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Indian nation should forget supremacy of Vedas, Puranas: Savarkar quoted by Dabholkar, victim of "Hindu terror"

VD Savarkar
By Rajiv Shah
What Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the BJP's Hindutva icon, said about religious books should completely shake those who think that scriptures are a gospel truth and shouldn't be criticized, and there is nothing beyond them. Quoted by Narendra Dabholkar, a Pune-based rationalist who was shot dead allegedly by a Hindu fanatic on August 20, 2013, Savarkar had said, “The Vedas, the Avesta, the Bible and the Koran are but man-made tomes and should be studied accordingly...”
Quoted in yet-to-be-released English translation of his original book in Marathi, “The Case for Reason: Understanding the Anti-superstition Movement”, according to Savarkar, “The man who does not want to become just a telephone of religion and wants to possess a mind and intellect of his own, should overcome his belief in the 'word'” and should “nurture the opinion” opinion that these “respectable 'Books'” should not be judged on the basis of whether these are “useful” today or not.”
Asking in “the Indian nation” to “close the ‘book’ of the ancient era, forget the supremacy of shruti, smriti and the Puranas, keep them safely away in libraries and enter the age of science”, Savarkar insisted, “Those old tomes are relevant only for telling us what happened in the past. But the science that is objective and experimental alone qualifies as the basis for deciding what is appropriate for today.”
Savarkar continued, “Modernity contains the essence of all that was useful in past experiences; but the shruti-smriti-puranokta cannot have even a speck of modern knowledge. Therefore, we ought to be modern and up-to-date. Whether a thing is good or bad, and whether reform is beneficial or not should be answered, hereafter, only on the basis of one test, that is, whether it is useful or useless today. One should never ask the question whether something is sanctioned by the scriptures.”
Underling the need to take the lesson from what happened in Europe four centuries ago, when the continent “was similarly enslaved by the unalterable supremacy of religion”, Savarkar asserted, “But since the time Europe distanced itself from the Bible and adhered to science, it was freed from the shackles of ‘shruti-smriti-puranokta’ (codes of behaviour, morality, worship stipulated in religious tomes of supernatural origin) and became modern and up-to-date; Europe is now four thousand years ahead of us. It has conquered three continents!” 
The powerful Savarkar view has come to the limelight at a time when Punjab's Congress chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh has proposed a bill, cleared by his Cabinet, which decided, to quote Singh, “on amendments to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to make sacrilege of all religious texts punishable with life imprisonment”, calling it an example of his commitment “to preserve communal harmony in the state.”
Cabinet meeting under Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh 
Considering Savarkar a Hindu reformer alongside “Mahatma Phule, Shahu Maharaj, Lokahitavadi Agarkar, Dr Ambedkar, Prabodhankar Thakre and Gadge Baba”, all of them from Maharashtra, Dabholkar in his book sought to answer to a question a question being asked about the rationalist organization he headed, “Does Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (ANS) oppose only the Hindu religion?”. He said, an answer to this question is important because there is a deliberate effort at “discouraging ANS activists and spawning prejudice in the minds of people.”
Believed Dabholkar, what is important to understand is that Savarkar, along with these “Hindu reformers”, came to the fore in the course of the “evolution of Hindu religion”, and “dared to criticise superstitions mercilessly.” Thus, according to Dabholkar, “These great men, in fact, cautioned all humanity, not just one religion, to be humane and vigilant, but their teaching inadvertently largely addressed only the Hindus.”
Pointing towards why he quoted from Savarkar, Dabholkar said, this is because of “the ruthless examination of religious books undertaken by Savarkar”, who happened to be “the hero of the independence movement, and more importantly from our viewpoint, eulogised by his followers as the ‘ruler of Hindu hearts’,” adding, his was one of the “pitiless scrutiny of religious books”, illustrating “the long tradition of Hindu social reformers who endeavoured to eradicate superstitions.”

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
When the books finally comes out it will probably be banned, burned, and some property damaged. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

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