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|INTERVIEW: Dr Pravin Togadia
‘We (Hindus and Muslims) are ethnically and culturally the same’
Dr Pravin Togadia comes from the noble profession of healing and professes to be a believer in the nobler ideas of Hinduism. Yet, he would not pause for a moment before making uncharitable remarks against Islam and Muslims.
He holds Indian Muslims responsible for atrocities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and, in the same breath, Kashmir. That, to him, is justification enough for the two-month-long Gujarat carnage.
Distribution of a million trishuls at kumbh, followed by similar trishul-distribution campaigns at other places in India, fire arms training to Bajrang Dal cadres and repeated attacks on Muslim passengers in Sabarmati Express (pre-designed to provoke a dangerous conflict) by VHP storm-troopers in days preceding Godhra, which have brought the country to the precipice, do not bother him at all.
However, there is still a silver lining in the darkness of hate: Dr Togadia does recognise the shared ancestry of Indian Muslims and Hindus. All of us know that blood is thicker than water, and a day might come when this burning rage fuelled by angry people like Dr Togadia would cool down and blood ties would reassert themselves. Till then, listen to what the militant doctor has to tell
Firoz Bakht Ahmed, and mull over it:
Being a highly qualified cancer surgeon, why did you get involved with a riotous and communalist organisation like the VHP?
This is an allegation put forward by Hindu secularists and Muslims who hate the Hindus more than Ghaznavi did. They don’t have the courage to intrude into the roles of the madrasas that are spreading Islamic fundamentalism during the riots. So many commissions have been formed in the Congress -ruled states but not a single has mentioned the involvement of the VHP or Bajrang Dal, while they have all accused the Muslims. Even in the Graham Staines case, the Wadhwa Commission did not hold VHP responsible. There are secular forces that want to convert India into a graveyard like Kashmir. I am proud of VHP.
The secularists take you to be a Hindu Talib, a Hindu jehadi and a Hindu kafir. Any comments?
Hindu cannot be a Talib, jehadi or kafir because a Hindu is one who is a hundred times more refined, cultured, more honest, more religious and more balanced in his outlook. Hinduism is the culmination of the cultural evolution of mankind. As a Hindu, I see God in every individual. A Talib is one who cannot tolerate the Bamiyan Buddha; a jehadi is one who kills and displaces the innocent Kashmiri Pandits; a kafir is one who is intolerant like Osama and his followers. Osama’s religion misguided him to be a terrorist. Had Osama been a Hindu, as per this religion, he would have been running a Rama-Krishna matha somewhere in the Hindukush mountains for the welfare of the needy rather than plotting the massacre of thousands of innocents in the 9/11 tragedy. Such baseless remarks are levelled by some pseudo-intellectuals of the JNU madrasa who accuse me of these unfounded allegations as I call a spade a spade.
To serve your political ends in the name of Ram Mandir, you have dragged this most revered deity—Rama—on to the roads.
Don’t be misguided. The indisputable fact is that Rama is regarded as the personification of all our cultural values and an ideal ruler. What is soul to body, dharma, is to a Hindu. Ram mandir is our dharma. The secularists and leftists are bothered only about 50 per cent of the reality of life that concerns roti, kapda aur makan. But we believe that our existence be it individually, socially, universally or religiously, is to cater to the spiritual as well as the physical dimension of life. Body cannot survive without atma (soul). India needs both the atma as well as roti (the material aspect). Our shastras have also advised us for shrey (spiritual) as well as prey (material). VHP believes that the Hindu dharma, the soul of India, is the only way to redemption. The Ram temple movement represents the soul of Hindu dharma. We are running more than 8,000 social service projects through out the length and breadth of India. Those who are trying to defame an organisation like this, are only paving way for ruining India.
A VHP leaflet printed in the report of an independent fact-finding mission by intellectuals mentions that Hindus should not be taught by Muslim teachers or have business transactions with them etc. Are you not a Hindu kafir?
(Denies an anti-Muslim campaign leaflet printed in the report prepared by Dr Kamal Mitra Chenoy, S P Shukla, Dr K S Subramanian and Achin Vinayak) Can’t be. It’s only a propaganda by the Hindu secularists who have a long history of defaming the VHP or any other Hindu organisation with their concocted pamphlets. Hinduism has no concept of kufr as it is the science for the development of the mind and body of the individual, the family, the society, nation and ultimately the world in perfect harmony with each other—Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. All Indians were called Hindus by the Arabs, who still maintain that practice. Hinduism is not a religion but a synonym for nationalism.
Why is this that the VHP always talks about Hindus and not Indians?
Do you know that Hinduism believes in the doctrine of Jeevastha Jivyasam meaning, "Live and let live." I ask you if it is a crime to be a member of such a big Hindu family extending to all corners of the world and a society that is the part of the most ancient civilisation? Members of this ancient civilisation are being annihilated in Godhra, Kashmir, Pakistan and Bangladesh. What is wrong if some organisations like the VHP, RSS and Shiv Sena believe that the Vedic culture of a society that believes in plurality and unity in diversity, has to be retained? If we are saving a civilisation that preserves 1100 religions and 1600 dialects, defending it against the totalitarian and violent religious belief system within democratic set-up, is it wrong? Only the violent and jehadi forces that want to destroy India, should ask a question like this. Do you know that more than 30,000 temples had been converted into mosques during the Mohammedan rule? Hinduism takes pride in not having invaded any country during its long glorious history. Hinduism is synonymous with harmony.
