A RETURN TO HINDU RASHTRA IS A MUST - Interview with Dr Vijaya Rajiva
History teaches us a lot about the past. The study of history helps us to understand the evolution of societies and the civilization sprouted out of it. But historians often differ on vital facts and issues. In fact, historians habitually try to interpret facts to suite their political ideology and views. The study of the history of India is not an exception.
Dr. Vijaya Rajiva (B.A. Hons., M.Litt, M.A., M.A., Ph.D) is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university. Her academic training has been in Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, History and Political Economy.
Actively engaged in disseminating the history of India from a nationalistic point of view, in an exclusive email interview with Pradeep Krishnan, Dr. Vijaya Rajiva advocated the establishment of Hindu Rashtra for India’s prosperity.
1. What is history? History written by scholars always differs. Looking at the past from the present is always difficult. Is it not natural that historians always differ on crucial facts/happenings of the past?
Simply put, history is what happened in the past. Hence, studying the past can happen only through the study of secondary sources such as archaeological finds, coins, inscriptions contemporaneous literature, accounts by travellers etc. How these are interpreted depends on the individual scholar's interpretation and analyses of this evidence. Where there is consensus in the interpretation then you get a school of thought. Take for instance the Marxist interpretation of Indian history. They use the evidence selectively and come up with an interpretation that is consistent with their ideology.
The Marxist school of Indian historians start out with that limitation. Take for instance the work of their patriarch D.D. Kosambi. His major work An Introduction to the Study of History (1956) is very one sided in that it ignores the complete picture of what happened in ancient India and focuses mainly on the economic base of Indian society and draws his own conclusions.
Then you have the example of the colonial view of Indian history. Here we have British scholars misrepresenting conditions in India when they started their rule, or creating (in the 18th century) a new theory of an Aryan invasion of India or writing about local issues of which they knew very little. A famous example is given in Dharampal's Beautiful Tree (1983)where by his careful study of the educational system prevailing in India when the British imposed their system of education he shows their biases and their motivations. The motive was to destroy lock stock and barrel the Indian system. The motive for Lord Macaulay's Minutes of 1832 was just that. First, the Indian system had to be destroyed and then English education was imposed.
To this day, most Indians do not know the details of this event. They only speak in general terms about how the British destroyed Indian education, but are not aware of the specificities. Dharampal's book will clear up that situation.
2. What are the limitations/drawbacks of the materialist interpretation of history? What are your views on the Marxist world view?
The materialist interpretation of history was first put forward by the great philosopher Karl Marx (and his colleague F.Engels) in their book The German Ideology(1845). Marx argued that it is the mode of production that determines every aspect of society. By mode of production he meant the combination of the means of production (such as technology) and the organisation of this in economic activity (the social relations).
Human beings first made primitive tools to produce their livelihood, whether it was hunting and fishing and later the working of land (agriculture). They also organised themselves in certain ways to engage in this activity. They lived in tribes, which shared in the produce. Later, when they produced surpluses they exchanged this with other tribes and so on. And the exchange was conducted through barter.
Then came the invention of money through which they bought and sold their goods. As agriculture developed there came a division into two classes , those who owned the land and those who worked it. At first all land was owned collectively by the community. Then land became the private property of some people.
The mode of production determines the culture of the society, namely its laws, its politics, its social mores etc.
Marx also maintained that as the means of production (the technology) improved so did the mode of production change. Hence, he believed that there were successive stages of modes of production. First came primitive communism (where all produce was shared) then came feudalism (where land was owned by some people while the others worked it) and then came capitalism (where the labour was paid through money), then socialism (where the state owned and conducted all economic activity), and finally Communism where once again the community managed all the highly developed forces of production (The materialist interpretation of history is now called Historical Materialism, precisely because of the idea of changes in the mode of production. This change is also described as the periodisation of history). In capitalism the ownership of all the means of production is in the hands of the capitalist. Those who work for them are the wage labourers. Proft is the main motive of capitalism. This is class society.
In the final stage of history, in Communism the guiding principle would be : from each according to his/her capacity and to each according to his/her need. Profit would not be the motive. The welfare of the community would be the goal. It would be a classless, non monetised society.
One can readily see that this was a noble ideal. It has to date never been realised anywhere in the world!
limitations of this world view:
a) For Hindus this ignores the fact that human beings are not only physical/material beings, they are also spiritual beings.
Hence, their spiritual life also impacts on their general life. It is not only the economy that determines human society. Marx and his colleague Engels did admit to the existence of consciousness, but this was a product of the human brain, not the result of a spiritual dimension. For Hindus, the spiritual life of human beings is equally important.
b) Unfortunately, Marx also believed that changes from one mode of production to the other can be accompanied by violence, especially once class society had become entrenched. Overthrowing the class of owners is accompanied by violence. This aspect of Marxism resulted in violent revolutions which were justified by Marxists as necessary.
Hence, the Russian and Chinese revolutions were seen as a necessity to overthrow the old exploitative order. Marx and Engels believed that this would be a brief transitional period when the rule would be by the dictatorship of the proletariat, the working class.
