report bases its conclusions about the education imparted in the
Ekal Vidyalaya (single-teacher schools) and Sewa Bharati schools on
second hand reports written by ideological opponents of the RSS.
For example, about the Ekal Vidyalayas, the report says:
is a scheme started by the VHP to indoctrinate students in remote
villages (tribal villages). Different
Sangh organizations have raised money for this scheme and help in
the administration of the schools.
Some of them are the Bharat Kalyan Pratishthan, Swami
Vivekananda Rural Development Society, Friends of Tribal Society,
and the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram—all of which have been funded by the
IDRF. Recently, the
Ekal Vidyalay Foundation has been set up as an independent
organization, but still remains under the control of Dr. B. K. Modi,
the current president of the VHP-Overseas.
the stated purpose of the schools is eradication of illiteracy in
remote areas, the One Teacher Schools are heavily involved in
spreading Hindutva ‘education’ with a focus on stopping
conversions to Christianity and encouraging ‘reconversions’ to
Hinduism. The VHP
advances the doctrine that Indian society is in grave danger from
Christianity, and hence it is necessary to counter the moves of
missionaries to ‘save’ the nation.
A senior VHP functionary claims, “Ekal vidyalayas can best
counter the designs of the Church because they impart education
based on Hindu samskara [culture]”.
VHP’s secretary-in-charge of Gujarat and Rajasthan,
Mahendra Bhat, also asserts that Ekal Vidyalays impart the ‘Hindu
way of life’ till the third class [grade] and that the focus on
tribal areas is ‘necessary if we have to save the tribals from
being misguided and influenced by foreign missionaries.
Ekal Vidyalaya has prominent people on its
board of trustees. They
include Dr. B. K. Modi, founder chairperson of ModiCorp; Justice P.
N. Bhagawati, former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India; Dr. L.
Member of Parliament and former Indian Ambassador to the United
Kingdom; Dr. Abid Hussain,
former Ambassador to the United States and a member of the
Constitution Review Committee; Sucheta Kapuria, industrialist and
Managing Trustee, EVFA (Ekal
Vidyalaya Foundation, America); and Dr. Basant Tariyal,
Telecommunications Consultant, and former Vice President of Optical
Products, Lucent Technologies, U.S.
us now see what exactly goes on in these Ekal Vidyalayas, and what kind of education is actually
imparted in these single-teacher schools.
a recent article in India Currents (an Indian-American monthly
published from San Francisco, U.S.A.
Not to be confused with a Christian magazine of similar name
published from India), Radhika Sharma writes the following about the
single-teacher schools. We
present below selected excerpts from Sharma’s article to show how
slanted, and even warped the Sabrang/FOIL conclusions are about
these schools. The
complete article can be found in Appendix
Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of India (EVFI) is one such concept that
hopes to empower young tribal children in India through education.
The premise of EVFI is “Ek Shikshak, Ek Vidyalaya,” which
means “one teacher for every school.”
Founded 15 years ago, by Shyamjee Gupta, EVFI focuses
attention on tribals and tries to bring non-formal education within
their reach. Currently
EVFI is running over 8,000 schools in remote and tribal villages all
over India and hopes to reach a target of 100,000 schools by the
Vidyalayas offer five years of free non- formal education to village
children aged 5-14 years in groups of 30 to 40.
For every school a local teacher is identified.
An organizer is assigned for each cluster of 10 schools.
The teachers are locally educated youths who have passed
grades 8 or 9 and have been trained specifically for the purpose.
Many NGOs are also closely connected with the functioning of
these vidyalayas. These
village schools also serve the ancillary function of a meeting point
for the entire community wherein ideas regarding health and better
lifestyle are discussed.
are held under a tree or in a hut and lessons are taught through
different modes like kathas (story telling sessions), nataks
(dramas), lok-geets (folk songs), and pravachans (religious
discourses), etc. This
informality induces even the errant students to turn up for class.
The curriculum is designed by educationalists to cater to
special local needs
and is taught in the regional language of the state.
