Ram Swarup

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Ram Swarup

Ram Swarup (Sanskrit: राम स्वरूप)[1] (1920 – 26 December 1998), born Ram Swarup Agarwal, was an Indian author and one of the most important thought leaders of the Hindu revivalist movement.[2]

Life[edit]

Ram Swarup was born in 1920 to a banker father in Sonipat, Haryana. He graduated in Economics at Delhi University in 1941. He participated in the Indian Freedom Movement,[3] and helped freedom fighters like Aruna Asaf Ali.[4] He started the Changer's Club in 1944. Its members included L. C. Jain, Raj Krishna, Girilal Jain and historian Sita Ram Goel.[3] In 1948-49, he worked for Mahatma Gandhi's disciple Mira Behn (Madeleine Slade).[3]

Swarup worked for the DRS, where he wrote a book on the Communist party that was published under an assumed name.[3] In 1949, he founded the Society for the Defence of Freedom in Asia.[3] The Society published books, reviewed in the West, that criticized both the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet-mouthpiece Izvestia as well as Pravda, another mouthpiece for that same foreign power's Communist Party.[3][5] The Society for the Defence of Freedom in Asia ceased operations in 1955.[3] His early book Gandhism and Communism from around this time had some influence among American policymakers and members of Congress.[3] Swarup has written for mainstream Indian weeklies and dailies, like the Telegraph, Times of India, Indian Express, Observer of Business and Politics, Hindustan Times and Hinduism Today.[3]

In 1982, he founded the non-profit publishing house Voice of India,[6] which published works by Harsh Narain, A.K. Chatterjee, K.S. Lal, Koenraad Elst, Rajendra Singh, Sant R.S. Nirala and Shrikant Talageri, among others .[7]

American author David Frawley writes [that]:

"While Voice of India had a controversial reputation, I found nothing irrational, much less extreme about their ideas or publications... Their criticisms of Islam were on par with the criticisms of the Catholic Church and of Christianity done by such Western thinkers as Voltaire or Thomas Jefferson. In fact they went far beyond such mere rational or historical criticisms of other religions and brought in a profound spiritual and yogic view as well." [8]

Views[edit]

His early works took a critical stance on communism. Swarup's works on communism were reviewed and praised in the West and in India by people like Bertrand Russell, Arthur Koestler, Sri Aurobindo, Ashoka Mehta, Sardar Patel, Suzanne Labin[9] and Philip Spratt.[5] [10][11] The British philosopher Bertrand Russell praised his book Russian Imperialism: How to Stop It as “excellent”.[12][13]

Some of his early influences were Aldous Huxley and George Bernard Shaw.[3][14] Ram Swarup's book The Word As Revelation: Names of Gods on polytheism was published in 1980 and was reviewed by Dr. Sisir Kumar Maitra in the Times of India.[15] His books were also reviewed favourably by M. P. Pandit[16] and C. Rajagopalachari[17].

In his later life, Ram Swarup used to meditate for many hours.[18] Swarup was influenced by Sri Aurobindo, whom he held to be the greatest exponent of the Vedic vision in our times.[18]

Sita Ram Goel described Swarup as a person who "had no use for any conventional morality or code of manners and could see clearly how they were mostly used to put the other fellow in the wrong."[19]

Ram Swarup was "most responsible for reviving and re-popularizing" the Hindu critique of Christian missionary practices in the 1980s.[20] He insisted that monotheistic religions like Christianity "nurtured among their adherents a lack of respect for other religions".[21] In the 1980s, Ram Swarup and S.R. Goel were involved in a "vigorous debate" with the Christian Ashram movement represented by Bede Griffiths.[22] Swarup has been named one of the most important thought leaders of the Hindu revivalist movement,[23] and the most important Hindu philosopher of independent India's first half-century.[24] David Frawley wrote that he "is probably the most important and cogent writer on Hinduism in the last half of the twentieth century."[25] The Prime Minister of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee, spoke of him as "a representative of India's rishi tradition in the modern age."[26] Arun Shourie called him one of the deepest thinkers he has come across, whose work is foundational.[27]

European paganism[edit]

Ram Swarup also had an interest in European Neopaganism, and corresponded with Prudence Jones (chairperson of Pagan Federation) and the Pagan author Guðrún Kristín Magnúsdóttir.[28] Under the influence of Ram Swarup, other Hindu revivalists also took an interest in European paganism.[29]

