(Redirected from Elst, Koenraad)
- Conversely, banning this book would send a signal that the present establishment will do what it can to prevent Hinduism from rising up, from regaining self-confidence, from facing the challenge of hostile ideologies.
- In Freedom of expression - Secular Theocracy Versus Liberal Democracy (1998, edited by Sita Ram Goel) ISBN 81-85990-55-7
- The essence of Hindu Dharma is not ‘tolerance’ or ‘equal respect for all religious’ but satya, truth. The problem with Christianity and Islam is superficially their intolerance and fanaticism. But this intolerance is a consequence of these religions’ untruthfulness. If your belief system is based on delusions, you have to pre-empt rational enquiry into it and shield it from contact with more sustainable thought systems. The fundamental problem with monotheistic religions is not that they are intolerant but that they are untrue (Asatya or Anrita).
- In Sita Ram Goel: Jesus Christ - An Artifice for Aggression (1994)
- “The Islamic doctrine of slavery was closely linked with the doctrine of the inescapable struggle between believers and unbelievers… and Pagans were routinely sold into slavery if they had the misfortune of being captured by Muslims.”
- Elst, Indigenous Indians, 375, 381. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
- The current tendency to accuse the Hindu movement for cultural decolonization of India of “fascism” is nothing but a replay of an old colonial tactic.
- Was Veer Savarkar a Nazi? , 1999 
- In a sociological sense, I am still part of the Catholic community,... Nevertheless, I am no longer a Roman Catholic. I am a secular humanist with an active interest in religions, particularly Taoism and Hinduism, and keeping a close watch on the variegated Pagan revival in Europe.
- The Problem of Christian Missionaries , 7 June 1999. 
Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991)Edit
- Normally, the atheist Left should be the sharpest opponent of religious obscurantism and dogmatic adherence to anti-universalist belief systems like Islam. But in India, the two work happily together for the destruction of their common enemy: Hindu Dharma.
- While one should always be vigilant for traces of totalitarianism in any ideology or movement, the obsession with fascism in the anti-Hindu rhetoric of the secularists is not the product of an analysis of the data, but of their own political compulsions.
- Not that an isolated occasion of saying the truth automatically leads to the disappearance of falsehood. Dharampal's famous book The Beautiful Tree completely demolished the myth that the Brahmins kept all the education for their own caste, and that Shudras were kept in darkness and illiteracy. Yet, the myth is still repeated... It is not enough to unearth the truth, it also has to be broadcast, and nobody should get away with pretending it isn't there.
- From his high pedestal, Prof. Sharma could afford to disregard the 'very few authors whose work effectively addresses the feudalism thesis in a critical manner', and he 'appears to have been in no mood to take heed of criticism levelled at his work'. This disregarding and ignoring of counter-evidence is tactically the best way to prolong your dominant position (which is why this tactic was adopted by most secularists in the Ayodhya debate): it denies publicity and respectability to the critic's alternative thesis. But to the progress of science, this upholding of dogma and suppression of debate is detrimental. According to Prof. Wink, the effect has been this : 'Under the impact of the feudalism thesis the historiography of the period is still in utter disarray.'
- This ... excuse of the provocative slogans leading mechanically to stone-throwing and worse, is used routinely by biased reporters.... A procession with about 100 women members of Durga Vahini had gone out to the Ghanta Ghar area. "There they raised communal slogans, resulting in stone-pelting and bomb-throwing." (Remark the belief in mantra magic: a slogan is uttered, and hocus pocus, a bomb explodes.)
- This is not an idealization but a firm reality : no matter what the "evils of Hindu society" may have been, subjecting the individual's freedom of religion to any public authority is not one of them. No wonder that Voltaire, who strongly opposed the Church's totalitarian grip over men's lives, and may count as one of the ideologues of secularism, mentioned the religions of India and China as a model of how religion could be a free exploration by the individual.
- Since quoting the Quran may get this book banned, I will merely give the verse numbers...
- The British concoction hypothesis is not only untenable. It is so far off the mark, so totally out of tune with the known historical and cultural context, so totally unsuggested by any relevant document, that no unbiased historian would ever have come up with it. It warrants a suspicion against the pretended objectivity and scientific temper of the secularist participants in this debate... When you analyze and explicate all the implications of the secularist historians' version of the Babri Masjid story, you find that they in fact postulate a great many unusual entities. And they create them purely in the air.... This postulating of very improbable theoretical possibilities without any coherence is not really the scholarly defense of an alternative Ayodhya scenario, it is just a diversionary tactic made up to put the pro- Mandir people on the defensive. As the historian Sita Ram Goel has said, it is a typical strategy of unscrupled lawyers.... Of course, lawyers are paid by clients to try such un- truthful tactics, so we may perhaps forgive them. In the case of historians, or even for politicians claiming high ideals, this is unacceptable.
- Whether the temple was destroyed by Mohammed Ghori in 1194, or by Babar, or by a ruler in between these two, or even by more than one of them (since Hindus were tireless rebuilders if given a chance), this all makes no difference to the facts pertinent for the Hindu case: one, there was a temple there since at least the eleventh century, attested by archaeology : two, the use of temple materials in the Babri Masjid entirely fulfills a set pattern of temple destruction followed by replacement with a mosque; three, Hindus continued to worship on the spot to the extent possible, as witnessed by travelers and locals, something they would never have done except on a specially sacred spot and in continuation of a pre-Masjid tradition.
- In fact, this conclusion is merely a restatement of what was a matter of consensus until a few years ago. This time it is supported by a bundle of evidence, but it had been known all along. It is only recently that politically motivated academics have manufactured doubts concerning this coherent and well-attested tradition. And it is not on the strength of arguments, but exclusively through their grip on the media, that they temporarily managed to create the impression that the Hindu case was built on myth and concoction.
- As Lenin, Goebbels and other masters of lies knew, it is sufficient to repeat a big lie often enough, to make it pass as truth. So, the truly outstanding feature of the Leftists' and Muslim fanatics' campaign of distortion has been its shameless persistence. No matter what hard evidence they got confronted with, the Romila Thapars and R.S. Sharmas just kept on lambasting the Hindu side for distorting history and concocting evidence and for merely bluffing in the face of "incontrovertible evidence that no Ram temple ever stood on the site". While they had not given any such evidence nor replied to the pro-Mandir evidence ..., they kept up the offensive and absurdly accused the other side of not facing the evidence. The way the anti-Mandir falsehoods have been given wide currency in 1989-91 will make an interesting case study for future scholars. A classic in propaganda.
- Islam has till today retained a lot of its medieval self- righteousness. While native Americans who claim back ancestral sacred places may have to confront economical interests, juridical technicalities or other small-human opposition against their demands, there is now hardly any ideologically motivated resistance against respecting their culture and their historical sensitivities. But in India, and in the countries which Islam has carved out of if, there is still a strong presence of an ideological drive to islamize India, and to make this clear by wresting all kinds of real and symbolical concessions from the Hindus, and by refusing them any concession whatsoever in return. The symbols of humiliation that have been inflicted on the Hindus, are being defended.
- The same would have counted in principle for the Ram Janmabhoomi. However, there the situation has been slightly more advanced : in 1949 it already became a Hindu temple again. And it is not the Hindus who have been demanding a hand-over, it is actually the Muslim groups like BMAC, BMMCC, IUML, Jama'at Islami. It is unbelievably arrogant that some Muslims could be against the hand-over of even one of the thousands of stolen Hindu places, and still have dared to demand the hand- over of that one mosque that they let slip through their fingers in 1949. They demand the return of 100% of the places they lost, and want to return 0% of the places they took. Who said that Islam believes in equality?
- When it comes to dealing with the history of persecution and temple destruction by the Muslims, secularist historians throw all regard for hard evidence to the wind and replace it with a purely deductive (which is typically medieval) approach : Islam is tolerant, therefore the destruction and persecution cannot have taken place.
- They themselves of course can get away with blatant lies, because they are shielded by a politically motivated press against any criticism that would threaten their eminence. But real scientists do not count on such exemptions.
- Intellectually, these Nehruvian historians and pressmen stand thoroughly discredited. But they have power positions in the media and in the education and research establishments, so they still manage to black out criticism and alternative opinions.... They know they have been beaten at the intellectual level, but they use their power over the public arena to ensure that these challengers remain in the margins.
- But the point is, while one cannot blame the Muslim propagandists for painting a rosy picture of the religion they try to sell, we now see eminent historians spreading this utterly untruthful item of propaganda, in books which are required reading in many universities. They even lecture others and call them communalists if they don't swallow these Islamic-cum-Nehruvian lies.
- Once the support of the Nehruvian historians to such utter falsifications of history is tackled and exposed, they have no chance of saving their reputations or even the hold of their theories over the public arena. They have gone too far in their distortions of history, so they are very vulnerable. If they have held out in the role of oft-quoted "eminent historians" for so long, it is only due to the slackness and timidity of the Hindu intellectuals. Only because of a configuration of forces peculiar to India have the anti-Hindu historians been able to completely dominate the scene. In most free countries, they would have been exposed long ago. ... In a world where the wind of free inquiry blows, Marxist dogmas cannot hold out for long. They have been abandoned, except in those places where an artificial authority is attached to them by a partisan intelligentsia... So, in my opinion, the dominance of these Nehruvian and other Hindu-baiters need not last much longer. Their eminence will go down as soon as the debunking of their central myths has come centre-stage in the intellectual arena (which means that an issue-centered critique will suffice to do most of the job). And that can go unexpectedly fast, there are plenty of occasions at which the readers are interested enough to pick up an alternative thesis, if only it gets competently presented to them. ... From his high pedestal, Prof. Sharma could afford to disregard [his critics], and he "appears to have been in no mood to take heed of criticism levelled at his work". This disregarding and ignoring of counter-evidence is tactically the best way to prolong your dominant position (which is why this tactic was adopted by most secularists in the Ayodhya debate): it denies publicity and respectability to the critic's alternative thesis. But to the progress of science, this upholding of dogma and suppression of debate is detrimental.
- Once this Marxist-inspired myth of Buddhism and Jainism as social reform movements gets debunked, the authority of those who publicly identify with this myth will also be questioned. The same counts for other such myths, artificially created by politically motivated people : once the myth goes its proponents lose their aura of authority. While a scrutiny of the individual record of the big-mouth secularists may be useful as long as this debate remains as nasty as it is now, it is the issue- centered criticism which will blow the secularists' authority away very soon. The myth of Brahmin oppression, the myth of Buddhism as a social reform movement, the myth of the Buddhist-Brahmin power struggle, the myth of the economical motives for the Muslim conquests and destruction, the myth of the non-existence of an indigenous and nation-wide Hindu culture, the myth of the social reforms brought by Islam, the myth of Hindu-Muslim amity, the myth of Nehru and of India as a a nation in the making, the myth of the Composite Culture, the myth that communalism is a British creation, all these myths are bound to give way once a substantial number of Hindu intellectuals apply their minds to them in a serious and scientific way, and then use the available channels to speak out.
- But the innermost and actually religious level of Hindu culture is an individual affair. And it could not have been otherwise. Action and ritual may be community affairs, but the basis of real religion is a culture of consciousness, and consciousness is individual.
- As the Chinese philosopher Confucius has pointed out, we can only begin to set the world in order, if we call things by their proper names. This whole Ayodhya problem would not have existed if secularist politicians and intellectuals had called the disputed building a non- mosque and an effective Hindu temple. Because that is what it is : a building containing idols is by definition not a mosque, and a building not used for namaz is in effect not a mosque. But a building where Hindus come to worship idols, is called a temple or Mandir... The reason why most of the common Hindus could be mobilized for the Ram Janmabhoomi cause, is not that the Hindus have become so fanatical. On the contrary, it is because they perceive that the building of the Mandir and the relocating of the existing structure is a very reasonable and justifiable project. They all know that Muslim rulers have brought immense suffering over the Hindu population for destroyed, no fanatic needs to tell them that. And they have heard that the disputed place is in use as a temple since 1949, that it is functionally not a mosque at all, so the rule that any other community's place of worship should be respected just doesn't apply. They do not see why anyone should object to their replacing the existing structure with proper Hindu temple architecture. They consider it an entirely internal affair of the Hindu community, and they perceive the attempts to stop them as yet another aggression against Hinduism by its enemies.
Negationism in India, (1992)Edit
- In India, the negationists have managed what European negationists can only dream of: turn the tables on honest historians and marginalize them. People who have specialized in adapting history to the party-line, are lecturing others about the political abuse of history. By contrast, genuine historians who have refused to tamper with the record of Islam (like Jadunath Sarkar, R.C. Majumdar, K.S. Lal) are held us as examples of communalist historywriting in textbooks which are required reading in all history departments in India.
- But the negationists are not satisfied with seeing their own version of the facts being repeated in more and more books and papers. They also want to prevent other versions from reaching the public. Therefore, in 1982 the National Council of Educational Research and Training issued a directive for the rewriting of schoolbooks. Among other things, it stipulated that: "Characterization of the medieval period as a time of conflict between Hindus and Muslims is forbidden." Under Marxist pressure, negationism has become India's official policy.
- India has its own full-fledged brand of negationism: a movement to deny the large-scale and long-term crimes against humanity committed by Islam. This movement is led by Islamic apologists and Marxist academics, and followed by all the politicians, journalists and intellectuals who call themselves secularists. In contrast to the European negationism regarding the Nazi acts of genocide, but similar to the Turkish negationism regarding the Armenian genocide, the Indian negationism regarding the terrible record of Islam is fully supported by the establishment. It has nearly full control of the media and dictates all state and government parlance concerning the communal problem (more properly to be called the Islam problem).
- Negationism and history-distortion require a large-scale effort and a very strong grip on the media of information and education. As soon as the grip loosens, at least the most blatant of the negationist concoctions are bound to be exposed, and its propounders lose all credibility. In 1988, the schools in the Soviet Union decided to suspend the history exams because "the history books are full of lies anyway". The great lies and distortions of Soviet historiography are now items in the gallery of ridicule.... Just like the Russians have thrown Soviet historiography into the dustbin, Indian negationism will also be thrown out in the near future.
- In my study of the Ayodhya controversy, I noticed that the frequent attempts to conceal or deny inconvenient evidence were an integral part of a larger effort to rewrite India's history and to whitewash Islam. It struck me that this effort to deny the unpleasant facts of Islam's destructive role in Indian history is similar to the attempts by some European writers to deny the Nazi holocaust. Its goal and methods are similar, even though its social position is very different: in Europe, Holocaust negationists are a fringe group shunned by respectable people, but in India, jihad negationists are in control of the academic establishment and of the press.
- Of course I have nothing to do with racism and xenophobia, and I have my life-story to prove it. Given the democratic slump in Europe, I am convinced that a measured and carefully monitored immigration is necessary. My hometown is host to people from every country, and I have a lot of foreign friends, mostly Indian and Chinese. So, I am not at all against immigrants, and I have personally helped some to integrate or to get naturalized as citizens of my country. But my criticism of Islam stands: Islam is intrinsically separatist and hostile to neighbour communities.
