News Analysis |
Questioning Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) failure to keep up the promises they made, Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati of Dwarka Peeth said they increased communal tensions in the country. Shankaracharya said the “role” played by the BJP and the RSS have caused the biggest damage to Hinduism in recent years.
Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati (born 2 September 1924) is an Indian religious leader and freedom fighter. Shankaracharya is one of the leaders of the Hindu community. He was jailed for participating in Quit India Movement and served two prison sentences in 1942. In 1973, he became the Shankaracharya (disputed) of Jyotir Math, Badrinath; in 1982 a court case was filed by him in Allahabad District court, in which he labeled himself the Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math. He became the Shankaracharya of Dwarka peeth as well.
Shankaracharya condemning the hypocrisy of BJP in connection with cow slaughter said its party leaders themselves export beef. He said that BJP party did not keep any promises such as employment to youth, 15 lakh in the accounts of poor, removal of Article 370 in Kashmir as well as Ram temple in Ayodhya. BJP’s leaders including PM Modi have failed to answer these questions, he added.
Laldas spoke out against the VHP, pointing out that they had never even prayed at the site but were using it for political and financial gain. After the rise of the BJP government, Laldas was first removed and then murdered with the perpetrators still at large.
Shankaracharya said in his statement, both BJP, as well as RSS, caused the biggest damage to Hinduism in the recent years. He also claimed that RSS chief does not know anything about Hinduism. “Bhagwat says that Hindu marriage is a contract, whereas Hindu marriages are solemnized for life. Bhagwat says anyone who is born in India is Hindu, and then what would someone who was born in England or America from Hindu parents be,” he asked.
He also spoken about Asaram, saying there is no place of such godman in Hinduism. “Not only Asaram but his son Narain Swami should also be given the strictest punishment. There is no place for such self-styled godmen in Hinduism,” he said. Shankaracharya also commented on high taxes on the common man and said the government should first control its own expenses and cut down their own salaries before adding taxes on the public.
On the Ayodhya temple dispute, the Shankaracharya said that political parties did not have the right to build a Ram temple in Ayodhya. “Only Shankaracharyas and Dharmacharyas have the right to construct a temple in Ayodhya,” he added. The government too cannot construct a temple as India is “a secular (dharm nirpeksh) country”, he said.
The Shankarachrya while a severe critic of RSS and Godmen style Hinduism is himself not free of controversy. On 30 June 2014, Swami Swaroopanand said that Article 370 should be removed from Jammu and Kashmir. He said that the abrogation of the Article will be beneficial for the people in the valley and that a demographic balance is necessary to end recurring strife in J&K. “Tension does not erupt in places where there is a demographic balance of communities. Take Punjab for instance.
“Bhagwat says that Hindu marriage is a contract, whereas Hindu marriages are solemnized for life. Bhagwat says anyone who is born in India is Hindu, and then what would someone who was born in England or America from Hindu parents be,” he asked.
Hindus and Sikhs are in equal number there. They need each other and so there is no room for a clash between them. The growing morale of anti-national elements in Kashmir is a result of the country’s weak laws. The Union government should revoke article 370 in Kashmir which will permit the influx of people from outside the state into the state’s population and end its strife-torn atmosphere. The return of Kashmiri Pandits to their home state alone can counter the growing morale of anti-national elements in the state.”
Swami Swaroopanand in May 2015 welcomed the decision of the Maharashtra government to extend ban on cow slaughter to bulls and bullocks in the state and opined that it would increase the production of milk which will, in turn, help feed children in the country. He stated that more than 12 crore cows were being slaughtered in the entire country every year which needed to be stopped. “This Act should be implemented throughout the country.
India is a Hindu majority country still we produce a huge quantity of beef. India is the biggest exporter of beef which is shameful for us. The government should ban export of beef and we must protect cows by all means. Some political leaders opposed the law banning cow slaughter just to appease Muslims and other minority groups. Providing beef in the name of cheap source of protein to minority and depriving the majority from milk is against both the democratic and Indian values. Milk is a rich source of protein, and to ensure availability of milk it is essential to put a blanket ban on cow slaughter across the country.”
In the context of the 2015 Dadri mob lynching alleging cow slaughter and consumption of beef, Swami Swaroopanand in March 2016 said, “Let any Hindu eat pork, host pork party and then give a public press conference on it and if ‘they’ bear with it, then it is real tolerance.” In the context of the 2016 JNU sedition controversy, he said, “College students these days are disjoint from spirituality. This lack of spiritual & cultural knowledge leads them into becoming anti-national.”
Hindus and Sikhs are in equal number there. They need each other and so there is no room for a clash between them. The growing morale of anti-national elements in Kashmir is a result of the country’s weak laws.
Swami Swaroopanand in March 2016 said, “There is an increasing feeling of ‘detachment from faith’ among the Hindu youths as compared to those of other religions. There is a need to include Hindu scriptures in the curriculum of schools and colleges to prevent the long-term mental degeneration of Hindus due to influence from anti-Hindu propaganda that has its clutches deep into almost every socio-cultural sphere of India.
While ‘they’ have their religious schools to spread fundamentalism, terrorism and hate preaching, we don’t have a medium to reach out the Hindu youth about the richness and greatness of our scriptures and cultural values. It’s the central government’s responsibility to ensure the traditions of this nation are preserved.” While Hindu criticism of Hindutva has rather been limited to secularists, yet there have been prominent religious Hindus leaders who attacked Hindutva for distorting Hinduism.
Pujari Laldas, the court-appointed head priest of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi/Babri Mosque site was an outspoken critic of Hindutva despite being a Hindu priest and had received death threats. Laldas spoke out against the VHP, pointing out that they had never even prayed at the site but were using it for political and financial gain. After the rise of the BJP government, Laldas was first removed and then murdered with the perpetrators still at large.