View from the right: Social Sanyasi

View from the right: Social Sanyasi

An editorial in the Organiser pays tribute to recently deceased VHP leader Ashok Singhal by praising him as a “social sanyasi”.

VHP, Ashok Singhal, social sanyasi, ayodhya movement, kar seva, CPM, beef ban, beef intolerance, RSS, Panchjanya, Tipu sultan, indian express
Ashok Singhal

An editorial in the Organiser pays tribute to recently deceased VHP leader Ashok Singhal by praising him as a “social sanyasi”. It says that “Bharat has a long tradition of sages” who denounced “material life”, and opted for a “spiritual path” away from social life. It is rare, it claims, that someone lives “a social life to the fullest extent possible, and still remains sanyasi in the approach”.

Calling Singhal the “architect of the Ayodhya movement”, the editorial recollects his “miraculous” arrival at the 1989 kar seva. Despite a curfew ordered by the UP government, he reached the destination by “posing as a driver of a tempo trolley”.

Though his critics might find him “a hardliner”, Singhal was “humble and caring”, it says. He brought “sadhus of different sects on platform” and “coordinated between the activists in the political, social and religious fields”. Being a “perfect Karmayogi sanyasi… he must have attained perfect liberation”, the editorial says.

Beef Boomerang
An article in the Organiser slams the CPM for holding a “road show of eating beef” in Kolkata to protest against the prevailing “intolerance” in society. It remarks that though the CPM thought it would have a great impact among the youth, “unfortunately… the whole programme boomeranged as the organisers were criticised by their own party men”. The article states that the party “was vertically divided on this subject”, and former CPM ministers Manab Mukherjee and Ashok Bhattacharya expressed reservations on the efficacy of the protest.


Mukherjee, a former environment minister, said that “the minority cause and eating beef publicly are two different things”, and “the implications of these two are poles apart”. Bhattacharya warned the party to “not forget the grudge of people against the CPM”. He said that the party leadership will have to shoulder the blame if they are still lagging behind others in West Bengal, and compared the current malaise in the party to the demoralisation felt by cadres after the 1962 Sino-Indian war. The Left Front secretary, Biman Bose, and the leader of the opposition in West Bengal, Surya Kanta Mishra, echoed his sentiments.

Tipu’s Legacy
An article in RSS journal Panchjanya weighs in on the Tipu Sultan debate by denouncing him as the “Aurangazeb of the south”. It alleges that the textbooks written by “secular and Leftist historians say that Tipu was secular, benevolent and anti-imperialist” simply because he fought the British. The Karnataka government celebrated his birth anniversary but the “polarisation of Muslim votes” was the real motive, it claims.

Some Hindu organisations say that he was “not secular, but an intolerant and tyrant ruler”, arguing that he committed numerous atrocities on non-Muslims, including Christians, and destroyed thousands of temples. The article claims that he wasn’t a “patriot”, but a “traitor” who “invited foreigners to attack India”.

Although historical records about Tipu are widely available, the Karnataka government didn’t bother to verify the important facts surrounding his life, it alleges. Though his birthday is on November 20, the “government decided to celebrate it on November 10”, the date Tipu hung 700 Iyengar Brahmins to death. “Was the Karnataka government celebrating the anniversary of this massacre?”, the article asks.

It also raises Tipu’s intolerance towards Christians by citing the arrest of 6,000 Catholics accused of being British spies. They were apparently ordered to walk up to Mysore, resulting in “the death of 4,000 of them”. He forcibly converted around 5 lakh Hindus, and was responsible for the deaths of thousands. “If I get the entire world, still I would not resist from destroying Hindu temples”, it quotes him as saying.

Compiled by Ashutosh Bhardwaj