Guruji: A drashta –XXXIII
EVEN as the western discourse from multiculturalism to assimilation is taking a serious turn to equate “Assimilation’s failure as equivalent to terrorism’s rise”
(1) the concept of assimilation is acquiring new meaning in geo-politics and national security. But in the West assimilation is a modern idea, but, in the Hindu society it is as old as Hinduism itself. Swami Vivekananda was the first spiritualist philosopher who introduced to the world the (Hindu) concept of assimilation as the alternative to destruction. In his address to the World Parliament of Religions on September 27, 1893, Vivekananda told world religious leaders: “The Parliament of Religions has….proved to the world that holiness, purity and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character.”
In the face of this evidence, if anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion and the destruction of the others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart, and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written in spite of resistance: “Help and not fight,” “Assimilation and not Destruction,” “Harmony and Peace and not Dissension.”
(2) The Hindu faith and culture have consistently shown their inherent capacity to assimilate not only the elements of other faiths and their faithfuls but also total unbelievers. Hindus achieved this by making culture more broad-based than religion. That is why Hinduism tends to be seen as way of life more than a religion. This quality to assimilate is built into the philosophy, more importantly practice of Hinduism. The assimilation process is not by force or design. It is grafted into the Hindu thought which accepted all faiths, all ways of worship, all Gods, and all ways of life as valid and sacred, as Encyclopedia of Britannia said, “without necessitating the selection or elimination of any”. This quality never existed outside the Hindu faith, philosophy, history and society. This inclusive philosophy and way of life to assimilate and digest all peoples, cultures and faiths it came in contact with, accepted all and destroyed none, as Swami Vivekananda told the World Parliament of Religions.
Guruji applied Vivekananda’s thoughts
Assimilation without destruction, the ancient spiritual concept of Hindus, is alien to the Abrahamic faiths which denied validity to other faiths, called them false and wanted them annihilated. Assimilation is possible only where a faith basically accepts other faiths as valid. Otherwise annihilation is inevitable. Assimilation commended by Swami Vivekananda was a general rule of inter-religious harmony. Guruji applied that rule for assimilation of minorities in India – who culturally belonged to the Hindu society but had merely changed their religion – back into Hindu culture and society, but, Guruji applied it to the minorities in India. Guruji’s assimilation theory is merely a reminder to the minorities of their culture and ancestry that were unaltered by their current faith. Guruji said that the minorities were really separated by politics more than by their religion and have to be assimilated back into the national mainstream in all respects with no harm to their faith. Guruji was equally clear that, without such assimilation, there would be chaos as the unassimilated minorities would drift into even greater distance and difference from the mainstream culture as it has happened not only in India but elsewhere.
Assimilation decried, division deepens
Even though the Hindu civilisation pioneered the sociological process of assimilation of others into the national mainstream, as evident from how the Hindu society had assimilated the Sakas, Hunas and other tribes who had invaded India, the capacity of the Hindu society to assimilate was impeded as the need of the polity to facilitate that assimilation were never made part of the public discourse in post-Independent India. While this left most Muslims and substantial Christians unassimilated, but the secular political perversion to celebrate the segregation and exclusion of such minorities by granting special privileges to them instead of assimilating them, began harming the minorities themselves and dividing the nation and even the Hindu society itself. And even those who were undisputedly part of the Hindu society and whom the Constitution of India and the Hindu civil law regards as Hindus by culture, like Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs and even sections of Hindus, also began to regard themselves as minorities. Even Arya Samaj claimed and got minority status in the State of Punjab.
(3) After Guruji’s lifetime, some sections of Jains claiming minority status.
(4) Even Sri Ramakrishna Mission filed a case claiming to be not Hindu, but a religious minority, which the Calcutta High Court decreed but the Supreme Court refused to.
(5) Pan Islam erodes Indian character of Muslims
Guruji was particularly concerned about Pan Islamism, which introduces transnational, transcultural Islamic identity that now threatens the western world. While in the western world the assimilation of Islamists, who are racially and ancestrally different, could be problematic, Guruji had envisioned that Indian Islamists who were Hindus could be assimilated by reminding them of their ancestry, culture and history as even much of their current practices support the recall of their ancestry. He, like Dr Radhakrishnan, cited the example of Indonesian Islam which coexisted with Hindu cultural values and symbols because of physical and historical distance from Arabic culture. In India since Arabic invaders had brought Islam into India, the Arabic culture had got mixed up with Islamic faith in India which is not the case with Indonesia. Indonesia’s national symbol is “Garuda”; their Airlines is Garuda Airlines; their Central Bank is Kubera Bank; their national epic is Ramayana; the statues of Garuda, Hanuman, Ghatotkacha and Bheema occupy central places in Indonesian cities including Jakarta. The Indonesians names are still Hindu in character; in many areas of Indonesia Muslims do practise ancestor worship.