It includes alphabetic and numerical knowledge as well as
moral education. The
girl child is also well represented: 50 percent of the students and
teachers are female. About
20 percent of all students go on to higher education and some of
them eventually return to serve the organization that helped their
is important to note that the Sabrang/FOIL authors, sitting in
Connecticut, New Jersey, and California, did not bother to talk to
anyone directly involved with Ekal Vidyalayas before arriving at
their warped conclusion. In
contrast, Ms. Sharma not only quotes Shyamjee Gupta, the founder and
national coordinator of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of India (EVFI),
but also presents voices of two more people involved with EVFI as
contend that most reasonable people would believe what insiders to
an organization know about it, rather than a group of people whose
only objective is to shut the doors of about 8,000 schools in remote
and tribal villages all over India.
Until recently these tribal areas and remote locations were
open to anti-national activities of foreign forces and proselytizing
agents. Since the RSS
began working in those areas, the response from the local people has
been one of exhilaration and relief (See Appendix
has been a concerted campaign against the Ekal Vidyalayas by a
combination of media and academic networks.
But try as they might, they really cannot find anything wrong
with the schools. This
is best showcased in an article in The
New York Times, where the reporter seeks to demonize the
organizations running these schools, and all that she can come up
with as “evidence” is the following:
nearly 300 boys here at the Sewa Dham school, most of them from what
are called the tribal belts of central and northeastern India, hew
to a rigorous daily schedule from 5 in the morning until 10 at
night. They learn Hindu
chants in the ancient language, Sanskrit.
They are taught to give up their meat-eating ways and to
become vegetarians. They
are regaled with tales of brave Hindu warriors and saints and
quizzed on the ravages of the Muslim emperor, Babur.“
The reporter seeks to
paint these schools similar to Muslim “madrassas” where only the
Koran is taught and where children are urged to kill infidels.
That The New York
Times lends credence to such far-fetched and poorly evidenced
reports is one more indication of the demonization of the RSS by a
combination of Indian and international forces.
Ironically, The New
York Times has published a much more carefully evidenced report
about Islamic madrassas.
additional impassioned report on the Ekal Vidyalaya schools
and the work done by the Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram.
report says this about the Vikasan Foundation:
organization, started by the Hindu Seva Pratishthan and Jana Seva
Vidya Kendra (both affiliated with the Sangh), claims to stand for
the promotion of Indian culture in India and abroad.
However, like all Sangh organizations, it conflates
‘Indian’ culture with its version of ‘Hindu/Vedic’ culture,
completely negating the concept of a syncretic Indian identity that
has been influenced by many religions.
Vikasan collects money for funding some gurukuls (Hindu
religious schools, equivalent of the Islamic madrassas) in India and
also organizes the Teen Hindu Heritage Camps in India for teenagers
of Indian descent who have largely grown up outside the country.
As the detailed program of this camp suggests, there is a
heavy influence of the RSS organizations on the curriculum at this
that the authors have equated gurukulas with Islamic madrassas.
While numerous reports in the Indian and
international media have exposed the true nature of many Islamic
madrassas as being schools for training Islam-inspired terrorism,
Prof. Ramesh Rao writes the following about gurukulas in an article
there has been a new interest in creating educational systems that
allow for the healthy and holistic development of the child.
A number of gurukulas have sprung up, and in the present day
gurukula system, the spiritual and intellectual preceptors seek to
pave the way for such holistic and integral development of the
child/youth. They seek
to recover the guru-shishya relationship which is based on trust,
devotion, and a mutuality of affection between the teacher and the
students. And in the
gurukulas that I visited, no child or his/her parents are asked
their caste affiliation or background.“
Anyone who has
followed the news, and has read or seen any coverage about Islamic
madrassas knows that such “holistic and integral development of
child/youth” is hardly the kind of thing students in madrassas
experience. One wonders
what would make Sabrang/FOIL authors compare such gurukulas
as the ones supported by Vikasan Foundation with madrassas.
