A collection of articles from all around (no copyright infringement intended) for educational purposes to strengthen the values enshrined in the Indian constitution.

Shamsul Islam’s open letter to “Head chopping Billionaire Baba”


At the outset I must congratulate you for making big strides so far as your personality is concerned. You have really become a MARD; MAN in capital, now. On June 6, 2011 afraid of Delhi police you ran away in female attire from Ram Lila ground, leaving hundreds of your followers at the mercy of Delhi Police. But now as press reports from Rohtak, Haryana disclose you are courageous enough to chop heads of millions for not chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. (1) It really shows the farsightedness of your wisdom that in a meeting which was held to create ‘sadbhav’ or fraternity among different Castes/sections of Hindus which was shattered in last February you did not budge from the main agenda of Hindutva; teaching Indian Muslims a lesson. As a master performer of the Hindutva bandwagon you focussed on Muslims despite the fact that latter had no hand in the February blood bath in Haryana. Baba! you and your friends were perfectly right in asking Anuradha Beniwal, the UK based chess trainer-cum-writer originally from Haryana to stop when she said, “We [Hindus] have burnt the establishments of our neighbours, our friends, our brothers. To get the bottom of the matter, and to resolve it, we have to ask certain questions to ourselves, to our society and our government”, as she was deviating from your anti-Muslim agenda. (2) Baba! You are a true Hindutva rising star!

Baba!Allow me to touch few petty issues. Just enlighten ignorant persons like me on these few minor things which I will summarize in the following:

(1) Where were you and your RSS bandwagon when Haryana burnt for more than 10 days in February 2016 in which countless women were violated, more than 30 killed and property worth, 30 thousand crores was looted/burnt? I hope you remember that Haryana during this critical period was abandoned by the BJP/RSS political leadership and Indian Army whose job is to secure Indian territory against enemies was called to control this civil anarchy. Indian Army had to shoot Indians killing more than 20. You and RSS were seen nowhere chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.

(2) Moreover, since you declared your intention of chopping heads (to quote your words’behead lakhs of those’), who refuse to chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, in a RSS organized meeting, it can be assumed that RSS is too committed to this chant. It is a blatantly lie baba! Forget about this chant, RSS never participated in the Indian Freedom Struggle. Let me quote directly from the contemporary RSS documents to prove this fact. Guru Golwalkar, the most prominent ideologue of the RSS and Supremo of the RSS 1940 onward admitted the fact that RSS kept aloof from the Freedom Struggle in the following words: “There is another reason for the need of always remaining involved in routine work. There is some unrest in the mind due to the situation developing in the country from time to time. There was such unrest in 1942 [Quit India Movement]. Before that there was the movement in 1930-31 [Salt Satyagrah]. At that time many other people had gone to Doctorji (By Doctorji is meant Dr. Hedgewar, the founder of the RSS). This delegation requested Doctorji that this movement will give independence and Sangh should not lag behind. At that time, when a gentleman told Doctorji that he was ready to go to jail, Doctorji said: ‘Definitely go. But who will take care of your family then? That gentleman replied, ‘I have sufficiently arranged resources not only to run the family expenses for two years but also to pay fines according to the requirements’, then Doctorji told him: ‘If you have fully arranged for the resources then come out to work for the Sangh for two years’. After returning home that gentleman neither went to jail nor came out to work for the Sangh. (3)

Non-cooperation and Quit India Movements were two great milestones in the history of the Indian Freedom Movement and here was the great thesis of great Golwalkar on these two great happenings of the Freedom Movement. According to him: “Definitely there are bound to be bad results of struggle. The boys became unruly after the 1920-21 [Non-cooperation Movement] movement. It is not an attempt to throw mud at the leaders. But these are inevitable products after the struggle. The matter is that we could not properly control these results. After 1942, people often started thinking that there was no need to think of the law. (4)

Thus Golwalkar wanted the Indians to respect the draconian and repressive laws of the inhuman British rulers! While narrating the RSS attitude towards Quit India Movement (1942) he admitted:”In 1942 also there was a strong sentiment in the hearts of many. At that time too the routine work of Sangh continued. Sangh vowed not to do anything directly. However, upheaval (uthal-puthal) in the minds of Sangh volunteers continued. Sangh is an organization of inactive persons, their talks are useless, not only outsiders but also many of our volunteers did talk like this. They were greatly disgusted too. (5)

Baba, please secure a single publication or document of the RSS which, could throw some light on the great work the RSS did ‘indirectly’ for the Quit India movement.In all fairness to Guru Golwalkar, he did not claim that the RSS had been opposed to the British. He admitted it long after Independence also while delivering a speech before leading cadres of the RSS at Indore in 1960. Referring to the British rule he admitted: “We should remember that in our pledge we have talked of the freedom of the country through defending religion and culture. There is no mention of departure of the British in that. (6)

Golwalkar was not alone in denigrating the Freedom Struggle and glorifying the British rulers. His Guru and founder of the RSS, Hedgewar, had similar views. The official biography of Hedgewar has the following self-explanatory statement: “After establishing Sangh Doctor Saheb in his speeches used to talk only of Hindu organization. Direct comment on Government used to be nil.” (7)

