The Arya Samaj has indeed liberated the masses from the clutches of many a class of vested interests. The protectors of common man had become predators. Be it the clergy or the captain, they were all out to look after their own welfare and thus prospered at the cost of ordinary men and women who were just helpless. Women, who formed fifty percent or so of the numerical strength of the social order were denied their fundamental rights of thought, expression, education and self dignity. The right to know the Vedas and benefit from them was denied not only to the backward and depressed classes of men but to the entire female population, irrespective of the religious or the social class they belonged to. Ime was ripe for a social and religious renaissance awaiting the right leadership that would be bold, courageous and ever ready to make the supreme sacrifice to uphold the Dharma.
One who wishes to go to the rescue of the exploited and the downtrodden men and women needs moral courage to fight against the religious, social and financial vested interests who are well dug in. Right from Day One of the Reformation movement launched by a 14 year old teenager called Mool Shankar to the time of his transformation as a Sanyasi renamed Dayanand Saraswati to the time he breathed his last, his indomitable spirit kept on fighting against tyranny – religious, social and political. He minced no words in chastising the high and mighty for their wrong-doings, Adharma and did so publicly. Dayanand Saraswati had the moral courage to launch a frontal attack on the king and the clergy alike so that the common man could breathe easy. He paid for this with his life but was eulogized by men and women of all walks of life except the vested interests who looted the country to line up their own pockets. Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati became the first Martyr of the Arya Samaj but he was not alone.
Pundit Lekh Ram , who had met and interviewed Swami Dayanand Saraswati just once in life, followed suit.He is the dedicated vedic missionary who travelled far and wide to collect and collate original evidence about the life and times of the founder of the Arya Samaj to write a biography also converted people to the fold of the Vedic Dharma.He was committed to fulfil the aspirations of Arya Samajists that the good word of the Vedas should be carried to every home and hearth. With a missionary zeal he travelled far and wide. As the story goes , while travelling on an express train to reach the destination to save some families from converting to Islam and adopt the Vedic Dharm instead, he was told that the train did not halt at the railway station that served his destination. Undeterred, he jumped off the running train at the station concerned and proceeded to fulfil his mission. Unbelievable but true. Further he had an ongoing war of words with the Mirza of Ahmedias at Kadiyan and he always carried the day. Stung by spiritual and literary defeats at the hands of Pundit lekh Ram, the Mirza plotted his cold blooded murder. It was indeed a sad day for the Arya Samaj when a stalwart who boldly challenged those who were advocating Islamic hocus pocus.
Swami Shraddhanand Saraswati sounded the trumpet of SHUDDHI to reconvert those Hindu families who had been forcibly converted to Islam by the Mughals and he was a success in his noble and novel mission.Of course, this movement to bring home brethren who had gone astray was over and above the revolution that he brought about in education by founding the Gurukul Kangri at Haridwar. Both the acts were products of moral courage coupled with courage of conviction. For his foray into the realm of Macaulay’s English education, he was commended by Ramsay Mcdonald for taking a concrete step to counter Macaulay. However, the Swami cannot be dubbed as anti-Muslim or anti-British. He is the only Arya Sanyasi so far to have been invited by the Muslims to the Jama Masjid of Delhi to make a speech to unite the nation against the foreign rule. However, some misguided Muslims hatched a conspiracy to eliminate him because he was a Vedic missionary and tolerated no nonsense in carrying the torch of Vedas forward. He found a place in the galaxy of martyrs of the Arya Samaj and we are proud of him.
DEFENDING FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Mahashay Rajpal of Lahore was a champion defender of the right of expression. He was a writer and a publisher. Above all he was an ardent Arya Samajist who had learnt his primer in courage and freedom of expression from no less a person than Pundit Lekh Ram himself. Brought up in the Arya Samaj tradition where Vedic missionaries were tempered with the principle “Counter Attack is the best form of Defence”, Mahashay Rajpal could not sit idle when Fascist-Islamists made and published derogatory remarks against Yogeshwar Shri Krishna and Swami Dayanand Saraswati. Rajpal Ji had the moral courage to publish a book of facts about the Prophet of Islam entitled “Rangila Rasool” The book comprised nothing but bare facts borne by history. The then government prosecuted Rajpal Ji. He bore the brunt but did not divulge name of the writer. He had the courage to own up its publication as it was the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Although the lower court convicted him but the Punjab High Court,Lahore acquitted him with honour. His conviction in defending the right of expression and exercising the freedom of publication were vindicated. However,history repeated itself when bigots made attempt after attempt to kill the bold publisher,Rajpal Ji and eventually succeeded. Shaheed Rajpal Ji joined his co-religionists in the roll of honour and continues to be a beacon of inspiring light for succeeding generations.
MARTYRS IN UNIFORM
The Dayanand Anglo- Vedic School founded in 1886 to carry on the mission of Swami Dayanand Saraswati is a living lineage of courage and sacrifice for the cause of the country. In the twentieth century, 1999 to be precise, Pakistan attacked kargil in Jammu and Kashmir.It was done surreptitiously. An Army patrol detailed to find facts was ambushed but fought bravely. None survived. It was a saga pf chivalry and the patrol was led by Capt Saurabh Kalia,an ex-student of a DAV School in Himachal Pradesh. The spirit of patriotism was instilled in him by the DAV school and his father said so. Another story of epic gallantary was that of Lieutenant Manoj Pande, a scion of an Arya Samajist family of Lucknow. He led his jawans gallantly, dislodged Pakistan soldiers from the post in Khalubar and remained alive until the national Tricolour did not replace the Pakistan flag at the post. The Government of India honoured his chivalry with the award of the highest gallantary award for showing exemplary courage in the face of the enemy, PARAM VIR CHAKRA. His last rites were performed as per the Sanskar Vidhi written by Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
The continual addition of stars to the galaxy of Arya Samaj martyrs goes to prove that the spirit of Liberty and moral courage to defend the Vedic Dharma and vanquish Adharma is alive and shining.
By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant, VSM