Get it Right: PM Modi Talked About ‘Purification’, Not ‘Empowerment’, of Muslims

And why did the Indian English & Hindi Media (except Telegraph and Tribune) conveniently change the word ‘parishkar’—that Modi used– which means ‘to purify’, to ‘empowerment’ & ‘sashaktikaran’?

He was also a leader of from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS) who died a mysterious death

modi deendayal

PM Modi is a senior seasoned swayamsevak of the RSS who describes himself as ‘a Hindu nationalist’ and, moreover, misses no opportunity to denigrate the minorities of India especially Muslims.

The latest such attempt was, when on September 25, 2016 while addressing a national level BJP conclave at Kozhikode, Kerala he did not forget to share his belief with his captive audience about Muslims being the ‘other’ or ‘different from ‘us’ borrowing directly from ideas buried deep with the archival reserves of the RSS.

For him Muslims were not like any other citizen of India but a problem and to put across his message with more clarity he quoted a senior ideologue of the RSS, Deendayal Upadhyaya (1916-1968).[i]

According to Modi:
“Fifty years ago, Pandit Upadhyaya said 'do not reward/appease (puraskrit) Muslims, do not shun (tiraskrit) them but purify (parishkar) them'. Do not treat Muslims like vote ki mandi ka maal (vote banks) or ghrina ki vastu (object of hatred). Unhe apna samjho (regard them as your own)"[ii]

This statement of Modi was widely reported by media.

But the most shocking aspect of this reportage was, how, that one Hindi word ‘parishkar’ which means ‘to purify’ was conveniently changed to ‘empowerment’ by India’s English media and ‘sashaktikaran’ by the Hindi media.

Even media houses which are, by and large, regarded as objective did it[iii]and same was with the print media[iv] except a few exceptions like The Tribune and The Telegraph.

Critically, in none of the Hindi/Sanskrit to English dictionaries is the word ‘parishkar’ translated as ‘empowerment’.

Why large sections of the media indulged in this creative mis-representation – in, actually, completely changing the meaning of a word actually spoken by the prime minister, Modi, is not difficult to explain. The media, within India, has set itself a unique project : present Modi as a great democrat despite his overt leanings towards a theocratic authoritanisam (Hindutva and anti-democratic).

What was the context within which Modi chose these words of wisdom specifically about Indian Muslims?

India’s defences are being breached by terrorists from Pakistan (Pathankot and Uri) in which dozens of brave India soldiers have laid down their lives, different parts of the country like Gujarat, Haryana and Maharashtra are witnessing Caste-wars; conflicts over water have caused unrest and violence in Karnataka and Tamilnadu.  The Muslim minority and Dalits across the country are facing unparalleled persecution by viggilante groups that owe ideological affinity with the RSS; arguably, heinous crimes against women have been on a sharp increase, unemployment and rise in prices are at an all time high (if you look at the past five year index). In the midst of all of this, the prime minister Modi, instead of speaking on these critical issues chose the occasion of his party’s national executive, to speak about ‘Muslims’.

In quoting Deendayal Updhyaya, he made his view and that of his government on India’s largest minority, clear. Interestingly, Deendayal was not against minorities –esspecially Muslims and Christians– only. As a zealot of Hindutva (and wedded to the ideal of a Hindu theocratic nation), and ideologue he believed in the Caste System and Structure; espoused the centralization of powers and defended the non-participation of the Hindutva rightwing in anti-British freedom struggle. He propounded the theory of ‘Cultural nationalism’ which is nothing but Hindu nationalism, a crucial programmatic aspect of the Hindutva ideology.

Muslims as a ‘complex problem’
It is to be remembered that Deendayal throughout his life treated Muslims not as equal citizens and part of Indian polity but as a ‘complex problem’. According to him,
“after independence many important problems had to be faced by the government, the political parties and the people…But the Muslim problem is the oldest, the most complicated and it assumes ever-new forms. This problem has been facing us for the last twelve hundred years.”[v]
This hatred for Indian Muslims was, in fact, a continuation of Hindutva brigade’s inimical attitude towards Islam and Muslims. The most prominent ideologue of the RSS, MS Golwalkar who personally groomed Deendayal as a politician had earlier described Muslims as ‘Internal Threat No. 1’. Christians were declared to be ‘Internal Threat No. 2’.[vi]According to him these two communities could not be described as minorities.

