Referring to Harvard’s motto ‘Veritas’, Solzhenitsyn prefaced his hard-hitting Harvard lecture in 1978 with the Hindu-like aphorism, “Truth eludes us if we do not concentrate our attention totally on its pursuit”. And then he went on to take the American dream apart piece by piece.
A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. Of course, there are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life.
Political and intellectual bureaucrats show depression, passivity, and perplexity in their actions and in their statements, and even more so in theoretical reflections to explain how realistic, reasonable, as well as intellectually and even morally worn it is to base state policies on weakness and cowardice. And decline in courage is ironically emphasized by occasional explosions of anger and inflexibility on the part of the same bureaucrats when dealing with weak governments and with countries not supported by anyone, or with currents which cannot offer any resistance. But they get tongue-tied and paralyzed when they deal with powerful governments and threatening forces, with aggressors and international terrorists.
Should one point out that from ancient times declining courage has been considered the beginning of the end? (Solzhenitsyn at Harvard, June 1978)
Of course, there are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life.
Solzhenitsyn was taunting America, the western world and the United Nations for failing to summon the courage and the will to deal with communism and communist Soviet Union; we must remember that in 1978, in the western, white Christian, capitalist political lexicon, ‘international terrorists’ did not mean jihadis. The world may never know if he lived to rue the day he goaded the US to intervene in his country’s internal affairs, but on that fateful day at Harvard, Solzhenitsyn in 1978 like Gorbachev in 1991 was actually pleading with America and the rest of the western world to come to Russia’s aid.
And yet exactly three years ago, in June 1975, Solzhenitsyn had bemoaned the immoral and to him completely incomprehensible partnership and even collusion between the governments of the US and the Soviet Union –
But just as we feel ourselves your allies here, there also exists another alliance – at first glance a strange and surprising one, but if you think about it, one which is well-founded and easy to understand: this is the alliance between our communist leaders and your capitalists.
This alliance is not new. The very famous Armand Hammer, who flourishes here today, laid the basis for this when he made the first exploratory trip to Soviet Russia in Lenin’s time, in the very first years of the Revolution. He was extremely successful in his reconnaissance mission and ever since then, for all these fifty years, we see continuous and steady support by the business men of the West for the Soviet Communist leaders. The clumsy and awkward Soviet economy, which could never cope with its difficulties on its own, is continually getting material and technological assistance. The major construction projects in the initial five year plan were built exclusively with American technology and materials. Even Stalin recognized that two-thirds of what was needed was obtained from the West. And if today the Soviet Union has powerful military and police forces – in a country which is poor by contemporary standards – forces which are used to crush our movement for freedom in the Soviet Union – we have Western capital to thank for this as well….
And if today persons are being hunted down by the best and most advanced technology, for this I can also thank your Western capitalists.
This is something which is almost incomprehensible to the human mind: a burning greed for profit that goes beyond all reason, all self-control, all conscience, only to get money. (Solzhenitsyn, June 30, 1975, Talk addressed to trade-union leaders of the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C, published in Warning to the West, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, pp 11,12,13)
One must wonder at Solzhenitsyn’s surprise and anger and even bewilderment at what he terms “burning greed for profit”. Solzhenitsyn chose to see the evil of the Soviet regime as being rooted in communism and the debasement of what he thought was western culture as being rooted in western capitalism that was untamed by “reason, self-control and conscience”. Solzhenitsyn was angry with America and other western nations for colluding with successive Soviet regimes for reasons of trade, commerce and profit, while ignoring the repression, total loss of freedom, and the brutality of all state apparatus in dealing with ordinary people.
In short, and the West harshly only because of what he thought was their indifference to the brutality of communist regimes in the Soviet Union and Eastern European Soviet Bloc and their indifference to the silent pain of Russian people. And yet, even if Solzhenitsyn was ignorant about the broad details of world history, he ought to have known the history of his religion; considering he defined his nationalism as being Russian and Christian.
