Yes, Godse was a patriot

November 30, 2019

Rohit Dhankar

[I would like to repeat what I am arguing for. Such repetition is required in the mindless slogan shouting era of today to safeguard against misunderstanding. I am not saying Godse was a great man. I am not saying Gandhi was a bad man worth killing. I am not saying, at the least not here, that Gandhi’s policies were wrong. I am representing how Godse thought. And I don’t agree with Sanghis, because whatever little know of their thinking on the issue, they attack Gandhi to prove that Godse was a patriot. I don’t take that position. I think it is possible that a patriot can be stupid enough to kill a greater patriot than himself, and harm the country by mistake. I am arguing strictly for two points only:

  1. Godse was a patriot and actually he killed Gandhi because he was a patriot.
  2. The people today who want that anyone who says that Godse was a patriot should be punished are bigots. Because they want all other views eliminated but their own. And that is precisely what a bigot is: A prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own.]

In response to my yesterdays blog post some people have raised a question that Godse does not satisfy criteria three and four of the definition I quoted.

Of course, they are free to have their own interpretation of any of these criteria or have an altogether different definition of a patriot. I have no objection to that; nor do I have any right to object.

As far as my interpretation is concerned criteria three “Special concern for the well-being of the country” means ‘special concern in comparison to other countries’; and since country is necessarily made up of people (contrary to some fools who think country in this sense refers to land), thus, in a democratic country all citizens should be included. Godse says (if one wants to question his statement, s/he should find more material) that he always favoured democracy with equal rights to all. In this connection he quotes resolution of Hindu Mahasabha which unambiguously declares all Indians equal. Godse participated in congress protests in early thirties. Then was disillusioned by congress’ ambiguity on communal award, and joined Hindu Mahasabha and RSS. He also edited two news papers “Agrani” and “Hindu Rashtra”.  Any one who wants to see if he stayed steadfast to equal rights to all citizens should do some research and look if anything was published in these papers which proved that he argued for less rights for any section of Indian citizenry. Going by the name “Hindu Rashtra” will be foolish, perusal of actual content will be necessary. Therefore, to me he satisfies criteria three.

Criteria four “willingness to sacrifice to promote the country’s good” refers to taking personal risk and personal sacrifice. It does not mean that particular act in which risk and sacrifice occurs is necessarily for the whole population. It may be for a particular section which happens to be persecuted or oppressed at that time. Godse saw that political situation such that the most important section of the Indian nation “Hindus” (even by number they were and are most important section, and those who feel ashamed by this are suffering from some kind of complex) were under direct oppression. He also thought, rightly or wrongly, that identity and ethos of Indian nation have the largest contribution from Hindu culture. Godse also believed, and you are free to counter that if you can, India can remain secular only as long as the Hindus are in majority. One has to remember that partition had just happened and that was on the behest of Muslims, and was to establish a theocratic state. He thought that practical state decisions (like withholding Rs.55 crore, Kashmir and Hyderabad) keep getting reversed under Gandhi’s pressure to make Muslims happy; in addition to suffering for Hindus, India as a nation will become week, hostage to Muslim sentiment and Gandhi’s whims and will be unable to maintain its freedom, democracy and secularism. As I have repeatedly said he might have been wrong in his understanding, and that may make him a fool. But his sentiments and line of reasoning was informed by concern for the country and his act was a knowing act of self-sacrifice.

Many people do not know many things of that time. For example, many don’t know that Indian government banned reporting of massacre of Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan because they feared a reaction in India. News papers were required to take such an undertaking and deposit security amount. Godse saw it as the continuation of old tendency of hiding Muslim atrocities.

If particular concern for Hindus, without prejudice to equal rights to Muslims, is held to be a disqualification for being a patriot then Lala Lajpat Rai, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Aurobind, Hardayal, Vivekananda, and a host more people will have to be excluded. Many of this last list are dubbed communal by left liberals in their biased thinking. They only recognised that the Hindu society needs to be reformed and educated, and that continuous weakening of Hindu society is dangerous for India. None of them was antimuslim, however, many of them recognised a group behaviour among Muslims which could easily be moulded to give religion preference over the nation or country.

Lastly, the theories which consider patriotism as a negative sentiment understand neither humans nor countries, nations and cultures. These are logically inconsistent and morally flowed theories. Consider the following:

  1. A concept using rational human being is not possible without social living (shared life form)
  2. Answers to question of Identity (who am I?), Morality (What should I do?) Reason (Why should I do that?) are fundamental to human existence. No such questions, no humanity.
  3. None of these questions can be answered in isolation; that establishes necessity of community.
  4. None of them can be answered in a moment to moment manner; that establishes continuity for a live (self-reflecting and changing) cultural tradition.
  5. Such communities and cultural traditions cannot survive without some kind of political formation.
  6. Sustenance of such political formation in good, just and dynamic form require responsible and critical citizenry.
  7. Unless there are people who are willing to contribute materially, organisationally, intellectually, in security and politically; such communities and political formations can not survive.
  8. A commitment to such contribution requires the four criteria of patriotism.
  9. Thus, survival of such communities and political formations require patriotism.

