Wednesday, November 21, 2012




Dr. Seshachalam Dutta


In the first part of this article we have shown entrenched prejudices of Amartya Sen relative to Hindu Nationalists and supporters of Hindutva and his proclivity to support Indian Congress placing himself left of Congress and right of Marxists. In this effort, he falsified evidence to suit his arguments. Here we discuss his distorted historiography and warped moral and cultural inclinations. 

He places Robindranath Tagore above Mahatma Gandhi, an inaccurate and unfair comparison. Gandhi spent greater part of his life fighting the British for Independence and Tagore, an acknowledged leader in cultural renaissance of Bengal and India, did not join the freedom movement and lived in luxury. He brings the comparison to advance his own views ascribing to Tagore. For Instance on Indian Nationalism, he decries it as narrow, just as he dubs Hindu Nationalism “narrow.” He has a narrow view of Hinduism, excluding Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism whereas Hindu Nationalism is broad-based inclusive of all of them. Tagore never decried Nationalism, in fact in one section of the book Sen quotes Tagore writing to his brother-in-law in America, “to learn as much from America, but not forget your identity; if that is to happen you may stay locked up in your room.” World is one family according to the VHP, but there is a proviso, Udara Charitanamtu Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. First one should rise to level of Udaarata,  (nobility), to achieve that. 

Sen takes partisan attitude like a back alley congress man, tries to synthesize a mosaic Hinduism with a culture that is an admixture of Islam, denying the long history of Hindu heritage (Continuity of 9000 years of Hindu culture dominating almost all of South Asia.) For this he valorizes a Muslim hero, Emperor Akbar comparing him to Emperor Ashoka. With his narrow and limited vision, he
cannot find greatness in any of the Hindu emperors of 16th century like Krishnadeva Raya of Vijayanagar. 

Sen’s comparison of Akbar to Ashoka is obscene and disgusting: 
Ashoka completely devoted to the peace and spread the message of Buddha to the world. His own family members sacrificed their lives in the pursuit of this goal. The message of Buddhism spread far and wide and reformed its parent Brahminical Vedic religion until it was absorbed into it. 
Akbar was an ignorant man, an illiterate to the point he could neither write nor even read. It was preposterous that he was the champion of a new religion “Raahi Akal” (path of reason). What reason was he capable of, geometrical reasoning? Dialectical reasoning? Or anything else? The weight of his position as an emperor silenced challengers, if any. He could not convince his own son of his religion, who revolted against him and joined Shirhandi an extremist Muslim fanatic (Wide Romila Thapar by Seshachalam Dutta “Sookta Sumana” 2002). It might be true like all military adventurists and cruel conquerors, he had no use for God or religion. The success of Moghul empire was attributed more to their diplomacy than the might of arms (Dietman Rothmund : An Economic History of India 1977). Akbar had 300 wives and married the women of the kingdoms wherever and whenever he conquered. If this is deemed by Sen as the sign of his cross-cultural liberalism, did he give his daughters to any Hindu king or general? Certainly not. He added one more woman to his harem when he married a Rajput Princess. 
Now about his humanity; after capturing the fort of Chitode in Rajasthan, he ordered the massacre of 70,000 people, military and civilians. He called himself Khalifa, head of all Muslim World. 
He made people drink washings from his feet calling it a sacred potion. Another “secularist” Nehru at least found this practice bizarre and revolting, but Sen conveniently ignores it. Nehru condones him for traveling 500 miles, a very long distance in those days, to wage a needless war with Rani Durga Bai, as a “youthful exuberance.” To wage war in which a large number of soldiers of Durga Bhai sacrificed their lives and leading to imprisonment of her sister and her forceful abduction to include her in Akbar’s Harem; should it be condones as "youthful exuberance?" Who supported these wars? The main income for the king came from the land revenues. The constant wars ravaged farmers’ lands and their livelihood. Unable to pay the revenue farmers left their lands. That was final consequence of the Glory of the Moghul Emperor. 

This is the true Emperor Akbar, whom Sen compares to Ashoka, not once, but it is a constant refrain in his book! 

Why is this insistence to seek some glorious Muslim influence on Hindu culture? The secularist argument is an attempt to deny that Hindu culture is the substratum on which rests the Indian ethos which is common to diverse segments of larger Hindu universe embracing Sikh, Jain and Buddhist traditions and in contrast to absurd postulation that the “current culture of India is the composite of Hindu and Muslim.” Such islands of composite culture in the aristocratic Indian community originally serving the Moghuls and other Muslim royalties may be identifiable in small areas of North India and in Hyderabad, etc. but it is not the everyday culture of largest majority of India as every well travelled Indian knows. This postulation was originally formulated to appease Muslim minority to prevent the partition of India, attempts in which the Indian Congress (Gandhi and Nehru) were never successful. The hangover of this theory is still prevalent among the secularists and Sen accuses the Hindu activists as seeking to drive away 140 million Muslims from India, a thought never entertained or advocated by any Hindutvavadin group in India. Here again Sen makes up his facts to suite his arguments. It is a mental creation of Sen to buttress his concept of synthetic Hindu-Muslim culture which was rejected by every  Muslim Indian and Pakistani Muslim leader of any consequence. All major Muslim leaders rejected the concept of Muslim as Indian Nationals and held to the concept of Muslims as a Nation (Umma) all to themselves separate from Hindus, regardless of geography either in India or Pakistan or for that matter anywhere in the world. Nehru often complained that agitation for creation of Pakistan was more virulent in the States where Muslims were a minority but not in other areas (current Pakistan). This has not changed even to date; Abdul Kalam who did not support Khilafat movement was dubbed by Muslims in India as not a true Muslim and considered by them as not one of them. 

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