Indian syncretism “developed” by Gandhi, Bose, Nehru; it’s pre-british
By Osman Sher*
According to Dr. Ram Puniyani, the three great rulers of modern India, Gandhi, Bose and Nehru believed in an independent India which would bring together different philosophical, religious and cultural principles and practices. Certainly, but this syncretism is not limited to modern times alone.
In fact, it is the hallmark of Indian culture and governance. It had started as early as 550 BC with the reign of Bimbisara and Ajatashatru, the rulers of Magadh (South Bihar) and the first builders of the Empire, when Buddhism and Jainism arose, and the rulers were believed to be followers of both religions. with their own Vedic religion. People have also accepted both religions without friction in society.
History is full of examples of syncretism of rulers, both in words and in deeds. As it would be a dissertation to mention all of them here, I will content myself with giving the examples of the two greatest rulers of the subcontinent, Asoka and Akbar.
Asoka’s preaching on rock edicts is full of respect for other religions. However, to name just one, he writes in Rock Edict VII:
“But Devanumpriya (beloved of the gods or Asoka himself)) does not regard gifts of honor as important as the essential advancement of all sects. His basis is the control of his speech, so as not to outdoing one’s own sect or denigrating that of another on inopportune occasions…
“On such occasions one should honor another man’s sect, for by doing so one increases the influence of one’s own sect and benefits that of the other man, while to do otherwise diminishes the influence of one’s own sect and one harms that of the other man…therefore concord must be praised so that men may hear each other’s principles.
Akbar expressed his views on religion and its people as follows:
“Though I am the master of such a vast kingdom, and all the instruments of governments are in my hand, yet since greatness consists in doing the will of God, my mind is not at ease in this diversity of sects and beliefs; and apart from this external pomp of circumstances, with what satisfaction, in my discouragement, can I undertake the empire of empire? »
To the General Council of Scholars, he addresses:
“We must therefore bring them all together in one religion in such a way that they are both ‘one’ and ‘all’ with the great advantage of not losing what is good in a religion, while gaining what is better in another. . Thus honor would be rendered to God, peace would be given to the people and security to the Empire.
The episode of hatred between the communities began with the British, who had one goal: to divide the nation into religious groups
Therefore, by eliminating the best features of all religions, he gave his Deen-e-Ilahi in 1582.
Aside from bouts of political power struggle and resulting brutality at the highest level, conflict and unrest at the ground level has generally been absent. Even the British could not twist history in this regard. Any modern writing or verbal discourse to the contrary is just propaganda and a travesty of history.
Undoubtedly, this episode of hatred between the communities had started with the British, who had one goal: to divide the nation into religious groups, not to face their combined resistance and to rule comfortably. But the policy of the current government is aimless and centered on pure hatred.
One more point towards the scholarly writing of Dr. Ram Puniyan. He is of the opinion that the current government is only against Islam and Christianity because they are “foreign religions”. It is not so simple to say that there are only two religions. People are encouraged to perpetrate atrocities against their own religious colleagues, the Dalits, because Manusmriti says so.
No, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains are in the queue.
*This is a reply to Ram Puniyani’s article, distributed by JanVikalp