Let’s Blame The Sages Or Let’s Praise Them ?

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Deploying the ploy: Who are the preparators behind naïve children participating in protests? Courtesy: Udaipur Times

The question has now burnt off enough as limitless frothy talks and condemnation of Hindu Gurus almost painted their role in pale and the halted society is not moving beyond it. The society has to bring out of this situation of the sleep and need to judge the issue by own ways -

From the ancient time, or even we consider the pre-independence era, there have been the great saints, seers and thinkers in the country who played a vital role in securing and propagating the pride of being indigenous and other moral and spiritual values defined under Hinduism and Sanatan Dharma [Sanatan Dharma is one which has eternal values; one which is neither time- bound nor space-bound. Dharma is for the stability of the society, the maintenance of social order and the general well-being and progress of humankind. Whatever conduces to the fulfilment of these objects is Dharma; that is definite – This was quoted by former president Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma in one of his speeches which is cited in the Supreme Court judgement of Aruna Roy vs ors.] Subsequently, the sustenance of these values and pride has led our countrymen to their socio-economic and socio-cultural development too. But, in the same time, these saints-seers and their establishments had to deal with the controversies. These controversies have put them in negative shade or sometimes it has been so severe to even erase their traces in the history. The controversies were created in planned manner by certain vested interest elements to keep our countrymen away from living in national consciousness and to beget the social instability and political differences in various sects so that they can create economic hurdles in the development of the country. Thus, same row of attempts also keep on today and is very often evident to halt the missions of Hindu Saints to propagate the Sanatan dharma.

Somewhere the conduction of progressive work by Hindu Gurus and their establishments has been penetrative in the eyes of certain forces/elements.

The Gurus and religious institutions are the legitimate limbs of the Hindu Sanatan Dharma. And the rise and existence of Gurus and people following them cannot be acknowledged as morbid state of Sanatan Dharma. The reason is their gigantic contribution to the welfare of countrymen which is more than they carry out the propagation of religious activities. Their contribution can be enumerated in the establishment of value based pioneer educational institutes like Gurukuls, Vidya Peeths such as Gurukul Kangdi, Banaras Hindu University, undertaking the various public schemes such as Shri Sathya Sai Trust’s Water Projects to provide supply drinking water completed to 1.2 million people in about 750 villages in the drought-prone Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh. One can have a look of Sadhvi Ritambhara’s the Valsalyagram, a unique concept to uniting deprived ones in to family and the humanitarian activities of tribal welfare by Sant Shri Asaram Bapu Ji. These are just few of the examples.

But somewhere this conduction of progressive work by Hindu Gurus and their establishments have been penetrative in the eyes of certain forces/elements and in reaction, they have done it and are constantly trying to impede and de-rail these good endeavours of Hindu Gurus. These anti-Hindu Saint forces/elements comprise a veritable –albeit the pool and nexus among -

a).

untaxed NGOs–which are often funded by their foreign partners and private business subsidiaries,

b).

political individuals/parities allied with activists who always have rhetoric antagonistic stance on the Hindu ideologies and frequently keep polity under pressure and its law & order machinery to act upon,

c).

An unclassified sections of media – who relentlessly advocate themselves as baton holder of ‘freedom of expression’. And

d).

Christian evangelist organisations – those have been alleged on several occasions for forcefully/opportunistic proselytization under façade of philanthropy and are holding various inquiries by courts and commissions of law.

The controversy revolving around Sant Shri Asharam Ji Bapu is not a far different creation of aforesaid nexus. Sant Shri Asaram Bapu Ji, undoubtedly, one the most popular Hindu spiritual Guru who began his social life in early 80s by establishing his first Ashram at Ahmedabad. His popularity can be gauge as at least one in every tens of countrymen either following him or aware of his public welfare works. His zeal to bring out socio-economic reforms in country, led him to conduct several welfare and grass root level activities for the uplifting the poor and tribal sections of the society and the establishments of value based educational institutes, old-age homes and hospitals. He had his the credo of his motto – ‘Sukhi Jeevan, Swasthya Jeeav and Sammanit Jeevan’ means ‘a happy, health and esteemed life to everyone’ and kept inculcating this through his public discourses. But there was a bizarre and phenomenal turn in his journey between pre-2004 and Post- 2004. The years of pre-2004 have been for his rise and widely recognition whereas years of post-2004 have been of dragging him into the allegations and controversies. Perhaps, the circumstances for him and his institutions to collapse were well prepared in advance. Herein after, we will try to analyse what happened to him in post-2004 years so far to make him so controversial.