- Without really noticing, the Western press has become the mouth-piece of the Marxist-Muslim alliance which dictates political parlance in India. I assume only a few frontline journalists are conscious participants in the ongoing disinformation campaign.
- These days, reporting on the communal in situation in India consists in highlighting the splinter in the Hindu eye and concealing the beam in the Muslim eye. At the time of the 1991 Lok Sabha elections, the German left-leaning weekly Der Spiegel summarized the communal riots in independent India as follows: "Since 1947, Indian statisticians have counted 11,000 riots with 12,000 Muslim victims." Hindu victims are not even mentioned, as if you were reading a fundamentalist paper like Muslim India or Radiance.
- It is always easy to blame the state and the men in uniform. But Islamic terror essentially does not emanate from uniforms and state power, but from a belief system which even the ordinary people have been fed. That is why a lot of Islamic terror never gets recorded by human-rights organizations like Amnesty International. A Christian Pakistani friend complained to me that Amnesty had not spoken out against the religious persecutions in his homeland, even when these are a grim and undeniable reality. The fact is that much of this persecution and discrimination is not ordered by the state (the type of culprit with which Amnesty is familiar), but is a spontaneous attitude among sections of the Muslim population, egged on by nothing except the omnipresent Islamic doctrine.
- Nehru's absolute refusal to support the Tibetans even at the diplomatic level when they were overrun by the Chinese army, cannot just be attributed to circumstances or the influence of collaborators: his hand-over of Tibet to communist China was quite consistent with his own political convictions.
- There is no Schopenhauer anymore who dares to speak openly of the contrast between the humane philosophies of South and East Asia and the barbaric fanaticism taught and practised by Mohammed.
- The pogroms in Pakistan and Bangladesh after the demolition of the Babri Masjid left 50,000 Hindus homeless in Bangladesh and triggered another wave of refugees from both countries towards India. In Pakistan, 245 Hindu temples were demolished, in Bangladesh a similar number was attacked, and even in England some temples were set on fire by Muslim mobs.
- This sophisticated verbiage cannot conceal that the book's approach is merely the standard secularist version propagated by Indian establishment historians since decades. There is nothing new and provocative about a book that claims to explain communalism without touching on its single most important determinant, viz. the doctrine laid down in Islamic scripture, and that blurs the clear-cut process of India's communalization by Islam with the help of scapegoats like colonialism.
- The Ayodhya conflict offers a good examples of the absurd standards applied by reporters. A Hindu sacred site, back in use as a Hindu temple (since 1949 with, since 1986 without restrictions) after centuries of Muslim occupation, is claimed by Muslim leaders, who also insist on continuing the occupation of two other sacred sites in Mathura and Kashi (and numerous other sites which the Hindu leaders are not even claiming back). Claiming the right to occupy other communities' sacred sites: if this is not fanatical, I don't know what is. Yet, the whole world press is one the side of the Muslims, and decries a Hindu plan to build proper temple architecture on the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya as fanatical. These are not just double standards, but inverted standards.
- The unanimous and entirely coherent testimony that the wars in Hindustan were religious wars of Muslims against Kafirs is a different matter altogether: denying this testimony is not a matter of small adjustments, but of replacing the well-attested historical facts with their diametrical opposite.
- Imagine the shrieks and howls in the secularists media in case of such a clear rejection of Islam's pretences, and you will understand why Hindu leaders shy away from it. But let then pause and think: is not braving the pandemonium of secularist indignation preferable to (self-) censoring the truth about Hindu society's mortal enemy? The European humanists (deists as well as atheists) who attacked the power position of Christianity, were very clear about their objective: Ecrasez l'Infame!
- When negationists are confronted with the evidence of persecutions by Islam, they are sure to mention a few cases where Muslim rulers patronized the building of Hindu temples. In some cases this is deceitful: in the JNU historians' pamphlet "The Political Abuse of History", they mention three such cases, but on closer inspection two of them do not concern Muslim rulers, but their Hindu ministers (in his rebuttal, Prof. A.R. Khan called this "not only concealment of evidence but also distortion of evidence"). But all right, a few Muslim rulers have made gifts to Hindu institutions. The negationists insist that these few gifts make up for the systematic Islamic persecutions. By contrast, their blatantly unequal standards do not allow them to accept the systematic patronage of the institutions of Buddhists and Jains by Hindu kings through the ages as compensation for the few isolated and aberrant cases of religious conflict.
- The extreme ignorance and gullibility of the foreign press provides the negationists with a strategic cover. Most English-knowing Indians believe that the Western intelligentsia is more objective and competent, and they keep on believing this even in domains where the West is completely ignorant and incomponent. So the negationists feel supported in the back by an outside world which they can manipulate but which many in India still consider as a standard of truth. If the Hindu leadership had taken the trouble of studying the mental determinants of India's political configuration, it would have blown this cover away by spreading first-hand information to the foreign media, and educating them about the Stalinist-Islamic grip on the Indian establishment... And so, Western India-watchers go on licking the boots of the aggressor, and keep on twisting contemporary news in the media, and to a lesser extent even historical facts in academic publications, to the advantage of the Muslim side. They have not invented the Indian brand of negationism, but they are amplifying and fortifying it.
- Hindu society is a terrorized society. During the Muslim period, all those who stood up and spoke out against Islam were eliminated; and under Nehruvian rule, they were sidelined and abused. The oppressed Hindus started licking the boot that kicked them, and this has become a habit which in their slumber they have not yet identified and stopped.
The Ayodhya Demolition: an Evaluation (1995)Edit
K. Elst : The Ayodhya Demolition: an Evaluation, in India., & Dasgupta, S. (1995). The Ayodhya reference: The Supreme Court judgement and commentaries.
- The debate has not genuinely altered the old consensus, but it has been an interesting case-study in manipulation by unscrupled academics. How else should we call the practice of seemingly learned publications advertising themselves as "objective" studies of the controversy, but systematically concealing the arguments put forth by one of the parties? ... The VHP scholars have pointed out 4 cases of attempted fraud by their opponents (removing relevant old books from libraries, adding words on an old map).
- The Islamic claim to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is even more transparently fraudulent... Any secularist willing to uphold this claim as historical? Or otherwise ready to show the courage of his conviction and demand that the Muslims relinquish their claim to the Temple Mount so as to be morally in a poistion to demand a similar abandonment of "mythical" claims from the Hindus?... In the case of Christians and Muslims, no one demands that they prove the historicity of the stories underlying the sacred status of their places of pilgrimage. Demanding the same of Hindus is an insulting display of double standards.
- If I am to believe newspaper reports (in reporting on the communal conflict, that is always a big "if").
- [The statement] is merely a typical exercise in the mendacious secularspeak of the Nehruvian elite...
- The more books and articles on Ayodhya and on "communalism" I look into, the more I feel confirmed in my assessment that the Hindu presentation of their own case regarding Ayodhya is the single worst public relations job in world history.
- Future books on the affair will certainly include a chapter on "the Ayodhya scandal": the unscrupled use of academic and media power positions by the secularists to suppress relevant evidence, and the gullibility of foreign scholars relying on hearsay from Indian colleagues whose bona fides is open to question. (...) Future scholars of political and communications science will study the reporting on the Ayodhya affair as an absolute classic of brilliantly successful disinformation. ...
- The buffoon of the affair is the Western class of India-watchers .... they have swallowed the anti-Hindu propaganda hook, line and sinker.
- While Hindu activists are always treated like animals in a zoo, never allowed to speak for themselves, always condemned to be judged by what someone else has written on the signboard in front of their cage, Muslim fanatics are invited to serve as zoo guides, competent to inform the ignorant outsider about the meanness of these beasts safely locked up in their cages.
BJP vis-à-vis Hindu Resurgence (1997)Edit
- In Europe, with its centuries of struggle against Christian hegemony, nobody minds that the ruling party in Germany is called Christlich-Demokratische Union.... But in India, any hint of a "Hindu" party upholding "Hindu values" (even if explained as a "common Indian heritage shared by the minorities as well") is declared intolerable by judges and journalists,-- and by the leaders of the very party concerned.
- The strange thing about the BJP is that its voters consider it a Hindu party, its enemies denounce it as a Hindu party, but the party will call itself anything except a Hindu party.
- The best example of this alleged similarity is the common complaint about the Islamic birth rate. On the Hindutva fringe, there are pamphlets which falsely cite the World Health Organization as having established that within twenty years or so, Muslims will be the majority in India. More serious publications, including Organiser and BJP Today, report a slower but nonetheless impressive increase in the Muslim percentage of India's population, recorded in every decadal census since 1881, and projected to continue at an even faster rate in the coming decades. In essence, this picture is correct: the percentage of Muslims shows a persistent increase at the expense of the Hindu percentage, with the rate of increase itself increasing. Given the higher Hindu participation in the birth control effort of the 1960s and 70s, we must now be witnessing a cumulative effect, of a proportionately smaller number of Hindu mothers (born in that period) having in their turn each a smaller number of children than the proportionately larger number of Muslim mothers, on average. On top of the higher birth rate of Muslims within the Indian Union, there is the dramatic influx of millions upon millions of Bangladeshis and also some Pakistanis.
- The fact that in 1991 the Indian government has chosen to replace a real census count of religious adherence with an estimate is itself an indication that the Muslim percentage is now rising at an alarming rate. In fact, the estimate was demonstrably rigged. It shows a slight decrease in the rate at which the Muslim percentage increases: up by 0.52% between 1971 (11.21%) and 1981 (11.73%), up by 0.47% between 1981 and 1991 (12.20). However, all data about the Hindu-Muslim differential in birth control and birth figures imply that the rate of Muslim increase is itself increasing, even without counting the estimated ten million Bangladeshi Muslims who entered India between 1981 and 1991. On top of the native increase, we must add the figure of the said immigrants, which by itself amounts to more than 1% of India's population, twice as high as the total growth of the Muslim percentage as claimed by the Government. For once, I agree with Imam Bukhari, who has been saying for long that the Indian government systematically understates the number of Muslims in India. The total increase between 1981 and 1991 must be at least 1.5%. Assuming that the 1981 figure is correct, the 1991 figure is definitely higher than 13%, or at least 1% higher than the government claims.
- The clearest eye-opener is the birth-rate in the relatively affluent Muslim-majority district of Malappuram in highly-literate Kerala; at 75.22%, the female literacy rate in Malappuram is twice as high as for most Hindu communities in the Hindi belt. In the decade 1981-91 its population grew by 28.74%, well above the national average of 23.50% and more than twice the Kerala average of 13.98%. This disproves the usual excuse that the birth-rate automatically follows the poverty rate and the illiteracy rate. Most Hindu Scheduled Caste people whom I know have settled for smaller families, but by and large, Muslims have not changed their appetite for large families. Ever since the propagation of birth control among the Hindu masses, rich and literate Muslims have more children than poor and illiterate Hindus.
- Citing Baljit Rai: Is India Going Islamic?, p.103-106
Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate, (1999)Edit
- Shiva is by no means a non-Vedic god, and Indra never really disappeared from popular Hinduism but lives on under another name.
- One thing which keeps on astonishing me in the present debate is the complete lack of doubt in both camps. Personally, I don’t think that either theory, of Aryan invasion and of Aryan indigenousness, can claim to have been "proven" by prevalent standards of proof; even though one of the contenders is getting closer. Indeed, while I have enjoyed pointing out the flaws in the AIT statements of the politicized Indian academic establishment and its American amplifiers, I cannot rule out the possibility that the theory which they are defending may still have its merits."
- I am neither a Hindu nor a nationalist. And I don’t need to belong to those or to any specific ideological categories in order to use my eyes and ears.
- From an interview with Dr. Ramesh Rao (2002) at sulekha.com 
- As a political framework, secularism requires that all citizens are equal before the law regardless of their religious affiliation. That is a definitional minimum. An Indian secularist would therefore first of all be found on the barricades in the struggle for a common civil code, against the existing legal apartheid between Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Parsis. But the only major party to demand the enactment of a common civil code, as mandated by the Constitution, happens to be the BJP. On election eve, the others run to the Shahi Imam to pledge their firm commitment to the preservation of the Shari'a for Muslims. In the West and in the Muslim world, the upholding of religion-based communal legislation is rightly called anti-secularist. I have often discussed this point with Indian secularists. Their usual argument is that, you see, India is a peculiar case, the uniform civil code issue has been "hijacked" by the Hindus, and for now the country needs these separate civil codes. I am not convinced, but even if we concede that India is better off with the present system, that still doesn't make it secular. The opponents of the common civil code, the upholders of discrimination against the Hindus in education and temple management, the defenders of a special status for states with non-Hindu majorities -- they should have the courage of their conviction and call themselves "anti-secular".
- An Interview With Koenraad Elst , 2002 
- This was reckless, for if the political choice for the preservation of the mosque were based on the historical non-existence of the medieval temple at the site, then the eventual discovery of such a temple would justify a contrario the replacement of the mosque with a restored temple. At least in theory, but the Marxists were confident that their opponents would never get the chance to press this point. Under the prevailing power equation, they expected to get away with a plain denial of history rather than a mere insistence on divorcing history from politics.
- Found and Lost: The Ayodhya Evidence (2003) 
- Former Times of India editor Girilal Jain chaired the press meeting presenting my book. It was on this occasion that BJP leader L.K. Advani gave a speech on his Ayodhya policy, waving my book in his hand, and that he made his offer to persuade the VHP to confine their campaign for the liberation of Hindu temple sites to the Ayodhya site, i.e. to drop their claim on the mosque-occupied Krishna Janmabhoomi site in Mathura and Kashi Vishvanath site in Varanasi. That way, my ... first book made the front page of most Indian newspapers.
- Koenraad Elst, ed.: India’s Only Communalist. In Commemoration of Sita Ram Goel, Voice of India, Delhi 2005
- Islam's money and muscle power may look impressive, certainly capable of doing some real damage to targeted countries and societies, but Islam has no chance of becoming the religion of a science-based, space-conquering world society. Exclusivist revelations have no appeal among educated people, especially after they have acquainted themselves with the Vedantic or Buddhist philosophies. That is why the Churches are investing huge resources in the battle for Asia's mind, where they face their most formidable enemy. That is why they are so active in India: not only is India's atmosphere of religious freedom more hospitable to them than the conditions of Islamic countries, or even of non-Islamic countries where proselytization is prohibited (countries as divergent as China, Myanmar, Israel, and, at least formally, Nepal); but they also know and fear the intrinsic superiority of the Indian religion.
