Hindu Or Sindhu
Let us remember
the brave warriors
and heroes of our country:
The brave Bhairoba, Khandoba, Jotiba
Who were the chieftains of Bali's kingdom,
and the meritorious king Bali
who we recall at the second day of Divali.
Why is it he is the warrior remembered with,
"Let troubles and sorrows go and the kingdom of Bali come"?
The Aryabhats came and looted all, made the warriors into slaves.
Why did Waman send Bali under the earth?
This is the question of Joti, a Mali..
The politics of
"Hindutva' have surged forward tremendously in
the last ten years. "ram" and "Ramjanmabhoomi" have
the core of this new link being forged between political power
and religion. While the Mullas and other Muslim fundamentalists
are keeping the poor Muslims in bondage, the Sangh parivar is
trying to bring back the old Brahmanic religion.
are the offspring of the capitalists who
exploit workers, agricultural labourers, peasants, women, adivasis,
dahlits, nomads, balutedars and tenants; they are trying to
heighten casteist exploitation by restoring the old brahmanic
religion in a new form. Muslims have been made the direct target
of their bloodthirsty attack, while they spread poison to confuse
bahujans and dalits to trap them anew in a brahmanic religion.
This makes it necessary for poor Muslims and Hindus alike to
rip off the veil of the Sangh parivar.
In this situation
we will use the perspective of Phule to find a
way out. We will need the light of the thinking of Dr. Babasaheb
Ambedkar, Gadge Maharaj, the heritage of Carvak, Gautam
Buddha, Mahavir, Basaveshwar and others. It is necessary to
rally around the trumpet of king Bali. There is a need to give a
framework to the ideology of dalit and bahujan men and women,
drawing on researchers like D.D. Kosambi.Jotiba had expressed
the theme that human beings must behave humanely towards
one another. Even while ferociously opposing brahmanic
superstitions whenever showed blind hatred for those born as
brahmans. In his own words,
The Aryas used caseteism
the Mlecchas for their own interests,
Aryas were declared superior for all births
and others throughout the world inferior.
They used religious differences for self-interest,
looting the shudras in the name of faith.
There is no such differentiation among Christians or Muslims.
Do not respect religious or political differences,
Behave truthfully for the lord;
keep Christians, Muslims, Mangs just as brahmans as brothers.
There is only
one truth in the creator's religion;
but many quarrels:
With such a perspective
we confront the religious fanatics of
the Sangh parivar who aim to re-establish the old brahmanic
religion. Jotiba stated that without annihilating the exploitation
of caste and religious-cultural oppression, the nation or the
"people together" will never come into existence. He brought
forward the role of equality in religions such as Buddhism and
Islam, while saluting dalit and bahujan elements in Hindu
Cultural and social
traditions along with political and economic
integration play a central role in giving shape to the "people
together" of any nation. But the time has come to analyze
anew the traditions of the majority of people in India. If
Bharatiya people are not to be trapped in the claws of
religious insanity, this search has to be done with a clear
head. With this it will be easy to rip apart the veils of the
Hindutva of the Sangh parivar.
The Oldest Heritage
of Bharatiya Society: Hindu or Sindhu?
who call themselves "Hindutvavadis"
consider only the tradition of brahmanic Hinduism to be
theirs. But there is a difference of earth and sky between
their brahmanic Hindu tradition and the "Hindu" tradition
of the entire people. Even before the concept of "Hindu"
came into existence there was a great tradition of the
Indian community, one that Indians can claim with pride
as theirs. This great tradition is that of Sindhu civilisation.
According to archeological
evidence, the Sindhu civilization
is the oldest one on the Indian subcontinent. It was found
not only in the environs of the river Sindhu, but was spread
even up to today's Gujarat. It was an urban civilisation and
had achieved an agricultural-artisan and seafaring mode of
production. It goes back 5000 years, with dating fixed not
only by archeological evidence but also with the help of
radiocarbon technology. Nearly 700 settlements from small
villages to cities have been unearthed so far. The script of
the civilisation, found on its seals, has not been deciphered.
But there is still much to learn from what has been
discovered so far.
