Talk:Koenraad Elst

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ABOUT HIS WORKS/CRITICISM This paper was written as an adaptation from an earlier paper, “The Ayodhya debate”, published in the conference proceedings of the 1991 International Ramayana Conference, which had taken place in my hometown, Leuven.1 The present version represents my own text prepared for the October 1995 Annual South Asia Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, U. S.A. A few notes have been added. 1Koenraad Elst: “The Ayodhya debate”, in Gilbert Pollet, ed.: Indian Epic Values. Râmâyana and Its Impact, Peeters, Leuven 1995. As is all too common with conference proceedings, this book was assembled only three years after the conference, so the published version of my paper was finalized only in 1994. elst 2002,ch11

In the first part of my book Ram Janmabhoomi vs. Babri Masjid, a Case Study in Hindu-Muslim conflict,....(Published by Voice of India, Delhi 1990. So far the only book by a non-Indian on the Ayodhya controversy. Elst 1991

This was at a function in Himachal Bhavan, presided over by Girilal Jain, where two books were presented to the public and the press : Hindu Temples : What Happened to Them, by Arun Shourie and others; and the present writer's book Ram Janmabhoomi vs. babri Masjid, a Case Study in Hindu-Muslim Conflict. elst 1991,fn64

In a review in the Calcutta Telegraph (ca. 30-1-1991), Manini Chatterjee of the Communist Party (Marxist) calls Hindu Temples, vol. 1, (along with my own book Ramjanmabhoomi vs. Babri Masjid) a “very bad book”, but fails to even attempt a refutation. elst 2002, ch1

One of the first scholarly publications on the dispute was my Ram Janmabhoomi vs. Babri Masjid, A Case Study in Hindu-Muslim Conflict (Voice of India, Delhi, July 1990), partly a reply to the statement The Political Abuse of History: Babri Masjid/Rama Janmabhumi Controversy, by Bipin Chandra and 24 other historians of Jawaharlal Nehru University. A large part of my book has been included in Vinay Chandra Mishra and Parmanand Singh, eds.: Ram Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid, Historical Documents, Legal Opinions & Judgments, Bar Council of India Trust, Delhi 1991. elst 2002, ch11

For a rebuttal of the British conspiracy hyothesis, vide K. Elst: “Party-line history-writing”, The Pioneer (Lucknow edition), 19/20-12-1990, reproduced in History vs. Casuistry, app.6. elst 2002,ch11

What follows is a reworked version of my paper “The Ayodhya demolition: an evaluation”, contributed to the collective volume: The Ayodhya Reference. Supreme -Court Judgment and Commentaries (Voice of India, Delhi 1995), which also included papers by Swapan Dasgupta, M. Rama Jois, Arun Jaitley and S.P. Gupta. The book was occasioned by the Supreme Court’s decision not to help Narasimha Rao’s Government out of the Ayodhya dilemma by offering an opinion on the historical evidence. elst 2002,ch9

The Dutch scholar Paul Teunissen, in a review of my own book Ram Janmabhoomi vs. Babri Masjid, takes me to task for putting Islamic fanatics and secularists in the same bag, and declares that Syed Shahabuddin cannot possibly be a fanatic, considering that “he has promised to demolish the Babri Masjid with his own hands if proof is furnished that it was built on a temple”. Paul Teunissen in the Dutch bimonthly India Nu, January 1993. Note that he accepts my argumentation that the temple existed, so that “Shahabuddin will have to get serious about his demolition promise”. elst 2002,ch9

. Elst intrigued me because he was a Westerner yet had a grasp of India better than any Indian did. In this regard I saw a parallel phenomenon to myself. But Elst had much better command of political and social issues in India than I ever gained, unmatched by any western writer and researched in great detail. Elst is a thorough scholar and supremely rational in all that he does. His work on the Ayodhya movement was definitive.

