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Thursday, November 12, 2009

‘We don’t bomb the country that we adopt… we give refuge to the world’s persecuted,’ says RSS man Tarun Vijay

Mr. Tarun Vijay, a former editor of Panchjanya, the official publication of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is an old Hindu nationalist organisation, made a telling distinction between India and some of its neighbours at the last meeting of the Club.
Significantly, the meeting was held at the poolside of the Taj Mahal Hotel where the worst carnage by terrorists in India’s recent history was initiated just a year ago, on November 26, 2008.
Mr. Tarun Vijay said that over the last few centuries Indian scholars, saints and seers went to several countries in Asia carrying the message of love and compassion and of a caring and affectionate God. In return, those countries feted their guests, honoured them and adopted Sanskrit names for themselves and for their landmarks.
Not only were they proud of their heritage, they were often surprised by the modern-day Indians’ lack of knowledge about their glorious culture and heritage.
It was this respect for ancestry that had led to the new international airport in Bangkok (the biggest and most sophisticated in the world) being named Suvarnabhumi, a chaste Sanskrit term. In fact, the first visual to strike one on entering the premises was that of a 150-foot-long mural of sagar-manthan, or the mythical churning of the oceans.
Similarly, the present King of Thailand was known as Rama Navam (or Rama the Ninth). A brief chat with the Rajguru, the King’s teacher, revealed that the country followed the legacy of King Rama and that all kings were known after him.
The full name of the present King of Thailand was Bhumidol Adulyadej, also a Sanskrit name, and it was he who had christened Bangkok airport as Suvarnabhumi, showing that the Thais were proud of their heritage.


‘People in East Asia are often surprised that Indians are largely ignorant of their culture and heritage’

