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Showing posts from 2017

Gandhi, and the origins of the Hindu Mahasabha

Haridwar, 1915, Kumbh Mela. The usual Cholera outbreak at the Kumbh was consuming thousands of pilgrims. Meanwhile, on 13 Feb, a little away from the bathing masses, an umbrella organization of the various provincial Hindu Sabhas was being established. The formation of this umbrella organization was not a sudden decision though. At the Indian National Congress session in 1910 (Allahabad), the delegates passed a formal resolution to establish the All India Hindu Mahasabha, and a draft constitution was supposed to be prepared. In parallel, another group of Congress delegates, vexed with the Minto Morley Reforms of 1909 that created separate electorates for Muslims, tried to form their own Hindu Mahasabha. They too couldn’t get much work done.World War I began soon after. The Punjab Hindu Sabha took the lead in 1913, and proposed that by the 1915 Purna Kumbh at Haridwar, all the Hindu leaders should arrive at a consensus and establish an umbrella organization. Alm…

Dharmic Nationalism, Gorakhnath Math, and Ram Janmabhoomi

The Nath Tradition and Dharmic Nationalism
The Nath Sampradaya (tradition) has historical references only since the 12th century CE with Gorakshanath/Gorakhnath or may be from 9th C. with Matsyendranath yogi. The Naths started calling themselves by that name only after the British rule started in India.
However, the Nath tradition, by virtue of being one of the Shaivite traditions, and the syncretic influence of Buddhism and Jainism, is but a newer name (new, as in the medieval era) for the ancient Sidda tradition. The codification and practice of Hatha Yoga is attributed to this tradition. They consider Shiva as the Adi Nath (the first guru). If you are connecting this with Jaggi Vasudev’s Adi Yogi statue, and Hatha Yoga courses, you are making the right connection.
The Siddas/Naths have spread throughout the country since ancient times, but due to the bewildering variety of languages, cultures and socio-economic conditions, the names morphed, the rituals differ ever so slightly, and…