Billionaire Baba! You are very fond of referring to the great martyr of the anti-British Freedom Struggle, Bhagat Singh. But your Hindutva co-traveller, RSS decried the whole tradition of martyrdom followed by these martyrs. Here is a passage from the chapter, ‘Martyr, Great But Not Ideal’ of Bunch Of Thoughts, the collectionof writings of MS Golwalkar decrying the whole tradition of martyrs. After declaring that his objects of worship have always been successful lives and that ‘Bhartiya culture’ [which surely means RSS culture] does not adore and idealize martyrdom and do not treat ‘such martyrs as their heroes’, he went on to philosophize that: “There is no doubt that such man who embrace martyrdom are great heroes and their philosophy too is pre-eminently manly. They are far above the average men who meekly submit to fate and remain in fear and inaction. All the same, such persons are not held up as ideals in our society. We have not looked upon their martyrdom as the highest point of greatness to which men should aspire. For, after all, they failed in achieving their ideal, and failure implies some fatal flaw in them.” (8)

Baba! Could there be a statement more insulting and denigrating to the martyrs than this?

(3) Ramdev baba! India is lucky that you were not there when Gandhiji, Jawahar Lal Nehru and Sardar Patel were alive. They never chanted ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. On the contrary, they used the term ‘Jai Hind’ (victory to India) in official correspondence and communications. With ‘Jai Hind’ they ended their public addresses. If you were their contemporary they too should have been at risk of losing their heads for not chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. Since Independence all presidents and prime ministers (including PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee) of the Indian Republic chanted ‘Jai Hind’and not ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, they were lucky not have their heads chopped off as you were not around baba!

I know you are very busy in marketing Hindutva and Patanjali products; I will not take more of your time. Just last query, please share with the nation where and when during the Freedom Struggle the Hindutva bandwagon which included your RSS, Hindu Mahasabha, chanted ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ against the British. And how many times Hedgewar and Golwalkar, the two Supremo of the RSS during the British rule, or any other leader/cadre of the RSS, were jailed for freedom of India, chanting this or any other slogan against the British.

Eagerly looking forward for your kind response,

Shamsul Islam

Shamsul Islam is a retired Professor of University of Delhi.Email:

Far from being eternal, Bharat Mata is only a little more than 100 years old

It’s only from the late 19th century that Bharatvarsha to refer to the subcontinent and Bharat as mother found their way into the popular vocabulary.

At a time when India is being projected as eternal, when the chanting of Bharat Mata ki jai has become a testimony to patriotism and refusal to do so invites the wrath of Hindutva outfits and political parties, it is pertinent to look at the history of the country known as Bharat whose antiquity cannot be pushed too far back in time.

The earliest references

The geographical horizon of the Aryans was limited to the north western part of the Indian subcontinent known as Saptasindhava. The Vedic texts do not mention the word Bharata in the sense of a country though they refer to the tribe of Bharatas at several places in different contexts. In Panini’s Ashtadhyayi (500 BC) we find a reference to Prachya Bharata in the sense of a territory (janapada) which lay between udichya (north) and prachya (east). It must have been a small region occupied by the Bharata tribe and cannot be equated with the Akhanda ­Bharata or Bharata of the Hindutva brigade.

The earliest reference to Bharatavarsha (Prakrit Bharadhavasa) is found in the inscription of the Orissan king Kharavela (first century BC), who lists it among the territories he invaded: but it did not include Magadha, which is mentioned sepa­rately in the record. The word here may therefore refer in a general way to northern India, its precise territorial connotation remaining vague. A much larger geographical region is visualised by the use of the word in the Mahabharata (200 BC to AD 300), which provides a good deal of geographical information about the subcontinent, but a large part of the Deccan and the far south does not find any place in it. Banabhatta’s Kadambari (seventh century), at one place describes Bharatavarsha as being ruled by Tarapida, who “set his seal on the four oceans”. But since it is referred to as excluding Ujjaini from it, the location and boundaries of Bharat are far from clear.

Bharatavarsha figures prominently in the Puranas, but they describe its shape variously. In some passages it is likened to a half-moon, in others it is said to resemble a triangle; in yet others it appears as a rhomboid or an unequal quadrilateral or a drawn bow. The Markandeya Purana compares the shape of the country with that of a tortoise floating on water and facing east. Most of the Puranas describe Bharatavarsha as being divided into nine dvipas or khandas, separated by seas and mutually inac­cessible.

The Puranic conception of Bharatavarsha has similarity with the ideas of ancient Indian astronomers like Varahamihira (sixth century AD) and Bhaskaracharya (11th century), though in their perception it does not seem to have included southern India. Although a 14th-century record mentions Bharata as extending from the Himalayas to the southern sea, by and large, the available textual and epigraphic references to it do not indicate that the term stood for India as we know it today.

