This Everyday Patriotism Agnipariksha (Trial by Fire) from Hindutva Needs an Innovative Response

On the eve of 71st anniversary of India’s Independence, the government of UP led by a senior leader of Hindu Mahasabha and RSS, Mahant Adityanath Yogi, came out with a shocking order for madrasaas (Islamic seminaries).


These institutiond were ordered to compulsorily observe India’s Independence Day, August 15, and the same compellef  to video-graph the exercise, to be sent to the administration, as patriotism proof.

The order was issued by registrar of UP Madrasa Shiksha Parishad, Rahul Gupta. The circular directed all madrasaas to hoist the tricolour and sing the national anthem at 8 am. The madrasaa gatherings were also asked to be told about the sacrifices of the freedom fighters. The flag hoisting was to  be followed by a speech on the importance of the freedom struggle and the sacrifices made by freedom fighters. It was also ordered that students would have to pay tributes to freedom fighters on the occasion.[1]

When asked why only madrasaas were ordered to celebrate Independence with a list of dos and provide proof of the same and this order was not applicable on the government school, the Basic Education Board secretary, Sanjay Sinha, crossing all norms of decency, fair-play, justice and equal treatment to all citizens, made this shocking statement: “We trust our schools. They are our teachers, our students and so why should we seek any evidence.”[2]

Thus making it clear that madarsa students and teachers were ‘others’ whose loyalty was suspect. This statement not only doubted the loyalty of Muslims attached to madrasaas but is also directed at generating  hatred towards the largest minority of UP. Such a statement coming from a senior UP official could lead to provokrd or perpetrated violence against Muslims in general and is a criminal act under section 153 A of the Indian Penal Code. The police should have filed FIR under the law.[3]

No action was taken by the State which the situation demanded. Even more shameful was the indifferent attitude of prominent Muslim organisations of UP who slept over it, instead of taking recourse to judicial redressal.
Madrassas played a great and heroic role in the struggle for India’s Freedom
The madrasas under communal attack in UP and elsewhere have been part of India’s glorious freedom struggle. The renowned historian RC Majumdar who produced tremendous body of research based works on the Cellular Jail found out that the first batch of persons who were  incarcerated there consisted of leaders of thr 1857 Uprising like Maulana Fazle Haq Khairabadi, Maulana Liaqat Ali and Maulana Jafar Ali Thaneshwari who died there while serving life sentences. The second batch of prisoners were Wahabi maulvi revolutionaries who had continued waging the 1857 liberation struggle.[4] VD Savarkar before turning into an apostle of Hindu separatism, in his monumental work on 1857 Uprising, The Indian War of Independence 1857 hugely praised maulvis like Ahmed Shah who “had woven fine and cleverly the webs of the Jehad.[5]

According to the contemporary documents of the British military archives, in Delhi itself the British army after capturing the city in September 1857 hanged more than 3000 teachers and students of madrasaas. Muslims were not allowed entry into the city till 1859.

During the anti-colonial freedom movement, these were madrasaa maulvis (teachers) like Maulana Shibli Nomani, Maulana Shaukat Ali, Maulana Mohammed Ali, Maulana Hifzur Rehman, Maulana Hasrat Mohani, Hafiz Ibrahim, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Maulana Habeebur Rehman Ludhianvi and Maulana Madani who with Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Patel bore brunt of the repression for being part of the freedom movement. Some of these maulvis were incarcerated at Malta and spent half of their lives in the British jails. It is to be noted that these maulvis refused to accept Partition of India on the religious bases despite Congress accepting it.

Madrassas with such a glorious role in the freedom struggle of India with countless martyrs from its past fraternity in the cause of the freedom of India, are being ridiculed and harassed for being ‘disloyal’. The State is out to teach the ‘anti-national’ Muslims patriotism. Let’s compare this fundamental character of madrasaas with the role of RSS and Hindu Mahasabha in the freedom struggle whose children the rule India presently.

The RSS Hatred for the Tricolour
 The RSS since its inception in 1925 hated anything, which symbolized the united struggle of the Indian people against British rule. The case of the Tricolour is the most pertinent one. In December 1929 Congress at its Lahore session adopted ‘Purna Swaraj’ or complete self-rule as the national goal and called upon the people to observe January 26, 1930 as Independence Day by displaying and honouring the Tricolour (the Tricolour was by consensus considered the flag of the national movement by this time). In response to this Hedgewar as chief issued a circular to all the RSS shakhas to worship the bhagwa jhanda (saffron flag) as the national flag.

