While Kapil Sibal's motive for censoring the social network is an obvious attempt to guard his political Goddess, Justice Katju towing his line raises questions about what is meant by religious sentiments or whether they consider Hinduism as a religion at all.
If Mr Katju thinks that as per section 153A of the IPC, it is a criminal offence to promote, or attempt to promote disharmony, feelings of enmity or hatred or ill-will between different religious communities or groups, or commit an act of prejudice against different religious groups or communities, what is his take on his own statement in a judgement on a Bhil woman of a 'historical injustice' by tarnishing the Mahabharata story on Ekalvya? Though I have great respect for this Judge on his notions on Mimamsa and Yajnavalkya smruthi as well- made sources for Justice system in our country for over 2500 years, did he not slip in his understanding of Ekalavya episode that happened 5000 years ago?
Were not his observations on the Mahabharatha- story of Ekalavya of continuing injustice to tribals, a prejudice on the Great Hindu Epic itself? When the judge himself says so, to whom we will go for justice to our sentiments?
Such observations from the Judges are not new to us. Yet another judge observed that Krishna was in live-in relationship with Radha! Does it not constitute an assault on Hindu religious sentiments? Or do these Judges think -like secular politicians -that one can go on hitting Hindu beliefs as they liked?
I very much appreciate the observation by Justice Katju that religious figures should not be depicted in offensive or pornographic ways. Won't he say the same for MF Hussian's works on Hindu gods? Why do people call it as 'freedom of speech / art' when Hindu Gods are painted in bad light, but not say the same thing for other religions? For example, why do they invoke freedom of speech / expression for AK Ramanujan's 300 Ramayanas while one can not imagine atleast 2 Christs or 2 Bibles or 3 Mohammads or 4 Korans- written in the first place and making them compulsory for reading in Colleges?
Our so-called intellectuals would argue that there are not many versions of Bible or Koran as there are Ramayanas. From time immemorial, there is only one Ramayana – the one written by Valmiki which is being considered as the book of Vedas and is revered in Pooja by millions of Hindus even today. Tulsidas Ramayana also is being respected by millions of people. Apart from these two, no other version – nor even Kamaba Ramayana is given a sacred status. (Kamba Ramayana in Tamil is treated more as a literary piece than as an object of worship). If they want to study, let them study these versions which provide vast scope for many insights to be grabbed.
While Ramayana enjoys such a status of worship among the Hindus, is it right to reduce its relevance by bringing in all the unknown and unheard stories on Ramayana and make it a part of studies? Would anyone from the congress party or the elitists such as Katju, introduce such a book on Christ or Mohammad in the syllabus anywhere in India? They will not. Why this double standard when Hindu sentiments are involved?
Worst part of it is that Judges have a penchant to make such belittlement of Hindu Thought. In 2008, while dismissing the petition to withdraw AK Ramanujan's book from the syllabus of Delhi University, the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court made a reference to Keemayana, made by Periyar as being very popular in Tamilnadu!! It is left to the judge to tell us how that book is popular or how many copies of Keemayana are available in Tamilnadu and how many people have read them! If someone says that Keemayana is popular in Tamilnadu, that itself is the proof of extreme antagonism against Hinduism.
What are the articles of IPC to deal with these observations?
Or do they consider that Hinduism is not a religion at all, so that they can keep on talking and writing whatever they wished?
PS : Given below are 3 articles on (1) the objectionable note on Ekalavya, (2) the real story of Ekalavya and (3) the events and observations by the Delhi High court in dismissing the petition seeking withdrawal of AK Ramanujan's book.
Monday, 10. January 2011 - 7:59 PM
First, the facts of the case as reported by the Slimes of India.
The case before the court related to four persons beating up a young Bhil woman and then parading her naked in the village. They were convicted by a trial court in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, and sentenced to one-year imprisonment. However, Aurangabad bench of the Bombay HC acquitted them. The SC bench, while allowing an appeal and upholding the conviction and sentence, expressed surprise over Maharashtra government's silence in not filing an appeal against such a incident.
Check one. All good. Next.
The bench lavished praise on tribals and proclaimed them to be superior to non-tribals in many ways, stressing that it was time the present generation stopped robbing them of their forests and hills…
Check two. Good again. Next is where it gets a little problematic.
To understand where the problem lies, we need to reread the previous sentence in full.
The bench lavished praise on tribals and proclaimed them to be superior to non-tribals in many ways, stressing that it was time the present generation stopped robbing them of their forests and hills and undo the historical injustice inflicted on them.
The Honourable Supreme Court's mention of "historical injustice" dates all the way back to about 5000 years ago, specifically to the time of the Mahabharata.
Dronacharya, Guru of Pandavas and Kauravas in the epic Mahabharata, came in for some harsh contemporary scrutiny in the Supreme Court, with the apex court terming as shameful his action in seeking the right thumb of tribal Eklavya to clear the way for his favourite, Arjun, to emerge as the best archer of the times. "This was a shameful act on the part of Dronacharya. He had not even taught Eklavya, so what right had he to demand 'guru dakshina', and that too of the right thumb of Eklavya so that the latter may not become a better archer that his favourite pupil Arjun?", asked a bench comprising Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra. For them, the episode in the Adiparva section of the immortal epic constituted the "well well-known example of the injustice" to tribals.