However, what came after the revolution was continuing violence. Under Stalin millions of Russians died. Under Mao millions also died. A new oppressive class emerged that was composed of bureaucrats and politicians. They also became part of the capitalist-imperialist order.
And since the noble ideals of Communism have not yet been fulfilled, it makes sense for human beings to look for alternative ways to effect social change. In the West they developed social democracy. However, this is also closely linked to the exploitative global capitalist system.
In India, also linked partially to this system, the way to go may be in returning to a modernised version of the Hindu Rashtra, where wealth is certainly created, and not always equally shared, but is environmentally sound, and does not involve violence. There was overall prosperity for the people and certainly no famines etc. such as occurred under colonial rule. A good account of these famines etc is to be found in Romesh Dutt's The Economic History of India Under British Rule (in 2 vols. 1902 &1904).
Of course, such evils as Untouchability that developed around 300 BCE (Before the Christian Era) should be eradicated from Indian society.
The caste system itself was the basis of India's economic prosperity. The caste system (the jati system) was based on the specialization of skills and crafts. And so at first it was a source of strength for society. There used to be some mobility and people often moved from one caste to another. Later it became more rigid.
Untouchability is a different question altogether and it should be completely eradicated. A great deal of work is being done by GOI and as well private organisations such as the Sangh Parivar. A recent monograph by Dr. Rakesh Bahadur gives a good account of these efforts, especially at the official level : 'Equality and Inclusion: Progress and Development of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes In Independent India' (2010).
A return to Hindu Rashtra with prosperity in the country is a MUST now.
3. What could be the reasons for Marxist historians opposing Hinduism, and the Hindu renaissance or rather why are Indian Marxist historians anti Hindu always?
The simple answer is : Marxist ideology. Marx believed that religion is the opiate of the people. The ruling class set up a system of superstition and religious practices that would keep the masses under control, by depriving them of independent rational thinking.
Of course, this view ignores the reality of human faith in divine presences, whether it is amongst the poor or the rich. Hinduism derives from the vision of the Vedic Rishis who saw the divine presences, the Devas and Devatas and the Rishis put this vision into the Vedic hymns. Later with the development of Agama (temple worship where the deities were worshipped in temples) Veda Agama became the foundation of Hinduism.
Both Marx and the Marxists deny the presence of any superhuman entities. They are therefore atheists. Marx was a humanist in the ancient Greek tradition of the sophists, who denied the existence of anything superhuman. Their main philosopher Protagoras said : Man is the measure of all things.
Marx was very critical of the British exploitation of India. Neverthless, he thought that Britain played a progressive role in India where man who should be the master of Nature falls on his knees before Hanuman the monkey and Sabala the cow ( 'The British Rule in India' , New York Daily Tribune, June 25, 1853).
He believed that Britain had a dual role to play in India :
“England has to fulfill a double mission in India: one destructive, the other regenerating- the annihilation of the old Asiatic society, and the laying of the material foundation of Western society in Asia ('The British Rule in India',
August 8, 1853).
Readers will note the sense of superiority over Hindu civilisation which Marx shared with all the Western scholars and commentators of his time. He was ofcourse ignorant of India, and his sources were the self same Western scholars. Hence, his misinterpretations of what constitutes Asiatic society. His Indian followers have not been very successful in correcting his mistakes, even though Marxist historians like Irfan Habib have tried to do so.
It is unfortunate that Indian Marxists continue to wear their ideological blinkers and refuse to accept the ongoing reality of Hinduism in the daily life of Indians. They can never change the role of Hinduism in Indian life and the sooner they understand this, the better for the polity. They can then work constructively with resurgent Hinduism.
In the past historians may have ignored the have nots but not any longer. And a resurgent Hinduism takes the views of the have nots seriously.
4. What will be the future of world wide Communism and What is the future of the 'Left' in India, particularly Marxists?
Communism worldwide is on the retreat. No one takes it seriously as a doctrine. Politically, they are not making headway. In most countries, especially what used to be called third world countries, development is on the agenda.
This development is accompanied by a watered down social democracy. In Africa dictatorships are the norm. In Latin America there is a mix of dictatorial rule and capitalist democracy.
In India the Left has no chance left. Yes, they have retained Tripura, but elsewhere they have lost out. In India, they are not working with the only truly progressive force, resurgent Hinduism. In Kerala they prefer to ally with the corrupt Congress rather than work with resurgent Hinduism. This is the unfortunate situation for Kerala.
5. Is it possible to accurately predict the evolution of a society? In your opinion what could be the reasons/ causes for the decline of Hindu society?
No it is not possible to accurately predict the evolution of society. We can only predict likely trends. This is because the social sciences are not like the hard core sciences, especially physics, where you can have high order generalisations like the law of gravity. For instance, there is no equivalent of the law of gravity in the social sciences. Scientific method depends also depends on replicable experiments which one cannot obviously have in the social sciences. We cannot conduct experiments with human beings inside a laboratory.
The decline of Hindu society was owing to two long Occupations, the Islamic and the Colonial. After Independence Hindu society became captive to mindless modernisation. Ofcourse, we must borrow what is good from the West, but we should not become purely imitative. We have to be selective in what we borrow.
