Kindly permit me to share my mental agony with you.
A news-item appearing in a Hindi daily just pierced my heart. It asked the passers-by (own countrymen) to ?Walk gently?the Sultan of Delhi, Ibraham Lodi sleeps here?.
Who is Ibraham Lodi? The invader who attacked Mewar and was defeated by Rana Sanga. His father, Sikander Lodi, prohibited Hindus from bathing in the holy tank in Kurukshetra and desecrated the Jwalamukhi temple in Himachal. He executed Bodhan Pandit for saying all religions are equal. His grandfather Bahlol Lodi, came from Afghanistan and exploited the political turmoil prevalent in India and through manipulations occupied the Delhi throne. Yet the state government has granted Rs. 25 lakh for the repair and maintenance of the invader'sgrandson, a monument to our slavish mentality.
A little later, an English daily carried a report: ?Where the ancient and the modern are in harmony?. The story says: ?The burial site of Ibraham Lodi, killed by Babur in the first battle of Panipat, is protected while a mosque has overtaken the memorial to Hemu, challenger of Akbar in the second battle (of Panipat)?.?Hemu? refers to Hem Chander of Rewari, Haryana, a valiant warrior who fought 22 battles and won all, and acquired the title of Vikramaditya in a coronation ceremony held in Purana Qila, Delhi. He fought against Akbar, who was also involved in various battles against Maharana Pratap. Akbar'sfather Humayun was fleeing India when he took shelter in a fort, Amar Kot in Sindh, owned by Rana Amarchand; there his wife gave birth to Akbar. Humayun'sfather, Babur, hailed from Afghanistan. Akbar'sguardian, Bairam Khan, brought Hem Chander to Akbar after the second battle of Panipat, and goaded Akbar to behead the infidel Hem Chander with his sword to earn the title ?Ghazi?. Hem Chander'shead was taken to Kabul and his trunk gibbeted at the gates of Delhi. This national shame cannot be designated as harmony. It is sad that India is building memorials to Ibraham Lodi, Babur, and Akbar, and ignoring our gallant sons who fought to defend our territory and civilisation.
In the third battle of Panipat, Sadashiv Bhau lost to the brutal Ahmed Shah Abdali. Yet there is no worthy memorial commemorating the young Sadashiv Bhau nor is Hem Chander Vikramaditya acknowledged with respect. Even more deplorable is the news that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh visited the Baghe Babur Complex in Kabul, which houses the tomb and mosque of Mughal ruler Babur, and was sad to see its dilapidated condition. Babur died in Agra in 1530, but his remains were taken to his ?beloved Kabul? in 1543.
It is pertinent to note all the foreigners, from Alexander onwards, the Greeks, the Turks, the Mughals, the Portuguese, the British, the French and the Dutch have rightly been listed as invaders by the former President of India Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in his famous speech in Hyderabad. Yet, we are honouring these foreign invaders and are denigrating our own heroes. Roads and hotels have been named after Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir and even Aurangzeb, but hardly few people know our own martyrs like Hem Chander Vikramaditya and Sadashiv Bhau. This attitude reflects a loss of our national consciousness and self-respect.
Recently, some British nationals visited Meerut to pay homage to their forefathers who won the 1857 war for the British empire. Even the Italian government hounoured 5,782 Indians, who died in World War II for the liberation of Italy. China, on the other hand, made Japan offer a public apology for atrocities committed by Japanese troops in the World War II.
We seem to be learning nothing from history?even after Partition, when we lost a very big chunk of our land, faced disgrace and dishonour and were hounded out of our hearts and homes like cattle. We did not seek an apology from the perpetrators of such a horrible holocaust.
I am inclined to agree with Shri Kuldip Nayar when he says that we should have opted for a civil war instead of agreeing to the Partition of the country. But unfortunately the same Shri Kuldip Nayar puts India and Pakistan (aggressor and the aggressed) at the same pedestal when he says that Parliaments of both the countries should pass resolutions expressing regret over the carnage that followed the Partition.
I fail to understand as to how the persons who invaded our country could be decorated and honoured and our fighters who sacrificed themselves in their fight against these foreigners could be forgotten altogether. The British envoy to India, Sir John Robert Son Young in his farewell address praises the resilience of our civilisation in absorbing the invaders (like Shak, Hoon, Sythein and Kushan). But the foreigners like Babur, Akbar, Ibraham Lodi did not assimilate themselves with the mainstream of the country. They even forcibly converted our people to their faith, brutally tortured and slaughtered our religious saints, gurus and even their children. The natural corollary of this conduct should have been to show them the way out. Their affiliation with their homeland and their consciousness about their separate identification has led to the Partition of the country and sadly enough, even in the partitioned India, we continue to worship them.
We, as an independent nation, fail to imagine the demoralising effect on the fighting spirit of our armed forces when our soldiers realise that the enemy, whom they are fighting today, will be honoured tomorrow and their sacrifices are going to be wasted.
Even from legal angle and from any interpretation of our Constitution, these invaders cannot be adored. By honouring these foreigners, we are exhibiting the lack of sense of distinguishing between a friend and a foe. We seem to be falling victim to the British machination of losing our sense of self-esteem, pride of our native self-culture and behaving like a nation dominated by the foreigners.
This paradoxical situation is disturbing my mind and I think that all self-respecting people of the country should come forward, join hands and start working vigorously to recognise ?who is who?. This change of perception will positively boost the morale of our nation and lead us to the path of self-respect and swabhiman. If you agree with my views, kindly let me know and even if you don'tagree do write to me so that I correct myself. I am writing this note with an open mind.
An honourable solution to this situation is that since the government (satta) is decorating the invaders by not only building memorials in their honour but also contributing funds for their maintenance, let the society (samaj) come forward to honour those gallant warriors who sacrificed their lives for the sake of motherland and by building an appropriate grand memorial to commemorate their heroic deeds and martyrdom.
As for me, I am now running in the 80th year of my life. As a student, I was a Khadi-wearing Gandhian, participated in the Quit India Movement and even now I believe in the Gandhian economics. I joined RSS in 1944 to suck out youth for the Congress but was myself sucked into it by the magnetic attraction of devotion and dedication of its workers. In 1950s, I declined the Bharatiya Jana Sangh offer of an MLC ticket. Confining myself to the RSS work, educational and other social welfare activities, I remained the Haryana state head for about 40 years suffering imprisonment during Emergency. I relinquished this post in March, 2007 to devote myself to the revival of Saraswati River* and take up other social activities. Time is running out for me. I wish younger people to muster courage and strength to initiate a campaign for reviving the spirit of national self-respect and bring about a revolutionary change in the mindset of the people by according due recognition and honour to our national war heroes.
(*Note: Please find time to visit the site during this pravas itself, the site is near Tarawari district, Kuruk-shetra.)
(The writer can be contacted at Saraswati Nadi Shodh Sansthan, 2, Jain Nagar, Jagadhari and his e-mail is [email protected])