It's quite interesting how the Venerable Judges used exactly one episode from the epic to draw this astonishing conclusion. A holistic judgement would, in my unlearned opinion, consider how the tribals were viewed and treated in the entire epic, the attitudes of the general public towards tribals in those days, and the history of tribal oppression in India at various points in time. Instead, Their Honours ruled that tribals have always been subjected to injustice.
Ancient India since the establishment of different forms of governments (for an instructive read, I recommend Jayaswal's Hindu Polity) has always made provision for the just, fair, and respectable treatment of the tribals. The Arthashastra for instance makes elaborate recommendations for the preservation of different kinds of forests–majority of today's concepts of wildlife conservation can be traced back to Kautilya's strictures for preserving the Abhaya Aranya, Nagavana, etc. Equally, he also stressed on the need to protect, safeguard and grant a dignified life to the suppliers of forest produce like honey, animal skin, elephants, timber, flowers, medicinal plants, and so on. He recommended awarding exemplary punishment to any person who harmed an innocent tribal. From a more pragmatic perspective, it made sense for a king to have tribals on his side. These fierce men had access to the remotest recesses of the forest and often acted as guardians of a kingdom's border. Antagonizing them meant certain defeat at crucial moments in a battle. For a somewhat poetic description of their role and importance and how they were pampered, I recommend reading Ta Ra Su's Durgastamana where they help win several battles for the last Madakarinayaka of Chitradurga. And this is as late as the 18th century.
In general, the conclusion is unmistakable: the tribals weren't always oppressed. Additionally, several researches have traced the antecedents of many of today's tribals to various royal dynasties who fled into the jungles to escape the tyranny of Muslim rule. An accurate estimation of the history of tribal oppression on a relatively large scale can be traced to the British who began to unsurp India's resources like there was no tomorrow.
Dronacharya's act was definitely condemnable but using that as a kind of precedent for oppressing tribals is far-fetched. Additionally, Dronacharya's heinous act wasn't a injustice against tribals per se. The most crucial point in the entire episode is Drona's motive, which as Their Honours rightly say, was to prevent Ekalavya from becoming "a better archer that his favourite pupil Arjun." Had Ekalavya not been a tribal but a proper Kshatriya and given the same circumstances, would Drona's demand be any different? An epic like Mahabharata deals with the most fundamental human impulses and motivations. Greed, avarice, lust, ambition, and power are gender, caste, and class neutral.
Injustice to tribals is a real, burning and festering problem in India and it needs to be tackled with the proverbial iron fist. But like with most such problems the iron fist, which is political will, is missing because in most cases those that need to wield that will are themselves the perpetrators. Nothing short of exemplary punishment needs to be awarded to the human scum that paraded the poor woman naked. A year in prison is really, nothing. The Honourable Court also needs to recognize the fact that tribals are far more brutally oppressed in independent India–and get little if no justice–than they were in the time of Dronacharya.
While the Honourable Judges have upheld the conviction, the said conviction would've stood on its own merit without the reference to the Mahabharata, which is both incorrect and unnecessary. A woman's dignity has been violated in a worst manner and it deserves strict punishment. Would it be okay if the said woman wasn't a tribal but say, a student of for example, St. Stephen's college? But then we live in an age of social justice and blanket, thoughtless pity and glorification of anything that remotely sounds like it's oppressed and tribal and Dalit and the rest; and in an age where the media, jholawallahs, and Nobel Prize-winning economists-turned-Pontificators of Universal Wisdom relentlessly clamour for the release of the likes of Binayak Sen and think nothing of abusing the judgements of a court of law. It's only reasonable that courts do get influenced by the general atmospheric toxicity. The SC's judgement–with all my due respect–that unfairly drags Drona's name is perhaps a result of the spread of the said toxicity.
Full text of SC judgement is at http://www.thehindu.com/multimedia/archive/00351/Full_Text_of_SC_jud_351589a.pdf
Ekalavya – the Legend
TR Narasimha Rao
"The Mahābhārata is especially the most invaluable work to Indian History and it is not much to say that this work has not as yet been even properly read by the Westerners." ----- Swami Vivekananda
"The Bhagavad Gita is not as nice a book as some Americans think…Throughout the Mahabharata ... Krishna goads human beings into all sorts of murderous and self-destructive behaviors such as war ... The Gita is a dishonest book ----- Wendy Doniger
Abstract: Some western Indologists, particularly in the last two or three decades, have gone berserk and into abusive and denigrating modes when it comes to Mahābhāratam and also Ramāyaņam. This short paper concerns mainly with the story of Ekalavya. Most tell-tale stories, copied of as authoritative by Indologists are incomplete and replete with innuendos. We present a narrative of Ekalavya in Hindu tradition and flagging the gaps in our knowledge of our ancestors by researching through Harivamsa parvam of Mahabharata, the Magnum Opus of India.
Ekalavya story: There were many narratives, many variants [1, 2, and 3] and twists to the Ekalavya story, but a popular version runs like this. Ekalavya was a Nishāda tribal lad. He wanted to become the best in dhanurvidya/dhanurveda (the use lethal weapons and science of arms) Hearing the reports of Droņa Acharya's skills, he went and fell at the feet of the renowned guru, introduced himself as son of Hiraņyadhānu and asked with all humility to accept him as his disciple.