Christopher Gérard (editor of Antaios, Society for Polytheistic Studies) said: "Ram Swarup was the perfect link between Hindu Renaissance and renascent Paganism in the West and elsewhere."[30]

Swarup has also advocated a "Pagan renaissance" in Europe. According to Swarup:

"Europe became sick because it tore apart from its own heritage, it had to deny its very roots. If Europe is to be healed spiritually, it must recover its spiritual past—at least, it should not hold it in such dishonor..." He argued that the European Pagans "should compile a directory of Pagan temples destroyed, Pagan groves and sacred spots desecrated. European Pagans should also revive some of these sites as their places of pilgrimage."[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ He never used his surname, Agarwal, in adult life.
  2. ^ Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt: Hindutva zwischen „Dekolonisierung“ und Nationalismus. Zur westlichen Mitwirkung an der Entwicklung neuen hinduistischen Selbstbewußtseins in Indien In: Manfred Hutter (Hrsg.): Religionswissenschaft im Kontext der Asienwissenschaften. 99 Jahre religionswissenschaftliche Lehre und Forschung in Bonn. Lit, Münster 2009, S. 233–248. p. 240
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ram Swarup (1920-1998) – Outline of a Biography
  4. ^ Hinduism Today, April 1999. The Voice of India By K.Elst Archived 30 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ a b Sita Ram Goel Genesis and Growth of Nehruism (1993)
  6. ^ Letter by Goel to Hinduism Today, July 1998. Letters Archived 30 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Goel, Sita Ram, "How I became a Hindu", Chapter 9
  8. ^ Frawley, DavidHow I became a Hindu: My discovery of Vedic Dharma
  9. ^ Review quoted on backcover of Swarup, R. (1967). Red star over West-Bengal.
  10. ^ China’s India War, 1962: Looking Back to See the Future: Looking Back to See the future, Air Commodore Jasjit Singh, Chapter 4
  11. ^ Reviews quoted on backcover of Swarup, R. (1967). Red star over West-Bengal
  12. ^ http://www.bertrandrussell.org/nl/2013FallBulletinBRS.pdf Bertrand Russell Society Bulletin Fall 2013 p. 11, Ken Blackwell
  13. ^ "...the discussion of Russian Imperialism, which I thought excellent..." Quote from Bertrand Russell on the backcover of Russian Imperialism: How to Stop It?, Prachi Prakashan, 1954
  14. ^ Goel:How I became a Hindu.
  15. ^ Goel:How I became a Hindu. ch.9. Times of India, 29 March 1981 "The Return of the Gods"
  16. ^ Review quoted in backcover of Swarup, R., & Frawley, D. (2001). The word as revelation: Names of gods.
  17. ^ Swarup, R. (2000). On Hinduism: Reviews and reflections. Chapter 3, footnote 1, 6
  18. ^ a b Goel:How I became a Hindu. ch.8
  19. ^ Goel:How I became a Hindu. ch.4
  20. ^ Pentecostals, Proselytization, and Anti-Christian Violence in Contemporary India by Chad M. Bauman, Oxford University Press, 2015
  21. ^ Pentecostals, Proselytization, and Anti-Christian Violence in Contemporary India by Chad M. Bauman, Oxford University Press, 2015
  22. ^ Theology in the Public Sphere Sebastian C. H. Kim
  23. ^ Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt: Hindutva zwischen „Dekolonisierung“ und Nationalismus. Zur westlichen Mitwirkung an der Entwicklung neuen hinduistischen Selbstbewußtseins in Indien In: Manfred Hutter (Hrsg.): Religionswissenschaft im Kontext der Asienwissenschaften. 99 Jahre religionswissenschaftliche Lehre und Forschung in Bonn. Lit, Münster 2009, S. 233–248. p. 240
  24. ^ Elst, K. The return of the swastika.
  25. ^ David Frawley, How I Became A Hindu My Discover Of Vedic Dharma
  26. ^ David Frawley, Preface, in Ram Swarup (2000). On Hinduism: Reviews and reflections.
  27. ^ Arun Shourie: " How should we respond?", also in: Freedom of expression – Secular Theocracy Versus Liberal Democracy (1998, edited by Sita Ram Goel)
  28. ^ Koenraad Elst. Who is a Hindu, 2001
