Book Review – How I Became a Hindu by Sita Ram Goel

How I Became a Hindu (Reprinted with a Postscript)How I Became a Hindu by Sita Ram Goel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

Sita Ram Goel was a towering personality of India’s right-wing movement and this book is his intellectual autobiography. This covers his personal journey from being a Gandhian at the start, his later metamorphosis into a Communist at young age and then finally his imbibing the ideals of Santana Dharamaand becoming a staunch Hindu. In the book he succinctly puts his commitments first to Sanatana Dharama next to Hindu society and then to Bharatavarsha i.e. India- in that order.

The book catalogues the Indian politics of last century and in it one can see the makings of what would later become a right wing movement under Hindu nationalistic BJP party currently in power. The author covers the rise of Arya Samaj, a Hindu revivalistic movement at the start of last century and how it affected him, later his hero worship of Gandhi and then his novice fascination with Communism. Finally he writes about his encounter with Ram Swarup, another right wing intellectual who helped him find his anchor in Sanatana Dharama. From Ramp Swarup he learned that Dharma is not a matter of moral norms, do’s and don’ts enforced by an act of will but rather a multi-dimensional movement of man’s inner law of being, his psychic evolution. his spiritual growth, and his spontaneous building of an outer life for himself and the community in which he lived.

Sita Ram Goel was a well read man and a scholar par excellence. He learned Sanskrit and read most of Vedic literature along with an extensive rendition of Western Philosophy, Christian and Islamic texts. He would mince no word in saying the truth. He in fact laid bare the folly of Nehruism which he termed so eloquently as the “combined embodiment of all the imperialist ideologies – Islam, Christianity, White Man’s Burden, and Communism – that have flooded this country (India) in the wake of foreign invasions”. To him for India to live, Nehruism must die. He challenged Nehruism when its stranglehold on India was almost complete and nobody would dare say anything against the great leader. But Sita Ram Goel could see how Nehruism was killing the soul of India when nobody around him could fathom that. He fought it tooth and nail, suffered personal humiliation, professional setbacks but never wavered in his stand against the depraved ideology. To him Hindu society has been the vehicle of Sanatana Dharamain subcontinent (pitra bhumi) and deserves all the honour and devotion from its sons and daughters (karama bhumi), only then Bharatavarsha becomes a holy land (punya bhumi).

He lays down his philosophy of the regeneration of Indian society under four clearly articulated premises. His first premise is that Sanatana Dharama is not only a religion but also a whole civilisation which has flourished in India since old ages but is now struggling to come into its own again after a prolonged encounter with several sorts of predatory imperialistic ideologies like Islamic and British colonialism in pre independence and Communism in the post independence era. His second premise is that Hindu is not a community but constitute a nation. Muslims and Christians in India are our own people but who have been alienated by Islamic and Christian imperialism from their ancestral society and culture. Third premise is that Bharatavarsha has been and remains the Hindu homeland par excellence. Hindus have never laid claim to any land outside the naturally well defined borders of Indian subcontinent so they should never concede that Afganistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh have ceased to be integral part of Hindu homeland, which is the idea of Akand Bharata in vogue today within India’s right wing movement. Fourth premise is that history of Bharatavarsha is the history of Hindu society and culture. Hindus created a unique civilisation which dominated the world for millenniums, later they threw back or absorbed a series of early invaders like Huns or Greeks and in current era fought the onslaughts of Islamic, Christian and British imperialism for several centuries and survived.

Sita Ram Goel was the torch bearer of India’s right wing movement and suffered personal and professional onslaughts from so called secularists and Nehruvians but his faith remained unwaivered till the end. He created his own publishing house Voice of India and helped spread the cause of India’s right wing movement by promoting writers like Arun Shourie, Konrad Elst, Ram Swarup and many others. This intellectual autobiography from Sita Ram Goel is a must read for any Indian as it provides an insight into the follies of Gandhian, Nehruvian and Communist ideologies that battered the rise of India for almost a century, how the combined effect of these misplaced ideologies led to rise of Islamic aggressive self righteousness and rampant Christian missionary activities across India. Also how it led to to the rise of nationalism and right wing movement in India culminated in the rise of BJP and Prime Minister Modi in power today.

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