What vested interest drives you to issue vituperative, venom-spewing and rabid statements against Muslims?
Certainly, we have our interest vested in saving the nation from the divisive forces and the likes of the anti-Hindu secularist Taliban with their biggest JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) madrasa, an atheists’ seminary that hates God and those who want to preserve the rich Hindutva heritage. We are fighting against such people who are trying to destroy the Hindu society with their totalitarian attitude that only promotes the Church paradigm of the 17th and 18th century Europe. We are exposing the grand design of Pakistan and the ISI to destabilise India. If we are being criticised for that, it means that the secularists are supporting the plans of Musharraf and Macaulay both against the unity of India. The 14 Congress-ruled states haven’t filed a single case against me, and this allegation against me is all humbug and unfounded.
What are your views regarding the Modi-sponsored genocide of Muslims in Gujarat in response to the Godhra carnage?
Violence of any type by anyone and anywhere should be vehemently condemned. I feel that Muslims haven’t condemned the violence in Godhra and Kashmir the way they did in Gujarat—an undemocratic act. When the secularists selectively condemn the Gujarat violence, it seems that without Sita haran (Sita’s abduction) the Lanka dahan (Lanka’s burning) is imagined. So if you have to criticise the Gujarat carnage, you must also condemn the Kashmir killings as well as the Godhra massacre. If you are only condemning Gujarat, you are inviting the jehadi terrorists and Musharraf to attack Akshardham with a red carpet welcome.
Don’t you think Muslims of India have contributed a lot to the nation in all walks of life?
Yes, Muslims have contributed to the civilisation as well as culture. But they have also contributed Somnath, Mathura, Kashi, Kashmir valley, Pakistan, attacks on Indian parliament and Akshardham. Muslims have also contributed to the youth who are willing to be cannon fodder in the name of jehad. I believe that most of the Muslims want to live peacefully and have nothing to do with vandalism. It’s very unfortunate that not even 10 Muslim leaders have marched to resettle the displaced Kashmiri Pandits while on the other hand Hindu leaders marched for rehabilitating Muslims who have suffered in Gujarat. After the Gujarat violence, there was an outcry by the Hindu leaders but not a fatwa has been issued till date by the Muslim ulama against the 70,000 people killed in Kashmir. Muslim community has contributed Ghaznavi, Aurangzeb, Jinnah and Imam Bukhari—all symbols of vandalism. At least the likes of Rahim, Khusro and Raskhan do not seem to lead the misled Muslims today. We don’t oppose the mosques, but certainly oppose the jehadi madrasas and the Taliban. We welcome Rahim, Raskhan and Khusro but oppose Bukhari and Imam Ali. It is for the Muslim society to decide whether to live peacefully rejecting the jehadis or to support them. The VHP is a truly patriotic organisation that has always welcomed any citizen who does not believe in violence and respects the country, its history, culture and ethos.
What according to you is the real root of Hindu-Muslim problem?
Hindus are not totalitarian as they are inclusive, have accepted and respected the Syrian Christians, Jews and Zorastrians and the other minorities, except Muslims who are closed. If you accuse VHP or Ram mandir movement to be responsible for the riots, what about the riots before 1984? If Hindus are riotous then riots should be confined only to India. Globally, it is Muslims who are fighting everywhere, whether it is against the Christians in Chechnya and Bosnia, against the Jews in Israel or against the Roman Catholics in Phillipines. Islam has an exclusive totalitarian system believing in jehad, terming the non-Muslims as kafirs. This intolerance is basically responsible for the Hindu-Muslim problem.
Why do you accuse Islam as a terrorist religion and all Muslims extremists, rather than castigating only those Muslims who are terrorists?
Look, LTTE is a violent organisation comprising mostly Hindus, but no one calls Hinduism a terrorist religion. The Irish Republican Army is of Christians but no one accuses Christianity to be a fundamentalist religion. But Muslim terrorists are termed as Islamic terrorists since they call themselves as jehadis out to save Islam. Why in Kashmir valley and Afghanistan, Muslim youth of different nationalities come to fight? They have nothing to do with the aspirations of the Kashmiris or the Afghans. Tell me the name of any scripture from any religion that supports jehad, be it Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism or Judaism. If Islam is not a terrorist religion why not some muftis issue fatwas against the likes of Osama, Masood Azhar, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizb-ul-Mujahedeen, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Al-Qaida to prove true to their faith as well as the nation. Muslims must understand that Hinduism is a Manav Dharma (Religion of Mankind) and they must pay heed to what the saints like Rama, Buddha, Mahavira, Guru Nanak and Mahatama Gandhi have propagated.
How, according to you, can Muslims join the mainstream and what should they do to get your certificate of loyalty?
First, all Hindus and Muslims should accept one reality – that we are ethnically and culturally the same. No one from the Hindu-Muslim society must suffer German-Jew paradigm. Each and every Muslim of India emanates ancestorily from the gene, RBC, bone, blood and flesh of a Hindu. If there is something in Hindu dharma that hurts Muslims, I, as a Hindu leader, am ready to reform that. In the same manner Muslims must think about the closed concepts of Darul Islam, kufr, jehad etc that have resulted in Pakistan, the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits and other global acts of terrorism . Muslims should also come forward and accept plurality rather than totality for peaceful co-existence. Each Indian Muslim should project a Mohammed (PBUH), a Ram, a Christ and a Guru Nanak in him.
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