Saturday, October 19, 2013

Towards a new darkness

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

As the ASI officials start digging the ‘grave’ of enlightened India questions are being asked about the authenticity of the claims made Hindu seer Shobhan Sarkar and the way the government of India jumped into it and engaged ASI in it. For days, it became the favorite on our TV channels and all the bluff masters of  Hindutva were there to justify and interpret ‘dreams’ until Narendra Modi jumped and suggested that the ‘world was laughing at us’.  Word of wisdom by a communal fascist whose party is unable to come out of ‘Ram Temple’ complex and therefore making a bigger joke of itself.

This issue has many dimensions and need to be exposed. It has also given us an opportunity to put the secular rationalist view point in front of the people which they were not habitual off. It has also given us some insight in which direction the media is going and lastly it also shows that Indians still will not leave believing in miracles to make us a great nation.

The area
Let us start with how it started. If I dream today that there is gold underneath my house and inform it to ASI, will they start digging. Perhaps, you will need a cabinet minister at the Centre as your chela to get that happen. In a place called Dondia Kheda, we are informed Raja Rao Rambaksh Singh fought with the British in 1957. The brave king had looted huge amount of gold from the British who finally captured him and executed him. It took three days.  Interestingly, before Sant Shobhan Sarkar, none had heard about the heroics of Rajah Rao Rambakhs Singh. It is not an old story, just about four hundred years back so the documentation of this period must be there with our historians. From all our understanding we know the richest princely states in India were Jammu and Kashmir, Hyderabad, Gawalior, Jaipur, Mysore etc. but never ever heard of these unheard states where thousands of tons of gold was lying. Frankly speaking there is nothing in Dondiakheda which makes it unique. The whole area of Unnao, Pratapgarh had a number of Talukdars and most of those who claimed to be former princes or Rajas were just Talkudars and exploited the local populace more than anything. In fact, the historic uprising of marginal people in the Avadh, in Pratapgarh, Ayodhya and Faizabad regions is a great example of how people were fed up with these ‘local kings’ who left no stone unturned in exploiting the people. If these kingdoms were great then why have we not seen growth in these regions? The impact of the erstwhile kingdom of Kashmir, Hyderabad, Gwalior, Mysore are visible in various forms in those regions particularly in terms of infrastructure but in Uttar-Pradesh, we find none of those signs.
The fact is that if we go on digging these places more traces of Buddhist history would be found as Prof Angne Lal has already done much research on it and the information now is being circulated on social media too. If we dig too much, the Hindu lunatics will have to hide their faces as underneath these forts, graves lies Buddhist India which was progressive, free from prejudices and also prosperous. So, even if there might be wealth underneath, definitely, it belonged to the age of Buddhist period and not of these Rajas who were merely Talukedars.

Politics of competitive communalism

The whole story of Dondiakhera village and dream of Shobhan Sarkar can be unfolded easily. It lies in the politics of competitive communalism. It lies in desperations of political parties to use religion for the sake of power and for that they are ready to go to any extent even to create frenzy and hysteria, all at the cost of the nation. Shobhan Sarkar is Guru of the Central Minister Charan Das Mahant, who is a devoted Satnami and hails from Chhattishgarh. He came to Unnao to meet the Baba who informed him about his dream. The Minister could not ignore the ‘prediction’ of his Guru and went to Dilli darbar for an approval of digging by ASI there. For Congress Party it seems to have provided a wonderful opportunity to woe the Sant Samaj which is absolutely hijacked by the saffron party and hence the whole ‘dream’ thing was added to it. Now, once the Sadhu dreamt of one thousand tonnes of Gold came into public, the Hindutva’s forces also found a way to pontificate about the great virtues of our ‘shastras’ and the power of ‘seers’. Arguments were given how the country will develop and the ministers jumped into it. Akhilesh Yadav, the UP Chief Minister felt that he ‘wish’ every village of UP has gold mine underneath so that people are happier. Many of the Sant Samaj also jumped into the fray to justify but after people like us who have been opposing it at various forums openly and unambiguously, it seems that many of the  saffron family also realized the game and started targeting the whole issue though very carefully.

