Laine's pathetic insistence that devotion to a personal god divides
Hindu society. This is alien to our thinking; we see no conflict
between Ramdas and the Bhavani-worshipping Shivaji.

Then, there is Laine's tasteless allegation that Shivaji may possibly
(whatever that means) be illegitimate, simply because Jijabai, who
bore many children while living with her husband in the south, gave
birth to Shivaji on her husband's estate near Pune and continued to
live there. Maharashtrians point out that Shahaji had to send his
pregnant wife to safety in Shivneri due to political instability.
Shahaji was on the run with the boy king Murtaza Nizamshah, in whose
name he controlled the Nizamshahi. After its fall in 1636, service in
the Adilshahi took him to Bangalore (his remarriage produced the
distinguished Thanjavur-Bhonsle dynasty); he administered his Pune
lands through Dadaji Konddev.

My response to Laine's profound Freudian analysis is that he has
thanked his wife and children and dedicated his book to his mother; I
couldn't but notice the absence of a father. Is one to deduce
something from the omission? Laine can relax: since the Vedas, Hindus
have placed only proportionate emphasis on biological bloodlines;
there is no shame if a man cannot mention his father; a true b@st@rd
is one who does not know the name of his mother.

End of matter
Reforms is alive, the Empire's long dead, the Cold War over, MTV all
around. Yet, 54 years after India became a Republic, our erstwhile
mai baap sarkar still plays nanny. Books banned by the Raj remain on
the banned list and many more have been added since—James Laine's on
Shivaji the latest in Maharashtra. Here's some of what you can't read
in India today. Of course, you can try to google your way out.


We have porn.com, we can't have this

• Scented Garden (Anthropology of sex life in the Levant) by Bernhard
Stern; translated by David Berger. Banned: August 18, 1945

• Dark Urge by Robert W. Taylor. Banned: Dec 29, 1955

• The Jewel in the Lotus (A Historical Survey of the Sexual Culture
of the East). Banned: July 20, 1968

Sare Jahan Se Achha (And Let No One Tell You Any Different):

By far the largest number of banned books are in this category—books
critical of India, Indian foreign policy, or Kashmir

• The Face of Mother India by Katherine Mayo. Banned: January 18,

• Old Soldier Sahib by Private Frank Richards (memoirs of a British
soldier serving in India whose book Old Soldiers Never Die has been
described as ``probably the best account of the Great War as seen
through the eyes of a private soldier.'' Banned: Aug 22, 1936

• The Heart of India by Alexander Campbell. Banned: March 11, 1959

• The Evolution of the British Empire and Commonwealth from the
American Revolution by Alfred Le Ray Burt. Banned: Aug 9, 1969

• A Struggle between Two Lines over the Question of How to Deal with
US Imperialism by Fan Asid-Chu, Foreign Languages Press, Peking,
1965. Banned: Dec 6, 1969

• Behind the Iron Curtain in Kashmir: Neutral Opinion (author not
mentioned). Banned: Aug 27, 1949

• American Military Aid to Pakistan (its full implications) by
Salahuddin Ahmad. Banned: July 31, 1954

• Captive Kashmir by Aziz Beg. Banned: April 19, 1958

• India Independent by Charles Bettelheim. Banned: May 15, 1976

Leave Our Gods Alone

• Hindu Heaven by Max Wylie. Banned: April 28, 1934

• The Land of the Lingam by Arthur Miles. Banned: Oct 2, 1937

• What Has Religion Done for Mankind, Watch-tower Bible and Tract
Society, New York. Banned: Feb 26, 1955

• The Ramayana by Aubrey Menen. Banned: Sept 29, 1956

Let Sleeping Icons Lie

James Laine's book on Shivaji is the latest in the line of books
prohibited because they take atypical view on nationalist icons.
Critical views on Nehru and offbeat takes on Gandhi's assassination
are still on the ban list.

• Nine Hours to Rama by Stanley Wolpert. Banned: Sept 1, 1962

• Nehru, A Political Biography by Michael Edwards. Banned: Dec 13,

• Who Killed Gandhi by Lourenco De Sadvandor. Banned: Dec 29, 1979

I can't believe that there can be books with this title !!!

<b> Shinde, Antulay flay PM over book ban</b>


PUNE: A day after Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee criticised the Maharashtra government for banning a controversial book on Chhatrapati Shivaji, chief minister Sushilkumar Shinde as well as former chief minister A.R. Antulay shot back, saying an insult to the Marath king will not be tolerated.

While Shinde justified banning James Laine’s book, <b>Shivaji: A Hindu King in Islamic India</b>, <!--emo&:thumbdown--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo--> Antulay called for the arrest of the American author.

Vajpayee had on Friday criticised the violent protest by members of the Sambhaji Brigade in Pune on January 5 and had also disapproved of the state government’s ban of the book.

