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How the RSS leadership bowed to Indira Gandhi: 45th anniv of the Emergency

June 25, 2020:  Evidence from contemporary documents

25 Jun 2020

RSS

RSS is the Hindutva gurukul, (university) which specialises in training it’s cadres in the internalising of half-truths and lies, based on the manufacturing of history. A recent proof of this is evidenced in Ram Madhav’s claim that, Indian democracy survives due to "leaders in the government who fought for that very freedom and are committed to liberal democratic values, not just as a matter of compulsion but as an article of faith."[i] Described as an ‘RSS ideologue by commercial television channels, Madhav was speaking on the 45th anniversary of the Emergency. His falsified claim is that RSS-BJP leaders fought against the Emergency, not out of compulsion but as an article of faith in democracy. Both claims are while lies. This can be seen not just from the claims of critics of the RSS, but from all contemporary RSS documents available.

Let us take first, address the claim that the RSS-BJP rulers are/have been committed to the liberal democratic values, as an article of faith. The most prominent ideologue of the RSS, MS Golwalkar, also known as the 'Guru of Hate' [whom PM Modi credits for grooming him into a political leader] while addressing as many as 1350 top level cadres of the RSS, in 1940, declared, "RSS inspired by one flag, one leader and one ideology is lighting the flame of Hindutva in each and every corner of this great land."[ii]

With such a philosophical liking for totalitarianism the RSS has hated the sharing of power. This can be seen from the outfit’s strong opposition to the federal structure of the constitution, a ‘Basic’ feature of the Indian republic. Golwalkar, declared in 1961, "Today’s federal form of government not only gives birth but also nourishes the feelings of separatism, in a way refuses to recognise the fact of one nation, and destroys it. It must be completely uprooted, the constitution purified and (a) unitary form of government be established."[iii]

As far as the Emergency is concerned, the RSS claim of fighting against it, needs also to be evaluated in the light of contemporary narratives as also from RSS’ own documents. In this connection two narratives, one by a veteran thinker and journalist of India, Prabhash Joshi and the other, by TV Rajeswar, former Intelligence Bureau [IB] chief, who was the deputy chief of IB during the Emergency, are of immense importance. They recounted the days of Emergency (or state authoritarianism) when the RSS surrendered to the repressive regime of Indira Gandhi, assured both her and her son, Sanjay Gandhi, of their cooperation to enforce faithfully the draconian 20-point programme, announced by the Emergency regime. Large number of RSS cadres came out of jails by submitting maafinaamas (mercy petitions).
This contemporary, historical narrative by Prabhash Joshi, appeared in the English weekly, Tehelka on the 25th anniversary of the Emergency.[iv] According to Joshi, even during the Emergency "there was always a lurking sense of suspicion, a distance, a discreet lack of trust" about the RSS' joining the anti-Emergency struggle. He went on to write, that

"Balasaheb Deoras, the then RSS chief, wrote a letter to Indira Gandhi pledging to help implement the notorious 20-point programme of Sanjay Gandhi. This is the real character of the RSS...You can decipher a line of action, a pattern. Even during the Emergency, many among the RSS and Jana Sangh who came out of the jails, gave maafinamas. They were the first to apologise. Only their leaders remained in jail: Atal Behari Vajpayee [most of the time, in hospital], LK Advani, even Arun Jaitley. But the RSS did not fight the Emergency. So why is the BJP trying to appropriate that memory?"

Prabhash Joshi's conclusion was that "they are not a fighting force and they are never keen to fight. They are basically a compromising lot. They are never genuinely against the government".

TV Rajeswar, who served as Governor of Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim penned a book, 'India: The Crucial Years” [Harper Collins], in which, he corroborated the fact, that, "Not only they (RSS) were supportive of this [Emergency], they wanted to establish contact apart from Mrs Gandhi, with Sanjay Gandhi also".[v] Rajeswar in an interview with Karan Thapar disclosed that, Deoras,

"quietly established a link with the PM's house and expressed strong support for several steps taken to enforce order and discipline in the country. Deoras was keen to meet Mrs. Gandhi and Sanjay. But Mrs. Gandhi refused."[vi]

According to Rajeswar's book,

“RSS, a right-wing Hindu nationalist organisation, was banned in the wake of the Emergency. But its chief, Balasaheb Deoras, quietly established a link with the PM’s house and expressed strong support to several steps taken to enforce order and discipline in the country. Sanjay Gandhi’s concerted drive to enforce family planning, particularly among Muslims, had earned Deoras’s approbation.”[vii]

Rajeswar also shared the fact, that, even after Emergency, the "organisation, (RSS) had specifically conveyed its support to the Congress in the post-emergency elections."[viii] It will be interesting to note that even according to Subramanian Swamy during the Emergency period, most of the senior leaders of RSS had betrayed the struggle against the Emergency.[ix]

Contemporary documents in the RSS archives corroborate the narratives proffered by Prabhash Joshi and Rajeswar. The 3rd Supremo of RSS, Madhukar Dattatraya Deoras wrote the first letter to Indira Gandhi within two months of the imposition of Emergency. It was the time when state terror was running amok. In a letter dated, August 22, 1975 he began with the following praise of Indira:

"I heard your address to the nation which you delivered on August 15, 1975 from Red Fort on radio in jail [Yervada jail] with attention. Your address was timely and balanced so I decided to write to you".[x]

Indira Gandhi did not respond to it. So Deoras wrote another letter to Indira on November 10, 1975. He began his letter with congratulating her on being cleared by the Supreme Court of disqualification (in the elections) which was ordered by the Allahabad High Court, "All the five Justices of the Supreme Court have declared your election constitutional, heartiest greetings for it." It is to be noted that opposition was firmly of the opinion that this judgment was 'influenced' by the Congress. In the course of the letter, he declared that "RSS has been named in the context of Jaiprakash Narayan's movement. The government has also connected RSS with the Gujarat movement and the Bihar movement without any reason...Sangh has no relation with these movements..."[xi]

Since Indira Gandhi did not respond to this letter also, RSS chief got hold of Vinoba Bhave who supported the Emergency religiously and was a favourite of Indira Gandhi. In a letter dated January 12, 1976, he begged that the Acharya should suggest a way to ensure that the ban on the RSS was removed.[xii]  Since the Acharya, too, did not respond to Deoras letter, the latter in another letter without date wrote in desperation,

"According to press reports, respected PM [Indira Gandhi] is going to meet you at Pavnar Ashram on January 24. At that time there will be discussion about the present condition of the country. I beg you to try to remove the wrong assumptions of PM about RSS so that ban on RSS is lifted and RSS members are released from jails. We are looking forward to the time when RSS and its members are able to contribute to the plans of progress which are being run in all the fields under the leadership of PM."[xiii]

All these letters in Hindi are being reproduced from a publication of the RSS at the end of this article.

Significantly, former President of the Indian Republic, Pranab Mukherjee was invited by the RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat as the chief guest at the graduation ceremony of its new recruits. These recruits are trained to work over-time (on social and political steps) to convert India into a theocratic (Hindu) state. Pranab Mukherjee has been known, and held responsible too, as one of the top leaders of Congress, responsible, for Emergency excesses. The tragedy of the RSS in power at the Centre is that India, while a constitutional democracy, is governed by a love of power, which compels its spokespersons to indulge in doublespeak.

Despite these facts, it is shameful, that thousands of RSS cadres continue to get monthly pension for ‘persecution’ during Emergency. BJP ruled states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra have decided to award a monthly pension of Rs 20,000 to those who were jailed during the Emergency period for less than 2 months and Rs 10,000 to those who were jailed for less than a month. This rule took care of the financial interest of those RSS cadres who submitted mercy letters completing only one or two months' jail term. For securing such a significant pension, there is no condition that the beneficiary should have been in jail for the whole period of the Emergency.

Interestingly, in the case of anti-British freedom struggle, not a single person from RSS cadres is fit to claim a freedom fighters pension. Neither does India remember hundreds of Communist youth, branded as Naxals, who were killed in brute extra-judicial killings (“fake encounters”) during the Emergency. Interestingly, the Shiv Sena too, a former Hindutva co-traveler of the RSS openly supported the Emergency.

 

The author can be reached at  notoinjustice@gmail.com

 


[i] https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/when-democracy-was-shackled-ram-madhav-6474726/

[ii] Golwalkar, MS, Shri Guruji Samagar Darshan (collected works of Golwalkar in Hindi), Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, nd., vol. I, p. 11.

[iii] Ibid. vol. III, p. 128.

[iv] http://archive.tehelka.com/story_main13.asp?filename=op070205And_Not_Even.asp

[v] https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/rss-backed-indira-gandhis-emergency-ex-ib-chief-264127-2015-09-21

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/ib-ex-chiefs-book-rss-chief-deoras-had-backed-some-emergency-moves/

[viii] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/RSS-backed-Emergency-reveals-former-IB-chief/articleshow/49052143.cms

[ix] https://medium.com/@hindu.nationalist1/double-game-of-senior-rss-leaders-during-emergency-74abc07a4fa8

[x] Madhukar Dattatraya Deoras, Hindu Sangathan aur Sattavaadi Rajneeti, Jagriti Prkashan, Noida, 1997, 270.

[xi] Ibid., 272-73

[xii] Ibid. 275-77.

How the RSS leadership bowed to Indira Gandhi: 45th anniv of the Emergency

June 25, 2020:  Evidence from contemporary documents

RSS

RSS is the Hindutva gurukul, (university) which specialises in training it’s cadres in the internalising of half-truths and lies, based on the manufacturing of history. A recent proof of this is evidenced in Ram Madhav’s claim that, Indian democracy survives due to "leaders in the government who fought for that very freedom and are committed to liberal democratic values, not just as a matter of compulsion but as an article of faith."[i] Described as an ‘RSS ideologue by commercial television channels, Madhav was speaking on the 45th anniversary of the Emergency. His falsified claim is that RSS-BJP leaders fought against the Emergency, not out of compulsion but as an article of faith in democracy. Both claims are while lies. This can be seen not just from the claims of critics of the RSS, but from all contemporary RSS documents available.

Let us take first, address the claim that the RSS-BJP rulers are/have been committed to the liberal democratic values, as an article of faith. The most prominent ideologue of the RSS, MS Golwalkar, also known as the 'Guru of Hate' [whom PM Modi credits for grooming him into a political leader] while addressing as many as 1350 top level cadres of the RSS, in 1940, declared, "RSS inspired by one flag, one leader and one ideology is lighting the flame of Hindutva in each and every corner of this great land."[ii]

With such a philosophical liking for totalitarianism the RSS has hated the sharing of power. This can be seen from the outfit’s strong opposition to the federal structure of the constitution, a ‘Basic’ feature of the Indian republic. Golwalkar, declared in 1961, "Today’s federal form of government not only gives birth but also nourishes the feelings of separatism, in a way refuses to recognise the fact of one nation, and destroys it. It must be completely uprooted, the constitution purified and (a) unitary form of government be established."[iii]

As far as the Emergency is concerned, the RSS claim of fighting against it, needs also to be evaluated in the light of contemporary narratives as also from RSS’ own documents. In this connection two narratives, one by a veteran thinker and journalist of India, Prabhash Joshi and the other, by TV Rajeswar, former Intelligence Bureau [IB] chief, who was the deputy chief of IB during the Emergency, are of immense importance. They recounted the days of Emergency (or state authoritarianism) when the RSS surrendered to the repressive regime of Indira Gandhi, assured both her and her son, Sanjay Gandhi, of their cooperation to enforce faithfully the draconian 20-point programme, announced by the Emergency regime. Large number of RSS cadres came out of jails by submitting maafinaamas (mercy petitions).
This contemporary, historical narrative by Prabhash Joshi, appeared in the English weekly, Tehelka on the 25th anniversary of the Emergency.[iv] According to Joshi, even during the Emergency "there was always a lurking sense of suspicion, a distance, a discreet lack of trust" about the RSS' joining the anti-Emergency struggle. He went on to write, that

"Balasaheb Deoras, the then RSS chief, wrote a letter to Indira Gandhi pledging to help implement the notorious 20-point programme of Sanjay Gandhi. This is the real character of the RSS...You can decipher a line of action, a pattern. Even during the Emergency, many among the RSS and Jana Sangh who came out of the jails, gave maafinamas. They were the first to apologise. Only their leaders remained in jail: Atal Behari Vajpayee [most of the time, in hospital], LK Advani, even Arun Jaitley. But the RSS did not fight the Emergency. So why is the BJP trying to appropriate that memory?"

Prabhash Joshi's conclusion was that "they are not a fighting force and they are never keen to fight. They are basically a compromising lot. They are never genuinely against the government".

TV Rajeswar, who served as Governor of Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim penned a book, 'India: The Crucial Years” [Harper Collins], in which, he corroborated the fact, that, "Not only they (RSS) were supportive of this [Emergency], they wanted to establish contact apart from Mrs Gandhi, with Sanjay Gandhi also".[v] Rajeswar in an interview with Karan Thapar disclosed that, Deoras,

"quietly established a link with the PM's house and expressed strong support for several steps taken to enforce order and discipline in the country. Deoras was keen to meet Mrs. Gandhi and Sanjay. But Mrs. Gandhi refused."[vi]

According to Rajeswar's book,

“RSS, a right-wing Hindu nationalist organisation, was banned in the wake of the Emergency. But its chief, Balasaheb Deoras, quietly established a link with the PM’s house and expressed strong support to several steps taken to enforce order and discipline in the country. Sanjay Gandhi’s concerted drive to enforce family planning, particularly among Muslims, had earned Deoras’s approbation.”[vii]

Rajeswar also shared the fact, that, even after Emergency, the "organisation, (RSS) had specifically conveyed its support to the Congress in the post-emergency elections."[viii] It will be interesting to note that even according to Subramanian Swamy during the Emergency period, most of the senior leaders of RSS had betrayed the struggle against the Emergency.[ix]

Contemporary documents in the RSS archives corroborate the narratives proffered by Prabhash Joshi and Rajeswar. The 3rd Supremo of RSS, Madhukar Dattatraya Deoras wrote the first letter to Indira Gandhi within two months of the imposition of Emergency. It was the time when state terror was running amok. In a letter dated, August 22, 1975 he began with the following praise of Indira:

"I heard your address to the nation which you delivered on August 15, 1975 from Red Fort on radio in jail [Yervada jail] with attention. Your address was timely and balanced so I decided to write to you".[x]

Indira Gandhi did not respond to it. So Deoras wrote another letter to Indira on November 10, 1975. He began his letter with congratulating her on being cleared by the Supreme Court of disqualification (in the elections) which was ordered by the Allahabad High Court, "All the five Justices of the Supreme Court have declared your election constitutional, heartiest greetings for it." It is to be noted that opposition was firmly of the opinion that this judgment was 'influenced' by the Congress. In the course of the letter, he declared that "RSS has been named in the context of Jaiprakash Narayan's movement. The government has also connected RSS with the Gujarat movement and the Bihar movement without any reason...Sangh has no relation with these movements..."[xi]

Since Indira Gandhi did not respond to this letter also, RSS chief got hold of Vinoba Bhave who supported the Emergency religiously and was a favourite of Indira Gandhi. In a letter dated January 12, 1976, he begged that the Acharya should suggest a way to ensure that the ban on the RSS was removed.[xii]  Since the Acharya, too, did not respond to Deoras letter, the latter in another letter without date wrote in desperation,

"According to press reports, respected PM [Indira Gandhi] is going to meet you at Pavnar Ashram on January 24. At that time there will be discussion about the present condition of the country. I beg you to try to remove the wrong assumptions of PM about RSS so that ban on RSS is lifted and RSS members are released from jails. We are looking forward to the time when RSS and its members are able to contribute to the plans of progress which are being run in all the fields under the leadership of PM."[xiii]

All these letters in Hindi are being reproduced from a publication of the RSS at the end of this article.

Significantly, former President of the Indian Republic, Pranab Mukherjee was invited by the RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat as the chief guest at the graduation ceremony of its new recruits. These recruits are trained to work over-time (on social and political steps) to convert India into a theocratic (Hindu) state. Pranab Mukherjee has been known, and held responsible too, as one of the top leaders of Congress, responsible, for Emergency excesses. The tragedy of the RSS in power at the Centre is that India, while a constitutional democracy, is governed by a love of power, which compels its spokespersons to indulge in doublespeak.

Despite these facts, it is shameful, that thousands of RSS cadres continue to get monthly pension for ‘persecution’ during Emergency. BJP ruled states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra have decided to award a monthly pension of Rs 20,000 to those who were jailed during the Emergency period for less than 2 months and Rs 10,000 to those who were jailed for less than a month. This rule took care of the financial interest of those RSS cadres who submitted mercy letters completing only one or two months' jail term. For securing such a significant pension, there is no condition that the beneficiary should have been in jail for the whole period of the Emergency.

Interestingly, in the case of anti-British freedom struggle, not a single person from RSS cadres is fit to claim a freedom fighters pension. Neither does India remember hundreds of Communist youth, branded as Naxals, who were killed in brute extra-judicial killings (“fake encounters”) during the Emergency. Interestingly, the Shiv Sena too, a former Hindutva co-traveler of the RSS openly supported the Emergency.

 

The author can be reached at  notoinjustice@gmail.com

 


[i] https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/when-democracy-was-shackled-ram-madhav-6474726/

[ii] Golwalkar, MS, Shri Guruji Samagar Darshan (collected works of Golwalkar in Hindi), Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, nd., vol. I, p. 11.

[iii] Ibid. vol. III, p. 128.

[iv] http://archive.tehelka.com/story_main13.asp?filename=op070205And_Not_Even.asp

[v] https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/rss-backed-indira-gandhis-emergency-ex-ib-chief-264127-2015-09-21

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/ib-ex-chiefs-book-rss-chief-deoras-had-backed-some-emergency-moves/

[viii] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/RSS-backed-Emergency-reveals-former-IB-chief/articleshow/49052143.cms

[ix] https://medium.com/@hindu.nationalist1/double-game-of-senior-rss-leaders-during-emergency-74abc07a4fa8

[x] Madhukar Dattatraya Deoras, Hindu Sangathan aur Sattavaadi Rajneeti, Jagriti Prkashan, Noida, 1997, 270.

[xi] Ibid., 272-73

[xii] Ibid. 275-77.

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Court begins recording statements of Babri demolition accused

The Supreme Court has extended the deadline for completion of hearing in the case up to August 31

05 Jun 2020

Babri

The Special CBI court, Lucknow started recording statements of the accused in Babri Masjid demolition case on June 4 which includes senior BJP leaders L K Advani, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Brij Bhushan Saran Singh and Sakshi Maharaj.

The court has already completed examination of prosecution witnesses and was able to record the statement of only Vijay Bahadur Singh, under section 313 of the Code of Criminal procedure (CrPC). Others who appeared before the court were Pawan Pandey, Santosh Dubey and Gandhi Yadav. The rest will be examined on June 5.

The Judge, SK Yadav also directed them to furnish defence evidence in writing. Under Section 313, a judge questions the accused on the basis of the evidence put before the court during the trial, and the accused is given an opportunity to be heard. After its completion, the defence puts up evidence in the support of the accused.

The court was to begin recording these statements on March 24 but this was stalled since the court closed down due to COVID19 pandemic.

The Supreme Court had on April 19, 2017, asked the special court to conducted daily hearings of the case and conclude it within 2 years. The Supreme Court has extended this deadline up to August 31 this year. Earlier there were two sets of cases relating to the demolition of Babri Masjid, one in Lucknow and other in Rae Bareli; these were then clubbed. The one in Lucknow court was on charges of conspiracy to demolish the mosque, and the other in Rae Bareli court was for instigating the crowd to raze the structure.

The land dispute has been settled by the Supreme Court allowing Ram temple to be constructed at the disputed site and ordered to allocate a separate plot for constructing the mosque.

The Babri Masjid was demolished in December 1992 by "karsevaks" who claimed that the mosque in Ayodhya was built on the site of an ancient Ram temple.

Related:

Babri demolition accused to head Ram Temple Trust

RSS school’s sports event shows kids enact demolition of Babri Masjid

Court begins recording statements of Babri demolition accused

The Supreme Court has extended the deadline for completion of hearing in the case up to August 31

Babri

The Special CBI court, Lucknow started recording statements of the accused in Babri Masjid demolition case on June 4 which includes senior BJP leaders L K Advani, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Brij Bhushan Saran Singh and Sakshi Maharaj.