The brahmanic Hindutvavadis
claim the Vedas as the original
books of the Hindus. The Sindhu civilisation is prior to all
of these Vedas. Contrary to the brahmanic Hindutvavadis,
those who paraded the Vedas as their own came from
outside the Indian subcontinent. They knew nothing of
urban life. They were wandering pastoralists, primitive tribes
who knew nothing of settled agriculture or the art of writing.
These tribes destroyed the cities of the Sindhu civilisation.
They broke up the dams necessary for their agriculture.
The Aryans were
the first outsiders known to history who
attacked and looted the Indian people and destroyed their
homes and villages. The Rg Veda is the poetic ballad of the
victories and customs of these marauding barbarians! If,
as the Hindutvavadis say, the Vedas are the original and
sacred books of the Hindu religion, then we will have to
admit that it was the people of the "Hindu" religion who
were the first foreign barbarians to attack the Indian people.
And we will have to say that the "Hindu" religion is not
an Indian religion but a religion of foreign marauders! One
to two thousand years before conquerors of such diverse
religious and ethnic groups as the Greeks, Shakas,
Muslims (Arabs, Turks) or Christians set foot on the
Indian subcontinent, these foreign Aryan barbarians came
to destroy our advanced civilisation. They did not stop at
destroying the places of worship of the Sindhu civilisation
but laid waste whole cities and villages. They also destroyed
the agriculture based on advanced technologies along with
its irrigation system. The Hindutvavadis advise the Indian
people to take as their great religious book that book which
sings the praises of such terrible acts. How will the Indian
poor who have no knowledge of Sanskrit understand what
this means? The Indian people understand the Hindu
religion according to their own language. The people's
Hindu religion and the "Hindu" religion of the Hindutvavadis
are different. The religion that they call theirs is a religion
that has attacked Indian culture and Indian traditions.
Some may ask, where
is the proof of all this? There is of
course irrefutable archeological evidence for the existence of
the cities and villages. But there is also proof that Aryan
invaders attacked this civilisation. Evidence is found in the
Rg Veda itself. The Rg Veda god and leader, Indra, is
described as "releaser of floods" and "destroyer of cities."
There is no mention of him or his followers as "builders of
cities" or "conquerors of cities." In this first Veda
Sanskrit word for brick, ista, is never found. The description
of Aryan settlements in this period is simply as "village"
(gram). Even in the later Vedas it seems that bricks were
used only for building a place for yagnas. The "city-destroying"
Aryans destroyed the cities of the Sindu civilisation. Since
they were nomadic pastoralists, rather than conquering
and living in them they smashed them and continued to
wander. There is a specific mention in the Rg Veda (6.27.5)
of a war attacking and destroying a city called "Hariyupiya"
(Harappa). A pogrom of destroying and looting is clear from
numerous references. Those whose cities were looted were
called "dasyu." This later became the word "das"
people). The people of the Sindhu civilisation were made
In this connection,
some people of the Sindhu civilisation
known as "pani" were mentioned with scorn. The meaning
of the word is "merchant." In destroying the urban
settlements of the Sindhu civilisation, the Aryans also
naturally destroyed their agriculture and crafts and the
trade based on these. Some eight to nine hundred years
after the Sindhu civilisation was destroyed new cities began
to come again into existence. When coins began to be
used again they were known as pana. Even today,
merchants are called vani in Marathi and bania in Hindi.
The Sindhu civilisation was smashed but not completely
uprooted. When settled agriculture and urban civilisation
began to be generalised once again, Indian civilisation
developed on the foundation of the broken remnants of
that civilisation. It could not and did not develop on
the basis of the Vedic verses.
Proof can also be
found in the Rg Veda that the Aryans
destroyed the agricultural system of the Sindhu civilisation.
Indra is often called the "liberator of waters." Indra freed
rivers from the clutches of Vrtra. The meaning of vrtra is
obstruction, barricade or bandh. There is also a specific
mention that "he removed the artificial obstruction to
rivers." The method of cultivation of the Sindhu civilisation
depended on this water. Their agriculture flourished on
the floodplains of rivers and on silt deposited by water
spread over the fields. Dams were built to spread this water
over greater distances. This was the best way of irrigating
the land and making it cultivable in the low rainfall areas.