Shinde said, "We have banned the book and, at the same time,we have also donated Rs 10 lakh to the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (Bori). It is unfortunate that our decisions are being criticised by Vajpayee. No one will tolerate an insult to Shivaji."

Both the Congressmen were speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad memorial at Koregaon Park on Saturday.

Seeking to raise the pitch on the tragic vandalism at Bori here recently, Antulay demanded that the Prime Minister initiate steps for arresting Laine for his allegedly derogatory remarks against Shivaji.

Antulay lamented Vajpayee’s reported statement that the issue should be sorted out through dialogue and by writing an authoritative book to counter the contents of Laine’s book.

Antulay’s remarks, in a style characteristic of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, are being viewed as politically significant, as the issue is fast gathering political overtones.

His speech stunned the audience, as he warned that even members of the minority community would not tolerate an insult to the founder of "Hindavi Swarajya".

"There is no need to hold any dialogue with Laine, as he has insulted a national hero," he sought to advise the Prime Minister.

Earlier, in his speech, Shinde accepted the demand made by city builder P.A. Inamdar that the state government frame a policy to popularise education among the minority community members.

The CM said he would sanction any proposal initiated by Inamdar for opening B.Ed and medical colleges for the members of the minority communities.

"The state is considering a policy for reservations in jobs for some minority communities. However, I cannot make public the details of this proposal," Shinde said.

Both Antulay and Shinde praised Rajya Sabha member Suresh Kalmadi and mayor Dipti Chaudhari for taking the lead in constructing the beautiful memorial.

Republican Party of India leader and MP Ramdas Athawale and Kalmadi also spoke at the function.
<!--QuoteBegin-Hauma Hamiddha+Jan 26 2004, 01:25 AM-->QUOTE(Hauma Hamiddha @ Jan 26 2004, 01:25 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> Pioneer 27th January 2004
Demeaning Shivaji, denigrating dharma

By Sandhya Jain

My response to Laine's profound Freudian analysis is that he has thanked his wife and children and dedicated his book to his mother; I couldn't but notice the absence of a father. Is one to deduce something from the omission? Laine can relax: since the Vedas, Hindus have placed only proportionate emphasis on biological bloodlines; there is no shame if a man cannot mention his father; a true b@st@rd is one who does not know the name of his mother.

End of matter <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--emo&:blow--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/blow.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='blow.gif' /><!--endemo-->
More Hindu baiting by western "theorists"

HINDUISM IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE � Reform, Hindutva, Gender, and
Sampraday: Antony Copley � Editor; Oxford University Press, 2/11,
Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110001. Rs. 595.

It's been reviewed in 'The HINDU'.


THE BOOK under review, which is a volume of essays, is an examination
of the contemporary status of Hinduism under the shadow of Hindutva.
The essays featured are a valiant attempt to disengage Hinduism from
Hindutva as well as distance Indian identity from a distorted pursuit
of an exclusivist idea of "Hinduness".

This rich and varied collection is circumscribed by two major themes.
The first is to examine the possibility of ever approximating to an
ideal of secular nationalism within the Indian context. This seems to
most authors as a contentious issue, given their idea of Indian
society as predominantly religious. The other theme deals with the
distinction between the public and the private realms and the
question of the rightful place of religion in these spaces.

Several other inferences follow from these two overarching paradigms.
It is assumed that any semblance of collusion between religious
reform movements in India and Hindutva is to be viewed as a
distortion. This, in turn, flows from the belief that the essential
core, if any, of Hinduism was largely tolerant. The editor expresses
horror at the cruel appropriation of "tolerant" and
essentially "spiritually enriching" Hinduism for political purposes
by the votaries of Hindutva: "But one can see how disturbing it must
be for India's secular historians to discover that the history of its
modern religious institutions has to take on a new resonance and that
the ways in which the sadhus were/are organised and mobilised both in
the past and the present are no longer part of the history of some
exotic religious culture but directly relevant to the cut and thrust
of political events." To put it mildly, this is na�ve and self-

Hinduism can hardly ever be seen as non-political or apolitical. This
tendency to reduce Hinduism into an inward-looking, non-worldly and
essentially tolerant faith helps in underwriting the dogmatism of the
Hindutva brigade.

The tolerance of the "mild" Hindu is the very politics of Hindutva;
it helps to portray Muslims, Christians and dissenting Hindus as the
provocateurs. To argue that Hindutva is a modern aberration and has
nothing to do with a pristine, original form of Hinduism is to
support the very idea of a Golden Age that Hindutva so vociferously

It is instructive that the editor takes note of Wilhem Halbfass's
formidable thesis about the repressive tolerance of the Hindus: the
inability of the Hindus to confront other faiths in order to learn
from them. Halbfass argued that this resulted in actual practice of
intolerance. The unfortunate bit is that neither Copley nor any of
the other contributors engage with this very important formulation.

Of course, Halbfass's thesis is only partially true. Hinduism
did "learn" from other faiths by caricaturing them in the first
instance and then remodelling itself on them. These caricatures were
not always negative; they could just be gross simplifications.