It is astonishing to observe the mushrooming growth of non-profit NGOs in last decade. The activism of Such organisations is scattered across the issues ‘peace’, ‘human rights’ , ‘feminine’, ‘environment’, ‘education’ , ‘religion’, ‘philanthropy’ and so on. But it is well observed to find the deviations, further more accurate to say, noncompliance of their working with on-record objectives of such NGOs. [Delhi High Court in its judgement have said that out of hundred only one single NGO works for the objectives.] Further, these NGOs have also drawn the flak in recent times when some abstracts of Intelligence Bureau’s report classified the NGOs in to ‘threat to country’s sovereignty’, ‘movement-busters’, ‘reactionaries’, ‘anti-growth’, ‘anti-development’ were gone out in public during last June 2014. Also, the issue erupted hot when Green Peace’s Priya Pillai’s visit to Europe to ask an intervention in Indian Govt Development Program and She was stopped by Govt officials at check-in counter when had to fly. [After all, Green Peace registration has been cancelled and Seven Bank accounts of it has been ceased]. The IB report unravels the NGOs indulging in to planned protests to halt country’s nuclear, mining programs and infrastructure projects and also, block country’s development and sensitize the society by provoking people’s movements for community issues so that a situation prone to the riot prone could be created and thus by it, they are used to thrive on the advantages by pressurising the polity. Former Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh has also sadly expressed on dubious working on such NGOs. “There are NGOs, often funded from the United States and the Scandinavian countries, which are not fully appreciative of the development challenges that our country faces… The atomic energy programme has got into difficulties because (of) these NGOs, mostly I think based in the United States,” he alleged in February 2012. The rise and operation of dubious NGOs is very much concerned for scandalising the Hindu Gurus and their institutions. The NGOs and their conveners- most of them have gained close proximity or family relations with the leadership of political outfits and the circle of editors & journalists those who are better known for opposing Hindu ideologies, run the outrageous propaganda through public discourse, conclaves, TV debates and protests to raise public sentiments outrageous against Hindu Gurus & Seers and eventually, they exercise the pressure building on polity to act against in conspired matters of Hindu Gurus & Seers. They often behave outspoken about well-recognised Hindu ideologies as most backward and lay out Hindu Gurus in apostrophes of ‘fringes’, ‘dogmatic’, ‘superstition industrialists’, ‘blind faith’, ‘Irrational’, ‘Unscientific temper’ and so on. This is even after notable recognitions of Hindu ideologies on several international fora. They constantly blame Hindu Gurus’ value based efforts on the name of moral policing which are done to prevent blind fascination towards west models. In fact, this scares them about whether their vicious agenda could not be stolen away if national conscious of countrymen of being ingenious is realised. In current rape allegations on Sant Shri Asaram Bapu Ji after which he was arrested by Jodhpur Police, has a suspicious link of such NGO’s role. The feminist NGO Kalpana who registered FIR on behalf of complainant girl, never had authority to do so and has dubious background on monetary terms. The allegation story version which was written by Kalpana in report, was considered the prima facie evidence to arrest him.

The political parties who provide the pitch for NGO for their activism and also, fuel their ranting agenda to gain political mileage in contesting with their political rivals. Not surprisingly, it has been prime factor when the followers section of Hindu Gurus shows swing towards the rivals of such political individual(s). Further, this coalition of political outfits-NGOs always seeks the opportunity to exploit their political rivals through the fabricated episodes, wittingly create inequilibrium in the socio-political equation between Hindu and other communities. The signature lobby comprising the NGO activists and parliamentarians to deny the US visa to Narendra Modi in 2005 is an incomparable instance. Further, the political party (if, in ruling) and NGOs in tandem intervene in choosing their odd men in bureaucracy and investigation agencies and if subjudice matter relates to Hindu Gurus & Hindu Community, and then this be a kind of their fondness. The Gujarat wide protest and agitation in 2008’ case of unfortunate death of two little students at Sant Shri Asaram Bapu Gurukul Ahmedabad, is a burning instance of NGOs and Political Party in tandem. Alleging the reason of death of the students by performing black magic to make Narendra Modi and LK Advani on top of the thrones of state and country respectively, was purely fabricated by Congress’s political NGO Jagega Gujarat Sangarsh Samiti and their empathy class of journalists. All of this all was planned to gain the political mileage against Narendra Modi who was quite spiritual believer of Bapu. The JGSS and its crony media house Sandesh relentlessly crusaded to bring Bapu under the scanner of CBI. This political outfit of Congress has also been involved in impeding the development agenda of Narendra Modi government in Gujarat through several litigations on environmental issues.