- Quoted in "The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple: Third Revised Edition" by Ishwar Sharan (2010) 
- Hindus suffered such attempted extermination in East Bengal in 1971, when the Pakistani Army killed 1 to 3 million people, with Hindus as their most wanted target. This fact is strictly ignored in most writing about Hindu-Muslim relations, in spite (or rather because) of its serious implication that even the lowest estimate of the Hindu death toll in 1971 makes Hindus by far the most numerous victims of Hindu-Muslim violence in the post-colonial period. It is significant that no serious count or religion-wise breakdown of the death toll has been attempted: the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi ruling classes all agree that this would feed Hindu grievances against Muslims.... Even apart from the 1971 genocide, "ordinary" pogroms in East Pakistan in 1950 alone killed more Hindus than the total number of riot victims in India since 1948.
- Koenraad Elst, "Was There an Islamic "Genocide" of Hindus?" 
Who is a Hindu, (2001)Edit
- As so often in Indo-Pakistani and Hindu-Muslim comparisons, the argument is reminiscent of the inequality between the contenders in the Cold War: you could demonstrate for disarmament in the West, but to demonstrate for this in the East Bloc (except if it were for unilateral disarmament by the Western “war-mongers”) would have put you in trouble.
- The neologism âdivâsi constitutes one of the most successful disinformation campaigns in modern history.
- In the West, secularism implies pinpricking religious fraud and arrogance, but in India, secularists are the most eloquent defenders of myth and theocracy.
- Until 1989, there was a complete consensus in all sources (Hindu, Muslim and European) which spoke out on the matter, viz. that the Babri Masjid had been built in forcible replacement of a Hindu temple."
- Thus, to depict Rama as a virile warrior was a sin against Hinduism, an imitation of colonialist virility myths, a betrayal of the feminine passivity of genuine Hinduism. Or, to organize the Hindu religious personnel on a common platform (the Dharma Sansad, more or less 'religious parliament') is an un-Hindu imitation of the Bishops' Synod in the Catholic Church. Or, to alert the Hindus against Muslim or Christian conversion campaigns is an abandonment of the cheerful Hindu indifference to sectarian name-tags, the only thing which really changes upon conversion. Indeed, anything that could play a role in upholding and preserving Hinduism was found to be un-Hindu, while anything that could make or keep Hinduism defenceless and moribund, was glorified as true Hinduism. Anything that smacked of vitality and the will to survive was dubbed 'Semitic'.
- People (...) have to make choices in life, and in their decisions there will always be a dark side available for foul mouths to pick on.
- Indians in Southeast-Asia were never known as 'Hindu', but the Arabs, Turks, Mongolians and other northern and western foreigners adopted the Persian name as their own word for 'India' and 'Indians', e.g. Arabic Hind, Turkish Hindistan. Xuan Zang ... notes in so many words that the name Xin-du (regular Chinese rendering of Persian Hindu)1 or, as he corrects it, Yin-du, is used outside India but is unknown within the country, because the natives call it Aryadesh or Brahmarashtra.
- In Swami Dayananda's view, the term Arya was not coterminous with the term Hindu. The classical meaning of the word Arya is 'noble'. It is used as an honorific term of address, used in addressing the honoured ones in ancient Indian parlance. The term Hindu is reluctantly accepted as a descriptive term for the contemporary Hindu society and all its varied beliefs and practices, while the term Arya is normative and designates Hinduism as it ought to be. ... Elsewhere in Hindu society, 'Arya' was and is considered a synonym for 'Hindu', except that it may be broader, viz. by unambiguously including Buddhism and Jainism. Thus, the Constitution of the 'independent, indivisible and sovereign monarchical Hindu kingdom' (Art.3:1) of Nepal take care to include the Buddhist minority by ordaining the king to uphold 'Aryan culture and Hindu religion' (Art.20: 1). ... The Arya Samaj's misgivings about the term Hindu already arose in tempore non suspecto, long before it became a dirty Word under Jawaharlal Nehru and a cause of legal disadvantage under the 1950 Constitution. Swami Dayananda Saraswati rightly objected that the term had been given by foreigners (who, moreover, gave all kinds of derogatory meanings to it) and considered that dependence on an exonym is a bit sub-standard for a highly literate and self-expressive civilization. This argument retains a certain validity: the self-identification of Hindus as 'Hindu' can never be more than a second-best option. On the other hand, it is the most practical choice in the short run, and most Hindus don't seem to pine for an alternative.
Decolonizing the Hindu Mind (2001)Edit
- Hindus are damned if they do, damned if they don't. (p. 97)
- In writing about India, it is all too common to starkly ignore the Hindu voice. .... The only Hinduism which they like is museum Hinduism; any Hinduism that displays a will to survive is treated with the same horror that would be aroused if a mummy were to show signs of life. (p. 73-74)
- Even Muslim activists whose counterparts in Turkey or Egypt denounce secularism as a demonic betrayal of Islam, call themselves “secularists”. Check the editorials of Syed Shahabuddin's monthly Muslim India, or the Jamaat-i-Islami weekly Radiance: they brandish “secularism” in every issue... Other Milli (i.e. of the Muslim nation) resolutions include a call for separate electorates (MPs elected by joint electorates are denounced as “lackeys of the Hindus”) and the creation of autonomous states in Muslim-majority areas.
- This effort is shared with other Indian intellectuals, e.g. with Claude Alvares who shows how “attempts were made to destroy non-Western technologies”, and until recently if not today, “even the idea that other cultures may have had thriving technologies was calculatingly destroyed.”
- Macaulay's policy was implemented and became a resounding success. The pre-Macaulayan vernacular system of education was destroyed, even though British surveys had found it more effective and more democratic than the then-existing education system in Britain. The rivalling educationist party, the so-called Orientalists, had proposed a Sanskrit-based system of education, in which Indian graduates would not have been as estranged from their mother civilization as they became through English education, and in which they could have selectively adopted the useful elements of Western modernity, more or less the way Japan modernized itself.
- In fact, India is by no means a Hindu state; it was not based on the refusal to co-exist with others, as Pakistan was; and it is not squeezing out its minorities, as Pakistan is. The best refutation is provided by the highly anti-symmetrical migration stream: the constant trickle of Hindu refugees from Pakistan and Bangladesh is not matched by a similar trickle of Muslim refugees from India, but by a vast movement of Muslim migrants from Bangladesh illegally settling in India.
- I also intend to restore objectivity. This is an urgent necessity in view of two challenges. (...) This means in practice that once you have identified an author as representative of the wrong interest group, his arguments are ipso facto wrong or vitiated. In a large part of the academic publications, this position is implicit in their way of foregoing any serious evaluation of arguments formulated by Hindu revivalists, as if the identification of the propounder of the argument as a “Hindu fundamentalist” were sufficient to put it beyond the pale of rational discourse. Thus, the Hindu litany of grievances against the inequalities imposed on Hinduism by the Indian state (which makes up a very large part of this literature) is commonly only mentioned as an object of ridicule, never of proper investigation. The second problem is that many India-watchers who have ordinary notions of objectivity (...) have none the less published books and papers on the present topic which suffer serious lapses from the normal scholarly standards. The exacting standards of objectivity are obviously a permanent challenge to scholars in any field, but this field, or at least its present-day state of the art, presents some peculiar problems. In some cases, the bias may be in the mind of the India-watcher, but the overriding problem is that even scholars and journalist who do try to be objective are handicapped in this endeavour by their reliance on Indian sources which have considerable standing but are none the less far from objective.
The Saffron Swastika (2001)Edit
- Contrary to a widespread impression, the typical victim of Hindu-Muslim violence is a Hindu. Not, of course, that this justifies any of the occasiaonl Hindu violence, bu t the fact itself deserves to be noted.
- Long centuries before any foreigner had settled in India, the unity of the country was materialized in symbols. What more suggestive than that, for instance, of Sati, Siva's consort, whose body, divided after her death in fity-one pieces, is lying still in fifty-one different places, theorfore revered as 'tithasthans', throughout the Indian peninsula? .... Kautilya, in his secular treatise on statecraft, the Arthashasatra (9:1:17) defined the chakravarti-kshetra, the domain of Vedic culture which an energetic ruler should strive to unite , as extending "from the Himalaya to the seas",.... The final editing fo the Ramayana and the Mhahabharata is not dated later than the first encturies AD, and they are fully familiar with the concept and surface of India, as are Kalidasa's Raghuvamsha and the Puranas.
Ayodhya: The Case Against the Temple (2002)Edit
- The present book is my last contribution to the literature on what is known in India as “communalism”, meaning the conflict between the different religions, principally Hinduism and Islam.... I am very fortunate in having discovered the problem at an earlier stage of life and being offered a forum where I could contribute to the research into and reflection on its causes. In terms of my own potential, I feel I have exhausted the topic and I now intend to move on (or return) to more fundamental subjects of philosophy and religion.
- Future historians will include the no-temple argument of the 1990s as a remarkable case study in their surveys of academic fraud and politicized scholarship. With academic, institutional and media power, a new academic-journalistic consensus has been manufactured denying the well-established history of temple demolition by Islamic iconoclasm to the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi site; at least among people with prestige and influence but no firsthand knowledge of the issue. But the facts will remain the facts, and their ongoing suppression is bound to give way as new generations of scholars take a fresh look at the data.
- The debate has not genuinely altered the old consensus, but it has been an interesting case-study in manipulation by unscrupled academics. That, at least, seems to be a fair description of learned publications advertising themselves as “objective” studies of the controversy, but systematically concealing the arguments put forth by one of the parties.
- After all, the call for historical proof was only launched by India’s secularists spoiling for a fight, as a dispersionary tactic... They themselves have not contributed any evidence to the search for the historical true story, they were actually demanding from the Hindu side what they themselves never provided, - indeed, never intended to provide. In the process, their ulterior motives have come to light...
- The aim of the pro-Babri Masjid historians was never to settle any historical questions. If it had been, then they would not have opposed the VHP’s request to organize systematic excavations at the site; nor would they have concealed the pro-temple evidence in their publications. Their aim was merely to distract public attention from the obvious and extremely simple solution of this controversy. The fact that this solution would be in favour of the Hindu claims was apparently unbearable to them because of their seething hatred of their ancestral religion.
- This raises the issue of a possible settlement with the Muslims, and the terms in which such a settlement should be formulated. But note that no secularist opinion leader in India nor any Western observer has highlighted these offers, let alone given them his explicit support. Their preference is with the most obscurantist and militant tendency in the Muslim community.
- Remark first of all the Christian imagery in the last sentence: “The Hindu community must bear the cross on its chest.” This illustrates what we had suspected all along: the English-speaking elite in India has preserved the mind-set of the Christian-British colonial rulers. The ruling class has borrowed its religious imagery from Western Christianity, just as it has borrowed its secularism from the anti-religious reaction in the late-Christian West. Mentally, India is to an extent still under Brown Sahib colonial domination, and the legal apparatus which denies Hindus the right to their sacred site can, in circumstances critical to the establishment’s legitimacy, still be used as an instrument of colonial oppression.
- Hindu society is guilty of trying to manage its own affairs at its own sacred site, so it deserves to be punished with administrative restrictions on its access to the Rama-Janmabhoomi, and perhaps with further judicial restrictions later. The judges simply confirm what is explicitly laid down in article 30 of the Constitution: minorities enjoy privileges which are denied to Hindus, including the non-interference by the government in the affairs of their places of worship. Hindus have no right to complain when the government takes over Hindu temples, nor when it works hand-in-glove with Islamic activists trying to take over a Hindu sacred site. They should be satisfied with the status of second-class citizens, to which they have been so well accustomed by centuries of colonial rule, Islamic as well as Christian.
- It is an old dictators' trick to associate criticism with crime and disorder, and too often we have seen secularists reduced to this sleight-of-hand of identifying rational criticism of Christianity and Islam with communal riots.
- It is not unfair to conclude that some of the pro-BMAC authors have committed serious breaches of academic deontology. For me personally, seeing this shameless overruling of historical evidence with a high-handed use of academic and media power, was the immediate reason to involve myself in this controversial question.
- The atmosphere at the conference was frankly hostile. (...) It was up to people from the audience to protest and oblige the chairperson to allow me to read out my paper. When it was my turn, I was heckled somewhat by the Leftist crowd, especially by a well-known Indo-American Communist academic, who was rolling his eyes like a madman and making obscene gestures until an elderly American lady sitting next to him told him to behave. At the end, Mathew came to collect a copy of my text (the book version, of which I had some author's copies handy), called me a "liar, and told his buddies that they needed to write a scholarly rebuttal. Which is still being awaited today.
- Had he defended the thesis that iconoclasm is rooted in Islam itself, he would have done justice to the evidence from Islamic sources, yet he would have found it very hard to get published by Oxford University Press or reach the status of leading Islam scholar that he now enjoys. One can easily become an acclaimed scholar of Hinduism by lambasting and vilifying that religion, but Islam is somehow more demanding of respect.
- One Western author who has become very popular among India’s history-writers is the American scholar Prof. Richard M. Eaton.... A selective reading of his work, focusing on his explanations but keeping most of his facts out of view, is made to serve the negationist position regarding temple destruction in the name of Islam. Yet, the numerically most important body of data presented by him concurs neatly with the classic (now dubbed “Hindutva”) account. In his oft-quoted paper “Temple desecration and Indo-Muslim states”, he gives a list of “eighty” cases of Islamic temple destruction. "Only eighty", is how the secularist history-rewriters render it, but Eaton makes no claim that his list is exhaustive. Moreover, eighty isn't always eighty. Thus, in his list, we find mentioned as one instance: "1994: Benares, Ghurid army. Did the Ghurid army work one instance of temple destruction? Eaton provides his source, and there we read that in Benares, the Ghurid royal army "destroyed nearly one thousand temples, and raised mosques on their foundations. (Note that unlike Sita Ram Goel, Richard Eaton is not chided by the likes of Sanjay Subramaniam for using Elliott and Dowson's "colonialist translation.") This way, practically every one of the instances cited by Eaton must be read as actually ten, or a hundred, or as in this case even a thousand temples destroyed. Even Eaton's non-exhaustive list, presented as part of "the kind of responsible and constructive discussion that this controversial topic so badly needs", yields the same thousands of temple destructions ascribed to the Islamic rulers in most relevant pre-1989 histories of Islam and in pro-Hindu publications.... If the “eighty” (meaning thousands of) cases of Islamic iconoclasm are only a trifle, the “abounding” instances of Hindu iconoclasm, “thoroughly integrated” in Hindu political culture, can reasonably be expected to number tens of thousands. Yet, Eaton’s list, given without reference to primary sources, contains, even in a maximalist reading (i.e., counting “two” when one king takes away two idols from one enemy’s royal temple), only 18 individual cases.... In this list, cases of actual destruction amount to exactly two...
- It is also instructive to see for oneself what Eaton’s purported “eighty” cases are, on pp. 128-132 of his book. These turn out not to concern individual places of worship, but campaigns of destruction affecting whole cities with numerous temples at once. Among the items on Eaton’s list, we find “Delhi” under Mohammed Ghori’s onslaught, 1193, or “Benares” under the Ghurid conquest, 1194, and again under Aurangzeb’s temple-destruction campaign, 1669. On each of these “three” occasions, literally hundreds of temples were sacked. In the case of Delhi, we all know how the single Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque replaced 27 temples, incorporating their rubble.