We now present some
more excerpts from Rao’s article that was based on his visit to
two gurukulas that
Vikasan Foundation supports. This
is important because it emphasizes the point that what we present
below is the ground reality about these gurukulas
as opposed to the assumptions, conjectures, and concoctions put
forward by Sabrang/FOIL authors.
The complete article by Rao can be found in Appendix
gurukulas seek to provide an all-round education that promotes
physical well-being through the practice of yoga and the playing of
a variety of Indian games (up to 200 of them), language learning
through the study of Sanskrit, Kannada, and English, intellectual
rigor through the learning of math and science, self-esteem and
self-reliance through the washing of their own clothes (see below),
and braiding of each other’s hair…
are designated hours for self-learning, and the love of nature is
inculcated through walks in the forest, watering the garden every
morning and evening, and labeling and recognizing trees, flowers,
birds, herbs, and insects. Students
acquire a deep and healthy sense of patriotism and strong leadership
qualities from evening discussions, talks by visiting teachers and
leaders, and the evening ritual of ‘samiti praarthane’ (see
Students are free from the hassles of examinations and tests.
However, the students are evaluated in a unique way: they
themselves prepare questions and tests on material they have learnt
and write the answers and circulate it amongst themselves for
teachers clear any doubts they may have.
The process of self-evaluation is done periodically and after
their six-year stay at the gurukula they are free to continue their
higher education through university level correspondence courses,
the three gurukulas in Karnataka run by the Hindu Seva Prathistan go well beyond the training imparted in traditional gurukulas. They do this in an inexpensive and non-elitist environment in stark contrast to westernized and snobbish institutions of learning.
gurukulas incorporate lifestyle and cultural agendas, including the
nurturing of a strong sense of patriotism, that are aimed at molding
a strong, happy, intelligent, and disciplined citizen who believes
and leads a simple lifestyle.”
authors would like to close down such institutions that work towards
helping children become happy, intelligent, and disciplined
citizens. Their agenda
is to put an end to the educational journeys of thousands of Indian
children who attend these gurukulas.
Sabrang/FOIL report describes these as:
Bharati and Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation
(the latter currently goes by the name of sVYASA—Swami Vivekananda
Yoga Anusandhan Samstha): These organizations have allegedly been
created to provide training in yoga.
Yoga Bharati is a subsidiary of the IDRF while sVYASA is an
independent organization headquartered in Bangalore.
Nevertheless, these organizations work together, share
instructors, advisors, and teaching material.
Besides, Yoga Bharati (and the IDRF by extension) collects
funds for sVYASA’s research efforts.
However, as with all Sangh Parivar organizations, the yoga
education is suffused with the Hindutva philosophy.
Thus, Yoga Bharati invites David Frawley, a well-known
Hindutva ideologue, to speak at its Bay Area event, while its Yoga
Training Camp has drawn speakers from allied Sangh foundations such
as Samskrit Bharati and the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh.
an offshoot of the Vivekananda Kendra and Rock Memorial, Kanyakumari,
helps organize RSS training camps in India and abroad for
international audiences — camps which actively propagate Hindutva,
the supremacy of Hinduism and the revisionist history of India.”
Let us now look at
the facts. Yes, David
Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri) is a “Hindutva” ideologue, in the
sense that he is an articulate speaker on Hindu values, culture, and
history. Frawley is a
successful teacher of yoga and ayurveda, and is the author of
numerous books on Indian civilization, Aryan Invasion Theory, yoga,
and ayurveda. And yes,
he supports the work of the RSS and its affiliates.
Frawley, an American has lectured at the University of
California, Berkeley, writes for Yoga
Journal, and conducts correspondence courses for students around
the world. Those
interested in his work can find information at http://www.vedanet.com/
Other than David
Frawley, Yoga Bharati’s advisers, instructors, and speakers
include experts in yoga, ayurveda, etc. from both India and the U.S.
Below we present detailed information about some of the experts
involved with sVYASA and Yoga Bharati:
V. Raghuram is the international coordinator and yoga
trainer at sVYASa. Raghuram
of sVYASA has trained under some of the most renowned exponents of
yoga in India and has been practicing yoga for more than 20 years.