In complete contrast, said Mr. Tarun Vijay, the barbarians who attacked the city on 26/11 came armed with sophisticated weapons and other armaments to kill people – never mind that they did not know any one of the people whom they had come to kill, or the fact that among them were women, children and the aged, all of them unarmed and harmless, leading normal lives in their own country.
Mr. Tarun Vijay, who gave a talk on “Global mission of India”, was introduced by Tarjani Vakil who said that he was the Director of the Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Research Foundation, a centre for civilizational values and policy research and an ideological think-tank based on the nationalist school of thought at the headquarters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in New Delhi.
A prolific writer both in English and Hindi, he had written over 2,000 articles and was a regular columnist for The Times of India, Dainik Jagran, Maharashtra Times and so on. He had launched a peace initiative between India and Pakistan along with the Daily Jung, a major newspaper in Pakistan. That initiative had been appreciated on both sides of the border.
And, as Nanik Rupani revealed later, it was Mr. Tarun Vijay who had put the ancient town of Ladakh on the tourist map by organising the “Sindhu Darshan” programme that had gone on to become a popular event. That one initiative had changed the entire economy of Ladakh.
Mr. Tarun Vijay started his talk by pointing out that it was a rishi from India who went to Cambodia 1,200 years ago, married a local and settled down there who gave the country a name, “Kamboj” (whence Cambodia), which later became a part of the Srivijaya Empire.
The biggest temple of Hindus was not in India but in Angkor Vat in Cambodia. Even after the advent of communism, Communist Cambodia remembered its Hindu and Indian heritage with respect and honour.
A UNESCO publication on that country showed how Indians who left the shores of their land established their global footprint on the basis of love, friendship and scholarship.
After referring to the naming of Bangkok airport as Suvarnabhumi by Thailand’s King Bhumidol Adulyadej, he said, “That is the footprint of your ancestors, a legacy of your forefathers who spread out and impressed the people with the power and the strength of knowledge and character, the two major aspects of the Indian footprint… That is the global vision of India, the global message of India even today”.
Mr. Tarun Vijay said that the third chief of the RSS, the late Prof. Rajendra Singh, who was the Head of the Department of Physics at Allahabad University, had said to him in the course of his last interview that he did not want to see India as a brutal military power or as a dehumanised, prosperous country. On the contrary, he wanted India to be known for its knowledge and character.
Speaking about his experiences in China where he is a Fellow of the Sichuan University, he said when he went to see the Leshan Buddha in Chengdu, he came across the largest Buddha sculpture in the world. It was about 250 feet tall and had been made from one solid rock – an entire mountain had been sculpted into a sitting Buddha.
And the very first statue visible on entering the campus was that of Samantabhadra, another Sanskrit name. When he asked about Samantabhadra, his interlocutors said it was surprising that he did not know about him.
The official accompanying him (in a China ruled by the Communist Party) then told him that Samantabhadra was a rishi from North India who crossed snow deserts and the Himalayas and survived to live in Chengdu some 950 years ago. He learned the Chinese language and started communicating with the King and the people.
Such was the influence of his brilliance, intellect and scholarship that everyone started believing in Buddha and he was able to inspire the people of Chengdu to build the Leshan Buddha sculpture.
“Even in the year 2009, it is the biggest Buddha sculpture in the world. And it was done by your ancestors, by those Indians who were brave and courageous and who never wanted to subjugate or colonise other people.
“They took dharma with them. They were not ashamed of their civilization, they were not ashamed of their past, of their glorious heroes and of the great men and women who loved their language; they translated the entire literature of China and East Asia into Sanskrit and from Sanskrit into their language.”
Mr. Tarun Vijay said the Rajguru of China was Kumarajiva whose father was from Sinkiang and mother from Kashmir. When he went there, the Han King of Beijing gave him the title, “Teacher of China”.
It was Kumarajiva who started the finest method of translating the classics from Sanskrit to Chinese and from Chinese to Sanskrit with a 17-tier arrangement. It started with literal translation, followed by the first step of checking; next, ensuring that the main spirit of the text was conveyed, and so on. It was only after 17 steps that the final text of the original text from Sanskrit into Chinese and from Chinese into Sanskrit was available.
Recently, when visiting the Indian Embassy in Beijing, he met a man called Vijay Choudhary, a small trader from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan. This man revealed that he employed 1,000 Chinese in his diamond-cutting factory in Kunming!
That was the distance that India had travelled – from Samantabhadra to Vijay Choudhary – and neither of them had used a gun to befriend the Chinese. Rather, they had won them over with the help of mutual respect and understanding.
The Chinese cared for Vijay Choudhary because he was bringing a lot of money into China and giving employment to the rural people there.
This case, too, represented the spirit of India whose teachers, professors, technologists and engineers were respected icons of knowledge, scholarship, integrity and character.
And there was also the story narrated by Mr. L.K. Advani of a Malaysian whom he had met in Kuala Lumpur. The man lived in New York where he had his office and establishment. But what was he doing in Kuala Lumpur?
He told Mr. Advani that he had to undergo a heart surgery. When he learnt that an Indian doctor in Kuala Lumpur was the best in the field, he had travelled from the USA to be operated by that Indian doctor in Malaysia.
“We don’t bomb the country that we adopt. That’s what everyone says about Indians. Everyone loves and accepts Indians. Even if an Indian is a British, German or American passport-holder, they trust him 100% – that he won’t bomb their land. He will work for the country, fight for the country and will never ditch it.
“That is your achievement, the blessings of your ancestors; and that’s the Indian footprint all over the world, that of character, honesty, integrity.”
Turning to Nanik Rupani, Mr. Tarun Vijay said it was worth pondering over that several leaders from all over the world happily came to India to accept awards presented by his Priyadarshini Academy. This was no mean achievement and an endorsement of brand India.
The speaker next referred to the aftermath of the “discovery” of America by Columbus who had actually set out in search of India. He could not find India but reached the land that was now called America.
“What happened after Columbus reached America? More than four crores of the original inhabitants of the land, who were known as American Indians, were brutalised, massacred. It was a holocaust. And the originator of that holocaust was Columbus.”
He had wanted to proselytise, to find gold, to grab land, to get slaves, to subjugate the people; to take over their land and to build his own buildings.
In comparison, the Taj Mahal Hotel was a symbol of the indomitable, invincible Indian spirit represented by the tricolour. For it was here that the mission of the barbarians who had attacked Bombay on 26/11 was defeated.

Would we respect Rama or celebrate Diwali had he played peacenik and allowed his wife to be taken away? asks Tarun Vijay