Vivekananda's oft quoted � Copley's introduction also includes it �
statement about future India being a synthesis of a Vedantic mind and
an Islamic body belongs squarely to this genre.

Look at the trajectory of this argument. Firstly, the mind has
inevitably been privileged with the body subservient to it. Secondly,
Vedanta would consider the body to be an entity engulfed in "Maya",
prone to decay and, hence, transitory. To build a theory of tolerance
on the basis of this quote is to practise self-delusion.

Neither does the distinction between the private and the public helps
very much. The legacy of Hannah Arendt looms large over this
distinction. Arendt romanticised the public sphere, reducing it to no
more than a college debating society. (This is not to suggest that
there is no distinction between the public and private. In fact it is
just that, a distinction, and not a set of mutually exclusive spheres
or realms.) There is far too much premium put on secular nationalism
as a consequence. The modern state in Europe and its theory is little
more than secularised theological concepts, where the Omnipotent God
has cosmetically given way to an omnipotent law-giver, either in the
guise of a person or in the abstraction called sovereignty.

The question confronting India today is one of an alternative to
Hindutva, not merely in political terms, but in the sense of
constructing an alternate theory of reality that goes beyond the
mindless parroting of homilies about Atman and Brahman. The way out
lies in a clear understanding of Indian theories of materialism on
the one hand and in looking afresh at Buddha's stupendous
philosophical and ethical revolution.

In more recent times, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Tagore and Gandhiji
confronted these very issues of Hindu identity and emerged with
dazzling insights. But as long as the Indian mind continues to
partake of the serpent and rope logic, there is little hope. It is
time now to ask why the sanctum sanctorum was dark in the first
I got this from sulekha newshopper..


society&the arts BOOKS

The Hidden Agenda

Ten reasons why Romila Thapar's meeting with Mahmud of Ghazni at Somnath is historic

By Chandan Mitra

Eminent historian Romila Thapar has an agenda and a central character in her authoritative monograph on the high-profile temple at Somnath in Gujarat. But it is an agenda that dare not take its name. And as for the central dramatis persona, she does not even mention him. After regretting the involvement of various Congress leaders, including India's first President Rajendra Prasad, in the rebuilding of the Somnath temple in 1951, Thapar refers to the most recent challenge to the "secular credentials of Indian society". That being the rath yatra organised by the VHP "in association with leaders of the BJP". L.K. Advani, who electrified India with his 1991 campaign and put his party on the road to power by making Hindutva a mainstream ideology, is not named throughout the narrative.

As a historical work, Thapar's scholarship is difficult to fault. She has meticulously studied various accounts of Mahmud of Ghazni's destruction of the temple in the 11th century. She has carried the narrative through to contemporary times, explaining the reasons for the resurgence of Hindu sentiment in the 19th century on this issue, leading to the temple's rebuilding after Independence. The volume, however, is so apparent in its purpose that it can only preach to the converted.

Considering the dwindling band of Marxists and their fellow-travellers in the arena of Indian history (since they don't control university appointments any more), it is doubtful how many would uncork champagne bottles at the publication of this scholastic endeavour. For the general public, the book makes laborious reading. Even secular fundamentalists from a non-history background would not be tempted to persevere through the Byzantine complexities of textual and interpretational rivalries among the Turks, Arabs, Chalukyas, Rajputs, Jainas, Shaivites, colonialists and the Hindu nationalists.

If a sahmat-type organisation were to sum up Thapar's treatise in a pamphlet, it would read something like this:

1. Undeniably, Mahmud of Ghazni raided a temple at Somnath and destroyed the idol there.

2. Although Persian sources extol his achievement and refer to the many infidels he killed, the purpose of the raid was economic, perhaps even iconoclastic, but not communal.

3. It is even possible that Mahmud believed the Somnath icon to be that of an early Arabic Goddess, Manat, for Somnath might even be a bastardisation of the Arabic su-manat. She was one of the goddesses Prophet Muhammed once said could be worshipped, but then retracted, claiming that the assertion was influenced by Satan. The reference to Manat is contained in the so-called Satanic Verses, subsequently deleted from the Quran.

4. Jaina and Sanskrit sources, on the other hand, make only cursory references to Mahmud's repeated raids. They don't repeat stories like Mahmud smashing the idol into smithereens and feeding Brahmins the lime that emerged from its ruins after breaking his promise not to destroy the lingam and confine himself only to loot.

This suggests Mahmud did not either divide society or permanently traumatise Hindus by his actions, as "communalists" have since led us to believe. It is immaterial that non-Muslims might have feared offending the ascendancy of Muslim political and military prowess and dared not question such actions. (Postscript: Alternatively, they may not have wanted to wallow in the angst of their humiliation at the hands of the Yavanas. But that would be a politically incorrect position to take.)

