Date: 4/1/2004


Given below are some extracts from Dr. Koenraad Elsts biography of Sita Ram Goel, written a few years ago. The full text of this biography is available online at: Http://

There is only one man in India whom I have ever known to say: "I am a (Hindu) communalist.' To an extent, this is in jest, as a rhetorical device to avoid the tangle in which RSS people always get trapped; being called 'communalist' and then spending the rest of your time trying to prove to your hecklers what a good secularist you are.

Unlike the Hindutva politicians, he does not seek the cover of 'genuine secularism,' while accepting the notion that Hindu India has always been 'secular' in the adapted Indian sense of 'religiously pluralistic.'

Sita Ram Goel was born in 1921 in a poor family (though belonging to the merchant Agrawal caste) in Haryana. As a schoolboy, he got acquainted with the traditional Vaishnavism practiced by his family, with the Mahabharata and the lore of the Bhakti saints (esp. Garibdas), and with the major trends in contemporary Hinduism, esp. the Arya Samaj and Gandhism. He took an M.A. in History in Delhi University, winning prizes and scholarships along the way. In his school and early university days he was a Gandhian activist, helping a Harijan Ashram in his village and organizing a study circle in Delhi.

In the 1930s and 40s, the Gandhians themselves came in the shadow of the new ideological vogue: socialism. When they started drifting to the Left and adopting socialist rhetoric, S. R. Goel decided to opt for the original rather than the imitation. In 1941, he accepted Marxim as his framework for political analysis. At first, he did not join the Communist Party of India, and had differences with it over such issues as the creation of the religion-based state of Pakistan, which was actively supported by the CPI but could hardly earn the enthusiasm of a progressive intellectual and atheist. He his wife and first son narrowly escaped with their lives in the Great Calcutta Killing of 16, August 1946, organized by the Muslim League to give more force to the Pakistan demand.

In 1948, just when he had made up his mind to formally join the Communist Party of India, in fact on the very day when he had an appointment at the party office in Calcutta to be registered as a candidate-member, the Government of West Bengal banned the CPI because of its hand in an ongoing-armed rebellion. A few months later, Ram Swarup came to stay with him in Calcutta and converted him as well as his employer, Hari Prasad Lohia, out of Communism. Goel's career as a combative and prolific writer on controversial matters of historical fact can only be understood in conjunction with Ram Swarup's sparser, more reflective writings on fundamental doctrinal issues.

Much later, in a speech before the Yogakshema society, Calcutta 1983, he explained his relation with Ram Swarup as follows: 'In fact, it would have been in the fitness of things if the speaker today had been Ram Swarup, because whatever I have written and whatever I have to say today really comes from him. He gives me the see-ideas which sprout into my articles… He give me the framework of my thought. Only the language is mine. The language also would have been much better if it was his own. My language becomes sharp at times; it annoys people. He has a way of saying things in a firm but polite manner, which discipline I have never been able to acquire." (The Emerging National Vision, p.1).

S.R. Goel's first important publications were written as part of the work of the Society for the Defence of Freedom in Asia and included, "China is Red with Peasants' Blood (1953)" and "Red Brother or Yellow Slave?"

Then, and all through his career as a polemical writer, the most remarkable feature of Sita Ram Goel's position in the Indian intellectual arena was that nobody even tried to give a serious rebuttal to his theses; the only counterstrategy has always been, and still is, 'strangling by silence' simply refusing to ever mention his name, publications and arguments. In May 1957, Goel moved to Delhi and got a job with some state-affiliated company, the India Cooperative Union, for which he did research and prospection concerning cottage industries. During the Chinese invasion in 1962, some government officials including P.N. Haksar Nurul Hasan and the later Prime Minister I. K. Gujral, demanded Goel's arrest. But at the same time, the Home Ministry invited him to take a leadership role in the plans for a guerrilla war against the then widely expected Chinese occupation of eastern India. He made his cooperation conditional on Nehru's abdication as Prime Minister, and nother ever came of it.

In 1964, RSS general secretary Eknath Ranade invited Goel to lead the prospective Vishva Hindu Parishad, which was founded later that year, but Goel set as his condition that he would be free to speak his own mind, and the matter ended there.

In 1981, Sita Ram Goel retired from his business, which he handed over to his son and nephew. He started the non-profit publishing house Voice of India with donations from sympathetic businessmen, and accepted Organizer editor K. R. Malkani's Offer to contribute some articles again, articles which were later collected into the first Voice of India booklets.

Goel's declared aim is to go defend Hinduism by placing before the public correct information about the situation of Hindu culture and society, and about the nature, motives and strategies of its enemies. For, as the title of his book Hindu Society under Siege indicates, Goel claims that Hindu society has been suffering a sustained attack from Islam since the 7th Century, from Christianity since the 15th century, this century all from Marxism, and all three have carved out a place for themselves in Indian society from which they besiege Hinduism. The avowed objective of each of these three world-conquering movements, with their massive resources, is diagnosed as the replacement of Hinduism by their own ideology, or in effect; the destruction of Hinduism. Apart from numerous articles, letters, contributions to other books (e.g. Devendra Swarup, ed: Politics of Conversion, DRI, Delhi 1986) and translations (e.g. the Hindi version of Taslima Nasrin's Bengali book Lajja, published in installments in Panchjanya, 94), Goel has contributed many books to the inter-religious debate, including Hindu Society under Siege and Defence of Hindu Society.

One of the greatest misconceptions about the Hindu movement is that it is a creation of political parties like the BJP and the Shiv Sena. In reality, there is a substratum of Hindu activist tendencies in many corners of Hindu society, often in unorganized form and almost invariably lacking in intellectual articulation. To this widespread Hindu unrest about the uncertain future of Hindu culture, Voice of India provides an intellectual focus.

The importance of Ram Swarup's and Sita Ram Goel's work can hardly be over-estimated. I for one have no doubt that future textbooks on comparative religion as well as those on India political and intellectual history will devote crucial chapters to their analysis. They are the first to give a first-hand 'Pagan' reply to the versions of history and 'comparative religion' imposed by the monotheist words conquerors, both at the level of historical fact and of fundamental doctrine, both in terms of the specific Hindu experience and of a more generalized theory of religion free from prophetic-monotheistic bias.

The long-term intellectual importance is that they have contributed immensely to breaking the spell of all kinds of Christian, Muslim and Marxist prejudices and misrepresentations of Hinduism and the Hindu Revivals movement.