The BJP has no good intentions in choosing Adityanath to be Chief Minister

– by Gunvant Shah (From Divya Bhaskar, 19 March 2017)

Fanaticism is never innocent. Fanaticism even for Gandhian thought would end up being a mockery of Gandhian philosophy. Hindu fanaticism takes away from the glory of Hindutva.

In an earlier article in my column, I called Adityanath ‘non-yogi Adityanath’. Even today I am not willing to use the word ‘yogi’ for him. I firmly believe that he is not a yogi, but a non-yogi. The Gita says in Chapter 2, Verse 66:

“One who is bereft of self-control cannot attain wisdom. Without wisdom one can never meditate. One who cannot meditate, cannot achieve peace, and without peace how can one attain happiness?”

This verse of the Gita fits Adityanath to a T.

The word ‘yogi’ has been made cheap and laden with negative connotations. Adityanath says:

-‘A woman’s place is in the kitchen, not in parliament’.

– Comparing Shahrukh Khan to the terrorist Hafiz Saeed Aditynath had said, ‘Shahrukh Khan should go to Islamabad.’

– ‘Those who oppose yoga and the Surya Namaskar should be drowned in the ocean.’

– ‘Graveyards should be wiped out not only in U.P., but throughout the country.’(I quote from memory.)

– ‘If the BJP wins by a clear majority in U.P, we will shut down cow slaughterhouses and the Ram Mandir will be built.’ (I quote from memory.)

Such statements reflect complete lack of self-control. Can a yogi speak like that? Do the Vedas, Upanishads or the Gita sanction this uncontrolled language? Does Adityanath’s face show the serenity of a yogi’s face? I don’t have the guts to call such an ordinary politician a yogi or a sadhu. I believe that this step will take BJP towards the destruction of political ethics.

Years ago, after talking to the respected Morarjibhai Desai at his residence Osiana on Marine Drive, I touched his feet when I was about to leave. Morarjibhai reprimanded me in his gruff voice, “You give me too much respect.” I said, “Morarjibhai, I consider you a true sadhu. Otherwise I avoid bowing down before many who wear the sadhu’s robes.”

My IQ is not that low that I will accept anyone in saffron uniform as a sadhu. (By the way, I did my Ph.D. on IQ tests.) Come on, even Ravan had taken on the guise of a sadhu. The saffron robes don’t suit Adityanath. They used to really suit Swami Vivekanand. But the Hindus don’t seem to give up on the bad habit of blind faith.

When I had a heart attack, my friend Arif Mohammed Khan came specially to see me from Delhi. I had invited my friend Lord Bhikhu Parekh to come home too on that occasion. We spoke for a full two hours. The true downfall of the Congress party began after the ruling on the Shahbano case. That unfortunate incident extracted a heavy political price from a true secular Muslim like Arif Mohammed. Both Bhikhubhai and I listened to Arifbhai attentively.

The wipeout of the Congress in U.P. today stemmed from the pleasing of the Mullahs after the Shahbano case, at the cost of the rights of women. Arifbhai told us something interesting. Whenever the mullahs met Rajiv Gandhi to discuss the Shahbano case, Najma Heptullah was there, to represent the case. She is with the BJP today and the Governor of Manipur. That is called poetic justice!

The BJP will see a similar downfall; the choice of Adityanath is the first step towards it. I am not an astrologer, but I am daring to make a forecast. Listen:

1. The Congress party will scrape through in 2024 with a small majority and the BJP will be defeated.

2. The BJP will win in 2019 because of the political momentum it has already gained at present and because of Narendra Modi’s dedication to work. After 8-10 years, Narendra Modi may not be as energetic as he is now, then his party will falter. But by then, he will have achieved much that will give him recognition as the ‘Development Man’(VikaasPurush).

3. There will be rebellion within the Congress party and dynasty politics will end. In 2019 you will see the funeral of corrupt secularism as practiced by the Congress.

Will you file this article? I may not be around at that time.

After all, fanaticism that is Hindu or Muslim is still fanaticism, fanaticism, fanaticism. There can be no compromise on this score. What else can I say?