  29. ^ Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt: Hindutva zwischen „Dekolonisierung“ und Nationalismus. Zur westlichen Mitwirkung an der Entwicklung neuen hinduistischen Selbstbewußtseins in Indien In: Manfred Hutter (Hrsg.): Religionswissenschaft im Kontext der Asienwissenschaften. 99 Jahre religionswissenschaftliche Lehre und Forschung in Bonn. Lit, Münster 2009, S. 233–248.
  30. ^ Hinduism Today, April 1999 Archived 30 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  31. ^ Hinduism Today. July 1999. Antaios 1996 (Interview with Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goel)"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 October 2006. Retrieved 7 January 2007.
  • Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt: Hindutva zwischen „Dekolonisierung“ und Nationalismus. Zur westlichen Mitwirkung an der Entwicklung neuen hinduistischen Selbstbewußtseins in Indien In: Manfred Hutter (Hrsg.): Religionswissenschaft im Kontext der Asienwissenschaften. 99 Jahre religionswissenschaftliche Lehre und Forschung in Bonn. Lit, Münster 2009, S. 233–248.
  • Review by Jiri Kolaja. Communism and Peasantry. by Ram Swarup. The American Journal of Sociology > Vol. 61, No. 6 (May, 1956), pp. 642–643
  • Review by G. L. Arnold, Communism and Peasantry: Implications of Collectivist Agriculture for Asian Countries by Ram Swarup, The British Journal of Sociology > Vol. 6, No. 4 (Dec., 1955), pp. 384–385
  • Review by Maurice Meisner, Foundations of Maoism by Ram Swarup The China Quarterly > No. 33 (Jan., 1968), pp. 127–130
  • Review by Geoffrey Shillinglaw, Foundations of Maoism. by Ram Swarup, International Affairs > Vol. 43, No. 4 (Oct., 1967), pp. 798–799
  • POPE JOHN PAUL II ON EASTERN RELIGIONS AND YOGA : A HINDU- BUDDHIST REJOINDER by Ram Swarup, Review by: Mangala R. Chinchore Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Vol. 77, No. 1/4 (1996), pp. 336-337
  • R Swarup, A Critique of India's Foreign Policy, published in Mother India, February 21, 1951.
  • R Swarup,Plea For A Fourth Force, published in The Statesman of November 18, 1951.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Indictment, Changer's Club
  • Mahatma Gandhi and His Assassin, 1948. Changer's Club
  • Let us Fight the Communist Menace (1949)
  • Russian Imperialism: How to Stop It (1950);
  • Communism and Peasantry: Implications of Collectivist Agriculture for Asian Countries (1950,1954)
  • Gandhism and Communism (1954)
  • Foundations of Maoism (1956). with a foreword by Kodandera M. Cariappa
  • Gandhian Economics (1977)
  • The Hindu View of Education (1971) Online (PDF)
  • The Word as Revelation: Names of Gods (1980), (1982, revised 1992) Online
  • Understanding Islam through Hadis (1983 in the USA by Arvind Ghosh, Houston; Indian reprint by Voice of India, 1984); The Hindi translation was banned in 1990, and the English original was banned in 1991 in India. Online
  • Buddhism vis-à-vis Hinduism (1958, revised 1984).
  • Hinduism vis-à-vis Christianity and Islam (1982, revised 1992)
  • Woman in Islam (1994);
  • Hindu View of Christianity and Islam (1993, contains also as an appendix Swarup's foreword to D. S. Margoliouth's Mohammed and the Rise of Islam (1985, original in 1905) and to William Muir's The Life of Mahomet (1992, original in 1894) Online
  • Ramakrishna Mission: Search for a New Identity (1986) Online
  • Cultural Alienation and Some Problems Hinduism Faces (1987)
  • Hindu-Sikh Relationship (1985) Online (PDF)
  • Hindu-Buddhist Rejoinder to Pope John-Paul II on Eastern Religions and Yoga (1995)
  • Hinduism and monotheistic religions. (2015). ISBN 9788185990842
  • On Hinduism: Reviews and reflections. New Delhi: Voice of India. Online ISBN 9788185990620 (2000).
Writings as a contributor
Writings in other languages
  • Hindu Dharma, Isaiat aur Islam (1985, Hindi: "Hindu Dharma, Christianity and Islam");
  • Foi et intolérance: Un regard hindou sur le christianisme et l'Islam. Paris: Le Labyrinthe.

External links[edit]