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The Saffron Book

In independent India, British city and street names have been changed; statues have been removed. No such action has, however, affected the conquerors that preceded the British. Even the hated Aurangzeb is commemorated with a street name in the heart of New Delhi.

44. Double Standards

Dear Nanavati
Yes, a large number of British names of our cities and streets have been Indianised. Also, a large number of statues installed by the Britsh rulers have been removed from their pedestals and stored in godowns. I get the feeling that many of your friends consider such a change to be an act of nationalism; some kind of a patriotic gesture. Let me tell you, they are wrong. You are a Gujarati like me. Yet, you need to write to me in English but when it comes to names you want to abolish them.When it comes to the language, you are a slave. Is that not ridiculous?

Like most of our fellow citizens, you are not aware. So, let me tell you bluntly that what you have suggested is nothing short of disgraceful, if not also shameful. I know you have no objection to a central street in New Delhi being called Aurangzeb Road although the man desecrated hundreds of temples and built mosques in their place. The Gyanvapi masjid is a constant reminder of the Kashi Vishwanath temple which was destroyed. The idgah at Mathura was built on the sacred land where once existed a temple commemorating the birth of Sri Krishna.How many hearts are there in India in whom Shiva and Krishna do not reside? Yet, we are scared to protest against this vandalism.

This double standard was recently pointed out to me by my colleague K.R. Phanda. I felt uneasy when the statues in Calcutta were uprooted and some of them transferred to the compound of the Victoria Memorial. For one, most of them were beautiful pieces of statuary. For another, they had been installed independently of any destruction or humiliation. For long years; my stomach has turned at the thought of our temples being desecrated. I first heard about such deserations in 1942 when I was five years old. I had accpmpanied my parents from Morbi (north of Rajkot) on a holiday to Junagadh from where we went to see Somnath. I vividly remember my father telling me about the invasion by Mahmud Ghazni, his brewing the Shiv ling and carrying away the treasures of Somnath. Little wonder, therefore, that I happened to be present at Ayodhya on 6 December 1992. Despite all this, the double standard between our attitude to the invaders from Central Asia and our reaction to the rulers from the British isles is so vastly contradictory. The fact of contradiction escaped me till recently.

There is no doubt that the British exploited us. Very subtly they transferred the surpluses of the Indian economy. They imported raw materials from India at comparatively low prices. What was converted into finished goods was exported and sold in India at higher than normal prices. Thus the wealth generated in our country was skimmed off to enrich Britain. Call it colonialism, call it imperialism; it was exploitation.Having said that, it is difficult to Link of any physical damage done by the British to our country.

True, there was Thomas Babington Macaulay who did all he could to delink us from our cultural roots by introducing education in English.And Sir Charles Trevelyan did what he could to plant western civilisation in India. That was considered a distortion of our civilization.This was compensated by the gift of unity which the English language brought about. Or else, it is difficult to imagine a Gujarati talking to a Bengali or a Malayalee conversing with a Punjabi in any other language.The spread of Hindi did not gain momentum until the advent of the films and the promotion of the language after Independence.

The British did not have a strategic plan to divide India. I hold no brief for the British but I hate humbug. The British founded and helped to build all the four top metropolises of our country. The names of three of them have been changed. Evidently, their erstwhile names were offending our national pride. Calcutta was founded in 1690 by Job Charnock, out of three villages called Sutanuti, Govindapur and Kalikata. The history of Calcutta and how it em is widely known.

Bombay was a fishing village for nearly 200 years till the end of the fifteenth century. Thereafter the Portuguese forced it out of the hands of Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. In 1549, the village was given inperpetuity to the famous Portuguese botanist Dr. Garcia Da Orta for a sum of Rs.537/-. In 1616, the growing village was given as a marriage dower by the King of Portugal to King Charles II of England for marrying his sister, Catherine of Braganza. The British take over of Bombay proved lucky; the village grew into one of world's great metropolises.

Madras was another fishing village called Madraspatnam where the British East India Company built a trading post in 1640. By 1652, Fort St. George was recognised as a presidency by the Company.Thereafter Madras did not look back. In 1911, the British Government decided to build a new capital for its Indian empire on Raisina Hill, Delhi. This led to the founding of New Delhi whose name has not been changed yet. The other three cities have become Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai. The proposal to change the name of Ahmedabad into Karnavati was also mooted but has been placed to a state of animated suspense. Alas, if only we Hindus stuck to a single standard!

The Saffron Book
Prafull Goradia
1. Awake and Unite!
2. Why The Saffron Book?

10. Small States
3. Vision
4. Economic Face
5. Abolish Casteism
6. Bride Burning, Divorce
7. Rape, Prostitution
8. Revolutionising Education
9. The Constitution

11. Nationalism
12. Pan-Islamism
13. Communism
14. Subnationalism
15. Casteism

16. Hindutva is Dialectical
17. Origin of Hinduism
18. Medieval Phase
19. Modern Resurgence
20. Not Fundamentalism
21. Not Fascism
22. Tolerance
23. Strengths
24. Weaknesses
25. Opportunities
26. Threats
27. Individual Brilliance

Hindu Paradoxes
42. Idolatry
43. Fatalism
44. Double Standards
45. Masochistic Fringe
46. Fifth Column
47. No Soul before Birth

48. Proselytising Unwelcome
49. Myth of Divide and Rule

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