Solzhenitsyn’s ignorance or refusal to make the connection between trade and the expansionist Church, between the Church and colonialism, and his ignorance or refusal to acknowledge the methods used by the Church and her missionaries to fulfill Jesus’ expansionist political mandate only betrays the fact that his intellectual output and the information he had gathered over the years but failed to decode, were both trapped within the faith in his religion. Solzhenitsyn, ignoring the depredations wreaked by the Church and European colonialism around the world, spoke and wrote about the evils of communism in America and Europe as if it were an aberration of Christian values.
Asian and African nations and peoples, victims of the Church and colonialism, lay the very same sins at the doors of western white Christian colonial nations that Solzhenitsyn laid at the door of communism – brutal repression of basic freedoms, plundering of natural resources, punishment and execution without trial, crushing the farmers, reducing entire regions to artificially created famine and starvation, every crime against humanity which Solzhenitsyn accused communists of perpetrating against his people, was perpetrated for centuries by colonial countries, including America. But it is to this America and to these western nations that Solzhenitsyn was calling out to intervene to check the Soviet Union.
Solzhenitsyn, by inviting America, the UN and other western countries to deal with the growing global influence of communist Soviet Union, may actually have planted the idea of colored revolutions and the concept of “humanitarian intervention” which would soon expand into the monstrous invade and occupy policy by the US and its allies in the western world with UN complicity. Only this time Christian colonialism would metamorphose into liberal Christian democracy and the naked greed of capitalist trade would become globalization.
Hindu intellectuals failed the Hindu nation
Substitute ‘West’ and ‘Western world’ with Hindu and replace ‘bureaucrats’ with Hindu organizations and what Solzhenitsyn said about big brave America in his Harvard address is just as true about Hindu intellectuals. The Hindu “intellectual elite” and Hindu “ruling groups” (this includes Hindus in political parties and in successive governments after 1947), have not only exhibited “depression, passivity and perplexity” in their speech and actions vis a vis Islam and Christianity, the policies and principles governing their actions have been based on their own weakness and cowardice not to speak of a total lack of vision about this nation and understanding of the basis of nationhood.
In short, Nehruvian secularism provided Hindus with the all-covering fig-leaf behind which to hide their cowardice and corrosive self-interest. Worse, the Hindu intellectual elite and ruling groups are guilty of entering into a Faustian deal with every anti-Hindu force inside the country and outside. At the heart of Hindu political disempowerment are the general and pervasive fall in character of the Hindu community, and the systemic political disempowerment of Hindus in post-independence Nehruvian secular India. The decline in courage and visible unwillingness to frontally confront Islam, Christianity and Nehruvian polity is visible and the results are there for our adversaries to see and gloat.
Weakness and cowardice compounded by wishful thinking about Islam and Christianity (we can make them see reason through inter-faith dialogue) and about our own invincibility (Hinduism is indestructible) best describe Hindu physical and intellectual response to Abrahamic violence and threat to the territory of Hindu bhumi. The declining courage that is so palpable among Hindu thinkers, Hindu organizations and Hindu political leaders across political parties signals the beginning of the end of Hindu influence on the nation’s polity; this trend began in the last phase of the freedom struggle, after the creation of the Indian National Congress and was accelerated during the Gandhi years culminating in the vivisection of the Hindu bhumi in 1947 followed by anti-Hindu Nehruvian secularism.
The Hindu nation, 67 years after vivisection, is still threatened with loss of territory and consequently with loss of its Hindu identity. Loss of Hindu territory to Islam and Christianity is leading to loss of Hindu political power and Hindu influence in polity because except for Savarkar we have failed to produce even one Hindu political ideologue/theorist in the last 200 years who had a political understanding of the Hindu nation and saw the danger posed by Abrahamic faiths and their derivative philosophies to our nationhood.
Hindu political commentators and even effective administrators, for reasons Hindus have never cared to analyze, have not been political thinkers and theorists; Hindu thinkers have never been Hindu political thinkers or theorists, and Hindu nationalists more often than not have proved that they lack political sense and have so far not even considered leave alone demonstrated the strategic intent of Hindu nationalism. This disjunct was best exemplified by Aurobindo, Tilak, Hedgewar, Gandhi, Patel, Golwalkar and now Narendra Modi. Skilful Hindu ministers and parliamentarians in post-independent India who could have served the Hindu nation well however chose to enter into a Faustian deal with anti-Hindu Nehruvian secularism better known as politics of minority-ism.
