PM Modi’s Whiplash during UP Polls: Carrying Forward the Hate Legacy of the RSS?

As the multi-phased UP assembly elections process progresses, PM Modi as the only face or mascot of BJP’s campaign has been becoming more belligerent in his communal, polarising rhetoric.  Speaking at an election rally on (February 20, 2017) at Fatehpur, the PM while raising the issue of ‘the appeasement of the Muslim minority in the State’ by the current Samajwadi Party government, went to the extent of declaring that “Ramzan me bijli athi hai tho Diwali me bhi ani chahiye; Bhedbhav nhi hona chahiye (If there is electricity during Ramadan then it must be available during Diwali too; there shouldn’t be any discrimination)…Gaon me kabristan banta hai to shamshaan bhi banna chahiye (If there is a ‘kabaristaan’ (graveyard), there should be a ‘shamshaan’ (cremation ground) too”.[i]

PM Modi was clearly targeting the incumbent, Akhilesh government for favouring Muslims over Hindus of UP. Though he did not share any data to prove this serious allegation, PM wanted to convey to his Hindu audience that the Samajwadi Party did not care for Hindu votes and was in power due to Muslim votes, so naturally cared for the latter only. This is an age-old tactic by the RSS-BJP combine, perfected by LK Advani, the former deputy prime minister and home minister

This brash allegation needs serious investigation. Modi has been addressing election meetings in UP over the last 3 weeks but has never raised this issue. The Fatehpur address was proof that –for whatever reason—he was pitching for a polarisation between the Hindu and Muslim electorate, a task perfected by his party. It also means that the UP electorate, overwhelmingly consisting of Hindus, has not otherwise come out in support of the BJP. So, to remedy the laclustre response from the voter, the bogey of Muslim appeasement of the ‘enemy’ Muslim was being raised. Responding to this development a leading English daily of the country editorially wrote that halfway into the UP campaign, “both the PM’s choice of examples, and his message, are unfortunate…It neither behoves the PM nor his office”.

Before delving into the ideological background of the prime minister that allows for easy  Muslim bashing, let us judge this spate of allegations from a commonsensical point of view. Modi’s argument is that Akhilesh government was elected by Muslim voters so it naturally worked for the interest of its ‘Muslim vote-bank’ overlooking the needs or demands of Hindus. Before arising at a conclusive assessment of the issue, we must take into account following figures. Muslims constitute 19.3% of the UP population whereas Hindus are 79.73% in the State. Out of 404 total UP assembly seats Muslims have a share of more than 30% votes in 73 constituencies and 20-30% votes in 70 constituencies. In the last 2012 assembly elections, the Samajwadi Party secured 224 seats.    

If Modi’s argument is tested in the light of the above facts and figures, it would be suicidal for any political party in UP to win on the strength of the Muslim votes alone and serve the interests- only- of Muslims in the State. It would be sheer illiteracy to claim that 19.3% Muslim voters could elect a government which must win a as many as 203 seats to rule. BJP’s own list of candidates for 2017 assembly elections shows that it does not even consider Muslims a significant in the current assembly elections, nor does it even consider Muslims a legitimate part of it’s electorate. It has not nominated a single Muslim candidate for these elections. The
myth of the ‘Muslim vote-bank’ is in fact an insult to the ‘Hindu electorate’ of UP which have often elected non-BJP governments. 

The Hindutva bogey of Muslim appeasement has no factual basis, totally disregards common sense but continues to be touted in the shakhas(branches) of the RSS and their ‘boudhik bethaks’ (intellectual sessions). Whatever PM Modi says about Muslim appeasement is the outcome of his being part of this supremacist grroming, a ‘Hindu nationalist’ groomed  in the line of his political leader, Guru Golwalkar, the second supremo of the RSS, who can safely be dubbed as the ‘Guru of Hate’.
Golwalkar as early as 1939 declared that Muslims and Christians of India belonged to foreign races and in order to stay in ‘Hindusthan’ they “must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence 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. There is, at least should be, no other course for them to adopt. We are an old nation: let us deal, as old nations ought to and do deal, with the foreign races who have chosen to live in our country”.

The RSS, out rightly rejected the idea that Indian Muslims too were part of Indian nation. The English organ of the RSS, Organiser, on the very eve of Independence (August 14, 1947) editorially chalked out its concept of 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.” 
Even after Independence the RSS’ hatred for minorities specially Muslims continued unabated, in fact, got more focussed. The ‘Holy’ book for the RSS cadres Bunch of Thoughts, which is collection of writings and speeches of Golwalkar (first published by RSS in 1966) has a long chapter titled as ‘Internal Threats’ in which Muslims and Christians are described as threat number one and two respectively. He goes on to spit venom against common Muslims in the following words: “Within the country there are so many Muslim pockets, i.e., so many ‘miniature Pakistans’…The conclusion is that, in practically every place, there are Muslims who are in constant touch with Pakistan over the transmitter…”

While addressing the leading RSS cadres of South India in Bangalore on November 30, 1960, he made the following sensational statement: “Right from Delhi to Rampur, Muslims are busy hatching a dangerous plot, piling up arms and mobilizing their men, and probably biding their time to strike from within.”[ii] Shockingly, there was no substantiation or proofs offered for such a serious allegation against the whole Muslim community residing in the western Uttar Pradesh (UP). More shocking was that the police of Karnataka or UP did not prosecute Golwalkar for rumour mongering.

Golwalkar’s hatred for Muslims was limitless. He continued to preach that Muslims, “are born in this land, no doubt. But are they true to their salt? Are they grateful to this land which has brought them up? Do they feel that they are the children of this land and its tradition, and that to serve it is their great good fortune? Do they feel it a duty to serve her? No! Together with the change in their faith, gone is the spirit of love and devotion for the nation. Nor does it end there. They have also developed a feeling of identification with the enemies of this land”.

Hence, PM Modi’s bashing of Muslims in the ongoing UP elections should not come as a surprise to anybody.

He may be a PM of a democratic-secular country but has been groomed by RSS and Golwalkar into a political leader who proudly identifies himself as a ‘Hindu nationalist’.
He is set out to implement the RSS agenda of demonising minorities specially Muslims, the largest minority of the country, in order to prepare ground for the consolidation of Hindus. He represents the greatest challenge to our democratic-secular polity from within. It is unfortunate that Modi’s long stint with our democratic-secular constitutional set-up has not brought even an iota of change (or secularisation) in his treatment or perception of all Indians. PM Modi’s perception and treatment remains inspired or guided by Hindutva (the ideology that believes in the establishment of a theocratic state).

 The election results of UP elections, out on March 11, will indicate the future of Indian polity.
Will Indian democracy survive the attempts to undo it from within?



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