Even if Adityanath as Chief Minister gives good governance, I cannot accept him. A senior Congress party man said to me over the phone: “What is the harm if someone wears saffron robes? He runs a free canteen and a hospital in his monastery that benefits a lot of Muslims as well. I said – I cannot condone Adityanath’s hatred of Muslims.”

One of the signs of good governance is that the minority does not even feel a shadow of threat in their minds. Who is going to send this message to Prime Minister Modi? What does it matter if Muslims who benefit from Adityanath’s governance praise him?

The huge victory of the BJP in U.P. may have an unfortunate outcome. The Muslim vote bank has lost its edge, and the Hindu vote bank has emerged in a solid form. As a result, the BJP won’t need the Muslim votes any more. And the political leverage that a vote gives them will end. It is not very valid to say that the Congress misrule is the only cause of this.

The Congress until now has used the Muslim minority and pampered its backwardness. Now the BJP will use the Hindu majority. Congress secularism was polluted. In the same way, the BJP’s Hindutva is equally polluted.

The Prime Minister is not the Prime Minister of one community. No one doubts his competence. Let that competence give peace of mind to the minority as well!

Only a secular democracy can make real the mantra of ‘Together with all, development for all’ (Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikaas). Will Narendrabhai pass this test? This is not only a mantra for elections. It is a Gandhian mantra; it has the essence of the Sarvodaya movement. Does Adityanath have that essence?

Footnote:

“Justice and force must be brought together, so that whatever is just may be powerful and whatever is powerful may be just.” – Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer, and Christian philosopher.

I dedicate this meaningful quotation to the Prime Minister.

(Translated from Gujarati by Batul Mukhtiar)

facts of life

Fact 1: There is no established religion in the world, which has not given rise to sects, sub-sects and secondary sub-sects. It is difficult to find any religion that does not encourage sectarianism.

Fact 2: There is no religion whose followers have not done the opposite of what their prophets have preached.

Fact 3: It is difficult to find a religion without foolish disciples who believe that their religion is the best, and priests who live off this foolishness and encourage ignorance.

Fact 4: There is no religion in the world without its band of shopkeepers catering to the naïve men and women willing and eager to jump into the whirlpool of miracles and superstitions.

Fact 5: As ritualism and fanaticism increases in every established religion in the world, its true beauty is lost.

Fact 6: The person who believes that his religion is the best can never be secular. The first requirement of secularism is the belief that all religions are the same. There is a natural acceptance of the best in every religion. All mankind has a right to the best in every religion.

Fact 7: It is permissible to convert one’s religion. But it is not permissible to make others convert. The value of any religion cannot be judged by the number of people practicing it. Just as the value of a river cannot be judged by the number of fish that live in it.

Fact 8: It is the duty of every person to understand and avoid the limitations of the religion he was born into. The religion of humanity is superior to any other established religion. The religion of humanity favours democracy.

Fact 9: Mankind cannot do without the support of religion. Religion has been a painkiller and a tranquillizer for innumerable ages for human beings faced with suffering and death. Even if religion is only a consolation, it is widespread and almost harmless.

Fact 10: It’s not a small thing to be an atheist. An atheist’s quest for truth cannot be considered lesser in any way. But it is not necessary to believe that an atheist is also automatically a rationalist. The real measure is the measure of devotion to truth. A difference of opinion or belief that leads to conflict is a sign of immaturity. It is dangerous to democracy.

From Dr. Gunvant Shah’s book ‘Kabira Khada Bazaar Mein

Translated by Farida Noorani, Batul Mukhtiar, June 2008



May God grant us harmony

This is the misfortune of our country that many Hindus count the Muslims as foreigners and many Muslims behave like foreigners. Such people from both the communities forget their duty towards the nation. If the Muslims here are considered foreigners, then even the Aryans would have to be labeled foreigners. The Aryans came to India from Central Asia. The original natives of India are the Dravidians. Let us check out a few facts.

The reputed archaeologist S. R. Rao has stated decisively that the culture of the Indus River is the actual Vedic culture. The remains of the Indus civilization in Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, are now in Pakistan. The Takshila university where Vishnugupt Chanakya and Vaiyakarni studied is also in Pakistan. If we think about our Vedic culture then India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Burma almost become one form and merge into ancient India. All the castes disappear into Aryan or Dravidian.
The ‘pshyco-civilisational’ chain that joins Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains and Christians is unbreakable.