The court has already completed examination of prosecution witnesses and was able to record the statement of only Vijay Bahadur Singh, under section 313 of the Code of Criminal procedure (CrPC). Others who appeared before the court were Pawan Pandey, Santosh Dubey and Gandhi Yadav. The rest will be examined on June 5.

The Judge, SK Yadav also directed them to furnish defence evidence in writing. Under Section 313, a judge questions the accused on the basis of the evidence put before the court during the trial, and the accused is given an opportunity to be heard. After its completion, the defence puts up evidence in the support of the accused.

The court was to begin recording these statements on March 24 but this was stalled since the court closed down due to COVID19 pandemic.

The Supreme Court had on April 19, 2017, asked the special court to conducted daily hearings of the case and conclude it within 2 years. The Supreme Court has extended this deadline up to August 31 this year. Earlier there were two sets of cases relating to the demolition of Babri Masjid, one in Lucknow and other in Rae Bareli; these were then clubbed. The one in Lucknow court was on charges of conspiracy to demolish the mosque, and the other in Rae Bareli court was for instigating the crowd to raze the structure.

The land dispute has been settled by the Supreme Court allowing Ram temple to be constructed at the disputed site and ordered to allocate a separate plot for constructing the mosque.

The Babri Masjid was demolished in December 1992 by "karsevaks" who claimed that the mosque in Ayodhya was built on the site of an ancient Ram temple.

Related:

Babri demolition accused to head Ram Temple Trust

RSS school’s sports event shows kids enact demolition of Babri Masjid

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Using Corona pandemic as an excuse to don fresh Hindutva masks?

Ramayan, Mahabharat back on air, VHP suggests people chant "Jai Shri Ram" to combat Covid-19!

28 Mar 2020

DoordarshanImage Courtesy: newslaundry.com

"I am watching ‘Ramayana’, are you?", asked Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javdekar in a tweet where looks happy and relaxed as he watches the television serial he relaunched on Saturday, March 28. The minister posted this blissed out photo of him in his posh living room, to show his followers, and his bosses, that he had delivered on his promise re-telecasting the television serial over 30 years after it debuted on national broadcaster Doordarshan, that was the only television channel available them. However, the tweets appears to have been subsequently deleted, possibly after receiving flak from tweeple.

 

Here is the picture that Javadekar had originally tweeted. 

Ramayan

The Doordarshan social media team followed up by reposting the minister's announcement on their own social media platforms.

The many exclamation marks and excitement from official handles soon encouraged many social media users to post photos of themselves watching the 1980s serial, made by Ramanand Sagar.  The serial had a cult following when it was first telecast, and the lead actors, Arun Govil, and Deepika Chilka, playing Ram and Sita, were even worshipped by fans and devotees when they made public appearances. Now as the nation observes the 21-day lockdown in an attempt to flatten the Covid-19 contamination curve, television viewership, and internet usage has seen a surge. Of course those who have televisions and also have smart phone and quickly ensured #Ramayana was the  top social media trend in India, where the Covid-19 transmission cycle has been progressing. DD National will now telecast the serial for two hours twice a day: 9-10am, and 9-10pm. The Minister tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and other official handles when he made the crucial announcement of this telecast schedule.

But, Doordarshan didn't just stop at Ramayana. Determined to deliver a religious double whammy, it has also decided to telecast the Mahabharat!

Mahabharat will be telecast at 12 noon and 7 PM. 


Meanwhile the Deccan Herald reports that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, has also asked people to chant “Jai Shri Ram” to invoke divine powers to win the war against coronavirus. “We appeal to the entire country to invoke the intervention of divine powers in this difficult hour. For only half an hour, each and every family should collectively remember their Ishta Daiva and chant on a Japa Mala (a string of 108+1 prayer beads)” the DH quotes the VHPs nationwide call to follow the rituals.

The VHP, other right-wing supremacist organisations, as well as Hindutva outfits have told people how this was a time to invoke the divine, chant mantras, ring bells, blow conch shells to generate ‘cosmic’ vibrations’ that will kill disease causing elements and ‘negative energies’. Some like Chakrapani Maharaj led by example and hosted ‘gaumutra’ drinking ‘parties’ to tell followers that cow urine and cow dung had magical powers that provide divine vaccination against the new Coronavirus. 

Such Hindutva calls were also endorsed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members including a legislator from Assam, Suman Haripriya who was convinced that cow urine and dung could treat COVID-19. She was mocked online, but it is not known if the political party took any action against her. 

Television news channels did their bit by inviting religious leaders and gurus to come and share their ‘spiritual’ views on the pandemic. “Corona Doesn't Want to Kill You,” said Jaggi Vasudev, hailed as Sadhguru by his followers, many of whom are celebrities. Yoga teacher and businessman Ramdev was also a guest called by television news.

It is noteworthy that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had himself defied the national lockdown on March 25 when he was the main participant in an elaborate ceremony conducted to move, and consecrate the idol of Ram to a new structure in Ayodhya. The idol will be housed here till the Ram Temple is constructed.

“The first phase of construction of the grand Ram temple was completed today... Moved the idol of 'Ramalala' in a temporary structure near Manas Bhawan," Yogi Adityanath had posted. Adding that he had also given an offering of Rs 11 Lakh as a contribution to the temple construction. 

Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan was first telecast in January 1987, and those who grew up in the 80s remember how it was almost like a religious event. As only some middle class houses had televisions, entire neighbourhoods would congregate and watch it almost like prayer services, and religious programmes are watched today. They would sit appropriately dressed, with the more traditional covering their heads respectfully, and watch the story of Ram as told in the Ramayana unfold on the screen. It is said the streets were empty on Sunday as everyone was home watching the latest episodes.

Over 30 years later, the streets are empty today as well, if you do not count the migrant workers still walking  hundreds of kilometers from cities across the country to return to their villages. You will also have to discount the thousands crowding around places where humanitarian volunteers and governments are distributing food and essentials to those facing starvation and penury. Most of all doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers, pharmacists, and delivery boys are probably too busy to watch any television at all.

Related:

TV serials and the rise of Hindutva

Using Corona pandemic as an excuse to don fresh Hindutva masks?

Ramayan, Mahabharat back on air, VHP suggests people chant "Jai Shri Ram" to combat Covid-19!

DoordarshanImage Courtesy: newslaundry.com

"I am watching ‘Ramayana’, are you?", asked Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javdekar in a tweet where looks happy and relaxed as he watches the television serial he relaunched on Saturday, March 28. The minister posted this blissed out photo of him in his posh living room, to show his followers, and his bosses, that he had delivered on his promise re-telecasting the television serial over 30 years after it debuted on national broadcaster Doordarshan, that was the only television channel available them. However, the tweets appears to have been subsequently deleted, possibly after receiving flak from tweeple.

 

Here is the picture that Javadekar had originally tweeted. 

Ramayan

The Doordarshan social media team followed up by reposting the minister's announcement on their own social media platforms.

The many exclamation marks and excitement from official handles soon encouraged many social media users to post photos of themselves watching the 1980s serial, made by Ramanand Sagar.  The serial had a cult following when it was first telecast, and the lead actors, Arun Govil, and Deepika Chilka, playing Ram and Sita, were even worshipped by fans and devotees when they made public appearances. Now as the nation observes the 21-day lockdown in an attempt to flatten the Covid-19 contamination curve, television viewership, and internet usage has seen a surge. Of course those who have televisions and also have smart phone and quickly ensured #Ramayana was the  top social media trend in India, where the Covid-19 transmission cycle has been progressing. DD National will now telecast the serial for two hours twice a day: 9-10am, and 9-10pm. The Minister tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and other official handles when he made the crucial announcement of this telecast schedule.

But, Doordarshan didn't just stop at Ramayana. Determined to deliver a religious double whammy, it has also decided to telecast the Mahabharat!

Mahabharat will be telecast at 12 noon and 7 PM. 


Meanwhile the Deccan Herald reports that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, has also asked people to chant “Jai Shri Ram” to invoke divine powers to win the war against coronavirus. “We appeal to the entire country to invoke the intervention of divine powers in this difficult hour. For only half an hour, each and every family should collectively remember their Ishta Daiva and chant on a Japa Mala (a string of 108+1 prayer beads)” the DH quotes the VHPs nationwide call to follow the rituals.

The VHP, other right-wing supremacist organisations, as well as Hindutva outfits have told people how this was a time to invoke the divine, chant mantras, ring bells, blow conch shells to generate ‘cosmic’ vibrations’ that will kill disease causing elements and ‘negative energies’. Some like Chakrapani Maharaj led by example and hosted ‘gaumutra’ drinking ‘parties’ to tell followers that cow urine and cow dung had magical powers that provide divine vaccination against the new Coronavirus. 

Such Hindutva calls were also endorsed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members including a legislator from Assam, Suman Haripriya who was convinced that cow urine and dung could treat COVID-19. She was mocked online, but it is not known if the political party took any action against her. 

Television news channels did their bit by inviting religious leaders and gurus to come and share their ‘spiritual’ views on the pandemic. “Corona Doesn't Want to Kill You,” said Jaggi Vasudev, hailed as Sadhguru by his followers, many of whom are celebrities. Yoga teacher and businessman Ramdev was also a guest called by television news.

It is noteworthy that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had himself defied the national lockdown on March 25 when he was the main participant in an elaborate ceremony conducted to move, and consecrate the idol of Ram to a new structure in Ayodhya. The idol will be housed here till the Ram Temple is constructed.

“The first phase of construction of the grand Ram temple was completed today... Moved the idol of 'Ramalala' in a temporary structure near Manas Bhawan," Yogi Adityanath had posted. Adding that he had also given an offering of Rs 11 Lakh as a contribution to the temple construction. 

Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan was first telecast in January 1987, and those who grew up in the 80s remember how it was almost like a religious event. As only some middle class houses had televisions, entire neighbourhoods would congregate and watch it almost like prayer services, and religious programmes are watched today. They would sit appropriately dressed, with the more traditional covering their heads respectfully, and watch the story of Ram as told in the Ramayana unfold on the screen. It is said the streets were empty on Sunday as everyone was home watching the latest episodes.

Over 30 years later, the streets are empty today as well, if you do not count the migrant workers still walking  hundreds of kilometers from cities across the country to return to their villages. You will also have to discount the thousands crowding around places where humanitarian volunteers and governments are distributing food and essentials to those facing starvation and penury. Most of all doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers, pharmacists, and delivery boys are probably too busy to watch any television at all.

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Sabrang

Hindutva: Myths and reality

This essay is in response to demand from friends across the globe to make available a concise primer on the toxic ideology of Hindutva based on its own archives for ready reference.

28 Feb 2020

 

Hindutva

The term Hindutva took birth with the appearance of VD Savarkar's book titled Hindutva in 1923. Savarkar’s Hindutva was declared to be the Holy Book of Hindu Sangathan or organization. M. S. Golwalkar, who headed the RSS after K. B. Hedgewar, too regarded Savarkar’s Hindutva as a great scientific book which fulfilled the need of a text-book on Hindu nationalism.[1] According to a biography of founder of RSS, Hedgewar published by the RSS, “Savarkar’s inspiring and brilliant exposition of the concept of Hindutva marked by incontestable logic and clarity, struck the cord of Doctorji’s [Hedgewar’s] heart”.[2]

Despite such statements glorifying Hindutva as priceless contribution in defence of Hindu nationalism, the contents of the book did not attract many Hindu leaders and remained beyond the comprehension of common Hindus. In fact, even the title of the book seemed to have been an afterthought. A perusal of the original edition (1923) will show that the booklet was printed with the title Hinduism but subsequently a separate piece of paper on which Hindutva was printed was pasted on the title page of the book. Since the term remained alien even to the Savarkarites, by the 4th edition Hindutva as title was dropped and it was published under a new title Who Is A Hindu? In 1963 Maharashtra Provincial Hindusabha published it as part of Savarkar’s collected works with the title Essentials of Hindutva. Another notable fact about this book was that it was published under the pen name ‘A Maratha’ signifying a regional identity of the author whereas book stressed only the Hindu identity of the country and its inhabitants.

Savarkar admitted at the outset that the ‘term Hindutva defies all attempts at analysis’.[3] He began by trying to make a clear-cut distinction between his theory of Hindutva and religion Hinduism. But few pages later it became clear that Hindutva was nothing else but political Hinduism. According to his definition a Hindu

"is he who looks upon the land that extends from Sindhu to Sindhu, from the Indus to the Seas, as the land of his forefathers—his pitribhu, who inherits the blood of that race whose first discernible source could be traced to the Vedic Saptasindhs [seven holy rivers] and which on its onward march, assimilating much that was incorporated and ennobling much that was assimilated, has come to be known as the Hindu people, who has inherited and claims as his own the culture of that race as expressed chiefly in their common classical language Sanskrit and represented by a common history, a common literature, art and architecture, law and jurisprudence, rites and rituals, ceremonies and sacraments, fairs and festivals…These are the essentials of Hindutva—a common rashtra [nation] a common Jati [race] and a common Sanskriti [culture, though in latter editions it is translated as civilization].[4]

 

According to Savarkar, these were the Hindus with Aryan blood who established the Hindu nation the day

"when the Horse of Victory returned to Ayodhya unchallenged and unchallengeable, the great white Umbrella of Sovereignty was unfurled over that, Imperial throne of Ramchandra the brave, Ramchandra the good, and a loving allegiance to him was sworn, not only by the Princes of the Aryan blood but Hanuman—Sugriva—Bibhishana from the south— that day was the real birth-day of our Hindu people."[5]

 

Savarkar’s book Hindutva was haphazard, confused, incoherent, monotonous, contradictory and repetitive in comparison to other works of Savarkar. In fact, in Hindutva, propagated as the primer of the Hindu nationalism less than one quarter of the space was devoted to the theme. Major parts of the book contained repetitive discussions over the origin of nomenclature like Hindu/Hindusthan, folk literature, evils in Buddhism, how Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists were Hindus and description of perpetually continuously raging conflicts between Vedic and  non-Vedic sects in Hinduism.

The concept of Hindu Nation as elaborated in Hindutva remained a fringe thought despite the fact that Savarkar while presiding over the 19th session of Hindu Mahasabha at Ahmedabad in December 1937 declared it to be the goal of Hindu Mahasabha, there were not many takers for the book. The dismal reach of the book can be gauged by the fact that after the publication of its first edition in 1923, the second edition could appear only in 1942. With the last edition appearing in 2003, only seven editions of the book came out in more than eight decades.

However, with the ascendency of the RSS-BJP in the Indian parliamentary politics in late 1990s idolizing of Savarkar began. While renaming the Port Blair airport after V. D. Savarkar on May 4, 2002, the then Home Minister L. K. Advani declared that “Hindutva propounded by Savarkar was an all-encompassing ideology with its roots in the country’s heritage”. The glorification of the prophet of Hindutva did not stop there. On February 26, 2003, a portrait of Savarkar was unveiled at Parliament. Savarkar thus came to share the eminence accorded to Gandhi and other prominent leaders of the freedom struggle in the Central Hall of Parliament. However, we need to have a convincing answer to the question that if Savarkar with his eternal love for the two-nation theory and his conscious aloofness from the Indian freedom struggle can be glorified as an Indian nationalist and patriot, then who can stop Mohammed Ali Jinnah from claiming this status?

The present RSS-BJP rulers led by PM Modi keep on declaring publically that they are committed to usher India into a Savarkarite model of Hindu nation. We will evaluate the claims made on behalf of flag-bearers of Hindutva in the following. 

 

Myth 1: Hindutva (Hinduness) and Hindu nation are primordial/Sanatan/eternal

MS Golwalkar, echoing this popular claim amongst the Hindu nationalists said:

Long before the West had learnt to eat roast meat instead of raw! And we were one Nation--Over all the land from sea to sea one kingdom!"[6]

Reality:

Ancient Hindu scriptures like Vedas, Purans, Upanishads do not mention these terms. Moreover, many great Indian thinkers, most of them being Hindus, too, dismissed the idea of antiquity of the Hindu nation

Vivekananda:

"This word 'Hindu' was the name that the ancient Persians used to apply to the river Sindhu. Whenever in Sanskrit there is an 's', in ancient Persian it changes into 'h', so that 'Sindhu' became 'Hindu'…for all the people that live on this side of the Indus no longer belong to one religion."[7]  

Rabindranath Tagore, Bipin Chandra Pal and RC Majumdar who was regarded as a true ''Bhartiye' historian by the Hindutva fraternity all agreed that the word nation did not occur in 'our' language and one and half century back 'our' ancestors were not familiar with this term.

Dr. BR Ambedkar who closely witnessed the twilight days of the British rule in India and played a great role in the formation of polity of an independent Indian nation, was also a non-believer in the antiquity of the Indian nation. According to him, "The Hindu provinces have no common traditions and no interests to bind them."[8]

It is a modern construct: In fact, Bankim Chandra Chatteerjee in his Bengali work, Anandmath (1881-82) created the idea of MOTHER INDIA. The concept of Hindu nation was propounded by Bengali high Caste intellectuals in the aftermath of the failure of 1857 Rebellion.[9]

 

Myth 2: Hindutva unites Hindus

Reality:

(a) Hindutva being synonymous with Casteism decrees a Hindu society where inequality would be the law of nature. 

Casteism was a natural integral part of Hinduism. In fact, Golwalkar went to the extent of declaring that Casteism was synonymous with the Hindu nation. According to him, the Hindu people are none else but

“The Virat Purusha, the Almighty manifesting himself… Brahmin is the head, Kshatriya the hands, Vaishya the thighs and Shudra the feet. This means that the people who have this fourfold arrangement, i.e., the Hindu People, is [sic] our God. This supreme vision of Godhead is the very core of our concept of ‘nation’ and has permeated our thinking and given rise to various unique concepts of our cultural heritage.”[10]

Golwalkar as an ideologue of Hindutva was also a bigoted Casteist. For him Varna system was the essence of Hindu society and nation. His sermon to the faculty and students of the School of Social Science of Gujarat University in 1960 in which he enlightened the audience with his cross-breeding theory for Kerala Hindus, he was unequivocal in defending the Varna system. He declared:

"Today we try to run down the Varna system through ignorance. But it was through this system that a great effort to control possessiveness could be made...In society some people are intellectuals, some are expert in production and earning of wealth and some have the capacity to labour. Our ancestors saw these four broad divisions in the society. The Varna system means nothing else but a proper co-ordination of these divisions and an enabling of the individual to serve the society to the best of his ability through a hereditary development of the functions for which he is best suited."[11] 

(b) Hindutva is nothing but justification of Untouchability

The RSS and its brother organizations who want to enforce a Hindutva rule in India hated the Constitution of India which was drafted under the guidance of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. The Constituent Assembly of India finalized the Constitution on November 26, 1949. RSS was very angry, 4 days later its English organ, Organizer in an editorial on November 30, 1949, complained:

“But in our constitution there is no mention of the unique constitutional development in ancient Bharat. Manu’s Laws were written long before Lycurgus of Sparta or Solon of Persia. To this day his laws as enunciated in the Manusmriti excite the admiration of the world and elicit spontaneous obedience and conformity. But to our constitutional pundits that means nothing.”

The originator of the idea Hindutva, Savarkar remained a great protagonist of Casteism and worshipper of Manusmriti throughout his life. The institutions of Casteism and Untouchability were the outcome of Manu’s thought about which Savarkar said the following:

“Manusmriti is that scripture which is most worshipable after Vedas for our Hindu Nation and which from ancient times has become the basis of our culture-customs, thought and practice…Even today the rules which are followed by crores of Hindus in their lives and practice are based on Manusmriti. Today Manusmriti is Hindu Law.”[12]

What kind of civilization the RSS and Hindutva camp want to build by enforcing the laws of Manu, can be known by having a glimpse of the laws prescribed by Manu for the lower castes/Untouchables and women. Some of these dehumanizing and degenerate laws, which are presented here, are self-explanatory. 