The theories which deride patriotism either don’t understand or are deliberately encouraging free-loaders, thriving on others’ contribution without contributing anything or even may be harming the communities. Such theories should attract serious intellectual and moral critique. On the contrary, presently they are considered intellectually more refined and morally more advanced. They emerge out of the delusion created in the minds of academics which are given space to do only intellectual work because society recognises the need of advancement of knowledge. When such academics live too long in their cocoons where all needs are taken care of, and appreciation is louder for weaving finer and finer webs of words; they become deluded that they are advancing human understanding; while actually they have lost connection with real struggling human condition for long. Those who want empty academic appreciation may ravel in such theories.

At the end I would like to repeat what I am arguing for. Such repetition is required in the mindless slogan shouting era of today to safeguard against misunderstanding. I am not saying Godse was a great man. I am not saying Gandhi was a bad man worth killing. I am not saying, at the least not here, that Gandhi’s policies were wrong. I am representing how Godse thought. I am arguing strictly for two points only:

Godse was a patriot and actually he killed Gandhi because he was a patriot.

The people today who want that anyone who says that Godse was a patriot should be punished are bigots. Because they want all other views eliminated but their own. And that is precisely what a bigot is: A prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own.


30th November 2019




And again … Godse

November 29, 2019

Rohit Dhankar

Pragya Thakur again gave an indication in the Lok Sabha that she considers Nathuram Godse a patriot. As a result, a twitter storm started and she lost her new membership of a defence committee. Let’s have a look at what some of the opinion makers in India twitted.

Barkha Dutt demands Pragya Thakur’s removal from BJP because she, according to her, “blotted Gandhi’s memory”: “Removing Pragya Thakur from the parliamentary panel on Defence is hardly enough. Remove her from the party. She blotted the memory of Gandhi. Slandered the reputation of 26/11 hero Hemant Karkare. In the age of muscular Nationalism, if this ain’t anti national, what is.” Twitter on 28th November 2019.

Rana Ayyub laments slide into right-wing majoritarianism: “In the Indian Parliament this afternoon, Pragya Thakur, a terror accused now on the defence panel of the country hailed Gandhi’s assasin Nathuram Godse, a true pariot. Thanks to Modi, Our irreversible slide into right-wing majoritarianism is now complete. What a SHAME.” Twitter, 27 Nov. 2019

Siddharth Varadarajan declares “Godse and Savarkar, Both Must Be Rejected” on authority of Apoorvanand in a video . Apoorvanand argues that Godse might have been a patriot of a Hindu Rashtra, but not of a democratic India which safeguards equal rights of all irrespective of their caste and creed. He also claims that Nathuram Godse’s Rashtra gave more rights to Hindus and upper caste Hindus, in particular. We will examine these claims.

I have quoted these three persons as representatives of a large group which has made up their minds, are closed to examine their beliefs rationally; and therefore, are not important, however famous they might be.

But there are other people who should be taken more seriously, and whom one expects to be open to challenge and defending their position rationally. This article is addressed these later ones.

Praveen Swami on twitter (27th Nov. 2019) says “Pragya Thakur is entitled to consider Nathuram Godse a patriot—plenty of Indians do. The question is whether the Prime Minister also considers Godse a patriot: every hour that passes without her being expelled from the BJP suggests that he does.” Clearly indicating that even if Pragya Thakur considers Godse a patriot, Prime Minister Modi should not and instead should expel her from BJP.

Ramachadra Guha writes “A Member of Parliament (MP) in the last House, Sakshi Maharaj, praised Godse, and was yet renominated by the BJP. In this election, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Bhopal, Pragya Thakur, praised Godse. Although the prime minister later distanced himself from her remarks, her sentiments were spontaneously endorsed by several other BJP candidates across the country. Notably, all these Godse bhakts won their seats, and by very large margins.” Guha,

Note his dubbing those who consider Godse a patriot as his “bhakts” while whose who consider Nehru, Gandhi, Patel, Azad etc. patriots are never labelled as their “Bhakts” or worshippers.

My questions below are to serious political analysis like the last two, and I will start by quoting something copied from Praveen Swami’s Twitter:

“That, if gold rust, what shall poor iron do?

For if the priest be foul, in whom we trust,

What wonder if a layman yield to lust?

And shame it is, if priest take thought for keep,

A shitty shepherd, shepherding clean sheep.”

Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales”

As I don’t care about the first three, I directly ask people like Swami and Guha: Sirs, For if the priest be foul, in whom we trust? You have been championing freedom of speech and thoughtful analysis in politics, if you side with those demanding punishment for people speaking their mind, are you not guilty of curbing freedom of thought? I am not talking of criticising people like Sadhvi and Sakshi Maharaj. That is everyone’s right. I am talking of demand for removing such people from a party because of considering Godse a patriot. (There might be other legitimate reasons for their removal, not under analysis here.)

Before I go on, I would like to make a few things clear. I am no supporter of BJP, or of any party for that matter. I find Pragya Thakur and Sakshi Maharaj positively unfit for politics and wish that people had defeated them, pushed them out of politics. But I do not think they should be punished for speaking their mind in a democracy, in this particular case. Because, I do believe in the principle attributed to Voltaire (perhaps not entirely correctly attributed): “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

I believe this is a good principle to remember in a democracy, because: “If you deny to anyone else the right to say what you think is wrong, it will not be long before you will lose the right to say what you think is right. Defense of the freedom of others is self-defense.” And to my mind calling Godse a patriot is not even wrong.

