Skip to main content

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.

TRENDING

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says:

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

As fear 'grips' right liberals, Arvind Panagariya, too, would be declared anti-national?

By Rajiv Shah
It is surely well-known by now that India's top people in the power-that-be have been castigating all those who disagree with them as "anti-nationals". Nothing unusual. If till yesterday only "secular liberals", and "left-liberals" were declared anti-national, facts, however, appear to have begun surfacing that, now, guns are being trained against those who could be qualified as right liberals, too. Let me be specific.

Indian Muslims' position being 'undermined' by new nationalism gripping the country

By Moin Qazi*
Muslims are the second-largest demographic of India, with nearly 14 per cent of the country’s population, or roughly 172 million people, but they are so marginalised that their presence in important public spheres is almost invisible. Most of them are poor, semi-literate and driven into ghettos.

Australia's centre-right govt 'wakes up' to Islamophobia, swears by multicultural legacy

By Neeraj Nanda*
In an interesting turn, the federal government in Australia, which is led by the centre-right Liberal Party, has slammed incidents of Islamophobia gripping the country, calling them ‘completely unacceptable’. A media statement from David Coleman, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, has referred to a report released by the Charles Sturt University to point towards the danger.

National award winning film 'Hellaro' co-produced by three chartered accountants

By Our Representative
“Hellaro”, a Gujarati feature film produced by Saarthi Productions in association with Harfanmaula Films (Ahmedabad) was declared as the Best Feature Film at the National Film Awards which was conferred by the Government of India. The film also won the Special Jury Award for the Best Actress to all the 13 actresses of the film.
Ashish Patel produced the movie, which has been co-produced three co-producers, Aayush Patel, Prateek Gupta and Mit Jani, all of whom, interestingly, started their filmmaking journey after becoming Chartered Accountants in 2012.
“Hellaro” is directed by Abhishek Shah, who has been working in Gujarati theatre since the past 17 years as writer, director and actor and has received numerous awards for his plays. He has also worked as a casting director for 12 films.
“Hellaro” is a period drama based in Kutch and has been co-written by Abhishek Shah and Prateek Gupta. Gupta previously received the Best Debut Director Award, along with Mit Jan…

Sabarimala: Male devotee nurturing unholy thoughts is 'unfit' to visit Lord Ayyappa shrine

By RB Sreekumar, IPS (Retd)*
The Supreme Court last week, by 3:2 majority, decided to keep the review petitions in Sabarimala matter pending until a larger bench determines questions related to essential religious practices. The majority of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra expressed that the issue whether Court can interfere in essential practises of religion needed examination by larger bench. Justices Chandrachud and Nariman dissented.