Gandhi Peace Prize to Gita Press: It is not award but ‘money’ that is important

If you go through the writings of Jaya Dayal Goyanka and Hanuman Prasad Poddar particularly on the issue of women then you will only feel how reactionaries and absolutely anti human beings they were

Gita Press, Gorakhpur has been awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize. Our ‘intellectual’ circles of the right, center and left are fighting among themselves whether the Award was rightly given or wrongly given to Gita Press. Frankly, speaking, it is not the award but the ‘money’ that is important. The current regime would go to any extent to ‘help’ its  cronies and darbaris. Now, Gita Press is not the Darbari of BJP but of the brahmanical system.

It is unfortunate that we are discussing here whether he liked Gandhi or not. RSS, BJP ideologues are suggesting that Jaya Dayal Goyanka and Hanuman Prasad Poddar both originally hailed from Kolkata were good friends of Gandhi. I don’t think anybody needs to feel disturbed about it. Whether it was Gandhi or Poddar or Goyanka, all of them were Banias/Marwaris. Gandhi’s model had a special place for both the Brahmins and Baniyas.

The Congress and others were suggesting that Gita Press had not condemned the assassination of Gandhi and that there is not a word written about it in his magazine named as Kalyan. It is also claimed by the Congress party and its leader Jairam Ramesh that Goyanka and others actually supported Gandhi’s assassination.

More and more evidence will come out but look at the modus operandi of the ruling party. It used to disburse money through different projects to its darbaris and cronies. Many get funds through government projects, in the name of investments. The charans got it through awards and other contracts.

Gandhi Peace Prize is given to Peace Builders but I don’t know how Gita Press Gorakhpur a peace builder. What has it done to bring people together? It is a magazine, I am not sure whether it is an institution but a pakkaa lala ji ki dukaan. I don’t know whether they paid proper salaries to their staff.

I don’t want to judge Jaya Dayal Goyanka, Hanuman Prasad Poddar and others in Gita Press through their relationship with Gandhi or his assassins. If they supported the assassin as most of the Hindutva votaries have done, then it is shameful for the government to have bestowed the award in Gandhi’s memory. But my point is simple, judge Gita Press through its publications and the absolutely disgusting material it produces in the ‘service’ of the nation. Goyanka and Poddar are the two individuals who actually explained the Geeta and other religious texts ‘honestly’ because the ‘others’ try to ‘secularise’ these books which they never were or are.

The fact is if you go through the writings of Goyanka and Poddar particularly on the issue of women then you will only feel how reactionaries and absolutely anti human beings they were. If BJP and its supporters can read out those chapters of the book, ‘ Naariyo Ke Adarsh Shiksha’, one will only feel ashamed of the publication. Goyanka or Poddar, they are against women’s freedom. They want widows to shave their heads, wear white saree, sleep on the floor, never laugh or speak to other men, don’t eat spicy food and many more things. Perhaps, this is the ‘ideal’ society they envisage. We should not be surprised by their choice because Gandhi himself had been extremely conservative and orthodox in his religious values. Why are we being so surprised?

The Gita Press honestly does what the Brahmanical Hinduism believes, a caste based hierarchical society which has no place for women. A woman can not look beyond her husband. She has to remain in the shadow of her husband or male members of the family.

The NRI is proud of such great heritage as that of ‘Gita Press’ must be provided with copies of  Goyanka’s book on ideal women. Let them read and enjoy the ideas of subjugating women. If Indian women today are liberated and are part of power structure as well as owning even the property right and right to dissociate, it is the hard work of Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar and his committed work on the Hindu Code Bill. Even when Prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru faced extreme protest from the right wing of the Congress party, the fact is that Congress’s leaders always promoted such people and kept them in good humour. P V Narsimha Rao honored the Gita Press.

Today, Congress is blaming BJP but it is time the party also accepted its fault lines of the past otherwise Gita Press would not have got free spaces in important places of India including each railway stations and important public places. Congress can not hide from the fact that the party was filled by these right wingers who celebrated Brahmanism.

Gita Press is nothing but celebration of Brahmanism and many people across the political spectrum still love that. It will need to clarify Ambedkarite-Periyarist thought to fight against such reactionary ideologies which justify the hierarchical system.

By the way, today is World Humanist Day and we all celebrate it. The only way to humanise the world is to make people believe in modern constitutional values and let religion be just an individual’s affair. Do not bring religion to politics.

Moreover, no need to justify a thing because it was written several thousands years back. Enjoy philosophy that helps human beings and that revolves around the issues of humanity.

Gita Press or for that matter any religious book, does  not really help think about human beings but makes us slave to the idea that it is the God who is more important than human being. Sorry, it is the human life and human being which should be celebrated and an attempt should be made to spread the ideas of humanism through promotion of scientific thinking everywhere so that we can overcome irrationality, superstition and blind faith so that exploitation of human being in the name of religious values and customs is stopped.

It will be good if our governments actually acknowledge and support the ideas that bring enlightenment in the lives of people and not those who take us back to the dark ages. Celebrate humanism and enjoy life.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat

The author is an activist and is currently working on Impact of Ganga and its tributaries in the Himalayas and the plains of India

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