- One of the contenders in the Ayodhya history debate, the “hypothesis” that the Babri Masjid had been built in forcible replacement of a Hindu temple, had been a matter of universal consensus until a few years ago. Even the Muslim participants in court cases in the British period had not challenged it; on the contrary, Muslim authors expressed pride in this monument of Islamic victory over infidelity. It is only years after the Hindu take-over of the structure in 1949 that denials started to be voiced. And it is only in 1989 that a large-scale press campaign was launched to deny what had earlier been a universally accepted fact.
- Tellingly, they do not mention the outcome of the debate, but reiterate the ludicrous demand they made while attending the debate as BMAC advocates, viz. that they be considered “independent historians” qualified to pronounce scientific judgment in a debate between their employers and their enemies... Of course, the government representative dismissed this demand as ridiculous. Yet, the BMAC has continued to call them “the independent historians”, and they themselves have continued to demand that the VHP submit its case to “independent arbitration”, i.e. by their own kind. These two telling details of the Ayodhya debate story have, of course, been withheld from the reader in the booklet published by the BMAC team, and in all subsequent publications by the anti-temple party.
- The next meeting was scheduled for the next day, January 25. But there, the BMAC scholars simply did not show up. The unambiguous result of the debate was this: the BMAC scholars have run away from the arena. They had not presented written evidence worth the name, they had not given a written refutation of the VHP scholars’ arguments, they had wriggled out of a face-to-face discussion on the accumulated evidence, and finally they had just stayed away. Thus ended the first attempt by the Government of India to find an amicable solution on the basis of genuine historical facts.
- The fact that Hindu temple materials (14 black-stone sculptured pillars) have been used in the Babri Masjid is not an unusual feature requiring a special explanation; on the contrary, it was a fairly common practice meant as a visual display of the victory of Islam over infidelity. It was done in many mosques that have forcibly replaced temples, e.g. the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi (in which a part of the Kashi Vishvanath temple is still visible), the Adhai-Din-ka-Jhonpra mosque in Ajmer, the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque in Delhi, or, outside India, the Jama Masjid of Damascus (which was a Christian cathedral)... There are Hindu temple materials in mosques attributed to Babar in Sambhal (replacing a Vishnu temple, and dated by archaeologists to the Sultanate period, just like the Ayodhya “Babri” Masjid) and Pilakhana. Local tradition affirms that the Babri Masjids in Palam, Sonipat, Rohtak, Panipat, and Sirsa have replaced Brahminical or Jain temples. The contemporary Tarikh-i-Babari describes how Babar’s troops “demolished many Hindu temples at Chanderi” when they occupied it.
- Bhupendra Yadav’s nice little scenario is of course purely hyothetical and unsupported by any document whatsoever, but that doesn’t seem to trouble him. At any rate, after the cream of India’s secularist historians have used all their resources to create a semblance of credibility for the no-temple case, all that Bhupendra Yadav can come up with, is the hypothesis that: 1) the Hindus of Ayodhya had left the geographical place of honour in the middle of their city “vacant”, unlike the people of every other city in the whole world; 2) they had laid the foundations (the pillar-bases of burnt brick) for a pillared building which they never constructed, and waited for others to come and put these foundations to proper use. This hypothesis is pretty farfetched. But at least Mr. Yadav has the merit of explicitating what most people who deny the temple destruction scenario only claim by implication. ... This would mean that every now and then, these inconsistent Hindus or Muslims just made a hole in the ground, arbitrarily planted a pillar-base somewhere, never to build a pillar on it, then forgot about it till a few decades later, another joker repeated this meaningless ritual, coincidentally yielding an orderly pattern of pillar-bases. This is secularist archaeology for you.
- In Ayodhya itself, several Rama temples were destroyed by Aurangzeb (Treta-ka-Thakur and Swargdwar), a fact which even the official polemicists against the Rama-Janmabhoomi have not dared to deny.
- The VHP-mandated scholars have, in their argumentation, pointed out no less than four attempts where scholars belonging to the anti-temple party have tried to conceal or destroy documentary evidence. Those are of course cases where the attempt failed because it was noticed in time, but the question must be asked how many similar attempts have succeeded.
- The VHP-mandated scholars, for their part, have not been aggressive enough to take the struggle into the enemy half of the field by focusing public attention on the quality of the evidence presented by the BMAC-mandated scholars and their allies in academe and the media. That is why the latter have gotten away with creating the false impression, at least among those unacquainted with the actual contents of the debate, that the pro-temple case is weak and fraudulent while, purely by implication, their own case must be unassailable.
- It is not reassuring to watch the ease with which foreign scholars have absorbed or adopted the non-temple thesis from their Indian colleagues (whom they assume to be neutral observers) even without being shown any positive evidence. In academic circles in the West, my own restating the status quaestionis in terms of actual evidence has only earned me hateful labels and laughter, and this from big professors at big universities whose prestige is based on the widespread belief that scholarship goes by hard evidence, not politically fashionable opinions. Never has any of them offered hard evidence for the newly dominant view, or even just shown a little familiarity with the contents of the debate.
- Foreign scholars might have played the role which the Supreme Court judges rejected: that of independent arbitrators. But as it turned out, the established Western academics, to the extent that they cared to look into the Ayodhya debate at all, have only looked through the glasses which the India’s Marxist-Muslim combine has put on their noses.
- On the contrary, they have fully used their power in the media, academic and publishing sectors to muzzle the protemple voices and keep the pro-temple evidence out of public view, rather than face it and possibly refute it. When confronted with inconvenient new evidence dug up by their opponents, the knee-jerk reaction of the secularist scholars and media was to allege “concoctions”, “fabrications” and “Goebbelsian lies” at the top of their voices, and foreign scholars have sheepishly followed their lead.
- The physical danger in writing against the temple is imaginary; by contrast, it is dangerous to uphold rather than oppose Hindu activist positions. It is a fact that throughout the 1990s, many office-bearers of the RSS, the BJP and their Tamil affiliate Hindu Munnani have been murdered; but that was more because of the demolition and other political matters than because of any statements on the historical background of the Hindu claims on Ayodhya. At one point, the publishinghouse Voice of India, which has published the Vishva Hindu Parishad’s statement and several other writings on the Ayodhya evidence, has had to seek police protection for a few days, but the threats had to do with “insults to the Prophet” and not with the Ayodhya evidence.
- In terms of status and career, a non-conformistic stance in favour of the temple cannot be maintained without sacrifice. By contrast, joining the anti-temple party has always been a smart career move. Far from requiring bravery, posturing as a “committed secularist” up in arms against “obscurantist and communalist history manipulation” will only earn you praise... India’s secularist academics and journalists form a society of mutual praise, and the cheapest way of getting applause in elite India is to attack the Hindu movement.
- Future books on the affair will include a chapter on “the Ayodhya scandal”: the unscrupled use of academic and media power positions by India’s secularists to suppress relevant evidence, and the gullibility of foreign scholars relying on hearsay from Indian colleagues whose bonafides is open to question.
- There is ample archaeological evidence that the whole Ramkot hill was covered with a temple complex, as is only to be expected at the geographical place of honour in a temple city.
- The above are cases where the attempts to suppress evidence have failed. It is quite probable that other attempts have succeeded. There may well be documents containing pertinent information, particularly about the site’s history during the Sultanate period (1206-1525), which have escaped the notice of Prof. Harsh Narain (the only scholar of Persian and Arabic in the VHP team) because they had been removed in time from the places where they could normally be found. Such documents would mostly be in Persian and available only in the libraries of Muslim institutions. In some of these, Prof. Harsh Narain has effectively been denied access as soon as his involvement in the Ayodhya argument became known. How many pieces of pertinent material have been concealed, removed, destroyed or altered is anybody’s guess.
- If any proof is needed that the BMAC has been defeated in this debate, it is this: no one sympathetic to the Babri Masjid cause has made any reference to the outcome of this debate all through the subsequent years, eventhough the Ayodhya issue frequently reappeared in the news. Politicians have made a show of their “secularism” and their opposition to “religious fanaticism” by organizing “fact-finding missions” to Ayodhya and issuing statements on the dispute, but they have not made any reference to the outcome of the scholars’ debate at all. When reading about the subsequent course of the Ayodhya controversy, one might get the impression that the scholars’ debate never took place.
- A good side-effect of the Ayodhya dispute has been the increased awareness about the ongoing debate over Indian history-writing. The “eminent historians” have been complaining that the writers of evidence-based history are polluting the stream of history scholarship. Those who are too remote from the available sources or not intellectually equipped or simply too lazy to verify these claims may well be taken in by this allegation. Those who care to inquire, however, are bound to find that it the other way around: it is the “eminent historians” who have polluted the channels of history teaching with their systematic distortions.
- Given the widely acknowledged importance of the Ayodhya conflict, one would have expected at least some of the well-funded Western academics to embark on their own investigation of the issue rather than parroting the slogans emanating from Delhi’s Jama Masjid and JNU. Their behaviour in the Ayodhya debate provides an interesting case study in the tendency of establishment institutions and settled academics to genuflect before ideological authorities overruling proper scholarly procedure in favour of the political fashion of the day.
Ayodhya, the Finale (2003)Edit
- At this stage in my life, a polemic on the Ayodhya affair is essentially a blast from the past. In recent years, I have reoriented my scholarly interests towards more fundamental philosophical studies and questions of ancient history, rather than questions in the centre of contemporary political struggles. The nastiness, the personal smears, the sheer heat of this kind of debate now seems most unpleasant to me, though once I enjoyed rushing headlong into it. But the whole polemic is also a blast from the past in a less personal sense. In terms of the development of civilization, it is an anachronism... Given the importance of the Ayodhya dispute and my old familiarity with it, I felt I had to come down from my ivory tower and engage in this polemic once more. When dogmatic ideologues are giving scientists the kind of treatment which the experts of the Archaeological Survey of Indian have been receiving from the “eminent historians”, and assorted Babri Masjid lobbyists, it is time to stand up and be counted. I for one want to be counted among those who defend the freedom of research and the scientific method, rather than among those who shriek and howl about some evil spirit in whose name every lie becomes justified, and whom they call “secularism”.
- For those unfamiliar with modern Indian history: the Marxists, already pushy for acquiring as much power in the institutions as they could grab, were handed a near-monopoly on institutional power in India's academic and educational sector by Indira Gandhi ca. 1970. Involved in an intra-Congress power struggle, she needed the help of the Left. Her confidants P.N. Haksar and Nurul Hasan packed the institutions with Marxists, card-carrying or otherwise. When, during the Emergency dictatorship (1975-77), her Communist Party allies threatened to become too powerful, she and her son Sanjay removed them from key political positions but, in a typical instance of politicians' short-sightedness, they left the Marxists? hold on the cultural sector intact. In the good old Soviet tradition, they at once set out to falsify history and propagate their own version through the official textbooks. After coming to power in 1998, the BJP-dominated government has made a half-hearted and not always very competent attempt to effect glasnost (openness, transparency) at least in the history textbooks. This led the Marxists to start a furious hate campaign against the so-called 'saffronization' of history.
- As a general rule, you can predict what the secularist position on any issue will be once you know what the militant Islamist position is. From justifying terrorism to misrepresenting the Ayodhya evidence, the two are rarely very different.
- These days, much-acclaimed characters like John Dayal, Harsh Mander and Arundhati Roy lie in waiting for communal riots and elatedly jump at them when and where they erupt. They exploit the anti-Hindu propaganda value of riots to the hilt, making up fictional stories as they go along to compensate for any defects in the true account. John Dayal is welcomed to Congressional committees in Washington DC as a crown witness to canards such as how Hindus are raping Catholic nuns in India, an allegation long refuted in a report by the Congress state government of Madhya Pradesh. Arundhati Roy goes lyrical about the torture of a Muslim politician’s two daughters by Hindus during the Gujarat riots of 2002, even when the man had only one daughter, who came forward to clarify that she happened to be in the US at the time of the “facts”. Harsh Mander has already been condemned by the Press Council of India for spreading false rumours about alleged Hindu atrocities...
- The BMAC team also put forth the demand that they be recognized as “independent scholars” entitled to sit in judgment on the controversy between their BMAC employers and their VHP opponents. The government representative did not grant this hilarious demand. At the meeting scheduled for 25 January 1991, they simply didn’t show up anymore.
- Here, the supposed Hindu fundamentalists have been abiding by the findings of science, while the so-called secularists have been on the opposite side, the side of dogmatism and obscurantism.
- The existence of the medieval temple had long been firmly established. There was testimony upon testimony of Hindus bewailing and Muslims boasting of the replacement of the temple with a mosque; and of Hindus under Muslim rule coming as close as possible to the site in order to celebrate Rama’s birthday every year in April, in continuation of the practice at the time when the temple stood. None of the written sources, whether Hindu, Muslim or European, contradicted the pre-existence of a Rama temple at the site.
- This was reckless, for ... the eventual discovery of such a temple would justify a contrario the replacement of the mosque with a restored temple. At least in theory, but the Marxists were confident that their opponents would never get the chance to press this point. Under the prevailing power equation, they expected to get away with a plain denial of history... Ever since, the secularist historians have been bluffing their way through the controversy.
- Isn’t that funny: people wearing the mantle of the academic quest for knowledge who denounce the search for knowledge on the dogmatic plea that the outcome is known beforehand? ...Even back then, given all the earlier evidence, everything indicated that something would be discovered. They themselves cannot have been ignorant of this, so their opposition was a deliberate attempt to obstruct the progress of scientific knowledge.
- The party most likely to be elated over the non-finding of traces of a temple should have been the anti-temple lobby... yet it complains that the ASI team did find evidence, only it was of the pro-temple kind, hence “fabricated”. In the free-for-all of Indian secularism, we needn’t fuss over the fact that this grim allegation against the integrity of highly qualified scientists was levelled without any evidence.
- By contrast, the VHP took a very lackadaisical attitude towards the excavations, arguably the moment of truth for the temple party....It seems they trusted in India’s national motto, “truth shall prevail”, even and especially against the decibels of those who rely on propaganda rather than on the quiet convincing power of the facts.
- Just how silly can you get? While papers and columns keep on being written about the true meaning of “secularism”, shouldn’t someone try the meaning “buffoonery”?
- Most people who plan a building first conceive a plan and then lay foundations in a pattern dictated by the building-plan. Hindus, by contrast, are like perennial children playing in the sand: they put some stones in the ground here, and a few more there, then a next generation puts in a few more, all without rhyme or reason and definitely without building anything on all these buried stones, so as to keep the site empty for any incoming Muslim invaders to build their mosque on it. Fifty-three years after India adopted a Constitution which calls on all citizens to “develop the scientific temper” (Art. 51.A.h), the country’s academic positions are occupied by crackpots. ... For most human beings, it must be inconceivable to just put a pillar base into the ground once in a while, and then another one, without alignment, without any plan to make them support a preconceived building. But I suppose this has to be the secularist way of doing things.