I wrote a blog piece on 8th October 2019, titles “Who is a patriot?” and was hesitant to say that Godse was a patriot, precisely for the same reasons as Apoorvanand mentions, that is: he wanted a Hindu Rashtra in which Muslims and Christians were not supposed to have equal rights. That was on the basis of writings of the people like ones I have mentioned above and a drastically shortened version of Godse’s statement in the court. This time I found the full statement that Godse made in the court and read it carefully. I take this statement as expressing Godse’s convictions about the nation, politics and beliefs about Gandhi. And am not concerned about his testimony regarding who was involved in the conspiracy and who was not. Because what matters in this affair is what Godse thought and what his motivations were. On the basis of his statement in court I have no hesitation in saying that Godse was a patriot and actually he assassinated Gandhi precisely because he was patriot. That however, does not mean that he could not have been wrong in coming to his conclusion regarding Gandhi. Nor does it mean that he was not a murderer or his crime was not heinous.

In my article “Who is a patriot?” I used the following definition of a patriot:

“A patriot is a person who has

  1. Special affection for one’s own country
  2. A sense of personal identification with the country
  3. Special concern for the well-being of the country
  4. Willingness to sacrifice to promote the country’s good.”

[For details refer to]

And here I will again examine whether Godse was a patriot on these criteria. Paragraph 49 of the above-mentioned statement of Godse begins: The territory bounded by the North Western Frontier in North and Cape Comorin in the South and the areas between Karachi and Assam that is the whole of pre-partition India has always been to me my mother-land. In this vast area live people of various faiths and I hold that these creeds should have full and equal freedom for following their ideals and beliefs.” (Emphasis added)

There are plenty of paragraphs like this in his statement. Note that this is directly related to criteria one and two in the above definition of a patriot. Those who are interested in more can read Godse’s full statement here. We can safely say that Godse had a personal identification as well as special affection for his country.

In paragraph 50 he writes: Indian National Congress which was started with the object of winning power for the people in the governance of the country had from the beginning kept before it the ideal of complete nationalism which implies that all Indians should enjoy equal rights and complete equality on the basis of democracy. This ideal of removing the foreign rule and replacing it by the democratic power and authority of the people appealed to me most from the very start of my public career.” Further in para 51: “In my writings and speeches I have always advocated that the religious and communal consideration should be entirely eschewed in the public affairs of the country, at elections, inside and,’ outside the legislatures and in the making and unmaking of Cabinets. I have throughout stood for a secular State with joint electorates and to my mind this is the only sensible thing to do.” (Here I read parts of the resolutions passed at the Bilaspur Session of the Hindu Mahasabha held in December, 1944. Annexture Pages 12 and 13).

The relevant points from The Hindu Mahasabha resolution are:

(i) Basic principles of Constitution of independent Hindusthan: which will be styled as “Constitution of Hindusthan Free State.”

(ii) Historically, politically, ethnologically and culturally Hindusthan is one, whole and indivisible and so she shall remain.

(iii) The Government to be democratic and federal in character.

(iv) The Federal Legislature to be bi-cameral in structure.

(v) Election to be on adult franchise on one man one vote basis. The electorates to be joint with reservation of seats for minorities on population basis.

(vi) Fundamental Rights: All citizens to be equal in and before law. There shall be no law, civil or criminal, substantive or procedural, of a discriminative nature.

(vii) No citizen by reason of his color, caste or creed to be prejudiced in any way in regard to public employment, office or power or honor or exercise of any profession, trade of calling.

(viii) All citizens shall, subject to public order or morality, enjoy freedom of conscience and profession and practice of religion and protection of culture and language and no law shall be made directly or indirectly to endow any religion or prohibit or restrict the free exercise thereof or give any preference or impose disability on account of religious belief of religious status.” (Emphasis added)

This to my mind shows concern for well-being of people of the country without discrimination. One does not know why Godse is accused of ‘India for upper caste Hindus’. Actually, he actively worked for eradication of caste, therefore, the upper caste tag seems to be unjustifiable.

What was Godse’s problem then? Why did he assassinate the most respected leader of the freedom movement, who was considered a Mahatma and father of the nation?

One should read the whole statement to understand Godse’s mind, but first must free oneself from the propaganda unleased by so called liberals.

Godse’s charges on Gandhi are numerous. But basically, he thought that Gandhi somehow got enamoured by Hindu-Muslim unity, and had a deep wish that Muslims recognise him their leader, which they never did. Godse argues that to chase his dream of becoming a leader of all Muslims, exactly as he was a leader of all Hindus, Gandhi started developing a tilt to appease Muslims, giving them concessions, which finally went against Hindus and added to massacre of Hindus by Muslims, as well as partition and creation of Pakistan.

