By Dr. Vastupal Parikh
(Author: Jainism and the New Spirituality, Peace Publications, Toronto, Canada)
Those seeking high-ranking administrative jobs in Governments of India‟s Public Service have to write and pass a qualifying examination. It is reported that UPSC expects that the candidates effectively reject the existence of first 22 Jain Tirthankars by answering one of the examination question as “Prshwanath established the basis Jain sect of Hinduism, and Mahavir finally established Jainism. This attempt by UPSC to deny the existence of 22 Jain Tirthankars is really a case of:
(1) "Might is Right"
(2) "Those with eyes can see the light and understand truth, Blind can be enlightened and helped to understand truth, but even God cannot help those who have the eyes but refuse to see the light".
(3) “Tell a lie often enough and the world will believe it to be the truth”. (Pakistani credo)
This lie was created during the Bajpai government by his minister - Murli Manohar – who set out to rewrite history to establish Hidutva supremacy and ridicule all western historians as colonial miscreants. (FYI: Much of the research on Aryan History is done by German historians – not British colonialists.) He (almost) banished distinguished Indian historians like Romila Thaper and commissioned pseudo-archeologists like N.S. Rajaram and Natwar Jha to create an official Hindutva history. Murli Manohar even ordered that new text-books claiming Hinduism to be the “most ancient of all religious systems in the world be distributed to all elementary schools in India.
Rajaram and Jha - the RSS “scholars (?)” obliged the Minister by doctoring some computer images of the Harappan seals to falsely claim that they have discovered a “Harappan Horse” (India did not have horses at that time but the existence of a horse in Indus valley during the Indus civilization was absolutely essential for their claim), and claimed to have deciphered Indus Valley script (Reference 1and 2). According to these scholars (who apparently did not even know that Harappa is in Pakistan – not India) the whole Hindu philosophy is written in this script (few symbols on a handful of seals). Murli Manohar even managed to re-staff the Indian Archeological Department, and removed Harappa/Mohenjo-Daro artifacts, (such as figurines in Lotus or Kayotsarg positions – similar to present Jain practices) from National Museums to avoid any contradiction.
Furthermore, in August 2004, the three bench supreme-court judges of India (all three Hindu) passed an unwarranted judgment stating that like Braham samaj, Arya samaj and Lingayat samaj, the Jain samaj is also an off-shoot of Hinduism. (Note below). According to them, the Jain Tirthankaras are but a rehashed version of Lord Krishna‟s concept of „Sthitapragya‟, and Parshva-Mahavir duo founded Jainism on the basis of this borrowed philosophy.” (Some clauses from the verdict are quoted below.) Afraid that some one might challenge their false claim, these three judges wrote in the final paragraph of their August 2004 verdict that “Jains themselves are divided on this issue, and our decision is final and no challenge to it will be entertained”
These legal experts suddenly became history experts and assumed that the Jains are so miserably apathetic about their religion that they will never bother to know what
hit them. The judges were right in their assumption – no Jain leaders said even boooo--, but unfortunately for them a 14 year young Muslim school girl successfully challenged forcing these judges to recant and withdraw their verdict in just one year – August 2005.
A year later, another Hidutava/RSS politician – Narendra Mody – tried to sneak in the same fiction in his “anti-conversion bill”. Again Jains did nothing, but Christians launched a challenge and the Governor of Gujarat refused to sign the bill and killed the bill. Now it seems, the Brahmin dominated UPSC has taken upon itself to spread the same myth in the hope that no candidate will dare to challenge it and those who pass will be in a authority position to perpetuate the falsehood.
In spite of the Hindutva claim that India is the original home of Aryans, there is ample evidence that Dravidians were the aboriginal people of India. Dravidians populated India from Afghanistan to Sri Lank at the time of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro civilization (approx. 6,500 to 5,500 years ago). Aryans, on the other hand, originated in the Russian steppes (North of Iran) and arrived in India (approx. 3,500 yrs. ago) on their horses as nomadic cow-herds. Aryans entered the Indian sub-continent via Iran through Helmond river valley to Kabul. They then moved down the Indus River and settled in the fertile Indus valley.
Archeological excavations, as well as early Hindu literature, bear witness to this fact. The unearthed Harappan figurines and the seals prove that the religious practice of the Indus Valley Dravidians was based on Sraman philosophy (shrama i.e. hard work through austerity and penances to achieve liberation of the soul.) By contrast, Rig Vedas – the earliest Hindu literature (ca. 3,200 yrs. ago) shows that the nomadic Aryans worshiped fearful elements of nature such as fire, rain, thunder, etc. They did not have any concept of „soul‟ („Atma’), „liberation‟ or „rebirth‟. Such „Sraman‟ concepts appear only in later Hindu literature „Upanishads‟ (ca. 2,700 yrs. ago). Modern Hindutva zealots conveniently ignore these facts from their own sacred literature.
NOTE: Some clauses from the Indian Supreme Court verdict (August 8, 2004) on Jain history:
• Clause 29. There is a very serious debate and difference of opinion between religious philosophers and historians as to whether Jains are of Hindu stock and whether their religion is more ancient than the Vedic religion of Hindus. Spiritual philosophy of Hindus and Jains in many respect is different but the quintessence of the spiritual thought of both the religions seems to be the same.
• It signifies a person who has attained victory over himself by the process of self-purification. 'Jain' is a religious devout who is continuously striving to gain control over his desires, senses and organs to ultimately become master of his own self.
• Clause 30. This philosophy is to some extent similar to the Vedic philosophy explained by Lord Krishna in 'Bhagwat Geeta', where Lord Krishna describes qualities of a perfect human as 'Stithpragya'.
• Clause 31. In philosophical sense, Jainism is a reformist movement amongst Hindus like Brahamsamajis, Aryasamajis and Lingayats.
• Clause 34. The Hindu society being based on caste is itself divided into various minority groups. Each caste claims to be separate from the other.
Ample literature is available on this interesting topic. To explore this further the readers should refer to:
1. Oct. 13, 2000 issue of Frontline – A Publication of The Hindu – India‟s National Daily.
2. “Horseplay in Harappa – the Indus Valley Decipherment Hoax” by Dr. Michael Witzel (A Harvard University Indologist) and Steve Farmer, http://www.safarmer.com/downloads.
3. “Jainism Before Mahavir” in Jainism and the New Spirituality, 2nd Ed. Ch. 18, by Dr. Vastupal Parikh, Peace Publications, Toronto, 2008, www.peacepublications.com
4. http://www.harappa.com/indus3/kenbiblio.html contains references to several articles by Jonathan Mark Kenoyer of the University of Wisconsin - a leading archeological authority on Indus Civilization
5. Socio-economic structures of the Indus Civilization as reflected in specialized crafts and the question of ritual significance. in Old Problems-New Perspectives in the Archaeology of South Asia, edited by J. M. Kenoyer. Wisconsin Archaeology Reports, Vol. 2: 183-192, 1989
6. “Culture Change during the Late Harappan Period at Harappa: New Insights on Vedic Aryan Issues.” In Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and inference in Indian history, edited by L. L. Patton and E. F. Bryant, pp. 21-49. London, Routledge Curzon, 2005.