The wise Droņa saw the tribal boy of Nishāda, and observed his lineage and refused to accept him, telling him that he had undertaken to train kshatriya princes. He was inadmissible in such schools, because it was no school for foundlings and whose antecedents were doubtful. Ekalavya was deeply disappointed, but understood the guru's answer. He bowed to the feet of the master and returned to the jungle in his kingdom. He made a clay statue of Droņa, and with utmost reverence and dedication to the statue, he worshipped it and practiced with intense concentration his archery and warfare keeping the image of Droņa, his virtual guru, in front of his practice. In course of few years, he became tremendous in dhanurvidya, a second to none. One day the Pāndavā princes went into the same forest hunting with their dog. As the dog went astray and started barking at a place close to Ekalavya in his leopard skins. Ekalavya, desirous of exhibiting his lightness of hand, sent seven arrows into its mouth and it was silenced. As Pandavaas came to see this dexterity and skill in archery, they asked him of his guru that taught him archery. Ekalavya proudly announced that he was Droņa's disciple and it was all his guru's blessings. They were shocked and went back to the master and narrated the amazing feat of Ekalavya. Arjuna asked: "Master, you have promised that there can never be a disciple of yours better than me in dhanurvidya; (sarveshāmeva shishyānām babhuuvābhyadhikorjunah, Bhārata. Adi 131.13) . Here is a disciple of yours superior to me." Droņa was then led to Ekalavya and there the humble disciple rushed and fell at the feet of his guru. His joy of tears washed the feet of the master. Droņa, after ascertaining the facts, asked his disciple to give him the obligatory guru dakshina (the gift to guru on graduation). Ekalavya offered to give with joy anything his guru ordered him. "Then, give me your right thumb," came the circumspect demand. Ekalavya, instantaneously, without even a moment's hesitation, took a curved arrow and chopped of his thumb and cheerfully presented it to his master. Then Ekalavya could never be equal to Arjuna and Droņa was able to keep his promise made to Arjuna. Droņa and Arjuna satisfied with the result went back to Hastinaapuram. That is how the short narration of "Ekalavya chops off his thumb" ended in most books. But there is much more to it, read on.
Droņa was perplexed and humbled by the monotypic devotion, and the great sacrifice of Ekalavya. He went back to Mt. Raivata and graciously embraced his new disciple. He taught him on how to string the bow and release the arrows with the middle and pointing fingers. Though the thumb was not there, Ekalavya used forefinger and middle finger to grasp bowstring and arrow with knuckled fingers, to shoot his target perfectly. Even today the Bhill tribals of India, whose idolatry hero is Ekalavya, shoot their arrows in this way to fell a pray. Droņa taught Ekalavya astra vidya (of missiles and divine weapons) and blessed that the name Ekalavya will remain as a Legend for all eternity. Today we have over 100,000 Ekal vidyalaya one-teacher schools in many tribal areas of India. [See www.ekal.org]. Will ever there be a greater honor a nation can bestow on a tribal lad? Ekalavya narrative also explains how vanavaasi bandhu constituted the Hindu samaajam.
This aspect of Droņa's reaching Ekalavya on Mt.Raivata and giving him astras (missiles) is altogether an unknown point to pseudo-scholars of Wendy and her children. Nobody bothers for this because none erases the image of Droņa as a monstrous teacher who asked for the thumb of his disciple . Everthing will have a reason as explained later.
For a complete story of Ekalavya, now we visit sections of Harivamsa parvam [4, 5] of Mahābhāratam. The author narrates relevant sections from the Telugu translation of Harivamsam by poet Errāpragada (the last of the Telugu Mahaa Kavitrayam)  and valuable discourses of Desiraju Hanumantha Rao .
Ekalavya's genealogy: It goes a long way to the asuras of Tretāyuga of Rāmāvatāra period. Many rākshasās conquered by Šri Rāma vowed to fight and destroy him in their next avatāra (rebirths). As found in Adiparvam of MB, Chapter 67, stanzas 59-66 , many of them were born in Dwāpara yuga as kings and princes and some as close relatives of Šri Krishņa and carried forward their asuric nature and hatred to Šri Krishņa . Ekalavya was one such character. Yerraapragada  lists, in one section under vrishni vamsam, the five sisters of Vasudeva (the father of Šri Krishņa) as Šrutakirti, Šrutadeva, Šrutasya, Pŗdha and Rajādhideva (, pages 18-19). The sons of these five paternal aunts of Šri Krishņa were Dantavaktra, Ekalavya, Šisupāla, Pāndavās, Vindānavindās respectively. Pāndavās, the sons of Pŗdha (a.k.a Kunti devi – the adopted daughter of King Kunti Bhoja) were the only cousins of Sri Krishņa who were devoted and loyal to him. All other cousins carried deep hatred and enmity to Sri Krishņa. The scholarly translation of Harivamsam in English by Desiraju Hanumantha Rao  is an important reference here. The details of Vrishņi vamsam [5, Chapter 34] here concur very much with Errāpragada's Telugu version except for some minor differences. In , however, we find an unconfirmed story that the second son of Hiranyadhanu and Šrutadeva (King and Queen of Kekaya) was, for some reason, discarded in his infant stage, and was brought up by tribal people in Nishada, a tribal kingdom. The tribal people named him Ekalavya.
