Sunday, September 13, 2015

BJP/RSS, Sanskrit and Raja Rammohan Roy

Since Narendra Modi and his BJP party's Hindu nationalist government has come to power in Delhi last year, there is a relentless onslaught of Sanskrit language education and India's glorious past's propaganda. Modi government's education minister Smriti Irani has, so far, forced Sanskrit language teaching on the Kendriya Vidyalaya schools displacing the learning of German language (see here, and here) against the wishes of many parents (see here). BJP's home minister Rajnath Singh said that, Sanskrit is most useful for science, technology! (see here) In this speech he can be seen disparaging English language. BJP/RSS Hindu nationalist also hijacked the recent 102nd Indian Science Congress (see here). In a Science Congree, they presented a paper titled ' ‘Ancient Science Through Sanskrit’ with other papers on mythical planes capable of inter-planetary travel and unproven claims of scientific breakthroughs in pre-history!

So, is Sanskrit language and education based on it are very important for India's progress? I am recently reading a book edited by eminent Indologist A L Basham, A Cultural History of India. While reading a chapter on Modern Literature by Krishan Kriplani, I came across a letter written - in 1823 - by Raja Rammohan Roy to the Governor-General Lord Amherst opposing the opening of a Sanskrit college in Calcutta. The fact that a leading social reformer like Raja Rammohan Roy opposed the Sanskrit language education piqued my interest in this letter, and I immediately downloaded it. It is a fascinating read. It totally exposes the present BJP/RSS government's Sanskrit language propaganda. The history behind this letter is also very fascinating and extremely important today. I briefly discuss both this letter and its history below.

I am sure all Indians know the name of Raja Rammohan Roy very well. He is known as the "Father of Modern India". He also carries a title of "The Father of the Indian Renaissance".

So why did the father of modern India, Raja Rammohan Roy, opposed the imposition of Sanskrit language education in India by the British government? The answer lies in the letter written by Roy himself, but before I reporduce that letter, here is the brief history of the circumstances which led Roy to write that letter to Governor-General Lord Amherst. I quote:

The share of Raja Rammohun Roy in inducing the Government to interest itself in the introduction of English education in India is well known. We have already mentioned that in 1813 the Director of the East India Company  decided to set apart a lakh of rupees from the revenues of the  country for educational purposes, when the question of the  utilisation of this amount came up for discussion, there arose  a difference of opinion among the high officials, including  the members of the Council of the Governor-General ; one  party wished to devote the Government grant to giving  stipends to Pandits and Moulvis and scholarships to Arabic  and Sanskrit students and to publishing oriental manuscripts  for the revival of classical learning, and were called the  Orientalists. The other party were for establishing schools and colleges on the model of English public schools for the  spread of western scientific and literary education and were  called the Anglicists. The battle raged for several years, till it was finally settled by the memorable decree of Lord Bentink's Council of the 7th March 1835. Rammohun Roy had a large share in bringing about this momentous decision. At first the Orientalists were in the ascendant and succeeded in securing the Government grant for their purpose. In 1823 Raja Rammohun Roy addressed to Lord Amherst, then Governor General, a long letter which would alone immortalise his name. In it he advocated by unanswerable arguments the introduction of western education after the English model.  The story has been told in full detail by Miss Collet. All we need point out here is that, but for Rammohun Roy's seasonable intervention, the introduction of English education in India might have been indefinitly, at least for a long time, postponed. Though no immediate satisfactory reply was given to his letter, the success of the cause of the Anglicists now become assured ; for when Rammohun Roy wrote on behalf of  the dumb millions of India, demanding modern scientific  education, it was felt that the ultimate triumph of the plea  could not be far off. (source: The Life and Letters of Raja Rammohun Roy). 

Isn't this fascinating? Nobody taught me, or I am sure others too, in the classroom Rammohan Roy's fierce battle against the Sanskrit language indoctrination in favor of English language Western scientific education! Thanks to Rammohan Roy and his struggle against Sanskrit language education that India could progress in the following centuries and catch-up fast with the modern world.

Now I reproduce his letter in entirety below.

The letter is absolutely fascinating and important too just like its history. I quote some important lines from this letter below:
When this Seminary of learning was proposed, we understood that the Government in England had ordered a considerable sum of money to be annually devoted to the instruction of its Indian Subjects. We were filled with sanguine hopes that this sum would be laid out in employing European Gentlemen of talents and education to instruct the natives of India in Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Anatomy and other useful Sciences, which the Nations of Europe have carried to a degree of perfection that has raised them above the inhabitants of other parts of the world.
This shows that Raja Rammohan Roy very well understood the importance of English language western scientific education for progress. He also understood how Sanskrit language kept the vast Indian populace in darkness for ages! I quote him again:
We now find that the Government are establishing a Sangscrit school under Hindoo Pundits to impart such knowledge as is already current in India. This Seminary (similar in character to those which existed in Europe before the time of Lord Bacon) can only be expected to load the minds of youth with grammatical niceties and metaphysical distinctions of little or no practicable use to the possessors or to society. The pupils will there acquire what was known two thousand years ago, with the addition of vain and empty subtilties [sic] since produced by speculative men, such as is already commonly taught in all parts of India. 
The Sangscrit language, so difficult that almost a life time is necessary for its perfect acquisition, is well known to have been for ages a lamentable check on the diffusion of knowledge; and the learning concealed under this almost impervious veil is far from sufficient to reward the labour of acquiring it.
If it had been intended to keep the British nation in ignorance of real knowledge the Baconian philosophy would not have been allowed to displace the system of the schoolmen, which was the best calculated to perpetuate ignorance. In the same manner the Sangscrit system of education would be the best calculated to keep this country in darkness, if such had been the policy of the British Legislature. But as the improvement of the native population is the object of the Government, it will consequently promote a more liberal and enlightened system of instruction, embracing mathematics, natural philosophy, chemistry and anatomy, with other useful sciences which may be accomplished with the sum proposed by employing a few gentlemen of talents and learning educated in Europe, and providing a college furnished with the necessary books, instruments and other apparatus. (emphasize mine)