The Muslims may follow they own religion, but no people can afford to ignore their own culture. The Vedas, Upanishad, Ramayan and Mahabharat are not only the treasure of the Hindus; they are the property of the entire Indian subcontinent. By neglecting this rich inheritance, we display a haste to get bankrupt. The Sanskrit language is the key to this vast inheritance. Islamic culture has come to our country via Iran through the Persian language, the Persian poets and the Sufis. Girilal Jain (Times of India, dated 17-12-1991) rightly says that the Vedas are the only basis of our unified culture.

Many fanatic Hindus have assumed that the Muslims are the only ones who betray the nation. These mad men sometimes would like to believe that patriotism lies in fighting the Muslims. No one calls the Hindu who never does his job without taking a bribe, a traitor. A Hindu who steals public money, who brews illicit liquor or who deals in drugs to make money is not be considered a traitor. A Hindu teacher who does not teach his students after being paid his full salary or the one who sells the exam papers or takes a bribe to pass a student is never considered a traitor. A corrupt businessman who propagates fanatical Hinduism and fights with Muslims will definitely be considered a patriot. Even if such a businessman fleeces Hindus he will remain a good Hindu. Even a terrible, vice-laden, violent Hindu goon is considered more patriotic than a decent Muslim citizen – such is the atmosphere being created in the name of Hindutva.

No one could be sadder than a decent Muslim in this country. The men of his community are not willing to listen to him. Fanatic Hindus are satisfied only after terming him a Pakistani supporter. If you find such a Hindu specimen then you must be careful. I often meet Hindu friends who complain strongly against Muslims, but who would not sacrifice even one milligram for the country. All their devotion to the country lies in putting down the Muslims. To call such a Hindu patriotic is tantamount to insulting patriotism. Patriotism asks for selfless service or creative production. No country can stand on criticism and accusations.

The Muslims are taking too much time to understand one thing. If religion cannot be the parameter of joining us, fine. But at least we can be united in solving the hundred problems before us. Unemployment, illiteracy, rise in population, exploitation of women poverty and filth are not the problems of only the Hindus. These are our joint problems. Even though our religions are different, our difficulties are the same. Even if mutual love cannot be the symbol of our unity, we can be one in our pain and save our nation. That would be wise. The Muslims will have to shout out loudly and say that this country is ours and we too are the children of this earth. So our problems cannot be different. It is also very important for our national unity that our problems do not remain the problems of any particular community and take on the face of national problems. If our common culture and our common problems cannot unite us, there is no possibility that our religions or religious leaders can save our country.
The religious leaders have long since defeated Parmeshwar and Allah. Now if we defeat these religious leaders, then only can we live in peace.

We must salute the quiet gentleness in both the religions. When God created and sent man on earth, he did not make any such arrangement that only decent people from one religion and only bad people from another would be born. A Hindu or Muslim who cannot understand such a simple thing should not be mistaken as religious.

From ‘Ishwar Allah Tere Naam’ by Dr. Gunvant B Shah, © January 1993
Translated by Farida Noorani, Batul Mukhtiar, © January 2009

The true minority

I am by nature, very communal. Whenever I get the chance, I blindly set forth about my community. Since I was born in the community of humans, I raise my voice passionately when the human community’s welfare is threatened. I am not interested in any truth above humanity. I do not believe in any other religion except that of humanity. I am a fanatic humanitarian. This is my secularism.

I can take an oath that my respect for Mohammed is not any less than that of a devout Muslim. My respect for Mahavir is no less than that of a devout Jain. I have as much respect for Christ as does a devout Christian. My respect for Guru Nanak is not a wee bit less than that of a Sikh.In the same way, Ram, Krishna, Buddha are my idols. After saying this, I add that the great men of every religion have the most injustice done to them by the fanatic followers of their own religion.

