Asking him whether a temple should be built in Ayodhya is insulting him personally… as insulting as asking one his opinion on whether he should reject his wife, exhorted Swami Chinmayananda, in an exclusive interview granted to VANDE BHARAT MATARAM in January 1993. The late premier pedagogue of Bhagavadgita was occasionally irascible, particularly when a reference was made to the obduracy of the then Congress government as well as the Muslim leadership on Ayodhya. No mincing of words, no hiding of views…. an honest and frank Swamiji candidly answered wide-ranging questions on Ayodhya, secularism etc… in a conversation with Ram Madhav, Editorial in Charge, Vande Bharat Mataram. We reproduce here the full text of the interview.
(This interview was done sometime in January 1993 before he left for USA and attained Maha Samadhi.)
Vande : These days we find an unprecedented upsurge of militancy among Hindus. Some people brand it as fundamentalism. What is your opinion on it?
Swamiji : We cannot avoid it. It is all because of Ayodhya. Ayodhya – the word itself means – Ayodhya – that is, there is not conflict. It is for Ayodhya (no conflict) that we are righting. Just as the world war was for peace, we are no doubt fighting, but only for establishing peace and progress in our country.
Vande : But that is the responsibility of the government.
Swamiji : We waited for 45 years. After 45 years of waiting we want to start now. Till now we thought that our own government will do it. But they are not doing. 45 years we waited. We don’t want to give them 112 century full.
Vande : Can you please substantiate your allegation against the government? In what way are they….?
Swamiji : In their misconception of secularism. To them, secularism means supporting the minority. That too, on the basis of religion. They say that they are secular. Nowhere in any dictionary is the name secularism given as supporting one religion or the other. Government should be above religion. To divide the country on the basis of religion is absurd.
Vande : But is it not the responsibility of the government to protect the interests and promote the welfare of the minorities?
Swamiji : Who is a minority? Certainly Muslims and Christians are not. America doesn’t say that the Protestants are a minority. Even Negros are not considered as minority. This is a wrong philosophy. Mere political…. To get little more votes. There is a minority in our country, as in the other countries also. Minority consists of those who are disabled, un-educated, unemployed, suffering, houseless, shelterless….. they constitute the minority. It is certainly the responsibility of the majority to look after that minority. Majority or Minority does not mean that our national people should be divided into different categories on the basis of religion. Let Mullahs, Fathers and Brahmins do that. The government must be above… distributing equality and justice to all.
Vande : But the ‘minority believes that their religion is in danger, particularly after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.
Swamiji : The government has been catering to the so-called minorities for the last 45 years. Thus the minorities started feeling that they do not belong to the nation. And they have started behaving anti-national…. Anti-national people, in a nation-building process must be eliminated. There is no question. They are misguided. Misguided because of the government’s support. There are many educated Muslims. They say to me that that is not a mosque. It is only the government that says that it is a mosque. Muslims are not saying this.
Vande : What is your opinion on Ayodhya? Must the temple be built there?
Swamiji : (Angrily) Are you a Hindu or Muslim that I am talking with? And as a Hindu, you are asking me whether Ram Temple must be built? Opinion on Ram Temple? Whether I should reject my wife or not, is it an opinion? My job is to look after my wife. That question, if you are asking, you are insulting me.
Vande : So much blood has……..
Swamiji: When is it that blood was not there? When you were delivered, when you were a baby, was it not in blood? A nation is built in blood. A nation imbrues in blood and a nation disappears in blood.
Vande : In the present atmosphere, what is your suggestion to the government as far as Ayodhya is concerned?
Swamiji : There is a beautiful climate now. The Muslims are now amenable. If the government has got any diplomatic sense, we can try to settle it outside the court. Court settlement is not possible. It is not an issue that courts can decide. It is above the courts. It is the wish of the majority. We are a democratic country. In a democratic country, it is not catering to the minority. It is the wish and will of the majority that prevails.
Vande : But the government proposes to construct a temple and a mosque as a solution.
Swamiji : I want my government to be secular. Secular government has no right to say that it wants to build a mosque or a temple.
Vande : But the government seems determined…
Swamiji : Then that government must be removed. That government is not a government. They say that they are secular and again, they say that they are building a mosque or a temple. We have not elected this government for building temples and mosques. There are enough people here other than the government who can do all these.
Vande : Do you support the demolition of the structure? Do you think there is nothing wrong?
Swamiji : If that structure is old, dilapidated and there is no sanctity about it, then it can be (demolished). Look, is it right that the wall in Germany had to be pulled down? It was standing there for 35 years. They pulled it down within a few minutes. Why? That wall was a standing shame to both East and West Germany. They realised it and removed it. What if we pulled down an old dilapidated structure?