Cousins of Šri Krishņa: Ekalavya, endowed with the power of astras given to him by Droņa, joined Jarāsandha of Magadha and waged several bitter wars against Sri Krishna at Madhurā, the original capital of the Yādava Kingdom. Šri Krishņa defeated and killed Ekalavya in a battle prior to Mahabharata war. This was mentioned in Droņa Parvam of Mahābhārata by Sri Krishņa himself (Ch.182-21). Šisupāla, the son of Šrutasrava, had the roots coming from the daitya king Hiraņyakasipu (of Nŗsimha avatāra). He was killed by Šri Kishna during Rājasuya yāga of Yudhishtira in Indraprasta. The cousin, Dantavktra was killed by Krishna in a subsequent battle , [10th Canto, Chapter 78, Mahā Bhāgavata Purāņam]. Vinda and Anuvinda were killed by Arjuna during fourteenth day of Mahābhārata war. Krishna narrates to Arjuna during Mahābhārat war, Karma parvam after the death of Ghatodgacha, as follows:
'Undeprived of thumb, Ekalavya, O Partha, was incapable of being vanquished in battle by the gods, the danavas, the rakshasas, and the uragas (together).'
Krishna continues: "I myself had a hell of a fight with that thumb-less fellow before I disposed him. Suyodhana would have gladly recruited him to fight us." Ekalavya's expertise in mace fight and archery is narrated in seven chapters of Harivamsham, 93 to 99. He stalls no less than Balaraama.
Ekalavya was indeed the noblest of very noble characters, albeit of his asuric genealogy. He did not keep hostility or grudge against Droņa who refused to take him as a disciple. He kept such deep respect and reverence to the clay statue of his guru deva and worshipped it. He earned the grace of his guru and became a great archer second to none. That speaks volumes of the power of deep faith even in a statue. The guru had to keep his promise to Arjuna on whose valor rests the future of Kuru dynasty and so had to ask a ghastly guru dakshina. Ekalavya could have easily denounced Droņa for refusing to teach him and later for asking his thumb as dakshina. Instead he gave cheerfully his thumb and bowed at the feet of his guru. That devotion to guru is unmatched in the annals of all purānās.
Ekalavya is the guiding role model defining the guru-sishya parampara in Hindu tradition which is governed by dharma, the global ethic, which is the ordering principle in the studies related to the cosmos, samājam and individual consciousness. In Hindu purānās, there were many noble characters also among asurās (Bali Chakravarti, Vibhishaņa, Jarāsandha, to name a few). The Daitya Emporer Bali gave the promise of three feet of land to Bhagavaan Vāmana, who came as a little Brahmin boy (Lilliputian). When his guru Shukra ācharya, asked him to break his promise, Bali said keeping his promise is more important than his own life and his empire, and so obliged himself to be killed by Vāmana.
We can find several posts (0020490071 – 73 – 81 - 83) of Desiraju  in mahābhārata_study at yahoogroups:
'I think it is we who are nurturing a grouse against the thumb-cut scene, while that ekalavya is happily rubbing shoulders with Paandavaas. He is bringing chappals (shoes) to dharmaja, at the time of anointment after raajasuuya yaaga, with the same thumbless hand."
'And the king of the Southern country stood ready with the coat of mail; the ruler of Magadha, with garlands of flowers and the head-gear; the great warrior Vasudana with a sixty years old elephant, the king of Matsya, with the side-fittings of the car, all encased in gold; king Ekalavya, with the shoes; the king of Avanti, with diverse kinds of water for the final bath…'
Droņa Acharya had the vision to see in Ekalavya, the danger he would pose to his dear Pāndavās, who were born to uphold dharma. That was the reason for his refusal to accept Ekalavya as a disciple. Many Western Indologists  give a communal, castist twist to the story. Wendy Doniger [3, pages 288-9] heaps every kind of insult on Drona for asking a "grotesque" demand of "retroactive tuition", and so on. The professor, with her half-knowledge of MB and total ignorance of Harivamsam jumps to extreme conclusions on Drona's character. She brings in theories on dogs and Nishadas, high caste-low caste verbiage through out the book in rather grotesque form. Ekalavya was a prince of Nishāda, a tribal kingdom, and he was a cousin of Krishna and also of Arjuna. He was half-brother of mighty Kiichaka and his sister Sudeshna, the Viraata queen. How ugly the Wendy jumps up and down on caste equations in every situation! Should they not take some time to read Harivamsam or at the least go to Yahoo groups on MB to acquire some education before writing volumes? The Yādavās, the Andhakaas of MB were not of high caste, but were kshatriyas by virtue of their rulership and so was Ekalavya. If one cares to extend the kshatriya concept to present day politics of India, the Yādavs, Reddys, Drāvida Kazagamites (Karunānidhis), Dalit Mayāvatis are all kshatriyās. Unfortunately these kshatriyās, the ruling class, most of them are utterly corrupt adharmic creed. The authors of the two great epics, Vālmiki of Ramāyana and Vyāsa of Mahabharata, were born in very low caste, but became Maharshis, higher than the highest of Brāhmanās. Kodandaramayya  in his Introduction, page XXXVI, gives historical events and describes Droņa as a very noble Achārya, as one who accepted Karņa, a sūta putra, as his disciple (see ). This is confirmed in Šanti Parvam, wherein Sage Nārada consoled Yudhishtira when he was weeping about the death of Karņa thinking that he was not aware of the fact that he was his brother. In that context, Nārada confirmed in Santi Parva, Chapter-2.5 saying:
"Highly energetic that child became known as a Suta, subsequently learnt the science of arms from the preceptor (Drona), that foremost of Angirasa's race."
