Tuesday, June 4, 2013

#257 Congress-BJP-TMC-CPM may cash on the festive season


This is an electoral-festive season in India, with 2014 General elections fast aproaching. Vivekananda‴s 150th birth Anniversary. 120th Anniversary of Vivekananda‴s voyage from Mumbai to United States for attending the Chicago Congress/Parliament of Religions 1893.

Gujarat Chief Minister Mr. narEndra mODi has already encashed vivekananda‴s name and image, by placing his image on all election podia and pulpits.

BJP, RSS, Vishva Hindu Parishad seem to have embraced vivEkAnanda without studying his biography or his works in depth.

Now, it is the turn of the Congress, TMC (Ms. Mamta Banerjee‴s Party ruling bengAl), and the bengAl CPM.

Every party wants to garner some votes by singing the paeans and panegyrics of swAmi vivEkAnanda. They do not mind spending public money or the Government‴s money for arranging processions, rallies and great assemblies.

Well, this is a free country, I do not wish to find fault with them. I only wish that the speakers do some homework regarding the speeches or the deeds of swAmi vivEkAnanda.

Here is a link to the speech delivered by President of India on the occasion of 120th anniversary of SwAmi vivEkAnanda‴s voyage to Chicago. click to go to http://presidentofindia.nic.in/sp310513-1.html. Now, we shall take up a quote from the President‴s speech:
...Firstly, social reform constituted a key component of Swami Vivekananda’s vision for modern India. Swamiji was uncompromisingly opposed to discrimination, deprivation and injustice on the grounds of caste, class and gender. According to him, the mismatch between the lofty ideals of Vedanta and the disgraceful apathy for the human condition in our society were simply unacceptable. Maharashtra has borne some of our nation’s greatest social reformers. I would like to affirm today that although the paths of these leaders of our society may have appeared to be outwardly divergent, their goals were essentially the same. Swamiji’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations should be an occasion for a constructive debate and cooperative action among the various sections striving for social reform. ...

(this blogger‴s feeling): Did vivEkAnanda support social reform? I shall quote from what he wrote to alasinga, his disciple from madrAs, who arranged money from South India, for his comfortable voyage to United States. Swamiji wrote to Shri Alasinga Mudaliar in the second half of 1895 from New York, USA:
"Meddle not with social reform, for there cannot be any reform without spiritual reform first. Who told you that I want social reform?. Not I. ..."

Did the spiritual reforms take place? Did the social reforms take place? Either during vivEkAnanda‴s tenure? Or during Congress / BJP rule? The only spiritual reform we have in India Today is Governments selling liquors by giving targets to Excise Departments. Spirit sellers becoming our rulers.

One important area which all the political parties in India ignore is the Ms. Henrietta Muller‴s denouncement of swAmi vivEkAnanda. She was the principal donor of the site on which bEluru maTh (monastery) was built. I wrote about this in my post No. 108, at this blog. I shall quote from my blog:
Ms. Henrietta Muller was a major contributor to the purchase of the land for the Belur Math. On 15th May 1899, the American Newspaper Nagautuck Daily News published an item quoting a Mumbai newspaper her as saying that she is face to face with the unavoidable conclusion that it is utterly rotten and corrupt from beginning to end and full of danger to the unhappy people who place their faith in it.

It would have been apt for the Government of India to order the Indian Council of Historical Research to dig deeply into the Henrietta Muller‴s statement by tracing out the Nagautuck Daily and the Mumbai Newspaper of 1897-1900. Why did Ms. Henrietta Muller come to the unavoidable conclusion that everything was utterly rotten and corrupt from beginning to end and full of danger to the unhappy people who place their faith in it? Why did Ms. Muller shift to theosophy (Ms. Anne Besant of India's freedom struggle fame)? Why vivEkAnanda was afraid of replying to Ms. Muller? Why did he write that he had not wanted to frighten Ms. Muller?

What I am - (this blogger) interested to know is is why political parties do not care about facts and history?

Incidentally, it will be appropriate for me to answer a comment made by Anonymous at blog post No. 108 cited above. Here is the comment:
Anonymous said... This comment is pertaining not just to this particular label, but to the entire article. It is very sad to see someone devote his entire time and energy to mudslinging the character of someone who died over a century ago. Even if it is admitted that Swami Vivekananda did not lead a great life (I am far from making that admission, please don't misunderstand), it seems that the only 'net' result that would be achieved by this carefully researched attempt at tarnishing this character is just contributing a few more negative ideas and thoughts to the minds of people who didn't have them. If your real intention is indeed to 'help' people and society rather than hurt, you are choosing the wrong way. Of course, if your intention is something negative, probably you are doing a good job.

