An Open Letter to Ramnath Kovind ji from a Conscientious Indian

Respected Ramnath Kovind ji,

Namaskar, I must congratulate you for being chosen as Presidential candidate of the Indian Republic by the BJP. It is heartening, also,  to note that you have been chosen, to quote BJP president Mr. Amit Shahji, for being “a Dalit who has struggled in life to reach the position he is in today.”

Ramnath Kovind

The fact that,  in the forthcoming presidential elections your selection was made due to your Dalit identity was also underlined by Ram Vilas Paswanji, a Dalit minister in the Central Cabinet, when he declared that any one opposing your candidature will be seen as "anti-Dalit".

In a scenario when violence against Indian Dalits and minorities like Muslims and Christians (most of whom hail from Dalit stock) and their disempowerment has surged manyfold, your candidature gives us hope. 

However, it is being claimed by the RSS leaders that you have been chosen for being an old and seasoned RSS swayamsevak or member. It is also being emphasised that you are a seasoned ‘Hindu nationalist’. We are informed that you donated your ancestral home in Kanpur Dehat to the RSS.

With these credentials,  I fear a serious conflict of interests between your beliefs in theIdeologyof the RSS and yourbeing the highest constitutional authority of the democratic-secular Republic of India.

I put forward in the following some of the serious concerns of mine for your kind perusal.

Conflict Between Oath as President and Path as RSS Member

As a president you will be taking oath which reads:
"I, Ramnath Kovind, do swear in the name of God that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the Republic of India, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law, and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of Republic of India."

But as a member of RSS you are committed to fulfil the following 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.”[i]

Moreover, members of RSS are opposed to an all-inclusive democratic-secular India. The RSS English organ, Organizer, just on the eve of Independence (August 14, 1947), editorially (titled ‘Whither’) underlined its belief in the two-nation theory that Hindus are a separate nation in the following words:
“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.”

RSS before and after Independence has been allergic to the National Flag. Guru Golwalkar while addressing a Gurupurnima gathering in Nagpur on July 14, 1946, stated that it was the saffron flag which in totality represented great Hindu culture. It was the embodiment of God: “We firmly believe that in the end the whole nation will bow before this saffron flag.”[ii]

Just on the eve of Independence the denigration of the national Flag by the RSS crossed all limits. ORGANIZER in its issue dated August 14, 1947 declared a kind of war against the Tri-colour 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."

Even after independence when the Tricolour became the National Flag, it was the RSS which continued decrying it. In 1960 Guru Golwalkar writing about the National Flag wrote: “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[iii]

India is the largest functional democracy on this earth. We have a democratic-secular Constitution which is in force for almost 7 decades. But RSS hates democracy.  Guru Golwalkar, most prominent ideologue of the RSS while addressing a group of 1,350 top level cadres of the organization in 1940 had to say this about political system of India: “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.”[iv]

I would like to bring it to your notice that this decree of ‘one flag, one leader and one ideology’ was also the battle cry of Fascist and Nazi parties of Europe in the first half of 20th century. What they did to democracy is well-known to this world.
Indian Constitution provides a polity to the Indian Nation which is above Caste, Class, gender, race considerations. But Guru Golwalkar who demanded conversion of democratic-secular India into a Hindu Nation declared 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. According to purusha sukta sun and moon are his eyes, the stars and the skies are created from His nabhi [navel] and 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.”  [Italics as in the original][v]

The Constituent Assembly of India passed the Constitution which was drafted under the guidance of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on November 26, 1949. RSS was not happy. Its 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.”

In fact, the RSS demand for promulgation of Manusmriti as Indian Constitution was in line with the demand by the Hindutva icon, ‘Veer’ Savarkar who declared it to be “that scripture which is most worshipable [sic] after Vedas for our Hindu Nation and which from ancient times has become the basis of our culture-customs, thought and practice…Today Manusmriti is Hindu Law”.[vi]

Some of the degenerated and inhuman instructions for Sudras contained in Manusmriti are reproduced below:[vii]
(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.
(2) One occupation only the lord prescribed to the Sudras, to serve meekly even these (other) three castes.
(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.
(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.    
(5) If he arrogantly teaches Brahmanas their duty, the king shall cause hot oil to be poured into his mouth and into his ears. 

It is to be noted that a copy of Manusmriti was burnt as a protest in the presence of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar during historic Mahad agitation in December, 1927.

Nathuram Godse and others, who conspired to kill Mahatma Gandhi, claimed to be Hindu Nationalists. Shockingly, present day Hindu Nationalists celebrate his ‘vadh’. To cite one example in June 2013 Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) held its 2nd all India conference for converting India into a Hindu rashtra at Goa. This conference started with a felicitation message from Narendra Modi ji. In this conference from the same dais from where Modi ji’s felicitation message was read, one of the prominent speakers, K.V. Sitaramiah, declared that Gandhi was 'terrible, wicked and most sinful'. Rejoicing the killing of M.K. Gandhi, he went on to declare, “As Bhagwan Shri Krishna said in the Gita, Paritranaya Sadhunam Vinashaya Cha Dushkritam/ Dharamasansthapnaya Sambhavami Yuge-Yuge (For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked and for the establishment of righteousness, I am born in every age) On…30th January 1948 evening, Shriram came in the form of Nathuram Godse and ended the life of Gandhi.”[viii]

BJP winner from Iglas Reserved constituency in UP, Diler ji a Dalit with family links to RSS for two generations (whose father was also BJP MP), while canvassing for the seat, not only used to sit on the floor but carry his own steel glass for drinking water/tea when he visited homes of upper-caste voters. Diler, a Valmiki, justified his desire to remain shackled in Casteism by saying ‘Main apni maan maryada khatm nahin kar sakta. Zama na chahe badalta rahe.’ (I cannot break away from tradition. Let the world change, I won’t).[ix]

Significantly,  neither RSS nor BJP what to talk of condemning this self-imposed Untouchability, did not stop Diler ji from doing such reprehensible anti-constitutional acts.

Respected Kovind ji, I hope as President of India you will follow the constitutional oath and not the one obligatory in RSS, you will be flag-bearer of Indian Nationalism and not Hindu Nationalism, you will defend democratic-secular Constitution of India against any attempt to enforce Manusmriti, you will resist any attempt to bring back Untouchability by glorifying Casteism as essential ingredient od Hinduismand Hindu nationalism, you will check denigration of Father of the Nation and glorification of his killers, you will not allow any mischief with the National Flag and Indian democracy. And finally, you will not allow present India to be converted to a Hindu Pakistan.

Wishing you all the best.
Shamsul Islam


[i] Shakha Darshikha, Gyan Ganga, Jaipur, 1997, p. 66.  
[ii] MS Golwalkar, Shri Guruji Samagar Darshan (collected works of Golwalkar in Hindi), Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, nd., Volume I, p. 98.
[iii] MS Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore, 1996, pp. 237238.
[iv] MS Golwalkar, Shri Guruji Samagar Darshan (collected works of Golwalkar in Hindi), Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, nd., vol. I, p. 11.  
[v] MS Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore, 1996, pp. 36-37.
[vi] VD Savarkar, Savarkar Samagar, vol. iv, Prabhat, Delhi, 2016, p. 216. 
[vii] This selection is from F Max Muller’s Laws of Manu.



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