6. Can Vedas be treated as historical evidence?
Yes, they can. Recent research by Indic scholars has shown that the Vedas were composed by our Rishis some 6,000 years BCE (Before the Christian Era). This is connected with an investigation of the origins of language, especially Sanskrit (See the remarkable analysis by Dr. N.Rajaram in his two part article 'Origin of the Indo - Europeans' in Folks Magazine).
7. Our mythology, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, etc. were they part of history or only myths?
They are part of history. Western scholars dismissed them as myths about which there were poetic writings only. And when they sometimes treated it as history, for instance the question of King Dasaratha and Rama, they placed the events at a fairly recent date. The Mahabharata, we now know from the research of Indic scholars, was composed around 3,500 B.C. The work of the phycist Dr. Narahari Achar, uses planetarium software to examine the astronomical events that occurred several thousand years ago and which are mentioned in the Mahabharata. Accounts of this work can easily be accessed by the reader at Youtube.
8. How is the study of India's glorious past, going to help future generations?
First of all it will help shed the lack of direction the society had acquired owing to the two Occupations, and move forward into the future with confidence that India can once again become a light to the world.
9. Your comments on the much talked about ' Aryan Invasion Theory'.
The Aryan Invasion Theory has been relegated to the dustbin of history. There was no Aryan invasion of India. The word 'arya' inSanskrit has no racial or ethnic connotations. It simply means 'civilised'. In the 18th century British and European scholars, struck by the similarity of Sanskrit with European classical languages such as Latin and Greek, put forward the theory that Sanskrit had come to India via the Aryans from central Europe.
In the last twenty years Indic scholars (including some European ones) have shown these claims to be fallacious. They have advanced the theory that Sanskrit and the peoples who spoke this language moved out from India into the north west and into Europe and spread there. Hence, the similarities noted above. Hence, the new theory is the Out of India Theory.
Names like Srikant Talageri, the Belgian scholar Konraad Elst, the Greek scholar Nicos Kazanas are some of the names associated with the Out of India Theory.
AIT has been replaced by OIT.
Alongside of these researches was the discovery of the river Sarasvati mentioned some 78 times in the Rig Veda and which disappeared in post Vedic times, owing to techtonic shifts. This discovery was made through satellite photography which showed evidence of a broad river bed along the route of the Vedic Saarasvati. Names such as B.B. Lal are associated with the discovery of the Sarasvati.
Also, more investigations of the Indus script (from the Indus Valley civilisation) have been conducted by scholars such as S.Kalyanraman (Director of the Sarasvati Research Center). His book Indus Script Cipher is an astonishing encyclopedic account of the rebus method of deciphering the Indus script. With the discovery of the river Sarasvati and the fact that the majority of the sites of the Indus Valley Civilisation were found along the Sarasvati, this is now called the Sarasvati Sindhu Civilisation.
The most recent account of the AIT is in the two part series by N.Rajaram titled 'Indo Europeans' (mentioned above) Here, Dr. Rajaram poins out that it is only in the last twenty years that science has unlocked the mystery of language. The emergence of molecular biology after World War II and especially gene sequencing and genome research in the past decade has made it possible for us to trace the origin and spread of Indo Europeans and their languages. Two areas of natural history -the distribution of mitochondrial DNA and y-chromosomes in the world's population groups and the fate of human in the face of natural disasters have resulted in the spread of Indo Europeans and their languages. 100,000 years ago there were several humanoid species in Africa (best known were the Neanderthals). Modern humans are distinguished from these humanoids by speech owing to a gene mutation which occurred approximately 80,000 years before the present. Then, after the Toba explosion (on the island of Sumatra) around 74,000 years ago there was the 6000 year long freeze. All non speaking humanoids became extinct. Around 65, 000 years ago small groups made their way to South Asia travelling along the Arabian coast. They flourished in a small area for some 10,000 years in South and Central Asia. They spoke what Dr. Rajaram calls Proto-African-Indian. Then some 45, 000 years ago small groups left and made their way to Eurasia and Europe.These were the first Indo Europeans. There were two further waves of migrants to those regions from India.All this took place after the last Ice Age (Pleistocene). Towards the end of the Ice Age, some 11,000 years ago, agriculture originated in India and South Asia. It replaced hunting and gathering of food. Animals including the horse were domesticated. There was a growth of population. There were now several languages in both north and south India. According to Dr. Rajaram these were the Gauda and Dravida languages.
The Vedas were created at the end of the Ice Age. Sanskrit was carefully constructed by the Rishis incorporating features from both Gauda and Dravida. Vedic Sanskrit is the oldest surviving language. This brief summary of the two part article by Dr. Rajaram gives the reader some idea of how and why Sanskrit and the peoples who spoke this language went out from India to the North West and thence to Europe.
10. All these centuries, in spirit of invasions by the barbaric Muslims and then by the English, Hinduism still remains not only in India but all over the globe. Then what is the need for us to feel panic?
No, there is no need for panic. On the other hand, we have to continue to be vigilant.