[HPI note: This is not a summary, but the full report from our correspondent; you will not find this article elsewhere on the web.]
NEW DELHI, January 11th, 2011 (By Rajiv Malik, HPI Correspondent):
'It is a book intended to be an eye opener, a warning to us,' said jurist and former Law Minister of India, Shri Ram Jethamalani, while formally releasing the book 'Breaking India : Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines.' The book is jointly authored by Rajiv Malhotra, head of Infinity Foundation and Aravindan Neelakandan, a popular science writer in Tamil.
Shri Ram Jethamalani continued, 'We have internal enemies enough but there are external enemies outside our borders who are collaborating with their dummies , agents and proxies inside our borders. And they are trying to achieve the result which is to weaken India, break its unity, break its integration and ultimately to jeopardize our freedom, our sovereignty and perhaps our culture.'
Or in other words: 'Why West Controls The Discourse On India ?' asks Rajiv Malhotra, the author of the book.
The book release function was held in New Delhi's Vivekananda International Foundation on Wednesday, February 9th, 2011. It was followed by a discussion on the book by Shri S. Gurumurthy, Public Intellectual ; Vice Admiral [Retd] Raman Puri and Dr. Upendra Baxi , Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Warwick.
In his keynote address, Shri Ram Jethamalani also stated, 'The authors have found out that there are three external dangers from which India is exposed in a very big way. The Islamic radicals which are operating from a neighboring country, perhaps from other countries too. Then there are Maoists and others who are being supported by Chinese. The third category is of the persons who are trying to create a new race of Dravidians and also taking in account the large number of what we call the dalits. They are trying to instigate a feeling of separatism and thereby further weaken this country.'
He went on to say, 'Sanskrit language in the past united the bonds between the north and the south of India. But today a move is on to remove Sanskrit words from the Tamil language, to make Tamil a separate language altogether not belonging to the group of languages which were sourced from Sanskrit. There are religious groups who are carrying on this false propaganda and this must be understood.'
In his presentation Shri S. Gurumurthy said, ' This work is long overdue. There have been a lot of efforts to expose the kind of machinations that are going on to pervert our nationalism, pervert our past, pervert our great heroes, pervert even our spiritual personalities like Thiruvalluvar. Questioning whether Thiruvalluvar was a Christian ? And the entire Saiva Siddhanta is being perverted as a by-product of Christianity. You can understand the extent of damage that this kind of perversion can cause in a society where there are no organized efforts to counter these things. We are not an organized society, that is our strength. We are not an organized society, that is our weakness. Organized societies collapse and collapse very easily. Societies which are not organized, like us, they do not collapse, they decay.'
He also added that the book is an intellectually sound documentation of the current state of affairs in the country and opens up a debate in the country. It is however, not trying to propagate any ideology [against Christianity]. The book focuses on Tamil Nadu and captures the various developments in the state; making it what it is today. The rapid conversion of poor dalits to Christianity by distorting the various Hindu teachings and facts is a current phenomena.
Vice Admiral [Retd] Raman Puri, in his speech said, 'De-sanskritisation of India is not new and has been happening since the time of the British Raj. We Indians are a victim to it. It is thereby important to stop this de-culturalisation and work towards restoring Indian culture, its values and it's very fabric which is under threat.' He finally said, 'Their [foreign countries] business is to keep us weak by annihilating our culture and our business is to keep it strong.'
Dr. Upendra Baxi warned the reader of the book that it is important to read and understand this book in the right light. He said that 'India has been suffering from three S's. Subordination [under British rule], subversion [of Indian culture , that is happening currently] and surveillance [under the strict watch of the West]. Given the Indian political context , the book is under the danger of being misread and thereby lead to the breaking of India. He pointed out that it is important that the book should neither be aligned to right wing ideology or left wing ideology, for here lies the threat of being misinterpreted. Instead he saw the book as a collection of 'unpleasant facts' that have been a part of the country for quite some time. Dr. Baxi ended his speech on a poignant note by raising a question as to how Mohan Das [Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi] would have reacted to this book. This however , Dr. Baxi left open ended for every one to ponder.
In his speech author of the book Rajiv Malhotra pointed out that the book focused on the role of US and European churches, academics, think tanks, foundations, government and human rights groups in fostering separation of the identities of Dravidian and Dalit communities from the rest of India. The book, according to him was the result of five years of research which tracked the money trails that start out claiming to be for 'education', 'human rights', 'empowerment training' and 'leadership training', but end up programs designed to produce angry youths who feel disenfranchised from Indian identity.
Malhotra further stated that the book highlighted 'how the discourse on India at various levels is being increasingly controlled by the institutions in the West which in turn serve its geo-political ambitions. So, why has India failed to create its own institutions that are the equivalent of the Ford Foundation, Fullbright Foundation, Rockfeller Foundation etc. ?'
Raising some other pertinent questions he said, 'Why are there no Indian university based International Relations programs with deep-rooted links to the External Affairs Ministry and various cultural, historical and ideological think tanks ? Why are the most prestigious journals, university degrees and conferences on India Studies, in sharp contrast to the way China Studies worldwide is under the control of Chinese dominated discourse, based in the West and mostly under the control of western institutions ?'