“Ask yourself, what kind of people must they have been (those who attacked Bombay on 26/11). Compare your civilization and the work done by your ancestors in the earlier years which gave you the Hindu civilization, the Indus civilization, which left imprints all over the globe, from Japan to Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Korea, Brazil, New Zealand. (You will find) respect and understanding for a different viewpoint.
“You will find a solid belief in pluralism, in democracy and diversity. We are not those who want everything to be uniformly same, who want all people speaking one language, reading one book, wearing the same attire. No, we love diversity.
“Let a million flowers with a million fragrances bloom; if there can be any such place in the world, then that is Hindustan. No other country can boast of this kind of legacy which is so supportive of pluralism, respecting different viewpoints. We never had a Galileo hanged for his beliefs.”
Taking a dig at the growing tribe of peaceniks, Mr. Tarun Vijay said Rama did not compromise with Ravana, telling him that he could take Janaki to Colombo. And he, as a pace-loving person, would return to Ayodhya where the people would be so happy that he had played peacenik and left his wife behind, that they would welcome him and celebrate his return as Diwali.
On the contrary, Rama cautioned Ravana and when the latter remained adamant, he vanquished Ravana. That was the legacy of India, that of not compromising with the wicked.
Narrating another experience, Mr. Tarun Vijay said that the renowned businessman and philanthropist, Mr. Bob Harilela, had told him that he never cared about India when he was a little boy. In fact, he hated the heat and the poverty that he saw when he came here at the age of 13.
But his mother told him that whatever he did and wherever he went, he would not be able to erase the fact that he was an Indian – it was “written” on his face. In course of time Mr. Harilela bought an apartment in Bombay and now his largest spend on charity was in India. He spent his vacations in India and had taught his children to respect their heritage.
The children would always remain Indian, but “not on the basis of a gun, or of gun powder” or colonisation.
“No one will remember a Gen. Dyer in India with respect, or even Queen Elizabeth. But Bhagat Singh, who was only 23 years old when he went to the gallows? Yes… This land has always respected those who have stood with their heritage, with their civilization, and those who have stood up at times of crisis to fight the enemy, to fight the barbarians so that peace, pluralism and democracy can be saved.”
On a visit to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, he saw that not a single shop in the markets had a portrait of Osama bin Laden because violence, extremism and uncivilized behaviour never won respect. History only remembered those who spread the message of love and compassion and it was such people who were respected down the ages.
Buddha was “still alive” in spite of the fact that his sculpture in Bamiyan had been bombed out by the Taliban.
“The global vision of India cannot be anything but to spread the message that the gun never achieves success or does any good for the people. It is the power of love, compassion and character that does so. And that’s what I have learned in my organisation, in the RSS.”

Finally, Mr. Tarun Vijay quoted a couplet by Akbar Allahabadi:
Tere lab pe hai Iraqo Shamo Misro Romo Cheen
Lekin apne hi watan ke naam se waqif nahin
Arre sabse pehle mard ban Hindustan ke wastey
Hind jag uthe to phir saare jahan ke wastey


(A loose translation: The names on your lips are those of Iraq, Egypt, Rome and China, but you don’t seem to be acquainted with the name of your own country; the first thing you need to do is to become a man for Hindustan, and once you rouse Hindustan, then become a man for the whole world.)
Answering questions, Mr. Tarun Vijay told Trilochan Sahney that he did not agree that India was always populated by invaders. In fact, even the theory of “the Aryan invasion of India” had been proved false, what with American scientists finding that the genes of the Aryans and the Dravids living in India since ancient times had a lot in common.
On the contrary, India had always given shelter to those refused shelter elsewhere and to every persecuted community in the world. No other country could boast of such a record.
But he agreed that Hindu society was fractured by the caste system. In this context the speaker quoted Swami Vivekananda who had said that the only ideal before Hindu society was the ideal of Guru Govind Singh.
Sitaram Shah pointed out that the word Hindu did not appear in any literature. Where had the word come from? Secondly, all that the speaker had said in praise of Hinduism was being maligned by the very people who were talking of Hinduism.
Mr. Tarun Vijay said that the word Hindu came from the Greeks. At that time Indians were called “Aryas”, “Vedics”, or “Sindhuputras”. But since the Greeks had difficulty pronouncing certain consonants, it so happened that Sindhus came to be called Hindus.
However, changing the name of a city or a land could not change the basic character of the people who inhabited that place.
“And the basic character of this land, beyond the Indus, is that they love nature, they don’t condemn it. When Bachendri Pal became the first Indian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, she did not set foot on it till she had placed vermillion and rice on it as a ritual offering, thanking the goddess mother for giving her the strength to reach the summit.
“On the other hand, Western mountaineers write that they ‘conquered’ Mount Everest; the word ‘conquered nature’ does not appear in the Indian language. This is the basic difference in the worldview of our people. We have respect for parents, for family values, for pluralism. That makes us different people. You may call them Hindus, Indians, Bharatiyas, whatever, it means the same thing,” Mr. Tarun Vijay added.

The vote of thanks was proposed by Nanik Rupani.

1 comment:

Right Angle said...

Sir,

I have a small request. We need to compile these stories in to a short book, and sell it to the people, in a missionary zeal..

Atleast if such books are available, i am ready to buy 100 copies and sell.

We have lot of things to learn, but we are poor at dissemination of information