In a footnote, Hansen describes the present writer as “a Belgian Catholic of a radical anti-Muslim persuasion who tries to make himself useful as a 'fellow traveller' of the Hindu nationalist movement” (p.262). I strongly deny having ever been “anti-Muslim”, for I make it a point to frequently insist that “not Muslims but Islam is the problem”. However, I do readily admit to being a “fellow-traveller” of Dharmic civilization in its struggle for survival against the ongoing aggression and subversion by well-organized hostile ideologies. Only, I must add that in Hindutva-watching publications of the past decade, I have never encountered any journalistic or academic “expert” who was not a fellow-traveller of one of the warring parties. elst:book review saffron wave

Nandy (“Creating a Nationality”, p.5) and his co-authors write: “For the moment, we bypass the dishonesty and moral vacuity of the likes of Koenraad Elst on this issue” An Interview With Koenraad Elst By Dr. Ramesh RaoAUGUST 2002[The interview frst appeared in on 19 August 2002]

This asterisk has no fine prints NS Rajaram Asterisk in Bharopiyasthan, Koenraad Elst, Voice of India, Rs 325 Return of the Swastika, Koenraad Elst, Voice of India, Rs 400 Those unfamiliar with the field may believe that Asterisk... represents the latest research on the subject. It is, however, not the case. The book is a commentary mainly on topics that engaged researchers some 50 years ago. Part of Elst's agenda seems to be to rescue philology (or IE linguistics) from oblivion. This puts him squarely in the Witzel-Farmer camp. Strangely, Elst has little substantive to say on the Vedic-Harappan relationship, to which we devoted three full chapters in our book. This makes me suspect that he has only selectively scanned a few words and sections of that book that he can use to support his preconceived positions. This too puts Elst squarely in Witzel's camp, though I have to admit that Steve Farmer is more thorough, despite being stubborn at times and often taking wrong stand on important issues. Is Islam Dying? Europe Certainly Is Paul Belien Dr Koenraad Elst, one of Belgium’s best orientalists and an occasional contributor to this website (if I had time I would translate more of his Dutch-language contributions into English), told me last week that he thinks “Islam is in decline, despite its impressive demographic and military surge” – which according to Dr Elst is merely a “last upheaval.” He acknowledges, however, that this decline can take some time (at least in terms of the individual human life span) and that it is possible that Islam will succeed in becoming the majority religion in Europe before collapsing.

   * Meera Nanda: "Dharmic ecology and the neo-Pagan international: the dangers of religious environmentalism in India", presented at panel no. 15 at the 18th European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies, 6-9 July 2004 in Lund, Sweden.
   * Savitri Devi Mukherji: Le National-Socialisme et la Tradition Indienne, with contributions by Vittorio de Cecco, Claudio Mutti and Christian Bouchet, published in the series Cahiers de la Radicalité by Avatar-éditions, Paris/Dublin 2004.
   * The papers by Michael Witzel and Hans Hock in Edwin Bryant and Laurie L. Patton (editors) (2005). Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History.
   * Review by S.W. Jamison of Bryant, Edward F. & Laurie L. Patton (2006). The Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History (2005), JIES Vol. 34: 255-261.
   * The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture By Edwin Bryant. Oxford University Press
   * The Indo-Aryan Languages By Dhanesh Jain, George Cardona. Routledge
   * T. Hansen and A. Nandy: Some scholars like Thomas Blom Hansen and Ashis Nandy have been dismissive of your work. They would, wouldn’t they? If I am right then they are wrong, so their prestige may stand or fall with the elimination of my position from the debate. [11]
   * Sita's Kitchen: A Testimony of Faith and Inquiry By Ramchandra Gandhi
   * Alexandre's "Bo Yin Ra, de la Taychou Marou au Grand Orient de Patmos"

Carlos Lopez, Review of The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate by Edwin Bryant, The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 61, No. 4. (Nov., 2002), pp. 1398-1400.


Objective outsiders are not struck by any traces of fascism in the Hindutva movements, let alone in the general thought current of anti-imperialist Hindu awakening. While one should always be vigilant for traces of totalitarianism in any ideology or movement, the obsession with fascism in the anti-Hindu rhetoric of the secularists is not the product of an analysis of the data, but of their own political compulsions. elst 1991, ch 14

At the intellectual level, Hindus will son be able to breathe freely. They will be able to rediscover and reformulate the numerous valuable expressions of the one Sanatana Dharma. They will be able to affirm the unity and integrity of this Sanatana Dharma, without being falsely accused of assimilative communalism when they restate the scientific fact that Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism are full members of the one Hindu commonwealth of schools and sects. They will be able to reaffirm the unity and integrity of Hindu society, and to debunk the casteist and regionalist separatisms that have been fostered by its enemies and equipped with a pseudo- historical basis. They will be able to put the evils of Hindu society into the correct historical perspective on the basis of the real facts, and judge them by universal standards rather than by the hostile ad hoc standards that have been applied to Hindu society by its enemies. (elst 1991 intro)