(c) Laws of Manu concerning Dalits/Untouchables[13]

1.    For the sake of the prosperity of the worlds (the divine one) caused the Brahmana, the Kshatriya, the Vaisya, and the Sudra to proceed from his mouth, his arm, his thighs and his feet. (I/31)

2.    One occupation only the lord prescribed to the Sudras, to serve meekly even these (other) three castes. (I/91)

3.    Once-born man (a Sudra), who insults a twice-born man with gross invective, shall have his tongue cut out; for he is of low origin. (VIII/270)

4.    If he mentions the names and castes (jati) of the (twice-born) with contumely, an iron nail, ten fingers long, shall be thrust red-hot into his mouth. (VIII/271) 

5-    If he arrogantly teaches Brahmanas their duty, the king shall cause hot oil to be poured into his mouth and into his ears. (VIII/272)

6.    With whatever limb a man of a low caste does hurt to (a man of the three) highest (castes), even that limb shall be cut off; that is the teaching of Manu. (VIII/279)

7.    He who raises his hand or a stick, shall have his hand cut off; he who in anger kicks with his foot, shall have his foot cut off. (VIII/280)

8.    A low-caste man who tries to place himself on the same seat with a man of a high caste, shall be branded on his hip and be banished, or (the king) shall cause his buttock to be gashed. (VIII/281)

As per the Manu Code if Sudras are to be given most stringent punishments for even petty violations/actions, the same Code of Manu is very lenient towards Brahmins. Shloka 380 in Chapter VIII bestowing profound love on Brahmins decrees:  

      “Let him never slay a Brahmana, though he have committed all (possible) crimes; let him banish such an (offender), leaving all his property (to him) and (his body) unhurt.”

(d) Laws of Manu concerning women

1.    Day and night woman must be kept in dependence by the males (of) their (families), and, if they attach themselves to sensual enjoyments, they must be kept under one’s control. (IX/2)

2.    Her father protects (her) in childhood, her husband protects (her) in youth, and her sons protect (her) in old age; a woman is never fit for independence. (IX/3)

3.    Women must particularly be guarded against evil inclinations, however trifling (they may appear); for, if they are not guarded, they will bring sorrow on two families. (IX/5)

4.    Considering that the highest duty of all castes, even weak husbands (must) strive to guard their wives. (IX/6)

5.    No man can completely guard women by force; but they can be guarded by the employment of the (following) expedients:

6.    Let the (husband) employ his (wife) in the collection and expenditure of his wealth, in keeping (everything) clean, in (the fulfilment of) religious duties, in the preparation of his food, and in looking after the household utensils.

7.    Women, confined in the house under trustworthy and obedient servants, are not (well) guarded; but those who of their own accord keep guard over themselves, are well guarded. (IX/12)

8.    Women do not care for beauty, nor is their attention fixed on age; (thinking), ‘(It is enough that) he is a man,’ they give themselves to the handsome and to the ugly. (IX/14)

9.    Through their passion for men, through their mutable temper, through their natural heartlessness, they become disloyal towards their husbands, however carefully they may be guarded in this (world). (IX/15)

10.  (When creating them) Manu allotted to women (a love of their) bed, (of their) seat and (of) ornament, impure desires, wrath, dishonesty, malice, and bad conduct. (IX/17)

11.  For women no (sacramental) rite (is performed) with sacred texts, thus the law is settled; women (who are) destitute of strength and destitute of (the knowledge of) Vedic texts, (are as impure as) falsehood (itself), that is a fixed rule. (IX/18)

The Code of Manu story is not a matter of bye-gone days. The RSS book stores stock and sale title like How to lead a Household Life by Swami Ramsukhdas which openly preach violence. This title is part of low-priced anti-woman literature published by Geeta Press. Here is a glimpse from this book which is in the question-answer form and available in English, Hindi and other regional Indian languages.[14]

“Question: - What should the wife do if her husband beats her and troubles her?

Answer: - The wife should think that she is paying her debt of her previous life and thus her sins are being destroyed and she is becoming pure. When her parents come to know this, they can take her to their own house because they have not given their daughter training to face this sort of bad behaviour.

Question: - What should she do if her parents don’t take her to their own house?

Answer: - Under such circumstances what can the helpless wife do? She should reap the fruit of her past actions. She should patiently bear the beatings of her husband. By bearing them she will be freed from her sins and it is possible that her husband may start loving her.”

There is blatant preaching in favour of the inhuman Sati as we will see in the following:

“Question: - Is ‘Sati Pratha’ (viz., the tradition of the wife being cremated with the dead body of the husband on the funeral pyre) proper or improper?

Answer: - A wife’s cremation with the dead body of her husband on the funeral pyre is not a tradition. She, in whose mind truth and enthusiasm come, burns even without fire and she does not suffer any pain while she burns. This is not a tradition that she should do so, but this is her truth, righteousness and faith in scriptural decorum.”

It is to be noted here that a copy of Manusmriti was burnt as a protest in the presence of Dr. BR Ambedkar during historic Mahad agitation on December 25, 1927. It was also decided that this day would be commemorated as 'Manusmriti dahan divas'; Manusmriti to be set on fire day, in future.

(e) According to the Hindutva South Indian Hindus belong to an inferior Race

The most prominent ideologue of RSS, Golwalkar was invited to address the students of the School of Social Science of Gujarat University on December 17, 1960. In this address, while underlying his firm belief in the Race Theory, he touched upon the issue of cross-breeding of human beings in the Indian society in history. He said:

"Now let us see the experiments our ancestors made in this sphere. In an effort to better the human species through cross-breeding the Namboodri Brahamanas of the North were settled in Kerala and a rule was laid down that the eldest son of a Namboodri family could marry only the daughter of Vaishya, Kashtriya or Shudra communities of Kerala. Another still more courageous rule was that the first off-spring of a married woman of any class must be fathered by a Namboodri Brahman and then she could beget children by her husband. Today this experiment will be called adultery but it was not so, as it was limited to the first child."[15]

 

The above statement of Golwalkar is highly worrying in many respects. Firstly, it proves that Golwalkar believed that Indian Hindus were divided into a superior Race or breed and also an inferior Race which needed to be improved through cross-breeding. Secondly, a more worrying aspect was his belief that Brahmans of the North (India) and specially Namboodri Brahamans, belonged to a superior Race. Due to this quality, Namboodri Brahamanas were sent from the North to Kerala to improve the breed of inferior Hindus there. Interestingly, this was being argued by a person who claimed to uphold the unity of Hindus world over. Thirdly, Golwalkar as a male chauvinist believed that a Namboodri Brahman male belonging to a superior Race from the North only could improve the inferior human Race from South. For him wombs of Kerala’s Hindu women enjoyed no sanctity and were simply objects of improving breed through intercourse with Namboodri Brahamanas who in no way were related to them. Thus, Golwalkar was, in fact, confirming the allegation that in the past male dominated high caste society forced newly-wedded women of other castes to pass their first nights by sleeping with superior caste males.

 

Myth 3: Hindutva ideology keeps India united

Reality:

(a) It is a toxic formula to undo democratic-secular India

Importantly, the RSS organ Organizer in its issue on the very eve of Independence, dated 14 August, 1947, rejected the whole concept of a composite nation (under the editorial title ‘Whither’):

“Let us no longer allow ourselves to be influenced by false notions of nationhood. Much of the mental confusion and the present and future troubles can be removed by the ready recognition of the simple fact that in Hindusthan only the Hindus form the nation and the national structure must be built on that safe and sound foundation…the nation itself must be built up of Hindus, on Hindu traditions, culture, ideas and aspirations”.

 

(b) Muslims and Christians not part of Hindu nation

According to the proponent of Hindutva, Savarkar, Muslims and Christians remained out of this nationhood because they did not assimilate into Hindu cultural heritage or adopt Hindu religion. Savarkar decreed:

"Christians and Mohamedan [sic] communities, who were but very recently Hindus…cannot be recognized as Hindus; as since their adoption of the new cult they had ceased to own Hindu Sanskriti [culture] as a whole. They belong, or feel that they belong, to a cultural unit altogether different from the Hindu one. Their heroes and their hero-worship, their fairs and their festivals, their ideals and their outlook on-life, have now ceased to be common with ours."[16]

 

Concurring with Savarkar's Hindutva definition of the Indian nation, Golwalkar declared:

"thus applying the modern understanding of ‘Nation’ to our present conditions, the conclusion is unquestionably forced upon us that in this country, Hindusthan, the Hindu Race with its Hindu Religion, Hindu Culture and Hindu Language (the natural family of Sanskrit and her off-springs) complete the Nation concept…"[17]

 

(c) Muslims and Christians as 'Internal Threat'

The holy book for the RSS cadres, Bunch of Thoughts, the compilation of the writings of MS Golwalkar, the ideologue of the RSS, has a long chapter titled, ‘Internal Threats’, in which the Muslims and Christians are described as threats number one and two respectively. The Communists get the honour of being ‘Internal Threat’ number three.

While treating the Muslims as hostile element number one, he goes on to elaborate,

"Even to this day there are so many who say, ‘Now there is no Muslim problem at all. All those riotous elements who supported Pakistan have gone away once for all. The remaining Muslims are devoted to our country. After all, they have no other place to go and they are bound to remain loyal'…It would be suicidal to delude ourselves into believing that they have turned patriots overnight after the creation of Pakistan. On the contrary, the Muslim menace has increased a hundredfold by the creation of Pakistan, which has become a springboard for all their future aggressive designs on our country."[18]

While deliberating on the ‘Internal Threat’ number two, he says,

"such is the role of the Christian gentlemen residing in our land today, out to demolish not only the religious and social fabric of our life but also to establish political domination in various pockets and if possible all over the land."[19]

 

So, led by this ideology of hatred, the RSS cadres are working overtime to exterminate minorities like Muslims and Christians. What dangerous direction democratic-secular India was taking under Modi rule was made clear within one year of RSS/BJP government's coming to power by none other than Julio Ribeiro. Julio Ribeiro a retired senior police officer, former Mumbai police commissioner, director general of police Gujarat and Punjab and former Indian ambassador to Romania in a signed piece on March 17, 2015 expressed his anguish in the following words:

"Today, in my 86th year, I feel threatened, not wanted, reduced to a stranger in my own country…I am not an Indian anymore, at least in the eyes of the proponents of the Hindu Rashtra. Is it coincidence or a well-thought-out plan that the systematic targeting of a small and peaceful community should begin only after the BJP government of Narendra Modi came to power last May? ‘Ghar wapsi’, the declaration of Christmas as ‘Good-Governance Day’, the attack on Christian churches and schools in Delhi, all added to a sense of siege that now afflicts these peaceful people…It is tragic that these extremists have been emboldened beyond permissible limits by an atmosphere of hate and distrust. The Christian population, a mere 2 per cent of the total populace, has been subjected to a series of well-directed body blows. If these extremists later turn their attention to Muslims, which seems to be their goal, they will invite consequences that this writer dreads to imagine."[20]


Myth 4: Hindutva believes in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam/world is one family

Reality:

Hindutva believes in cleansing of non-Aryans as done by Hitler and Mussolini

The RSS as flag-bearer of Hindu nationalism always believed in the superiority of the Aryan race like Hitler and the Nazis. Racism is the common tie, which binds them. Hindus happened to be Aryans belonging to the National race whereas Muslims and Christians were foreigners because they followed religions, which took birth in non-Aryan foreign lands. The RSS divided religions professed in India into two categories, Indian and foreign. Interestingly, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism were declared to be of the Indian variety but were not accorded the status of independent religions. These were simply treated as part of Hinduism. Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar (1906-1973), the most prominent ideologue of the RSS who came to head the organization after Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, naturally, inherited deep love for Fascism and Nazism from his seniors and stood for cleansing of the followers of religions which originated in foreign lands. He idealized the Nazi cultural nationalism of Hitler, which was nothing else but ‘ethnic cleansing’ of non-Aryans, in the following words which appeared in his book We or Our Nationhood Defined (1939); a book which became Geeta of the Hindutva politics:

To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races-the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan [sic] to learn and profit by.[21]

While outlining the constituent elements of the Hindu Nation Golwalkar raised a significant question,

“If, as is indisputably proved, Hindusthan, is the land of Hindus and is the terra firma for the Hindu nation alone to flourish upon, what is to be the fate of all those, who, today, happen to live upon the land, though not belonging to the Hindu Race, Religion or culture?”[22]

He answered to his own query in the following words:

“can have no place in the national life, unless they abandon their differences, adopt the religion, culture and language of the Nation and completely merge themselves in the National Race.”[23]

Golwalkar unhesitatingly glorified the Aryan Race theory propagated by Hitler and Mussolini and subsequent cleansing of non-Aryans or minorities. According to him both Muslims and Christians who were 'foreign elements',

 "There are only two courses open to the foreign elements, either to merge themselves in the national race and adopt its culture, or to live at its mercy so long as the national race may allow them to do so and to quit the country at the sweet will of the national race. That is the only sound view on the minorities [sic] problem.”[24]

 

Golwalkar as the most important ideologue of the RSS and Hindutva brand of politics forcefully argued for adopting the models of Hitler and Mussolini for getting rid of minorities from Hindu nation in the following words:

"the foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e., of the Hindu nation and must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment, not  even citizen’s rights."[25]

 

Myth 5: Hindutva organizations are loyal to India

Reality: Bharat Mata of Hindutva gang is not our democratic-secular India

 

(a) Against Secularism

The RSS demands total loyalty to the Indian Nation from minorities. It is another thing that it does not feel it proper to be loyal to the constitutional-legal set up of this very Nation. The study of Prarthana (prayer) and Pratigya (oath) as practiced in the shakhas of the RSS is an example of how the Indian nationalism has been equated with Hinduism, in the same way as the Muslim League had combined Islam with nationality. Significantly, both Prarthana and Pratigya are in direct contravention to the existence of an Indian Secular State which is an important ‘Basic’ feature of the Constitution of India. Just imagine PM Modi and most of his ruler colleagues who took oath to uphold the integrity of a democratic and secular India were also committed to the task of creating a Hindu Rashtra as per the texts of the Prayer and Oath as essential for the RSS cadres.

 

(b) RSS Prayer:

"Affectionate Motherland, I eternally bow to you/O Land of Hindus, you have reared me in comfort/O Sacred Land, the Great Creator of Good, may this body of mine be dedicated to you/I again and again bow before You/O God almighty, we the integral part of the Hindu Rashtra salute you in reverence/For Your cause have we girded up our loins/Give us Your Blessings for its accomplishment."[26]

 

(c) RSS Oath:

"Before the all powerful God and my ancestors, I most solemnly take this oath, that I become a member of the RSS in order to achieve all round greatness of Bharatvarsha by fostering the growth of my sacred Hindu religion, Hindu society, and Hindu culture. I shall perform the work of the Sangh honestly, disinterestedly, with my heart and soul, and I shall adhere to this goal all my life. Bharat Mata Ki Jai."[27]

Thus they were not faithful to the Indian Nation as it existed as a legal entity but wanted to subvert it into a theocratic state like Muslim League which created Pakistan in the name of Islam.

 

(d) Against Democracy

The RSS contrary to the principles of democracy has been constantly demanding India to be ruled under a totalitarian regime. Golwalkar while delivering a speech before the 1350 top level cadres of the RSS in 1940 declared,

"RSS inspired by one flag, one leader and one ideology is lighting the flame of Hindutva in each and every corner of this great land."[28]

This slogan of one flag, one leader and one ideology has directly been borrowed from the programmes of Nazi and Fascist parties of Europe.

 

(e) Denigration of the Tricolour; our national flag

The Tri-colour is our National Flag which represents a Democratic-Secular India. Shockingly, just on the eve of independence when Indian Constituent Assembly adopted Tricolour as its National Flag, the English organ of the RSS, Organiser, in its issue dated August 14, 1947, denigrated this choice in the following words:

"The people who have come to power by the kick of fate may give in our hands the Tricolour but it will never be respected and owned by Hindus. The word three is in itself an evil, and a flag having three colours will certainly produce a very bad psychological effect and is injurious to a country."­

The RSS and its Hindutva gang denigrate the National Flag in such foul language but want to pose as custodian of Indian Nation often threatening minorities for being disloyal to the Tricolour.

The bitter reality is that Hindutva is nothing but an ideology which stands for totalitarianism, Casteism and injustice. We must remember the following prophetic words of Dr Ambedkar about the critical danger which Hindutva politics poses to our country. According to him:

“If Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will no doubt, be the greatest calamity for this country…It is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. On that account it is incompatible with democracy. Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost.”[29]

What is the way out?

The way out was suggested by one of the greatest martyrs for the cause of secularism and multi-culturalism in the Indian sub-continent, a dear friend, Dr John Joseph, Bishop of Faisalabad (Jhang, Pakistan). Six days before he sacrificed his life at the altar of bigotry being indulged in the name of Islam in Pakistan, Dr John Joseph wrote an open letter to his friends, world over. He shot himself to death on May 6, 1998, while leading a protest march against Blasphemy Laws in the Sahiwal (Montgomery) town of Pakistan. His letter titled, “The challenge of religious fundamentalism and violence to social harmony” was a well-researched paper on religious sectarianism in Pakistan and how to confront it.[30] With India turning to the Hindutva route under Modi, the issues which he raised in it are of significance not only for Pakistan, but also for India.

According to him, the main characteristics of religious fundamentalism are; rejection of rationality, human co-existence, and the absolute belief that only one particular religious sect or group is on the divine path. The Bishop also finds that the fundamentalists have an unending supply of cadres because they control school education. He described the majoritarian religious bigots as "ruthless violent power mongers".  In his letter, the Bishop highlighted the fact that the

“first victims of the fundamentalist parties are the religious minorities. They direct their full wrath on these minorities and depict them as dangerous to society and country. The second victims are women. They believe women are inferior to men, root of evil, weak and stupid. The third victims are those people who have secular, liberal and enlightened outlook, specially the intellectuals and human rights activists.”

As if talking about the present India he wrote:

“Under the fundamentalist influence publication of religious books increases and secular literature rapidly decreases. It also greatly affects music, painting, sculpture, and dancing, and also as a whole, the society loses its glamour, and violence and dullness reign supreme.”

Bishop Joseph's letter is important in another sense. He did not believe in responding to communal challenge in the same sectarian way but also warned that we should not

"close our eyes and think that the blood thirsty cult of religious violence will go away by itself. No, each one of us has to get involved and play our role…"

He concluded his letter with the following words:

“At the end, I appeal to all my brothers and sisters in the name of Christ, please let us leave our places and position of safety and comfort and go to the people. I shall count myself extremely fortunate, if in this mission of breaking the barriers, our Lord accepts the sacrifice of my blood for the benefit of His people. This is the only effective response to the ever growing phenomena of violence around us. Are we ready to take up this challenge and follow Him carrying the Cross on our own shoulders?”

The wisdom of Bishop John Joseph and story of his sacrifice hold great significance for us in India where despite a democratic-secular polity India the Hindutva juggernaut is running amok. We must learn about the phenomena of Hindutva in depth as has been attempted in this paper, and respond by fighting for saving the Preamble of our Constitution. In this scenario, Bishop Joseph does not become martyr of the cause of secularism in Pakistan alone, but of the entire Indian sub-continent. Moreover, his analysis of the majoritarian religious bigotry and suggestions for confronting it remain fundamental to our fight against Hindutva fascism too.

 


[1] Dhananjay Keer, Veer Savarkar, Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1988, p. 527.

[2] H. V. Seshadri, Dr. Hedgewar: The Epoch-Maker, Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore, 1981, p. 65.

[3] A. Maratha [V. D. Savarkar], Hindutva, V. V. Kelkar, Nagpur, 1923, p. 3.

[4] A. Maratha [V. D. Savarkar], Hindutva, V. V. Kelkar, Nagpur, 1923, pp. 102-103.

[5] . Maratha [V. D. Savarkar], Hindutva, V. V. Kelkar, Nagpur, 1923, p. 11.

[6] MS Golwalkar, We Or Our Nationhood Defined, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, p. 9.

[7] Vivekananda, The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, vol. 3, Advait Ashram, Calcutta, 1997, p. 228.]

[8] B. R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or the Partition of India (Bombay: Government of Maharashtra, 1990), 13. Reprint of the 1940 edition of the same book published by Thackers, Bombay.]
[9] For detailed study of the origin and development of the two-nation theory look at the following link: http://southasiajournal.net/guilty-men-of-the-two-nation-theory-a-hindu-nationalist-project-borrowed-by-jinnah/
[10] MS Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore, 1996, pp. 36-37.]

[11] M. S. Golwalkar cited in Organizer, January 2, 1961, pp. 5 & 16.

[12] VD Savarkar, ‘Women in Manusmriti’ in Savarkar Samagar (collection of Savarkar’s writings in Hindi) volume IV, Prabhat, Delhi, 2000, p. 416.

[13] This selection of Manu’s Codes is from F. Max Muller, Laws of Manu (Delhi: LP Publications, 1996; first published in 1886). The bracket after each code incorporates number of chapter/number of code according to the above edition.