The suicidal either/or disconnect between being thinker and political thinker, between politician and ideologue, between activist and theorist, between governance and ideology, social work and politics, and between religion and nation, which is so peculiar to post-Macaulay Hindu community, has resulted in loss of Hindu territory and Hindu political disempowerment today. Worst of all, an average English-educated self-absorbed Hindu like Aesop’s fox, will hide his lack of political sense in a show of bogus fastidious distaste for “politics”.
Despite the humiliating loss of territory to an alien religion and because of this infamous Hindu disconnect between ordinary intelligence and political intelligence, Hindus have also failed till the present day to define in no uncertain language and idiom, the character of this nation and the basis of nationhood.
Faustian INC and Faustian Congress politician
Until the book Eclipse of the Hindu Nation: Gandhi and his Freedom Struggle (NAPL, 2009), there has been no attempt to seriously critique from the Hindu nationalist perspective the INC, Gandhi, the so-called freedom movement and the events leading up to 1947 in order to understand what is happening to Hindus and the Hindu nation today. The book NGOs, Activists and Foreign Funds: Anti-Nation Industry (Vigil Public Opinion Forum, 2006) for the first time coined the word ‘de-Hinduise’ and de-nationalise’ to define the loss of Hinduness in the character of individuals, in polity, in administration and in national culture. The word may have been coined then but the move to de-Hinduise the people’s consciousness and the Hindu proclivity to enter into Faustian deals began with the creation of the INC in 1885.
The Hindu Faustian deal was first struck by Hindus with the colonial government soon after the inception of the INC. Allan Octavian Hume with great foresight invited affluent and influential Hindus and Parsees into his parlor and successfully sold them the lemon of an idea called the Indian National Congress. Hume and Wedderburn launched the INC with wholly colonial intent and traipsing merrily behind the duo to launch it were Dadabhai Naoroji, Dinshaw Mehta, Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee, Surendranath Banerjee, Manmohan Ghose and Mahadev Govind Ranade.
The INC was created to bring in all politically ambitious Hindus with English education under one roof (the better to see you my dear); the Parsees were roped in to dilute the Hindu identity of the INC covertly and without aggression. The British were treading lightly and cautiously in 1885 but they were treading in the direction of their choice and leading the Hindus by their noses in the same direction. The heavy boots would come out of the closet in 1909.
Having created the INC as counter-measure to neutralize the angry nationalism triggered by the war of 1857, Imperial London and the British Indian government however could not stop the entry into the INC of Tamil, Bengali, Punjabi and Marathi Hindu nationalists who were determined to use it as a vehicle to harness the people militantly to end colonial rule. Tilak, Aurobindo, Lajpat Rai, VO Chidambaram Pillai and Subramania Bharati among others began to give the INC a Hindu face and gave their freedom movement a Hindu idiom.
The tussle between being a party with a Hindu face and being a de-Hinduised secular party in spite of a preponderance of Hindus within the INC came out into the open with the Partition of Bengal. The INC split in December 1907 at the Surat Congress into the Nationalists and the Moderates not merely because of sharp differences about the methods to be employed in dealing with the colonial government, between politics of mendicancy as Aurobindo put it and demand for complete political freedom, but at a more fundamental level because of differences over the self-identity of the INC itself and its objectives as a political party.
One year before the INC would split in Surat, issues of self-identity and the raison d’etre of the INC simmered to the surface over the question of who should be elected President of the Congress; and Aurobindo put his finger unerringly on the bone of contention – the Hindu identity.
The Hindu identity
The ‘Indian Mirror’, which is now the chief ally of the Government among the Congress organs in Bengal, has chosen, naturally enough, to fall foul of Mr. Tilak. Our contemporary it appears has heard that some people propose to put forward Mr. Tilak’s name as President of the next Congress, and it hastens to point out how extremely distasteful the idea is to all thoughtful and enlightened men, that is to say, to all whose views agree with the Mirrior’s. Mr. Tilak, we learn, has seriously offended our contemporary by giving honour to Mr. Bhopatkar on his release from jail; his speeches on the occasion of the Shivaji festival were displeasing to the thoughtful and enlightened men who congregate in the office of the ‘Indian Mirror’; and to sum up the whole matter, he is a man of extreme views and without “tact”. Ergo, he is no fit man for the presidential chair of the Congress.
