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'Quran, Bible Should Be Adapted To Our Traditions'

The working president of the VHP, wants the Quran and the Bible to be reinterpreted and adapted in accordance with the great tradition of India.

'Quran, Bible Should Be Adapted To Our Traditions'
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Ashok Singhal, the working president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), wants the Quran to be reinterpreted and adapted in accordance with the great tradition of India. He believes that Islam and Christianity, like all mortal things, are bound to perish one day because unlike the Hindu faith, they were founded by mortals. Known for his provocative utterances, Singhal has once again warned that Christianity and Islam have no future in India unless they completely submerge themselves in the hundreds of sampradayas (sects) which already coexist peacefully in India. Taking second RSS chief Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar's theory of three internal enemies - Islam, Christianity and Communism - still further, Singhal says that Christianity and Islam will also wither away after completing their age, the way Communism did. Rajesh Joshi caught up with the saffron supremo in the eighth dharma sansad of the VHP recently held in Ahmedabad. Excerpts from an interview:

Why are you exerting pressure on the Atal Behari Vajpayee government to implement the 40-point 'Hindu agenda', knowing fully well that the coalition government is committed to implementing the National Agenda?
We have not started working on this just today. Some of us have been working towards this end for the last 50 years. And he (prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee) knows the organisations of the Sangh parivar very well. We are not exerting any kind of pressure at all. The pressure is already there. The government must implement the Hindu agenda. By doing so, it is not going to harm any mazhab (religion). On the contrary, it is a precondition for peaceful coexistence.

There is apprehension among the Christians and Muslims over the recent attacks on the minorities.
We are neither against Christians, nor are we against Muslims. The only thing is that they must stop expanding their numbers and stop calling Hindu society kafirs (non-believers). Islam has a future in this country only if it completely submerges itself among the hundreds of sects that already exist in India. An intolerant Church and an intolerant Islam have no future in this country. To use a comparison, they behave like lambs when they are in a minority. But when their number increases, they become like the fox, a symbol of cunning, and when in majority, they start behaving like a lion. On the contrary, the cow is the ideal of a Hindu. He behaves like one and treats the world in that fashion only.

How would you define "tolerant Islam"?
There are certain tenets in tolerant Islam which are eternal.

What are those?
I can't tell you now; but these tenets will go on. The followers of Islam and Christianity interpreted the principles propounded by Mohammad and Jesus to suit themselves and made land-grabbing their goal by expanding their numbers. St Paul did it and the caliphs after Mohammad did it. Even today, they are planning to create their own homelands here.

But there has also been a long history of fierce conflicts between the Shaivites and Vaishnavites in India.
Shaivon aur Vaishnavon ko Angrezon ne aapas mein ladaya hai (The British pitted them against each other). As far as the fight among the akharas (groups) are concerned, don't husbands and wives quarrel at home? And do families break up over that?

Doesn't the same hold true for the Muslims and Christians?
No. Our god is different from theirs. Their founders are different. They don't have the same concept of god as we have. Anything which is born is bound to perish. Hindus believe in the sanatana truth - the eternal truth, not the man-made truth. The sanatana dharma has no beginning and it has no end. But Islam and Christianity will wither away after completing their age - in the same way that Communism was born and then died after completing its age.

Aren't you furthering the theory of "internal enemies" propounded by Golwalkar?
Yes. That's because the Church, Islam and Communism are international phenomena. They are not rooted in India; decisions about them are not taken in this country. The global Church is the real owner of all the property held by the Church in India. People belonging to all these jamaats (groups) have extra-territorial loyalty. For example, why should we have cricket matches when the end results are counterproductive? I am dead against it. When the feeling expressed by the Muslims show their extra-territorial loyalty, people then perceive them as enemies.

What do you think is the way out?
The interpretation of the Quran in this country must be set right. It (the Quran) should be adapted according to the great traditions of India. Vivekananda once said that when a Hindu becomes a Christian or a Muslim, it is not only a loss of a number but also an enemy being added. Can't you see? Pakistan is in front of you. Let them say Hindus are not kafirs. But they can't digest their defeat. They will continue to remain a problem for the entire world till the time they believe that salvation is not possible outside their religion. Mahavir preached syadvada (non-exclusivity of faith). Islam will have to think on those lines. The Christians don't go to Egypt and Arab countries (to preach). Muslims and Christians don't interfere in each other's territory. Vahan unki daal nahin galti (They can't have their way). Because they apply the same methods to finish each other off - they just kill the other. Mahavir and the Buddha preached non-violence. But in their religion (Islam and Christianity) there is no place for nonviolence. Pahle unko ahimsa ka paath seekhna chahiye (First of all they should learn what non-violence is all about).

But the RSS itself justifies violence by citing the fact that all 33 crore Hindu gods and goddesses have their own weapons "drenched in the blood of enemies".
Violence in the defence of the dharma is always justified. There cannot be a uniform law for a robber and a victim. We will have to demarcate between dharma and adharma. Lord Rama and Krishna picked up arms only to defend non-violence.

A war hysteria is being created; open calls to launch atomic weapons on Pakistan were given by Acharya Dharmendra from the dais at the dharma sansad. Do you believe it's justified?
Vajpayee himself has said that instead of digging up cricket pitches, these people should go to the border. However, is the voice of the sants the only one emanating out of the dharma sansad? The sants are not bound to any organisation; they are free to say what they please. If we did not have the capability to implement their call as an organisation, we would excuse ourselves. In this particular case, I must say, we do not have the capacity.

You keep saying that the sants should command those in power. Are you talking about a theocratic state?
I don't believe in a theocratic state. Rajya ko dharmaroodh hona chahiye; rajya ka koi mazhab nahin hota (The state should be based on dharma; it doesn't have any religion). There is a great difference between dharma and mazhab. The principles propounded by a prophet are called the mazhab. But our tradition Hindutva does not teach us to follow the principles laid down by man.

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