Ram Swarup

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Ram Swarup (Sanskrit: राम स्वरूप)[1] (1920 – 26 December 1998), born Ram Swarup Agarwal, was an independent Hindu thinker and prolific author. His works took a critical stance against Christianity, Islam and Communism. He remains an important influence to modern Hindu writers.

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,[2] and helped freedom fighters like Aruna Asaf Ali.[3] He started the Changer's Club in 1944. Its members included L. C. Jain, Raj Krishna, Girilal Jain and historian Sita Ram Goel.[2] In 1948-49, he worked for Mahatma Gandhi's disciple Mira Behn (Madeleine Slade).[2]

Swarup worked for the DRS, where he wrote a book on the Communist party that was published under an assumed name.[2] In 1949, he founded the Society for the Defence of Freedom in Asia.[2] 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.[2][4] The Society for the Defence of Freedom in Asia ceased operations in 1955.[2] His early book Gandhism and Communism from around this time had some influence among American policymakers and members of Congress.[2]

In 1982, he founded the non-profit publishing house Voice of India,[5] 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 .[6]

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." [7]

Author[edit]

Ram Swarup's book The Word As Revelation: Names of Gods was published in 1980 by Sita Ram Goel. The book was reviewed by Dr. Sisir Kumar Maitra in the Times of India.[8]

His 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 and Philip Spratt.[4]

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.[2]

Influences and opinions[edit]

Some of his early influences were Aldous Huxley and George Bernard Shaw.[2][9]

In his later life, Ram Swarup used to meditate for many hours.[10] Swarup was influenced by Sri Aurobindo, whom he held to be the greatest exponent of the Vedic vision in our times.[10]

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."[11]

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.[12]

Christopher Gerard (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."[13]

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."[14]


  • Ram Swarup corresponded with Prudence Jones, twice chairperson of the Pagan Federation, and with Gudrun Kristin Magnusdottir, Icelandic Pagan author of the book Odsmal, which ties the Germanic Asatru religion in with Transcendental Meditation and other Eastern lore. His article “Of Hindus, Pagans and the Return of the Gods” (Hinduism Today, Oct. 1991) was reprinted in the Californian anarcho-Pagan magazine Green Egg, Yule 1991 and again March 1998. (Elst 2002, chapter 2,fn 18)
  • Leading Pagan thinker Prudence Jones had a correspondence with Ram Swarup, whose articles on polytheism have also been published in other Pagan media, e.g. in the California based Church of All Worlds’ magazine ‘Green Egg’. (Elst Hindus and Neo-Paganism 1999)

Quotes[edit]

  • All those concerned about Hindu unity heaved a sigh of relief. In a last skirmish, the Mission’s office-bearer Swami Hiranmayananda polemicized with Ram Swarup and denied that Swami Vivekananda had ever expressed pride in Hinduism. Ram Swarup now only had to quote the Supreme Court verdict, which had quoted Vivekananda a number of times to this very effect, e.g.: “Say it with pride: we are Hindus.”
    • Organiser published Ram Swarup’s initial comment on the verdict on 13-8-1995 (also in Observer of Business and Politics: “Faith denied or identity regained?”), Hiranmayananda’s reply on 24-9-1995, and Ram Swarup’s final rejoinder on 8-10-1995. Reference is to Vivekananda’s Complete Works, vol.3, p.368-69. Incidentally, no less a secularist than Jawaharlal Nehru testifies (Discovery of India, p.337) that Vivekananda was a “Hindu sannyasin” and that “in America, he was called the ‘cyclonic Hindu’”. K. Elst 2002, chapter 6

Works[edit]


References[edit]

  1. He never used his surname, Agarwal, in adult life.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Ram Swarup (1920-1998) – Outline of a Biography
  3. Hinduism Today, April 1999. The Voice of India By K.Elst
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sita Ram Goel Genesis and Growth of Nehruism (1993)
  5. Letter by Goel to Hinduism Today, July 1998. Letters
  6. Goel, Sita Ram, "How I became a Hindu", Chapter 9
  7. Frawley, DavidHow I became a Hindu: My discovery of Vedic Dharma
  8. Goel:How I became a Hindu. ch.9. Times of India, 29 March 1981 "The Return of the Gods"
  9. Goel:How I became a Hindu.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Goel:How I became a Hindu. ch.8
  11. Goel:How I became a Hindu. ch.4
  12. Koenraad Elst. Who is a Hindu, 2001
  13. Hinduism Today, April 1999
  14. Hinduism Today. July 1999. Antaios 1996 (Interview with Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goel)[1]
Bibliography
  • 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

External links[edit]