If go further in woods of activism, according the latest data available for foreign fund contribution under FCRA, in donor organisations, that named as Gospel for Asia Inc (USA), Fundacion Vicente Ferre( Spain), World Vision Global Centre (USA), Compassion International (USA), Compassion International, USA, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, USA top in first 15 of the list. Not surprisingly, these are the organisations who overtly acknowledge themselves of being Christian evangelic with their prime motives to spread Christianity. More than Rs. 10,000 crore of fund received annually by home grown sister concerns of these NGOs under alternate & disguised names. This huge amount of money is provided to create the impedance to economic development, territorial instability and other motives as part of the foreign policies & proxy-war of western countries. The major portion of this received fund is utilised in de-hinduising activities i.e. – proselytizing the tribal people in remote areas, either forcibly or by distributing the freebies and providing aid to the Christian separatist (As seen in North East). The issue of proselytization by such means of showcasing the philanthropy among illiterate, deprived tribals and by this, avert their pride of indigenous culture, has invited several fierce debates on this ulterior faith politics. Also, Niyogi Commission (Constituted by MP Govt.) has insinuated and very much evident of these practices in its report. Hindu Gurus, seers and organisations such as Vanvasi kalyan parishad, Hindu Janjagruti Samiti by foreseeing the consequences of these reported practices of proselytization in disruption of social harmony, threat to national sovereignty, have always been working to elimination of its basic root causes - poverty and illiteracy. Therefore, their establishment, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashrams and the centres while keep the focus in mind to infrastructure development and set up the drinking water supply, schools, dispensaries and some co-operative commercial start-ups, have developed a back-trust to acknowledge the pride of indigenous culture in hearts of tribals. Indeed, this has laid down the obstacles in the way of their ulterior agenda of proselytizers, further which have broken down into conspiracies of targeting the Hindu Gurus & Seers by exercising the lie propaganda to defame them, scandalise their institutions by means of such as i.e. allegations of sexual exploit, murders and sometime its takes routes of their life assassination.

More than Rs. 10,000 crore of fund received annually by home grown sister concerns of these NGOs under alternate & disguised names.

In 2008, Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati, a highly revered Hindu Guru who lived a life dedicated to tribal welfare, was brutally murdered along with four disciples at his Kanya Ashram (a residential girl's school) in Tumudibandh (An isolated tribal area), about 100 km from Phulbani, the district headquarters of Kandhamal, Orissa. He was assassinated when the Kanya Ashram housed 130 girls on the day of the Janmashtami festival and many of the girls were eyewitnesses to the killing. A group of 30-40 armed men surrounded the Ashram. Four of the assailants carried AK-47s and many others had locally made revolvers. Swamiji’s work for the upliftment of isolated tribal population and opposition to aggressive proselytizing had run afoul of several evangelical Christian groups. The state government setup a special investigative probe into the case and a Christian Missionary World Vision India’s (a sister concern of World Vision Global) name came out very well and its local convener was arrested. So far in the matter, the additional district and sessions court in Phulbani convicted seven Christians and a Maoist leader from Andhra Pradesh. Remembering the good work of Swami Saraswati, SIT itself deposited in front of judicial commission is that he was regarded as a messiah among the tribal people.”