Vande : But Muslims believe that it is Babri Masjid…
Swamiji : That building is called by misnomer that it is a mosque. It is not. There were no minarets. They had not offered their prayers. Why did they build it? They broke down our Rama temple and built it there as a victory monument. They are only few people. We are in millions. They wanted to consolidate their power. How? Fear. Wound the feelings, sentiments, sensitivity! So temples were pulled down and monuments were built. So it is unfair to say that it is a mosque. Only Narasimha Rao says it is a mosque. Even Muslims are not saying this. What I mean to say is that pulling down that structure is nothing wrong. Anti-national black flags rose on some mosques. If some of our boys went and pulled them down nobody would say anything about that. Why? It is an insult to the country. Similarly, that structure was standing there as an insult all these years. So they decided that way.
Vande : There are several other such structures in this country. Do you advocate the same treatment to them also?
Swamiji : We started with one. There are so many corrupt people. But we collect one or two and then bang them. Hang them if necessary, as an example for others. Similarly, first let us have this Rama Temple. Afterwards, there are two more monuments which are built upon our Krishna’s birth place and Kashi Viswanath.
Vande : Will it not hurt the sentiments of the Muslims? After all, unlike German Wall, to which no sentiments were attached, in these issues, Muslims have a religious attachment!
Swamiji : Ask the Communists in Germany whether they have any sentimental attachment for the German Wall or not! Tremendous! But they were silent throughout because the demand was international.
Vande : Is it justifiable to tread on the sentiments by using force?
Swamiji: Why did we do that? To bring the Muslims into the mainstream. We love the Muslims. We are not taking revenge. But, inspired by wrong leaders, When they turn this way, anti-national, we have to block. That does not mean kill, loot and plunder. Just a slap, which we do even for our younger brother who is behaving against the entire family. We just punish them. In the same way we punished them to bring them into the mainstream.
If the government would not have been unintelligently supporting their absurd demands, we could have said to them that the majority of the masses want it, so if you give it, the issue is over. How many mosques have been removed there in Middle East…. in order to make roads!
So, all this is out of love for the country only, and to make them come back. It is not against Muslims or Islam. Against few among the Muslims who are behaving anti-national. Government should have done it. It is not doing. So we have to help the government. (Laughs)
Vande : Some people express the fear that this approach will have its repercussions on our economy if the Islamic block decides to boycott us.
Swamiji: We have to withstand. They may do it. But we will stand. If they stop petrol, old bullock-carts will come out. During the independence movement, foreign cloths and goods were boycotted. Some Congress people used to mutter that ‘suppose if they refuse to give us salt!’ – What is there! We make salt. Same way, the Bombay-High will give us petrol. Japan will give us. Even our Big Brother Russia and China also will help us. So, that fear should not be there.
Vande : To bring Muslims into the mainstream, is it the only solution?
Swamiji : They can he taught by bringing economic pressure. We can do it overnight. But we don’t want to. Just like Rama temple demand, suppose if we spread throughout the country that Hindus will not purchase even salt from Muslim shops, do you know the suffering they will have to face? They are all poor. Only a few capitalists may not be affected by this. If that happens, within a week’s time, you will rind all the present Muslim leaders are… in Islam it is allowed… killed by their own people.
Vande : There is an allegation that a particular political party is exploiting the Ayodhya issue for political gains.
Swamiji : British were also saying same thing that the Congress is exploiting. It is natural to say so. That party is not exploiting. They are supporting the public. If public is not supporting the cause, how can they exploit? If the government is intelligent and diplomatic, they should immediately see that they take it, instead of allowing the BJP to do it. They will not do it, because inside it there is a lot of ‘gadbad'(trouble). There is no discipline. So, the BJP is doing nothing wrong.
Vande : The VHP, which was started by you in 60’s, is banned by the present government. What is your opinion about it?
Swamiji: Is it such a crime that I did? In the 60’s, when the Mahatmas (saints) were all separate and there was no -integration among them, I tried to bring them all together on one platform. That was my sacred job., Somebody was to bell the cat. As for the ban, everything good in the country will he banned by the government in power because they are afraid of their chair. So, only Congress will not be banned.
Vande : Do you support the RSS theory of ‘Hindu Rashtra’?
Swamiji : By whatever name you call it, whomever is standing for it and who are proud to be Hindu, constitute the country. Of course, I am with the RSS.
Vande : How long will it take to establish ‘Hindu Rashtra’?