Since two early floods came from the seven rivers originating
in the Himalayas, two good crops every year could be taken
on this basis. The Aryans destroyed this method of
cultivating the land. It was a deathblow to the Sindhu
In brief, the claim
of the Hindutvavadis that the Vedas are
the ancient and sacred books of the Indian culture or
alternatively of the Hindu religion proves to be a lie. These
are books that the pastoral, nomadic, barbarian Aryan
tribes created to sing the praises of their victories. They
are the oldest memorials of the destruction of the Indian
culture by "foreigners." It is the Sindhu civilisation which
is the ancient and original culture of the Indian people.
Along with the truth
that the Rg Veda-parading Aryans
were the first outside barbarians attacking the Indian
people is another strange truth. Those Sanghist brahmani
Hindutvavadis who call the Muslims outsiders were Aryans
who came from the Muslim-majority regions! This is the
region of central Asia. The region from today's Iran to
Afghanistan and further up to the Sindhu river was known
as "Arya Pradesh" by the world conqueror Alexander. It
is not that these Aryans wandered somewhere else and
Muslims came from outside and encroached on their land.
These onetime Aryans became Muslims and became
among the many groups from outside who became
Muslims and then came into India. (Though most of
today's Indian Muslims come from the nonAryan Dravidian
and other groups). Yet those who claim the tradition of
that Aryan religion call the Muslim Aryans as "outside
invaders" and vow to eradicate them!
The region of today's
Iran was previously known as Persia
(about 486 BC). The ruler of Persia at that time, Darius,
was the first to have engravings on his tomb, in which
he said, "Persian, the son of a Persian, Arya, the son of
an Arya"! Isn't it an irony that those Sanghists who claim
the heritage of the Aryans who were the first to attack the
Indian people and culture consider the original Aryas
who did not participate in the attack as alien?
The Hindu Religion
of the People and the Religion of the
The English pronounced
Mumbai as "Bombay" and this
is the way Indians write the name of the city even today.
Similarly, the people who came over the Khyber Pass
and crossed the Sindhu river in the Indian subcontinent
pronounced the Sindhu as "Indus" or "Hindu" and
on this distorted foreign pronunciation the Bharatiyas
came to be known as "Indian" or "Hindu." And then
of us living on the banks of the Ganga, Yamuna, Narmada,
Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri etc. began to be known by the
name of "Hindus" or "Hindustanis." More accurately
should be called "Sindhus" or "Sindhustanis."
The majority of
people of India are of the Hindu (Sindhu)
religion of the Baliraja tradition, while the religion of those
who call themselves Hindutvavadis is of the Vaman
tradition. In this context a custom known in every home
in Maharashtra and brought to our attention by Mahatma
Jotiba Phule is worth noting. It is a tradition that the
women of the house felicitate the men coming home from
"taking the gold of Dussera" with ida pida javo, balica rajya
yevo, "let sorrows and troubles go and the kingdom of Bali
come." Only in the homes of those who observe the
brahmanic customs is there the humiliating custom of
breaking the statue of Bali to felicitate the entry of men.
Folk legends describe Bali Raja as a beneficent ruler
behaving well with the people, a hero struggling to give a
life of equality and prosperity. In contrast, without any
errors of this king, without any tyrannous actions he is called
a "rakshasa" and the so-called avatar of Vishnu comes
forward as "Vaman" to deceive and destroy him. This is
appropriate to the Hindutvavadis who praise the destroying
of the Babri Masjid. (It is important to remember here that
the people of the Sindhu civilisation were also described as
rakshasas in the Rg Veda).
The majority of
the Indian people observe the Hindu (Sindhu)
religious tradition of Bali Raja, while those who call
themselves Hindutvavadis observe the Hindu religion of Waman!
The majority Indian
people of the Hindu (Sindhu) tradition
have very many close and important devatas. Examples of
these in Maharashtra are such gods as Jotiba, Vithoba,
Khandoba etc. and goddesses such as Kalubai, Banaik,
Jokai, Ambabai. There is not a mention of these in the
religious books that the Hindutvavadis take as the main
religious books of the Hindus. The devatas followed by the
majority of Hindus (Sindhus) do not have brahman priests
and have only an insignificant place in the religious books
of the Hindutvavadis. The main festivals of the majority,
ghatastapana, Dassera, Nagpanchmi, Bendu or Bailpola,
Rangpanchmi, Holi etc. are also not in the religious books
of the Hindutvavadis. The original devata of Maharashtrian
culture, Vithoba, is also absent from their religious books!
