RSS: Why Lie About Ancient India?


By Savera


Since the BJP government came to power in May last year, prime minister Narendra Modi, many of his cabinet colleagues and a slew of RSS affiliated organisations and individuals have been arguing that ancient Indian sages and seers had developed science to such an extent that many of the modern sophisticated scientific achievements are mere shadows of that glorious past. As examples they present: air-planes, spacecraft capable of travelling to other planets, plastic surgery, in-vitro fertlisation(test tube babies), discovery of many math principles and theorems, nuclear bombs, and so on. As evidence they present mythological stories or works supposedly based on ancient texts.

Much has been written about the impossibility of these fantastic claims being true. For example, a study by four scientists of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, in 1974, comprehensively debunked the claim made by two books on ancient aviation science. Apart from showing that the so called ‘vimanas’ or aircraft described in the books would be impossible to fly, the scientists also showed that the books could not have been written earlier than 1903. There is no evidence of the sage Bharadwaj writing a book 7000 years ago. 

Similarly, various Sanskrit scholars have pointed out that the book Vedic Mathematics written by Shankaracharya Tirthaji and published in 1965 had no connection with the ancient Vedas and was a product of his own musings. The book teaches various shortcuts to do basic computations and can never open the doors to higher learning of maths. 

So, the question arises: why are the Prime Minister, his RSS affiliated ministers, and other outfits so keen to establish a myth? To find an answer to this delusionary behavior, we need to turn back to the ideological roots of the RSS. 

Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar or Shri Guruji, as he is known by generations of RSS members, was the Sarsanghchalak(supremo) of the RSS from 1940 till 1973. He defined and consolidated the theocratic ideology of the RSS.

In his key book ‘We or Our Nationhood Defined” he argues that Hindusthan (India) was a land of plenty with advanced science, cultivation, industries, and a culture “which made every individual a noble specimen of humanity, truth and generosity, under the divine influence of which, not one of the hundreds ofmillions of the people, ever told a lie or stole or indulged in any moral aberration” (p 46). 

But like all good things, this had to end. “However, with the passage of time, a sense of security spread its benumbing influence over the whole Nation, and the great corruptor, Time, laid his hand heavily on the people (p 47)” Guruji explains. Then, he says, “for the last thousand years or less, the land has been infested with murderous bands of despoilers” (p 52). 

It is necessary to understand this defining RSS view of history to understand their blind glorification of the ‘great Hindu past’ even if it means abandoning or ignoring all of science. Thus, reacting to the mounting evidence that ‘Aryans’ a pastoral people from Central Asia came in to North-West India in repeated waves, intermingled with the local inhabitants and settled down, Guruji is aghast and opts for an outlandish theory: the Arctic origin of Aryans, first propounded by LokmanyaTilak in 1903. But Guruji gives it a fantastic spin that only the RSS is capable of – he says the North Pole was in India at one time! This is what he writes: “the North Pole is not stationary and quite long ago it was in that part of the world, which, we find, is called Bihar and Orissa at the present; that then it moved northeast and then by a sometimes westerly, sometimes northward movement, it came to its present position. If this be so, did we leave the Arctic Zone and come to Hindusthan or were we all along here and the Arctic Zone left us and moved away northwards in its zigzag march? We do not hesitate in affirming that had this fact been discovered during the life-time of Lok. Tilak, he would unhesitatingly have propounded the proposition that The Arctic Home in the Vedas ‘ was verily in Hindusthan itself and that it was not the Hindus who migrated to that land but the Arctic Zone which emigrated and left the Hindus in Hindusthan” (p 45).

If this is the intellectual heritage of the current RSS members who are leading the country, it is not at all surprising that they throw real science out of the window in order to accommodate their flights of fancy. The irony is that they also throw out the real contributions of ancient India to accommodate their distorted views. They have no place for the great mathematicians from Baudhayana (around 800 BCE) through Brahmagupta, Bhaskara, Aryabhatta, Madhav or Kamalakara, and obviously not for the Islamic mathematicians. They have no place for the great astronomers or metallurgists or architects or other technologists. Much of what ancient Indians discovered in science or technology has been already assimilated in world knowledge just as much of world knowledge has been assimilated by Indians. It is this cross-pollination that is called progress.

But for the RSS – and its children, the Narendra Modis, the Harsh Vardhans, the Rajnaths and the Dina Nath Batras of today  – to accept this would be suicidal. They can survive and fool the people of India only by foisting lies and myths about past glories and present enemies. In doing so they will push this country and people back in to the dark ages.