Regarding Dhrstadyumna, Droņa heard that Drupada secured a boon and accordingly he was blessed with a son who is ordained to kill him. Hence, he himself voluntarily summoned him and taught him all weapons. (See Ch.169-55 & 56 M.N. Dutt.)
The writers, the Wendy types, with their half-knowledge see perversely and write contemptuously to advance their casteist narratives. Her writings prove the adage: "Half-knowledge is dangerous." Similarly, Doniger  denigrates Aswamedha yāga by a vulgar translation as 'Horse Sacrifice' and ignores the vedic scriptural side of this greatest of great yāgās. A narrative from Ashwamedha parvam of MB  will be a worthwhile reading and also a good topic for a future conference on Mahābhāratam, the Magnum Opus of India.
For a better understanding of the characters mentioned here, the reader may consult reference  or . The words, asuric, rakshasa, daitya and demonic are synonyms here for simplicity.
 Justice P. Kodandarāmayya, The Message of Mahābhārata, the Nation's Magnum Opus, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai, Arsha Vijnana Trust, Hyderabad, India, 2006
 Kamala Subramanyam, Mahābhārata, Bhāratiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai, India, 1995
 Wendy Doniger, The Hindus, An Alternate History, Penguin Press, New York, 2009
 Errāpragada Prabhanda Parameshwara, Telugu_Harivamsam, Purva bhāgamu, Editor: P. Appalaswamy, Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Academy, Kalā Bhavan, Hyderabad, India, 2001.
 Desiraju Hanumantha Rao, Mahabharatam Harivamsha Parva, Vrishni Vamsa varnanam Chapter 34, Verses 25-34.
 Desirajuhrao posts on, email@example.com
 Madhvacharya- Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya Vol. 3, Chapter 18 translation by Dr. Vyasanakere Prabhanjanacharya,
[8) Death of dantavaktra, Maha Bhagavata Puranam, 10th Canto, Chapter.78
 M.N. Dutt, English translation of Mahabharata,Publications, Adi Parva, Chapter-134.11 and Ch.169-55 & 56, Parimal Publications, Delhi, http://www.vedicbooks.net/product_reviews_write.php?products_id=10486
Acknowledgement: The motivation for this paper was due to the book by Justice Sri P. Kodandaramayya. I acknowledge his help for providing sections from Harivamsam of Errapragada and answering many questions I posed. His book, The Message of Mahabharata, The Nation's Magnum Opus, published by Bhāratiya Vidya Bhavan, should be a classic text for all Indian students. I thank my dear friend Dr. S. Kalyanaraman for many useful suggestions and providing the link for Dr. Desiraju Hanumantha Rao's translations of Harivamsam into English. I acknowledge the many yahoogroup posts on Mahabharata provided to me by Dr.Desiraju which were very valuable to this paper.
Indian Judiciary's savage attack on Ramayana --
Tue, 27 May, 2008 , 03:33 PM (Newstoday)
The Delhi High Court gave a deliberate death blow to the religious feelings, sentiments and susceptibilities of nearly one billion Hindus of India in absolute majority and several millions of Hindus abroad last week (19th of May 2008) when it dismissed a Writ Petition filed by Ms.Monica Arora on behalf of Shri Dina Nath Mishra, Dr.Ravindra Nath Pal, Sri Vidya Sagar Verma, Sri Achraya Sohan Lal Ram Rang, Dr. Payal Mago, Shri Mahesh Chandra Sharma, Shri Ramgopal Agarwal and Shri Atul Rawat under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for issuing of writ or direction or order in the nature of Mandamus or any other Writ or Direction or order directing the respondents (University of Delhi represented by its Vice Chancellor, Members of its Academic Council, Dr.Upinder Singh, Reader in History, University of Delhi and others) to withdraw the derogatory, defamatory and offensive Article written by Mr. A.K.Ramanujam, compiled by Dr. Upinder Singh being taught in B.A.(Hons) II Year History course in Delhi University under the title – Culture in India: Ancient. The petitioners included eminent educationists, former Ambassador, former Pro-Vice Chancellor of University, Principal, Lecturer, Teacher, Journalist, Deputy Mayor of MCD and renowned socio-religious leaders. I AM QUOTING THE RELEVANT EXTRACTS FROM THEIR WRIT PETITION: The petitioners are deeply aggrieved by the course curriculum of B.A. (Hons.) II year History Course being taught in Delhi University. The aforesaid course consists of three articles in which the article under controversy is written by Shri A.K. Ramanujan titled, '300 Ramayanas: five examples and three thoughts on translation.' ………….