Ram’s followers break the most promises. Krishna’s followers have no shame in taking dowry. Terrorists kill innocent people in the name of Mohammed and Allah. The followers of Christ bombed Hiroshima. Mahavir’s followers do not flinch at the dishonesty prevalent on the counters of their shops. Buddha did not believe in God, but Buddhists have made so many statues of Buddha that the word ‘Buddha’ (Bu-ut) came to mean ‘statue’!

Krishna was troubled most by his Yadav kin. The members of his own Qureshi clan did their utmost to harass Mohammed. They went to the extent of throwing the intestines and waste of dead animals on him.

Revolutionary great men have to bear the harassment of believers. No great man has been born on this earth who has not borne this harassment.

Now let me say something that may not please you. In India today, the minorities have to bear much. Our politicians have made jam out of the word ‘minorities’. But after all, what are the ‘minorities’? Which is the minority that is truly unhappy in India?

In this country, fake Hindus are in militant majority, and tolerant Hindus are in a minority. Fake Muslims are in a heavy majority and Muslims who understand Mohammed are in a minority. This can be said of tolerant people of all religions. Extending this thought, I would like to say that in our country fake secularists are in a majority and genuine ones in a minority. Fake secularists are very talkative and are able to project their untruth in aggressive, strident tones through the media.

Those who are genuine, have no conflict. A true Hindu does not fight with a true Muslim. A true Christian does not fight with a true Hindu. I am willing to bear responsibility for this statement. Conflict is between the fake ones, and is even that conflict genuine?

Let me finish with this. Mohammed’s mosque was made of mud and clay, with a thatch of palm leaves. Today mosques have become grand, but faith has fallen low. Temples are made of marble, but worship has become less gracious. Churches are beautiful, but the prayers less beautiful. Our worship places have become huge but our religions have become narrow. The noise of religion has become loud, but the spirit has become invisible. ‘Religionism’ has increased, but spiritualism has taken a beating.

Can the true ‘minorities’ not come together even to face terrorism? Can we not evade fake secularism to bring to life Gandhi’s ideal of ‘sarva-dharma-samabhava‘?

( from Dr. Gunvant B. Shah’s lecture at the Darul Koran Madrasa in Jambusar, near Vadodara, Gujarat, 16th November 2008.
Also published in Divya Bhaskar Sunday, 30 November 2008)

Translated by Batul Mukhtiar, 6 December 2008

Creating bridges

“If you want to empower women in our society, it cannot be done without education. If Muslim society wants to move ahead, it has to strengthen both women and education. Today, computers have entered the madrasas. I say that with the computers, the 21st century is also entering the madrasas.

Razia Sultana, Hazrat Mahal , Benazir Bhutto are role models for Muslim girls. Educated, computer-savvy girls can bring about a revolution in Muslim society.” says Dr. Gunvant Shah.

Dr. Gunvant Shah is going to lecture on the 16th November 2008 at the Darul Koran Madrasa in Jambusar, near Vadodara, Gujarat.
The subject : Mohammed, the Super Man.
The occasion: An awards ceremony for Muslim girls, recognizing their educational achievements.
Organized by: The Setu Family Trust.

Dr. Gunvant Shah has written extensively on Prophet Mohammed and has also studied the Koran. He says that during Mohammed’s time, girl children were buried alive in the desert when they were 5-7 years old. Once a father was digging a grave for his little daughter. His forehead was covered with sweat. The little girl, unaware that her father wanted to kill her, wiped the sweat from his brow with gentle hands.

Dr. Gunvant Shah says: “I want to recount this story and others to reach out to the audience in the madrasa. Mohammad gave society a new religion, a new faith. That faith emphatically stresses on the education of women.”

He adds: “When the principal of MMM High School, which is a part of the madrasa, Bashir Patel came to invite me, he said ‘The doors of our hearts, homes and our madrasa are always open to you.’

Events like this awards ceremony will heal the wounds of communalism. Muslims are also victims of terrorism. Events like these should be organized to bring together Hindus and Muslims. So that the ravine between the two communities does not widen. And a new ‘Setu‘* is created.”

* Setu – bridge

From Jyoti Unadkat’s article in Chitralekha, 24 Nov 2008
Translated by Batul Mukhtiar © 2008