— Global Hindu Foundation to Government of India
Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi is a “national hero” who “fought for independence from the British” and whose reputation has been tarnished by previous governments and who should figure prominently among the new list of national heroes to be taught in all government schools.
So urges a controversial letter dated November 15, 2014 addressed to Smruti Irani, cabinet minister for Human Resources Development, and posted on the home page of savetemples.org, the website of the “Mission to Save Hinduism and Hindu Temples”. Touted as a ‘Project of Global Hindu Heritage Foundation, (GHHF) USA’, the mission operates out of the ‘Save Temple Office’ opened in Hyderabad city in June 2012.
The letter urges that the Modi government should encourage teaching about national heroes “who sacrificed their life in order to guarantee freedom for the future generations.” According to the letter Godse is one such.
“…. It is time to teach about their heroism, their love for Bharath, their struggles with British rulers, their imprisonment, their hangings and/or suffering. Their martyrdom is unparalleled and unmatched. They cheerfully sacrificed their life for the sake of the people of Bharat to enjoy their unbridled freedom with dignity and pride.” Others, who figure in this letter along with Godse who deserve to be taught about are Balagangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bipin Chandra Pal, Subhash Chandra Bose, Veer Savarkar, Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru, Sukhdev, Chandrasekhar Azhad, Vasudev Balwant Phadke and the Chapekar brothers.” Needless to say, Gandhi does not figure in the list; nor does Jawaharlal Nehru, or even Sardar Patel.
It appears that the Save Temple project is funded entirely through saffron dollars raised in the US. The appeal for donations towards the end of the letter informs potential donors that the GHHF is exempt from the US federal income tax rules. It is not clear whether the Save Temple Project is registered under FCRA.
The letter also stated that most of the books written by Marxists, Muslims and Western historians “are so slanted, abusive, hateful, repulsive and intolerable to the true history of India, so derogatory to the national freedom fighters, so demonizing to Sanatana dharma, so negligent of the contributions of great emperors to establish Hindutva, and so boastful of the Muslim aggressors as contributors to the Indian culture”. The letter extols the virtues of Subramanian Swamy for “calling for the burning of the writings by Nehruvian historians.”
The letter adds that, “We feel that it is time to fire all these left wing historians who have stabbed the Mother India for many decades and employ those scholars who appreciate the richness of the Sanatana Dharma into National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) , National Censor Board and other agencies. It is time to reclaim what is lost, revamp the whole school curriculum, and rewrite the history debunking these leftwing Nehruvian historians.”
This letter comes at a time when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s brand of history writing is attempting a complete capture of India’s institutes of higher learning and research, and also at a time when the RSS backed Shiksha Bachao Andolan is planning a national level conference at Ujjain of 200 ‘academics and experts’ to ‘review’ the emphasis and focus of the previous Radhakrishnan, Mudaliar and Kothari Commission reports. Supremacist and exclusivist brands of ‘history writing’ are making their political advantage felt with their unquestionable hold on the Modi government.
In this letter sent to Smruti Irani today, the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation has also, chosen specifically to advise the Modi government to misinform Indian children about the three sites of perpetrated conflict that have had specific import for the politics of communal mobilisation in India since the mid- 1980s, that is Faizabad-Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura. The issue of the site where the Babri Masjid, a 400 year old Mosque stood is at present before the Supreme Court of India after the Mosque was illegally demolished on December 6, 1992. The other two sites, at Mathura and Kashi, have been at the heart of the BJP-RSS-VHP-Bajrang Dal mobilisation that aims to ‘re-claim’ or ‘destroy’ the Mosques that stand cheek by jowl to temples at these sites. Presently they are governed by the Places of Worship Act, 1991 have also mentioned in a Supreme Court directive, generally protecting their status. An infamous slogan of far right in India since 1992 when the 400 year old Mosque was demolished has been,’ Abhi to bas yah jhanki hai, Kashi Mathura baki hai‘ (This gives but a glimpse, Kashi/Banaras and Mathura still remain [as the objective]).
This letter quite clearly exhorts the Modi government that, school text books, “should also teach children as to how Krishna Janma Sthala was destroyed, how Ayodhya was converted to Babri Masjid, how Kashi Vishwanath Temple was destroyed and built Mosque in front of the Temple, and how more than 2000 Temples were converted to Mosques.”
Other suggestions coming from the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation include the compulsory teaching of the Bhagwad Geeta in schools where the letter says a “….a mere chanting of few verses is enough to awaken the consciousness of the individual and maintain the balance between the body, mind and soul. In fact, it improves the brain capacity to absorb the knowledge; teach the individual the responsibility of their dharma; emphasize the importance of bhakti, Jnana, karma and raja yoga; equip the individual fearless and give the needed strength to face the problems at hand; encourages one to think and uphold the dharma to protect human existence; and so on. No age is bar to learn and chant Bhagavad Gita. As young as three year olds chant the divine song. Its message is unmatched, unparalleled and unrivalled.”
The Ramayana should also be taught since “ Rama’s name is on the lips of every Hindu. He taught us to be a perfect son, a perfect brother, perfect husband, a perfect enemy, and a perfect king. He taught us how to live according to dharma in the face of un-surmountable hurdles.
Unashamed in its motive to convert history teaching – from a vibrant discipline with specific disciplinary tools for interpretation, analysis, verification and authentication that include contemporaneous sources, an understanding of archaeology, and secondary sources, a thorough reading of ancient and medieval languages —to a politico-religious project, the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation says it would like to see “Rama portrayed as a living national hero and Indian history as Sanatani (upper caste) Hindu…. Lord Rama, who is known for his compassion, gentleness, kindness, righteousness, non-hatred, and integrity, has served as role model for all of us to follow for millennia. His respect for father and obedience to his command was unparalleled that all humanity should emulate. Guru-Sishya relationship was emboldened in Ramayana for all of us follow, cherish and nurture, especially in the modern society….”
“… Sita, Lakshmana, Bharatha, Dasaratha, Jataayu, Vali, Vibhishana, and Lord Hanuman have shaped the mind, body and soul of Bharath for many millennia. Every character teaches us how to live a dharmic life and how to establish Ramarajya where justice is rendered without consideration for the name and fame. Ramayana taught us the richness of valor, dharma, loyalty, mutual respect, bhakti, spirituality, wisdom and Jnana to be followed in daily life to uplift the spirit of human life. The message of Ramayana spread all over Asia and even today its popularity is unabated in countries like Cambodia, Java, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Sumatra, Thailand, Mauritius, Bali and other countries.”