It is interesting to learn from this unimpeachable authority, what are the qualifications which the moderate and loyalist mind demands in a President of the “National” Congress….
- It is not the one man whom the whole Hindu community in western India delights to honour, from Peshawar to Kolhapur and from Bombay to our own borders;
- It is one who will not talk about Shivaji and Bhavani – only about Mahatmas.
With the exception of the fast-dwindling minority of Anglophiles, the whole of India has learned to honour the name of the great Maratha leader and patriot. His social and religious views may not agree with those of the “enlightened”, but we have yet to learn that the Congress platform is sacred to advanced social reformers, that the profession of the Hindu religion is a bar to leadership in its ranks. (Aurobindo, BandeMataram, August, 1906)
Just as contentious as the Hindu identity of the INC was the purpose and objective of the Congress party as a political vehicle; and Aurobindo was ruthless in his expose of the Faustian Hindus in the INC.
The individual Faust
We published yesterday the letter of BabuAnanda Chandra Roy of Dacca in which he invites East Bengal to welcome Mr. Hare and establish with the Shillong Government the ordinary relations of kow-towing and petitioning…What BabuAnanda Chandra proposes under the cover of lawyer-like arguments and illegal sophistry is no less than to betray his country.
The whole of Bengal has registered a solemn vow that let Viceroys do what they will and Secretaries of State say what they will, the united Bengali nation refuses and will for ever refuse to acknowledge the Partition. Taxes we may pay, laws we may obey, but beyond that we have no farther relations with the government of Shillong.
And why are we to commit this inglorious act of political suicide? In the first place, because Mr. Hare is such a nice gentleman and therefore the “grounds and causes” we had for avoiding that bad bold man Sir Bampfylde no longer exist.
The Partition exists in full force and the “grounds and causes” exist therefore unabated and unimpaired. The “leadership” which regulates grave political issues according to the personal character and amiability of the ruler for the time being, is a leadership for which India has no longer any use.
Other of AnandaBabu’s reasons for submission are that it will enable himself and his friends to enter the Legislative Council of the new province, to act as Honorary Magistrates and visitors of Lunatic Asylums and to get the circulars for the preference of Mahomedans in appointment modified or abrogated. The fossils of the old days of selfish submission are incorrigible. We should have thought otherwise – that to advance such contemptible reasons for acquiescing in the mutilation of one’s country would have been regarded as an act of inconceivable shamelessness. (Aurobindo, BandeMatarm, August 25, 1906)
The Faustian Indian National Congress
The telegram from our correspondent in Mymensingh, which we publish in another column, is extremely significant. It is now an open secret throughout the country that the Swadeshi movement has developed two distinct parties in the country. One of these desires to use Boycott as a political weapon merely in order to force on the annulment of the Partition (of Bengal) and there finish; its quarrel with the bureaucracy is a passing quarrel and it is ready to be again hand in glove with the government as soon its turn is served; it still desires to sit on the Legislative Councils, figure on the Municipalities, and carry on politics by meetings and petitions.
The other party will be satisfied with nothing less than absolute control over our own affairs and is not willing to help the government to put off the inevitable day when that demand must be conceded; it is therefore opposed to any co-operation with the government, or to the adoption of a suppliant attitude in our relations to the government; it desires Boycott as a necessary part of our economic self-development and by no means to be relinquished even if the Partition be rescinded. Here are definite issues which have to be fought out until some definite settlement is reached. (Aurobindo, BandeMataram, September 1906)
For all that he saw quite clearly the process of de-Hinduising the INC, Aurobindo, because he abdicated his political responsibility to the Hindu nation in 1909, never evolved from being a forthright Hindu political commentator to becoming a Hindu political theorist. Aurobindo and Tilak knew this was a nation of Hindus but there is a conceptual difference between being a nation of Hindus and a Hindu nation; tragically this difference was not articulated by Aurobindo and Tilak in their political writings. Had this distinction been understood, they would have known that nothing short of Hindu state power can protect Hindus and the Hindu nation and Hedgewar and Patel would have realized therefore that nothing short of a violent Hindu uprising could have stopped the Muslims and the Muslim League in their tracks.
