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.

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