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Malaviyaji is almost finishing his Madras tour. The down-trodden people who are awakened to a sense of Self-respect have their hopes in him shattered.Yet Malaviyaji has got a strong faith in his orthodoxy and its efficacy in hypnotizing the people to his creed. The Varnashramites of Madras are very much pleased with the achievements of the Pandit even though they put up a show of opposition to his seeming heterodoxy. They know that their game of disapproval of the Pandit’s activities will give him some new adherents, Neo Hindus, who shall in reality be recruits to the Varnashramite creed.

gandhi and malaviyaMalaviyaji’s mission of anti-untouchability while keeping intact the caste system is no new slogan. Bhai Paramanand and the other North Indian leaders who form the extreme wing of the Hindu Sabha and who have organized the “Jat Pat Todak Mandal”, the society for breaking castes and creeds, know the real value of the Pandit’s slogan. It is an apology for his ultra-orthodoxy in his advanced province.

In the south, the slogan of the Aryavarta cannot hold water. We know that the caste system itself is graded untouchability. Unapproachability and unseeability are parts of Dharma that find advocacy in revealed texts, in the liberal Shastras and Puranas of the Pandit. The majority of the population is groaning under the dead weight of religious tyranny and hypocrisy. Whenever the people come to a realization of their degradation, the scourge of the Brahmin is upon them.

The Self-respect movement has enlightened the masses. The Brahmin high priests with Hindu religion and ethics can no longer enslave the souls of the masses. The core of our society at the apex of which was the Brahmin and at the base the Pariah, is sure to turn upside down and the lotus-eaters at the apex are sure to crumble.

They are therefore doing all that lie in their power to avert such a calamity. Malaviyaji has not lost hopes in the powers of the Brahmin- spell of religion, even though his Varnashramite comrades at Madras are despondent. He goes about starting Hindu Mahasabhas wherever he sojourns; but their fate is already sealed. Pandit’s activity in this direction is the last straw on the camel’s back.

There is yet another aspect of religio-nationalism of Malaviyaji which is pregnant with grave danger, but which we are likely to ignore. It is his advocacy of Hindi as lingua franca in the place of Sanskrit, which he says can no longer be the common language.

The prime cause that led to the destruction of a strong rational society and threw us into compartments of warring castes and creeds is clear as daylight to us. It was due to the hypnotization of Sanscritic culture. When the south is making efforts to shake the dust of a Sanscritic culture off its feet, the demon is taking a new avatar and is threatening us with destruction, in the shape of Hindi. A brief survey of the Hindi movement as propagated by the Hindi Prachar Sabha will speak for itself.

The problem of a national language versus common language was already discussed in these columns and a strong case was put up against a national language. Even granting the necessity for a national language let us see whether we can tolerate the movement, as it is.

The father of the Hindi movement, Mr. Gandhi says that Hindi, in its national aspect includes its Urdu form. According to him, a synthesis of Sanscritised Hindi and Persianised Urdu would alone constitute the national language. As for the script to be employed in writing such a language he does not give a clear lead.

Now let us see as to what sort of a language that the Hindu Prachar Sabha is propagating and that which finds favour with Malaviyaji Why does the Sabha advocate Sanscritised Hindi distinctly apart from Urdu? Why the Sabha not only not in favour of this is national form of Hindi, but is absolutely anti-national? The reasons are obvious. The Sabha must find for their Hindi, recognition in the South Indian Universities that have already given a place for Urdu.We don’t mind if they happen to be pro or anti-national but we cannot put up with their pro-Hindi activities.

Let us take for instance the question of script. We once before drew the attention of the readers to the chaotic and unscientific nature of the Devanagari script, employed in writing Hindi. It is a colossal waste of time and energy to try to acquire a knowledge of about 566 characters it contains, consisting of vowels, consonants and their combinations. There are again five types of conjunct consonants which swell the above number with about 60 more. Such is the tyranny of this script. Even with a fair knowledge of this script, you cannot master the pronunciation of Hindi written in this script. This irregularity is of course due to the inevitable difficulty of adapting a script not suited to the genius of the language.

This is an age of enlightenment when thinking men are not favourably disposed even towards the Roman script in spite of its many advantages. It is a simple one consisting of only 26 characters. Most of the languages of the west are written in this script. A knowledge of the script will pave the way for the valuable acquisitions of art and science. Further it has the unique advantage of being printed and typewritten easily. Yet the world is for inventing a universal script, simple, easy and absolutely scientific. The Devanagari script with all its multiplicity, chaos and primitive barbarism is simply intolerable. Why should the Sabha then persist in its propagation of this script? Let the readers draw their own conclusions!

Nationalism in Hindi is therefore a camouflage. It is a movement which ultimately aims at a cultural conquest of the south. The pronouncements of Mr. Gandhi and the activities of the Hindi Prachar Sabha, will sufficiently speak for themselves in favour of our conclusions.

Among the activities of the Sabha, the celebration of Tulsi Jayanti i.e. the Birthday celebration of Tulsidas, the author of the Hindi Ramayana throughout the presidency is the most important. Examinations in Tulsi Ramayana are also held every year. In a province where there is no Muslim-Hindu antagonism and where the majority of the Mussalmans won’t grudge the acquisition of the knowledge of either Hindustani or Urdu, we cannot easily swallow this piece of Ramayana propaganda that may not find favour with the Mussalmans, in the name of nationalism.

Mr. Gandhi opines that a majority of the Hindu population will have to go without a knowledge of Sanscrit, the language of religion. So they must have religion interpreted through Hindi. A Hindi propagandist must also be an evangelist of Hinduism. The Ramayana of Tulsidas is the only book in Hindi that can interpret Hinduism to the masses. It is “a mine of Dharmas, a Symposium of morals.” It is this book that inspired and still inspires Mr. Gandhi. He owes his Mahatmaship to two books in this world, the one being Tulsi Ramayana and the other being Gita in Sanscrit.

For the information of the readers we give below some samples of Tulsidas morality and Dharma. The story of Bharata and his followers going to meet Rama in the forest is of course well known. Bharata, on his way to the forest was obliged to spend a night in the Ashram of the rishi known as Bharadwaj. Tulsidas, the moralist poet sings of the glory of the Rishi and his hospitality. The poet in his exuberant imagination would have his sage Bharadwaj to surround Bharata and his followers with all luxuries, with damsels of exquisite beauty, ready to pander to their lust. Morality is worthy of the sages indeed!

This is a bit of Tulsi morality. Now we shall have a dose of his Dharma. This radical philosopher has got drastic views on Dharma. He has got an informidable faith in the rod, in religious matters. Persuasion has no place in his philosophy. In one of his “choupayies’, he runs amock and cries out, “Drums, beasts, Shudras, women, all these are entitled to be treated with the rod”. Tulsidas ki Jai!

Can a self-respecting nation tolerate such religion and morals interpreted through Hindi?

- Kirk

(Revolt, 22 May 1929)


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