This blogger (ybrao-a-donkey‴s) reply: Indians do not make much interest in facts and history. They are more a Nation of sloganeers. We can see how the whole Nation went crazy on BCCI and IPL till the booky-betting-match-fixing scandal broke out. Now, the standby BCCI President dAlmiya wants to discontinue cheerleaders. Investigators seem to be equally crazy. They may want to link everything to Dawood Ibrahim and lashkar E Toiba.

Another example: Everybody went on singing the praises of Late Mr. Y.S. rAjasEkhara Reddy (former CM of A.P.), when he was alive. Today, every Congress leader finds fault with him and his son Mr. JaganmOhan Reddy.

What I wish to highlight here is celebrations, processions, speeches and great meetings may fetch votes and power. But they do not serve the purpose of facts and truths. If there is no need to dig out facts/truths about somebody who died 100 years back, why a need has now arisen to spend billions of Rupees for organising 150 year celebrations and 100 year celebrations?

To Mr. anonymous, I wish to make very clear. There is no need to doubt my intentions and integrity. If I write even a single word without basis or proof, the readers are welcome to bang me.
Did vivEkananda work for unity/unification of world religions?

This blogger's personal view: The recorded speech available everywhere on the need and with the Government of India may not be the original speech of swAmi vivEkananda delivered at World Congress of Religions 1893. The World Congress of Religions treated SwAmi vivEkananda as one of numerous speakers, and apparently there were no special arrangements for audio recording the speeches of every speaker on the dais. On the website of the 1893 Parliament of Religions or American University Archives, I am unable to trace the officially confirmed speeches.

One development we have to take into consideration: swAmi vivEkananda developed differences with the 2nd in command of the Parliament Rev. Barrows and they wrote disparagingly of one another. (Mr. Anonymous who commented above may know, that loose-writing and mudslinging is not my forte. It is available between swAmi vivEkananda and Barrows , swAmi vivEkananda and P.C. Mozumdar and many others. I appeal Mr. Anonymous to study their mudslingings of one another .)

Back to recorded speech: After making some money in USA during his first visit, swAmi vivEkAnanda seems to have consulted a phonograph-recording-Company and got a fresh speech recorded. The text therein might have been edited and made more impressive and scholarly. For identifying this distinction between ex-tempore speeches and pre-written speeches, we have to do some careful study. Readers may please see my post No. 197.

There is one similarity between the environment in which vivEkananda operated and the environment in which current political parties operate in India:

Christian Missionaries of vivEkananda‴s days intensively tried to convert Hindus into Christianity. VivekAnanda's actions were reactions to stimulii generated by the conversions made by Christian missionaries. Native rulers who felt hurt, also supported him. vivEkananda it appears to me (my personal opinion), chose a path of converting American high-society women into Hinduism. Spreading Christianity by American/European missionaries in the guise of Parliament of Religions 1893 was sought to be matched by swAmi vivEkAnanda taking up Hindu missionary work. Both of these do not contribute to a Universal Religion. Everybody vivEkananda, Barrows, Muller (et al) knew that universal-religion was not possible.

2013: Even now Christian Missionaries are extremely active in converting illiterate and poor Hindus into Christianity. To correct this aggressive anomaly, Government of India ought to have ordered a Commission of Enquiry by sitting Supreme Court judges and initiated a law to prevent conversions of people who are not adequately informed and educated. Conversions when they take place on massive scale will lead to communal strife and violence. Political parties seem more interested in votes, rather than communal harmony. 2013‴s world is not different from the 1893-1899 world. Christian Missionaries throughout the world are ploughing through the poor countries of Africa, Asia and South America. Islamic Resistance to such conversions, we can see in some countries.

This blog post and criticism will have nothing to do with the field-work done by 2012-13 present rAmakrishNa maTh. It is outside the scope of this blog. I have already mentioned in some posts at this blog that CHARITY is not a substitute for Marxism/Leninism/Socialism or some other isms which try to bring true social justice through democratic, legal and peaceful means and mechanisms.

I earnestly appeal to the Government of India, Political parties in India, and rAmakrishNa maTh the organisation founded by swAmi vivEkAnanda, to arrange more research into facts and truths, instead of just promoting hagiographies and panegyrics.

I hope that I will not have more occasions to write posts here, except answering comments. As pointed out by Anonymous in his comment, I have already spent sufficient time and effort on vivEkAnanda.

No comments: