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Sunday, January 15, 2012

A history of crimes against India By MV Kamath


A history of crimes against India By MV Kamath

Crimes Against India: And the Need to Protect its Ancient Vedic Tradition: Stephen Knapp; i. Universe, Inc., New York; Pp 358 (PB), $24.95
To read the history of India is to shed tears. Down the centuries outsiders have invaded the country and the people have paid dearly for it. The reason why, for instance, many Muslim rulers could conquer India was simply because Hindu rulers at home would not unite to fight a common enemy. As Knapp puts it in plain terms, “there was a continuous struggle and warfare between the various Rajput states and these rivalries it was which made it impossible for the Rajput rulers to join hands to oust the Ghazaniavids from the Punjab”. When they could not – or would not – fight, they sought peace by giving their daughters in marriage to the invader. And so they survived.
Our history books are also, even today, hesitant to tell the truth about the conquerors. Knapp records that the Bahmani Sultans of Central India made a rule to kill 100,000 Hindus every year. In 1399, Timur killed 100,000 Hindus in a single day, plus more at times. Knapp quotes KS Lal, the historian, as saying that between 1000 AD and 1525 AD, The Hindu population decreased by as many as 80 million.
Says Knapp: “This probably is the biggest holocaust in the history of the whole world, right there in India”. And he rightly asks: “Yet, not many people have either forgotten this threat to the Indian Hindu population or have never heard or learned about it? This negation of Indian history is itself a crime against its population, when the people should know and learn lessons from the past”.
It is not just Muslim invaders who tried to destroy Hinduism – call it Vedic religion, if necessary – in India. The Portuguese rulers in Goa were no less cruel and barbaric. The inquisition they practised once every two years was even worse than any Muslim imposition of Islam on Hindus. One of the Jesuits was to write: “When I have finished baptising the people, I order them to destroy the huts in which they keep their idols; and I have them break the statues of their idols into tiny pieces, since they are now Christians. I could never come to an end describing to you the great consolation which fills my soul when I see idols being destroyed by the hands of those who had been idolators”.
For all that and all that, Hinduism has survived and it is even getting accepted abroad, though Hinduism does not believe in conversion. A well known US media personality is quoted as saying: “Now we are all Hindus”. In Russia, Knapp claims, one per cent of the population aver that they are Hindus. But, it would seem, the worst enemies of Hinduism are Hindus themselves. They are giving up their own Vedic heritage and culture which Knapp describes as “the last bastion of deep spiritual truth”. As he puts it: “The Vedic culture and philosophy offers deep insight into spiritual knowledge that can be found nowhere else” and “it provides for levels of thought and knowledge of the soul and the Supreme, and the spiritual reality that are hardly matched elsewhere”.
The book is divided into four parts. Part One recalls the war against India’s ancient traditions. Knapp insists that “we have to remember that a true religion paves the war for everyone to become spiritually aware and to establish his or her own relationship with the Supreme and the Vedic system is an ideal means for supplying that”. Indeed, he says, “the spiritual principles in the Vedic system are universal, meaning they can be applied in any time or place in the universe”. Part Two describes the battle waged by Indians to protect their culture and what the Ghaznis, the Ghoris, the Slave Sultans, the Khaljis, the Sayyids and the Lodis did to plunder temples and destroy places of worship and otherwise seek to eliminate Hindu culture and civilisation.
Knapp details the sacking of Chidambaram and Sri Rangam, the plunder of Puri’s Jagannath Temple, Sikandar Lodi’s treatment of Mathura, the destruction of Dwarka, the Govindaji Temple in Vrindavan, the Keshava Temple in Mathura, to name a few. What the Portuguese did in Goa is not forgotten, nor what Christian missionaries elsewhere did. One whole chapter is given to the impact of British rule in India.
Part Three deals with the flase image sought to be imposed on Indians by the vicious propagation of the Aryan Invasion theory and the damage it has wrought. Casteism is seen as a scourge of Hinduism or a perversion of a legitimate Vedic System that needs to be fought or at least seen in its proper perspective. Knapp also discusses such issues as the dowry system, bonded labour, malnutrition of poor children and saving the girl child. He spares none. As for the concept of ‘Aryan’ and ‘Dravidian’, Knapp insists that it was used by the British to establish a lower class of Indians who were oppressed by a higher class, and to enable the rulers to “divide the Indian people into quarreling factions”. According to him, the idea of ‘Aryan’ and ‘Dravistian’ people as separate races is not only ‘insidious’, but “completely flase”.
Part Four is more focused on Sanatana dharma and how to educate the GenNext on our Vedic heritage and establish an ‘Open-door’ policy of sharing our culture and traditions with others. Knapp is extremely upset over the manner in which state governments have taken over temples, literally robbing them of their income and using the revenues for purposes other than providing succour to Hindus. An agry knapp says: “The threat to the survival of Hindu civilisation is real … Hindus should not sit quiet, but must be active”. He rubbishes the “elite of India” who damn any Hindu who stands up for his religion as having a “Hindutva mind-set” and one wishing to “saffronise the nation”.
A chapter on Kashmir should be must reading. This is where Knapp says “as many as 60,000 people were killed, 750,000 rendeced homeless and 600 villages renamed with Islamic names”. Adds Knapp: “Inspite of the protests by the Kashmiri Pundits, the world looked the other way and remained silent. India’s government did next to nothing. Even Human Rights activists remained silent, it was another holocaust in India against Hindus with no help from anyone”. There is one unspoken message in this work, to our secularists. It is: “Read it”. But who wants to listen to Truth?

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