he Sanatan Sanstha is no doubt a radical right-wing Hindu organisation. It has a huge number of followers across the world. Most of them are staunch conservative Hindus and their motive is to adhere to the Hindu tradition and its values. They are mostly into preachings of Hindu religion. The Sanatan Sanstha has a long and varied list of interests. Since BJP came to power, the Sanstha is rigorously under attack; even during the UPA rule, the demand was made to ban this organisation. Sanatan Sanstha has been accused of having their hands in three bomb blasts in Goa and Mumbai and cold-blooded murders of Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar, MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh — all rationalists and activists who didn’t agree to their point of view. The media trials were going on for a long time but nothing could be proven against them in the court of law. The allegations were strong but there were no convictions, no trials or no evidence. The investigation agencies always raised questions and gave a lot of fodder to the journalists. The biggest irony is that, in spite of allegations and statements against the organisation, no arrests were made. How should we translate these incidences? Should we translate it as the police, intelligence and ATS are inefficient in grabbing the criminals and murderers of these rationalists or Sanatan Sanstha have smart people to execute the crime? If they are criminals and terrorists, what is stopping the agencies to reach a culprit? If they can’t reach the murderer, then why spread false theory against one particular organisation and malign their image?
Headquartered in Ramnathi, Goa, the organisation has offices in Panvel, Pune, Mumbai, Sangli, and other parts of Maharashtra. Sanatan Sanstha is known for its hardline stance on Hinduism. One must visit their Sanstha to closely observe their activities; it’s purely spiritual and academic. They are big groups of people who support no political party and refuse to fall in any trap of vote bank politics; their only agenda is religion and its values. They believe in religious superstition but follow that as a practice. Every religion has its own spiritual path to follow. Some kill in the name of Jihad and Allah and some create violence in the name of Dalit and Maratha; everyone has their own motive — political or non –political — but when it comes to attacking something, we always become selective. The Sanatan Sanstha has every right to follow their spiritual path with their own rigidity. If they are violent, then they should be sent behind the bars or be punished under the court of law without been targeted or humiliated by false media trials. The organisation is growing day by day; its members are widespread. By addressing them as Hindu terrorists, we are questioning the integrity of those Hindus who are part of such organisation. They are here to uphold the values of their Dharma (religion). What authority does one have to slander them?
Recently, some members of Sri Ram Sena said that they would expose the anti-Hindu and anti-Hindutva stance taken by the Bharatiya Janata Party government and the role of the RSS in bringing pressure on the government to act against the Hindutva organisations. A majority of Hindus consider BJP as the party that safeguards the interests of Hindus at any given situation. On one hand, the BJP mentions Uniform Civil Code as a goal in its manifesto, and on the other, it pushes massive discrimination against the Hindus. ‘This is not Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas. Rather it is “Haj Ka Saath, Church Ka Vikas”. In India, the identification of majority-minority has been made based on religion. Minorities in India have more legal rights than the majority — the right to run educational institutions without interference from the State, for instance. India can thus rightfully be called a ‘religious apartheid’ State. Unfortunately, instead of moving towards equality, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government has further extended the ‘religious apartheid’ in India with massive scholarships and other schemes like ‘Nai Manzil’, which specifically exclude Hindus. India is a land of diversity. Even within the vast river-system, which is identified as ‘Hindu’, there are distinct practices and beliefs, more different from each other than between ‘Hindus’ and ‘Jains’, for instance. Hinduism is not like a doctrinal religion, nor does it aim for monopolistic conversion.
Applying the template of majority-minority to India greatly distorts the Indian experience. When the State itself does this at a massive level, it directly attacks the syncretic, plural nature of the Indian civilisation and sets the stage for religious polarisation and conflict. Sanatan Sanstha, the Hindu organisation is a people’s movement working solely on the support of Hindus and for its people. The continuous attack and allegations on them leave us in doubt, why this is happening to them and who has to be blamed for the same?
If we look at Narendra Dabholkar’s NGO, his son Dr. Hamid Dabholkar, Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) general secretary, was very vocal in telling that they have not been receiving any foreign funds since 2010. But till 2010, they have not published the source of funds or the expenditures done against it. The organisers of the trust have gone rich to richer. They gained a lot of sympathy, publicity and received donations after Dabholkar’s murder. Forget about Sanatan Sanstha, even otherwise, they are answerable to the people where and how the funds are received and spent. The rational fundamentals created an uproar about suppressing the voice in the country under the freedom of expressions; they say the battle of ideology should be fought only with ideology. When it comes to practicality, the approach of various people differs. It’s high time that the MANS should openly come forward and put a light on their functioning, spending, and funding. They should be more clean and clear on their stand. Whereas the killer of Dabholkar and other rationalists of the country are concerned, the police is declaring lakhs of rewards of various heads but they themselves failed to nab them. Those who are accused and arrested for killing are detained for trial; let the law take its own course.
Sanatan Sanstha is a non-profit organisation, which is totally based on Spirituality. The main objective of the organisation is to present Spirituality in a scientific language to those curious about it and to guide seekers. The police is yet to establish a common link in the murders of Kalburgi and Govind Pansare in Kolhapur in 2015 and Narendra Dabholkar in Pune in 2013 and the investigators have found no evidence. Now, in this new saga of Vaibhav Raut, who is not a part of Sanatan Santha but ATS has declared him the one and media trials are on as usual. Let’s see what comes our way in the future.
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