The argument that Gandhi was assassinated only for the last fast is not true. Godse gives an alternative history of freedom movement from 1914, and accuses Gandhi of Muslim appeasement right from Khalafat movement. In his last fast, mentioned above, Gandhi had seven demands all against Hindus, according to Godse. They included release of 55 crore of rupees to Pakistan which was withheld by a government decision and expelling the refugees taking shelter in Mosques in Delhi. Godse describes the wet chilly weather and refugees being thrown out of whatever shelter against the weather they had in Mosques. Some of them walked to Gandhi living in Birla House then, but no one listened to them. He accuses Gandhi that while he demanded that refugees be expelled from Mosques, he never even mentioned that some arrangement to protect them from chilly weather needs to be done. He thinks that in his partiality to Muslims Gandhi was capable of overturning a practical government decision. And Godse thought that this was very dangerous.

After giving a long list of blunders committed due to Muslim appeasement, it seemed that even after partition the national politics will be dominated by Gandhi and Hindus will be at the receiving end of this appeasement. The Razakar movement of Hyderabad where Hindus were being killed was on his mind and he thought that as long as Gandhi was there, the government will not be allowed to interfere to protect Hindus because the Hyderabad ruler was a Muslim. He gives numerous examples of this nature.

The trigger according to Godse was The accumulating provocation of 32 years culminating in his last pro-Muslim fast at last goaded me to the conclusion that the existence of Gandhiji should be brought to an end immediately.”

Godse was aware of the result of his act: “Briefly speaking, I thought to myself and foresaw that I shall be totally ruined and the only thing that I could expect from the people would be nothing but hatred and that I shall have lost my entire honor even more valuable than my life, if I were for kill Gandhiji. But at the same time I felt that the Indian politics in the absence of Gandhiji would surely be practical, able to retaliate, and would be powerful with armed forces. No doubt my own future would be totally ruined but the nation would be saved from the inroads of Pakistan. People may even call me and dub me as devoid of any sense or foolish, but the nation would be free to follow the course founded on reason which I consider to be necessary for sound nation building. After having fully considered the question, I took the final decision in the matter but I did not speak about it to any one whatsoever. I took courage in my both hands and I did fire the shots at Gandhiji on 30th January, 1948 on the prayer grounds in Birla House.”

He considered himself a patriot: “If devotion to one’s country amounts to a sin, I admit I have committed that sin, If it is meritorious, I humbly claim the merit thereof. I fully and confidently believe that if there be any other court of justice beyond the one founded by the mortals, my act will not be taken as unjust. If after the death there be no such place to reach or to go, there is nothing to be said. I have resorted to the action I did purely for the benefit of the humanity. I do say that my shots were fired at the person whose policy and action had brought rack and ruin and destruction to lakhs of Hindus.”

He claims that he wanted a secular state, not preferences to Hindus. That what he was angry about was not that Hindus do not have more rights than Muslims, but that Gandhi always gave more preference to Muslims at the devastating cost to Hindus. “I do say that I had no respect for the present Government owing to their policy which was unfairly favorable towards the Muslims. But at the same time I could clearly see that the policy was entirely due to the presence of Gandhiji in that behalf. But in the absence of such pressure the way is now open for the establishment of a secular State in the true sense of that word.”

One can argue that Godse was mistaken in his interpretation of Gandhi’s politics, that he was wrong in killing Gandhi, that his crime is unpardonable. But I don’t understand how one can deny that he acted out of patriotic sentiment. That his act of killing Gandhi was simultaneously his most heinous crime as well as his supreme sacrifice for the country he loved.

The second question is: if someone thinks on these grounds that Godse was a patriot, how that person becomes a bhakt? Why his or her right to speak his/her mind should be curtained on the pain of punushment? I repeat, criticising and giving augments against such a position is fine. But when liberals want such people to be punished are not they indulging in stifling rational debate on issues of national importance? Are not they declaring that the question of Gandhi’s, Congress’ and Indian State’s appeasement of Muslims cannot be raised, cannot be debated? That no one can advance arguments on that front? That the standard narrative has to be accepted without a murmur?

A bigot is a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own. By demanding punishment for expression of opinions differing from them, are not the liberals proving themselves to be bigots?

Guha claims that in the Mahatma’s lifetime, the Hindutva people “opposed his asking for equal rights for Muslims.” The Hindutva and writings of Savarkar have become convenient handles stifle inconvenient questions in Indian politics. Whatever Savarkar may have written, in what sense are the points in Hindu Mahasabha resolution quoted above discriminatory against Muslims? Would any one argue that Gandhi’s philosophy was the Congress policy? If not why Savarkar’s thesis should be considered more important that the publicly passed resolution of Hindu Mahasabha?

So, Sirs, if the priest be foul, in whom we trust?

  1. On what grounds you deny that Godse was a patriot?
  2. On grounds you recommend that any one saying that he was a patriot be punished?


29th November 2019







We will be a better society if Firoz Khan teaches Gita and Ghanshyam Sharma teaches Quran

November 20, 2019

Rohit Dhankar

Banaras Hindu University’s Sanskrit Vidya Dharm Vigyan (SVDV) faculty students are on protest. Simply because Dr. Firoz Khan, a Muslim, is appointed as an assistant professor in SCDV Faculty to teach Sanskrit literature; for which he is amply qualified as per the UGC norms.

Students’ objection seems to be how can a Muslim teach in a faculty which has Hindu-Dharma at its centre? How can a Muslim teach Hindu theology? How can a Muslim teach us Hindu dharma? How can a Muslim teach is Sanatana? These seem to be the questions being asked repeatedly. Most of the media, including social media this time, seems to think that the students are being bigoted, the term is actually used. And it is appropriate enough. But simply leaving the issue at that hides a much bigger problem in hour universities unearthed. The students are not only behaving in a bigoted manner, they are acting this way under a wrong assumption about university education.