5. Hindu rulers frequently raided temples for booty and there was nothing extraordinary about Mahmud's or subsequent Muslim desecrations of Somnath. Anyway, Hindus were not Hindus (they still aren't), but a group of people divided by caste and subcaste residing in a place called India.

6. The Somnath temple was repeatedly renovated by various local rulers and the worship of the deity went on. This is contrary to suggestions that it had been converted into a mosque. The reconstructions were necessitated by sea spray that routinely damaged the structure. In other words, irrespective of Mahmud's raid, the temple would have fallen into disuse and, thus, its projection as a symbol of Islamic intolerance of Hindu beliefs is unwarranted.

7. The Arabs had settled in Sindh and Gujarat long before Mahmud's incursions and lived in perfect harmony with Hindus. A merchant from Hormuz in the Gulf, who engaged in the trade of horses, was actually given land by a Hindu ruler to construct a mosque close to Somnath. This suggests there was no antagonism between the two communities. In fact, Hindus explained the destruction of Somnath as an inevitability in a dark age called the Kaliyug.

8. The entire mischief began with governor-general Ellenborough who premeditatedly relied on Persian accounts of Hindu humiliation and decided to play them up to drive a wedge between Hindus and Muslims. His efforts were challenged by Macaulay who opposed "Linga-ism" and denounced support for obscurantism and idolatry. Ellenborough mistakenly sought to appease maharaja Ranjit Singh and brought back the gates of Somnath allegedly ferried away by Mahmud, but these turned out to be fakes.

9. In the 19th century, Hindu historians and politicians made a big deal of Mahmud's raids. While K.M. Munshi wrote emotion-charged novels, Bengali nationalists got unnecessarily worked up over these issues. Munshi was influenced by people like Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Aurobindo and Vivekananda. (How terrible!)

10. Taking a cue from the likes of Munshi, Gujarati leaders, including Vallabhbhai Patel, supported the reconstruction of the temple after Independence much to the chagrin of the secular Nehru. This was an assertion of Hindu, not Indian, nationalism. It only helped the "communal" forces that plotted the fall of Babri Masjid at the "supposed" Ram Janmabhoomi by launching a mobilisation drive from Somnath.

I believe I have not unfairly summarised Thapar. She is entitled to her views and has taken pains to try and establish it through scholarship. Sadly for her, very few will believe her.
<!--QuoteBegin-Hauma Hamiddha+Feb 5 2004, 11:43 AM-->QUOTE(Hauma Hamiddha @ Feb 5 2004, 11:43 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> More Hindu baiting by western "theorists"

HINDUISM IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE � Reform, Hindutva, Gender, and
Sampraday: Antony Copley � Editor; Oxford University Press, 2/11,
Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110001. Rs. 595.

It's been reviewed in 'The HINDU'.


THE BOOK under review, which is a volume of essays, is an examination
of the contemporary status of Hinduism under the shadow of Hindutva.
The essays featured are a valiant attempt to disengage Hinduism from
Hindutva as well as distance Indian identity from a distorted pursuit
of an exclusivist idea of "Hinduness".

This rich and varied collection is circumscribed by two major themes.
The first is to examine the possibility of ever approximating to an
ideal of secular nationalism within the Indian context. This seems to
most authors as a contentious issue, given their idea of Indian
society as predominantly religious. The other theme deals with the
distinction between the public and the private realms and the
question of the rightful place of religion in these spaces.

This is a careful propoganda material to slowly descredit Indian culture.
The whole idea is that there is no valid reason for the hindu ethos.
Online book at Bharatvani.org. Incidentally I am now sure how many appreciate what a rich resource Bharatvani.org is. I own the hard copy of this book. It is an excellent book and probably one of the very few of its kind in print with a wealth of data collected by the late KS Lal. Truly anoutstanding historian of India.

Muslim Slave System in Medieval India

K.S. Lal

Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi
Return of the Aryans Bhagwan S. Gidwani

A sweeping saga of ancient India

Return of the Aryans tells the epic story of the Aryans—a gripping tale of kings and poets, seers and gods, battles and romance and the rise and fall of civilizations. In a remarkable feat of the imagination, Bhagwan S. Gidwani takes us back to the dawn of mankind (8000 BC) to recreate the world of the Aryans. He tells us why the Aryans left India, their native land, for foreign shores and shows us their triumphant return to their homeland…

Vast and absorbing, the novel tells the stories of characters like the gentle god, Sindhu Putra, spreading his message of love; the physician-sage Dhanawantar and his wife, Dhanawantari; peaceloving Kashi after whom the holy city of Varanasi is named; and Nila who gave his name to the river Nile…

Richly textured and with a cast of thousands, the epic adventure of the Aryans comes gloriously alive in the hands of the bestselling author of The Sword of Tipu Sultan.

Just wanted to post one more resource for books about India -- http://www.swaveda.com/books.php

I have about 130 books listed there. Would be happy to add more books, if you guys have a title to recommend. You can also post book reviews on the site if you so choose.