Golwalkar, the most prominent ideologue of the RSS and Guru of many of present lot of RSS/BJP leaders while addressing a Gurupurnima gathering in Nagpur on July 14, 1946, stated that it was the saffron flag which in totality represented their great culture. It was the embodiment of God: “We firmly believe that in the end the whole nation will bow before this saffron flag.”[6]

Even after independence when the Tricolour became the National Flag, it was the RSS which refused to accept it as the National Flag. Golwalkar while discussing the issue of the national flag in an essay entitled ‘Drifting and Drifting’ in the book Bunch of Thoughts, an RSS publication and collection of writings of Golwalkar, decried Tricolour in the following words: “Our leaders have set up a new flag for our country. Why did they do so? It is just a case of drifting and imitating….Ours is an ancient and great nation with a glorious past. Then, had we no flag of our own? Had we no national emblem at all these thousands of years? Undoubtedly, we had. Then why this utter void, this utter vacuum in our minds?”[7]

The most shocking denigration of the National Flag by the RSS came just on the eve of India’s Independence. The RSS English organ Organizer (August 14, 1947) while demanding hoisting of 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.”

The RSS/BJP governors of UP by enforcing celebration of Independence Day on the madrassas of UP are, in fact, attempting to cover-up their betrayal of the glorious united freedom struggle of Indian people. The RSS never participated in the freedom struggle and it was confessed by Guru Golwalkar who was boss of the organization 1940 onward. Non-cooperation Movement and Quit India Movement were two great milestones in the history of the Indian Freedom Movement and here is how he decried these movements.

“Definitely there are bound to be bad results of struggle. The boys became unruly after the 1920-21 movement. It is not an attempt to throw mud at the leaders. But these are inevitable products after the struggle. The matter is that we could not properly control these results. After 1942, people often started thinking that there was no need to think of the law.”[8]

Thus, Golwalkar wanted the Indians to respect the draconian and repressive laws of the inhuman British rulers! Guruji also confessed how RSS kept away from the freedom movement.

“In 1942 also there was a strong sentiment in the hearts of many. At that time, too the routine work of Sangh continued. Sangh vowed not to do anything directly. However, upheaval (uthal-puthal) in the minds of Sangh volunteers continued. Sangh is an organization of inactive persons, their talks are useless, not only outsiders but also many of our volunteers did talk like this. They were greatly disgusted too.”[9]

The Hindu Mahasabha led by RSS beloved, Savarkar, ran coalition governments with Muslim League in Bengal, Sind and NWFP when Congress was banned due to the launch of Quit India Movement. Shockingly, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, another Hindutva icon of RSS/BJP was deputy chief minister in the Muslim League ministry of Bengal.[10]

It must have been the ideological reason that Golwalkar (RSS chief since 1940), Deendayal Upadhyay (prominent RSS cadre since 1937) and LK Advani (RSS activist since 1942) never participated in the freedom struggle.

Even the greatest Hindutva icon of the RSS/BJP, Savarkar wrote 4-5 mercy petitions to the British masters for release from Cellular Jail. Ultimately, he was released after 10 years whereas he had been sentenced for 50 years.

This discriminatory order doubting the patriotism of Muslims imposed by the RSS/BJP rulers of UP for madrasaas has, naturally, terrorized Muslims of UP and a strong sense of despair prevails amongst them. They are scared that this issue like cow will be used to physically target them and another spell of lynching and destruction will follow.

Saddest part is that the Muslim organizations which mushroom in UP and elsewhere have kept mum on this brazen attack. The discriminatory order was not challenged for being a serious cause of spreading hatred against common Muslims. Apart from challenging it, madrasaa administrations should have used this opportunity to the to equip the Muslim audiences with the anti-national history of the RSS/BJP rulers. If they announce that next August 15 (2018), the madrassas would discuss the treacherous anti-national role of the Hindutva gang while following this order, it may be consigned to the dustbin. But for it the madrasaas will have to prepare documents in Urdu specially focussing on the betrayal of freedom struggle by the Hindutva gang. Next August 15 is not too long away, the preparations must start now.


[3] Ingredients of Section 153A: ∙ The act of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste, community or any other group. ∙ Acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different groups or castes or communities, if the acts disturb public tranquillity. ∙ Acts causing fear or alarm or a feeling of insecurity among members of any religious, racial, language or regional group or caste or community by use of criminal force or violence against them.
[4] RC Majumdar, Penal Settlements in Andamans, Government of India, Delhi, 1975, 143.
[5] VD Savarkar, The Indian War of Independence 1857, Rajdhani, Delhi, 88.
[6] MS Golwalkar, Shri Guruji Samagar Darshan (collected works of Golwalkar in Hindi), Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, nd., volume I, p. 98.
[7] MS Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore, 1996, pp. 237-238.
[8] SGSD, volume IV, 41.
[9] Ibid., p. 40.
[10] Samagar Savarkar Wangmaya (Collected Works of Savarkar), Hindu Mahasabha,  Poona, 1963,  479-480.



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