He has traveled to several countries including Germany,
Austria, Switzerland, England, USA, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Sri
Lanka, and Singapore, and conducted yoga therapeutic and corrective
courses (for ailments such as bronchitis, asthma, back ache, eating
disorders, sleep disorders etc.).
At Bangalore, he is involved in training certified yoga
instructors and also in assisting various doctoral students in their
research on yoga and related subjects.
Marathe is one of the senior therapists from the
Vivekananda Yoga Research Kendra, Bombay.
He was a computer professional who has now turned into a yoga
therapist after he cured himself of Addison’s disease in which he
had complete failure of adrenal glands.
He has continued his research on yoga as an alternative
system of healing with the facilities made available by hospitals in
Bombay. He is actively
involved in counseling and therapy training for a variety of
ailments including arthritis, asthma, AIDS, cancer, and cardio
Mathur is a renowned Ayurvedic practitioner and
founder/owner of Ganesha Institute in Los Altos, California.
As a native of India and fourth-generation Vedantist,
Pratichi’s mission is to share the healing wisdom of Ayruveda
received her training under Dr. P.
H. Kulkarni –
the well-known Ayurvedic physician, and professor of Ayurveda at the
University of Poona. In
addition, she completed postgraduate studies in Ayurveda and Pancha
Karma at the Ayurveda Academy in India.
Mathur offers traditional Ayurvedic therapy and education.
Her style of treatment remains classic, based upon Ayurvedic
texts and ancient modalities. The
Ganesha Institute was created to offer a full range of authentic
services in Ayurveda. It
is Pratichi’s vision that her clients be able to access true and
is a physician, board-certified in Internal Medicine Immunology, and
also certified in Metabolic Cardiology and Stress Management.
He currently teaches at the University of California,
Berkeley and was a professor of behavioral medicine at Rosebridge
College of Integrative Psychology.
Dr. Bhat is the author of the internationally known book, How
to Reverse and Prevent Heart Disease and Cancer.
He also wrote a course book for his U.C. Berkeley class, Unlearning
Test Anxiety and Stress, and produced two popular videos, Uprooting
Anger and Meditation
India and educated in the West, Dr. Bhat connects Eastern
disciplines with Western high-tech medicine using computer feedback
systems known as cybernetics. Dr.
Bhat is the founder and director of the Cybernetix Medical
Institute, located in Concord, California.
His active stress and heart disease reversal clinic has
training programs for patients, physicians, and health care workers.
Dr. Bhat has done extensive research on how stress affects
the heart from the perspective of heart-centered physiology, called
work focuses on how the heart rate and blood pressure are changed by
emotions, such as anger or love.
Dr. Bhat’s work has been cited in Time
Magazine, Cardiology Today, Business Week, The Contra Costa Times,
and The San Francisco
Holiness Swami Bodhananda Saraswati got his spiritual
calling at an early age and embarked on his mission of teaching in
1978. In 1984, he was
initiated into sanyas
and in 1988 he was offered the honor of setting up a teacher
training facility, Sandeepani, in Kerala.
Many of his students have become accomplished teachers and
religious leaders. Swami
Bodhananda is an acclaimed authority on Vedanta, and unfolds the
answer to the question “Who am I?” in his discourses,
interviews, lectures, classes, and counselling sessions.
Bodhananda is the Spiritual Founder and Director of 11 organizations
and ashrams under the umbrella of the Sambodh Foundation.
Sambodh and its organizations in India have taken up
well-defined projects and organize a wide variety of programs which
includes social service centres, home for the aged, a centre for
Vedic Studies (Vedic and Management Studies Centre), research
foundation for management and leadership studies, an institution to
train students in the ancient wisdom of Vedas, Bhagavad Gita and
Patanjali Yoga Sutras.
Muktidharma is a holistic yoga therapist and trained
teacher in the Satyananda Yoga tradition.
He has 30 years of experience in yoga and has spent 16 years
working in India with his teacher, Paramahansa Satyananda.