- Anand
<b>download all the 18 puranas / 4 vedas</b>

Book Review

Name of the Book: At the Confluence of Two Rivers—Hindus and Muslims in South

Author: Jackie Assayag

Publisher: Manohar, New Delhi

Year: 2004

Pages: 313

Reviewed by: Yoginder Sikand

Compared with north India, relatively little has been written on the social
history of Islam and Hindu-Muslim relations in the southern states of India.
This is particularly unfortunate, given that Islam arrived in coastal south
India considerably before Muslims appeared in the north, and that the spread of
Islam in the region, in contrast to much of north India, was not accompanied by
Muslim political expansion, being the result mainly of the missionary efforts of
Sufis and traders. Furthermore, and again unlike the situation in much of the
north, Hindu-Muslim relations in most parts of south India have been fairly
tension-free, and continue to be so, although things are now changing with the
rise in recent years of aggressive Hindu organizations in the region.

This book sets out to explore various aspects of Hindu-Muslim relations in the
southern Indian state of Karnataka. In doing so it seriously challenges several
key assumptions that underlie both commonsensical notions as well as scholarly
writings on this vexed issue. Examining various shared religious traditions,
cults and shrines in Karnataka with which both Hindus and Muslims are
associated, Assayag questions the notion of ‘Islam’ and ‘Hinduism’, as actually
practiced, as being two monolithic entities, neatly defined and clearly set
apart, if not opposed to, each other. In turn, this challenges the understanding
of ‘Hindus’ and ‘Muslims’ as two distinct communities that have little or
nothing in common at the level of social practice and religious belief and
ritual. In this way, Assayag questions the grossly simplistic and misleading
notion of ‘Hindus’ and ‘Muslims’ as being inherently and necessarily the
theological ‘other’ of each other.

The shared religious traditions in which many Muslims and Hindus in present-day
Karnataka jointly participate forms the main focus of this book. Assayag
provides interesting anthropological details of the beliefs and practices
associated with the cults of various Sufis and local deities, showing how the
common participation of both Hindus and Muslims in these cults helps to promote
a shared tradition and culture. Thus, Hindus flock in large numbers to Sufi
shrines; village Muslims often visit Hindu temples where some of them even
‘experience’ being ‘possessed’ by a local goddess; Hindus enroll as disciples of
a Muslim saint; Muslims and Hindus jointly participate in rituals on the day of
Ashura in the month of Muharrum; a Hindu chooses a Muslim as the custodian of a
Hindu shrine and vice versa, and so on. This shared religious tradition owes in
part to the nature of the process of the spread of Islam in the region.
Islamisation, typically, took the form not of a sudden and drastic
conversion, but, rather, as an process of religioi-culural change that was
limited in its impact, leaving many aspects of the converts’ pre-Islamic
tradition somewhat unchanged. To add to this was the fact that Sufi saints used
several local traditions and motifs in their missionary work so that much of the
local tradition came to be understood as ‘Islamic’ by the converts. Furthermore,
the belief in local ‘Hindu’ deities as well as Sufis as powerful beings, able to
cure ailments or grant wishes attracted Hindus as well as Muslims to their
shrines, a phenomenon that is still observable in many parts of Karnataka.

Yet, while all this undoubtedly helped bring Hindus and Muslims into a shared
cultural universe and into closer contact with each other, the bond of shared
tradition has not entirely free of tension. In the case of several shard shrines
and cults, the coexistence between Hindus and Muslims could, Assayag argues, be
described as ‘competitive sharing’, ‘competitive syncretism’ or even
‘antagonistic tolerance’. This is reflected in myths and counter-myths about
commonly revered figures through which each community seeks to stress its
superiority over the other and in the process fashion an identity for itself
based on a re-written collective memory. Increasingly, this antagonistic aspect
is becoming particularly pronounced, as for instance, the dispute over the
shrine of the Sufi Raja Bagh Sawar, whom many Hindus now claim to have been a
Brahmin, Chang Dev, or the case of the shrine of Baba Budhan in Chikamagalur,
which Hindutva militants now seek to convert into a full-fledged Hindu
temple, denying its Islamic roots and associations altogether. Assayag
discusses these new challenges to the shared Hindu-Muslim tradition in the wider
context of the process of urbanization, the rise of Hindutva militancy in
Karnataka in recent years and the consequent heightening of Muslim insecurity,
the emergence of Islamic reformist movements and the role of the state in
defining fixed religious identities and policing community borders.