[14] Swami Ramsukhdas, How To Lead A Household Life, Gita Press, Gorakhpur, 1999, p.43. (Gita Press has more than 15 titles denigrating women in many Indian languages including English. Some of the titles openly preach Sati and violence against women which are serious crimes under the Indian Penal Code.]

[15] M. S. Golwalkar cited in Organizer, January 2, 1961, p. 5.

[16] A Maratha [V. D. Savarkar], Hindutva, VV Kelkar, Nagpur, 1923, p. 88.

[17] MS Golwalkar, We Or Our Nationhood Defined, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, p. 43.

[18] Bunch of Thoughts, pp. 177-178.

[19] Bunch of Thoughts, p. 193.

[20] Julio Ribeiro, 'As a Christian, suddenly I am a stranger in my own country', 17 March, 2015, The Indian Express, Delhi.

[21] MS Golwalkar, We Or Our Nationhood Defined, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, pp. 34-35.

[22] MS Golwalkar, We Or Our Nationhood Defined, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, p. 45.

[23] MS Golwalkar, We Or Our Nationhood Defined, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, p. 45.

[24] MS Golwalkar, We Or Our Nationhood Defined, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, p. 47.

[25] MS Golwalkar, We Or Our Nationhood Defined, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, pp. 47-48.

[26] Shakha Darshikha, Gyan Ganga, Jaipur, 1997, p. 1

[27] Shakha Darshikha, Gyan Ganga, Jaipur, 1997, p. 66.

[28] MS Golwalkar, Shri Guruji Samagar Darshan (collected works of Golwalkar in Hindi), Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, nd., vol. I, p. 11.

[29] B. R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or the Partition of India, Government of Maharashtra, Bombay, 1990 (reprint of 1940 edition), p. 358.

[30] https://www.academia.edu/3617933/The_Threat_of_Bigotry_in_South_Asia_by_Shamsul_Islam

 

 

 

 

Hindutva: Myths and reality

This essay is in response to demand from friends across the globe to make available a concise primer on the toxic ideology of Hindutva based on its own archives for ready reference.

 

Hindutva

The term Hindutva took birth with the appearance of VD Savarkar's book titled Hindutva in 1923. Savarkar’s Hindutva was declared to be the Holy Book of Hindu Sangathan or organization. M. S. Golwalkar, who headed the RSS after K. B. Hedgewar, too regarded Savarkar’s Hindutva as a great scientific book which fulfilled the need of a text-book on Hindu nationalism.[1] According to a biography of founder of RSS, Hedgewar published by the RSS, “Savarkar’s inspiring and brilliant exposition of the concept of Hindutva marked by incontestable logic and clarity, struck the cord of Doctorji’s [Hedgewar’s] heart”.[2]

Despite such statements glorifying Hindutva as priceless contribution in defence of Hindu nationalism, the contents of the book did not attract many Hindu leaders and remained beyond the comprehension of common Hindus. In fact, even the title of the book seemed to have been an afterthought. A perusal of the original edition (1923) will show that the booklet was printed with the title Hinduism but subsequently a separate piece of paper on which Hindutva was printed was pasted on the title page of the book. Since the term remained alien even to the Savarkarites, by the 4th edition Hindutva as title was dropped and it was published under a new title Who Is A Hindu? In 1963 Maharashtra Provincial Hindusabha published it as part of Savarkar’s collected works with the title Essentials of Hindutva. Another notable fact about this book was that it was published under the pen name ‘A Maratha’ signifying a regional identity of the author whereas book stressed only the Hindu identity of the country and its inhabitants.

Savarkar admitted at the outset that the ‘term Hindutva defies all attempts at analysis’.[3] He began by trying to make a clear-cut distinction between his theory of Hindutva and religion Hinduism. But few pages later it became clear that Hindutva was nothing else but political Hinduism. According to his definition a Hindu

"is he who looks upon the land that extends from Sindhu to Sindhu, from the Indus to the Seas, as the land of his forefathers—his pitribhu, who inherits the blood of that race whose first discernible source could be traced to the Vedic Saptasindhs [seven holy rivers] and which on its onward march, assimilating much that was incorporated and ennobling much that was assimilated, has come to be known as the Hindu people, who has inherited and claims as his own the culture of that race as expressed chiefly in their common classical language Sanskrit and represented by a common history, a common literature, art and architecture, law and jurisprudence, rites and rituals, ceremonies and sacraments, fairs and festivals…These are the essentials of Hindutva—a common rashtra [nation] a common Jati [race] and a common Sanskriti [culture, though in latter editions it is translated as civilization].[4]

 

According to Savarkar, these were the Hindus with Aryan blood who established the Hindu nation the day

"when the Horse of Victory returned to Ayodhya unchallenged and unchallengeable, the great white Umbrella of Sovereignty was unfurled over that, Imperial throne of Ramchandra the brave, Ramchandra the good, and a loving allegiance to him was sworn, not only by the Princes of the Aryan blood but Hanuman—Sugriva—Bibhishana from the south— that day was the real birth-day of our Hindu people."[5]

 

Savarkar’s book Hindutva was haphazard, confused, incoherent, monotonous, contradictory and repetitive in comparison to other works of Savarkar. In fact, in Hindutva, propagated as the primer of the Hindu nationalism less than one quarter of the space was devoted to the theme. Major parts of the book contained repetitive discussions over the origin of nomenclature like Hindu/Hindusthan, folk literature, evils in Buddhism, how Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists were Hindus and description of perpetually continuously raging conflicts between Vedic and  non-Vedic sects in Hinduism.

The concept of Hindu Nation as elaborated in Hindutva remained a fringe thought despite the fact that Savarkar while presiding over the 19th session of Hindu Mahasabha at Ahmedabad in December 1937 declared it to be the goal of Hindu Mahasabha, there were not many takers for the book. The dismal reach of the book can be gauged by the fact that after the publication of its first edition in 1923, the second edition could appear only in 1942. With the last edition appearing in 2003, only seven editions of the book came out in more than eight decades.

However, with the ascendency of the RSS-BJP in the Indian parliamentary politics in late 1990s idolizing of Savarkar began. While renaming the Port Blair airport after V. D. Savarkar on May 4, 2002, the then Home Minister L. K. Advani declared that “Hindutva propounded by Savarkar was an all-encompassing ideology with its roots in the country’s heritage”. The glorification of the prophet of Hindutva did not stop there. On February 26, 2003, a portrait of Savarkar was unveiled at Parliament. Savarkar thus came to share the eminence accorded to Gandhi and other prominent leaders of the freedom struggle in the Central Hall of Parliament. However, we need to have a convincing answer to the question that if Savarkar with his eternal love for the two-nation theory and his conscious aloofness from the Indian freedom struggle can be glorified as an Indian nationalist and patriot, then who can stop Mohammed Ali Jinnah from claiming this status?

The present RSS-BJP rulers led by PM Modi keep on declaring publically that they are committed to usher India into a Savarkarite model of Hindu nation. We will evaluate the claims made on behalf of flag-bearers of Hindutva in the following. 

 

Myth 1: Hindutva (Hinduness) and Hindu nation are primordial/Sanatan/eternal

MS Golwalkar, echoing this popular claim amongst the Hindu nationalists said:

Long before the West had learnt to eat roast meat instead of raw! And we were one Nation--Over all the land from sea to sea one kingdom!"[6]

Reality:

Ancient Hindu scriptures like Vedas, Purans, Upanishads do not mention these terms. Moreover, many great Indian thinkers, most of them being Hindus, too, dismissed the idea of antiquity of the Hindu nation

Vivekananda:

"This word 'Hindu' was the name that the ancient Persians used to apply to the river Sindhu. Whenever in Sanskrit there is an 's', in ancient Persian it changes into 'h', so that 'Sindhu' became 'Hindu'…for all the people that live on this side of the Indus no longer belong to one religion."[7]  

Rabindranath Tagore, Bipin Chandra Pal and RC Majumdar who was regarded as a true ''Bhartiye' historian by the Hindutva fraternity all agreed that the word nation did not occur in 'our' language and one and half century back 'our' ancestors were not familiar with this term.

Dr. BR Ambedkar who closely witnessed the twilight days of the British rule in India and played a great role in the formation of polity of an independent Indian nation, was also a non-believer in the antiquity of the Indian nation. According to him, "The Hindu provinces have no common traditions and no interests to bind them."[8]

It is a modern construct: In fact, Bankim Chandra Chatteerjee in his Bengali work, Anandmath (1881-82) created the idea of MOTHER INDIA. The concept of Hindu nation was propounded by Bengali high Caste intellectuals in the aftermath of the failure of 1857 Rebellion.[9]

 

Myth 2: Hindutva unites Hindus

Reality:

(a) Hindutva being synonymous with Casteism decrees a Hindu society where inequality would be the law of nature. 

Casteism was a natural integral part of Hinduism. In fact, Golwalkar went to the extent of declaring that Casteism was synonymous with the Hindu nation. According to him, the Hindu people are none else but

“The Virat Purusha, the Almighty manifesting himself… Brahmin is the head, Kshatriya the hands, Vaishya the thighs and Shudra the feet. This means that the people who have this fourfold arrangement, i.e., the Hindu People, is [sic] our God. This supreme vision of Godhead is the very core of our concept of ‘nation’ and has permeated our thinking and given rise to various unique concepts of our cultural heritage.”[10]

Golwalkar as an ideologue of Hindutva was also a bigoted Casteist. For him Varna system was the essence of Hindu society and nation. His sermon to the faculty and students of the School of Social Science of Gujarat University in 1960 in which he enlightened the audience with his cross-breeding theory for Kerala Hindus, he was unequivocal in defending the Varna system. He declared:

"Today we try to run down the Varna system through ignorance. But it was through this system that a great effort to control possessiveness could be made...In society some people are intellectuals, some are expert in production and earning of wealth and some have the capacity to labour. Our ancestors saw these four broad divisions in the society. The Varna system means nothing else but a proper co-ordination of these divisions and an enabling of the individual to serve the society to the best of his ability through a hereditary development of the functions for which he is best suited."[11] 

(b) Hindutva is nothing but justification of Untouchability

The RSS and its brother organizations who want to enforce a Hindutva rule in India hated the Constitution of India which was drafted under the guidance of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. The Constituent Assembly of India finalized the Constitution on November 26, 1949. RSS was very angry, 4 days later its English organ, Organizer in an editorial on November 30, 1949, complained:

“But in our constitution there is no mention of the unique constitutional development in ancient Bharat. Manu’s Laws were written long before Lycurgus of Sparta or Solon of Persia. To this day his laws as enunciated in the Manusmriti excite the admiration of the world and elicit spontaneous obedience and conformity. But to our constitutional pundits that means nothing.”

The originator of the idea Hindutva, Savarkar remained a great protagonist of Casteism and worshipper of Manusmriti throughout his life. The institutions of Casteism and Untouchability were the outcome of Manu’s thought about which Savarkar said the following:

“Manusmriti is that scripture which is most worshipable after Vedas for our Hindu Nation and which from ancient times has become the basis of our culture-customs, thought and practice…Even today the rules which are followed by crores of Hindus in their lives and practice are based on Manusmriti. Today Manusmriti is Hindu Law.”[12]

What kind of civilization the RSS and Hindutva camp want to build by enforcing the laws of Manu, can be known by having a glimpse of the laws prescribed by Manu for the lower castes/Untouchables and women. Some of these dehumanizing and degenerate laws, which are presented here, are self-explanatory. 

(c) Laws of Manu concerning Dalits/Untouchables[13]

1.    For the sake of the prosperity of the worlds (the divine one) caused the Brahmana, the Kshatriya, the Vaisya, and the Sudra to proceed from his mouth, his arm, his thighs and his feet. (I/31)

2.    One occupation only the lord prescribed to the Sudras, to serve meekly even these (other) three castes. (I/91)

3.    Once-born man (a Sudra), who insults a twice-born man with gross invective, shall have his tongue cut out; for he is of low origin. (VIII/270)

4.    If he mentions the names and castes (jati) of the (twice-born) with contumely, an iron nail, ten fingers long, shall be thrust red-hot into his mouth. (VIII/271) 

5-    If he arrogantly teaches Brahmanas their duty, the king shall cause hot oil to be poured into his mouth and into his ears. (VIII/272)

6.    With whatever limb a man of a low caste does hurt to (a man of the three) highest (castes), even that limb shall be cut off; that is the teaching of Manu. (VIII/279)

7.    He who raises his hand or a stick, shall have his hand cut off; he who in anger kicks with his foot, shall have his foot cut off. (VIII/280)

8.    A low-caste man who tries to place himself on the same seat with a man of a high caste, shall be branded on his hip and be banished, or (the king) shall cause his buttock to be gashed. (VIII/281)

As per the Manu Code if Sudras are to be given most stringent punishments for even petty violations/actions, the same Code of Manu is very lenient towards Brahmins. Shloka 380 in Chapter VIII bestowing profound love on Brahmins decrees:  

      “Let him never slay a Brahmana, though he have committed all (possible) crimes; let him banish such an (offender), leaving all his property (to him) and (his body) unhurt.”

(d) Laws of Manu concerning women

1.    Day and night woman must be kept in dependence by the males (of) their (families), and, if they attach themselves to sensual enjoyments, they must be kept under one’s control. (IX/2)

2.    Her father protects (her) in childhood, her husband protects (her) in youth, and her sons protect (her) in old age; a woman is never fit for independence. (IX/3)

3.    Women must particularly be guarded against evil inclinations, however trifling (they may appear); for, if they are not guarded, they will bring sorrow on two families. (IX/5)

4.    Considering that the highest duty of all castes, even weak husbands (must) strive to guard their wives. (IX/6)

5.    No man can completely guard women by force; but they can be guarded by the employment of the (following) expedients:

6.    Let the (husband) employ his (wife) in the collection and expenditure of his wealth, in keeping (everything) clean, in (the fulfilment of) religious duties, in the preparation of his food, and in looking after the household utensils.

7.    Women, confined in the house under trustworthy and obedient servants, are not (well) guarded; but those who of their own accord keep guard over themselves, are well guarded. (IX/12)

8.    Women do not care for beauty, nor is their attention fixed on age; (thinking), ‘(It is enough that) he is a man,’ they give themselves to the handsome and to the ugly. (IX/14)

9.    Through their passion for men, through their mutable temper, through their natural heartlessness, they become disloyal towards their husbands, however carefully they may be guarded in this (world). (IX/15)

10.  (When creating them) Manu allotted to women (a love of their) bed, (of their) seat and (of) ornament, impure desires, wrath, dishonesty, malice, and bad conduct. (IX/17)

11.  For women no (sacramental) rite (is performed) with sacred texts, thus the law is settled; women (who are) destitute of strength and destitute of (the knowledge of) Vedic texts, (are as impure as) falsehood (itself), that is a fixed rule. (IX/18)

The Code of Manu story is not a matter of bye-gone days. The RSS book stores stock and sale title like How to lead a Household Life by Swami Ramsukhdas which openly preach violence. This title is part of low-priced anti-woman literature published by Geeta Press. Here is a glimpse from this book which is in the question-answer form and available in English, Hindi and other regional Indian languages.[14]

“Question: - What should the wife do if her husband beats her and troubles her?

Answer: - The wife should think that she is paying her debt of her previous life and thus her sins are being destroyed and she is becoming pure. When her parents come to know this, they can take her to their own house because they have not given their daughter training to face this sort of bad behaviour.

Question: - What should she do if her parents don’t take her to their own house?

Answer: - Under such circumstances what can the helpless wife do? She should reap the fruit of her past actions. She should patiently bear the beatings of her husband. By bearing them she will be freed from her sins and it is possible that her husband may start loving her.”

There is blatant preaching in favour of the inhuman Sati as we will see in the following:

“Question: - Is ‘Sati Pratha’ (viz., the tradition of the wife being cremated with the dead body of the husband on the funeral pyre) proper or improper?

Answer: - A wife’s cremation with the dead body of her husband on the funeral pyre is not a tradition. She, in whose mind truth and enthusiasm come, burns even without fire and she does not suffer any pain while she burns. This is not a tradition that she should do so, but this is her truth, righteousness and faith in scriptural decorum.”

It is to be noted here that a copy of Manusmriti was burnt as a protest in the presence of Dr. BR Ambedkar during historic Mahad agitation on December 25, 1927. It was also decided that this day would be commemorated as 'Manusmriti dahan divas'; Manusmriti to be set on fire day, in future.

(e) According to the Hindutva South Indian Hindus belong to an inferior Race

The most prominent ideologue of RSS, Golwalkar was invited to address the students of the School of Social Science of Gujarat University on December 17, 1960. In this address, while underlying his firm belief in the Race Theory, he touched upon the issue of cross-breeding of human beings in the Indian society in history. He said:

"Now let us see the experiments our ancestors made in this sphere. In an effort to better the human species through cross-breeding the Namboodri Brahamanas of the North were settled in Kerala and a rule was laid down that the eldest son of a Namboodri family could marry only the daughter of Vaishya, Kashtriya or Shudra communities of Kerala. Another still more courageous rule was that the first off-spring of a married woman of any class must be fathered by a Namboodri Brahman and then she could beget children by her husband. Today this experiment will be called adultery but it was not so, as it was limited to the first child."[15]

 

The above statement of Golwalkar is highly worrying in many respects. Firstly, it proves that Golwalkar believed that Indian Hindus were divided into a superior Race or breed and also an inferior Race which needed to be improved through cross-breeding. Secondly, a more worrying aspect was his belief that Brahmans of the North (India) and specially Namboodri Brahamans, belonged to a superior Race. Due to this quality, Namboodri Brahamanas were sent from the North to Kerala to improve the breed of inferior Hindus there. Interestingly, this was being argued by a person who claimed to uphold the unity of Hindus world over. Thirdly, Golwalkar as a male chauvinist believed that a Namboodri Brahman male belonging to a superior Race from the North only could improve the inferior human Race from South. For him wombs of Kerala’s Hindu women enjoyed no sanctity and were simply objects of improving breed through intercourse with Namboodri Brahamanas who in no way were related to them. Thus, Golwalkar was, in fact, confirming the allegation that in the past male dominated high caste society forced newly-wedded women of other castes to pass their first nights by sleeping with superior caste males.

 

Myth 3: Hindutva ideology keeps India united

Reality:

(a) It is a toxic formula to undo democratic-secular India

Importantly, the RSS organ Organizer in its issue on the very eve of Independence, dated 14 August, 1947, rejected the whole concept of a composite nation (under the editorial title ‘Whither’):

“Let us no longer allow ourselves to be influenced by false notions of nationhood. Much of the mental confusion and the present and future troubles can be removed by the ready recognition of the simple fact that in Hindusthan only the Hindus form the nation and the national structure must be built on that safe and sound foundation…the nation itself must be built up of Hindus, on Hindu traditions, culture, ideas and aspirations”.

 

(b) Muslims and Christians not part of Hindu nation

According to the proponent of Hindutva, Savarkar, Muslims and Christians remained out of this nationhood because they did not assimilate into Hindu cultural heritage or adopt Hindu religion. Savarkar decreed:

"Christians and Mohamedan [sic] communities, who were but very recently Hindus…cannot be recognized as Hindus; as since their adoption of the new cult they had ceased to own Hindu Sanskriti [culture] as a whole. They belong, or feel that they belong, to a cultural unit altogether different from the Hindu one. Their heroes and their hero-worship, their fairs and their festivals, their ideals and their outlook on-life, have now ceased to be common with ours."[16]

 

Concurring with Savarkar's Hindutva definition of the Indian nation, Golwalkar declared:

"thus applying the modern understanding of ‘Nation’ to our present conditions, the conclusion is unquestionably forced upon us that in this country, Hindusthan, the Hindu Race with its Hindu Religion, Hindu Culture and Hindu Language (the natural family of Sanskrit and her off-springs) complete the Nation concept…"[17]

 

(c) Muslims and Christians as 'Internal Threat'

The holy book for the RSS cadres, Bunch of Thoughts, the compilation of the writings of MS Golwalkar, the ideologue of the RSS, has a long chapter titled, ‘Internal Threats’, in which the Muslims and Christians are described as threats number one and two respectively. The Communists get the honour of being ‘Internal Threat’ number three.