Satyananda Yoga combines classical hatha, raja, karma, bhakti, jnana,
mantra, kriya, kundalini, and other branches of yoga based on the
ancient philosophies of Samkhya, Vedanta and Sannyasa. Bihar Yoga
Bharati, a center for learning and research on yoga, was started
under the guidance of Paramahansa Satyananda Saraswati.
impressive and diverse academic and professional backgrounds of
these experts challenge the baseless conclusions of the Sabrang/FOIL
authors that “yoga education is suffused with the Hindutva
philosophy”. As seen
above, those involved with sVYASA and Yoga Bharati are scholars and
practitioners in a broad range of fields, but none of them propagate
“Hindutva philosophy” in the manner that Sabrang/FOIL authors
define Hindutva at the beginning of their report.
Kendra Yoga Research Foundation (or sVYASA), which the Sabrang/FOIL
report cursorily dismisses as advocating “Hindutva”, is engaged
in a variety of research projects.
This is evident from the long list of research papers,
journal articles, and conference presentations by the scholars
involved with this organization.
The Sabrang/FOIL report claims that,
organization works for the promotion of the Sanskrit language and is
identified as a ‘Branch’ by the RSS.
According to the RSS website, “The Sangh has formed the
Samskrita Bharati, which through several thousand speak Sanskrit
camps have taught people to speak the ‘language of the gods’
sufficient for their daily use in just ten days”.
In the US, this organization runs Sanskrit training programs
and camps, where it not only imparts language training, but also a
heavy dose of the Sangh ideology.
It also participates in camps and functions organized by
other Sangh Parivar groups in this country.”
functioned as the basic vehicle of classical Indian literature for
more than 3000 years. It
is one of the world’s great classical languages, and Sanskrit
literature is both more numerous and rich than the literature in
other classical languages. It
is still a living language in the sense that it is the “language
of ritual, worship, and prayer” for Hindus, and Sanskrit is now
being revived successfully as a spoken language, and as a technical
language. It is the key
to a first-hand understanding of the vast field of classical Hindu
religion and philosophy, being the language of the Vedas and
Upanishads, the great epics of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata
(which includes the Bhagavadgita), and the texts of Vedanta and
Sanskrit is an
important language for the study of Buddhism too, and experts claim
that knowledge of Sanskrit is indispensable for the student of
comparative philology. It
also possesses a rich secular literature, embracing court poetry,
drama, and romance. Knowledge
of Sanskrit opens the way to a direct appreciation of the
achievements of the classical civilization of India in such fields
as aesthetic theory, linguistics, law and political theory,
medicine, mathematics and astronomy.
Is Sanskrit a
“language of the gods?” Biju
Mathew and his fellow ideologues use that phrase in quotes to claim
that it is merely the RSS that makes such claims about Sanskrit.
We wonder what Mathew would have to say about the teaching of
Latin and Greek in Europe and America, as well as in seminaries all
over the world.
The debate about the
antiquity of Sanskrit, and about the nature of the language are far
too many to summarize here, except to say that Sanskrit is now
considered one of the most “exact” and “perfect” of
languages. Sir William
Jones (1746-1794) who, as president of the Asiatic Society, which he
founded in 1784, said that the “Sanscrit (sic) language, whatever
be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the
Greek, more copious than the Latin and more exquisitely refined than
Also, “scientifically, Sanskrit is a perfect, sound based
consonants form five blocks - dentals, labials, cerebrals, velar,
and palatal. It has 41
consonants and 13 vowels. It
has a number of combinations of consonants, about 84 of them exist,
and each of them need to be defined in the font for a complete
characteristic of Sanskrit is the use of post-consonantal forms of
the vowels. Unlike the
Roman script, a vowel used after a consonant changes form and gets
attached to the consonant.”
Biju Mathew, who
started a group when he was at the University of Pittsburgh called
“Sanskriti,” and the other collaborators on the Sabrang/FOIL
report, we believe may have little knowledge of Sanskrit, or little
understanding of the impact of Sanskrit on Indian culture, society,
and morès, and therefore, as members of the Indian Left, they seek
to demonize Sanskrit as the language of the “upper castes and
the RSS of fostering upper caste values, they now claim that the
only use for Sanskrit is the “Hinduization” of tribal people.