Indian politics is a strange paradox. Today, when Modi is trying to look secular and attempting everything to decast his image, it is the Congress which is weaving a bigger plot to attract upper caste Hindus who have virtually left it. It is the price of politics that Dondiakheda things happen. The problem with the government is that if it had not started the entire process, the saffron brigade would have made  the life of the government more difficult for insulting a seer who is honest enough to ‘help’ the nation. Don’t we know how they are expert in raising the issue and making a mockery of rule of law?   Each Indian is dreaming of one thousand tons of Gold in the coffers of RBI and Indian rupee turning equal to British Pound as ‘wished’ by Omi Baba, the Hanuman of Shobhan Sarkar who has rarely made any appearance to the people. The saffron Parivar may be worried as Congress has made inroads in their consolidated family but the reality is that seers had always been closure to power politics of Congress Party.

ASI’s Defence

ASI and GSI teams visited the area and conducted some surveys. It is only after that they decided to jump into the fray. They are government’s specialized agencies and none doubt about their credibility. There is nothing wrong for a government to order survey on the advice of a senior person who want to ‘help’ the government in the time of economic ‘crisis’ but ASI has to answer whether it will go all those places where any seer or madariwallah suggest is ‘gold’. The job of ASI is not to search for gold for the ‘troubled’ economy.  The specialized agency of the government is supposed to search for historical sites and maintain and preserve them so that we are aware of them.

However, in the past one decade these agencies are also used for political purposes. We have seen the entire Ayodhya fiasco and inability of the agency to put its work clearly on the same and tell the nation in unambiguous term as what is its position on the digging that it did several years back.  Further, if the ASI were working on its own, we would not have been seeing Sobhan Sarkar to inform the government about a fort which is of a historical value. Unfortunately, most of our historical places are lying in dilapidated shape where thugs, cheats, drunks etc use for time passing. The structures are virtually dying. Many of such structures have collapsed due to negligence. Historical buildings cannot be allowed to die at the hands of those who just feel them and structure of concrete.

Media Hype more dangerous

The pressure of TRPs actually forced the media to convert the entire event into an entertainment zone. It was a serious issue which snowballed into huge controversy as everyone wanted to ‘milk’ their perception through it. The politicians jumped as it gives them limelight, the seer were again demand as it is the best way of promoting brahmanical propaganda. Fine, if ASI is making a digging, how can you convert that entire operation into the ‘dream’ of a seer? And the fact is that the entire dream theory is being rejected by the spokesperson of seer now. He says that the slain Raja walks every night and speaks to every villager and the story is known to all.

The fact is that ASI is not there to dig Gold but on a special mission which was already decided in advance. My issue with the media is that fine if someone dreamt and used his offices with the government for the greater benefit of the people as it is an ancient site and already ASI has suggested that it was an important monument. But the entire thing has been made as if the country would become richer than Europe and America and rupee would suddenly turn stronger than US dollar and British pound once the gold is found. Such hypothetical questions and on those the answers only made a mockery of entire issue. All the thugs were brought on TV to defend this indefensible. You have got an opportunity to sanitize the people but you are yourself promoting those Babas, Tantriks, and so called Vastu Shastris whose only power is the ignorance of people. The whole issue was converted into a attempting to find gold and thesis being built up on that.  Can countries be developed just because of ‘gold’ and money? Are civilization just built up on those things. Will Indians not need to work after the Gold is found there? We are expert in creating this frenzy. Baba’s colleague said,’ we want to build the ‘biggest’ hospital of Asia in Unnao. I don’t know why he didn’t demand the ‘biggest’ of the world. “We want better roads, jobs and prosperity for all’, said the Baba. Now many claimants for the throne are also emerging. We are hearing that many Rajput clans are demanding a cut if the gold is found. They suggest it is their money and they have the first right.