Actually, this national integration that every talking body in India talks about, is a very natural condition and needs no achieving. Rather, it requires dropping a few things. It requires dropping the anti-Hindu separatist doctrines that have largely been created for the purposes of several imperialisms, and are now being kept afloat with a lot of distortive intellectual and propagandistic effort. Just drop this effort, and this country will naturally find back its unity. Delhi, 5th February, 1991. (elst 1991 intro)

The way the anti-Mandir falsehoods have been given wide currency in 1989-91 will make an interesting case study for future scholars. A classic in propaganda. (elst 1991 ch1

The Hindu leaders should say to the Muslim leaders : Look, we want these places back. For many centuries they have been our sacred places, and we have suffered the mosques built there only under duress. We do not believe in the forcible take-over of places of worship, we are not Babars and Aurangzebs. But we want from you a gesture of goodwill, a sign that you turn this infamous persecution page of history. We will not take any kind of revenge if you do not feel ready for this gesture, but we will expressly wait until you are ready. (elst 1991ch 3)

It is unbelievably arrogant that some Muslims could be against the hand-over of even one of the thousands of stolen Hindu places, and still have dared to demand the hand- over of that one mosque that they let slip through their fingers in 1949. (elst 1991 ch 3)

But in India, and in the countries which Islam has carved out of if, there is still a strong presence of an ideological drive to islamize India, and to make this clear by wresting all kinds of real and symbolical concessions from the Hindus, and by refusing them any concession whatsoever in return. The symbols of humiliation that have been inflicted on the Hindus, are being defended. (elst 1991 ch3

TD: Towards A Real Hindu-Christian Dialogue This massive campaign of fraud and destruction was subsequently extended to the Germanic, Slavic and Baltic countries. Numerous ancient churches across Europe are so many Babri Masjids, containing or standing on the left-overs of so many Rama Janmabhoomi temples. Just after the christianization of Europe was completed with the forced conversion of Lithuania in the fifteenth century, the iconoclastic zeal was taken to America, and finally to Africa and Asia.

Islam's money and muscle power may look impressive, certainly capable of doing some real damage to targeted countries and societies, but Islam has no chance of becoming the religion of a science-based, space-conquering world society. Exclusivist revelations have no appeal among educated people, especially after they have acquainted themselves with the Vedantic or Buddhist philosophies. That is why the Churches are investing huge resources in the battle for Asia's mind, where they face their most formidable enemy. That is why they are so active in India: not only is India's atmosphere of religious freedom more hospitable to them than the conditions of Islamic countries, or even of non-Islamic countries where proselytization is prohibited (countries as divergent as China, Myanmar, Israel, and, at least formally, Nepal); but they also know and fear the intrinsic superiority of the Indian religion.


In 1996 he interviewed Madanlal Pahwa in Mumbai (Elst:The Demographic Siege, 1997. Chapter 5)

Jeevan Kulkarni, an amateur-historian belonging to the Hindu Mahasabha That at least is what he told me (interview, HMS Delhi office, 1992). elst 2002,ch11

Bhagwan Singh, a Marxist yet nationalist historian who joined the Aryan Invasion debate with his book The Vedic Harappans, told me (interview, December 1996) elst 2002,ch11

Prof. Veer Bhadra Mishra, Mahant of Sankat Mochan Mandir, Varanasi, talking to me in 1989. elst 2002,ch8

Rajendra Singh (not to be confused with RSS supremo Prof. Rajendra Singh), interview, Delhi, November 1993; relaying a finding of his mentor, Sikh author Rajendra Singh Nirala. elst 2002,ch8

When I interviewed the Puri Shankaracharya in 1993, he did not want to accept a book I offered him, and was reluctant to speak directly with me, but preferred to address my companion, the late Jeevan Kulkani, a historian with Hindu Mahasabha links and a thoroughbred Brahmin. elst 2002, ch7

As Bahujan Samaj Party leader Kanshi Ram, told me (interview at BSP headquarters, Delhi 1993), he only became aware of the seriousness of caste inequality when he moved from Panjab to the more backward state of Uttar Pradesh. elst whia, ch1

Interview at Girilal Jain’s house in South Delhi, March 1990. elst 2002,ch9