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Koenraad Elst

orientalist, writer

Koenraad Elst (born 7 August 1959), Belgian writer and author of over twenty books on topics related to Hinduism, Indian history, and Indian politics.

Contents

QuotesEdit

1990sEdit

  • 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)

Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991)Edit

  • 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.
  • Especially the CPM government in West Bengal has been ruthlessly using the constitutional discrimination against Hindu schools for justifying take-overs. But have these organizations appealed to Hindu society to come to their rescue? Have they launched, or asked politicians to launch, a campaign to end this discrimination ? Apparently they have absolutely no confidence in the willingness of Hindu politicians to take up even an impeccably justified Hindu cause.
    So, I think Hindu politicians should make this their number one issue. Article 30 is far more unjust and harmful than Article 370 which gives a special status to Kashmir. You can better lose that piece of territory than to lose your next generations. It is also a good exercise in separating the genuine secularists from the Hindu-baiters. The demand for equality between all religions in education merely seeks the abrogation of an injustice against the Hindus, so it cannot be construed as directed against the minorities. It wants to stop a blatant case of discrimination on the basis of religion, so everyone who comes out in support of the present form of Article 30, will stand exposed as a supporter of communal discrimination. It is truly a watershed issue.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Dutch historian and indologist Andre Wink writes, referring to Prof. Sharma's chief claim to fame, his book on Indian Feudalism in the early medieval period : 'R.S. Sharma's Indian Feudalism has misguided virtually all historians of the period... Sharma's thesis essentially involves an obstinate attempt to find 'elements' which fit a preconceived picture of what should have happened in India because it happened in Europe (or is alleged to have happened in Europe by Sharma and his school of historians whose knowledge of European history is rudimentary and completely outdated)... The methodological underpinnings of Sharma's work are in fact so thin that one wonders why, for so long, Sharma's colleagues have called his work 'pioneering'.
  • 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.'
  • ...H.K. Srivastava, made a proposal to attack the problem of communal friction at what he apparently considered its roots. He wanted all press writing about the historical origins of temples and mosques to be banned. And it is true : the discussion of the origins of some mosques is fundamental to this whole issue. For, it reveals the actual workings of an ideology that, more than anything else, has caused countless violent confrontations between the religious communities. However, after the news of this proposal came, nothing was heard of it anymore. I surmise that the proposal was found to be juridically indefensible in that it effectively would prohibit history-writing, a recognized academic discipline of which journalism makes use routinely. And I surmise that it was judged politically undesirable because it would counterproductively draw attention to this explosive topic. The real target of this proposal was the book Hindu Temples : What Happened to Them (A Preliminary Survey) by Arun Shourie and others. In the same period, there has been a proposal in the Rajya Sabha by Congress MP Mrs. Aliya to get this book banned,... The really hard part of the book is a list of some two thousand Muslim buildings that have been built on places of previous Hindu worship (and for which many more than two thousand temples have been demolished). In spite of the threat of a ban on raking up this discussion, on November 18 the U.P. daily Pioneer has published a review of this book, by Vimal Yogi Tiwari,.... "History is not just an exercise in collection of facts though, of course, facts have to be carefully sifted and authenticated as Mr. Sita Ram Goel has done in this case. History is primarily an exercise in self-awareness and reinforcement of that self-awareness. Such a historical assessment has by and large been missing in our country. This at once gives special significance to this book."
  • That the Babri Masjid replaced a pre-existent centre of worship, is also indicated by the fact that Hindus kept returning to the place, where more indulgent Muslim rulers allowed them to worship on a platform just outside the mosque. This is attested by a number of different pieces of testimony by Western travelers and by local Muslims, all of the pre-British period, as well as from shortly after the 1856 British take-over but explicitly referring to older local Muslim sources. A number of these documents have been presented by Harsh Narain and A.K. Chatterjee. That they are authentic and have a real proof value, is indirectly corroborated by the attempts made to make two of them disappear, which Harsh Narain and Arun Shourie independently discovered.
  • 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.
  • It is very clear to an unbiased reader that the Gonda carnage has started with a pre-meditated attack on the procession. Going by the original newspaper reports, some Janata Dal miscreants affiliated with Muslim party leaders were the aggressors, and the processionists were the victims. However, it is in the nature of aggression that the victims get the blame. Thus, a rapist will usually say that the girl had asked for it, that she had provoked him. Here too, it is not stated simply that the processionists were attacked. Rather, it is said in goonda-speak, approvingly broadcast by the secularist press, that the procession has provoked violence and caused riots.
  • 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 cheap excuse for a pre-planned bomb attack is even contradicted by other information in the same article.... This case proves that newspapers keep on blaming the slogan-shouters even when it is crystal-clear from their own information that the violence was premeditated and engineered by the other side.
  • When today Muslim goondas create a riot in Bhagalpur or in Gonda, the secularist press will obscure this beginning (in both cases bombs thrown from Muslim establishments at Hindu processions) and highlight the ensuing Hindu part of the violence. Some M.J. Akbar will poignantly describe the suffering of some Muslim villagers, and then blame the atmosphere created by the Rathyatra in some distant town, without even mentioning that the riot started with a pre-planned armed attack on a Hindu procession. (...) Not only do you gain on the propaganda front, the press may even come out in support of your demands. For some time, Muslim communalists have demanded a ban on processions. More than 95% of religious processions are Hindu processions anyway, for processions are a thoroughly Pagan practice which in Islam can only be a heterodox oddity. (...) A very good illustration is the next and very important demand of the Muslim communalists : a larger than proportionate reservation for Muslims in the army and the police...
  • 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.
  • For the sake of national integration in India, it is imperative to set the record straight, to reverse this process of absolutizing any minor difference in identity into a separatist claim to a nation-state. In the specific case of the Sikhs, the obvious fact should be made clear, that Sikh identity is integrated in a hierarchy of differentiation within Hinduism : it is a Bhakti sect within the broad Vaishnava tradition within Sanatana Dharma.