While treating the Muslims as hostile element number one, he goes on to elaborate,

"Even to this day there are so many who say, ‘Now there is no Muslim problem at all. All those riotous elements who supported Pakistan have gone away once for all. The remaining Muslims are devoted to our country. After all, they have no other place to go and they are bound to remain loyal'…It would be suicidal to delude ourselves into believing that they have turned patriots overnight after the creation of Pakistan. On the contrary, the Muslim menace has increased a hundredfold by the creation of Pakistan, which has become a springboard for all their future aggressive designs on our country."[18]

While deliberating on the ‘Internal Threat’ number two, he says,

"such is the role of the Christian gentlemen residing in our land today, out to demolish not only the religious and social fabric of our life but also to establish political domination in various pockets and if possible all over the land."[19]

 

So, led by this ideology of hatred, the RSS cadres are working overtime to exterminate minorities like Muslims and Christians. What dangerous direction democratic-secular India was taking under Modi rule was made clear within one year of RSS/BJP government's coming to power by none other than Julio Ribeiro. Julio Ribeiro a retired senior police officer, former Mumbai police commissioner, director general of police Gujarat and Punjab and former Indian ambassador to Romania in a signed piece on March 17, 2015 expressed his anguish in the following words:

"Today, in my 86th year, I feel threatened, not wanted, reduced to a stranger in my own country…I am not an Indian anymore, at least in the eyes of the proponents of the Hindu Rashtra. Is it coincidence or a well-thought-out plan that the systematic targeting of a small and peaceful community should begin only after the BJP government of Narendra Modi came to power last May? ‘Ghar wapsi’, the declaration of Christmas as ‘Good-Governance Day’, the attack on Christian churches and schools in Delhi, all added to a sense of siege that now afflicts these peaceful people…It is tragic that these extremists have been emboldened beyond permissible limits by an atmosphere of hate and distrust. The Christian population, a mere 2 per cent of the total populace, has been subjected to a series of well-directed body blows. If these extremists later turn their attention to Muslims, which seems to be their goal, they will invite consequences that this writer dreads to imagine."[20]


Myth 4: Hindutva believes in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam/world is one family

Reality:

Hindutva believes in cleansing of non-Aryans as done by Hitler and Mussolini

The RSS as flag-bearer of Hindu nationalism always believed in the superiority of the Aryan race like Hitler and the Nazis. Racism is the common tie, which binds them. Hindus happened to be Aryans belonging to the National race whereas Muslims and Christians were foreigners because they followed religions, which took birth in non-Aryan foreign lands. The RSS divided religions professed in India into two categories, Indian and foreign. Interestingly, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism were declared to be of the Indian variety but were not accorded the status of independent religions. These were simply treated as part of Hinduism. Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar (1906-1973), the most prominent ideologue of the RSS who came to head the organization after Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, naturally, inherited deep love for Fascism and Nazism from his seniors and stood for cleansing of the followers of religions which originated in foreign lands. He idealized the Nazi cultural nationalism of Hitler, which was nothing else but ‘ethnic cleansing’ of non-Aryans, in the following words which appeared in his book We or Our Nationhood Defined (1939); a book which became Geeta of the Hindutva politics:

To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races-the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan [sic] to learn and profit by.[21]

While outlining the constituent elements of the Hindu Nation Golwalkar raised a significant question,

“If, as is indisputably proved, Hindusthan, is the land of Hindus and is the terra firma for the Hindu nation alone to flourish upon, what is to be the fate of all those, who, today, happen to live upon the land, though not belonging to the Hindu Race, Religion or culture?”[22]

He answered to his own query in the following words:

“can have no place in the national life, unless they abandon their differences, adopt the religion, culture and language of the Nation and completely merge themselves in the National Race.”[23]

Golwalkar unhesitatingly glorified the Aryan Race theory propagated by Hitler and Mussolini and subsequent cleansing of non-Aryans or minorities. According to him both Muslims and Christians who were 'foreign elements',

 "There are only two courses open to the foreign elements, either to merge themselves in the national race and adopt its culture, or to live at its mercy so long as the national race may allow them to do so and to quit the country at the sweet will of the national race. That is the only sound view on the minorities [sic] problem.”[24]

 

Golwalkar as the most important ideologue of the RSS and Hindutva brand of politics forcefully argued for adopting the models of Hitler and Mussolini for getting rid of minorities from Hindu nation in the following words:

"the foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e., of the Hindu nation and must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment, not  even citizen’s rights."[25]

 

Myth 5: Hindutva organizations are loyal to India

Reality: Bharat Mata of Hindutva gang is not our democratic-secular India

 

(a) Against Secularism

The RSS demands total loyalty to the Indian Nation from minorities. It is another thing that it does not feel it proper to be loyal to the constitutional-legal set up of this very Nation. The study of Prarthana (prayer) and Pratigya (oath) as practiced in the shakhas of the RSS is an example of how the Indian nationalism has been equated with Hinduism, in the same way as the Muslim League had combined Islam with nationality. Significantly, both Prarthana and Pratigya are in direct contravention to the existence of an Indian Secular State which is an important ‘Basic’ feature of the Constitution of India. Just imagine PM Modi and most of his ruler colleagues who took oath to uphold the integrity of a democratic and secular India were also committed to the task of creating a Hindu Rashtra as per the texts of the Prayer and Oath as essential for the RSS cadres.

 

(b) RSS Prayer:

"Affectionate Motherland, I eternally bow to you/O Land of Hindus, you have reared me in comfort/O Sacred Land, the Great Creator of Good, may this body of mine be dedicated to you/I again and again bow before You/O God almighty, we the integral part of the Hindu Rashtra salute you in reverence/For Your cause have we girded up our loins/Give us Your Blessings for its accomplishment."[26]

 

(c) RSS Oath:

"Before the all powerful God and my ancestors, I most solemnly take this oath, that I become a member of the RSS in order to achieve all round greatness of Bharatvarsha by fostering the growth of my sacred Hindu religion, Hindu society, and Hindu culture. I shall perform the work of the Sangh honestly, disinterestedly, with my heart and soul, and I shall adhere to this goal all my life. Bharat Mata Ki Jai."[27]

Thus they were not faithful to the Indian Nation as it existed as a legal entity but wanted to subvert it into a theocratic state like Muslim League which created Pakistan in the name of Islam.

 

(d) Against Democracy

The RSS contrary to the principles of democracy has been constantly demanding India to be ruled under a totalitarian regime. Golwalkar while delivering a speech before the 1350 top level cadres of the RSS in 1940 declared,

"RSS inspired by one flag, one leader and one ideology is lighting the flame of Hindutva in each and every corner of this great land."[28]

This slogan of one flag, one leader and one ideology has directly been borrowed from the programmes of Nazi and Fascist parties of Europe.

 

(e) Denigration of the Tricolour; our national flag

The Tri-colour is our National Flag which represents a Democratic-Secular India. Shockingly, just on the eve of independence when Indian Constituent Assembly adopted Tricolour as its National Flag, the English organ of the RSS, Organiser, in its issue dated August 14, 1947, denigrated this choice in the following words:

"The people who have come to power by the kick of fate may give in our hands the Tricolour but it will never be respected and owned by Hindus. The word three is in itself an evil, and a flag having three colours will certainly produce a very bad psychological effect and is injurious to a country."­

The RSS and its Hindutva gang denigrate the National Flag in such foul language but want to pose as custodian of Indian Nation often threatening minorities for being disloyal to the Tricolour.

The bitter reality is that Hindutva is nothing but an ideology which stands for totalitarianism, Casteism and injustice. We must remember the following prophetic words of Dr Ambedkar about the critical danger which Hindutva politics poses to our country. According to him:

“If Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will no doubt, be the greatest calamity for this country…It is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. On that account it is incompatible with democracy. Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost.”[29]

What is the way out?

The way out was suggested by one of the greatest martyrs for the cause of secularism and multi-culturalism in the Indian sub-continent, a dear friend, Dr John Joseph, Bishop of Faisalabad (Jhang, Pakistan). Six days before he sacrificed his life at the altar of bigotry being indulged in the name of Islam in Pakistan, Dr John Joseph wrote an open letter to his friends, world over. He shot himself to death on May 6, 1998, while leading a protest march against Blasphemy Laws in the Sahiwal (Montgomery) town of Pakistan. His letter titled, “The challenge of religious fundamentalism and violence to social harmony” was a well-researched paper on religious sectarianism in Pakistan and how to confront it.[30] With India turning to the Hindutva route under Modi, the issues which he raised in it are of significance not only for Pakistan, but also for India.

According to him, the main characteristics of religious fundamentalism are; rejection of rationality, human co-existence, and the absolute belief that only one particular religious sect or group is on the divine path. The Bishop also finds that the fundamentalists have an unending supply of cadres because they control school education. He described the majoritarian religious bigots as "ruthless violent power mongers".  In his letter, the Bishop highlighted the fact that the

“first victims of the fundamentalist parties are the religious minorities. They direct their full wrath on these minorities and depict them as dangerous to society and country. The second victims are women. They believe women are inferior to men, root of evil, weak and stupid. The third victims are those people who have secular, liberal and enlightened outlook, specially the intellectuals and human rights activists.”

As if talking about the present India he wrote:

“Under the fundamentalist influence publication of religious books increases and secular literature rapidly decreases. It also greatly affects music, painting, sculpture, and dancing, and also as a whole, the society loses its glamour, and violence and dullness reign supreme.”

Bishop Joseph's letter is important in another sense. He did not believe in responding to communal challenge in the same sectarian way but also warned that we should not

"close our eyes and think that the blood thirsty cult of religious violence will go away by itself. No, each one of us has to get involved and play our role…"

He concluded his letter with the following words:

“At the end, I appeal to all my brothers and sisters in the name of Christ, please let us leave our places and position of safety and comfort and go to the people. I shall count myself extremely fortunate, if in this mission of breaking the barriers, our Lord accepts the sacrifice of my blood for the benefit of His people. This is the only effective response to the ever growing phenomena of violence around us. Are we ready to take up this challenge and follow Him carrying the Cross on our own shoulders?”

The wisdom of Bishop John Joseph and story of his sacrifice hold great significance for us in India where despite a democratic-secular polity India the Hindutva juggernaut is running amok. We must learn about the phenomena of Hindutva in depth as has been attempted in this paper, and respond by fighting for saving the Preamble of our Constitution. In this scenario, Bishop Joseph does not become martyr of the cause of secularism in Pakistan alone, but of the entire Indian sub-continent. Moreover, his analysis of the majoritarian religious bigotry and suggestions for confronting it remain fundamental to our fight against Hindutva fascism too.

 


[1] Dhananjay Keer, Veer Savarkar, Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1988, p. 527.

[2] H. V. Seshadri, Dr. Hedgewar: The Epoch-Maker, Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore, 1981, p. 65.

[3] A. Maratha [V. D. Savarkar], Hindutva, V. V. Kelkar, Nagpur, 1923, p. 3.

[4] A. Maratha [V. D. Savarkar], Hindutva, V. V. Kelkar, Nagpur, 1923, pp. 102-103.

[5] . Maratha [V. D. Savarkar], Hindutva, V. V. Kelkar, Nagpur, 1923, p. 11.

[6] MS Golwalkar, We Or Our Nationhood Defined, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, p. 9.

[7] Vivekananda, The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, vol. 3, Advait Ashram, Calcutta, 1997, p. 228.]

[8] B. R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or the Partition of India (Bombay: Government of Maharashtra, 1990), 13. Reprint of the 1940 edition of the same book published by Thackers, Bombay.]
[9] For detailed study of the origin and development of the two-nation theory look at the following link: http://southasiajournal.net/guilty-men-of-the-two-nation-theory-a-hindu-nationalist-project-borrowed-by-jinnah/
[10] MS Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore, 1996, pp. 36-37.]

[11] M. S. Golwalkar cited in Organizer, January 2, 1961, pp. 5 & 16.

[12] VD Savarkar, ‘Women in Manusmriti’ in Savarkar Samagar (collection of Savarkar’s writings in Hindi) volume IV, Prabhat, Delhi, 2000, p. 416.

[13] This selection of Manu’s Codes is from F. Max Muller, Laws of Manu (Delhi: LP Publications, 1996; first published in 1886). The bracket after each code incorporates number of chapter/number of code according to the above edition.

[14] Swami Ramsukhdas, How To Lead A Household Life, Gita Press, Gorakhpur, 1999, p.43. (Gita Press has more than 15 titles denigrating women in many Indian languages including English. Some of the titles openly preach Sati and violence against women which are serious crimes under the Indian Penal Code.]

[15] M. S. Golwalkar cited in Organizer, January 2, 1961, p. 5.

[16] A Maratha [V. D. Savarkar], Hindutva, VV Kelkar, Nagpur, 1923, p. 88.

[17] MS Golwalkar, We Or Our Nationhood Defined, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, p. 43.

[18] Bunch of Thoughts, pp. 177-178.

[19] Bunch of Thoughts, p. 193.

[20] Julio Ribeiro, 'As a Christian, suddenly I am a stranger in my own country', 17 March, 2015, The Indian Express, Delhi.

[21] MS Golwalkar, We Or Our Nationhood Defined, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, pp. 34-35.

[22] MS Golwalkar, We Or Our Nationhood Defined, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, p. 45.

[23] MS Golwalkar, We Or Our Nationhood Defined, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, p. 45.

[24] MS Golwalkar, We Or Our Nationhood Defined, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, p. 47.

[25] MS Golwalkar, We Or Our Nationhood Defined, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, pp. 47-48.

[26] Shakha Darshikha, Gyan Ganga, Jaipur, 1997, p. 1

[27] Shakha Darshikha, Gyan Ganga, Jaipur, 1997, p. 66.

[28] MS Golwalkar, Shri Guruji Samagar Darshan (collected works of Golwalkar in Hindi), Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, nd., vol. I, p. 11.

[29] B. R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or the Partition of India, Government of Maharashtra, Bombay, 1990 (reprint of 1940 edition), p. 358.

[30] https://www.academia.edu/3617933/The_Threat_of_Bigotry_in_South_Asia_by_Shamsul_Islam

 

 

 

 

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Decoding Hate

Deoband is a Gangotri of terrorism: BJP’s Giriraj Singh

Sabrangindia 12 Feb 2020

Not new to making controversial statements, Union Minister Giriraj Singh has called Deoband a ‘Gangotri of terrorism’.

Talking to the media in Saharanpur on Tuesday he said, “The government is not able to make people aware of CAA. I have always said that people from Deoband, who are against CAA, were terrorists; all the big terrorists of the world are born here. I have said it before too that Deoband is Gangotri of Terrorism. Hafiz Saeed belongs to here.”

Singh who was in Saharanpur on the invite of the Jansankhya Samadhan Foundation and the Hindu Jagran Manch to stress on a population control legislation and support the CAA, reported the Dainik Bhaskar. He also said, “India faces no danger from Pakistan, but from the traitors in its own country.”

 

 

Speaking about the women-led protests taking place in Deoband, a town in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, at the Idgah ground since January 27 he said, “These people are not against CAA, they are against India. This is almost like the Khilafat movement.”

He had earlier also targeted the protestors at Shaheen Bagh alleging that ‘suicide bombers’ were being raised there. He had said, “This Shaheen Bagh protest is no longer an agitation. A group of suicide bombers is being raised here and a conspiracy against the country is being hatched in its capital.”

 

 

He also said that if the matter was only about the CAA, Sharjeel Imam wouldn’t have spoken about separating Assam from India and alleged that he called for making India an Islamic Rashtra.

This is just another communal rant coming from Giriraj Singh. His party members have continuously been attacking those protesting against the CAA by either calling them terrorists or traitors.


Related:

T Raja Singh says India will be Hindu Rashtra by 2023
Prashant Singh Rajput – Peddling communal hate on social media
Serial hate offender Yati Maharaj spews venom at Muslims at pro-CAA rally

 

Deoband is a Gangotri of terrorism: BJP’s Giriraj Singh

He also said that all ‘big terrorists’ like Hafiz Saeed had a connection to Deoband

Not new to making controversial statements, Union Minister Giriraj Singh has called Deoband a ‘Gangotri of terrorism’.

Talking to the media in Saharanpur on Tuesday he said, “The government is not able to make people aware of CAA. I have always said that people from Deoband, who are against CAA, were terrorists; all the big terrorists of the world are born here. I have said it before too that Deoband is Gangotri of Terrorism. Hafiz Saeed belongs to here.”

Singh who was in Saharanpur on the invite of the Jansankhya Samadhan Foundation and the Hindu Jagran Manch to stress on a population control legislation and support the CAA, reported the Dainik Bhaskar. He also said, “India faces no danger from Pakistan, but from the traitors in its own country.”

 

 

Speaking about the women-led protests taking place in Deoband, a town in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, at the Idgah ground since January 27 he said, “These people are not against CAA, they are against India. This is almost like the Khilafat movement.”

He had earlier also targeted the protestors at Shaheen Bagh alleging that ‘suicide bombers’ were being raised there. He had said, “This Shaheen Bagh protest is no longer an agitation. A group of suicide bombers is being raised here and a conspiracy against the country is being hatched in its capital.”

 

 

He also said that if the matter was only about the CAA, Sharjeel Imam wouldn’t have spoken about separating Assam from India and alleged that he called for making India an Islamic Rashtra.

This is just another communal rant coming from Giriraj Singh. His party members have continuously been attacking those protesting against the CAA by either calling them terrorists or traitors.


Related:

T Raja Singh says India will be Hindu Rashtra by 2023
Prashant Singh Rajput – Peddling communal hate on social media
Serial hate offender Yati Maharaj spews venom at Muslims at pro-CAA rally

 

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RSS: Hindu base waned in Census 2011 because tribals registered as ‘other religion’

The RSS chief met Sangh volunteers in MP and Chhattisgarh to get to educate tribals about CAA

07 Feb 2020

Mohan Bhagwat

Apart from the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) now has the Census 2021 on its agenda. At a co-ordination meet in Bhopal, the RSS’ Public Relations Head Arun Kumar said that the Sangh has received information from sources that there are some organizations working with the tribal population in India who are allegedly urging them to tick the ‘other caste / religion’ box instead of registering themselves as Hindu, Dainik Bhaskar reported.

It was reported that Arun Kumar expressed concern over the matter and said that in the population of Hindus fell from 84% in 1991 to 69% in 2011. The reason for this, he cited was that the tribals chose to not register themselves as Hindus for the same.

RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat who was also present at the meeting said that all volunteers of the Sangh must reach out to the tribals in villages and make them aware of the situation and the falsehoods being spread about the National Population Register (NPR). In the meeting, he reportedly asked the Sangh volunteers to educate tribals and Dalits, who were being misled, and remove the impression that the CAA and NRC were against the Constitution.

Mohan Bhagwat who had embarked on a tour of Bhopal on February 3 said that the people who thought themselves to be intellectuals should be brought to the organization and be ‘disciplined’. The meeting in Bhopal, especially Bhagwat’s tour, is being seen as a strategy to counter the hostility that non-BJP ruled states have towards the CAA and NRC, reported News 18. 

The Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh governments have opposed the CAA and NRC. In Madhya Pradesh 700 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in Jabalpur resigned en masse from the party to register their displeasure against the CAA-NPR-NRC, reported the National Herald. Chhattisgarh’s state cabinet became the fifth state in the country to pass a resolution against the CAA, asking the Centre to repeal the draconian Act.

Chhattisgarh has a major population of people belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes and has witnessed massive protests against the CAA and NRC because if implemented, a big chunk of the state’s population that lives below the poverty line who are illiterate and landless, will not only face difficulties in completing formalities, but will be potentially set to be left out of the citizens’ list.


Related:

Will CAA ensure land ‘invasions’ into Adivasi dominated Vth Schedule areas?
Never-the-less, she persisted: The true meaning of Mumbai Bagh
Communal Riots 2019: Communal Discourse Raging On in India

 

RSS: Hindu base waned in Census 2011 because tribals registered as ‘other religion’

The RSS chief met Sangh volunteers in MP and Chhattisgarh to get to educate tribals about CAA

Mohan Bhagwat

Apart from the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) now has the Census 2021 on its agenda. At a co-ordination meet in Bhopal, the RSS’ Public Relations Head Arun Kumar said that the Sangh has received information from sources that there are some organizations working with the tribal population in India who are allegedly urging them to tick the ‘other caste / religion’ box instead of registering themselves as Hindu, Dainik Bhaskar reported.