That in the aforesaid article the revered figures of Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) namely Lord Ram, Lakshman, Sita and Hanuman have been depicted in bad light. It uses derogatory, defamatory and offensive language, regarding Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
i. That the Article terms Lord Hanuman as henchman of Lord Ram and then again as a 'Tiny monkey'.
ii. The Article states that Ravana became Pregnant, his month wise pregnancy has been described and that he gives birth to Sita through his sneeze.
iii. It is further stated that both Ravana and Laxman used to seduce Sita.
iv. Sita has been described as unfaithful to Ram.
v. That the King of Gods Indra has been described as a base and a perverse man.
vi. Revered Hindu Saintly mother Ahalya has been described as unfaithful to her husband –The Great Rishi Gautama.
vii. That the Great Rishi Gautama curses King Indra in such a manner that his Testicles fall down. Then on the request of the gods animal's testicles are implanted on his body.
viii. That the body of God Indra gets covered with vaginas of thousands of women
4. The language of the article is so abusive, perverse and below the accepted standards that it will cause irreparable damage to the impressionable minds of the students studying in B.A. (Hons) II year History Course in Delhi University.
5. That there is growing concern and alarm among the public at large regarding the teaching of such a sacrilegious and perverse material being taught in Delhi University. That the said Article is not only derogatory, defamatory and hurtful to the Hindus but also is an offence under various provisions of Indian Penal Code.
6. That there has been considerable opposition to this syllabus and demand for removal of this Article by students, teachers, lecturers, academicians, historians, religious & political leaders and social activists. They have sent many representations, legal notices and Memorandums to the President of India, Minister of Human Resource & Development and Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University. There have also been signature campaigns and Demonstrations for the removal of the aforesaid Article. That many Newspapers have also carried out Articles against the aforesaid Article being taught in Delhi University and called for its removal.
7. That the aforesaid article is violative of Articles 14, 15, 19, 21, 25 and Article 15A of the Constitution of India. That it is an offence under Section 153,153(A), 295(A), 298,505(2), 292,293 and other provisions of Indian Penal Code. That it is also violative of the judgement of Hon'ble Supreme Court in Aruna Roy v. Union of India, W.P.(C) No.98/2002, 2002AIR (SC) 3176.
HENCE THE PRESENT WRIT PETITION.In their Writ Petition, the Petitioners had alleged that the respondent No.3 is Dr. Upinder Singh, Reader Department of History, University of Delhi. That she has compiled the course material for B.A. (Hons) II year History course being taught in Delhi University. All the educated Hindus of India have taken due note of the fact that Dr.Upinder Singh is the daughter of our de jure Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh (a surrogate non-entity!), who is nominally heading an Islam-embracing, Christianity-coveting, Hindu-hating, Hindu-baiting and Hinduism destroying UPA Government under the strangle hold of a de facto woman Prime Minister – a dictatorial imposter from Italy owing her allegiance to the Pope in Rome and not to the letter and spirit to the Indian Constitution. The Hindus of India are therefore not shocked that Sonia Gandhi and her anti-Hindu men operated through the surrogate Prime Minister to influence Delhi University to get A.K.Ramanujan's anti-Rama and anti-Ramayana essay included in the syllabus of Delhi University in an effortless manner.
The Delhi High Court rejected the contention by the Petitioners that the Hindu Gods and Goddesses were referred to by A.K.Ramanujan in a 'defamatory' and 'derogatory' language by saying that these are folklore and interpreted in various ways. The High Court said that the Ramayan subject was part of a well-researched article done by noted scholar A.K.Ramanujan.
I reliably understand that the following conversation took place between Ms.Monica Arora, the Advocate for the Petitioners and the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, during the course of the judicial proceedings in open court.
Chief Justice: Have you read Periyar's Keemaayana?
Advocate: No, my Lord.
Chief Justice: Do you know that Periyar's Keemaayana is very popular in Tamilnadu? Are you aware of the fact that in Kamba Raamayana there are extensive references to Ahalya and her intimate overtures?
Advocate: The language of A.K. Ramanujun is so abusive, perverse and below the accepted standards that it is causing irreparable damage to the impressionable minds of the students studying in B.A.(Hons) II year History Course in the University of Delhi.
Ms.Monica Arora invited the attention of the Chief Justice in open Court to the brutal fact as to how the University of Ranchi, on 1st of May 2008, had hurriedly cancelled its post-graduation history paper after thousands of Muslims took to the streets protesting against a reference to Prophet Mohammed in a history question paper which they said was derogatory. Ranchi University Vice Chancellor A.H. Khan, shortly after his meeting with Chief Minister Madhu Koda, announced: 'a five-member committee has been constituted (to probe) the question paper. The examination has been cancelled'. Muslim organisations organised a march and ransacked the university office to protest against the offending question in the history paper. The police used force to control the mob. Finally Chief Minister Koda said: 'We have asked the vice chancellor to probe the matter and take suitable action against the person who prepared the question. We appeal to people to maintain calm'.
Against this factual background, not belonging to superstitious ancient Hindu History but to Ranchi city of 1st of May 2008, Ms.Monica Arora posed these questions to the Chief Justice: 'How can there be two different kinds of responses from Government, Courts of Law and other Public Organizations? One kind of paternal response towards the beloved Muslims and another kind of malignant response towards the hated and hunted Hindus? If Muslims go on a rampage, they would be heard with fear, kindness and reverence, whether they are right or wrong? If Hindus make a reasonable representation to the public authorities, their requests and entreaties would be treated with indifference, and insensitivity (particularly towards their long-cherished and sacred religious feelings and beliefs), in a manner bordering on supreme contempt?'