Our universities are actually acting as if purpose of a university is to teach students to believe that their teachers believe. In other words, the purpose of university education is assumed to be producing ideological clones of their teachers. Even a cursory survey of any humanities and social science department will amply prove that most of the students regurgitate ideological positions of their teachers more or less exactly in the same terminology. The malaise is deeper when you move to the extremes of the political-ideology spectrum. Extreme right professors produce indoctrinated bigots who spew extreme right views, and extreme left professors actually leave no room in students minds for anything else but their meaningless jargon.

From this point of view, BHU students’ logic is flowless: how can a believing Muslim, who is by definition non-believer in Hinduism, teach them to believe in dogmas of Hinduism?

What these students don’t know, because they were never taught, is that purpose of university education is not to develop faith in the doctrines of your teachers; it is rather to learn critical examination of all doctrines, gain confidence in your own intellect, develop courage to chose your own belief system on the basis of your own reason.

The BHU students don’t seem to realise that when a professor teaches theory of evolution or philosophy of Plato or Nyaya-Darshan in a university, she is not trying to convert students into believing in what she is teaching. She is interest in making them understand these topics/branches of knowledge, their development, their context, the arguments and evidence in favour and against them. In a university classroom the issue is not ‘instilling the beliefs’; that would be indoctrination. The issue is ‘critical understanding’. And leaving the student alone to decide what to believe or not to believe.

A good teacher needs to understand the subject matter she is teaching and should also be capable of resisting strong urge to indoctrinate young minds. I have a suspicion our university teaching is failing in both. Neither the teachers have mastery over the subject matter they are teaching nor the open-mindedness to teach this without indoctrination.

To illustrate the point: Once some faculty members of a famous university were lamenting that the new master’s programme they started was not really successful. A discussion ensued as to why do they think so? After a long discussion the problem as formulated by one of the lamenting group was: “when the students come, they have certain views on society, polity, etc. and they remain more or less unchanged when they leave after two years”. Others gave a counter argument that “maybe we notice little change in day-to-day expression of beliefs, but the students defend their views with much more rigour and appropriate arguments. Also, on many crucial issues they are more open to think and reconsider when they face challenging argument after two years, in comparison to when they enter the university.” The lamenting group was not satisfied. And they were not wrong. They have been teaching 21-25 years olds who started speaking their teachers’ language by the time two years were over. Therefore, students not only felt gratified, they saw the direct results of their teaching. In this new programme average age of students was above 30 years and most had work experience of ranging from 5 to 10 years. These more mature students were not as pliable as the younger ones, the faculty saw it as a sign of failure. While it was exactly the opposite. The faculty in this university saw the job of the teacher not to make students understand but to instil chosen beliefs in their minds. That the students start thinking like them.

From the point of view of critically understanding doctrines and principles; be they theological or scientific; we will be better off as a society if a Firoz Khan teaches Gita and a Ghanshyam Sharma teaches Quran. If both these fictitious teachers be knowledgeable, intelligent, honest and caring for students they will be able to keep their own faith to themselves and deal with the subject matter with the kind of rigour it demands. In addition, the two faiths living side-by-side for thousand years may get a chance of being understood by believers of each other. (Personally, in my view a declared atheist would be the best theology teacher for any religion.)

I suspect most of our universities see ‘teaching’ as instilling beliefs rather than forming belief on critical rational grounds. And that precisely what makes universities factories of indoctrinated copies of their teachers. JNU is no different from SVDVF of BHU in this, even if the colour of indoctrination is opposite to each other.


20 November 2019

Indoctrination and bigotry

November 19, 2019

Rohit Dhankar

Indoctrination often leads to bigotry, and most bigots are most often also indoctrinated. However, this relationship between two intellectually and morally incapacitating inflictions is not necessary. People often wrongly associate indoctrination and bigotry with the contents of beliefs, actually neither is really determined by the content. Both are more a matter of corruption of disposition, intellectual destitution and moral debasement of an individual. The content of belief system of the indoctrinated bigot is a result of this mutilation of the soul, and even very lofty beliefs can turn into crushing dead weight on the mind of a begot. In a bigoted mind freedom can become ugly nakedness, justice can become cause of inflicting injustice on others, equality can become ‘more equal than the other’.

In the simplest terms indoctrination is ‘teaching a doctrine uncritically or without adequate rational grounds’. Doctrine means a belief or a system of beliefs held by some individual or a group. In other words, indoctrination means ‘instilling beliefs in an individual’s mind without him/her understanding why s/he should hold those beliefs to be true’. Notice that the term ‘indoctrination’ refers to the process of ‘instilling or forming’ the beliefs rather than to the content of beliefs themselves. A young boy could be indoctrinated into believing that ‘the God created the world’, but he can also be indoctrinated that ‘the world evolved on its own and it has no creator’. Indoctrination is not about how rational or justifiable the belief happens to be, it is about ‘how much of the justification is known to the boy’, and even more importantly ‘how important it is thought by the boy to have a cogent justification in order to accept a belief’. Indoctrination rests on authority, and not on rational justification.