All these festivals and devatas are linked to the laborious
but creative agricultural life and livelihood of the majority
of Indian people. They have originated from that life. This
bahujan religion has an extremely close relation to the
matricentric agricultural tradition of the Sindhu civilisation.
There is nothing
of this in the Hindutvavadis religious books.
Whatever there is represents a snatching away of the
independence of the bahujan Indians. It is a way of keeping
them in slavery. These books have proclaimed a religion
that closes off all women and over 95% of men from
knowledge. They have given instructions to treat women
as animals. With the proclamation that toiling people
should be given the lowest status, that some among them
should be made untouchables and treated worse than
animals, they have divided them and locked them into the
hierarchy of the caste system. Such religious books
cannot represent the Hindu (Sindhu) religion of the majority
of Indians. The Brahmanic religion, which makes the
majority of people and all women into slaves and keeps
them in the night of ignorance, can only be beneficial to
the Hindutvavadis. In the rhetoric of making India a
"Hindu nation" the intention seems to be to implement
such a religion once again. If it is not, they should clearly
renounce all such religious books. They should publicly
criticise the teachings in them. Not only this, they should
condemn the actions in the Ramayana of killing Shambuk
for the crime (!) of tapascharya. They should condemn
the injustice meted out to Sita. They should agree that
only Sita and Shambuk could be models for the majority
of Indian people.
The majority of
Indian people have followed another
"religious" practice. They have gone on discussing and
criticising whatever they considered to be errors in the
mythologies. For example, the ovya sung by "ignorant"
women at work in our villages are critical of the behavior
of Rama to Sita.
The people have
regarded all the religions born out of the
Indian tradition as theirs. Buddhism, Jainism, Veerasaivism,
Sikhism were never regarded as alien. The reason is clear.
These religions all opposed the caste system. They opposed
varna. Buddhism in fact waged a struggle against regarding
the majority of people as slaves. The reason for the spread
of Buddhism in India up to the time of Emperor Ashok
was that the slave system was overcome and the toiling
people remained comparatively freer as independent
peasants and paid laborers. The Buddhist symbol of this
emperor Ashok is today on our national flag. The
Brahmanic Hindutvavadis of the Sangh parivar have
started to oppose this symbol! The empire of Ashok, who
accepted Buddhist religion, extended over all of India.
His symbol was in reality the symbol of the liberation
of the majority of Indian toiling people from the slavery
of the das system of the old brahmanic religion. The
Sangh parivar does not want the symbol of the first
stage of our liberation. They want to impose again
another casteist slavery upon us along with capitalism.
In the very period
in which the bahujans and dalits of old
days were becoming free from the das system of slavery,
the symptoms of the creation of the jati system could be
seen. In this context Gautam Buddha has clearly said,
nonhuman animals do differences such as
jati exist, not among humans."
Buddha opposed the
jati system at the time of its origin.
This was the reason he was attacked. Thousands were
killed and their blood was spilled. This terrible action was
done by the brahmanic religion, which is hailed today by
the Sangh parivar. In every footpath in India and especially
in Maharashtra there are relics which prove we were
Buddhists. Caves in the hills at Ajanta-Ellora, Karle,
Bhaje, Karad; hills at Naneghat, Nashik, the hill where
Tukaram sang his abhangs are among these. Our
ancestors built these with their own hands. Those who
established the first state in Maharashtra and Andhra
also, the Satavahanas, supported both Buddhism and
the Hindu (Sindhu) religion. Our Khandoba of Jejuri
was one such Satavahana. The Sangh family is playing
a game to once again catch the necks of the bahujans
and dalits in their brahmanic noose. They are giving an
invitation to turn away from the liberatory tradition and
become a slave again accepting the bloodthirsty tradition.