Swamiji : No great achiever is worried about the future. Are you striving in the right direction? Is your soul clear? That’s all. When will it he established is Narayana’s mind. It took 45 years to damn the country. It certainly will not take another 45 years to revive it.
Vande : These days we find a good number of religious people entering politics. Is it good for the nation’s secular fabric?
Swamiji : If the Swamijis had not been in politics, you and I would have no country. Who started the revolutionary movement when the British were ruling over your fathers’ head? Is it not the Sanyasis? Swamijis do not enter politics. We do not want your chair. But when the whole country is so rotten under mismanagement, we cannot, and we should not, remain in our caves. We get up from the seat of meditation and come into the society, rebuild the whole thing and then we go back to meditation.
Vande : But in practice it does not seem so. Sadhus and Saints are becoming more and more involved in politics. They contest for elections, they win and they even demand for changing the Constitution.
Swamiji: Politics in itself is not had. Lord Krishna was a politician. Lord Rama was a politician. When you enter politics you must give up certain things. Selfishness, desires, Kama, Raga, attachments to a party, my son, son-in-law. If these are there, it becomes tyranny on earth. All those saints and sages never had any personal desire or personal interest. We will never run after power. Power will automatically come to us. Mahatma Gandhi never asked for power. If you are selfless and serving your country honestly, people themselves make you a leader.
Vande : Some saints have termed our Constitution ‘anti-Hindu’. Do you subscribe to that opinion?
Swamiji : I don’t. But if the masses feel insecure under the present Constitution, they have got every right to demand for a change in the Constitution. Constitution is not ‘Vedavakku’ (divine utterance). Under certain circumstances, 45 years ago, some intelligent people sat together with the data available at that time. They prepared the Constitution. We have amended it 82 times. Instead of cutting and rejoining 83rd time, we throw the whole lot away and make another one. What is there? Changing the Constitution is the wish and will of the people. If the majority wants it, they have to do it.
Vande : What about the alleged anti-Hindu spirit of the Constitution?
Swamiji: Anti-Hinduism is in the sense that they are catering to the Muslim laws. Muslim law is incorporated in our Constitution. Two different laws in the same country! How do you call it a Constitution? That is unfair. There must he a common law for all the country people. The Mahatmas are saying only the truth. They have got the courage to say it. Political parties are not prepared to say. They are conducive to continuing status quo, so that they can continue their corruption, their plundering. That can be stopped if the Constitution is changed.
Vande : You are opposing Constitution providing special status to the minorities on the basis of religion. Do you support the Mandal Commission Report which confers some special privileges to a section of people on the basis of caste?
Swamiji : Where were you journalists at that time? Mandal Report was submitted 20 years ago. Do you mean to say that in 20 years the social conditions in India never change? Can a child born 20 years ago, be expected to wear the same clothes? Society moves. So you have to prepare another Mandal Report. Raja Saheb (VP Singh) had brought all this out of selfishness. That is why it fissiled out. Selfish fellows will never survive.
Vande : What is your opinion about the present conditions in India?
Swamiji : India as a nation today has nothing to he proud of. They have detached themselves from the past. Present can’t exist without past. The present is the product of the past. Therefore, a nation can be built only when that national spirit comes. It is not just geographical.
Had we tried to make our Indian educated people conscious of their past during the last 45 years of independence? Have we brought about, in education or any other training, any idea of the greatness that was ours? We have never done it. We could not call ourselves Hindus or Bharatiyas. How can integration of a country come?
The past is forgotten. The glorious past is forgotten. Filthy past is remembered. Indira Gandhi, her son…. these people are remembered. Why?
They looted the country. Youngsters are inspired by it. Today, nobody wants to make any sacrifice in my country. Everybody is scrambling to gather more and more.
Vande : What is your message?
Swamiji : If you forget that you are the son of a great, honest master, you are alienated from the past. Suppose you have got an identification, suppose you respect your past, your behaviour, your relationship with others, your activity and achievements, the very system of thought…. all these will be influenced by that reverence to the past.
Today, there is enthusiasm for Rama Temple. That is not enough. What do we know about Rama? Are we ready to live Rama’s life? What happened during the Independence movement? We will have Rama Rajya, 99 leaders said. People believed, came together and fought. One day, at midnight, they gave it in a silver, platter and Nehru shamelessly accepted. From that day onwards, was there any integration? Everybody sat back and said, Now, we have made sacrifices. Therefore it is time to loot the country.
So, we have to start thinking not only about the immediate problems, but longer ones also. To think 20 years ahead is called statesmanship. 10 years ahead is diplomacy, 5 years thinking is local politics. We want intelligent people in education, industry everywhere – who have experience as well as the spirit of sacrifice.