It is not necessary that an individual has to be actively indoctrinated by another individual (a Guru, teacher, leader) to become ‘indoctrinated’. Often people may get so infatuated by some personality and his/her ideas that even without any active attempt from the Guru/teacher they develop a disposition of accepting everything he says or recommends; justification and analysis become unnecessary and burdensome. The authority of the Guru/teacher acquires sufficiency. This kind of blind disposition of acceptance leads to self-indoctrination. It usually happens because of the crushing weight of intellectual responsibility of forming one’s own beliefs. It is much easier, relaxing and looks secure to adopt what a Guru, a leader or a charismatic professor says and preaches.

This process results into a disposition of considering the belief system of adopted ideology/religion as the ultimate truth. No further investigation or entertaining counter views is seen as needed. Actually, counter views and arguments become a kind of irritant first, and then produce anger. One becomes incapacitated of intellectual deliberations on one’s own beliefs, of seeing merit in others arguments and gets cocooned into a closed belief system. Thus, indoctrination means fossilised intellect running into well defined grooves; and rejection of rational questioning as well as all counter evidence.

It seems to me that our universities and political discourse are producing armies of such indoctrinated individuals. Not all students turn into indoctrinated ideological automatons, but a large number of visible mass of students and graduates of these universities seem to foot the bill for indoctrinated individuals. They may be left or right of the centre, but on the same mind-less side of thinking. Those who are not indoctrinated and still have their minds active and open, either do not speak much or are not heard. The loud and vocal ones are intellectually atrophied.

Indoctrination almost naturally leads to bigotry. A bigot is a ‘prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own’. Bigotry is this fanatical zeal of eradicating all other opinions or beliefs. Bigotry requires uncritical unshakable faith in ultimate truth or correctness of one’s belief system, as a first step. That precisely is the definition of indoctrinated mind. There is a dim possibility of an individual who holds his beliefs to be absolutely true but still is not interested in eradicating all other beliefs. But this is only a remote theoretical possibility, particularly if the belief system is to do with religion or political ideology.

An indoctrinated mind loses confidence in its own capacity to shift truth from the falsehood, thus clings to the authority of the book, guru, professor, ideological formation, or something external to one’s own rational process. Questioning of the external authority for which one does not have justification naturally produces anger and intolerance. Existence of other belief systems is seen as perpetual source of uncomfortable questions and challenges. A constant danger to ones irrationally adopted belief system (Islam/Hinduism in danger phenomena). Therefore, to safeguard one’s ideology (political or religious) the other ideologies have to be eradicated, by hook or by crook. For an atrophied mind rejecting doctrinally held ideology or modifying it is threatening as the mind sees its own incapability to deal with the new ideology. Thus, what is at stake here is one’s claim of being a ‘thinking being’, i.e. being human.

The indoctrinated bigot, therefore, wants to destroy the others in order to safeguard one’s own sanity. His belligerence is an expression of his fear, his confident assertion is an expression of his soul-gnawing lack of faith, his bravado is a pathetic plea coming from his cowardice. An indoctrinated bigot is a wretched creature desperate in search of authenticity. It is a human being whose potential failed to flower, whose potential is killed either by design by others or by circumstances. This being needs help and compassion; not anger and punishment.

Presently, our universities and public discourse are producing large numbers of such unfortunate beings; of all hues: red, green and saffron. The religions, particularly Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, are virtual factories of such individuals.

In our public life and universities, we need to take Socratic principle of “unexamined life is not worth living” more vigorously.


19th November 2019


अयोध्या फैसला: कुछ असंतुष्टि

November 18, 2019

रोहित धनकर

अयोध्या फैसले को ले कर कई प्रकार की भ्रांतियाँ फैलाई जा रही हैं। प्रमुख यह है की यह फैसला धार्मिक-विश्वास के आधार पर लिया गया है। सर्वोच्च न्यायालय के फैसलों को ले कर भ्रांतियाँ फैलाना—कई बार जान बूझ कर भी—कोई नई बात नहीं है। बहुत लोगों को याद होगा की अफजल गुरु को फांसी दिये जाने के फैसले पर अरुंधति रॉय ने एक लेख लिख कर प्रचारित किया था कि न्यायालय स्वीकार कर रहा है कि यह फैसला जन-भावनाओं पर मरहम लगाने के लिए दिया है। यह बात सरासर गलत थी और कोई भी व्यक्ति लगभग १०८ पृष्ट का वह फैसला पढ़ कर यह समझ सकता था। पर ऐसी भ्रांतियाँ फैलाने वाले जानते हैं कि पढ़ने का काम कोई नहीं करेगा। और अयोध्या फैसला तो १०४५ पृष्ठों का है, इसे तो और भी कम लोग पढ़ेंगे।

