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In Gauri Lankesh murder case, right-wing book in focus

The book sets out the leanings of Sanatan Sanstha.

india Updated: Nov 29, 2018 07:26 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Gauri Lankesh murder,Gauri Lankesh murder case,Gauri Lankesh
Gauri Lankesh, 55, known for her strong anti-Hindutva views was shot dead in Bengaluru on September 5 last year.(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)

In the charge sheet it filed on the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, the Karnataka special investigation team (SIT) has named an obscure book called ‘Kshatradharma Sadhana,’ saying it provided her killers with the ideological ballast for carrying out the crime.

Produced by the right-wing Sanatan Sanstha, the book, also known as the Spiritual Practice of Protecting Seekers and Destroying Evildoers, is a guide for “seekers”, who according to it form 10% of society, to get rid of evildoers in the “fight between righteousness and unrighteousness”.

Chetan Rajhans, spokesperson for the Sanstha, told HT that the book, authored by the founder of the organisation Jayant Balaji Athavale, has been bought by over 10,000 people and deals with the conduct of kings, and quotes from Mahabharata and Ramayana. “It is really amusing that the SIT has named the book in its charge sheet,” Rajhans said. “This is akin to saying that terrorists read the Quran and, hence, it is responsible for their senseless acts.”

The book sets out the leanings of Sanatan Sanstha. Lankesh, 55, known for her strong anti-Hindutva views was shot dead in Bengaluru on September 5 last year.

Read: Organised crime syndicate behind Gauri Lankesh murder, says SIT

So far, 18 people have been accused in the crime, including shooter Parashuram Waghmare, masterminds Amol Kale, Sujith Kumar alias Praveen and Amit Degwekar, the SIT officials have said. Some of them were suspected to be involved in the killing of rationalists MM Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare as well. The book was also mentioned by investigators when Virendra Tawde was arrested in connection with the Dabholkar and Pansare cases in 2016. The police have claimed that those attended have had links with the Sanstha; the organisation itself has maintained that none are its members but may have attended camps organised by it. “From the time of inception of the Sanstha in 1990... till 1996 we did not make even a passing remark about the concept of the spiritual practice of protecting seekers and destroying evildoers (kshatradharma) at our satsangs and in our publications,” the book says. “We began preaching this concept gradually since 1997. The Sanstha did not start the practice before 1996 because the time was not right.”

According to Kshatradharma Sadhana, it has become necessary to undertake “war for the sake of society” and in this war, the seeker’s only aim is to protect fellow seekers. Among those who will not receive this protection are “self-centred good-for-nothings in society” who “return from their workplace, take up their children’s lessons, go for an outing, a drama or visit friends or relatives on a weekend and visit the native place during vacation”.

According to the book, this fight is not to be misconstrued as one between religions and the past from the spiritual rather than the historical perspective. The book warns readers that there will be opposition to its form of spiritual practice because “when you preach to society to ‘destroy evildoers’ you will certainly face greater opposition.” Among the forms of psychological opposition, a significant mention is given to rationalists, who “create intellectual confusion”.

Seekers must vanquish such opposition as seers and even Gods have done in the past, the book says. To do so, there are different types of practice to destroy evildoers — physical, psychological and spiritual. “Only 5% of the crusade against evil will be of a physical nature. 5% of seekers will need to undergo training with weapons. The Lord will provide the weapons at the opportune moment through some medium,” the book says.

Among those identified as evildoers, prime importance is given to union leaders. This is because instead of making “workers aware of their duties {they] only teach them to fight for their rights thus making them self-centered”.

First Published: Nov 29, 2018 07:26 IST