As an anthropological study of Hindu-Muslim relations, focusing on the complex
nature of shared or ‘syncretistic’ religious traditions, this book poses
important questions related to how local Muslims and Hindus identify themselves
and relate to each other. In that sense it rightly critiques the notion of
Hindus and Muslims as monolithic communities inherently opposed to each other.
Not everyone will agree with everything that Assayag has to say, however. Most
crucially, his understanding of Islam and local Islamic traditions can easily be
faulted. Thus, he refers to emergence of the Mapilla Muslims of the Malabar
coast as a result of mut’a or temporary marriages contracted by Arab Shafi’i
Muslim traders (p.37). He does not provide any evidence of this, and it is
unlikely that this is correct, since mut’a is not recognized by the Shafi’I
school. He refers to the great Deccani Sufi Hazrat Bandanawaz Gesudaraz as
‘Bandanamaz’, and claims that his tomb is ‘worshipped’ by many Muslims
(p.39). This, of course, is completely incorrect, as the devotees of the Sufis
do not worship their tombs at all, and Assayag here confuses reverence for
worship. He refers to the panjahs, a hand-shaped metal object often displayed
at village shrines during the month of Muharrum, as generally having only three
fingers, ‘in keeping with the Sunni creed which recognizes only the first three
Caliphs’. This is simply untrue. The panjahs almost inevitably have five
fingers, representing the panjatan pak

In what can only be described as a meaningless statement he writes, again
without any substantiation, that ‘[C]ontemporary Muslims always seek to
establish their nobility (sharafat) by claiming that they have been named God
[?], who caused them to be born in the Prophet’s family or as descendants of
saints who came from Arabia’ [42]. At several points he makes sweeping
statements, again without adducing any evidence, as when he talks about the
‘masochistic character to which the austere piety of the Shi’ites is so
inclined’ [p.76], or when he talks of the rulers of various Sultanates in the
Deccan as ‘waging war’ to convert Hindus to Islam [p.39].

Divine inspiration The most potent fundamentalism is brewing not in
terrorist networks or autocratic Islamic states but in two of the
largest democracies.

1,943 words
24 April 2004
Financial Times
Surveys MAG
Page 26
© 2004 The Financial Times Limited. All rights reserved

Mention "religious fundamentalism" and most people would probably
first of Islam. There is nothing surprising in that. The aircraft
attacks of
September 11 and numerous other prominent acts of terrorism have been
carried out by Islamic fundamentalists. Some people might also think
Christian and Judaic fundamentalism and possibly even its Hindu or
varieties, but these would be faint echoes in comparison.

And yet, if you were to pinpoint two important societies that were
increasingly influenced by strong fundamentalist movements, you could
reasonably single out the US and India.

In ordinary comparisons, India and the US have little in common. But
share some salient characteristics. Both are democracies, the US
being the
world's richest and India by far the largest (its 670m voters went to
polls this month). Both are vibrantly diverse societies with deep-
traditions of pluralism. Both boast proudly secular constitutions,
and in
both countries one religion - Christianity in the US, Hinduism in
India -
accounts for roughly 85 per cent of the population. Both have also
experienced a sharp growth in fundamentalism in the past two or three

Twenty years ago, most political scientists and sociologists would
have held
fast to the idea that modernisation went hand in hand with
Whether it was the decline of church attendance in western Europe or
apparent triumph of nationalism in the Arab world, modernity was
taken as a
byword for "post- religious". Such certainties are no longer widely

The failure of economic reform in much of the Muslim world makes it
to explain away Islamic fundamentalism as a particular and temporary
reaction to the shortcomings of secular government in the Middle East
beyond. Even then, prominent scholars of Islam, such as Gilles
Keppel, argue
that the rise of Islamist terrorism is a reaction to the failure of
as a political movement.

But how to explain India, where per capita income has almost tripled
1980, and yet Hindu fundamentalism has come from almost nowhere to
the country's coalition government? (India's ruling Hindu nationalist
had two seats in 1985; now it has 182 out of 545.) Or the US, where
resurgent and politically organised Christian congregations have
overturn hard-won milestones of progress, such as the abolition of
punishment (which was repealed in 1976), or the legalisation of
abortion, a
right that is constantly being eroded?

There also seems to be a mini-renaissance of Catholic and Orthodox
in central and eastern Europe, and a growth in Protestant evangelism
South Korea, Latin America, the Philippines and elsewhere. Indeed,
far from
being a model of the future, secular western Europe could prove to be
increasingly eccentric exception to the rule.

But there are few societies where political fundamentalism is as
advanced or
successful as in India or the US (by comparison, Islamism in its
form is a relative failure). In his latest book, Fundamentalism: The
for Meaning, Malise Ruthven dangles an intriguing theory as to why.

Religious fundamentalism crops up here and there in almost every
that is confronted by rapid social change and urbanisation. But most
variants fail. What marks out its Hindu and Christian (American)
versions is
that they have hitched their wagons to nationalism. And nationalism -
in spite of the European project - is a very successful and durable

Hindu nationalism stretches back at least to 1925, when the Rashtriya
Sway-amsevak Sangh (Organisation of National Volunteers) was founded.
RSS, with 2m members, is the parent body to India's ruling BJP. Its
philosophy was and is simple: you are Indian if you view India as
both your
fatherland and your holy land. At a stroke this disqualifies those
who look
to Rome or Mecca for spiritual sustenance.