पर इन भ्रांतियों पर आने से पहले मैं फैसले के बारे में अपना मत स्पष्ट करना चाहता हूँ। बहुत विस्तार में जाये बिना मैं कहना चाहूँगा कि यह फैसला बहुत संतोष जनक नहीं है। मैं कोई कानूनी विशेषज्ञ नहीं हूँ, पर मेरी सामान्य समझ इस से संतुष्ट नहीं है। यह बहुत उलझा हुआ सदियों पुराना मसला है। इस में कई तरह के कानूनी नुक्ते और बहुत सारे वादी-प्रतिवादी थे। सर्वोच्च न्यायालय ने सब वादी प्रतिवादियों को कानून सम्मत तरीके से हटा कर आखिर में मुस्लिम-पक्ष (सुन्नी सेंट्रल वक्फ बोर्ड) और हिन्दू-पक्ष (भगवानश्री राम लल्ला विराजमान) रखे और फैसला मोटे तौर पर इन्हीं दो के बीच दिया। कुछ तथ्य निम्न प्रकार है:

  • विवादित जमीन दोनों में से किसी की भी नहीं है, बल्कि सरकारी है।
  • सरकार ने इस संपत्ति पर अधिकार के लिए दावा छोड़ दिया।
  • दोनों (मुस्लिम-पक्ष और हिन्दू-पक्ष) में से किसी के भी पास ऐसा कोई दस्तावेज़ नहीं है जो यह सिद्ध करे कि इस जमीन पर किसी तरह का कब्जा उन्हें किसी के द्वारा दिया गया सिद्ध करता हो।
  • पर इस जमीन पर मस्जिद थी और बाहरी चौक में (चाहर-दीवारी के अंदर) राम-चबूतरा, सीता की रसोई और भंडार की कोठारी थी।
  • भीतरी चौक की मस्जिद में नमाज अदा होती थी और उस पर वास्तविक कब्जा मुस्लिम-पक्ष का था।
  • बाहरी चौक में पूजा होती थी और उस पर वास्तविक कब्जा हिन्दू-पक्ष का था।

ऐसी परिस्थिति में यह मुकदमा ‘लंबे कब्जे के आधार पर जमीन पर मालिकाना हक़’ देने का था। तो न्यायालय को यह तय करना था कि किसका कब्जा कहाँ था, कितना पुख्ता था, कितने समय से था और वहाँ कौनसी धार्मिक गतिविधियां चालू थीं।

  • न्यायालय ने सब से पहले धार्मिक गतिविधियों और कुछ हद तक कब्जे का प्रमाण १७७० के आस पास एक जर्मन यात्री के विवरण को माना है। इस यात्री का नाम टेफेंथलर (Tieffenthaler) था और यह १७४३ से १७८५ तक भारत में था। इस ने लिखा है कि विवादित जमीन पर एक वेदी थी, जिसे हिन्दू राम का जन्म स्थान मानते थे। एक सीता-रसोई थी। इस जगह पर पूजा होती थी और रामनवमी का मेला लगता था।
  • फैजाबाद गजटियर के १९२८ के संस्कारण में लिखा है कि १८५५ में विवादित मस्जिद को ले कर हिन्दू-मुस्लिम दंगा हुआ। उसके बाद मस्जिद के सामने एक दीवार बना कर चहर दीवारी के क्षेत्र को दो हिस्सों में बाँट दिया गया। अंदरूनी हिस्से में मस्जिद थी, वहाँ हिंदुओं के प्रवेश पर रोक लगादी गई। हिन्दू बाहरी हिस्से में अपनी पूजा-अर्चना करने लगे, राम-चबूतरा बनाया। मुसलमान बाहरी हिस्से से हो कर ही मस्जिद में प्रवेश कर सकते थे। इस से ये अंदाजे लगाए जा सकते हैं:
    • १८५५ से पहले विवादित मस्जिद में हिन्दू-मुस्लिम दोनों अपनी-अपनी पूजा-नमाज़ करते थे।
    • १८५५ में दीवार मुसलमानों के मस्जिद में नमाज अदा करने और कब्जे की स्वीकृती है।
    • यही दीवार हिंदुओं के बाहरी चौक में पूना-अर्चना, उत्सवों और कब्जे की स्वीकृति है।
  • १८५६ में अवध पर अंग्रेजों का अधिकार हो गया। इस के बाद बहुत से प्रमाण अर्जियों, मुकदमों आदि के दस्तावेजों के रूप में उपलब्ध हैं जो भीतरी-चौक में मुसलमानों का कब्जा और बाहरी-चौक में हिंदुओं का कब्जा साबित करते हैं।
  • भीतरी-चौक में हिन्दू लगातार प्रवेश की कोशिशें करते रहते थे, जिन्हें सफल नहीं होने दिया गया।
  • इसी तरह बाहरी चौक की कुछ गति विधियों (जैसे चबूतरे पर मंदिर बनाना या मेलों पर भीड़ के प्रवेश के लिए एक और दरवाजा निकालना) पर मुसलमान ऐतराज करते रहते थे, जो कभी सफल रहे कभी अफल।
  • कमोबेश यह स्थिति १९४९ तक चलती रही जब सम्पूर्ण विवादित स्थल पर अदालत ने रिसीवर बैठा दिया।

इन तथ्यों से मेरी सामान्य समझ में यह आता है कि जितना और जैसा कब्जा हिंदुओं का बाहरी-चौक पर था, कम से कम उतना तो मुसलमानों का भीतरी-चौक पर भी था, शायद थोड़ा ज्यादा। क्यों की मुसलमानों को बाहरी चौक से गुजर कर भीतरी चौक में जाने का हक़ था, जबकी हिंदुओं को भीतरी-चौक में जाने का ऐसा कोई हक़ नहीं था।

