Perhaps we should hold Jaitley to his words and put his own parivar to the free speech-hate speech test. But before that, he should also tell us what one should make of ministers resorting to Goebbelsian tactics, twisting truths, even lying in Parliament. First it was minister for human resources development, Smriti Irani in Parliament on Wednesday. SabrangIndia has already dealt with Irani’s bluffs adequately. Now, Jaitley is up to the same trick. Given the different focus of this article, just one example should suffice.
In Parliament on Thursday Union finance minister, Arun Jaitley gave a sermon that hate speech must not be tolerated in the name of free speech. Noble sentiments coming from a top minister in the RSS-directed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-headed, BJP-dominated, NDA government? Or a good example of the devil quoting the scriptures?
“In one city it is martyrdom of Yakub Memon, in JNU it is martyrdom of Afzal Guru being observed,” proclaimed Jaitley in Parliament. Really, Mr Jaitley? Were Rohith Vemula and his colleagues observing the “martyrdom of Yakub Memon” at Hyderabad Central University? And was Kanhaiya Kumar observing the “martyrdom of Afzal Guru” and is “guilty of sedition” just because a doctored video by Zee News so claims and Arnab Goswami is screaming?
But let’s return to Jaitley’s sermon in Parliament. Below are some gems from the sangh parivar pantheon. And we would love to hear from him as to whether these should be upheld as free speech or seen for what they are: hate speech, which in some instances are also incitement to violence.
Free speech or hate speech, Mr Jaitley?
“Do we go and run relief camps? Should we open child producing centres? We want to firmly implement family planning. Hum paanch, humare pachees (We five, our 25) (laughs). Who will benefit from this development? Is family planning not necessary in Gujarat?”
- Narendra Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, at an election rally at Becharji; September 9, 2002. The speech refers to privately-run relief camps for over 1.5 lakh Muslims who had been displaced during the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom under his watch, repeating Hindutva’s propaganda that all Muslim men marry four wives and produce 25 children.
"Another thing, any person if we are driving a car, we are a driver, and someone else is driving a car and we're sitting behind, even then if a puppy [“kutte ka bachcha’] comes under the wheel, will be painful or not? Of course, it is. If I'm a chief minister or not, I'm a human being. If something bad happens anywhere, it is natural to be sad.”
- Narendra Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, giving his “puppy analogy” on being asked if he felt any remorse for the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat under his watch, in an interview to Reuters; July, 2013
"If somebody throws a stone at a dog, then the government is responsible?”
- VK Singh, retired general and Union minister of state for external affairs; in response to the murder of two Dalit children in Faridabad; November, 2015
“If BJP loses Bihar elections, crackers will be burst in Pakistan”.
- Amit Shah, BJP president, at an election rally in Bihar, October 2015
“A man can live without food or sleep. He can live when he is thirsty and hungry. But when he is insulted, he can’t live. The humiliation has to be avenged”.
- Amit Shah, BJP president, at an election rally in violence-torn Muzaffarnagar, UP; April 2014. The Chief Election Commissioner banned him from campaigning in UP but ban was later lifted.
“All those who desperately want to eat beef should go to Pakistan”.
- Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Union minister of state for parliamentary affairs, during a TV programme; May 2015
“Bhule bhatke jo bhai gaye hain, unko wapas layenge. Woh log apne aap nahin gaye, unko loot kar, lalach de kar le kar gaye… Abhi chor pakda gaya hai. Mera maal chor ke paas hai. Aur yeh duniya jaanti hai. Mein apna maal wapas loonga, yeh kaunsi badi baat hai (We will bring back our brothers who have lost their way. They did not go on their own. They were robbed, tempted into leaving… Now the thief has been caught and the world knows my belongings are with the thief. I will retrieve my belongings, so why is this such a big issue).”
- Mohan Bhagwat, RSS chief, at the Viraat Hindu Sammelan in Kolkota, December 2014.
“People of Delhi have to decide whether they want a government of Ramzaadas (followers of Ram) or haraamzaadas”.
- Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Union minister of state, also referred to as ‘minister of hate’, at a public rally during Delhi elections; December 2014
“Education of terrorism is being given in madrassas. They (madrassas)… are making them terrorists and jihadis….It is not in national interest”
- Sakshi Maharaj , BJP MP; September 2014
“Hindustan is a Hindu nation…Hindutva is the identity of our nation and it (Hinduism) can incorporate others (religions) in itself”.
- Mohan Bhagwat, RSS chief, at the golden jubilee celebration of VHP in Mumbai, August 2014.
“If they take one Hindu girl, we will take at least 100 Muslim girls. If they kill one Hindu, we will kill 100 Muslims”.
- Yogi Adityanath, BJP MP, at a public meeting against alleged the ‘Love Jihad’ of Muslims; August 2014.
“Those opposed to Modi should go to Pakistan”.
- Giriraj Singh, senior leader and former minister in Nitish Kumar’s cabinet; April 2014; a few months later, PM Narendra Modi appointed him minister of state at the Centre
"Take legal advice; use Bajrang Dal to forcibly capture property bought by a Muslim in a Hindu locality."
- Pravin Togadia, VHP international working president; inciting Hindus to prevent a Muslim buying a house in a Hindu majority locality in Bhavnagar, Gujarat; April 2014.
“Behead those who convert Hindus”
- Pravin Togadia, international working president, VHP; November 2011
"Three Internal Threats to India: I: The Muslims; II: The Christians; III: The Communists"
- MS Golwalkar, the most revered sarsanghchalak in the history of the RSS; also known as the 'Guru of Hate'; in his book 'Bunch of Thoughts'
"From the standpoint sanctioned by the experience of shrewd nations [Hitler's Germany], the non-Hindu people in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and revere Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but the glorification of Hindu nation i.e. they must not only give up their attitude of intolerance and ingratitude towards this land and its age long traditions, but must also cultivate the positive attitude of love and devotion instead; in one word, they must cease to be foreigners or may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, for less any preferential treatment, not even the citizen's rights."
- MS Golwalkar, the most revered sarsanghchalak in the history of the RSS; also known as the 'Guru of Hate'; in his book, 'We, or our Nationhood Defined'
It has never been our case that the Hindu Right alone is responsible for spreading communal virus in the country. For example, the MIM’s Akbaruddin Owaisi, the Bahujan Samajwadi Party’s Haji Yakub Qureshi and Imam Bukhari of Delhi’s Shahi Jama Masjid come easily to mind. But when a leader from the sangh parivar starts giving lectures on hate speech, its time to say, heal thyself physician.