Sant Shri Asaram BapuJi and his followers’ bold involvement in the endeavours of tribal welfare as the solution to dampen the proselytization problem may have the answers of all questions pertaining to his today’s controversies. He has been working in the tribal belts of Pratap Garh, Bhimana, Kotada etc. in South Rajasthan-North Gujarat, district of Dang, Nanapoundha, Prakasha, Sagar etc. in South Gujarat-Maharasthra-Madhya Pradesh borders and remote regions of Orrisa for so many years. (Interestingly, these were few of the areas, chosen for conducting the survey by Niyogi Commission.) His organisations have frequent been organisers of the massive charitable camps for distribution of daily goods including the food ration among tribals. He opened the Gurukuls in tribal areas such as Saraki Limdi (Gujarat), Gondiya (Maharasthra). He runs regular mobile hospital vans to provide the health services in remote villages. He has established Adivasi Kalyan Ashrams in aforesaid tribal belts and these regions have been witnessed of the years of his services. Also, He was the one of baton-bearers in laying down the Shabri Kumbh in Dang district of Gujarat with the purpose of bringing the tribals in mainstream of the development. Several of testimonials like once an avid journalist asked to some tribals - what does Bapu mean for you? They replied in grateful voice that Ye Hamare Bhagwan Hain! (He is our God figure).

So, the foreign fund provided to such pertaining interest evangelic groups work as a tool to impact the cultural agenda of the country like India and have a significant space in the foreign policy of west countries. It is well observed fact of west countries deploying their planned funds (any relief fund / annual aid) through the instrument of these evangelic agencies and thus, they enjoy the kind of economic exploitation over the weaker country. For instance, during the 2013’s Uttarakhand catastrophe, the funds worth amount of 75,000 US $ and 150,000 US $ were allotted to agencies like ‘Catholic Relief Services’, ‘Plan India’ and ‘Save the Children India’ by US government to carried out the relief operation in affected areas. Erstwhile US ambassador Nancy Powell herself announced this officially. The US and other international fraternity to come forward with relief funds and utilisation of this by their own agencies, have been a very common observation in previous natural calamities i.e. flood, tsunami, earth quakes. This way of relief help is further extension of the scope of their cult agenda under the label of philanthropy which seeks advantage of deprived conditions of calamities hit people. Hindu Gurus and their organisations have played the role of whistle-blowers for these de-hinduising means and therefore, Hindu Gurus have been launching their vast relief operations and rehabilitation activities in calamities hit areas whenever country had to face those. Thus, this all have set countermeasures to aforesaid nexus of evangelic NGOs and causing Hindu Gurus on target. The resurgence of the villages by developing free homes and operation of relief camps at Bhuj in Gujarat and Sagar in Madhya Pradesh after hit by earthquake is the just few of the instances where Sant Shri Asaram BapuJi’s ashrams acquired a lot of applauds. The acknowledgement of Hindu Gurus on performing the greater service by grass rooted way of complete resettlement of life of calamity hit people, instead of foreign aid in terms of rotten biscuits and month before packed foods which is further can be judged a reason of tussle against them.

 

Indeed, Hindu Gurus have been backbone of country in terms of economy but there is an economy exist which backs the operation of certain agencies and treats India as a market placed for a huge profit chunk. As Indian market dwells on the sentiments and naïve Indian customers who take the products of foreign multinational companies the hand on hand for rapid consumption. This practice is nothing different with the rudimentary methodology of Britishers before the independence. Also, some companies especially in defence sector and nuclear technologies, to ensure their monopoly, are to beget the economic imbalance scenario through funding to aforesaid evangelic agencies to influence the economic policy of country like India. The driving current of foreign economy to run myopic Indian economy has ruined the indigenous way of its evolving. Foreign based FMCG companies are affecting the sober life style of common countrymen in a big way and the rising consumption of products of these companies have proved their growth in Indian Market. Hindu Gurus and Seer, who have foreseen this threat of snatching away businesses and livelihoods of little farmers and agriculture vendors, are crusading for country’s entrepreneurs to be self-competent and self-reliance. It affirms an adequate paradigm shift in Indian consumer’s habit towards consumption of indigenous products. Somewhere this has generated a commercial conflict, of which sordid consequences might be seen in targeting the Hindu Gurus and seers. The mysterious death of Swadeshi Campaigner Shri Rajiv Dixit in 2010 which was suppressed well without even any low decibel murmur in media, points out this suspicion true. So it can be concluded about Sant Shri Asaram BapuJi who have put painstakingly effort by establishing several co-operative firms based on Agriculture, Ayurveda and Dairy, might be victim of this agenda.

Cops and Investigative Agencies never have been fair in Hindu Gurus’ matter at all.