तो मेरी असंतुष्टि का पहला कारण कारण तो यह है कि हिंदुओं के कब्जे को निर्बाध और एकांतिक (exclusive) माना, जब कि मुसलमानों के कब्जे को नहीं।

परिशर के दो हिस्से ना करने के न्यायालय ने दो कारण दिये हैं। एक कानूनी और दूसरा व्यावहारिक। कानूनी यह कि न्यायालय वही राहत दे सकता है जो दावे में मांगी गई है। वह अपनी तरफ से कोई अन्य उपयुक्त राहत नहीं दे सकता। और हिन्दू तथा मुस्लिम पक्ष में से किसी ने भी परिशर के बँटवारे की बात नहीं की। दोनों ही अपने अपने लिए पूर्ण परिशर चाहते हैं। अतः न्यायालय परिशर को बांटने की बात नहीं कर सकता था।

दूसरा व्यावहारिक कारण यह कि परिशर को बांटने से आपसी झगड़े की संभावना सदा के लिए बनी रहती। १८५६ के बाद एक तरह से बंटवारा ही तो था व्यावहारिक स्तर पर, हालांकि मालिकाना हक़ नहीं था।

यह फैसला उपरोक्त साक्ष्यों की नजर में कुछ असंतुष्टी छोड़ देता है। फिर न्यायालय ने यह फैसला क्यों किया होगा? सर्वोच्च न्यायालय के लिए “क्यों” पर जाना, अर्थात motive को इंगित करना खतरनाक है, यह अवमानना हो सकती है। कुछ लोग कहते हैं कि धार्मिक विश्वास, अर्थात हिंदुओं का यह मानना कि राम का जन्म स्थान यही है, इस में कारक रहा है। मुझे ऐसा नहीं लगता। बल्कि मुझे लगता है कि कारण कुछ-कुछ वैसा रहा है जो १८८५ के फैसले में अवध का आयुक्त (Commissioner) कहता है। महंत रघुबर दास ने १८८५ में राम चबूतरे पर मंदिर बनाने के लिए याचिका दी थी। यह याचिका पहले ट्राइल कोर्ट में खारिज हुई, फिर डिस्ट्रिक्ट कोर्ट में और आखिर में जुड़ीशियल कमिसनर अवध के कोर्ट में। डिस्ट्रिक्ट जज ने याचिका खारिज करने के साथ यह भी लिखा “it was “most unfortunate” that the Masjid should have been built on the land especially held sacred by the Hindus but since the construction had been made 358 years earlier, it was too late in the day to reverse the process”। अर्थात: यह बहुत दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण है कि मस्जिद हिंदुओं द्वारा विशेष रूप से पवित्र मानी जाने वाली जमीन पर बनाई गई, पर क्यों कि यह निर्माण ३५८ वर्ष पहले हो चुका है, इस लिए अब इसे हटाने में बहुत देर हो चुकी है”। जुड़ीशियल कमिसनर अवध ने भी कुछ ऐसा ही लिखा। उस ने कहा कि हिन्दू पवित्र मनी जाने वाली जगह पर मंदिर बनाना चाहते हैं। पर “this spot is situated within the precinct of the grounds surrounding a mosque erected some 350 years ago owing to the bigotry and tyranny of the Emperor Babur, who purposely chose this holy spot according to Hindu legend as the site of his mosque”. अर्थात: “यह स्थान ३५० वर्ष पहले बनाई गई मस्जिद के अहाते में आता है। हिन्दू विश्वासों के अनुसार यह मस्जिद बाबर ने जान बूझ कर अपनी धर्मांधता के कारण इस पवित्र जगह पर बनाई”।

बहुत संभव है की यह फैसला देते वक़्त न्यायाधीशों के मन में दबे-छुपे कहीं ऐसा कुछ गूज़ रहा हो, हालांकि यह पक्के तौर पर नहीं कहा जा सकता। कुछ भी हो फैसले में यह खामी तो लगती है।

अब सवाल यह उठता है कि क्या उपरोक्त विचार (यदि ऐसा था तो भी) इस फैसले को धार्मिक विश्वास के आधार पर साबित करता है? मुझे लगता है नहीं। पर इस पर विचार कल या परसों करेंगे। नीचे लिखी चार भ्रांतियों के साथ। फैसले के बारे में निम्न चार बातें जिम्मेदार लोगों ने कही हैं, इन पर आगे विचार करेंगे:

  • बाबरी मस्जिद बनाने के लिए कोई मंदिर नहीं तोड़ा गया था। ( फैसला ऐसा नहीं कहता।)
  • सर्वोच्च न्यायालय ने यह फैसला धार्मिक-विश्वास के आधार पर दिया। (सही नहीं है)
  • यह हास्यास्पद है कि ताकतवर मुगल साम्राज्य में मस्जिद में नमाज नहीं पढ़ी जा रही थी इस के लिए प्रमाण मांगा जाए। (न्यायालय के लिए प्रमाण मांगना जरूरी था, कुछ भी हास्यास्पद नहीं।)
  • मस्जिद बाबर ने बनवाई। (न्यायालय ने नहीं कहा।)


१८ नवम्बर २०१९