- The existence of that temple had been a matter of consensus among Muslims, Europeans and Hindus, both nationalist and anti-nationalist, until the JNU professors issued their fatwa to disregard the evidence and deny history.
- For fourteen years, the secularists had worked hard to keep the lid on the Ayodhya evidence and they didn’t want some puny radar scanner or muddy-handed archaeologist to bring the facts to light and thereby expose their mendaciousness.
- After all the wild claims made about their findings, the experts themselves have finally spoken... In a normal setting, the ASI findings should finish once and for all the campaign of history denial by the Marxists and their Muslim camp followers. But the world of Indian secularism is a fantasy-land where hard facts don’t count for much. So, a great many diehards unflinchingly reject the findings of science.
- But the dominant position certainly is to minimize the importance of the ASI findings. This is a general phenomenon in the whole secularist press: instead of a thorough analysis and a lively debate worthy of the importance and unequivocal verdict of the report, the page is turned as quickly as possible. This is, of course, a strong indication that the report’s findings are embarrassing for the secularists because they go against what the secularists have been saying for all these years. Like spoilt children, the secularists are used to having it all their own way, and when reality interferes, they close their eyes, shut off their ears and refuse to know. And they will lie and cheat in order to prevent others from knowing.
- All very well, but we should not forget that that point could have been reached fourteen or more years ago. What the recent excavations have merely confirmed was already well-known in 1989. The only problem was the mendacious denial of the historical facts by screaming and bullying secularists. Which, in turn, emboldened the Muslim hardliners into the most intransigent position in Court, in the political arena and on the streets. Think of the riots and the waste of energy that India could have been spared if the secularists had not obstructed the course of justice (or inter-communal negotiations, or a political settlement) with their denial of the historical reality underlying the Ayodhya dispute. I venture to put forth the view that these secularists have blood on their hands.
- The findings have uncovered the material remains of historical facts, and these facts were public knowledge for centuries, viz. that a Hindu temple had been forcibly replaced by a mosque. Before and after 1989, the Hindu nationalists have simply stood by this public knowledge, while the secularist lobby led the Muslims into disbelieving their own chronicles (which amply attested their pride in having performed the Islamic duty of iconoclasm at Ayodhya) and denying the facts.
- The poison issued from the secularist intellectuals who raised a media storm against the historical consensus, the one factual certainty underlying all the political confusion...The irresponsible and downright evil campaign of history denial by the secularist opinion-makers has prolonged the Ayodhya dispute by at least a decade. Denouncing all pragmatic deals, these secular fundamentalists insisted on having it their way for the full 100%, meaning the total humiliation of the Hindus. They exercised verbal terror against Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao and all politicians suspected of wanting to compromise with the Hindu movement, making them postpone the needed steps towards the solution.... For them, it was a holy war, a jihad, just as it was for their Islamist pupils and paymasters. ... So, the blood of all the people killed in Ayodhya-related riots from 1989 onwards is at least partly on their heads. The spate of violence in Gujarat in 2002, the “genocide” about which they can’t stop talking, and which was triggered by the Godhra massacre of Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya, may well have been a late result of their slanderous effort to identify Ayodhya with deceitful Hindu fanaticism. Those holier-than-thou secularists are not so innocent... But now, the historical evidence has definitively been verified. After every single historical and archaeological investigation had confirmed the old consensus, the secularists have now been defeated in the final test. The deceit turns out to be their own. Their lies stand exposed and recorded for all to see. Their strategy to sabotage peace and justice in Ayodhya was based on history falsification. With all the blood on their hands, they have disgraced the fair name of secularism... Ideas have consequences, and so do lies.
- These riot vultures do a lot of damage to India, among other reasons because they are so eagerly believed abroad.... Since approximately the Stone Age, Engineer has been travelling to riot spots in India (butchering of minorities in Pakistan and Bangladesh somehow doesn’t interest him as much) with prefabricated riot reports invariably showing the same ingredients: Hindu pre-planning, Muslim victimhood, anti-Muslim complicity of the police and some local politicians. With the “facts” of the matter fixed beforehand, the main purpose of his visits is to note down some local names in order to give his reports more credibility. ... Undeniably, Asghar Ali Engineer remains a formidable master of disinformation. This makes him an excellent representative of Indian secularism and of the anti-temple campaign in particular.
Gujarat after Godhra: Real violence, selective outrage (2003)Edit
- It is all very well for intellectuals in their air-conditioned offices to bemoan the unbelievable impact of either mean-spirited or silly rumours in the genesis of communal riots among the common folk. But in this instance, in their own reports on and analysis of communal violence, factual data were just as shamelessly replaced with invention, rumours and conspiracy theories. In this respect, religious extremists such as the Shahi Imam have behaved themselves better than the secularist campaigners who pose as the guardians of modernity and the scientific temper. Arundhati Roy risked the international fame she so clearly cherishes by going public with blatant lies about atrocities against named Gujarati Muslim women who turned out to be either non-existent or abroad at the time of the riots. Perhaps a fiction writer can afford this, but the news media with their deontology of accuracy and objectivity made themselves guilty of similar howlers. Internationally influential media like the Washington Post copied from an Islamist website rumours about Hindu provocations behind the Godhra carnage, falsely claiming a Gujarati journalist as source, and never publishing a correction when the journalist in question denied ever having put out such a story. With such media, who needs rumors?
The Problem with Secularism (2007)Edit
- What the BJP government claims to offer, what all scholarly historians want, and what is loathed by the Marxists who have dominated the cultural and educational establishment since decades, is glasnost: openness, an end to the dead hand of Marxist dogma in Indian history-writing. However, it is quite wrong to say that the Sangh Parivar takes this job “very seriously”. It took three years before relieving leading Marxists of their influential positions (Prasar Bharati, NCERT, IHC). Most of its new nominees were not up to the job, some because of ill-health (e.g. K.S. Lal and B.R. Grover, both now deceased), some because they had never functioned in an academic setting. It should not be forgotten that for decades, at least since ca. 1970 when the Marxists led by P.N. Haksar and Nurul Hasan were given a lot of effective power in this sector in return for their support to Indira Gandhi, distinctly non-Marxist young historians found their access to an academic career blocked by the Marxist hegemons. Of the new textbooks, some are impeccable and are welcomed as undeniable improvements, e.g. Meenakshi Jain’s presentation of the Muslim period, arguably the most sensitive and controversial part of the series. Some of the others, by contrast, have been criticized or ridiculed even by fair-minded observers.
- Not Muslims but Islam is the problem.
- In addition, also in: Book Review - Saffron Wave.; Koenraad, Elst (2001 by Ayub Khan in Communalism Watch, 13 March 2003). "Sangh Parivar's Apologist", a review of Decolonizing the Hindu Mind: Ideological development of Hindu Revivalism". Let's Combat Communalism. Rupa, Delhi. ; Lucas Catherine (in Dutch). Vuile Arabieren. p. 81. quoted at Elst, Koenraad. Het VB en de islam.
- I strongly deny having ever been "anti-Muslim", for I make it a point to frequently insist that "not Muslims but Islam is the problem". However, I do readily admit to being a "fellow-traveller" of Dharmic civilization in its struggle for survival against the ongoing aggression and subversion by well-organized hostile ideologies. Only, I must add that in Hindutva-watching publications of the past decade, I have never encountered any journalistic or academic "expert" who was not a fellow-traveller of one of the warring parties.
- Distortive or even totally false reporting on communally sensitive issues is a well-entrenched feature of Indian journalism. There is no self-corrective mechanism in place to remedy this endemic culture of disinformation. No reporter or columnist or editor ever gets fired or formally reprimanded or even just criticized by his peers for smearing Hindus. This way, a partisan economy with the truth has become a habit hard to relinquish. And foreign correspondents used to trusting their Indian secularist sources have likewise developed a habit of swallowing and relaying highly distorted news stories. Usually, the creation of a false impression of the Indian communal situation is achieved without outright lies, relying rather on the silent treatment for inconvenient facts and a screaming overemphasis on convenient ones. (...) So, moral of the story: feel free to write lies about the Hindus. Even if you are found out, most of the public will never hear of it, and you will not be made to bear any consequences.(...) These days, noisy secularists lie in waiting for communal riots and elatedly jump at them when and where they erupt. They exploit the anti-Hindu propaganda value of riots to the hilt, making up fictional stories as they go along to compensate for any defects in the true account. John Dayal is welcomed to Congressional committees in Washington DC as a crown witness to canards such as how Hindus are raping Catholic nuns in Jhabua, an allegation long refuted in a report by the Congress state government of Madhya Pradesh and more recently in the court verdict on the matter. Arundhati Roy goes lyrical about the torture of a Muslim politician's two daughters by Hindus during the Gujarat riots of 2002, even when the man had only one daughter, who came forward to clarify that she happened to be in the US at the time of the “facts”. Harsh Mander has already been condemned by the Press Council of India for spreading false rumours about alleged Hindu atrocities in his famous column Hindustan Hamara. Teesta Setalwad has reportedly pressured eyewitnesses to give the desired incriminating testimony against Hindus in the Gujarat riots.
- K. Elst: Religious Cleansing of Hindus, 2004, Agni conference in The Hague, in The Problem with Secularism (2007)
- Since some ignorant dupes of these Marxists denounce as “McCarthyist” anyone who points out their ideological inspiration, it deserves to be emphasized that “eminent historians” like Romila Thapar, R.S. Sharma and Irfan Habib are certified as Marxists in standard Marxist sources like Tom Bottomore's Dictionary of Marxist Thought . During the official historians' Ayodhya temple/mosque dispute in 1991, the pro-mosque team's argumentation and several other anti-temple pamphlets were published by the People's Publishing House, a Communist Party outfit. One of the recent textbook innovations most furiously denounced as “saffronization” was the truism that Lenin's armed seizing of power in October/November 1917 was a “coup d'état”. And in early 2003, while they were unchaining all their devils against glasnost , the Marxists ruling West Bengal deleted from a textbook a passage in which Mahatma Gandhi's biographer Louis Fischer called Stalin “at least as ruthless as Hitler”. Such are the true concerns of the “secularists” warning the world against the attempts at glasnost in India's national history curriculum.
- What anti-American Muslims also fail to understand, is the structural economic reason for America's preferring the Muslim world over the fledgling infidel superpower India. The Muslim world is not very dynamic and has a lot of purchasing power, so it is the perfect market for American hi-tech (and low-tech, e.g. agricultural) products. India, by contrast, has only limited purchasing power but is a very dynamic competitor in all advanced industrial sectors. For this reason, and also to compensate the Muslim world for the permanent grievance over American support to "the Zionist entity", America is bound to take the Muslim side in purportedly peripheral conflicts, especially against India. The peptalk about India and the US being "natural allies" as "the biggest and the oldest democracy" has little impact on real-life policies. In practical terms, Bush and Hathaway are the running-dogs (or rather, to borrow another Leninist term, the "useful idiots") of Pakistani jihadism. ... In the Indian subcontinent, there is no danger whatsoever that anyone will get this impression, for the reality is too obviously the opposite. American meddlers, Hathaway among them, consistently turn a blind eye towards Hindu victims of Muslim violence, in India as well as in Pakistan and Bangladesh. America has consistently given material and diplomatic support to the very forces which have been butchering Hindus. If Hathaway wants to thwart religious "charities" promoting both "religious bigotry" and "violence and religious and ethnic intolerance", he can start much closer to home. American Baptist and Evangelical groups are financing the propagation of Christian religious bigotry of the most obscurantist kind in India's Northeast and tribal belts. Much of this bigotry has resulted in armed separatism, terrorism and ethnic cleansing of tribes refusing to become Christians.... The Indian people is not financing movements violently disrupting American society. By contrast, American citizens are financing Church activities in India which often shade over into armed separatism, social disruption of tribal societies and ethnic cleansing. The American state is arming Pakistan, and even if it were to fully stop arms deliveries to Pakistan, it still carries a legacy of having armed the Pakistani Army and trained the Pakistani secret service, agents of terror against Indian citizens and the Indian state. The guilt for keeping Indo-American relations unfriendly is entirely on the American side. If Dr. Hathaway believes in a "new partnership between our two peoples", he had better advise his Government to investigate American private support to missionary-cum-terrorist subversion and to halt every form of American state support to Pakistani jihadism. (Ch. 1)
- One of the more disturbing and sterile approaches which Hansen has borrowed from his secularist sources, is the tendency to psychologize, and to bury hard facts under a cloud of psychobabble: "construct", "identities built around a threatening other", "domesticating public spaces", "myth of Hindu effeminacy".... The book contains some of the familiar tricks known from the M.J. Akbar school of Hindutva‑smearing, e.g. just as MJ Akbar once cleverly described Veer Savarkar as "a co-accused in the Mahatma murder trial" without mentioning that Savarkar was fully acquitted and not even indicted again in the appeals trial, we find Prof. Hansen casting suspicion on L.K. Advani by describing him as "indicted in a massive corruption scandal in 1996" (p.266) without mentioning that the investigation cleared him completely of the charges (which were minor, the "massive" scandal mainly pertaining to dozens of Congress secularists, as Hansen fails to explain).
- For those who look at facts rather than at newspaper headlines, it is obvious that there is no danger whatsoever of the US giving the impression of valuing a Muslim life less than a Hindu life. Rather the reverse, and this consistently for decades. In 1971, the Pakistani Army was butchering Hindus in East Bengal by the hundreds of thousands (many times the total number of victims of Hindutva since then), yet the USA stood by Pakistan and did nothing to rein their Islamic allies in. Throughout the 1990s and till today, Pak-backed terrorists have been butchering Hindus in numerous shootings and bomb attacks and ethnically cleansing them from the Kashmir Valley, yet the USA have not used their leverage with Pakistan to stop this continuous terror wave. Dr. Hathaway's misrepresentation of this highly unbalanced American policy adds insult to injury.
- But meanwhile, the stark fact is that the continuous trickle of Hindu refugees from Pakistan and Bangladesh is not reciprocated by a symmetrical phenomenon of Muslim flight from India. On the contrary, even in BJP-ruled India, even in Mumbai a.k.a. Shiv Sena City, there is a continuous influx of Bangladeshi Muslim fortune-seekers. They vote with their feet to refute Mira Kamdar's alarmist stories.
- In India, however, "secularism" has acquired a wholly different meaning. Ever since the term was propagated by Jawaharlal Nehru, being an Indian secularist does not require you to reject theocracy and the intrusion of Religion into politics. On the contrary, every obscurantist in India swears by "secularism". The word's effective Meaning has shifted to a concern quite unknown to its European coiners, viz, the struggle against Hinduism. ... It is a different matter that the hollow and crassly superficial Ideology of Nehruvian secularism is secure in its power position because of the absence of credible challengers. With a political opposition claiming to be "positive secularists" and "genuine secularists", India's official "pseudo-secularism" has no one to fear.