The remedy to this is to tear apart the veil over their
The Sikh and Lingayat
religions came forward to achieve
liberation from the caste system and defeat the brahmanic
religion. It is no accident that the abhangs of Namdev of
the bhakti tradition which opposed caste are in the "Guru
Granthsaheb" of the Sikhs. The Lingayat religion founded
by Basaveshwar also aimed at this liberation. It was cause
of this that brahmans were enraged and murderously
In the abhangs of
Tukaram Maharaj of the Varkari religion
of Maharashtra the oppostion to brahmanic religion is
clear. Not only this, but a sympathy is expressed for
Islam. Tukaram and Kunbis like him were forbidden to
learn Sanskrit; he made his own songs and created his
own "Veda." The bhakti tradition attacked brahmanism.
This is why he was tortured by the brahmans of the time
and killed. The Sangh parivar is once again following this
Not only this, but
people following religions that were
founded outside the Indian subcontinent were never
seen as foreigners or outsiders by the people of Hindu
(Sindhu) religion. In the villages of Maharashtra,
Moharram has been observed as a festival of all people
for generations. In some places the Moharram tabut
does not even go out without Hindus (Sindhus) doing
"puja." The people of Hindu (Sindhu) religion make vows
to pirs while Muslims observe the fast days of Hindu
(Sindhu) clan devatas and make vows to them. Behaving
humanely to one another is the religion of the Hindu
(Sindhu) tradition. Enslaving human beings, using power
to kill people in order to establish domination, is the
religion of the Vaman tradition of the Hindutvavadis.
The looting kings whose spirituality was only in
exploitation were the ones who took up the business of
destroying the places of worship of one or anther
religion. It was not the people. In the 7th century AD
king Shashanka destroyed Buddhist memorials and
burned to the ground the tree under which the Buddha
had found enlightenment. In that period only King
Harsha honoured both Hindu and Buddhist religions.
The most noteworthy event is that a Kashmir raja
named Harsha in the 11th-12th century, known for his
Sanskrit poetry, confiscated the property of temples,
threw out their idols and melted down important coinage.
This "Hindu" king appointed a special minister known as
devotpatannayak for such work!
The majority of
Hindu (Sindhu) people remained apart
form such politics of destruction. And if the question
comes of retribution for such politics, then a new
industry will have to be started in the country. The
first retribution will have to be from those who
destroyed the cities, places of worship and agriculture
of the Sindhu civilisation. And by the logic of justice
used by the Sangh parivar, retribution is owed by all
those Brahmans (whether or not their descendents
are criminals) who kept all women and nonBrahman
men as slaves for two thousand years, locking them
up in the exploitation of the caste hierarchy, depriving
them of knowledge. That town whose original name
of Saket was wiped out in the fifth century and called
"Ayodhya" will have to be given again the name of
Saket. The temple of Ram will have to be condemned
and the temples of Sita and the martyred ancestor of
the bahujans, Shambuk, built in its place.
such politics is part of the Vaman
tradition of the Hindutvavadis, the majority of Indian
people of the Hindu (Sindhu) tradition, the heirs of Bali
Raja and Shambuk, will not do such politics. But in
order that the Hindutvavadis should recognise the
consequence of their politics and stop their activities,
there is a need to remind them of the traditions of Hindu
Ram, BJP and
When Advani led
the "Ramrath Yatra," BJP's equation of
Ram and power became clear. Nor did the BJP hide their
aims. The organisers of the Rath Yatra did not forget to
paint the lotus electoral symbol of the BJP on the "chariot."
Today the BJP has no alternative to the Congress for solving
the problems faced by the country. They can give no
alternative path for ending the sorrows faced by toilers in
villages and cities. They have not an inkling of a practical
and concrete remedy for the terrible diseases of poverty,
starvation, unemployment, indebtedness price-rise,
pollution, drought and desertification. They want to keep
the exploitative statist system as it is and only give it the
form of Hindutva. With no alternative path to gain
government power, they have chosen the path of
They want political
power to bury Bali Raja again in the
earth. They want to exclude Shambuk from attempting
tapascharya and to close the path of knowledge for
women. They want to bring back the raj modeled on a
religion which makes a guiltless Sita abandoned. They
want to bring back the system of Manu which throws
women into slavery. They want to bring back
chaturvarnya in a new, subtle form. By limiting education
they want to re-establish the old system on which was
based the saying, "Knowledge in the house of the
Brahmans, grain in the house of the Kunbis (peasants),
and songs for the Mahars and Mangs (dalits)."