The definite issues – Hindu identity of the INC and complete political freedom entailing end of alien rule and the British leaving India versus an intentionally de-Hinduised INC with Empire loyalists who did not desire political freedom but only participation in government – were never fought out between the two factions of the INC “until some definite settlement” was reached, as was hoped by Aurobindo. London and the British government in India knew the potentially dangerous implications of the growing Hindu identity of the INC and knew that the split in the INC in 1907 into Nationalists and Moderates did not bode well for their long-term plans in India.
Between December 1907 when the INC split in Surat and 1909, the British government trampled upon Hindu nationalists and Hindu nationalism. London did not machinate to get one of its own civil servants to create the INC to stand by and watch Hindu nationalists hijack their machine to use it as a vehicle for political freedom. Tilak, Aurobindo and Savarkar were imprisoned or deported out of the country and the British government left the field free for the Empire-loyalist faction led by DadabhaiNaoroji, Gokhale and later Gandhi to emerge as the sole voice of the people of India and more importantly, the only body with which the British government was prepared to do business.
Tragically for the Hindu nation, besides known empire loyalists like Naoroji, Gokhale and Gandhi, countless important Hindus, towering intellectuals all of them, failed the Hindu nation at her most critical moment on one or more grounds –
- They failed to articulate in their speech and writing that this was a Hindu nation
- They saw British rule as an insult to this civilization but failed to articulate the danger posed by Muslims to the Hindu nation
- They allowed the British government to use brutal force in dealing with Tilak, Aurobindo and Savarkar, without protest; they failed to defend these great Hindus not only in court but even in their speech and writing
- Not one of them spoke publicly against Gandhi for tying the mill-stone of Hindu-Muslim unity around the Hindu neck
- Not one of them tried to dislodge Gandhi from the INC and from the political arena
- Not one of them attempted to mobilize the Hindus in a forceful show of strength to check the Muslim League and its demand for vivisection of the Hindu bhumi
- Not one of them had the courage to speak out against Gandhi as he led the INC and later the so-called freedom movement towards vivisection and ultimately to Hindu political disempowerment
- Not one of them stopped Gandhi from anointing Nehru as his political heir and not one of them spoke publicly against it
Should one point out that from ancient times declining courage has been considered the beginning of the end?
- Not just with communist regimes, the US government for all its pious and self-righteous pronouncements on democracy has supported non-democratic, even despotic and brutal regimes for trade, commerce and profit; Jihadi governments of Pakistan and the Taliban being the latest examples of American immorality and duplicity.
- L B Bhopatkar, President Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha and later Savarkar’s lawyer during the trial
- Tilak spoke about VandeMataram and how had Shivaji been alive it would have been his war cry too
- Lancelot Hare, Lieutenant Governor, East Bengal and Assam, 1906-1911
- Sir Joseph Bampfylde Fuller, first Lieutenant Governor of East Bengal and Assam after Partition of Bengal in 1905, notorious for having instigated the Muslims of East Bengal against the Swadeshi movement and against Bengali nationalists opposing Partition.
- But this is exactly how Gandhi led the Natal Indian Congress in South Africa and later the INC in India. Every grave political issue was regulated on the basis of Gandhi’s personal opinion of high government officials in London and in India, his personal likes and dislikes, his whims and fetishess. This has been detailed in page after page in the writer’s book Eclipse of the Hindu Nation: Gandhi and his Freedom Struggle)
- This section of Empire loyalists, led by DadabhaiNaoroji, Surendranath Banerjee and GopalkrishnaGokhale, after the split in the INC in 1907, would call itself ‘Moderates’. They wanted greater participation in governance and not complete political freedom. Gandhi would inherit the mantle of leadership from Gokhale and following faithfully in the footsteps of his leader he would lead the INC to vivisection in 1947
Radha Rajan is a Chennai-based political analyst. She is also author and animal activist.