(6) This was because of geographic distance from Arabia and Indonesia and the means of Islamic intervention which was trade in Indonesia and military in India. Based on Indonesian example and the capacity of Hinduism to assimilate the faithfuls of other religions without harming their faiths, Guruji had envisioned Islamic faith coexisting with Hindu culture, something similar to Islamic body but vedantic mind as Swami Vivekananda had said. This is also supported by the historic fact that as late as in the 19th century only one out of 100 Muslims had claimed Mughal ancestry. But, how then did Islamists in India develop such divide from the mother Hindu society in the 20th century? This is because of the element of imperialism in Islam inherent in the Arabic, and more appropriately, the Wahabi view of Islam, which influenced Islamic society in India. VS Naipaul Nobel Laureate in literature in 2001, says: “Islam is in its origin an Arab religion. Everyone not an Arab who is a Muslim is a convert…..The convert has to turn away from everything that is his…. the turning away has to be done again and again.”
(7) Guruji had foreseen this imperial element in Islam decades before Naipaul wrote on it in 2001. The turning away from the local culture to Arabic culture is continuously carried on by movements like Tablighi Jamaat which is the product of Deobandi Islamic Madrassah originally known as Arab Madrassah.
(8) Tablighi Jamaat was formed in 1927 in Mewat not far from Delhi. “Tablighi Jamaat….is now a driving force of Islamic extremism and a major recruiting agency for terrorist, causes worldwide…..Joining Tablighi Jamaat is the first step on the road to extremism. Perhaps 80 per cent of the Islamist extremists in France come from Tablighi ranks, prompting French intelligence officers to call Tablighi Jamaat the “antechamber of fundamentalism”.
(9) But Tablighi Jamaat had not become as powerful and intense in Guruji’s time as it is today. But Guruji could foresee intensification of Islamic separatism and that was why he was urging assimilation. Now, decades later, Rafiq Zakaria endorses Guruji.
Now see who speaks like this. Indian Muslims guilty of of “vivisection of the motherland”
(10); That even after the Partition the Muslims in India have resorted to the “same old manner of confrontation with the dominant Hindus”, intensifying the hatred and widening divide (11); That “it was not still not too late for them to transform and give up their old habit of confrontation with Hindus”
(12); that Maulana Azad used lament how the Muslims did not heed to his warning them against supporting the two nation theory as the death knell to a meaningful and dignified life
(13); that even Jamait-i-Islami leader Maulana Abulala Maududi’s warned Muslims, on the even of Partition on April 25, 1947, that “persisting in their old attitudes to preserve their rights will only help intensify the communal prejudices of the Hindus more strongly” went unheeded and so his advice to the Muslim community to “assure the Hindu nationalism by their attitude that there is no competing Muslims nationalism” as the only way to “remove the extraordinary prejudice the non-Muslims majority has against Islam”
(14); that the two leaders steeped in Islam were not heard by the Muslims
(15); that, post-Partition, even as the relations between Hindus and Muslims were never very cordial, leaders of the Indian Muslims did not ask the Muslims to give up their confrontation with the Hindus. Whose words are these? Guruji’s? No. This was Dr Rafiq Zakaria who was an Islamic scholar, politician and diplomat writing in his book Indian Muslims where have they gone wrong?” He not only reflected Guruji’s thoughts, his words were almost Guruji’s. But Zakaria spoke long after Guruji did. But when Guruji spoke was unfairly attacked without debating what he said.
 New York Times July 6, 2011
 1971 AIR Punjab& Haryana 1731
 Why this discrimination against Hindus? by JG. Arora published in Free Press Journal (Mumbai) of August 25, 2005: available at: http://intellibriefs.blogspot.com/2005/08/article-30-of-constitution-is-blatant.html
 VS Naipaul “Beyond Belief” ISBN-10: 0375706488 ISBN-13: 978-0375706486. Prologue p.xi
 God’s Terrorists – The Wabahi Cult and the Hidden Roots of Modern Jihad, Little Brown; p.207
 Indian Muslims: Where have they gone wrong? Introduction pxxviii.
 Ibid p.xxxv
 Ibid p.xxx
 Ibid p.xxxi