- This was logical, for the site has a sacred significance for Hindus as the putative birthplace of Rama, while it had no special status for Muslims. Historical documents confirm that Hindus continued to go on pilgrimage to the site all through the centuries of Muslim occupation, while no Muslim ever went on pilgrimage there... This was a strange claim to make, for two reasons. Firstly, it was untrue. Until then, all parties concerned had agreed that the mosque had been built in forcible replacement of a temple. What is nowadays rubbished as "the VHP claim" was in fact the consensus view. Thus, in court proceedings in the 1880s, the Muslim claimants and the British rulers agreed with the Hindu claimants on the historical fact of the temple demolition, but since it had happened centuries earlier, they decided that time had sanctioned the Muslim usurpation and nullified the Hindus' legal claim. Further, numerous documents and several archaeological excavations confirmed the history of the temple demolition (with the court-ordered excavations of spring 2003 removing the last possible doubts). The sudden denial of this history by a circle of Marxist historians was not based on any new evidence but purely on political compulsions. It seems that their long enjoyment of a hegemonic power position in academe had gone to their heads, so they thought they could get away with crude history falsification. Secondly, the question of the site's history was beside the point. The decisive consideration for awarding the site to the Hindus, both for the Hindu campaigners themselves and for Rajiv Gandhi, was not the site's sacred status in the Middle Ages, but its sacredness for Hindus today. It is the Hindus of 1986 or indeed of 2004 who have been going on pilgrimage to Ayodhya, and they are as much entitled to find a Hindu atmosphere there, complete with Hindu architecture, as Muslims are entitled to find an Islamic atmosphere in Mecca. The VHP has been blamed for politicising history, but it was its opponents who complicated matters by bringing in history, and false history at that... Nonetheless, the Marxist historians had their way. In their shrill manifestoes, these secular fundamentalists slandered the genuine historians who stood by the facts, and they denounced the Hindus' perfectly reasonable expectation that a Hindu sacred site be left in the exclusive care of the Hindus. They did this with such titanic vehemence that the pragmatists were thrown on the defensive. ... Rajiv Gandhi didn't give up, though. In 1989, he allowed the Shilanyas ceremony, in which the first stone of the planned temple was put in place. In 1990, as opposition leader, he made Chandra Shekhar's minority government organize a scholars' debate on the history of the site, obviously on the assumption that this would confirm the Hindu claim. And so it did, for the anti-temple historians showed up empty-handed when they were asked to provide evidence for an alternative scenario to the temple demolition. In a normal course of events, i.e. without the interference of secularist shrieks and howls, this would have set the stage for the peaceful construction of a new temple in the 1990s, with some compensation for the Muslim community, and the conflict would have been forgotten by now.
- Mrs. Teesta Setalwad, is a convert from secular Hinduism to Islam, and she has the typical zeal of the convert. She was repeatedly caught in the act of lying during the secularist attempts to exploit the Gujarat riots of spring 2002. She even went on record thinking up a justification for the Muslim arson attack on the women's wagon of a pilgrims' train in Godhra, killing 58 innocent Hindus. A Muslim girl whom she had paraded as her crown witness in her culpabilization of the Gujarati Hindus, came out to accuse her of kidnapping and of coercing her to give false testimony in court. Of course, the poor girl stood no chance against Mrs. Setalwad's well-financed media machine, so she was convicted of perjury (which she at any rate committed, but more likely when initially toeing the Setalwad-dictated line than when recanting), but Mrs. Setalwad's insulted-royalty conduct during the whole controversy clearly revealed just what type of character gets attracted by the secularist hate industry. In these circumstances, I take it as a point of honour to find myself the target of criticism in her paper.
- Anyone who has read my book BJP vis-à-vis Hindu Resurgence (1997) will be surprised to see me described as an "advocate of the Sangh Parivar". ... Ayub Khan reveals his own outlook of political activist rather than intellectual observer by brushing aside the actual contents of these criticisms, so inconvenient to the case he is making. ... But then it is true that I haven't repeated the hysterical discourse so common in journalistic and academic writings on Hindu nationalism and the Sangh Parivar. Thus, before the BJP came to power in 1998, I had never written that the BJP would build gas chambers for Muslims or dump them into the ocean, which clearly put me outside the consensus of the experts. I suppose that in a world of partisan scholarship, where the party-line is scrupulously followed by activists and camp-followers alike, any attempt to remain objective must come across as counter-partisan, meaning partisan activism for the opposite side. .. If the media and later also the academic India-watchers had done their job, Advani could have cited many commentators pointing their fingers away from him, but in the event I turned out to be the only one. No special merit, on the contrary: I only did what was normal, it's the others whose conduct was partisan to the point of being bizarre... I agree that unabashed "polemical attacks" need not necessarily stand in the way of getting a Ph.D. in Indian Studies, but that's only if they are attacks on the Hindu side. By contrast, I have had to scrupulously limit myself to a description of certain criticisms of Christianity and Islam. However, having been pampered and shielded from criticism for all these years, Indian Islamists just cannot tolerate the experience of merely seeing certain criticisms of Islam reproduced in print. ... It is perfectly normal to discuss a pro-Hindu movement by analysing its pro-Hindu publications. What is rather less normal, though it is very much the done thing, is to discuss a pro-Hindu movement on the basis of almost exclusively anti-Hindu publications. ... Hindutva is a fairly crude ideology, borrowing heavily from European nationalisms with their emphasis on homogeneity. Under the conditions of British colonialism, it was inevitable that some such form of Hindu nationalism would arise, but I believe better alternatives have seen the light, more attuned to the genius of Hindu civilization.
Return of the Swastika : Hate and Hysteria versus Hindu Sanity (2007)Edit
- My job was not to survey other people's opinions about the Hindu movement. That would have been an interesting exercise, especially if it is called by its name, viz. a survey of outsider opinions, and not (as many such academic publications are) falsely presented as a study of the Hindu movement itself. By contrast, I endeavoured to get beyond the secondary--source and mainly hostile-source "research" that has so disastrously filled up this field of study, and focus on the primary sources instead.
- Also in: Lets combat communalism (Elst, 2001)
- Indeed, over the years I have had many a good laugh at the pompous moralism and blatant dishonesty of India's so-called secularists. Their specialty is to justify double standards, e.g. why mentioning murdered Kashmiri Pandits is “communal hate-mongering” while the endless litany about murdered Gujarati Muslims is “secular consciousness-raising”. Sometimes they merely stonewall inconvenient information, such as when they tried to deny and suppress the historical data about the forcible replacement of a Rama temple in Ayodhya by a mosque: given the strength of the evidence, all they could do was to drown out any serious debate with screams and swearwords. But often they do bring out their specific talents at sophistry, such as when they argue that a Common Civil Code, a defining element of all secular states, is a Hindu communalist notion, while the preservation of the divinely-revealed Shari’a for the Muslims is secular. That’s when they are at their best.
- Hinduism, Environmentalism and the Nazi Bogey -- A preliminary reply to Ms. Meera Nanda, In: Return of the Swastika: Hate and Hysteria versus Hindu Sanity (2007), chapter 3.
- It is only in the mid-1990s that I took an interest in European neo-Paganism, partly on Ram Swarup's advice.....I have also never participated in any of the meetings of the various embryonic attempts at creating a "Pagan international", whether the Pagan Federation, the World Council of Ethnic Religions or the World Council of the Elders of the Ancient Traditions and Cultures. But I wish them all the best, for they consist mostly of nice people and I can easily see through the attempts by so-called secularists to blacken them and to deny to them the right of international networking which is deemed only natural in the case of Christians or Muslims.
- Hinduism, Environmentalism and the Nazi Bogey -- A preliminary reply to Ms. Meera Nanda, In: Return of the Swastika: Hate and Hysteria versus Hindu Sanity (2007), chapter 3.
- The Jesuits are wiser than the secularists, who are smitten with hubris and drunk on their currently unlimited power. … The secularists’ lies are bound to get exposed one day, and their names will become synonymous with “liar”, but the Jesuits have famously perfected the art of “lying without lying”. Rarely do they get caught in the act of uttering an actual lie, even when their audience comes away with an understanding of matters that is different from the truth. ...The BBC has learned a thing or two from the Jesuits. It is often aggressively partisan but has perfected the art of creating a false semblance of even-handedness. ...Under the present power equation, where the pro-Hindu forces have almost no capable presence in the media and among the influential experts, this kind of libel against a Hindu-minded government is virtually inevitable. It will keep on happening until Hindus get their act together and their message across. On the bright side, though, we should also notice that the Hindu-hating coalition is practically admitting the hollowness of its case if it is reduced to proving “Hindu fascism” with nothing better than the misrepresentation of a provincial school textbook... The uninformed public (which includes quite a few so-called experts) may be fooled by the Hindu-baiters’ bluff, but anyone who scrutinizes the arguments will see through it. The record of BJP governance has utterly disproved the shrill allegations of “Hindu fascism”. (Ch 1)
- The claims she makes there about my own position are factually wrong and seem to be based on what Prof. Meenakshi Jain has aptly called "the Marxist bush telegraph". ... Ms. Nanda has described how environmentalism in India is often clothed in Hindu language and symbolism. Thus, in trying to protect trees, women tie rakhi-s, the auspicious red threads which sisters tie around their brothers' wrists on the Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan, around these trees. ... And then it gets really bad: ... Let's put this in perspective. Most relevant secularist school textbooks, not only in UP, contain the highly disputable claim that Islam stands for "social equality", but we are asked to feel scandalized that a similar claim is made for Hinduism and ecology. Christian and Muslim denominational schools which receive state funding under Art. 30 of the Constitution (unlike Hindu denominational schools, which are excluded from this provision for not being "minority institutions"), mix their educational task with not just the exercise but also the propagation of religion. Yet the secularists never express any objection to this massive nationwide intrusion of religion into education at vast taxpayers' expense, not even when one of them is inflaming her audience against the participation of Hindu organizations in state-funded environmental policies. (Ch 3)
- If half the length of the paragraph about a conference of traditional religious leaders in Mumbai is actually about "Nazi and neo-Nazi groups" (this even though most of the participants belonged to peoples who have suffered under the white racism championed by Hitler and hence were most unlikely to support neo-Nazism), it is likewise quite fair and appropriate to question the author's motives. ...The claim about a non-monotheistic international may be embryonically correct, though it partly stems from a projection by Marxist circles of their own working-style onto other movements. ... If so, we should wish this effort at cultural decolonization all the best. ...Nothing evil has been decided or planned there, unless Ms. Nanda wants us to believe that the rejection of Christian proselytism (i.e. the planned destruction of religious traditions through the conversions of their practitioners) is somehow evil. ... Those elders could have told Ms. Nanda a thing or two about the destructive role of the Bible-toting and Doomsday-predicting and Pagan-slandering missionaries in their respective societies. ...It remains a scandal that men of such merit are smeared with insinuations of Nazi links. And it will not do to plead that the explicit slander sentence: "The Elders are Nazis", is missing. (Ch 3)
- There are more points in Ms. Nanda's paper which are worthy of further discussion, but for now I will conclude with an observation on what seems to be her sincere declaration of interest. Among the points that "worry" her, she mentions this as the final one:... Here, she really lays her cards on the table. It is very good that, unlike many other "secularists", she does not try to be clever and claim to speak for "true Hinduism" against a "distorted Hinduism" of the Hindu revivalists. Instead, she clearly targets Hinduism itself, deploring any development which might make Hinduism "gain prestige". Let us see if I can translate that correctly: wanting something or someone to suffer rather than to prosper is what we call "hate". She hates Hinduism, and her academic work is written in the service of that hate. To me, that is not the end of the matter. As a Catholic, I was taught never to give up hope, one of the great Christian virtues along with faith and charity.... I don't mind discussing this matter, for there is nothing shameful about the day when I saw through the usual hateful misrepresentation of "Hindu chauvinism", meaning Hindu self-defence against the aggression by so-called "secular" religions and ideologies. There is nothing shameful about my outgrowing silly beliefs such as the still-widespread belief in India's mock secularism. (Ch 3)
- For the priests and medicine men of isolated pockets of resistance against christianization or islamization somewhere in Africa or America, it must be quite a boost of faith in the future to see this kind of international gathering under the auspices of the most successful resister, Hindu Dharma. (Ch. 6)
- Instead, at a time when their power in academe and the media was absolute and unchallenged by any capable Hindu opposition (as demonstrated in M.M. Joshi’s textbook reforms, a horror show of incompetence), it went to their heads and they thought they could get away with denying history. They did indeed get away with their bluff, and may well continue to do so for some more time. However, the prevalent power equation will not last forever, and one day the “secularist” exercise in history denial will be seen for what it was.’
- Guha vs Elst, 2010, 
- And yet, their sound and fury was nothing but smoking mirrors, a grand tamasha of fake moralism and non-existent facts. They claimed that the science of history could not allow the restoration of a temple that had never existed. In reality, they could not muster even a single discovery that would have questioned the old pro-temple consensus. The debate that ensued was totally asymmetrical: they demanded evidence from the pro-temple site, which was duly produced, both existing proofs and extra new discoveries; while they themselves never came up with anything. Later they were summoned to Court to divulge their expert opinions, but (as documented by Prof. Meenakshi Jain in her comprehensive book on the Ayodhya evidence, Rama’s Ayodhya, 2013) one after another, they confessed to their lack of competence in the matter. So, even though the media have kept the lid on this information, the pro-temple side has won the history debate fair and square. Of course there had been a temple, and for those who still feigned to doubt it, the temple foundations were fully excavated in 2003.
- The Ayodhya conflict solved, 20 Feb 2019 . 
- As recently also pointed out by Prof. S.N. Balagangadhara and Mr. Rajiv Malhotra, Western Hinduism experts are, with only little hyperbole, the only academic specialists who actively work for their own field of study to die. (Well, I’ll grant you the criminologists.)
- Elst, Koenraad. The Wikipedia lemma on "Koenraad Elst": a textbook example of defamation (2013) 
- In reality, the notion of an Aryan Invasion was imported into India from Europe, and its political abuse had dire consequences for India. Of course Hindus then chose to react to it. And just as naturally, they hadn’t made an issue of it in the preceding millennia, when they didn’t know any other version than that the “Aryans” had always lived in India. Noting these facts is not political, but insinuations against this objective attitude are. [..] Someone also quotes Prof. Robert Zydenbos without mentioning that he has a serious axe to grind. In an Indian Express column at the very beginning of the Aryan invasion debate, he likened critics of the Aryan Invasion Theory to the Nazis, no less, forgetting that this simile is generally a give-away of unscholarly intent, and that the Nazis themselves were very much on the side of the European homeland hypothesis, implying an Aryan invasion of India. I pointed out that this theory deserved to be called the “Hitler-Zydenbos theory”, after two of its best-known proponents. Though he had ventured outside his field, misunderstood the whole Aryan debate and should simply have admitted and corrected his mistake (the record shows that I myself always do this), he took it as a grave insult to his authority and has been nurturing a desire for vengeance ever since. On the Religion In South Asia list, he broke the list’s academic decorum by calling all Hindu nationalists, a category intended to include me, as “the scum of the earth”. On the secretive Scholarly List Services list, he (together with Michael Witzel) has been advocating censorship of me. That is always the reaction of the out-argued. Countless times I have been censored, excluded, disinvited under pressure, as well as decried and covered with abuse. Some debating partners have also disinvited themselves upon hearing that I was going to be on the panel. At any rate, my critics always try something else than the simple scholarly avenue, which would be to prove me wrong.