Ms.Monica Arora also invited the attention of the Chief Justice to the ruling given by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in Manzer Sayed Khan v. State of Maharashtra, Criminal Appeal No. 491 and 491/ 2007 (05/04/2007) in 2007 AIR (SC) 2074 that 'intention has to be judged primarily by the language of the book and the circumstances in which the book was written and published'. Applying this judicial yardstick, she told the Chief Justice that A.K. Ramanujan has picked up anything negative found in different versions of Ramayan spread all over the world with malicious intention of defaming and denigrating the characters of Lord Ram, Hanuman, Laxman and Sita. The Article aims at projecting the entire epic of Ramayana and its characters as fallacious, capricious, imaginary and fake. She asserted as a practicing Hindu that this article is greatly humiliating and grossly offending to the religious belief and faith of the Hindu. Finally she said that A.K.Ramanujan is neither a historian nor an authority on such historical or religious texts. The Petition of Ms.Monica Arora, constitutes by itself, a great piece of legal literature.
Chief Justice Hidayatullah once observed that the Prime Minister of India couldn't function like a great Mughal. The common Hindus of India would like to declare to all the anti-Hindu Judges of India that they too cannot function in a capricious manner like great Mughals. I would like to invite the kind attention of the Delhi High Court to the following irreplaceable words of American Justice Benamin Cardozo spoken in 1921: 'My analysis of the Judicial process comes then to this, and little more: logic, and history, and custom and utility, and the accepted standards of right conduct, or the forces which singly or in combination shape the progress of the law'. 127 years earlier, another great British Justice Thomas Erskine, Lord Chancellor of England had declared in a similar manner in 1794: 'The rules of evidence are founded in the charities of religion – in the philosophy of nature — in the truths of history, and in the experience of common life'. In short they are not based on the banalities and prejudices of political pseudo-secularism, career-oriented servile political opportunism, blatant philosophy of undeclared and unstated Hindu discrimination and in the private lives, prejudices and passions of transitory individual Judges, holding their briefs for the moment, in our Courts of Law. Individual and mortal Judges may come and go but eternal Hinduism will go on forever. No Court of Law in India can shake this deathless faith of the Hindus of India.
Wed, 28 May, 2008 , 04:28 PM
Even a cursory reading of the book `MANY RAMAYANAS', The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia, edited by Paula Richman, in which the controversial article of A.K. Ramanujan was included as the second lead article (Oxford University Press Publication of 1992) will show how prejudiced Paula Richman and her team of chosen anti-Hindu `intellectual' gangsters (A.K.Ramanujan included!) were even before they set out on this combined `criminal' intellectual assault on Lord Rama, Ramayana and Hinduism. The point I am making will be clear from Paragraph one (1) of Chapter One (1) of Paula Richman's article titled `Introduction: The Diversity of the Ramayana Tradition':
'In January 1987 viewers in India began to tune in, each Sunday morning for a Hindi television serial based on the Ramayana story. Observers estimate that over eighty million people watched the weekly broadcasts. In a land where most people do not own televisions and electricity remains in short supply, many gathered at the homes of relatives or at local tea shops to view the epic, while engineers worked overtime to supply adequate current. In some places entire villages joined together to rent a television set. It was not just that people watched the show: they became so involved in it that they were loath to see it end. Despite the fact that Doordarshan, the government-run network, had only contracted with the producer for a year's worth of episodes, the audience demanded more. In fact, sanitation workers in Jalandhar went on strike because the serial was due to end without depicting the events of the seventh, and final, book of the Ramayana. The strike spread among sanitation workers in many major cities in North India, compelling the government to sponsor the desired episodes in order to prevent a major health hazard. Quite apart from such militant enthusiasm, the manner in which viewers watched the serial was also striking. Many people responded to the image of Rama on the television screen as if it were an icon in a temple. They bathed before watching, garlanded the set like a shrine, and considered the viewing of Rama to be a religious experience'.
In the light of the above pompously supercilious and uncalled for observations of Paula Richman, any self respecting Hindu or Indian for that matter would be forced to ask the following simple questions in this context:
a. What are the credentials of Paula Richman to question the intellectual, cultural, social and religious rights of the Hindus in India to tune in each Sunday morning for a Hindi television serial based on the Ramayana Story?
b. Is she not talking like a typical Western Christian Missionary Racist of the 19th century? What does she mean by `militant enthusiasm' of the Hindus of India?
c. How does the `manner' in which the viewers watched the Ramayana serial affect her? What did she find `striking' in that `manner'?
d. Is Paula Richman a global turnkey contractor for the spiritual and social conscience of the heathenish and paganish Hindus of India or Asia? How does it matter to her as a Christian (We in India are not concerned with the Christian denomination to which she belongs nor are we interested in whether she is a Christian at all?) as to how many people in India and South East Asia responded to the image of Rama on the television screen as if it were an icon in a temple?
e. Would Paula Richman be interested in raising such questions relating to Christian viewers of a TV Serial on Jesus Christ in different parts of Europe, USA or Africa or Australia?