Because Mathew and his collaborators may have little or no
understanding of the richness, depth, and immense scientific and
technical value of Sanskrit,
they have to warp their presentation on Samskrit
Bharati claiming that it imparts knowledge of Sanskrit with “a
heavy dose of Sangh ideology.”
The authors of the
Sabrang/FOIL report claim that,
basic focus of Sewa activity as coordinated by Sewa International is
the various community activities taken on by the Sangh and the
resulting spread of Sangh philosophy in different areas.
This clarity – where ‘development’ is merely the
pretext for sectarian ideological training, is expounded in detail
by H. V. Sheshadri, the ex-General Secretary of the RSS:
programmes and activities are but the outer form of our Sewakarya
[service work]. The
ultimate object of all these endeavours is Hindu Sangathan -
consolidation and strengthening of the Hindu society’.
The key phrase in the above passage is
‘consolidation of Hindu society’ – indicating that there are
many parts of Indian society that are at a distance from what the
RSS defines as Hindu society. It
is to ‘convert’ these people who are ‘insufficiently Hindu’,
that sewa karya is a cover for.
For instance, ‘Hindu consolidation’ very often happens
through celebrating Hindu festivals such as Holi, Raksha Bandhan,
Yugadi, Sankranti—all festivals described by the VHP, as those
promoting Hindu consciousness and ‘national integration.’ “
A rational individual
should therefore ask: Is being for something always being against
something else? Does
loving your wife lead to hating other women?
Is loving your nation, an indication of hating other
helping those closest to you an attempt at undermining others?
This logical fallacy perpetrated consciously, willfully, and
vulgarly by sophists and political grandstanders should be condemned
unequivocally by any sane reader of the Sabrang/FOIL report.
That many, including well-known “South Asia” experts have
signed on to this mode of thinking shows the political leanings of
“South Asia” experts in American universities.
We have already
pointed out that the Supreme Court of India has ruled that Hindutva
and Hinduism constitute ways of living rather than the advocacy of a
“religion” in the Western/Semitic/aggressive monotheistic sense.
That many Indians and “South Asia” experts have signed on
to an understanding of Hinduism as a religion, like Christianity,
shows the effects of Western/secular brainwashing on “South
Asia” experts. We are
not surprised that Biju Mathew, an avowed Marxist, has a particular
axe to grind against Hinduism.
What is shocking, however, is that journalists and academics
have jumped on to the Marxist bandwagon without a thought for the
political agenda of Biju Mathew and his collaborators.
report asserts that the VHP/RSS seek “Hindu consolidation through
celebration of Hindu festivals”.
of the University of Texas, Austin who recently traveled through
North East India writes about the purported influence of the
Vivekananda Kendra and the VHP in the tribal areas:
also visited a Dimasi village a few hours outside of Dimapur in
Nagaland. It is one of
the few non-Christian villages in that neighborhood.
They received some funds from the Vivekananda Kendra to help
transliterate their ancestral prayers.
I asked if the Vivekananda Kendra asked them to cry out
“Bolo Rama” and urged them to give up their indigenous tradition
and embrace Hinduism thereby leading to what Sabrang called the
“disintegration” of Adivasi culture.
The Dimasi gentleman laughed and said that the Kendra had
helped them to preserve their indigenous prayers.
They had recorded the old men of the village and transcribed
it (Dimasis use Roman script) and made it available to all of the
Dimasi villages. His
elderly mother said that over a hundred years ago the Americans came
with the Kala Kitab (black book) and told them their Gods were
satans, now they are proud to be Dimasis.
In the last years since they have received help from the
Kendra, they have felt a feeling of pride in their own culture that
was difficult to maintain when missionaries are always knocking on
your door. They also
got some funds to help preserve an ancient Dimasi monument, a giant
chess set associated with Bhima’s wife from the Maha Bharata, who
was from that tribe.