In last few years, a sudden rise in the controversy related of Hindu Gurus & seers is being occurred and this phenomenon has produced a dilemmatic situation for a common believer of the Hindu culture, especially in the custom of the Guru-Shishya. It has been a jolt on his /her belief system and has left him/her in despair and demotivated towards indigenous Hindu way of living life. The controversies rose-up in a serial infection about Hindu religious institutions in recent time, are largely instrumented through such people those who have ever been a part of the institute’s administration or close aides of Gurus. Such people stand up abruptly and come out in public with their allegations. Most of these people have spent a big span of their life (as they claims in their allegations) and venomously tell themselves as witness of all wrong deeds of Gurus. These people are quite backed and augmented by main stream media channels–activist’s complex. Surprisingly, this coalition of broken people & media shapes up in to a form of big campaign against Hindu Gurus. Thus, the insinuation of planned penetration and infiltration into the institutions of Hindu Gurus cannot be ignored by looking up at rise of such amalgamation. In recent 2014, An American historian Peter Heehs who lived in Pondicherry for 40 years and gained access to the archives of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram only to publish a derogatory ‘academic’ biography of Sri Aurobindo (The Lives of Sri Aurobindo) or the allegations of sexual abuse & murder on Hindu Guru Sathya Sai made by Norwegian Robert Piddy, after the acting as national leader in Norway for Sathya Sai Trust for so many years are the burning example of such infiltrations. In Sant Shri Asaram BapuJi’s case too, it has been a clear observation that few common faces (hostile to his Ashrams) repeatedly erupted on TV during every controversies and were lodged as witnessed in every case, even they got disproved in past allegation in front of court of law too.

The principles and values of the Hindu culture are well recognised by scientific institutes. Indian judiciary have too concluded the principles of Hindutva and Sanatan Dharma very much progressive to the development of society, whenever the relevant matters were brought before it. The lobby of pseudo-activists inherently feels the animosity towards Hindu Gurus & seers and; by their intellectual and rhetoric actions; they have been successful in mechanising the public environment of negative sentiments towards Hindu Gurus & Seers. Their constant efforts with principle objective of blaming Hindu Guru as ‘runner of blind faith industries or orthodox unions’ can easily be found out the concentrated on protest, discourses and activities to apply pressure on polity against the Hindu Gurus. The feminist section of this open liberal class often portray Hindu Gurus as ‘fringes’, ‘misogynist’ and criticises the principles of Hindu Culture as ‘unscientific temper’. They attack on the social value based programs of Gurus to stay responsible for religious and vote bank polarisations. They compare Hindu religious institutions with crime centres and business enterprises. It is very noteworthy same class of pseudo activists have overtly been taking the anti-national stand and defending the militants and country’s separatists. If we deal with current case of rape allegations on Sant Shri Asaram BapuJi, the pressure force by NGO activism in arresting Bapu can very much evident from the outset of the case. Pseudo-activist Agnivesh visiting erstwhile Ashok Gehlot to put the demand of arrest the Bapu and quoted the remark after arrest that it was real homage to Narendra Dabholkar is something that of a hatred campaign against Bapu who has been the crusader for pro-Hindu issues like – oppose of the draconian Anti-faith bill in Maharashtra.

Further, Lax media have always shown an overwhelming promptness to conduct media trials on the controversies related to Hindu Gurus & seers. Their extraordinary hunger to report the issues and speculation based depiction through concocted programs have not only influenced the investigation of subjudice matter related to Hindu Gurus but also have a big hand in making the negative sentiments viral. Thus, the class biasness in newsrooms as well in reporting at ground clears out the picture of activists-politicians-foreign forces, all work in tandem against the Hindu Gurus to conduct the character assassination. With more than 70,000 newspapers & over 500 satellite channels, Indian Media's major stake of fund are in foreign hands and one can easily trace its link with evangelic economy. Sant Shri Asaram BapuJi has been the biggest victim of Anti-Hindu media establishment.

Over and above all this, Cops and Investigative Agencies have never been fair in Hindu Gurus’ matter at all. Their under working with political influence are always the centre of apprehension and well evident in the cases like Shadhvi Pragya Singh. There are several connections where police in Sant Shri Asaram Bapu’s matter have adopted selective investigation approach against him. Further, who can forget the case of Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi where investigation agencies put their toe and tail efforts to convict him? None of us can’t forget.

So at the end, same question remains to judge - Let’s blame the sages or let’s praise them? We need to decide.

Nishant Sharma
Writer-Activist, Contesting PIL at Supreme Court for Media Regulation and Fighting against Targeting Hindu Institutions.
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