Defence of Casteism
Deendayal was a votary of Casteism describing it as not only natural but also practical. He went to the extent of equating it with swadharma (one’s own religion). In fact, he declared inequality to be natural to human society, thus treating Casteism also as a natural institution. Defending Casteism he said:
“Even though slogans of equality are raised in the modern world, the concept of equality has to be accepted with discretion. Our actual experience is that from the practical and material point of view, no two men are alike… Considerable bitterness could be avoided if the idea of equality as conceived by Hindu thinkers is studied more carefully. The first and basic premise is that even if men have different qualities and different kinds of duties allotted to them according to their qualities or aptitudes, all duties are equally dignified. This is called swadharma, and there is an unequivocal assurance that to follow swadharma is itself equivalent to the worship of God. So, in any duties performed to fulfill swadharma, the question of high and low, dignified and undignified does not arise at all. If the duty is done without selfishness, no blame attaches itself to the doer.”[vii]

Questioning the Freedom Struggle
Deendayal joined RSS when he was 26 years old and India was facing one of the most brutal repressions unleashed by the British rulers. Like any other leader or cadre of the RSS, Deendayal too did not participate in the freedom struggle for the obvious reason that it was a united struggle of people of all religions for a democratic-secular India and not an exclusive Hindu project. He denigrated the glorious freedom struggle in the following words:
“we were obsessed by the misleading notion that freedom consisted merely in overthrowing foreign rule. Opposition to a foreign government does not necessarily imply genuine love of Motherland…During the struggle for independence great emphasis was laid on the opposition to British rule…It came to be believed that whoever opposed the British was a patriot. A regular campaign was launched in those days to create utter dissatisfaction against the British by holding them responsible for every problem and misery which the people in our country had to face.”[viii]
Only Hindus Form the Nation
Deendayal did not subscribe to the idea of Indian nationalism and stood for Hindu nationalism. He refused to accept Muslims and Christians as co-nationalists despite residing in India for hundreds of years. According to him only Hindus could be the flag-bearers of Indian nationalism as only they worshipped the Motherland. For them Motherland was like the goddess Durga wielding ten weapons. Hindus formed a stable nation as only they had common view of life. For him,
Hindutva alone is the basis of nationalism in Bharat […] It is altogether wrong for the Hindus to prove their nationhood by European standards. It has been accepted as axiomatic for thousands of years.”[ix]

Harmful Federalism
Deendayal like KB Hedgewar, founder of RSS and Golwalkar loved centralization of power and hated federalism as an integral part of Indian Constitution. According to him,
“ethos of Bharat is such that a Unitary form of government would fit in and that in the very first article of the Constitution, a clear statement that ‘Bharat shall be a Unitary State’ was essential.”[x]

Mysterious Death of Deendayal Upadhyaya
 On February 1, 1968, the dead body of Deendayal was found under mysterious circumstances at Mughalsarai railway station in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Late Balraj Madhok,
a senior RSS/Bhartiya Jan Sangh (BJS) leader who preceded Deendayal as president of Bhartiya JanaSangh, levelled serious allegations against a few of  his old colleagues of RSS/Jana Sangh for conspiring to kill Deendayal. In his autobiography he had stated:

“He was killed by a hired assassin. But conspirators who sponsored this killing were
those self-seekers and leaders with criminal bent of mind of Sangh-Jan Sangh”[i]

He went on to the extent of pointing fingers towards former Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and late Nana Deshmukh, a senior RSS ideologue, as the main conspirators in the murder of Deendayal.
According to the autobiography, the murder of Deendayal was not undertaken by Communists or some robber but planned by those who were kept out of the leading positions of the BJS by Deendayal as president. It is to be noted here that Deendayal after taking over as president of BJS fromBalraj Madhok in December 1967, had kept out both Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nana Deshmukh from important posts.
According to Madhok, Deendayal was murdered because,
“he was constantly ensuring that ill-reputed people should get no career advancement in BJS, so that the reputation of the organization is not tarnished. For this reason, some characterless selfish people were finding him a stumbling blockin their path of self-seekingfulfillment.”[i]
It is really unfortunate that present RSS/BJP regime in India led by prime minister Modi, instead of strengthening Indian democratic-secular polity are busy resurrecting Hindutva ghosts and ideologues from the past which have been inimical to a composite and egalitarian polity.
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya’s Hindutva politics needs to be confined to the dustbin of the past.

[1]Deendayal Upadhyaya hailed from a Brahmin family of Mathura district in UP, came in contact with RSS in 1937, became swayamsevak in 1942 was a loyal follower of Golwalkar who became its Sarsanghchalak in 1940. Deendayalas a whole timer of the organization figured prominently in the RSS hierarchy and held crucial posts. He was editor of RSS Hindi organs like Panchajanya and Swadesh, and his services were lent to Bhartiya Jana Sangh, the political outfit created by RSS. He rose to be the presidency (December 1967) of it but died on 1 February 1968, under mysterious circumstances at Mughalsarai railway station in eastern Uttar Pradesh.122
[1]The Telegraph, Calcutta, September 26, 2016.
[1] BN Jog, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya: Ideology & Perception-Politics for Nation’s Sake, vol. vi, Suruchi Prakashan, Delhi, 73. 
[1] MS Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts (chapter xvi), SS Prakashana, Bangalore, 177-195.
[1] C. P. Bhishikar, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya: Ideology and Perception: Concept of the Rashtra,vol. v, Suruchi, Delhi, 169.
[1] Ibid., 11.
[1]Ibid., 27.
[1] Ibid., 179.



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