Plight of Sadhus: From Past to Present

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Shivansh Pareek
 The attack on the sadhus in Palghar attracted everyone's attention, but is this the first time when Hindu sadhus have been targeted? Every year we hear reports of attacks on Hindus and Sadhus, but since these people do not come from any minority community, they do not find any place in the mainstream. Looking at the past, we find that after independence, many such incidents occurred in which Hindus and especially Hindu sadhus were targeted. By understanding these events, we will get to know what kind of relationship Sanatan and Sadhus have with Left and Secular ideologies.
Now we go from 2020 to 1966. Many political parties, Hindutva organizations and Sadhu Samaj came together. Their demand was a nationwide ban on cow slaughter. They also cited Article 48 of the constitution in which ban on cow slaughter is enshrined. Children and women also took part in this movement. On November 7, 1966, the protest took a huge form. According to Hindu Panchang, that day was Gopashtami. Millions of sadhus and other agitators had gathered outside Parliament. According to the government's figures, this number was only ten thousand, but if other sources were to be believed, this figure was up to 3 lakh. Demonstrators were protesting in a peaceful manner when suddenly some anti-social elements started climbing the walls of the Parliament and interrupted the peaceful protest. The crowd got out of control and lathi charge and tear gas were used to control the crowd. But seeing the crowd getting out of control, the police had to open fire.
The agitators were accused of using violence, but if the purpose was violence, why would the children and women be made a part of this protest. Many small children died after being crushed in the stampede caused by the firing of bullets. Many sadhus also got killed. Neither did the issue of cow slaughter nor the massacre of sadhus arise later. The official figure is of the death of 250 people, but according to many eyewitnesses of this incident, this figure reaches 5000. Not only this, but all the evidence and documents related to this massacre were also destroyed. Saints never got justice and demand for justice for them vanished with their bloodspots. The then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, not taking responsibility for this, had put the entire charge on the then Home Minister Gulzari Lal Nanda. And the Home Minister resigned immediately. After this, Mahatma Ramchandra Veer and other sadhus, who were afflicted by the massacre of the sadhus, started fasting. Later, on the assurance of Home Minister Yashwant Rao that the law will be brought on cow slaughter, they broke the fast. But this promise was never fulfilled.
Now we move from Delhi of 1966 to Calcutta of 1982. The tenure of the Left government in West Bengal is nothing short of a nightmare for the Hindus of Bengal. The Bijan Setu massacre is a very scary chapter of this nightmare. And this incident is similar to Palghar in many ways, because in this incident as well the false news of child stealers to justify the killing of sadhus was spread. The whole incident is that Anandamargi Sadhus were going from all over the country to Tiljala (Anandamargi Panth Headquarters) for a summit. The vehicles had to pass through Bijan Setu. Then the rumour of child stealing was spread. They were travelling by taxis and were stopped at three different places. They were pulled out from the taxis and then beaten very badly. Later they were burnt alive by pouring kerosene on them. In this incident, 17 sadhus were killed, including a sadhvi. Later, giving the excuse of worsening of the situation, CPI (M) leader Sachin Sen along with 10,000 of his cadres raided the Anand Marg centre. No evidence was found in this regard to prove that they were stealing children. Later in 1996, the National Human Rights Commission started its investigation. But the investigation could not proceed due to the continuous intervention of the Left Government. Later in 2013, a Commission of Judicial Inquiry was formed on the demand of the representatives of Anand Marg. It came to light that Bijan Setu was a pre-meditated conspiracy. Anandmargi sect was ideologically opposed to the communists. It was a Vedic and religious cult, but the Left feared that there are political ambitions behind religiosity and it could be a matter of concern for the Marxist party. Even after this, Anandmargis were attacked constantly.
Who are these monks? After all, why are they targeted again and again?
A true monk is a reflection of the teachings of Sanatan and it is difficult to harm Sanatan in presence of them. And this was the reason that a monk who was obstructing the way of conversion of Christian missionaries was brutally murdered. This incident is from Kandhamal (Odisha). Swami Lakshmanananda was assassinated on 23 August 2008. At 8 o'clock in the night, Swamiji and his four disciples, including a sadhvi, were killed. After killing them, the attackers severed the joints and wrists of Lakshmanananda. Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda claimed responsibility after six months of Swami’s assassination. Although the killing was done by Maoists, but according to Intelligence, missionaries were behind it. Even before this attack, Swami Laxmanananda had been attacked, behind which Radhakant Nayak, who was a Rajya Sabha MP from the Congress and is also the head of the missionary organization World Vision, is said to have his hand. After this, the government was also requested to increase the security of Lakshmanananda. But no action was taken on it. More surprising is that when Swami Lakshmanananda appealed to increase his security on 22 August and the security of his ashram was reduced. And he was assassinated on the very next night on 23 August.
From all these events, the summary emerges that how many Palghars happened and how many have been conspired. But there is something which was not there and which is still not - awareness. We are very less aware of our social situation. Many sadhus paid the value of our lack of awareness. We keep sleeping and before we wake up, no matter how many voices are crushed.
And these voices will keep on getting suppressed until the voice is raised collectively.