“The idea of having or allowing astrology taught in educational institutions is a regressive one,” thundered Mr.Yechuri. He remembered Murli Manohar Joshi as having said that astrology must be taught, as we must rely on our faith -(vishwas) – also. Recently in Chennai, a delegation of ministers was being received at a function. On the podium table were many water glasses filled with water and one of them had coloured water. This glass was actually used as a flower-vase: the gardener had just taken out the old flowers and was searching for new ones from the garden. Meanwhile the minister drank the coloured water thinking it to be some juice or soft drink. The minister was in hospital for 3 days, for his blind faith in the contents of the glass. So, deduced Mr.Yechuri, there is at least one difference between “vishwas” and scientific thinking: three days in hospital!
“The Government’s changing of history records is a cause of concern,” said Mr.Yechuri. The BJP and allies, to prove that Hinduism is a “pure” and native religion, have also to prove that the Aryans did not come from outside. For that, they have to further prove that Mohenjodaro and Harappa had some Aryan culture. One mark of Aryan culture is horses, which they needed for travel and warfare. They found a horse’s bone near the site, so, it proves, they said, that they were Aryan settlements and that further proves that the Aryans are from here! However, when the bone was analysed, it was found to be only 200 years old!”
Mr.Yechuri pointed out another ridiculous gaff of the BJP – appointed historians. In the sites, a statue of a bull-like creature with long hair and mane was found. They fed a picture of it into computers, and one computer concluded that it looks like a horse! So, they said, it is actually a statue of a horse, and so it proves that they were fromAryan civilization, and so Aryans are from here. Well, Yechuri said with a smile, “When you call a bull a horse, and try to convince everyone that a statue of a bull is actually that of a horse, we can imagine what sort of ideologies and theories you have!”
Mr.Yechuri recalled a joke from his university professorship days. A professor digs in his garden about 10 feet deep, and finds some sort of wire. So he rushes to a colleague and exclaims, “Look what I found. It proves that the ancient Indians were very advanced – they had telephone!” “Excellent,” says the colleague, and begins to dig deeper in the same spot. He finds nothing, so he rushes to the first professor and exclaims, “See, I didn’t find anything, so it proves that the very, very ancient Indians were still more advanced – they had wireless!”
On measuring “true Hinduism”, Mr.Yechuri had something to say. He hails from Andhra Pradesh, where, in some regions a girl is automatically married off to her mother’s brother as soon as she comes of age. In North India such a practice would be considered despicable, and the offenders probably lynched. The question is, who is the true Hindu, the North Indians for condemning it, or the Andhraites for allowing it?
The futility of measuring “true Hinduism” can also be seen from the “Mahabali” example. In Kerala and among Keralites, the Onam festival is celebrated. Its theme is that a good and benevolent king Mahabali visits his subjects once a year on that day. The subjects are happy that the king lives at least one day a year for them. In North India, Mahabali is a rakshash who is killed by Vishnu, and whose death was necessary so that the world may exist. So, now, who is the true Hindu, the North Indians for condemning Mahabali, or the Keralites for worshipping him?
Preventing religious beliefs is like Ram telling Krishna-worshippers not to follow Krishna, and Krishna telling Ram-worshippers not to follow Ram. From this we can see that even God does not have the authority to tell you whom to worship and whom not to worship. Atheism is also a belief, so God has no right to condemn anyone for being an atheist. And if even God has no authority in religious matters, who are these saffronites, the BJP and its allies, to tell us?
(Excerpts from the speech of Mr. Sitaram Yechuri, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of India, Marxist, New Delhi on 11th October 2003 at Nigdi, Pune. Nigel J. Shaughnessy prepared the transcript)