In the journey of seventy-five years, Organiser has offered a national platform to several eminent writers and scholars from India and abroad, cutting across political and religious lines. Among many such names is Father Anthony Elenjimittam, a Catholic priest hailing from Kerala.
Anthony Elenjimittam was born in Kochi on June 22, 1915, to a Christian family. A philosopher, theologian and journalist, he was a Catholic priest belonging to the Dominican order with a vast knowledge in Hindu-Buddhist philosophies. He has written more than fifty books on interreligious understanding and has translated and interpreted some of India’s most important spiritual texts.
Being a writer, he can claim a rare achievement to his credit, the man who coined the phrase ‘pseudo-secular’, a most widely used term in the post-Ram Janmabhoomi Movement polity. He wrote extensively for Organiser for nearly one decade, starting from the early 1950s. He used the phrase ‘pseudo secularism’ in one of his early works, ‘Philosophy and Action of the RSS for the Hind Swaraj’, published in 1951 (by Laxmi Publications, Mumbai).
The book is considered one of the pioneering works on RSS. He introduced the new term in his book to criticise the Congress leaders who were pretending to uphold secularism. A review published in Organiser on December 3, 1951, says,” The book is welcome as a sympathetic attempt to understand the ideology and working of RSS despite its all shortcomings and natural incompleteness of an outsider’s insights into the Sangh. At the same time, it also shares an apprehension that the preface of Jamnadas Mehta and the introductory chapters of the author lend an anti-Nehru anti-Congress tinge to the book. “The quintessence of the Sangh’s standpoint is that Hindu is not a narrowly religious but a catholically territorial-cum-cultural concept, and the author of this book is to be congratulated upon for being one of those very few outsiders who have grasped it, though he expressed his understanding a bit clumsily,” thus goes on the review.
After his studies in Kerala, Anthony Elenjimittam entered the Order of the Dominicans in 1935 and went to Italy. From 1936 to 1941, he was a student of Theology at the Angelicum in Rome and, after that, a researcher at Cambridge University, England. In 1945, he returned to India. According to a biographical note, the British Secret Service framed him as an “ardent nationalist”, while the Catholic Church saw him as a “heretic” for his innovative ideas in the spiritual field. He later became editor-in-chief of The Indian Messenger, an English-language weekly magazine affiliated to Brahmo Samaj’s ideas. In 1946-1947, in Shantiniketan, he met Mahatma Gandhi; that incident prompted him to write… “I saw in him the authentic copy of Jesus Christ, Socrates and Abraham Lincoln, all three fused in him surrounded by the halo of a St. Francis’ Assisi.” (, 116).
His earlier writings in Organiser were characterised by his penchant for criticising Jawaharlal Nehru and the pseudo-secular agenda of the Congress party. But later, he was seen as more inclined to spirituality and comparative religion. An article, Buddhism: The Daughter of Hinduism, published in Organiser on May 21, 1956, was one of the important articles belonging to the latter part.
He continued to explore Hindu spiritual wisdom, which he associated with the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda movement and various Buddhist schools. He returned to Italy in 1975, and on October 5, 2011, he left his body, which he had earlier defined by quoting Bhagavad Gita as “a jacket, a coat, which once worn must be removed, and then dress up with a new one”.