 Roy, very rightly, saw that how the Sanskrit language education will be retrogressive for India and its millions of poor citizens. This shows how dangerous the effects can be of present BJP government's efforts of promoting Sanskrit again at the cost of more liberal and enlightened system of education. If allowed to implement their Hindu plans, the present government will sure take India back to Jungle and its Vedic rituals!!! Raja Rammohan Roy saw this danger of Sanskrit monopoly coming and opposed it in his time, which resulted in India progressing under more liberal enlightened system of education. If we will not see this same danger and do something about it then last centuries all progress will be in vain as we will be back in 1500 BC Vedic age!!!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Lessons from Gujarat Patel Riots

The state of Gujarat again, after a lull of few years, erupted in violence in the form of caste related riots last week. The Patels (Patidars, a mainly land owning caste in Gujarat) are agitating for reservation status under the leadership of a young but confused Mr. Hardik Patel. There are many lessons that we can learn from this past week events. I will discuss them one by one below.

Firstly, I above said that Mr. Hardik Patel is confused. I said it because his agitation for reservation status is based on wrong ideas. The real struggle in society is not between Patidars and other OBC caste or SC or ST or Open cateogry caste. The real struggle is not between Hindus or Muslims or Christians etc. The real struggle in not between Rich or Poor. The real struggle is between, the tax paying class of the society and the tax consuming class i.e., The Tax Payers and The Tax Consumers. Nineteenth century American political philosopher John C. Calhoun identified this struggle very clearly. He wrote:
In an extended critique of The Federalist, the pre-Civil War Southern political philosopher John C. Calhoun argued that any system of taxation inevitably divided citizens into two antagonistic groups - the net tax payers and the net tax consumers:
… it must necessarily follow, that some one portion of the community must pay in taxes more than it receives back in disbursements; while another receives in disbursements more than it pays in taxes… The necessary result, then, of the unequal fiscal action of the government is, to divide the community into two great classes; one consisting of those who, in reality, pay the taxes, and, of course, bear exclusively the burthen of supporting the government; and the other, of those who are the recipients of their proceeds, through disbursements, and who are, in fact, supported by the government; or, in fewer words, to divide it into tax-payers and tax-consumers.
And this class division of society is due to the existence of the state (ask government) and its taxation which helps state officials to remain in power via their welfare-warfare state system. We must not forget that government's "reservation policy" is just one tool of its overall welfare state policy which it uses to win votes and gain public support to remain in power (notwithstanding which political party whether BJP or Congress or AAP is using it). If we see carefully then tax paying class of the society includes SCs, STs, OBCs, General category, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Men, Women, Rich, Middle Class and even Poor people etc. And the tax consuming class also includes people from these very same categories! The government forcefully takes money from the productive tax payers and hands it over as freebies to parasitic tax consuming class.

So actually the tax payers should be revolting against this whole parasitic welfare system of which reservation system is just one sub-system. All Patidar Patel tax payers should be opposing this parasitic system instead of demanding their share of it! As long as the government can tax the tax paying class, it will continue its welfare policies creating conflicts in society, which will lead to many such riots in future. People must realize that their real enemy is not their own fellow human beings, but the parasitic state officials who are using the policy of "divide and rule" to keep them busy in in-fighting when they rule over them without any big problem.

Mr. Hardik Patel, during his Ahmadabad speech, also said that Patidars will only be ruled by that party who will give it freebies in the form of "reservation"! But the real question is, why anyone will want to be ruled by someone? Are Patels so weak and lazy that someone else is required to rule over them? Are Patels some political party's slaves? Why do they want to be ruled? Why not they rule themselves by becoming productive members of the society and becoming free of any kind of government support? The main issue that most people forget here is that the society doesn't depend on the government for survival, but the government depends on the society for its survival. Remember, the state is a parasite which is sucking the blood of host society to survive. The society comes first always and then comes the state, which depends on it!

Secondly, during this riot we again witnessed the fact that the state officials and their police force is in existence only for their own protection and welfare. According to the views of the statist political theorists, e.g., Thomas Hobbes who insisted on the need of the state, the state exists for the protection of the Life, Liberty and Property of its citizens. How wrong these ideas are was again proved during this riot. The state police, instead of protecting peoples' lives, liberty and property, was itself busy destroying all of them. They killed innocent people. They vandalized innocent peoples' property (see here, here and here). Instead of creating peace and order, they spread chaos everywhere. If you still think that the state is necessary for a peaceful organization of human society then you are inviting more such troubles in future.    

Lastly, as I said above, the real struggle here is between the tax payers and the tax consumers. As long as people are "divided and ruled" by the state officials, our society will never become just and peaceful.