It was reported that Arun Kumar expressed concern over the matter and said that in the population of Hindus fell from 84% in 1991 to 69% in 2011. The reason for this, he cited was that the tribals chose to not register themselves as Hindus for the same.

RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat who was also present at the meeting said that all volunteers of the Sangh must reach out to the tribals in villages and make them aware of the situation and the falsehoods being spread about the National Population Register (NPR). In the meeting, he reportedly asked the Sangh volunteers to educate tribals and Dalits, who were being misled, and remove the impression that the CAA and NRC were against the Constitution.

Mohan Bhagwat who had embarked on a tour of Bhopal on February 3 said that the people who thought themselves to be intellectuals should be brought to the organization and be ‘disciplined’. The meeting in Bhopal, especially Bhagwat’s tour, is being seen as a strategy to counter the hostility that non-BJP ruled states have towards the CAA and NRC, reported News 18. 

The Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh governments have opposed the CAA and NRC. In Madhya Pradesh 700 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in Jabalpur resigned en masse from the party to register their displeasure against the CAA-NPR-NRC, reported the National Herald. Chhattisgarh’s state cabinet became the fifth state in the country to pass a resolution against the CAA, asking the Centre to repeal the draconian Act.

Chhattisgarh has a major population of people belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes and has witnessed massive protests against the CAA and NRC because if implemented, a big chunk of the state’s population that lives below the poverty line who are illiterate and landless, will not only face difficulties in completing formalities, but will be potentially set to be left out of the citizens’ list.


Related:

Will CAA ensure land ‘invasions’ into Adivasi dominated Vth Schedule areas?
Never-the-less, she persisted: The true meaning of Mumbai Bagh
Communal Riots 2019: Communal Discourse Raging On in India

 

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Communal Riots 2019: Communal Discourse Raging On in India

07 Feb 2020

communal riots

Attitudinal violence and structural violence contribute immensely to physical violence in the forms of communal riots and mob lynching. This was the scenario facing India in 2019. There were 25 incidents of communal riots in India in 2019, and 108 incidents of mob lynching, according to the monitoring of Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS). CSSS monitors reportage of communal riots and mob lynching in the Mumbai editions of five leading newspapers- The Indian Express, The Hindu, Times of India, Inquilab and Sahafat. As per the reportage in these newspapers, the number of communal riots in 2019 (25) is lesser than 2018 where 38 communal riots were reported in the same newspapers.

Though the number of communal riots has declined, the discourse of communal violence driven by ideology of Hindutva supremacy remains the same. Newer issues are being used to heighten the discourse of communal violence- for instance the discriminatory legislation of Citizenship Amendment Bill which excludes Muslims linked with NRC, the abrogation of article 370 in Kashmir and the clamp down on communication subsequently, the demand for construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Thus, though it appears that the number of communal riots has declined, that in no way can be construed as decline in communal discourse leading to communal violence itself. If at all, through discriminatory legislations and increasing dismantling of democratic institutions which were expected to safeguard democracy, communal violence is taking deeper roots in our society. The discourse promoted by the ruling party in conjunction with the impunity and patronage given to police and non state cadre is effectively perpetrating violence against the marginalized. Even if the number of communal riots is low, communal violence has stronger manifestations in structural and attitudinal violence.


Methodology of Monitoring:

The findings of Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS) are based on the reportage of communal riots reported in Mumbai editions of five newspapers- The Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindu, Sahafat and Inquilab. This is also the limitation of the findings since they are based on the city editions of only these five newspapers. In the past, CSSS could give a fair comparison between the number of communal riots emerging from its monitoring and the number of communal riots reported by the National Crimes Report Bureau (NCRB) which used to routinely place this data in the public domain. It’s interesting to note that though the Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy claimed that the Centre has zero tolerance for incidents of communal violence, it hasn’t proved this claim through figures and stopped giving out data(Scroll in, 2019). The NCRB ceasing to publish data of the communal riots from 2017 is no mere coincidence. In the past, the number of communal riots reported by the NCRB or the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was way higher than that reported by CSSS.


Sections: Communal riots and Mob Lynching

As explained last year in its report, CSSS reported that though there is a decline in the number of communal riots in India in 2018, it doesn’t imply that there is a decline in communal violence (Engineer, Dabhade, Nair, & Pendke, 2019). Communal violence is a broader term encompassing communal riots as well as mob lynching. While the number of communal riots is declining according to the reportage in the Mumbai edition of these five newspapers, the number of mob lynching is increasing. Mob lynching is an instrument to achieve the objective of sustained communal polarization by involving communal symbols like cow, the issue of love jihad or even the more innocuous pretexts like theft etc targeting the Muslims. In 2019 too, the same pattern continued where though the number of communal riots decreased, the number of mob lynching were high. Thus the report of communal violence which manifested itself in the form of physical violence is divided into two sections: Communal riots and Mob lynching.

This section will attempt to understand the salient features of communal riots in 2019.

 

Salient points:

Religion wise break up of deaths and injuries:

In 2019, from January 1 to December 31, according to the above mentioned newspapers, 25 communal riots took place in 2019. In these 25 riots, 8 lives were claimed. Out of the 8 persons deceased, three killed were Hindus, three killed were Muslims and the communities of two persons killed were not specified in the reports. The two Hindus were killed in Maharashtra and UP. In the communal riot in Maharashtra, a fight broke out between the two groups which got a communal angle. The fight broke out during a game of gambling in the Amravati resulting in the death of one Sham Phelwan. A riot ensued and subsequently two Muslims were killed in the riots. In the Muzzafarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh, again, a personal conflict over a trivial issue of kite flying between some children assumed the communal colour. Both sides confronted each other and one group entered the house of the deceased, Raj Kumar and attacked him and other family members. Raj Kumar got critically injured in the clash and later died while being taken to hospital. One Vishnu Yadav died after being attacked over the issue of stone pelting during a procession of immersion of some idols in Bihar’s district of Jehanabad. One more Muslim, Jamiruddin Tapadar died in Hailakandi, Assam. This riot was resulting from a traffic congestion caused due to Friday prayers. 54 persons were injured in these 25 incidents of communal riots.


Graph 1: Religion wise break up of deaths and injuries:

Graph1

 

Religion wise break up of Arrests:

In 25 incidents of communal riots, there were a total of 48 arrests. 47 of the arrested from 48 arrests were from unspecified community whereas one was a Muslim. There were no arrests of specifically any Hindu.
 

Graph 2: Religion wise break up of Arrests:

Graph2

Region wise break up of communal riots:

The state of Uttar Pradesh continued to top the list of states which had the most number of communal riots. Out of 25 communal riots, 9 took place in UP. This is contrary to the claim of the Chief Minister of UP who claimed that there have been no communal riots in UP after BJP came to rule (Times of India, 2019). UP was followed by the state of Maharashtra where 4 communal riots were reported in 2019.  Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir each had two communal riots in 2019. In the states of Karnataka, Haryana, Assam, Delhi, Bihar and West Bengal reported one communal riot each.

These figures indicate that communal riots have mostly been reported in the northern zone of the country and the north has been the theatre of violence with deep faultlines. The western zone of the country has been prone to communal violence traditionally. Interestingly, though no communal riots from Gujarat were reported in the Mumbai editions of the five newspapers, the local newspapers in Gujarat have reported 9 incidents of communal riots in 2019.

However it will be misleading to believe that there is little or no menace of communal violence in the South and Eastern parts of the country only because of the low number of communal riots reported from these regions. The communal discourse replete with hatred and hate speeches is very much prevalent in the east and south. The discourse is infused with newer issues like Citizenship Amendment Bill, National Register of Citizens, abrogation of article 370 in Kashmir and the overall narrative of Muslims being disloyal and second class citizens of India. Such a discourse manifesting in structural and attitudinal violence has sharply polarized the communities along religious lines. 


Graph 3: Region wise break up of communal riots:

Graph3


Triggers/ Immediate causes:

In total, nine incidents of communal riots are associated with religious processions, festivals or celebrations. As observed in the previous few years, aggressive sloganeering, deliberate loud music to instigate the other communities, deliberating planning procession routes to clash with other religious communities has been used as a pretext to trigger communal riots. Out of the – riots, four took place in the state of UP, two in Rajasthan, one in Maharashtra, one in Madhya Pradesh and one each in West Bengal and Bihar.


Graph 4: Triggers/ Immediate causes:

Graph4  

In 2019 too like in 2018, the use of religious processions and festivals has been instrumental in fomenting communal tensions leading to violence. Out of the 25 communal riots, nine were triggered off by or during religious processions. The Kanwariyas or the Kavadyatras have been given protection and state patronage in a way that the State has favoured them. Out of the nine communal riots triggered due to issues related to religious procession, three took place in UP itself. In the Badaun district of UP, stone pelting took place during a Kanwariya yatra which coincided with the timings of Id namaz. The Muslims objected to the loud religious music played in the yatra which led to the riot. In Agra, members of Bajrang Dal protested against the Muslims offering the Id namaz on the road. 70 Bajrang Dal members who were not allowed to pass through the road due to the prayers threatened to recite Hanuman Chalisa on the road. In Balrampur district of UP, stone pelting took place during the idol immersion ritual on Dussera over playing of music.

In 2019, in Hingoli district of Maharashtra, the participants in the Kavad Yatra came in conflict with a group of Muslims who were together to offer Eid prayers. The procession had devotional songs playing on speakers. Both the groups started shouting religious slogans. In Jaipur, Rajasthan, communal riot ensued after a Haridwar bound bus was pelted by stones by some Muslims and blocked the Delhi Highway. This was a fall out of the tensions with the Kanwariyas. In Tonk district of Rajasthan, stones were pelted at a Vijayadashmi procession in the town, triggering vandalism and arson. Locals staged a sit-in outside the Malpura police station and refused to burn the effigies of Ravan till their demand for immediate arrest of the miscreants was met.

In Shajapur in Madhya Pradesh, stones were pelted on a Muharram procession. During the violence some two wheelers were set on fire. In Jehanabad, Bihar, riot broke out when a stone was thrown at the procession being taken out for immersion of idols near the Arwal More. The devotees blamed by-standers belonging to another community for the same after which both sides indulged in heavy stone-pelting which had left 14 people injured. The riot claimed two lives. Several shops in the area were set on fire by the rampaging mobs and the situation was brought under control after prohibitory orders were issued.In Purba Medinipur in the state of West Bengal, Christmas celebrations in a Church were disrupted when a group of men entered the church premises raised slogans "Jai Shree Ram", attacked about 100 worshippers and vandalised the church and a vehicle belonging to the pastor. According to police, one was severely injured and others few had minor injuries and the locals appeared to be associated with the BJP as per the initial investigation.

Though religious festivals or processions remain the main reason emerging from the reportage of communal riots, there are other triggers that have led to communal riots which are insightful as far as understanding the patterns of communal riots are concerned. Rumours of cow slaughter/ beef and eve-teasing of women by members of “other” communities are still triggers for communal riots. However there is a more overt and aggressively emboldening shift in the pattern where Muslims are targeted and attacked and told to go to Pakistan, sending a message that they are second class citizens of the country and don’t belong to India. In a blatantly shocking incident in Dhamaspur in Gurgaon, members of a Muslim family and guests who had come to visit them were beaten with sticks and rods, allegedly by 20-25 men, who barged into their home and attacked them on Holi evening. The incident took place when some of the accused allegedly approached the boys from the family, who were playing cricket outside, and demanded that they “go to Pakistan and play”. During the attack the family members were beaten up mercilessly and their house was damaged along with 2 motorbikes and a car. The accused also fled with valuables from the house. This is not an isolated incident but comes in the wake of the persistent attacks on individuals across the country demanding them to chant “Jai Shri Ram” or asking Muslims to go to Pakistan, especially after the re-election of BJP in general elections.


Role of the State:

The State in its response to communal riots is guided by its ideology of Hindutva or supremacism based on religion. Muslims and other minorities are targeted by state and non- state taking cue from the hate speeches of those in power and the active network of patronage. This has allowed the violent supremacist to wreck violence with impunity. The police did not only fail to prevent the riots or bring the culprits to justice, but the police itself have indulged in violence against the innocent. The response of the police at Jamia in the midst of protests against the discriminatory CAA was starkly telling of this pattern. In unprecedented action, the police entered the Jamia Milia Islamia campus in Delhi on 15th December, 2019 and beat up the students with batons and used tear gas. The police have reportedly used stun guns used in terrorists operations to attack students of Jamia in their hostels and libraries leading to one student losing one of his eyes and other one losing one arm. The police action at Seelampur was also condemnable. One can’t help but notice that the police have become a brute force or army of the ruling party and wrecks violence on innocent students and Muslims whenever ordered to do so with no regard to law and order. The police indulge in shoddy investigation to allow the culprits to exploit the loopholes and go scot free.

The judiciary too has been tardy and not hearing these cases with priority, thereby delaying and now clearly denying justice. The role of the executive and the police in Uttar Pradesh has been particularly disturbing given how it has violently targeted the Muslim community leading to 23 deaths, and recovering the cost of damage from the Muslim community with a vengeance to break the very morale and backbone of the protest against the CAA.

Instead of acting as an antidote to hatred and violence, the State has actually turned against its own citizens and is attacking them in the most brutal. The State has become so overbearing that it has influenced all arenas of public knowledge and debates like it has in terms of state institutions. The media especially is influenced to only present the narrative weaved by the state and achieving this with whatever means necessary- manipulation of facts and highly partial coverage of news. Such incredibly biased reportage is shaping the popular imagination of the country and shrinking the spaces for impartial and objective public debates.


Conclusion:

2019 sees the brazen communal attitude of the State which is using all its organs to maintain a highly polarizing communal discourse. This discourse doesn’t depend on communal riots alone but has in fact found many other forms to seep into the Indian society. However, the year 2019 ended with re-invigorating energy and hope when citizens across religious identities came together to put up a determined and spirited protests to save the constitution of the country in the face of discriminatory laws pushed by this government matched only by its brutality to defend these laws. Such unity may be the anti-dote required to counter communal riots.

 

Communal Riots 2019: Communal Discourse Raging On in India

communal riots

Attitudinal violence and structural violence contribute immensely to physical violence in the forms of communal riots and mob lynching. This was the scenario facing India in 2019. There were 25 incidents of communal riots in India in 2019, and 108 incidents of mob lynching, according to the monitoring of Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS). CSSS monitors reportage of communal riots and mob lynching in the Mumbai editions of five leading newspapers- The Indian Express, The Hindu, Times of India, Inquilab and Sahafat. As per the reportage in these newspapers, the number of communal riots in 2019 (25) is lesser than 2018 where 38 communal riots were reported in the same newspapers.

Though the number of communal riots has declined, the discourse of communal violence driven by ideology of Hindutva supremacy remains the same. Newer issues are being used to heighten the discourse of communal violence- for instance the discriminatory legislation of Citizenship Amendment Bill which excludes Muslims linked with NRC, the abrogation of article 370 in Kashmir and the clamp down on communication subsequently, the demand for construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Thus, though it appears that the number of communal riots has declined, that in no way can be construed as decline in communal discourse leading to communal violence itself. If at all, through discriminatory legislations and increasing dismantling of democratic institutions which were expected to safeguard democracy, communal violence is taking deeper roots in our society. The discourse promoted by the ruling party in conjunction with the impunity and patronage given to police and non state cadre is effectively perpetrating violence against the marginalized. Even if the number of communal riots is low, communal violence has stronger manifestations in structural and attitudinal violence.


Methodology of Monitoring:

The findings of Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS) are based on the reportage of communal riots reported in Mumbai editions of five newspapers- The Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindu, Sahafat and Inquilab. This is also the limitation of the findings since they are based on the city editions of only these five newspapers. In the past, CSSS could give a fair comparison between the number of communal riots emerging from its monitoring and the number of communal riots reported by the National Crimes Report Bureau (NCRB) which used to routinely place this data in the public domain. It’s interesting to note that though the Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy claimed that the Centre has zero tolerance for incidents of communal violence, it hasn’t proved this claim through figures and stopped giving out data(Scroll in, 2019). The NCRB ceasing to publish data of the communal riots from 2017 is no mere coincidence. In the past, the number of communal riots reported by the NCRB or the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was way higher than that reported by CSSS.


Sections: Communal riots and Mob Lynching

As explained last year in its report, CSSS reported that though there is a decline in the number of communal riots in India in 2018, it doesn’t imply that there is a decline in communal violence (Engineer, Dabhade, Nair, & Pendke, 2019). Communal violence is a broader term encompassing communal riots as well as mob lynching. While the number of communal riots is declining according to the reportage in the Mumbai edition of these five newspapers, the number of mob lynching is increasing. Mob lynching is an instrument to achieve the objective of sustained communal polarization by involving communal symbols like cow, the issue of love jihad or even the more innocuous pretexts like theft etc targeting the Muslims. In 2019 too, the same pattern continued where though the number of communal riots decreased, the number of mob lynching were high. Thus the report of communal violence which manifested itself in the form of physical violence is divided into two sections: Communal riots and Mob lynching.

This section will attempt to understand the salient features of communal riots in 2019.

 

Salient points:

Religion wise break up of deaths and injuries:

In 2019, from January 1 to December 31, according to the above mentioned newspapers, 25 communal riots took place in 2019. In these 25 riots, 8 lives were claimed. Out of the 8 persons deceased, three killed were Hindus, three killed were Muslims and the communities of two persons killed were not specified in the reports. The two Hindus were killed in Maharashtra and UP. In the communal riot in Maharashtra, a fight broke out between the two groups which got a communal angle. The fight broke out during a game of gambling in the Amravati resulting in the death of one Sham Phelwan. A riot ensued and subsequently two Muslims were killed in the riots. In the Muzzafarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh, again, a personal conflict over a trivial issue of kite flying between some children assumed the communal colour. Both sides confronted each other and one group entered the house of the deceased, Raj Kumar and attacked him and other family members. Raj Kumar got critically injured in the clash and later died while being taken to hospital. One Vishnu Yadav died after being attacked over the issue of stone pelting during a procession of immersion of some idols in Bihar’s district of Jehanabad. One more Muslim, Jamiruddin Tapadar died in Hailakandi, Assam. This riot was resulting from a traffic congestion caused due to Friday prayers. 54 persons were injured in these 25 incidents of communal riots.


Graph 1: Religion wise break up of deaths and injuries:

Graph1

 

Religion wise break up of Arrests:

In 25 incidents of communal riots, there were a total of 48 arrests. 47 of the arrested from 48 arrests were from unspecified community whereas one was a Muslim. There were no arrests of specifically any Hindu.
 

Graph 2: Religion wise break up of Arrests:

Graph2

Region wise break up of communal riots:

The state of Uttar Pradesh continued to top the list of states which had the most number of communal riots. Out of 25 communal riots, 9 took place in UP. This is contrary to the claim of the Chief Minister of UP who claimed that there have been no communal riots in UP after BJP came to rule (Times of India, 2019). UP was followed by the state of Maharashtra where 4 communal riots were reported in 2019.  Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir each had two communal riots in 2019. In the states of Karnataka, Haryana, Assam, Delhi, Bihar and West Bengal reported one communal riot each.

These figures indicate that communal riots have mostly been reported in the northern zone of the country and the north has been the theatre of violence with deep faultlines. The western zone of the country has been prone to communal violence traditionally. Interestingly, though no communal riots from Gujarat were reported in the Mumbai editions of the five newspapers, the local newspapers in Gujarat have reported 9 incidents of communal riots in 2019.

However it will be misleading to believe that there is little or no menace of communal violence in the South and Eastern parts of the country only because of the low number of communal riots reported from these regions. The communal discourse replete with hatred and hate speeches is very much prevalent in the east and south. The discourse is infused with newer issues like Citizenship Amendment Bill, National Register of Citizens, abrogation of article 370 in Kashmir and the overall narrative of Muslims being disloyal and second class citizens of India. Such a discourse manifesting in structural and attitudinal violence has sharply polarized the communities along religious lines. 


Graph 3: Region wise break up of communal riots:

Graph3


Triggers/ Immediate causes:

In total, nine incidents of communal riots are associated with religious processions, festivals or celebrations. As observed in the previous few years, aggressive sloganeering, deliberate loud music to instigate the other communities, deliberating planning procession routes to clash with other religious communities has been used as a pretext to trigger communal riots. Out of the – riots, four took place in the state of UP, two in Rajasthan, one in Maharashtra, one in Madhya Pradesh and one each in West Bengal and Bihar.