A part of Jambudvipa

In many texts Bharata is said to have been a part of Jambudvipa, which itself had an uncertain geographical connotation. The Vedic texts do not mention it; nor does Panini, though he refers to the jambu (rose apple) tree. The early Buddhist canonical works provide the earliest reference to the continent called Jambudvipa (Pali, Jambudipa), its name being derived from the jambu tree which grew there. Juxtaposed with Sihaladipa (Sans. Simhaladvipa=Sri Lanka), of the inscriptions of Ashoka, Jambudipa stands for the whole of his empire, which covered nearly the entire Indian subcontinent excluding its far southern part. He unified the major part of the Indian subcontinent and called it Jambudipa. But he did not use the word Bharat to denote this vast land mass.

Despite the use of the word Jambudipa for the whole of his empire, the ambiguity about its territorial connotation is borne out by both epigraphic and literary sources during the subsequent centuries. In a sixth-century inscription of Toramana, for instance, Jambudvipa occurs without any precise territorial connotation, and in the Puranic cosmological schema, it appears more as a mythical region than as a geographical entity. According to the Puranas the world consists of “seven concentric dvipas or islands, each of which is encircled by a sea, the central island called Jambu­dvipa…”. This is similar to the cosmological imaginings of the Jains who, however, placed Jambudvipa at the centre of the central land (madhyaloka) of the three-tiered structure of the universe. According to another Puranic conception, which has much in common with the Buddhist cosmological ideas, the earth is divided into four mahadvipas, Jambudvipa being larger than the others. In both these conceptions of the world, Bharatavarsha is at some places said to be a part of Jambudvipa but at others the two are treated as identical. The geographical conception of both Bharat and Jambudvipa are thus factitious and of questionable value.

Abanindranath Tagore/ ‘Banga Mata’ water colour that he later decided to title 'Bharat Mata'.  1905.
Abanindranath Tagore/ ‘Banga Mata’ water colour that he later decided to title ‘Bharat Mata’. 1905.

Bharat as Mother

It was only from the late 19th century that Bharatvarsha in the sense of the whole subcontinent, and Bharat as Mother found their way into the popular vocabulary. The anonymous work Unabimsapurana (1866), KC Bandyopadhyaya’s play called Bharat Mata (1873) and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya’s Anandmath (1880) were among the earliest works to popularise the notion of Bharatmata. Its visual evocation came perhaps not earlier than 1905 in a painting by Abanindranath Tagore, who conceived of the image as one of Bangamata but later, “almost as an act of generosity towards the larger cause of Indian nationalism, decided to title it ‘Bharatmata’”.

Far from being eternal, Bharat mata is thus little more than a 100 years old. Insistence on her inhabitants forming a nation in ancient times is sophistry. It legitimatises the Hindutva perception of Indian national identity as located in remote antiquity, accords centrality to the supposed primordiality of Hinduism and spawns Hindu cultu­ral nationalism which prompts the saffron brigade to bully the Indian people into chanting of Bharat Mata Ki Jai.

DN Jha is former Professor and Chair, Department of History, University of Delhi


If you can’t stand Kanhaiya’s view of Bharat Mata, try Nehru’s

Abhilash Gaur

Aakar Patel wrote a strong piece (Bharat Mata ki jai! Now how about some jobs for her children?) in Sunday’s edition of The Times of India. Some readers have taken exception to him citing JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar’s view of Bharat Mata in the article.
Aakar wrote: “Asked how he (Kanhaiya) visualized Bharat Mata, he replied that RSS pamphlets showed her as being fair and wearing a beautiful sari and a crown. But in his imagination, she was often dark. And he thought of her sometimes also as wearing an old sari and a torn blouse, or no blouse. Or wearing not a sari at all but the traditional garment worn by the tribal women of our country.”

Is Kanhaiya’s vision of mother and Motherland so out of the ordinary? Leaving out the price of the jacket he wears from this debate, is it not possible that his underprivileged upbringing makes him see India in a very different light to mine?

The idea of Bharat Mata has not been unquestioningly accepted by patriots down the years. Jawaharlal Nehru was definitely uneasy about it. In his autobiography (Chapter 53: India old and new), he writes: “It is curious how one cannot resist the tendency to give an anthropomorphic form to a country. Such is the force of habit and early associations. India becomes Bharat Mata, Mother India, a beautiful lady, very old but ever youthful in appearance, sad-eyed and forlorn, cruelly treated by aliens and outsiders, and calling upon her children to protect her. Some such picture rouses the emotions of hundreds of thousands and drives them to action and sacrifice. And yet India is in the main the peasant and the worker, not beautiful to look at, for poverty is not beautiful.”

Whose idea of India is this goddess, Nehru asks. Does she represent the exploited or the socially privileged exploiter?

“Does the beautiful lady of our imaginations represent the bare-bodied and bent workers in the fields and factories? Or the small group of those who have from ages past crushed the masses and exploited them, imposed cruel customs on them and made many of them even untouchable?”

His next remark calls into question the motives of hypernationalists even today:  “We seek to cover truth by the creatures of our imaginations and endeavour to escape from reality to a world of dreams.”

Some people, when reminded by their children about promises of sweets and toys, point to the floor and shout, “look, lizard!”

Governments insult our intelligence when, on being reminded about promises of jobs and growth, they point to some picture on the wall.