The problem with the frenzy is that if the gold is not found then what happen? Will people hang Sobhan Sarkar and his colleague who is ready to be hanged? They are continuously speaking loudly and making larger claims. They are making claims at other places also. He has suggested there is gold worth 2500 tones in Kanpur and other places too resulting in people digging the places themselves. In a country like India where people have too much of faith on these Babas, it may lead to chaos and deterioration of law and order situation. It will only create ill will towards the ASI and other authorities of the government. The people are not going to believe in science after this digging as arrangement to keep them subjugated are permanent. The caste interests work much bigger than anything and through these ‘miracles’ Brahmanism shows its supremacy. You can see who are the people joining hands and explaining the power of ‘dharma’. It is the Brahmins, and media has a deep interest in maintaining this brahmanical supremacy and suppressing the voices of change. Everyone who challenged this was ‘anti Hindu’ and ready to be bitten by these so called dharmacharyas.

The fact is that religion is always double spoken and from last night we have seen some of the seers who are speaking now contradictory. Many suggested that the time was not auspices because of ‘lunar eclipse while other suggested that the gold change place. There was a woman ‘dream’ analyst whose only quality was on reinforcing the Manusmriti and its values. She said we were the first the first one who developed test tube baby and also added that in Mahabharat period we had so many instrument, missiles and aero planes. If we have people like her discussing things on India, I am sure you would not need a seer to tell us about the greatness of India. Therefore, if tomorrow, there is no Gold found in Dondia Kheda village, the priests have already started finding an escape route. The people and the seer will only blame the ASI and the government for their inability to find. It is the power of religion which has blinded our people and snatched their thinking capacities. It is shameful display of ignorance and romanticisation of superstition.

Positive debate
However, I will compliment Shobhan Sarkar for his frank observation.  He says that the entire ‘Gold’ must be given to the government of India so that it could be used for nation building which is in the great ‘economic distress’ at the moment. Whether there is Gold or not will only be known in next few days or months but the entire debate on this look like a Ramdev debate who want the ‘black money’ stashed in Swiss bank be brought to India. And both these issues reflect the brahmanical mindset and its crookedness. The grave fact is that Indians have huge money in India itself and if that is unearthed the fate of the country would be better. Secondly, we are trying to dig history and find gold and whether we will get it or not does not matter. Let us ask our religious places, temples, churches, mosques, Gurudwaras to declare the gold that they have so that this could be used. We know the immediate question will be the invocation of the name of God but are the religious institutions, temples, mosques, churches bigger and greater than the nation? World Gold Council recently estimated that our temples have over 2000 tonnes of Gold whose current value was approximately over USD 84 billion. Reserve Bank of India wrote a letter to our major temples to inform them the gold that they have but most of them temple management refused to divulge details. They have readymade answer that governments have no rights over the things which are gifted to God. The fact is what will ‘God’ do with this gol ? Is God eating the gold or will ‘He’ be angry if the gold is not there. It is clear that the political parties use religion as a card and big businessmen also using religion to outsource their illicit wealth. The government must investigate into the business-baba-babu nexus on the usage of religion for their own dubious dealings.  Should we not ask this question that if a nondescript Seer such as Shobhan Sarkar can think of nation beyond religion, cant our temples and mutths who have tonnes of Gold, too think of the same. 

And finally, the calamities also provide opportunities for secular humanists to express themselves. I am sure with the growth of social media, the mainstream media too remain under tremendous pressure and hence the issue of science will come. It is the sacred duty of the government to respect Article 51 ( h) of the constitution which talks of ‘developing spirit of inquiry, humanism and science’ in the country. We cannot shy away from it. A government should not be seen as spreading ‘darkness’ in the name of ‘faith’ but more than the government it is the media which need to be questioned.  Government has taken a well-planned route but not the media and the brahmanical forces inside it. I have no issues with Shobhan Sarkar who may be a rustic Sanyasi but the people who ‘theorize’ him are more dangerous.

India cannot become great with such ‘chamatkars’ or miracles. It is time we focus on our education which must develop spirit of inquiry among our students. Let the governments in India invest 9% of GDP on education. Let us build up industries and focus on developing agriculture. Let us groom our young minds for literature and art, science and technology. Let us humanize India first and build a humanist society without any prejudice. India cannot become great and strong with the dreams of a Baba or a priest in finding Gold. Only a great civilization has a potential of making India a great nation. Miracles and more searches for them will only take the country into further darkness. We cannot allow the country to hand over to those again who killed its spirit of inquiry and blinded it in superstition.