Apart from being shoddily written and edited, the e-book
– which external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj
describes as the product of the “hard work of MEA officials” – falsifies independent India’s early political history and shockingly describes the Bharatiya Janata Party as the only political alternative for the country.
Sample this strange text:
In the original Hindi, which the e-book
also contains, that last sentence sounds even more blatant: उनके द्वारा विकसित किया गया दल, “भारतीय जनता पार्टी” ही देश में राजनैतिक विकल्प बना (‘Unke dvara viksit kiya gaya dal, ‘Bharatiya Janata Party’, hi desh mein rajnaithik vikalp bana’). This line is more accurately translated as: “The party that he helped develop – the BJP
– became the only political alternative in the country.”
Is this merely sloppy writing and translation or is an attempt being made to promote the BJP
at the taxpayers’ expense?
Is it the job of the Ministry of External Affairs
to declare which party is the political alternative for the country? Is a ruling party allowed to misuse the institutions of government, not to speak of public funds, to publish and distribute party political propaganda?
The foreword of the e-book
has been written by Swaraj, who has a reputation for political restraint and fairness. Surely she cannot approve of the MEA becoming a mouthpiece of the BJP?
And what has happened to the senior officials of her ministry, whose duty is to serve the country and not any political party, and who are respected around the world for fighting tooth and nail over every word and comma that goes against the national
interest. How could they have signed off on such a publication that undermines the democratic system of the country?
The introduction also distorts the reality of the first three parliament when it asserts that the Bhartiya Jan Sangh
“emerged as a strong Opposition in the first three Lok Sabha
elections”. In the elections
of 1951-2, 1957 and 1962, the Jan Sangh won 4, 4 and 14 seats respectively. The actual Opposition to the Congress was the Communist Party of India, which won 16, 27 and 29 seats respectively.
‘Pearls’ from Upadhyaya’s thoughts
The MEA’s e-book
is part of a big push the BJP
are making to provide themselves with some sort of respectable ideological cloak. Their actual gurus – K B Hedgewar and M S Golwalkar – are too well known and too controversial to withstand critical scrutiny but Upadhyaya’s life and views are largely unknown and can thus be used to make the Sangh’s Hindutva
philosophy more palatable to a wider audience, perhaps even an international one.
Upadhaya was born in 1916 but the only act of significance that the MEA’s brief hagiographical account can record about the first three decades of his life – when the best of his generation were fighting for India’s freedom against the British
– is that he joined the RSS
The rest of the book is a summary of Upadhyaya’s ‘integral humanism’, a pastiche of homilies strung together, mostly harmless and tautological but some that contradict the Indian constitution – Eg. ‘No fundamental rights
… are eternal. They are all dependent upon the interest of society. In fact these rights are given to the individual in order that he may perform his social duties’.
In keeping with Upadhyaya’s attempt to gloss over the ‘Hindu’ identity of Hindutva
by using words like ‘Dharma’ and ‘Bhartiya’, the quotes or summaries – it is not clear how the contents have been assembled – in the MEA’s e-book
also explains his philosophy with the use of these euphemisms.
However, after defining Dharma
as “eternal principles that sustain an entity”, the book leaves the reader in no doubt that one is talking about Hinduism: “Our scriptures tell us that to follow the Vedas, to act according to the fundamental principles of our scriptures, to entertain truthful and pious thoughts and thus to develop the virtues in us is Dharma.
The use of the phrase “our scriptures” in an MEA book
is odd, to say the least.
Most disturbing is the neat equation the MEA makes at the end of the e-book
between “Bharatiya thought” and “Hindu thought”:
provides mankind with all the means and resources for its nourishment and protection. Nature
itself is a part of God, This is how we all are inalienably united with the Ultimate. This is the essence of Hindu thought. Bhartiya thought. Deendayalji named this thought only integral Humanism.
The Hindi version of the text notes: “मानवता की एकता की आधार आध्यात्म होगा। आध्यात्म केवल भारत व हिंदू समाज के पास है। … एकता के आधार की रक्षा के लिए हिंदू समाज के संगठन का कार्य अपनाया है।”, i.e. ‘Spiritualism
is the basis for the unity of humanity. Only India and Hindu society has spiritualism… In order to defend the basis of this unity of humanity, Hindu society has begun the work of organising itself.”
These peculiar theories may form part of Upadhyaya’s life and work but they represent the thinking and philosophy of a political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and its parent body, the RSS.
Let them publish and circulate this sort of literature to their heart’s content. Please keep the MEA out of this.
In arrangement with TheWire