Dimasi are not being coerced or disintegrated by the help they are
receiving from the Vivekananda Kendra, which may include some funds
from the IDRF. They
were wonderful people. The
village head told me that they decided to get organized when in the
fall of 1999 there were dozens of huge prayer meetings warning
people that Jesus was returning to earth on the new year.
Missionaries from different churches would go through all the
villages on bicycles with bull-horns and tell people to come to the
prayer meeting and be saved – to leave their old evil ways behind
and be saved when the rapture comes on Dec. 31, 1999.
The headmaster’s daughter asked why they couldn’t have a
prayer meeting and they did! The
next year they had a prayer meeting of all the Dimasi tribes with
traditional dancing and singing.
They did this for two years and then they got some help in
printing up the Dimasi prayer booklets.
It doesn’t take a media savvy genius to understand why
FIACONA (Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of
Northern America) would want to curtail such funds that support and
strengthen indigenous traditions.
They become less easy to convert.”
After reading the
Sabrang/FOIL report carefully, we believe neither Biju Mathew nor
the co-authors of the Sabrang report seem to have traveled in North
East India and understood the dynamics of hate and anti-national
activities encouraged by Christian proselytizers, and Communist provocateurs. They seem
to have merely projected their hatred of the RSS and its affiliates
by relying on reports by partisan proselytizers and lazy
About the Bharat
Vikas Parishad, the Sabrang/FOIL authors claim:
is also listed by the RSS as one of its branches that is designed
‘to involve entrepreneurs and well off sections of the society in
National service and for protecting Bhartiya values.’
While their stated task, that of removing discrimination from
society, is noble indeed, their methodology of bringing about this
change by imposing hierarchical upper caste Hindu values speaks
volumes about the reality. According
to Vishwa Samvad Kendra, the public relations site of the Sangh
Parivar, ‘They [Bharat Vikas Parishad] have adopted 60 seva vastis
(Slums) for all round development.
They organize competitions on Ramayana and Mahabharata on All
Bharat basis for school children.
They organize competitions for students in chorus singing of
patriotic. More than
one lakh students participate annually in this competition.’ The
President of Bharat Vikas Parishad is Justice Rama Jois, who is
actively involved in the VHP movement for rebuilding a Hindu temple
at the site of the 16th century Babri Mosque in Ayodhya
that the VHP had demolished in 1992.”
It is important to
ask the question: What do Biju Mathew and his co-authors mean by
“upper caste Hindu values”?
The next question would be: Do the authors of the Sabrang/FOIL
report advocate the teaching of “lower caste Hindu values” or
that a preference be made for “Maoist and Marxist values”?
The rather silly but constant demonization of “upper caste
Hindus” is the hallmark of the Sabrang/FOIL report.
Nowhere do the authors acknowledge that the RSS has publicly
proclaimed that it is against discrimination of people based on
their caste. Yet, the
reciting of the verses from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana are
conflated with reciting something sectarian, violent, upper-caste,
and discriminatory. The
Ramayana and the Mahabharata are two of the world’s great epics.
They are not religious treatises like the Bible and the
Koran, and they don’t spread the message of aggressive monotheism
and bloody carnage that some Christian and Muslim fundamentalists
As to the
qualifications of M. Rama Jois, the former Chief Justice of the
Punjab and Haryana High Courts, the present Governor of Jharkand,
and the chief advocate who argued in favor of considering Hindutva
as a way of life, and whose arguments the Supreme Court of India
countenanced, once again we see Biju Mathew and his co-authors
presenting the partial truth, distorting that partial truth, and
hiding the rest of the truth which would debunk their conclusion –
that Rama Jois is merely a supporter of the building of a temple to
Rama in Ayodhya on the site where the Babri Masjid stood.
a state-wise listing of affiliate organizations see http://www.idrf.org
Since the Sabrang/FOIL authors constantly point out that their
group includes Muslims and Christians, it is pertinent to note
that Dr. Abid Hussain is a Muslim.
Would the Sabrang/FOIL authors then dismiss him as a “bad
Muslim” because he supports and is affiliated with the Ekal