Graph 4: Triggers/ Immediate causes:

Graph4  

In 2019 too like in 2018, the use of religious processions and festivals has been instrumental in fomenting communal tensions leading to violence. Out of the 25 communal riots, nine were triggered off by or during religious processions. The Kanwariyas or the Kavadyatras have been given protection and state patronage in a way that the State has favoured them. Out of the nine communal riots triggered due to issues related to religious procession, three took place in UP itself. In the Badaun district of UP, stone pelting took place during a Kanwariya yatra which coincided with the timings of Id namaz. The Muslims objected to the loud religious music played in the yatra which led to the riot. In Agra, members of Bajrang Dal protested against the Muslims offering the Id namaz on the road. 70 Bajrang Dal members who were not allowed to pass through the road due to the prayers threatened to recite Hanuman Chalisa on the road. In Balrampur district of UP, stone pelting took place during the idol immersion ritual on Dussera over playing of music.

In 2019, in Hingoli district of Maharashtra, the participants in the Kavad Yatra came in conflict with a group of Muslims who were together to offer Eid prayers. The procession had devotional songs playing on speakers. Both the groups started shouting religious slogans. In Jaipur, Rajasthan, communal riot ensued after a Haridwar bound bus was pelted by stones by some Muslims and blocked the Delhi Highway. This was a fall out of the tensions with the Kanwariyas. In Tonk district of Rajasthan, stones were pelted at a Vijayadashmi procession in the town, triggering vandalism and arson. Locals staged a sit-in outside the Malpura police station and refused to burn the effigies of Ravan till their demand for immediate arrest of the miscreants was met.

In Shajapur in Madhya Pradesh, stones were pelted on a Muharram procession. During the violence some two wheelers were set on fire. In Jehanabad, Bihar, riot broke out when a stone was thrown at the procession being taken out for immersion of idols near the Arwal More. The devotees blamed by-standers belonging to another community for the same after which both sides indulged in heavy stone-pelting which had left 14 people injured. The riot claimed two lives. Several shops in the area were set on fire by the rampaging mobs and the situation was brought under control after prohibitory orders were issued.In Purba Medinipur in the state of West Bengal, Christmas celebrations in a Church were disrupted when a group of men entered the church premises raised slogans "Jai Shree Ram", attacked about 100 worshippers and vandalised the church and a vehicle belonging to the pastor. According to police, one was severely injured and others few had minor injuries and the locals appeared to be associated with the BJP as per the initial investigation.

Though religious festivals or processions remain the main reason emerging from the reportage of communal riots, there are other triggers that have led to communal riots which are insightful as far as understanding the patterns of communal riots are concerned. Rumours of cow slaughter/ beef and eve-teasing of women by members of “other” communities are still triggers for communal riots. However there is a more overt and aggressively emboldening shift in the pattern where Muslims are targeted and attacked and told to go to Pakistan, sending a message that they are second class citizens of the country and don’t belong to India. In a blatantly shocking incident in Dhamaspur in Gurgaon, members of a Muslim family and guests who had come to visit them were beaten with sticks and rods, allegedly by 20-25 men, who barged into their home and attacked them on Holi evening. The incident took place when some of the accused allegedly approached the boys from the family, who were playing cricket outside, and demanded that they “go to Pakistan and play”. During the attack the family members were beaten up mercilessly and their house was damaged along with 2 motorbikes and a car. The accused also fled with valuables from the house. This is not an isolated incident but comes in the wake of the persistent attacks on individuals across the country demanding them to chant “Jai Shri Ram” or asking Muslims to go to Pakistan, especially after the re-election of BJP in general elections.


Role of the State:

The State in its response to communal riots is guided by its ideology of Hindutva or supremacism based on religion. Muslims and other minorities are targeted by state and non- state taking cue from the hate speeches of those in power and the active network of patronage. This has allowed the violent supremacist to wreck violence with impunity. The police did not only fail to prevent the riots or bring the culprits to justice, but the police itself have indulged in violence against the innocent. The response of the police at Jamia in the midst of protests against the discriminatory CAA was starkly telling of this pattern. In unprecedented action, the police entered the Jamia Milia Islamia campus in Delhi on 15th December, 2019 and beat up the students with batons and used tear gas. The police have reportedly used stun guns used in terrorists operations to attack students of Jamia in their hostels and libraries leading to one student losing one of his eyes and other one losing one arm. The police action at Seelampur was also condemnable. One can’t help but notice that the police have become a brute force or army of the ruling party and wrecks violence on innocent students and Muslims whenever ordered to do so with no regard to law and order. The police indulge in shoddy investigation to allow the culprits to exploit the loopholes and go scot free.

The judiciary too has been tardy and not hearing these cases with priority, thereby delaying and now clearly denying justice. The role of the executive and the police in Uttar Pradesh has been particularly disturbing given how it has violently targeted the Muslim community leading to 23 deaths, and recovering the cost of damage from the Muslim community with a vengeance to break the very morale and backbone of the protest against the CAA.

Instead of acting as an antidote to hatred and violence, the State has actually turned against its own citizens and is attacking them in the most brutal. The State has become so overbearing that it has influenced all arenas of public knowledge and debates like it has in terms of state institutions. The media especially is influenced to only present the narrative weaved by the state and achieving this with whatever means necessary- manipulation of facts and highly partial coverage of news. Such incredibly biased reportage is shaping the popular imagination of the country and shrinking the spaces for impartial and objective public debates.


Conclusion:

2019 sees the brazen communal attitude of the State which is using all its organs to maintain a highly polarizing communal discourse. This discourse doesn’t depend on communal riots alone but has in fact found many other forms to seep into the Indian society. However, the year 2019 ended with re-invigorating energy and hope when citizens across religious identities came together to put up a determined and spirited protests to save the constitution of the country in the face of discriminatory laws pushed by this government matched only by its brutality to defend these laws. Such unity may be the anti-dote required to counter communal riots.

 

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Sabrang

Gunman fires at protesters near Jamia, injures one

Man yelled “Yeh lo azaadi” before opening fire in full view of police and media

30 Jan 2020

Jamia

On Thursday afternoon, a gunman whose identity cannot be revealed as he is a minor, opened fire on a group of protesters near Jamia Milia Islamia University (JMIU). The group of people, including JMIU students, who were protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and demanding a return to Gandhian values of peace, inclusion and tolerance, were planning to march from the university to Raj Ghat when the incident occurred.

Shockingly, the events unfolded in front of the police and security personnel deployed on the spot as well as in full view of media persons who had gathered to cover the march. The young man reportedly said, “Kisko chahiye azaadi, yeh lo azaadi,” (Who wants freedom? Here’s your freedom!) before he fired his gun. One young man identified as Shadaab was injured in the firing. His hand was covered in blood when he was rushed to the hospital. A video of the incident went viral on social media.

This incident comes just days after BJP’s Anurag Thakur encouraged people attending an election rally in Delhi to shoot traitors. He chanted “desh ke gaddaron ko…” to which the crowd responded with “goli maaro s****n ko” (Gun down traitors to the nation). Another man brandishing a gun had recently entered the site of the sit-in protest at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi. A vast majority of the protesters at Shaheen Bagh are women and there were also many children present at the venue. Luckily people were able to overpower the gunman at Shaheen Bagh and confiscate his weapon before he got a chance to fire it.

At the site of today’s incident though, the police and security personnel made no attempt to stop the gunman. An eyewitness told NDTV, “We were standing near the barricades when suddenly this outsider, whom none of us recognised, tried to disturb the peace of the march. He marches forward with a revolver in his hand. We were all trying to stop him and calm him down. The policemen were standing there. We tried to approach them to stop that guy. But they just kept standing there simply. When we tried to take the revolver from his hand, he shot one of our friends.” 

 

Gunman fires at protesters near Jamia, injures one

Man yelled “Yeh lo azaadi” before opening fire in full view of police and media

Jamia

On Thursday afternoon, a gunman whose identity cannot be revealed as he is a minor, opened fire on a group of protesters near Jamia Milia Islamia University (JMIU). The group of people, including JMIU students, who were protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and demanding a return to Gandhian values of peace, inclusion and tolerance, were planning to march from the university to Raj Ghat when the incident occurred.

Shockingly, the events unfolded in front of the police and security personnel deployed on the spot as well as in full view of media persons who had gathered to cover the march. The young man reportedly said, “Kisko chahiye azaadi, yeh lo azaadi,” (Who wants freedom? Here’s your freedom!) before he fired his gun. One young man identified as Shadaab was injured in the firing. His hand was covered in blood when he was rushed to the hospital. A video of the incident went viral on social media.

This incident comes just days after BJP’s Anurag Thakur encouraged people attending an election rally in Delhi to shoot traitors. He chanted “desh ke gaddaron ko…” to which the crowd responded with “goli maaro s****n ko” (Gun down traitors to the nation). Another man brandishing a gun had recently entered the site of the sit-in protest at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi. A vast majority of the protesters at Shaheen Bagh are women and there were also many children present at the venue. Luckily people were able to overpower the gunman at Shaheen Bagh and confiscate his weapon before he got a chance to fire it.

At the site of today’s incident though, the police and security personnel made no attempt to stop the gunman. An eyewitness told NDTV, “We were standing near the barricades when suddenly this outsider, whom none of us recognised, tried to disturb the peace of the march. He marches forward with a revolver in his hand. We were all trying to stop him and calm him down. The policemen were standing there. We tried to approach them to stop that guy. But they just kept standing there simply. When we tried to take the revolver from his hand, he shot one of our friends.” 

 

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No discussion on who killed Mahatma Gandhi is complete without addressing idea of a Hindu Rashtra

30 Jan 2020

First published on: 28 Jul 2016


 
The murder of Mahatma Gandhi, or more dramatically put, the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi was the first act of terror committed in independent India, as I wrote in the introduction to the volume, Beyond Doubt-A Dossier on Gandhi’s Assassination (2015, Tulika). It was also, I wrote, a declaration of war and a statement of intent.

It was a declaration of war by a section of society which remained largely on the fringes during the independence struggle and was committed to religion-based nationhood, and wanted India to become a Hindu rashtra. This was a section that bore visceral dislike toward the idea of composite culture and inclusive nationhood advocated by the Mahatma.

It is this ideology that unashamedly rules India today.

Any discussion on the assassination, therefore, needs to address the issues around the killing, the motives of the assassins. It should also examine further why Gandhi and what he stood for posed such a dire threat to the worldview of the killers.

Whenever the murder is discussed, and the factors responsible for the killing tossed around, public memory can often become carelessly selective, unwarrantedly perhaps spawning a dangerous ambivalence. I refer here specifically to the July 21 article that deliberately or otherwise skips crucial bits of the event. There are also several inaccuracies in the report that has carelessly quoted from earlier published articles.

Setting the record straight
There is need to set the record straight. The killing of Gandhi was not an isolated act but the last successful one of a series of attempts that began as early as 1934. Since the first attack on June 25 1934, there had been a total of five attempts on Gandhi’s life: in July and September 1944, September 1946, and January 20, 1948, ten days before he was actually shot dead.

Nathuram Godse was involved in two of the previous attempts besides the last one – that is, in a total of three, completely upsetting the comfortable narrative of Godse’s actions not being pre-meditated and coldly and carefully planned.

This aspect is completely missing from the article that fails to ask (while superficially relying on a sinister justification for the killing that Godse’s belief that “Gandhi helped create Pakistan” was the reason behind the killing) why some groups of persons found Gandhi and his beliefs so thoroughly repugnant that they had to eliminate him.

It was Gandhi’s commitment to composite nationhood as opposed to a religion-based state (Pakistan or Hindu Rashtra) and his support for the law against untouchability (he made a historic speech in the Central legislature in 1935) that made him enemy No 1 for all those who dreamt then – and conspire even today – to convert India into a Hindu Rashtra.

One of the crucial reasons for editing the volume Beyond Doubt was to bring to readers in English the seminal work of senior journalist and writer Jagan Phadnis who researched the killing back in 1998 as also the important contribution of Chunibhai Vaidya from Gujarat. These works along with historian YD Phadke’s analysis of the Kapoor Commission Report published in Communalism Combat are crucial reading for serious readers on the subject, and are included in the volume.

That the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was banned by the government of India within two days of the assassination, through a Government Resolution dated February 2, 1948, is surely a critical part of the narrative, which is absent in its recounting 68 years later. The language of this resolution, reproduced in Beyond Doubt, is unequivocal when it speaks of the determination of the government of India
 

“to root out the forces of hate and violence that are at work in our country and imperil the freedom of the Nation and darken her fair name. In pursuance of this politics [the GR says] the GOI has decided to declare as unlawful the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in the Chief Commissioner’s Provinces. Similar action is also being taken in the Governor’s provinces.”
The banning of the RSS within five months of India becoming independent and within two days of the dastardly killing of Mahatma Gandhi has been linked to the ‘undesirable and even dangerous activities carried out by individual members of the Sangh who have indulged in acts of violence involving arson, robbery, dacoity and murder and have collected illicit arms and ammunition. They have been found, “circulating leaflets exhorting people to resort to terrorist methods, to collect firearms, to create disaffection against the government and suborn the police and the military….The objectionable and harmful activities of the Sangh have, however, continued unabated and the cult of violence sponsored and inspired by the activities of the Sangh has claimed many victims. The latest and the most precious to fall was Gandhiji himself.” The GR was first published in the August 2004 issue of Communalism Combat, as part of the cover story, titled Hey Ram.

 

Ban and lifting the ban
The story does not end here. The communications between the Government of India through then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Home Minister Vallabhai Patel with the RSS also show up the falsehoods perpetrated by the Sangh, which has tried to distort even this part of history.

On September 11, 1948, the famous letter written by Patel to RSS chief MS Golwalkar strongly decries the systematic hate tactics of the Sangh before and after Gandhi’s assassination. This letter has been quoted in full in Desraj Goyal’s Rahstriya Swayamsevak Sangh (First published in 1979, Revised edition in 2000, Radhakrishna Prakashan Pvt Ltd, New Delhi).

More importantly, this and another letter written by Patel to the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee dated July 18, 1948 make clear the links between the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha.
The September 11, 1948 letter is of particular significance as it outlines the kind of activities the RSS was observed to indulge in.
 

“But the objectionable part arose when they, burning with revenge, began attacking Mussalmans. Organising Hindus and helping them is one thing but going in for revenge for its sufferings on innocent and helpless men, women and children is quite another thing……..All their speeches were full communal poison. It was not necessary to spread poison and enthuse the Hindus and organise for their protection. As a final result of the poison, the country had to suffer the sacrifice of the valuable life of Gandhiji. Even an iota of sympathy of the Government or of the people no more remained for the RSS. In fact the opposition grew. Opposition turned more severe, when the RSS men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death. Under these conditions it became inevitable for the Government to take action against the RSS.”
 

A government of India press note of November 14, 1948 relates to the outright rejection of a representation by Golwalkar to lift the ban on the RSS by the Home Ministry, refers to the "anti-national, often subversive and violent activities of the RSS”.

This press note, also obtained from the archives of the government of India, was first published in the August 2004 issue of Communalism Combat, as part of the cover story, titled Hey Ram.

The government of India took into account the considered opinion of provincial governments before arriving at its decision to ban the RSS. An article of The Indian Express dated February 7, 1948 reports that an RSS leader from Nagpur who had presented Godse with the revolver with which he killed Gandhi had been arrested. Other persons arrested included Professor Varahadpande of the City College, Nagpur.

This news report states that another professor of Nagpur had told his students a day before the assassination that “Gandhiji would be murdered”. An associate of the gang of conspirators, Devendra Kumar, was reported by the same newspaper to have surrendered to the District Magistrate, Mirzapur and taken to Lucknow under armed escort.

There is more such material which forms part of the annexes to the Kapoor Commission which will form part of the second volume of Beyond Doubt that I am currently annotating and editing. For the record, towards the end of the judgement in the Gandhi Murder case, Special Judge Atmacharan made the following remarks in regards to the conduct of the police with relation to the bomb attack on Gandhi on January 20, barely ten days before the day he died.

“ I may bring to the notice of the Central Government the slackness of the police in the investigation of the case during the period between January 20-30,1948... Had the slightest keenness been shown in the investigation of the case at that stage, the tragedy could have been averted.”

The terms of reference to the Kapoor Commission clearly show that it was not within its ambit to investigate whether or not the RSS was involved in the murder. It would be pertinent to again quote from the Government communiqué dated 11 July, 1949 provided in Appendix IV to Desraj Goyal’s Rahstriya Swayamsevak Sangh which laid down the conditions for lifting the ban on the RSS.

“The RSS leader has undertaken to make the loyalty to the Union Constitution and respect for the National Flag more explicit in the Constitution of the RSS and to provide clearly that persons believing or resorting to violent and secret methods will have no place in the Sangh..”

Among other conditions was that the RSS would function only as a cultural organisation.

Hindu rashtra

A genuine understanding of the motivations behind the ideology that killed Gandhi cannot skirt around the fundamental issue of religion-based nationhood. The contempt for the Indian Constitution is writ large in MS Golwalkar’s Bunch of Thoughts, which is proudly available on the RSS website even today (for example, see Page 119).

Despite its assurances to the government of India, the Indian tricolour remained anathema to the Sangh for 52 years after India became independent. It was only on January 26, 2002, that the RSS hoisted the tricolour on its headquarters. Until then it was always the bhagwa dhwaj, representing the Hindu nation.

In fact, the English organ of the RSS, Organiser (dated August 14, 1947) carried a feature titled “Mystery behind the bhagwa dhawaj” which, while demanding hoisting of the saffron flag at the ramparts of Red Fort in Delhi, openly denigrated the choice of the Tri-colour as the National Flag in the following words:

“The people who have come to power by the kick of fate may give in our hands the Tricolour but it never be respected and owned by Hindus. The word three is in itself an evil, and a flag having three colours will certainly produce a very bad psychological effect and is injurious to a country.”

It became even more brazen once the first RSS-driven government in New Delhi under Atal Behari Vajpayee came into power as the organisation’s mouthpiece Organiser proudly advertised the books published by Surya Bharati Prakashan, Gandhi Ji’s Murder and After by co-accused and brother of the assassin, Gopal Godse, as also May It Please Your Honour, by Nathuram Godse.

Both the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha have made money by glamourising the killer of Gandhi and claimed proud privilege for the reasons for the killing.

The crux of the issue for the Sangh and those who have opposed its supremacist ideology has always been about who has or has not the right to equal rights and citizenship in the India of today. On this issue Gandhi and the RSS stood on the extreme opposites ends of the spectrum. Not only can no one deny this, but it is this crucial issue that remains central to the debate around which forces were responsible for the murder of the Mahatma.

Courtesy: Scroll.in
 

No discussion on who killed Mahatma Gandhi is complete without addressing idea of a Hindu Rashtra

First published on: 28 Jul 2016


 
The murder of Mahatma Gandhi, or more dramatically put, the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi was the first act of terror committed in independent India, as I wrote in the introduction to the volume, Beyond Doubt-A Dossier on Gandhi’s Assassination (2015, Tulika). It was also, I wrote, a declaration of war and a statement of intent.

It was a declaration of war by a section of society which remained largely on the fringes during the independence struggle and was committed to religion-based nationhood, and wanted India to become a Hindu rashtra. This was a section that bore visceral dislike toward the idea of composite culture and inclusive nationhood advocated by the Mahatma.

It is this ideology that unashamedly rules India today.

Any discussion on the assassination, therefore, needs to address the issues around the killing, the motives of the assassins. It should also examine further why Gandhi and what he stood for posed such a dire threat to the worldview of the killers.

Whenever the murder is discussed, and the factors responsible for the killing tossed around, public memory can often become carelessly selective, unwarrantedly perhaps spawning a dangerous ambivalence. I refer here specifically to the July 21 article that deliberately or otherwise skips crucial bits of the event. There are also several inaccuracies in the report that has carelessly quoted from earlier published articles.

Setting the record straight
There is need to set the record straight. The killing of Gandhi was not an isolated act but the last successful one of a series of attempts that began as early as 1934. Since the first attack on June 25 1934, there had been a total of five attempts on Gandhi’s life: in July and September 1944, September 1946, and January 20, 1948, ten days before he was actually shot dead.

Nathuram Godse was involved in two of the previous attempts besides the last one – that is, in a total of three, completely upsetting the comfortable narrative of Godse’s actions not being pre-meditated and coldly and carefully planned.