Of course, in its political avatar - under the prime ministership of
Behari Vajpayee, who leads a coalition of 23 parties, some of which
secular - it is far more circumspect and sophisticated than in the
hard-boiled rhetoric of the RSS. But few BJP politicians would
themselves from this simple test of patriotism: India is Hindu and
Hindu is

Christian, or - more accurately - Protestant nationalism in the US
can be
traced as far back as the Mayflower, which delivered the dissenting
Pilgrim Fathers to the shores of Massachusetts in 1620. Unlike Hindu
fundamentalists - who, were they to govern alone, would drastically
India's constitution - the US's fundamentalists are mostly content
their constitution because it guarantees freedom from state-imposed
(something the pilgrims were fleeing).

But the consensus by which different factions agreed to the US
in the 1780s was one that evolved between competing Protestant
denominations. The exercise preceded by a generation or two the
emergence of
mass Jewish and Catholic immigration to the US. In becoming
Americans, other
faiths absorbed a very Protestant strain of nationalism. How is one,
example, to characterise Thanksgiving, the US's most popular national
holiday? One could describe it as a purely secular national day
by all Americans, regardless of faith. But it could equally be
described as
a Calvinist parable in which the righteous were fed (with turkey) by
providence after having reached their "City on the Hill".

Has Thanksgiving been de-Calvinised? Or is America simply Calvinist by
subtler means? Whichever the answer, it is clear that the lexicon and
symbolism of American nationalism is more fertile ground for
revivalists than, say, for their sometime allies in the Judaic and

Thus, from a fundamentalist perspective, mainstream nationalism in
India and the US is low-hanging fruit ripe for the plucking. And they
plucking it quite frequently nowadays. The speeches of George W. Bush,
himself a born-again Christian, are littered with allusions to the New
Testament, particularly the Book of Revelations.

This is how Bush began his 2003 State of the Union speech: "In all
days of promise and days of reckoning, we can be confident. In a
of change and hope and peril, our faith is sure, our resolve is firm,
our union is strong." This is how he concluded: "We Americans have
faith in
ourselves, but not in ourselves alone. We do not know - we do not
claim to
know all the ways of Providence, yet we can trust in them, placing our
confidence in the loving God behind all of life, and all of history.
May He
guide us now. And may God continue to bless the United States of
(The capital letters are from the White House draft.) The
qualifier, "but
not in ourselves alone", clearly means God, not other countries.
world is brimming with "evil" and "evil-doers". Those who listen
are rarely in much doubt that the US has been chosen by a higher
power to
defeat the forces of darkness.

Even Bush's stance on the environment, which critics see as a
consequence of
the administration's close links to the energy industry, carries the
fingerprints of Protestant millenarianism - the belief in the
imminence of
Christ's second coming, a view to which Mr Bush may or may not
"What is the point of saving the planet, they argue, if Jesus is
tomorrow?" asks Ruthven. "American fundamentalists are a headache, a
in the flesh of the bien-pensant liberals, the subject of bemused
concern to
'Old Europeans' who have experienced too many real catastrophes to
yearn for

India's leaders are also steeped in the symbolism of religious
Prime Minister Vajpayee and L.K. Advani, his hardline deputy,
conjure up holy images of India that could have resonance only with

In his recent book Hindutva ("Hindu-ness"), Jyotirmaya Sharma, an
journalist, argues that India's BJP-led government has profoundly
the political vocabulary and imagery of Indian nationalism since 1998.
Originally forged by the secular freedom struggle against the British
Indian nationalism is increasingly tinged with saffron - the holy
colour of
Hinduism. India's nuclear-capable missiles are named after Hindu
gods. Its
universities offer courses in astrology and "Vedic mathematics" (in
an echo
of some corners of the US, where evangelicals have succeeded in
equal teaching time between the "creationist" and "evolutionary"
account of
human origins). And, much like televangelism in the US, Hindu
dominates increasing chunks of India's booming cable television

Many scholars argue that Hindu radicalism cannot be described as
alist, since there is no single holy text that is read by all Hindus
or on
which all Hindus agree. In contrast, the Koran, Bible and Torah
undisputed texts that can be read literally - the basic criterion to
as fundamentalist. But this is to miss the wood for the trees. Hindu
nationalism is driven by a yearning to return to a classical golden
age that
preceded the baffling rootlessness of modern life - an impulse that
all fundamentalisms.