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, geunine 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.
  • 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 incompetent. 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.
  • 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 Pakastani 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 attituide among sections of the Muslim population, egged on by nothing except the omnipresent Islamic doctrine.

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.
    • Also quoted in Altered Destinations: Self, Society, and Nation in India by Makarand R. Paranjape

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.
  • 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."

2000sEdit

  • 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 [1]
  • 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) [2]

Who is a Hindu, (2001)Edit

 
In the West, secularism implies pinpricking religious fraud and arrogance, but in India, secularists are the most eloquent defenders of myth and theocracy.
  • 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 âdivâsî 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."

Decolonizing the Hindu Mind (2001)Edit

  • The classic example given is the Shah Bano case of 1985: repudiated by her husband, the Muslim woman Shah Bano went to court to force him to pay alimony, which Islamic law forbids; the Supreme Court upheld her claim on the basis of equality before the law (Hindu women would have the right to alimony in her case), but under Muslim pressure, Rajiv Gandhi's Congress Government voted a law overruling the verdict and reaffirming the Islamic rules on divorce, at least for Muslims.
  • 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.

Ayodhya: The Case Against the Temple (2002)Edit

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sri Aurobindo, for one, insisted on the radically different spirit in Sikhism as compared with Islam: 'Those ways of Indian cult which most resemble a popular form of Theism, are still something more; for they do not exclude, but admit the many aspects of God. (...) The later religious forms which most felt the impress of the Islamic idea, like Nanak's worship of the timeless One, Akla, and the reforming creeds of today, born under the influence of the West, yet draw away from the limitations of western or Semitic monotheism. Irresistibly they turn from these infantile conceptions towards the fathomless truth of Vedanta.' (Sri Aurobindo: Foundations of Indian Culture, p.135)
  • 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.

Ayodhya, the Finale (2003)Edit

  • 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.

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.
  • 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”. 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.... 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.
  • 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.

Return of the Swastika (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.

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
  • Elst, as his substantial "underground" following knows, is a linguist, historian, political scientist, prolific writer, brilliant mind and a wonderful raconteur.
    • Prof. Ramesh N. Rao, in Review of The Saffron Swastika - The Notion of Hindu "Fascism" [3]
  • 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.
    • Prof. Ramesh N. Rao, in Review of Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society [4]

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