This aspect is completely missing from the article that fails to ask (while superficially relying on a sinister justification for the killing that Godse’s belief that “Gandhi helped create Pakistan” was the reason behind the killing) why some groups of persons found Gandhi and his beliefs so thoroughly repugnant that they had to eliminate him.

It was Gandhi’s commitment to composite nationhood as opposed to a religion-based state (Pakistan or Hindu Rashtra) and his support for the law against untouchability (he made a historic speech in the Central legislature in 1935) that made him enemy No 1 for all those who dreamt then – and conspire even today – to convert India into a Hindu Rashtra.

One of the crucial reasons for editing the volume Beyond Doubt was to bring to readers in English the seminal work of senior journalist and writer Jagan Phadnis who researched the killing back in 1998 as also the important contribution of Chunibhai Vaidya from Gujarat. These works along with historian YD Phadke’s analysis of the Kapoor Commission Report published in Communalism Combat are crucial reading for serious readers on the subject, and are included in the volume.

That the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was banned by the government of India within two days of the assassination, through a Government Resolution dated February 2, 1948, is surely a critical part of the narrative, which is absent in its recounting 68 years later. The language of this resolution, reproduced in Beyond Doubt, is unequivocal when it speaks of the determination of the government of India
 

“to root out the forces of hate and violence that are at work in our country and imperil the freedom of the Nation and darken her fair name. In pursuance of this politics [the GR says] the GOI has decided to declare as unlawful the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in the Chief Commissioner’s Provinces. Similar action is also being taken in the Governor’s provinces.”
The banning of the RSS within five months of India becoming independent and within two days of the dastardly killing of Mahatma Gandhi has been linked to the ‘undesirable and even dangerous activities carried out by individual members of the Sangh who have indulged in acts of violence involving arson, robbery, dacoity and murder and have collected illicit arms and ammunition. They have been found, “circulating leaflets exhorting people to resort to terrorist methods, to collect firearms, to create disaffection against the government and suborn the police and the military….The objectionable and harmful activities of the Sangh have, however, continued unabated and the cult of violence sponsored and inspired by the activities of the Sangh has claimed many victims. The latest and the most precious to fall was Gandhiji himself.” The GR was first published in the August 2004 issue of Communalism Combat, as part of the cover story, titled Hey Ram.

 

Ban and lifting the ban
The story does not end here. The communications between the Government of India through then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Home Minister Vallabhai Patel with the RSS also show up the falsehoods perpetrated by the Sangh, which has tried to distort even this part of history.

On September 11, 1948, the famous letter written by Patel to RSS chief MS Golwalkar strongly decries the systematic hate tactics of the Sangh before and after Gandhi’s assassination. This letter has been quoted in full in Desraj Goyal’s Rahstriya Swayamsevak Sangh (First published in 1979, Revised edition in 2000, Radhakrishna Prakashan Pvt Ltd, New Delhi).

More importantly, this and another letter written by Patel to the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee dated July 18, 1948 make clear the links between the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha.
The September 11, 1948 letter is of particular significance as it outlines the kind of activities the RSS was observed to indulge in.
 

“But the objectionable part arose when they, burning with revenge, began attacking Mussalmans. Organising Hindus and helping them is one thing but going in for revenge for its sufferings on innocent and helpless men, women and children is quite another thing……..All their speeches were full communal poison. It was not necessary to spread poison and enthuse the Hindus and organise for their protection. As a final result of the poison, the country had to suffer the sacrifice of the valuable life of Gandhiji. Even an iota of sympathy of the Government or of the people no more remained for the RSS. In fact the opposition grew. Opposition turned more severe, when the RSS men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death. Under these conditions it became inevitable for the Government to take action against the RSS.”
 

A government of India press note of November 14, 1948 relates to the outright rejection of a representation by Golwalkar to lift the ban on the RSS by the Home Ministry, refers to the "anti-national, often subversive and violent activities of the RSS”.

This press note, also obtained from the archives of the government of India, was first published in the August 2004 issue of Communalism Combat, as part of the cover story, titled Hey Ram.

The government of India took into account the considered opinion of provincial governments before arriving at its decision to ban the RSS. An article of The Indian Express dated February 7, 1948 reports that an RSS leader from Nagpur who had presented Godse with the revolver with which he killed Gandhi had been arrested. Other persons arrested included Professor Varahadpande of the City College, Nagpur.

This news report states that another professor of Nagpur had told his students a day before the assassination that “Gandhiji would be murdered”. An associate of the gang of conspirators, Devendra Kumar, was reported by the same newspaper to have surrendered to the District Magistrate, Mirzapur and taken to Lucknow under armed escort.

There is more such material which forms part of the annexes to the Kapoor Commission which will form part of the second volume of Beyond Doubt that I am currently annotating and editing. For the record, towards the end of the judgement in the Gandhi Murder case, Special Judge Atmacharan made the following remarks in regards to the conduct of the police with relation to the bomb attack on Gandhi on January 20, barely ten days before the day he died.

“ I may bring to the notice of the Central Government the slackness of the police in the investigation of the case during the period between January 20-30,1948... Had the slightest keenness been shown in the investigation of the case at that stage, the tragedy could have been averted.”

The terms of reference to the Kapoor Commission clearly show that it was not within its ambit to investigate whether or not the RSS was involved in the murder. It would be pertinent to again quote from the Government communiqué dated 11 July, 1949 provided in Appendix IV to Desraj Goyal’s Rahstriya Swayamsevak Sangh which laid down the conditions for lifting the ban on the RSS.

“The RSS leader has undertaken to make the loyalty to the Union Constitution and respect for the National Flag more explicit in the Constitution of the RSS and to provide clearly that persons believing or resorting to violent and secret methods will have no place in the Sangh..”

Among other conditions was that the RSS would function only as a cultural organisation.

Hindu rashtra

A genuine understanding of the motivations behind the ideology that killed Gandhi cannot skirt around the fundamental issue of religion-based nationhood. The contempt for the Indian Constitution is writ large in MS Golwalkar’s Bunch of Thoughts, which is proudly available on the RSS website even today (for example, see Page 119).

Despite its assurances to the government of India, the Indian tricolour remained anathema to the Sangh for 52 years after India became independent. It was only on January 26, 2002, that the RSS hoisted the tricolour on its headquarters. Until then it was always the bhagwa dhwaj, representing the Hindu nation.

In fact, the English organ of the RSS, Organiser (dated August 14, 1947) carried a feature titled “Mystery behind the bhagwa dhawaj” which, while demanding hoisting of the saffron flag at the ramparts of Red Fort in Delhi, openly denigrated the choice of the Tri-colour as the National Flag in the following words:

“The people who have come to power by the kick of fate may give in our hands the Tricolour but it never be respected and owned by Hindus. The word three is in itself an evil, and a flag having three colours will certainly produce a very bad psychological effect and is injurious to a country.”

It became even more brazen once the first RSS-driven government in New Delhi under Atal Behari Vajpayee came into power as the organisation’s mouthpiece Organiser proudly advertised the books published by Surya Bharati Prakashan, Gandhi Ji’s Murder and After by co-accused and brother of the assassin, Gopal Godse, as also May It Please Your Honour, by Nathuram Godse.

Both the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha have made money by glamourising the killer of Gandhi and claimed proud privilege for the reasons for the killing.

The crux of the issue for the Sangh and those who have opposed its supremacist ideology has always been about who has or has not the right to equal rights and citizenship in the India of today. On this issue Gandhi and the RSS stood on the extreme opposites ends of the spectrum. Not only can no one deny this, but it is this crucial issue that remains central to the debate around which forces were responsible for the murder of the Mahatma.

Courtesy: Scroll.in
 

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Mahatma Gandhi: 'My Ramrajya means Khuda ki Basti... but a Secular State'

30 Jan 2020

First published on: 02 Oct 2016

“By Ram Rajya I do not mean Hindu Raj. I mean by Ramarajya Divine Raj, Khuda ki Basti or the Kingdom of God on Earth”  Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi[1]
 
At the heart of the visceral animosity that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Hindu Mahasabha (HMS) and all the affiliates have against Gandhi is his deep, reasoned and passionate commitment to a composite Indian nationhood. His writings in Young India and Harijan are well-documented as also is his subsequent clarity on the issue which is unequivocal. [2]



Faced with the growing appeal of communalists across the religious spectrum, in the early-mid 1900s,  Gandhi remained firm in his commitment to equal citizenship based on human rights and dignity.....
...
Under Gandhi’s guidance and leadership, communal amity remained central to the constructive programmes of the Congress. Muslim intellectuals and leaders of national stature, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Dr Ansari Hakim Ajmal Khan, Badruddin Tyabjee, Maulana Shaukat Ali and Jauhar Ali were proud part of the Congress fold. While the larger national movement, represented by the Congress and Revolutionaries, was surging ahead with a wider vision and inclusive foundation of Indian nationhood, at play were majoritarian and minority communal forces, in parallel, pushing their narrow, hate-driven, communal agendas.

In 1937, at the open session of the Hindu Mahasabha held at Ahmedabad, V.D. Savarkar, in his presidential address asserted: “India cannot be assumed today to be a unitarian and homogenous nation, but on the contrary there are two nations in the main – the Hindus and the Muslims.”[1] By 1945, Savarkar had gone to the extent of stating, “I have no quarrel with Mr. Jinnah’s two–nation theory. We, the Hindus are a nation by ourselves, and it is a historical fact that the Hindus and the Muslims are two nations”. [2]. It was this sentiment of separate and irreconcilable identities of the followers of these religions that led to the communal holocaust and the formation of Pakistan. 

If the Muslim League and Jinnah need to squarely be positioned for their responsibility in articulating a politics that eventually led to a communal bloodbath, the Hindu Mahasabha and the Rashtritya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) with their consistently divisive politics, cannot escape their share of the blame.

Arguably, as much as Gandhi’s and the larger, Congress’ commitment to secular and composite Indian nationhood, a deep source of resentment for the proponents of a Hindu Rashtra was the democratic and egalitarian agenda being articulated by the national leadership through the Karachi resolution. The attempts on Gandhi’s life that began in 1934 , were a response to the dominant political articulations on nationhood, caste and economic and other democratic rights that were in direct challenge to a hegemonistic and authoritarian Hindu Rashtra. 1933, the year before the first attempt on Gandhi’s life, he had declared firm support to two Bills, one of whom was against the abhorrent practice of Untouchability.

The run up to Independence and unfortunately, Partition, was the scene or battle ground for fundamentally different notions of nationhood. While over one hundred years of sustained movements and mobilizations to throw off British yoke were wedded in the united battle of all Indians against foreign rule, the early-mid 1900s saw the birth and emergence of sectarian and communal definitions of Indian and Pakistani nationhood. With the birth of the Hindu Mahasabha, the Muslim League and the RSS, these movements were in constant battle with the larger movement, significantly, at different points of time actually acting as collaborators with the British.
…..

Later, on January 27, 1935, Gandhi addressed some members of the Central Legislature. He told them that "(e)ven if the whole body of Hindu opinion were to be against the removal of untouchability, still he would advise a secular legislature like the Assembly not to tolerate that attitude.".[1] On January 20, 1942 Gandhi remarked while discussing the Pakistan scheme: "What conflict of interest can there be between Hindus and Muslims in the matter of revenue, sanitation, police, justice, or the use of public conveniences? The difference can only be in religious usage and observance with which a secular state has no concern." [2] From then until he was shot dead in cold blood on January 30, 1948, his responses and articulation on the disassociation of religion from politics became even clearer and sharper. This meant in effect he was a great threat to past and present day proponents of a Hindu rashtra.

[[As quoted by Nauriya, in the Hindu, 2003, in September 1946, Gandhi told a Christian missionary: "If I were a dictator, religion and state would be separate. I swear by my religion. I will die for it. But it is my personal affair. The state has nothing to do with it. The state would look after your secular welfare, health, communications, foreign relations, currency and so on, but not your or my religion. That is everybody's personal concern!" Gandhi' s talk with Rev. Kellas of the Scottish Church College, Calcutta on August 16, 1947, the day after Independence, was reported in Harijan on August 24:

"Gandhiji expressed the opinion that the state should undoubtedly be secular. It could never promote denominational education out of public funds. Everyone living in it should be entitled to profess his religion without let or hindrance, so long as the citizen obeyed the common law of the land. There should be no interference with missionary effort, but no mission could enjoy the patronage of the state as it did during the foreign regime." This understanding came subsequently to be reflected in Articles 25, 26 and 27 of the Constitution.

On the next day, August 17, Gandhi elaborated publicly on the same point in his speech at Narkeldanga, which Harijan reported thus: "In the India for whose fashioning he had worked all his life every man enjoyed equality of status, whatever his religion was. The state was bound to be wholly secular. He went so far as to say that no denominational institution in it should enjoy state patronage. All subjects would thus be equal in the eye of the law." Five days later, Gandhi observed in a speech at Deshbandhu Park in Calcutta on August 22, 1947: "Religion was a personal matter and if we succeeded in confining it to the personal plane, all would be well in our political life... If officers of Government as well as members of the public undertook the responsibility and worked wholeheartedly for the creation of a secular state, we could build a new India that would be the glory of the world." Speaking on Guru Nanak's birthday on November 28, 1947, Gandhi opposed any possibility of state funds being spent for the renovation of the Somnath temple. His reasoning was: "After all, we have formed the Government for all. It is a `secular' government, that is, it is not a theocratic government, rather, it does not belong to any particular religion. Hence it cannot spend money on the basis of communities." ]]

Excerpted from Beyond Doubt: A Dossier on Gandhi's Assassination, Teesta Setalvad, Introduction by the author
 

[1] Ibid, from The Collected works of Mahatma Gandhi
[2] Ibid
[3] Swatantarya Veer Savarkar, Vol. 6 page 296, Maharashtra Prantiya Hindu Mahasabha, Pune
[4] Indian Educational Register, 1943, vol. 2, page 10

  [5] Gandhi in Young India, September 19, 1929, p. 305.

[6] Gandhi on secular law and state,  http://hindu.com/2003/10/22/stories/2003102200891000.htm. Anil Nauriya

Mahatma Gandhi: 'My Ramrajya means Khuda ki Basti... but a Secular State'

First published on: 02 Oct 2016

“By Ram Rajya I do not mean Hindu Raj. I mean by Ramarajya Divine Raj, Khuda ki Basti or the Kingdom of God on Earth”  Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi[1]
 
At the heart of the visceral animosity that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Hindu Mahasabha (HMS) and all the affiliates have against Gandhi is his deep, reasoned and passionate commitment to a composite Indian nationhood. His writings in Young India and Harijan are well-documented as also is his subsequent clarity on the issue which is unequivocal. [2]



Faced with the growing appeal of communalists across the religious spectrum, in the early-mid 1900s,  Gandhi remained firm in his commitment to equal citizenship based on human rights and dignity.....
...
Under Gandhi’s guidance and leadership, communal amity remained central to the constructive programmes of the Congress. Muslim intellectuals and leaders of national stature, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Dr Ansari Hakim Ajmal Khan, Badruddin Tyabjee, Maulana Shaukat Ali and Jauhar Ali were proud part of the Congress fold. While the larger national movement, represented by the Congress and Revolutionaries, was surging ahead with a wider vision and inclusive foundation of Indian nationhood, at play were majoritarian and minority communal forces, in parallel, pushing their narrow, hate-driven, communal agendas.

In 1937, at the open session of the Hindu Mahasabha held at Ahmedabad, V.D. Savarkar, in his presidential address asserted: “India cannot be assumed today to be a unitarian and homogenous nation, but on the contrary there are two nations in the main – the Hindus and the Muslims.”[1] By 1945, Savarkar had gone to the extent of stating, “I have no quarrel with Mr. Jinnah’s two–nation theory. We, the Hindus are a nation by ourselves, and it is a historical fact that the Hindus and the Muslims are two nations”. [2]. It was this sentiment of separate and irreconcilable identities of the followers of these religions that led to the communal holocaust and the formation of Pakistan. 

If the Muslim League and Jinnah need to squarely be positioned for their responsibility in articulating a politics that eventually led to a communal bloodbath, the Hindu Mahasabha and the Rashtritya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) with their consistently divisive politics, cannot escape their share of the blame.

Arguably, as much as Gandhi’s and the larger, Congress’ commitment to secular and composite Indian nationhood, a deep source of resentment for the proponents of a Hindu Rashtra was the democratic and egalitarian agenda being articulated by the national leadership through the Karachi resolution. The attempts on Gandhi’s life that began in 1934 , were a response to the dominant political articulations on nationhood, caste and economic and other democratic rights that were in direct challenge to a hegemonistic and authoritarian Hindu Rashtra. 1933, the year before the first attempt on Gandhi’s life, he had declared firm support to two Bills, one of whom was against the abhorrent practice of Untouchability.

The run up to Independence and unfortunately, Partition, was the scene or battle ground for fundamentally different notions of nationhood. While over one hundred years of sustained movements and mobilizations to throw off British yoke were wedded in the united battle of all Indians against foreign rule, the early-mid 1900s saw the birth and emergence of sectarian and communal definitions of Indian and Pakistani nationhood. With the birth of the Hindu Mahasabha, the Muslim League and the RSS, these movements were in constant battle with the larger movement, significantly, at different points of time actually acting as collaborators with the British.
…..

Later, on January 27, 1935, Gandhi addressed some members of the Central Legislature. He told them that "(e)ven if the whole body of Hindu opinion were to be against the removal of untouchability, still he would advise a secular legislature like the Assembly not to tolerate that attitude.".[1] On January 20, 1942 Gandhi remarked while discussing the Pakistan scheme: "What conflict of interest can there be between Hindus and Muslims in the matter of revenue, sanitation, police, justice, or the use of public conveniences? The difference can only be in religious usage and observance with which a secular state has no concern." [2] From then until he was shot dead in cold blood on January 30, 1948, his responses and articulation on the disassociation of religion from politics became even clearer and sharper. This meant in effect he was a great threat to past and present day proponents of a Hindu rashtra.

[[As quoted by Nauriya, in the Hindu, 2003, in September 1946, Gandhi told a Christian missionary: "If I were a dictator, religion and state would be separate. I swear by my religion. I will die for it. But it is my personal affair. The state has nothing to do with it. The state would look after your secular welfare, health, communications, foreign relations, currency and so on, but not your or my religion. That is everybody's personal concern!" Gandhi' s talk with Rev. Kellas of the Scottish Church College, Calcutta on August 16, 1947, the day after Independence, was reported in Harijan on August 24:

"Gandhiji expressed the opinion that the state should undoubtedly be secular. It could never promote denominational education out of public funds. Everyone living in it should be entitled to profess his religion without let or hindrance, so long as the citizen obeyed the common law of the land. There should be no interference with missionary effort, but no mission could enjoy the patronage of the state as it did during the foreign regime." This understanding came subsequently to be reflected in Articles 25, 26 and 27 of the Constitution.

On the next day, August 17, Gandhi elaborated publicly on the same point in his speech at Narkeldanga, which Harijan reported thus: "In the India for whose fashioning he had worked all his life every man enjoyed equality of status, whatever his religion was. The state was bound to be wholly secular. He went so far as to say that no denominational institution in it should enjoy state patronage. All subjects would thus be equal in the eye of the law." Five days later, Gandhi observed in a speech at Deshbandhu Park in Calcutta on August 22, 1947: "Religion was a personal matter and if we succeeded in confining it to the personal plane, all would be well in our political life... If officers of Government as well as members of the public undertook the responsibility and worked wholeheartedly for the creation of a secular state, we could build a new India that would be the glory of the world." Speaking on Guru Nanak's birthday on November 28, 1947, Gandhi opposed any possibility of state funds being spent for the renovation of the Somnath temple. His reasoning was: "After all, we have formed the Government for all. It is a `secular' government, that is, it is not a theocratic government, rather, it does not belong to any particular religion. Hence it cannot spend money on the basis of communities." ]]

Excerpted from Beyond Doubt: A Dossier on Gandhi's Assassination, Teesta Setalvad, Introduction by the author
 

[1] Ibid, from The Collected works of Mahatma Gandhi
[2] Ibid
[3] Swatantarya Veer Savarkar, Vol. 6 page 296, Maharashtra Prantiya Hindu Mahasabha, Pune
[4] Indian Educational Register, 1943, vol. 2, page 10

  [5] Gandhi in Young India, September 19, 1929, p. 305.

[6] Gandhi on secular law and state,  http://hindu.com/2003/10/22/stories/2003102200891000.htm. Anil Nauriya

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