In the context of
the situation today the Sangh family
and Muslim fundamentalist mullahs and Imam Bukhari
are of one coin. In the Shahbano case the Supreme Court
ruled on the side of giving maintenance. The Muslim
fundamentalists raised a huge outcry. The Congress
government which was doing opportunistic "vote bank"
politics overturned the Supreme Court decision by
amending the Constitution! The Sangh family is yelling
that this shows how Muslims are pampered. But it was a
huge injustice to Muslim women. It was the fundamentalists
who were pampered. To say that taking away the rights
of women is the "pampering of Muslims" is to say that
pampering is equivalent to withholding the
maintenance to abandoned
women. The Sangh parivar
feels this is pampering, since they also want to take away
the rights of women. The Muslim fundamentalists are
playing the cruel game of taking advantage of the sorrows
of the extremely poor Muslim masses to keep them in
their clutches. Though there is no caste system in Islam
still there is some caste among Indian Muslims. Both sides
In the ancient matricentric
equalitarian tribal society there
was no exploitation of either men or women. The
brahmanical religious tradition and the looting exploitative
kings first imposed slavery on women, and then as the
next step on the majority of toiling men. In the Mahabharat
there is a memory of nearly this society:
nor kings nor punishment nor
through the religion of humanity (dharma) they
Here the Sanskrit
word "dharma' means the rules guiding
human behavior. Such a dream was reflected in the very
organization of the Buddhist Sangha. The workers and
toilers of all religions and all castes in India want such a
society founded on the prosperity of science, "where there
is no kingdom, no king, no punishment or punished and
the citizens themselves protect each other through the laws
If we want to keep
alive the old traditions and old heritage,
then the defeated tradition of the tribal mother has to be
recalled. The model of Sita, whose name means ploughed
land and who struggled against the imposition of slavery
on the four varnas and on women, has to be brought forward.
In the Ramayana,
Rama kills Tataka, the queen of the
Malad-Kurush matricentric tribe. Vishwamitra tells Rama,
who hesitates in the decision to kill Tataka, that
"Na hi te strivadhkrut
ghruna karya narottam,
hi kartavya rajsununa"
It is not proper to feel squeamish about
killing a woman. A raja's duty is to struggle for the
advancement of chaturvarnya" (cited in Sharad Patil, Das
Shudra Gulamgiri, 1986, p. 2).
This is the teaching
that aims to establish the four varna
system and make all toiling men and women into slaves
through the defeat of the equalitarian matricentric tribal
state. Here we have to note that Vishwamitra does not tell
Rama that "since Tataka is a rakshasa, she is bad,
therefore you should kill her."
In contrast, Sita
says to Rama in the Ramayana,
violence against other lives who are not your
enemies is a third addiction which you have gotten into.
Because, O hero! You have taken a vow to kill rakshasas in
a war for the security of the rishis living in Dankaranya.People
will not approve of the killing of guiltless rakshasas."
of Janak! I have vowed to observe all the
orders of the rishis of Dandakaranya. I have always desired
truth. O Sita! I will sacrifice Lakshman, my life or even you,
but I will not renounce the vows that were given and especially
the promises given to Brahmans.." (cited Patil, p. 18).
In the name of Hindutva
and Ramjanmabhoomi, the RSS
and BJP are today attacking Muslims. Their final attack will
be on the majority of Indians of Hindu (Sindhu) religion in
order to tighten the slavery of women, in order to increase
the exploitation of the old varna-based jati system.
But we have confidence
that the majority of the Indian
people who are of Hindu (Sindhu) religion of the tradition
of Bali Raja will understand this conspiracy of the heirs of
Waman. For they are the true heirs of Sita and Shambuk.
submit to slavery
from illusion's bonds we'll be free
everyone will be powerful and prosperous --
Brahman, Ksatriya, Vaishya, Shudra and Chandala all have rights
women, children, male and female and even prostitutes"
17th cent. Marathi Sant of India
Marathi, this article was originally written in 1993 as a Marathi pamphlet
selling at one rupee, this sold out 10,000 copies within a first few
days, mainly when the Shetmajur Kashtakari Shetkari Sanghatana (an organization
of toiling farmers' and agricultural labourers) held a protest march
of 20,000 rural people coming to Kolhapur in southern Maharashtra).