This is in reference to your review of my book Jinnah?A Corrective Reading of Indian History by Prof Devendra Swarup under the title ?Gandhi Bashing with Congress patronage? (Organiser, 26-6-2005). The review, it seems to me, is a possible attempt to fabricate another controversy purely for gaining political mileage.
If Prof Swarup interprets my book as a ?flawed reading of history?, it is obviously a conclusion he reaches from his ideological position; and if he reads its conclusion as ?Gandhi villain, Jinnah hero!? I can see it only as the same journalistic hype calculated for the same purpose.
The very opening sentence of the column ?Gandhi, not Jinnah, was responsible for the Partition of India? attributed to Hon?ble Mani Shankar Aiyar, Union Petroleum Minister, is a very sad travesty of truth. What Mr Aiyar said was that he subscribes to a ?revisionist reading? of history not a ?corrective reading?.
Gandhiji, the whole world accepts, was both a saint and politician. I do affirm the former Gandhi. Gandhian non-violence and truth are the dogma of my faith. I only insist that this truth has to transcend ?Ramrajya? and ?Rahimrajya?, has to reach out to a ?Pax Indica of the Spirit?, which is what is encapsulated in the book'sdedication: ?Building up an India of our dreams? in a non-violent and nuclear weapon-free New World Order.?
The broad ?Nehruvian consensus? the country built up and maintained for nearly half a century, including our principled position of ?Geopolitical Idealism? of not testing and declaring our nuclear capability until Pokhran II, rested on that Gandhian foundation, whose subsoil is verily our Vedico-Vedantic-Buddhistic-syncretic collective inheritance.
My critique certainly is not of this Gandhi the saint but Gandhi the politician. I very clearly show in my book that in 1920, at the start of the Gandhian era, there clearly was a liberal, secular, humanistic neo-Hindu path for the Congress to opt and gain the freedom of the country possibly much earlier and without communalising our political landscape, which, I believe, has vitiated our national and subcontinental political co-existence ever since, suppressing the vast possibilities of our collective Indic future.
My critique certainly is not of this Gandhi the saint but Gandhi the politician. I very clearly show in my book that in 1920, at the start of the Gandhian era, there clearly was a liberal, secular, humanistic neo-Hindu path for the Congress to opt and gain the freedom of the country possibly much earlier and without communalising our political landscape
I have particularly criticised Hind Swaraj for its rejection of civilization particularly the Western civilization, on which I hold Gandhiji'sunderstanding was both prejudicial and erroneous. Yes, the book was released in New Delhi by Hon?ble Defence Minister of India, which he did, as he said, because [sic] ?India is a country in which freedom of expression rules?, and because he noted: ?The book has expounded a new theory with reference to the Indian freedom struggle? which apparently he welcomes and finds useful for his party and possibly to the country.
It is futile for me to go into counter arguments but I must touch upon the words, ?Dr Asiananda'sChristian background compels him to condemn Gandhi'scritique of Christian missionaries and his opposition to conversions and the defamation of Hindu gods? because it is not only an enflaming religious untruth but also a violent assault on my personality and integrity. The name I have assumed after certain mystical experiences in late 1980s is ?Asiananda?, but I am an ?Indian? and a planetary citizen; I still hold my Indian passport and citizenship after living over three decades abroad; as an Indian my religious background is Hindu, Christian, Muslim and much more. I am proud to have been born a Keralite St Thomas Syrian Christian, our traditions relate us back towards our Brahmanic, Vedic, Indo-Aryan origins; from here I experience the fundamental unity of the Indian subcontinent that reconciles all pluralities and diversities, whose external manifestation is the Indian state and its constitution, which for me is holy and sanctified, which sanctifies my person and integrity. I wish Prof Swarup had an insight of it and honour it.
The quote Prof Swarup gives from p. 137 of the book is a footnote which reads miserable unconnected from its main text, even of this footnote the reviewer deliberately omitted the concluding sentence effecting a total falsification of the context, including a change of name. It is sad that a teacher and scholar of Prof Swarup'sstanding, whom I deeply respect, could not choose anything other than a footnote in 462-page (A4-size) book!
To the reviewer'sprotestation that Indian Currents placed the book in league with Communist Manifest etc, I can only say that he did not want to pick up of the book anything more than what suited his ideological purpose and political agenda; he does not want to reveal that the book contains five major parts with section titles ?Theory of Civilizational Confluence?, ?The Vedico-quantum New Conception of History?, ?Laying Foundations of the Post-materialist Planetary Order?, etc. And this book is only the Volume I of the 2-volume ?Corrective Reading of Indian History?.
I used the term ?Jinnah? more as a metaphor of the partitioned state of the subcontinent; regaining its essential and fundamental unity as existed before Partition is the only way for laying foundations of a ?South Asian Peace Order? broadening to an ?Asian Peace Order? pointing to an ultimate millennial ?Global Peace Order? upheld in the dedication of the book: ?building up the India of our dreams… in a non-violent and nuclear weapon-free New World Order?. This is what I call in the book the ?Age of the Pax Indica of the Spirit?, which, I have argued, could unfold into the world historical and geopolitical space of the third millennium as the ?Third Mega-Cycle? of Indian History, the Trans-vedic Megacycle.
I have given copies of its first private edition also to the key BJP leaders, and I have done it out of the deepest personal conviction that time has come for us of India to transcend the communalistic ?historical categories? such as ?Hind Swaraj? ?Hindutva? ?two-nation theory? and the like; a national discussion reassessing the personalities of Gandhiji and MA Jinnah is the burning need of the hour, and I welcome your review inasmuch as it promotes this dialogue on the platform of truth, fairness, dignity and mutual respect.
(Jinnah?A Corrective Reading of Indian History, Open University Press, 462 pp, price: Rs 800.)