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Lokmanthan: Interview of David Frawley on Rise of Hindu Right


Rise of so called “Hindu right” is a backlash of the oppression and attacks on the identity of the Hindus over the centuries, said Dr David Frawley, an internationally acclaimed American scholar on Hinduism and Vedic tradition , in an interview to HT.

Speaking to HT on the sidelines of the three-day national Lokmanthan that started here on Saturday, Frawley said he doesn’t believe in Left or Right. “The so called rise of Right or Hindu right is exaggerated. And to begin with I don’t believe in such terms like Right or Left. I am a practicing American Hindu and a vegetarian. I am considered Right in India, while in US, I am considered Left. So all these are just terms”, he said.

Frawley, who was bestowed Padma Bhushan in 2015 for writings on Vedic tradition , said the fact is that Hindus have been traditionally very tolerant . “You can shout on TV news channels here about growing intolerance. You can’t do so perhaps in many countries like Pakistan”, said Frawley, who is the founder director of the American Institute for Vedic Studies Mexico and has written nearly 30 books including How I Became a Hindu and In Search of the Cradle of Civilization (co-author).

Frawley said Hindus were not fundamentalist; they don’t go for forced conversions or missionary missions. “The so called Hindu assertiveness is just a reaction, which is exaggerated if you see it in proper context of national and global trends”, he said, adding, “the real danger is from fundamentalist groups like ISIS”.

Frawley said it was too simplistic to talk of world developments in terms of ‘rise of Right’ and so on. He said the fact is that multi-culturalism had failed in Europe and some other countries.

“India is facing its own challenges. I see three main challenges right now-there is a certain lack of national unity in India, which needs to be strengthened given the diversity of this country. Second, India has to ensure literacy for all; it is ignorance which leads to wrong doings. Third, India has to improve its governance and bureaucracy; there are too many delays in most government processes”, he said.

On his take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Frawley said India needed a strong leader who could disturb the status quo. “Modi is bringing many changes and it is a good thing”, he said

David Frawley, also known as Pandit Vamadeva Shastri, considers himself a western born teacher or guru in the Vedic tradition. On what attracted him to Indian spiritual traditions, he said “I was attracted to spiritual milieu of India in my youth. I started my study of the Vedas in 1971 through the works of Sri Aurobindo. I learnt Sanskrit language for this. In 1979, MP Pandit of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram supported me and encouraged me to write on Vedic tradition. I have also been influenced by the great sage Ramana Maharshi and his disciple Ganapati Muni. I also have great respect for South Indian guru Sivananda Murty of Andhra Pradesh. Over the years I have been blessed to write nearly 30 books on various aspects of India’s spiritual traditions. Soon my book The Art and Science of Vedic Counseling will be released”, he said.

Courtesy: Hindustan Times