- Elst, Koenraad. The Wikipedia lemma on "Koenraad Elst": a textbook example of defamation (2013) 
- [About the Koenraad Elst article on Wikipedia:] Being by definition the greatest expert in the world on this lemma’s subject, I know for fact that a lot of it is mendacious. It is either your own lie or the lie of a source that you have cited or reproduced in good faith, but either way, it is not truthful. It does not follow your self-imposed requirement of “objectivity”. It describes an imaginary strawman, not me... While untruth would be a serious flaw in any text, there are moreover several aspects in your article that could fit in some other genre, but not in an encyclopedia. This lemma relies on hearsay rather than certified facts, and it mostly discusses my supposed opinions, but leaves practically unmentioned what I have actually done. If I have a Wikipedia lemma at all, it is not because of opinions, which everybody has, but because of what I have achieved. I have not merely uttered views, but also offered arguments for them, discovered or outlined facts to support them, convinced people, and very moderately changed the ideological landscape. People who consult the Wikipedia about me, probably want to know what I have done that made a difference.... Anyway, name me a single lemma that starts out with a living author’s membership of the editorial board of a trimonthly paper 18 years ago, which met 6 or 7 times in this period, and where no decisions whatsoever were taken; when the same author has written more than 20 books, some of them best-sellers or otherwise remarkable... But of course it is not my task to prove my innocence. Since you leveled a claim that is meant (and read) as an allegation, it is your task to prove you claim – or to withdraw it... One thing of supreme importance to scholars, including most writers of encyclopedias, but only a bothersome trifle to the activists who wrote my lemma, is the question of truth... It might have been different if anyone had proven me wrong, but that hasn’t happened. Lambasted and called names, often enough, but refuted, never... The conflation of two unrelated issues is another indication that you have no grasp of the subject and merely quote by hearsay a few claims made by various parties and that fit in your mission of doing me maximum harm... There is simply no excuse for this misinformation in an encyclopedia. ... Drawing attention to facts doesn’t require a political position. By contrast, your article’s insistence to present my awareness of this fact as something bizarre that needs to be boxed up into a political position, itself betrays a political agenda... If I am not, it should be easy for legitimate scholars to prove me wrong, rather than to lambast or censor me. But you fail to quote even one who has done that. You only quote their gossip and scatologism... Welcome to conspiracy country! People who have proven unable to refute me on the Indian application of the simple notion of “secularism”, now resort to accusing me of ulterior motives. ... Well, there you have it. The lemma on me has ended up taking this form because some militant among your contributors purposely wanted to “warn readers” against me. Please cite me an instruction for encyclopedists that names “warning” among the legitimate goals of an encyclopedia... Indeed it serves no purpose to take sides for or against me. But as is clear from your many readers that I have had to deal with, the lemma strongly takes sides, viz. against me. This is intentional, as illustrated by a contributor’s insistence to “warn readers”... At any rate, in a encyclopedia, I count on being judged for what I myself have said or done, and not for the gossip my declared enemies have come up with.
- Elst, Koenraad. The Wikipedia lemma on "Koenraad Elst": a textbook example of defamation (2013) 
- Please show me what is “Right-wing” about my critique of various aspects of Islam. Karl Marx said that “criticism of religion is the beginning of all criticism” (he too would be called an “Islamophobe” today), and I have taken this maxim to heart, whereas the contemporary Left looks the other way when it is even mentioned. That so-called Right-wing movements say similar things will not do; Left-wing individuals and movements have done so as well... Quote me a Right-wing sentence from my discourse (say, a rejection of democracy), or else strike these insinuations from your article.... This is in line with my oft-stated criticism of Hindu nationalism or “Hindutva”. I have consistently argued that nationalism was understandable in the context of the anticolonial struggle, but had now become counterproductive and leads to a misstatement of legitimate Hindu concerns. In fact, this is one of the points that define the specificity of my analysis of the Hindutva movement and should certainly figure in a lemma on me.... It would be more appropriate to say that I am the only Westerner who criticized the Hindutva movement all while knowing the subject. ... But the approved Western “experts” are just parrots of the Indian establishment, which in turn has historically been formed by an ideological interiorization of Western prejudices about Indian religions and society. Their position is that everything that conflicts with the conventional view must be “Hindutva”. I have explicitly analyzed and refuted that assumption at length, and if your contributor had actually read me, he would have known that and mentioned it... At any rate, the “experts” have political opinions, but because these are so dominant, these are taken in stride and often not even noticed as such. Their viewpoints can definitely not be invoked as “scholarly” let alone “impartisan” findings just because they sport academic titles. Indeed, exposing the political bias in the dominant academic output on India has precisely been one of the cornerstones of my work, and a decent lemma on me would have to mention this... One of the features typical of established India “expertise” is the conflation of the specific viewpoint that calls itself “Hindutva” (a Persian-cum-Sanskrit neologism thought up in the late 19th century and meaning “Hinduness”, effectively “Hindu identity”) with the broader Hindu activism. Hindutva, now incarnated in the mass organization RSS with its clumsy quasi-nationalist discourse, is easy to find fault with, so lazy academics with an anti-Hindu agenda call every utterance of Hindu survival “Hindutva”. It is only in this inaccurate and politically motivated sense that Wikipedia can call me a defender of “Hindutva ideology”. It amounts to siding with the trend that I have explicitly criticized – the very criticism this lemma ought to be describing objectively... I have analyzed the concept of Hindutva at length – to my knowledge, deeper than anyone else, including the “experts”. So I challenge you to give me one quote of mine that substantiates your description... In 1996, I spoke in Boston before the Union of Concerned Scientists. Upon their enquiring about what the BJP in power would do, and whether it would go nuclear, I said that it would do nothing which the “experts” foresaw (Muslims in gas chambers, etc.),... Unlike the “experts”, I am willing to repeat now what I said in 1996, because I have been proven right in every respect.... Of course I have accepted invitations to speak on Hindutva platforms, as on many others, but it is quite wrong to deduce from this that my viewpoints and those of the organizers are the same. My viewpoints are only those which I myself pronounce, on those platforms as on others. In fact, intellectuals tend to find it insulting to be described as party activists. They may perhaps inform the official doctrine of a party or organization, but it is insulting to reduce the complexity of their thought to the simplicity of a party manifesto. This is what is called a “category mistake”... To them, ignorance is virtuous; and that is the secret behind the shoddiness of my lemma too.... Since when does an encyclopedia deal in fantasies?... Anyway, this is all Leftist fantasy, and it is just shameful that this is included in an encyclopedia article... You or your sources are simply inventing this. If not, show me. And I don’t mean the gossip by my enemies, quoted on your talk page as authoritative, but an actual text by me. As the writer of thousands of pages of well-considered findings, I have a right to be evaluated on what I have actually written rather than on some vague rumours propagated by my self-declared enemies.
- Elst, Koenraad. The Wikipedia lemma on "Koenraad Elst": a textbook example of defamation (2013) 
The argumentative Hindu (2012)Edit
- Among Indian secularists, the done thing is to deny the long history of Islamic temple-destruction. Government policy is to sweep the topic under the carper whenever it raises its head, as by fortuitous archaeological discoveries. Thus, at the Rudramahalaya complex in Siddhpur, Gujarat, ASI excavation work was stopped under Muslim pressure, when temple remains came to light. When a flood brought Hindu sculptures under and around the Bijamandal mosque in Vidisha (where four successive Hindu temples had been destroyed by Shamsuddin Iltutmish, Alauddin Khilji, Bahadur Shah of Gujarat and Aurangzeb) to the surface in 1991, the ASI was likewise prevented from excavating further.
- One was the shrill and intimidating campaign of history denial by a section of partisan academics and journalists, with most Western India-watchers in their pocket. Screaming “secularism in danger!” and raising the stakes beyond all proportion, they continued to dominate public discourse until at least 30 September 2010. They managed to turn the old consensus into a mere ”claim” by “Hindu extremists”. But Rajiv Gandhi tried to call their bluff.
- Ever since I have been writing on secularism and religious conflict, and particularly about Islam, I have had plenty of mud thrown at me. What I have never seen so far is an actual refutation of my central theses.
- But the blot on the encyclopedia’s fair name is not just in the wrongness of the statement, but in its partisan and non-encyclopedic nature.... If Wikipedia wants to live up to its promise of being a reliable encyclopedic source, it will strike this and all sentences resembling it from its article on me. At most, it can use me as an example of how it was fooled by some of its all-too-partisan collaborators. Speaking of whom: the history page accompanying my page proves forever that some Wikipedia collaborators wanted to inflict on me the maximum harm possible, an attitude incompatible with work for an encyclopedia. Shouldn’t Wikipedia fire them and wipe out everything they wrote? Of course they can still contribute blogs and columns, by preference under their own full names, but they have proven themselves not to be encyclopedic authorities. ... 
- As for myself, I am my own man, not a party man. I deserve to have my viewpoints examined not on their real or imagined associations but on their merits. I want my real and stated positions attacked, not those at my declared enemies' convenience.
- But what I have written does not follow some party-line. In particular, I am anything but a “nationalist”... Indeed, I already expressed my scepticism of all nationalisms as far back as 1991, in my book Ayodhya and After.
- The Muslim electorate massively voted for Partition in 1945, drove most Hindus from West Pakistan in 1945 and the same more gradually in East Pakistan or Bangladesh, but kept India as a joint account where Muslims were not only welcome but even enjoyed certain privileges.... In the last and only de facto referendum, the last election before independence, 87% of the Muslim electorate voted against India and in favour of the Muslim League and its programme: the Partition of India. While the Hindus voted for a multicultural India, the Muslims voted against India and against multiculturalism. That is a historical fact, and Meera Nanda cannot alter it.
- Similar is also the way the French-speaking Belgians and the Indian Muslims have managed to confirm their privileges through legislation and the creation of institutions. Thus, the bolts in the Belgian Constitution to “protect” the numerical minority and prevent the majority from ever acting like a majority, or the notion of “secularism” and the Article 30 protecting only minority institutions in the Indian Constitution. For the majority, there are institutions rewarding pro-minority opinions, such as the King Baudouin Foundation c.q. the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.... A difference is of course the nature of the opponent:... Islam is intrinsically anti-Pagan and hence anti-Hindu. The Indian Muslims have killed a few million Hindus within living memory, whereas the occasion when the French killed a handful of Flemish lies centuries in the past. Or to revert that: the Hindus are being tested a lot harder than the Flemish for their patience with the other community.
- This refusal to distinguish between the stealing of a sculpture [by Hindus] and the attempt to finish off a religion is typical of the wilful superficiality and studied silliness that constitutes so much of Indian secularist discourse. [...] Till today, Hindu-Muslim riots are typically started by Muslims. If Hindus restrain themselves, the riot remains small and is not reported in the international media. Only if Hindus mobilize does it become a newsworthy riot, and those are the cases where the victims on the Muslim side can be numerous. This way, a false impression is created of Muslims living in constant persecution by an overbearing Hindu majority. A proper perspective is given by comparing with the situation in Pakistan and Bangladesh, where all Hindu-Muslim violence without exception has Muslims as perpetrators and Hindus as victims, because the fearful Hindu minority wouldn’t dare to act against the Muslims, not even in retaliation. Moreover, for every instance of violent Hindu reaction in India, there are a dozen where the Hindus control their anger.
- In reality, the Kashmiri Line of Control, with a battlefield at over 5000 metres of altitude and several wars over it, was the last thing the British wanted; only Jawaharlal Nehru could pursue a policy with this result. Viceroys Lord Victor Linlithgow and Lord Archibald Wavell told Muslim League leader Mohammed Ali Jinnah to his face that they were in no mind to divide their Indian Empire, so Jinnah had to impress upon their successor Lord Louis Mountbatten his determination by means of violence. The British only gave in when Muslim pressure grew too strong – on them, but also on the Hindu politicians, who one after another acquiesced in the Partition, and this well before it actually took place. Yet, the British are constantly blamed for “vivisecting India”, both by the Nehruvians and by most Hindu Nationalists, all for fear of hurting the Muslims by telling them the truth, viz. that nobody but the Muslim League (and its very comfortable majority among the Muslim electorate) was guilty of the Partition.
- This blaming Westerners naturally extends into the field of scholarship. Thus, the evil of Indians aping Westerners is blamed on Westerners, including Orientalists, in that they are said to have deduced many Indian achievements from foreign sources and thus hurt Indian self-esteem. E.g., even now the Dutch Orientalist Johannes Bronkhorst derives Buddhist Abhidharma and debating techniques from Greek philosophy, just as many before him allotted a pivotal role to the Greeks in developing the best of Hindu civilization, including the Buddha statue and the culture of Mandirs (temples) and Murtis (idols). David Pingree and Kim Plofker derive much of Indian astronomy from Mesopotamia. They are probably wrong, but I would plead for their apoliticism and innocence.
On Modi Time (2015)Edit
- In the very long run, of course, truth will be restored. If you can learn anything at all from history, it is that everything changes. So, the present power equation that has made these distortions possible, won’t endure forever. It is a foregone conclusion that one day, the negative role of the secularist historians will be seen for what it was. Western Indologists who chose to toe the secularist line, even against their own research findings, will not look good either. (Chapter : Ayodhya Interview 2013)
- The secular intelligentsia… could reasonably have taken the position that a temple was indeed demolished to make way for a mosque but that we should let bygones be bygones. Instead, they went out of their way to deny facts of history. Rajiv Gandhi thought he could settle this dispute with some Congressite horse-trading: give the Hindus their toy in Ayodhya and the Muslims some other goodies, that will keep everyone happy. But this solution became unfeasible when many academics construed this contention as a holy war for a frontline symbol of secularism.