Paula Richman's anti-Hindu, anti-Rama and anti-Ramayana prejudice comes out into the open when she says `They (Hindus) bathed before watching, garlanded the TV set like a shrine, and considered the viewing of Rama to be a religious experience'. She is guilty of both calculated sanctimonious humbug on the one hand and unabashed anti-Hindu racism on the other.
Cover Photo of the book, Many Ramayanas: Delhi University's Valmiki Ramayana!! (Duly Approved by Delhi HighCourt)
And then Paula Richman goes on to talk about the views of another kindred anti-Hindu spirit like Philip Lutgendorf regarding the size, response, and nature of the television Ramayana's audience. Let us hear Philip Lutgendorf `s learned views on this exciting and from their point of view, sexually titillating theme:
`The Ramayan serial had become the most popular programme ever shown on Indian television — and something more; an event, a phenomenon of such proportions that intellectuals and policy makers struggled to come to terms with its significance and long-range import. Never before had such a large percentage of South Asia's population been united in a single activity; never before had a single message instantaneously reached so enormous a regional audience'. Paula Richman and Philip Lutgendorf would have gone into flights of divine ecstasy if only the single message of Jesus Christ had reached these millions in India and Asia.
The Ramayana TV serial of 1987 created a new cultural revolution in India. It united all the Hindus of India and South East Asia for the first time and made them feel that they were all part of one large and extended family. The anti-Hindu Congress Party under Rajiv Gandhi, and the Communist Party of India joined together and contacted the Missionary and Christian agencies in Europe and America and thought of an intellectual plot to counter the expanding new cultural impact of the Ramayana TV serial on India and South East Asia. I have no doubt that the book edited by Paula Richman titled `Many Ramayanas' was a direct outcome of such political initiatives of anti-Hindu groups and political parties in India.
My suspicion in this regard has been confirmed by the bumptious reference made by Paula Richman to the Ramayana of Periyar in her preface. To quote her own words, `This book began owing to my puzzlement. For years I had heard people refer to E.V.Ramasami's interpretation of the Ramayana in a mocking and dismissive way. When I actually analyzed his reading of the story of Rama, however, I found much of it strikingly compelling and coherent if viewed in light of his anti-North Indian ideology. While I was talking one day with A.K.Ramanujan about my attempts to make sense of this particular reading of the Rama story, he gave me a copy of a paper he had presented entitled `Three Hundred Ramayanas'. I read this piece again and again because it challenges us to look at the Ramayana tradition in a new way. Each contributor to the volume also read Ramanujan's essay, which now comprises Chapter 2 of this volume. Every other chapter can be seen, in some way, as a response to some of the questions that Ramanujan raises'. Paula Richman is the ringleader of this conspiracy against Lord Rama, Ramayana and Hinduism.
In order to gain the political acceptance of pseudo-secular anti-Hindu intellectuals in India, she has roped in A.K.Ramanujan and included his article in her book of anti-Hindu propaganda. By declaring that all the other articles in her volume by writers like Frank E.Reynolds, Kathleen M. Erndl, David Shulman, Velcheru Narayana Rao, Clinton Seely, Stuart H. Blackburn, Patricia Y.Mumme, Philip Lugendorf and Ramdass Lamb etc. etc. can be seen, in some way, as a response to some of the questions that A.K.Ramanujan raises, Paula Richman has made it very clear that her whole book has been designed, planned, organized and launched as a new Bible of this anti-Rama and anti-Ramayana Brigade.
It ought to be a matter of great concern that the Delhi High Court has failed to take note of the simple fact that Paula Richman's book is nothing but a cheap and crude book with complete focus only on anti-Rama and anti-Ramayana (and of course anti-Hindu) propaganda. Our Courts of Law have no business to function as Marketing Managers of such dirty tricksters and anti-Hindu intellectual gangsters and paid mercenaries. To quote the brilliant words of Dr. Kalyanaraman, an international authority on Saraswathi Civilization and Culture: `Whether it is A.K. Ramanujam's perverted view of some anecdotes in the journey of Rama ignoring the fact that Rama was the embodiment of dharma (vigrahavaan dharma), or Paul Courtright's perception of Ganesha's trunk as a limp phallus or Wendy Doniger's critique of Bhagavad Gita as a dishonest book — all these pseudo-scholarship accounts belong to the same genre _ that of Gutter Inspectors' Sexist Reports. Sex in Sanskrit texts seem to hold a special fascination for some of these, possibly sex-starved, academics, ignoring the sublime aadhyaatmika message sought to be conveyed by many Hindu religious traditions governed by twin precepts of dharma _ nihs'reyas (bliss) and abhyudayam (welfare). The texts, which are held sacred by millions of Hindus, are sought to be smudged. The messages of global, eternal ethic of Dharma, which constitute the essence of the texts, are sought to be distorted. This gutter inspection continues to be indulged in, in the name of `academic freedom'. The phrase, `gutter inspectors' report' was made popular by Gandhi's description of Katherine Mayo's book, `Mother India' in 1927'.
What is most shocking and repulsive to the Hindus of India is the fact that many of our Supreme Court and High Court Judges today seem to be consciously joining this anti-Rama, anti-Ramayana and anti-Hindu intellectual brigade with tremendous judicial and secular enthusiasm in so unconscionable a manner.
(The writer is a retired IAS officer)