On this more informative reading, fundamentalism should not be
described as
revivalist, but as a specifically modern response to the confusions of
living in a ceaselessly changing world. Traditional societies are not
that they are traditional. In Ruthven's words, fundamentalism
is "tradition
made self-aware and defensive". On this count, Hindu radicalism is

And this brings us to a provocative conclusion. Hindu and Christian
fundamentalism are more likely to succeed and endure precisely
because they
are nurtured by and can conflate their world views with two powerful
states. As a result, neither have much needed to resort to terrorism
(although attacks on abortion clinics in the US could be described as

In contrast, Islamists are mostly on their own. Islamism cannot
easily nail
its colours to nationalism. Most Islamic fundamentalists disdain the
state because it artificially divides the Ummah, or international
of believers, into separate groups. Even where Islam-ists capture
power, as in Iran in 1979, it is hard to sustain both nationalism and
Islamism. Every time Shi'ite Iran acts in its national interest - for
example, by allying with Christian Armenia against mostly Shi'ite
Azerbaijan - it undermines its Islamist credentials.

By contrast, India and the US can align with any state for any reason
without much risk of haemorrhaging self-belief in the national
project. No
Hindu nationalist questions India's close relations with Iran, since
like India, is also a rival of Pakistan. But Iranian clerics agonise
Tehran's close ties to Hindu nationalist New Delhi.

The same could be said of Washington's enduring ties to Saudi Arabia's
puritanical ruling dynasty - though many on the US's secular left do
complain. Or Washington's connivance with hardline govern- ments in
which can hardly be described as strict adherents to the US's model of
multi-faith democracy.

Like its enemy, liberalism, fundamentalism is adaptable and dynamic.
So it
would be rash to make clear predictions about the future of such
But here, for the hell of it, is one: fundamentalism will probably
to prosper (and adapt) in India and the US. Whereas in the Muslim
Islamism - in its political, rather than its terroristic, form -
might well
be past its peak.

Edward Luce is the FT's South Asia bureau chief.

Fundamentalism: The Search for Meaning

by Malise Ruthven
Websites with great info on South Asia


[entire volumes of the journal, "Social Scientist" from 1972-2001!
Great info; use the search facility to find info on Hindutva, the
Congress, etc][2]



[more great info from the national library of Canada; entire theses
are online!]

For example, using the keywords, "Sardar" "communalism", one finds:

E-LOCATIONS: http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/obj/s4/f2/dsk2/ftp

NAME(S): *Khoday, Amar, 1973-
TITLE(S): The Lokamanya and the Sardar [microform]
: two generations of Congress communalism
PUBLISHER: Ottawa : National Library of Canada =
Bibliothèque nationale du Canada, [2000]
DESCRIPTION: 2 microfiches.

SERIES: Canadian theses = Thèses canadiennes
NOTES: Thesis (M.A.)--Concordia University, 2000.
Includes bibliographical references.

STUDENT ABSTRACT: Antagonism among various religious
communities and particularly between
Hindus and Muslims has become a
recurring feature of the public sphere
in South Asia. This antagonism fed a
steady growth of Muslim separatism in
British India which led to the creation
of Pakistan in 1947. The purpose of this
thesis is to explore the evidence of
such communal attitudes within the major
movement dedicated to achieving Indian
nationhood, the Indian National
Congress. From its founding in 1885, the
organization espoused secular ideals and
a broad vision of Indian nationalism
which would be inclusive of all
religious communities. Nevertheless, a
strong undercurrent of Hindu chauvinism
was evident early in its history and
contributed to the weakening of
political and communal harmony from the
early 1890s to the late 1940s. Lokamanya
Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920) and
Sardar Vallabhbhai J. Patel (1875-1950)
were two powerful leaders who helped to
nurture this Hindu chauvinism over a
period of two generations of political
activism. This thesis investigates how
Tilak and Patel's demonization of
Muslims in the print media and the
relegation of Muslims to limited roles
within Congress helped to enfeeble the
secular goals of Congress, despite the
efforts of Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
and Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964).


Historical data
Statistical abstract relating to British India. From 1840 to 1865. [First number]
In digital book form.
In Excel spreadsheet form.
Statistical abstract relating to British India. From 1860 to 1869. Fourth number.
In digital book form.
In Excel spreadsheet form.
Statistical abstract relating to British India. From 1867/8 to 1876/7. Twelfth number.
In digital book form.
In Excel spreadsheet form.
Statistical abstract relating to British India. From 1876/7 to 1885/6. Twenty-first number.
In digital book form.
In Excel spreadsheet form.
Statistical abstract relating to British India. From 1885-86 to 1894-95. Thirtieth number.
In digital book form.
In Excel spreadsheet form.
Statistical abstract relating to British India. From 1894-95 to 1903-04. Thirty-ninth number.
In digital book form.
In Excel spreadsheet form.
Statistical abstract relating to British India. From 1903-04 to 1912-13. Forty-eighth number.
In digital book form.
In Excel spreadsheet form.
Statistical abstract relating to British India. From 1910-11 to 1919-1920. Fifty-fifth number.
In digital book form.
In Excel spreadsheet form.
Current census information is available at the following web sites
Maldives and Statistical Yearbook of Maldives 2001
Sri Lanka



Shows gradual increase in scope and progress of educaiton in India since 1854

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