Nobel peace prize winner Satyarthi hobnobbing with Hindu supremacists

Speaking as the chief guest at the RSS’s annual Vijayadashmi celebrations at its headquarters in Nagpur on Thursday, Kailash Satyarthi, the joint winner of the Nobel Peace prize with Malala Yousufzai in 2014, had no qualms singing paeans in honour of the Hindu supremacist body. He even suggested that the RSS branches all over India could serve as a “firewall” to protect children, particularly girls.  

Kailash Satyarthi, Fascist Hindutva, Politics

Image Courtesy: ANI

The RSS, of which the ruling right-wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is the parliamentary wing, aspires to turn secular India into a Hindu theocracy. The organization was banned in the past following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi was opposed to the religious partition of India in 1947 and was targeted for standing up against violence against Muslims by Hindu fanatics. His assassin Nathuram Godse previously belonged to the RSS.

Even otherwise, RSS is known for its anti-Muslim and anti-Christian stance. Its cadre have been involved in violence not only during partition but also in post-independent India, according to government appointed commissions of inquiry set up by various governments to probe serious incidents of communal violence.

Ironically, Satyarthi is a known Gandhian and was given Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his work to save children from exploitation. That the RSS, through its drills poison young minds and has allegedly taken tribal girls to far away schools in order to Hinduise them on the pattern of Indian Residential Schools in Canada is in complete contradiction to what Satyarthi claims to stand for.

That Satyarthi spoke as a chief guest at the RSS event has shocked many, including myself. I being a publisher of Radical Desi magazine in Canada had put him on the cover on its November 2014 edition that was dedicated to 30 years of anti-Sikh massacre. Satyarthi had saved many Sikhs during the violence that followed the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh body guards on October 31, 1984. The mobs instigated by the activists of the slain leader’s Congress party lynched innocent Sikhs with police connivance.

The mainstream had overlooked this important aspect of Satyarthi’s story and Radical Desi believed that it was necessary to amplify it so that people should know that there were many Hindus who also tried to save the Sikhs from bloodshed. Some activist friends had expressed their outrage over my decision arguing that Satyarthi is a corporate media creation. But I tried to defend myself saying the choice was made only because the Radical Desi edition was dedicated to remembering the anti-Sikh pogrom and by putting Satyarthi on cover we are only trying to showcase an act of humanity and compassion in a time of crisis.

Today, when I look back I feel ashamed and let down by Satyarthi who has failed to stand up against forces of bigotry. He may have done a great job by saving the lives of Sikhs in 1984, but Muslim and Christian lives are also important. For the record, RSS considers Sikhs as part of the Hindu fold, something strongly resisted by Sikh activists who maintain that RSS has an agenda to assimilate them. That the BJP-RSS supporters were also complicit in anti-Sikh massacre has been well documented.

Satyarthi must apologize for attending an event organised by those who are bent upon destroying humanity and secular fabric of India. The Nobel Peace Prize ill suits someone who provides legitimacy to a group whose founders saw men like Hitler and Mussolini as their role models and supported holocaust.



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