- The site [at Ayodhya] is venerated as Ram’s birthplace, and therefore deserves protection by a state that calls itself secular, not because something happened there hundreds of years ago, but because this belief is alive right now. (Ch 8)
- Thus, I once heard a Hindu nationalist pleading for renaming Delhi as Indraprastha, the city founded right here by Mahabharata hero Yudhishthira. This ancient-new name would constitute a statement heard loud and clear around the world. (Ch. 9)
- However, I would like to put this criticism in perspective. The RSS and its daughter organizations do get things done. During natural disasters, RSS relief teams are always first on the scene, a fact carefully hidden from the public by the media. During the Partition, RSS workers saved the lives of Congress politicians stuck in Pakistan, often only to find that these same politicians, once safely in India, condemned “the communal forces”, meaning the RSS.... Till today, the commitment of RSS workers is such that they risk their lives for being known as Hindu activists: in some regions, Communists or Muslims regularly kill RSS workers. (Ch 9)
- The only initiative it took was the history textbook reform but, necessary as this attempt at glasnost [Russian: “openness”] after decades of Marxist mind control was, it turned out to be a glaring failure. You cannot neglect scholarship for decades on end and then expect to improve on the slanted but nonetheless professional scholarship your enemies have produced. (Ch 9)
- Moreover, the Hindu case for the Rama temple (or rather, the scholarly case) has survived a 20-year-long storm of ridicule and denunciation, only to be proven right in the end. The world media and the professional India-watchers in Western universities had all the while parroted their Indian secularist contacts and ridiculed the Hindu position. As Dr. Meenakshi Jain... has documented, when the case was finally taken up by the Court of Justice, the “eminent historians” had to admit under oath that they hadn’t studied the matter, that they were not qualified, that they had not visited the site, all while they had pontificated against the old consensus that the mosque had forcibly replaced a temple. So, Hindus can now hold their head high when building the temple, while the secularists have only covered themselves with shame. (Ch 9)
- Unfortunately for all of them, the Archaeological Survey of India (2003) and the Allahabad High Court (2010) reconfirmed the old consensus: of course, a Hindu temple had stood at the site and had been forced to make way for the mosque. So, all these Leftist efforts to impose a rewritten version of history had been in vain. Moreover, in her recent book Rama and Ayodhya, Meenakshi Jain has documented what a sorry figure these supposed “experts” have cut when they were questioned in court during the Ayodhya proceedings. One after another was forced to admit that he didn’t really know, that he hadn’t been to the site though pontificating on its archaeology, that is was all just a hypothesis. So, those were the people who had been cited as authority by all the politicians, journalists and India-watchers. If the truth of their politically motivated deception is given proper publicity, their game will be over. (Ch. 16)
- Dr. Koenraad Elst, the undersigned, is by no means a “Hindutva historian”. Daniyal would have known that if he had cared to read books of mine such as BJP vs. Hindu Resurgence or Decolonizing the Hindu Mind. In those, I criticize the organized Hindu movement. The difference with Daniyal is, in all modesty, that I happen to know what I am writing about, while he doesn’t. To be sure, he doesn’t need to do the research I have done. He can just parrot the conventional wisdom mouthed by the secularists... (Ch. 17)
- Meanwhile, the AIT has been far more associated with politics than any Out-of-India Theory. From British colonialism over National-Socialism to Dravidianism and neo-Ambedkarism, it has been politically used in far more countries, for a far longer time, and not by a handful of marginal scholars but by governments and by elites wielding political and cultural power. Indeed, if the AIT didn’t enjoy the premium of its association with power and status, I don’t think Daniyal would be supporting it. Like most secularists, he doesn’t have a clue about this intricate question and merely makes whatever the establishment says into his own “opinion”. (Ch. 17)
- To be sure, the usual suspects are bound to oppose this civilizational viewpoint. With their studied superficiality, the secularists view India as a hodge-podge of “communities”, of which a very recent one, concocted by the “Orientalists”, is Hinduism. Just as I finish this article, my attention is drawn to a French magazine celebrating the appointment of an Indian secularist historian to the Collège de France with an interview. There, he speaks out against the very notion of a Hindu civilization. The whole is not real, only the fragments are. The notion of an over-arching civilizational unity and long-term continuity may be obvious in China, and get applause there, but in India it is “communal!” (Ch 18)
- The negationist stand against the pre-existence of the Ayodhya temple was an extreme example of how the Humanities often serve to provide a scholarly veneer to theses that arise purely from political motives. (Ch 19)
- An even more damaging part for the secularists is Meenakshi Jain’s presentation of their own testimonies in court. For the first time, we get to see how one after another, the secular “experts” collapse or lose their credidibility when subjected to cross-examination. One after another admits under oath that he or she has no experience with or no professional competence on the history or archaeology of Ayodhya. Their bluff was enough to fool the mass of secular politicians and gullible press correspondents, but failed to stand up to critical questioning. The Indologists who have invoked those “experts” as arguments of authority, can somewhat restore their lost honour by publicly naming and shaming them and by apologizing for following in their footsteps and ridiculing the old consensus – rather than, at best, looking away and pretending there never was an Ayodhya controversy in the first place; or, worse, still keeping up the false allegations that once swept the concerned public opinion across the globe. (Ch 23)
- India consists only of minorities. Hinduism is a commonwealth of many communities, each a minority. One has to be very gullible (or so absorbed by “development”, as the present BJP team claims to be) to swallow this notion of “minority” with all the privileges that go with it. So, of course a Hindu government means no harm to the minorities, and should not. As an old VHP slogan said: “Hindu India, secular India”. It is only secularist propaganda that claims an equivalence between Hindu activism and trouble for the minorities: the more Hinduism, the more oppression for the minorities. This is a false projection of the Pakistani situation: the more of the dominant religion, the more the Hindu minority suffers. ... The Rajinder Sachar Committee (under PM Manmohan Singh) ruled that Muslims are entitled to huge privileges given their “minority” status, as if the Hindus have to compensate them for anything... I am not in favour of historical entitlement,... but if at all any compensation is to be paid, it is not the Hindu community that has a debt to service... From the secularists, the omnipresent “minorities” propaganda is to be expected, they will use any and every discourse that can put Hindus on the defensive. Not so expected is that many in and around the BJP have swallowed the notion of “minorities” hook, line and sinker, including even their entitlement to privileges. (Ch 32)
Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse's defence (2018)Edit
- Firstly, the communal tension in India stopped at once (not in Pakistan; in its eastern sector, i.e., today’s Bangladesh, pogroms of the minorities continued until 1950). When earlier that month the Mahatma had started a fast unto death for communal harmony, the riots in Delhi had already stopped; Hindu and Sikh refugee organizations had promised to Gandhi that they would vacate the Muslim houses and mosques which they had occupied. But this victory for Gandhian non-violence and ‘change of heart’ was wearing off, especially because new refugees kept coming; because there was still no news from Pakistan of any similar abating of the violence against the minorities there; and because many people, including Godse, were indignant at the Government’s paying ₹550 million to Pakistan under Gandhi’s pressure. But just when communal violence was about to resume, Gandhi’s death sent a shock wave through India which stopped the anti-Muslim agitation completely and ushered in a period of relative communal peace which was to last well into the 1960s.
Hindu Dharma and the Culture Wars (2019)Edit
- With my limited means, I used to assume I had something to contribute there, viz. a more accurate picture of Indian history compared to the facile or plainly mischievous assumptions that the Left has tried to instil in the next generations. Then there is the reason Sir Edmund Hillary gave for climbing the Everest: “Because it was there.” When I noticed the big power-wielders in the Indian landscape with their rope tricks fooling people on the Ayodhya temple or the Aryan debate, the adventurous White man in me was awakened to go “hunting tigers out in Indiah”. That is, at least, if you try to think up a subsconscious personal reason. My conscious reason was that so much bluff as was spread by the Indian intellectual establishment simply had to be answered and defeated... Me, I only see specific errors being made, and I am simply the much-needed schoolteacher wielding his red pencil. If that can lead anyone to his Promised Land, fine, but I don’t even look that far, I just want those errors out of the way. Perhaps Bhangi (sweeper) would be a good caste for me.
- Instead, I stand by another Sanskrit maxim. It is one that can’t be shaken by any possible context, because it is always a reliable guiding principle: Satyameva jayate, “truth verily triumphs”, “truth shall prevail”. This is from the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, and nothing in the context gives a different or contrary message. It has become India’s national motto, and I feel so strongly about it that I have put in on my business card. When it conflicts with more popular phrases, I will drop those others any time.
- Let us note finally that on this issue, Audrey’s book is representative of a wider concern to whitewash Aurangzeb. In their all-out war on Hinduism and specific Hindu ideas, the South Asia scholars tend to practise Groupthink; there is rarely anything original, they only outdo each other in how daring they can make their own articulation of ever the same position.
- I never use the word nationalism, certainly not as a model for Hindus to adopt. Nationalism is a misstatement of Hindu concerns. It leads to misconceptions.
- Koenraad Elst on Twitter 
Quotes about Koenraad ElstEdit
- On the eve of his departure, Koenraad Elst asked me if I would publish a book on Ayodhya which he planned to write on his return to Belgium, I did not take him seriously. I did not know at that time that the thirty one years old Belgian we had met was a prodigy, and that he felt so deeply about Hindus having a good case but presenting it very badly. The script of his Ram Janmabhoomi Vs. Babri Masjid: A Case Study in Hindu Muslim Conflict, was dropped on my table by the postman exactly after a month. I could not stop after I started reading it. I took it to Ram Swarup the same evening. He read it during the night and rang me up next morning. Koenraad Elst's book, he said, should be published immediately.
- Sita Ram Goel (1998) How I became a Hindu.
- Elst had much better command of political and social issues in India than I ever gained, unmatched by any western writer and researched in great detail. Elst is a thorough scholar and supremely rational in all that he does. His work on the Ayodhya movement was definitive.
- David Frawley, How I Became a Hindu: My Discovery of Vedic Dharma p. 96
- Such is his importance in Hindutva circles that L.K.Advani quoted him at length while deposing before the Liberhans Commission investigation the demolition of Babri Masjid.
- Ayub Khan, quoted from Elst, Koenraad. The Problem with Secularism (2007)
- Koenraad Elst... comes across as usual: objective and blunt. It might not exactly endear the followers of Hindutva to him, but what he says is too important to be ignored. Belgian Indologist Dr Koenraad Elst is a dangerous scholar. With a cruel pleasure the establishment media and mediocre scholars bracket him with crackpots like P N Oak and zealots like N S Rajaram. Interestingly, both the establishment Hindutva side (as far as that exists) as well as the newly emerging ‘Internet’ Hindutva types are not exactly comfortable with him. Nevertheless, when the dust settles, his books will stand as invaluable testimony and source to express the Hindutva side of things in the most honest manner possible. Blunt but honest... He has razor sharp academic rigour and an objectivity rarely seen today among the academics dealing with this particular issue... He is one person from the Hindu side who knows the webs getting woven, ammunition being forged and stereotypes being constructed within the academia that will have serious ramifications for the Hindutva movement.... By promoting this book among Hindus, discussing and debating it, we will be doing a great service to ourselves. We will equip ourselves to fight our battles better. If this book does not get the enthusiastic reception it deserves among us, then it is a sad commentary, not on the non-existing marketing skills of Elst, which he does not need, but on us — our inability to respect Saraswati.
- Aravindan Neelakandan, Why Koenraad Elst Is Important For Hindutva May 07, 2019 
- Elst has done a lot of research on Ayodhya and endeavours to provide evidence to prove the Babri Masjid was indeed built on a site that once housed a Hindu temple. He has strongly challenged views of scholars like Richard Eaton who seek to secularise the iconoclasm of Muslim rulers. The standard trope in modern historical studies seems to be that Hindu temples were destroyed not only by Muslim rulers but also by Hindu rulers as part of establishing their authority. It disregards all Hindu memory and Islamic writing that shows motivation of Muslim rulers at its core was religious, designed to replace the Hindu faith with Islam. This is aligned with Western academic anxiety at being seen as Islamophobic – no points lost if one is Hinduphobic. Elst provides the fodder to challenge this view... Both Elst and Frawley provide strong arguments to support the ‘Out of India’ theory that seeks to establish India as the true homeland of the Aryan race or Sanskrit language, claiming it gave civilisation to the world... Despite their deep knowledge of Hinduism, neither Elst nor Frawley, neither Doniger nor Pollock, believe in letting go and moving on, which is the hallmark of Hindu thought, often deemed as a feminine trait. Instead, Elst and Frawley keep drawing attention to injustice done by colonisers, goading Indians to rise up and fight, a violent tendency that is the hallmark of Western thought, often deemed as a masculine trait... Elst and Frawley follow the Abrahamic mythic pattern that establishes them as ‘prophets’ leading the enslaved – colonised – Indians back to the ‘Vedic Promised Land’.
- Devdutt Pattanaik, quoted from Elst, Koenraad. Hindu dharma and the culture wars. (2019). New Delhi : Rupa.
- One final reason for being confident is that because of the work of Ram Swarup, Sita Ram Goel, Koenraad Elst, David Frawley, and Rajiv Malhotra the corpus is now reaching a critical mass. So, that we can think that within few years we will have a library for India and a library of India.
- Arun Shourie Arun Shourie's lecture of Indra's Net.; Das, Sankhadip (3 March 2014). Transcript: Arun Shourie's Lecture on 'Indra's Net'. Hitchhiker's Guide to Rajiv Malhotra's Works. Retrieved on 24 March 2014..
- Elst, as his substantial "underground" following knows, is a linguist, historian, political scientist, prolific writer, brilliant mind and a wonderful raconteur.
- Elst, an "outsider" has done a better job than any "insider" in challenging the "official" versions of history and the politically correct rendering of events and issues in modern India. ... These students don't want to give Elst a hearing. They are afraid that if he does get to speak, he might come across as a scholar who has indeed done his homework, a scholar who has collected data and is not merely parroting fancy theory and as someone seriously and effectively able to question the "given wisdom" of the "progressive scholars." Their gratuitous use of the term "Hindu right-wing" to describe people who do not belong to their camp (the camp that now labels itself "progressive" instead of taking on the opposite of "right wing, " i.e., "left wing") shows how quickly and easily these people use the tactics of demonizing and caricaturing, which they, most of all, should know is part of Goebbelsian and communist propaganda technique. ... Elst is absolutely right in his claim that some scholars in India have "white-washed" the Muslim invasions of India. ... . Wouldn't these "progressive" students like to see Elst's works banned?! That's what they are saying, but they don't have the courage to say so explicitly.
- One wonders how he survives with 4 children... just his Indian book sales??... Obviously, the point is not Elst's private life or his unnamed children. Rather, his financing. Which is a mystery. We know that he is financed by some Indian publishers and that he gives lectures here and there. But there must be other sources. And his financing is of *some* interest, given the various VERY political stances he takes. This is not an ivory tower scholar, but a rather public figure, and we thus can take interest in his financial dealings, like those of -- ahem, much better known politicians, say Rev. Jackson or Mrs. Blair or of our great leaders here. Thus: curious... about the politics behind this. Why : to start with, obvious extremist right wing politics apart, Elst et al., are giving Indology a bad name. We have *some* social reponsibility.
- Michael Witzel, quoted from Vigil, 'Thus Spake Professor Michael Witzel A Harvard University Case Study in Prejudice?' (2006)