Dharma Gurus' Uvacha
The Guidance from the Hindu Spiritual Leaders
to Political Leaders of Devabhoomi Bharat
The Indian Express, Sunday, December 31, 2000
Bal Thackeray gets a pat on the back from Shankaracharya (by) YOGESH PAWAR
MUMBAI, DEC 30: The Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Swami Jayendra Saraswati who is known for his bold views on issues ranging from Ayodhya to the Atom Bomb was in Mumbai to present the National Eminence Awards instituted by the South Indian Education Society. In an interview the seer talks about why he is supporting Bal Thackeray's brand of Hindutva and why he has forgiven the latter for rising to power on a hate-Tamilians campaign decades ago. Excerpts:
(Q)You have joined hands with Bal Thackeray to ban cow slaughter and have requested the help of the Shiv Sena for this. How can you forget that he began with anti-South Indian agitation and was responsible for their persecution, particularly Tamilians?
(A) We all have a past where we do things which won't even find a place in our present thinking. This is what growth is all about. Thackeray was misguided then and thought small but now he has given it all up to espouse the cause of Bharat and Hindutva.
(Q) But won't the intelligentsia be estranged from your peetham if you get close to the Sena's brand of aggressive Hindutva?
(A) Who is this intelligentsia you are talking about? Most of them are ignorant about their religion thanks to the convent education they come through. If they keep debating in seminars conferences and court-rooms even when their religion stands endangered how can we watch it quietly with our hands folded.
(Q) If the Sena is getting aggressive it is purely because it is the need of the times. Even the scriptures recommend this. The Moslems have their supporters in the Persian Gulf, the Christians keep getting big money from the West through the Church and the government and the courts seem obsessed with protecting only the minorities. So what happens to the majority? How long should we sacrifice to appease minorities?
It is here that leaders like Thackeray who can mobilise Hindus become crucial. If his style is high-handed then so be it. Like I said, it is necessary.
(Q) On cow-slaughter it's strange that nobody talks about cruelties inflicted on animals within gau-shaalas where they are drugged to reproduce every year and increase the milk-yield? Isn't that also harmful?
(A) We are aware of this and we are taking steps to create awareness about it too. But the main problem remains cow-slaughter. We Brahmins don't even support meat-eating but these days people have a mind of their own on these things. Can they not spare the cow? Killing her is like killing your own mother.
(Q) At a time when fall in values in Indian politics keeps being brought up how could you nominate P V Narsimha Rao for the National Eminence Award? Specially after he has been convicted in the JMM case?
(A) We don't see him as a wrong-doer at all. In spite of a minority he did an excellent job of governing the country. In most cases he has been framed. Even in the JMM case the real culprits were set free but he was left to face the music.
We don't see any problem in giving him the award because he has brought the country and its economy around from a very bleak point. His rare erudition and intelligence have helped him make the most of whichever post he was in for the betterment of the country.
Compared to how the current PM helplessly survives each day while his allies keep trying to pull the carpet, Narasimha Rao's tenure was any day better. The way Atalji is functioning is very sad. He can't take even one decision on his own. His hands are tied.
(Q) With the UP polls around the corner Ayodhya is again making headlines as political parties take positions depending on who they are trying to woo. Comment.
(A) Nobody should try to politicise the Ayodhya issue. Though everybody keeps taking the Sangh Parivar to task over the temple why do they not see how the parties that keep trying to play the minority card are trying to fan passions by keeping the issue alive. We are of the opinion that a temple should be built there at any cost. This is the aspiration of the majority. How can that be ignored?
(Q) Both Dr Abdul Kalam Azad, the brain behind our bomb, and Dr S Aggarwal, who heads the AGNI missile programme, have been given the awards for National Eminence. Does this mean you support the nuclear option?
(A) The use of science and technology to kill is wrong by itself. But you need to be prepared with preventive strike power since we are surrounded by enemies. In that light the bomb has fulfilled a big need. It has changed the way the world and our neighbours look at us (laughs). The bomb can take care of the enemies without but the real problem are the enemies within.
Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.