Our hard-won freedom is being sent to limbo by the Hindu nationalists. When our forefathers were out on the street boycotting the British administration, the so-called nationalists were playing safe by hiding their heads between their knees and paying obeisance to the colonial regime. And, now, they preach to us about devotion to the Motherland and about being true nationalists!
Today the Hindu Rashtravadis swear by their role model Savarkar. But they conveniently sidetrack the issue of Savarkar’s tendering an apology to the British in Andaman’s Kaala Paani jail for releasing him from his 50 year sentence: ‘...if the government in their manifold beneficence and mercy release me, I for one cannot but be the staunchest advocate of constitutional progress and loyalty to the English government which is the foremost condition of that progress.... I am ready to serve the Government in any capacity they like, for as my conversion is conscientious so I hope my future conduct would be.’ On getting released, he abstained from active nationalist politics.
So, it is not the genuine Indian nationalism they are talking about. Bartering the nation’s freedom for one’s personal liberty does not contain an iota of national pride. Then what nationalism are they talking about? Isn’t it the one touted by Hitler who is their role model and inspiration? Golwalkar, RSS ideologue, has clearly spelt it out: ‘To keep the purity of its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic Race – the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well nigh impossible for races and cultures having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by (Golwalkar’s book, ‘We Our nationhood Defined’ 1939). And, true to their nature, the Sangh Parivar is on a purging spree, spurred by their race pride.’
Golwalkar intended to reduce those who do not fall in line with the Rashtravadi ideology into non-citizens and non-entities. To this effect he issued the diktat that ‘The non-Hindu people must adopt Hindu culture and language, must learn and respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but that of the Hindu race and culture...In a word they must cease to be foreigners, 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. (‘We Our nationhood Defined’ 1939)
With calibrated propaganda the neo-nationalists want to mount an all-out war on all other races and cultures which have been existing in India all along the long history of Indian civilization. With one stroke they want erase the glorious historical past of 5000 plus years of Indian history and want to start Indian history with the entry of the Aryans in India some 2000 years ago. It is a very clever and strategic manoeuvre to establish the predominance of the Aryan race as Hitler did. According to Golwalkar Indian history written by the British is distorted.
The nationalist frenzy takes the Hindutvavadis to abnormal heights. The word ‘Hindutva’ coined by Savarkar in 1923 is ‘an inclusive term for every Indic,’ according to him. That is why the RSS brazenly asserts that ‘The cultural nationality of India is Hindu. It is inclusive of all those born or adopted Bharat as their Motherland including Muslims, Christians and Parsis.’ That is the Hindu DNA theory they are broadcasting now.
No wonder, they insist on one culture, one food, one language, one religion, and one nation. This viral wave is turning politicians, sadhus and sadvins schizophrenic. Hence, they mouth shockingly unholy utterances. The billionaire business magnate Sadhu Ramdev insists on executing those who do not want to sing Vandemataram. Sadvin Niranjan Jyoti’s venomous tongue has christened as ‘haramzadon’ those who are not ‘Ramzadon.’ Sense and sensibility have petered out of the mental frame work of a Prime Minister aspirant politician like Sushma Swaraj as she advocates for the Gita to be put on the pedestal as the National Book. She is on the same wavelength with Ashok Singhal who was proud of saying: ‘We have a government today that is committed to protect Hinduism. We are striving to revive Hinduism in the country.’ (CNN-IBN, 21.12.2014)
Mohan Bhagwat’s Hindu DNA theory is amusing, to say the least. Trampling over all scientific evidences, Bhagwat propounds the theory that all Indians have the same Hindu DNA. Hence, the Sangh Parivar’s door is open for welcoming all those who ‘went astray’ as Muslims, Christians, Parsis, etc. from the Hindu fold. The Parivar converts wholesale people of other religions to prove that the Hindu DNA theory is a correct one. In UP, CM Yogi asserts that ‘it is dharam wapsi, not dharam parivartan.’ Such hoodwinking explanations are dished out for public consumption in view of political mileage.
The attempt to rewrite Puranas to accommodate persecuted and downtrodden Dalits into the Hindu fold is another political gimmick. The successful Bhim Army demonstration at Jantar Mantar on May 21 by the Dalits has sent shock waves into the Rashravadi camp. Its clarion call to end the racism of the Rashtravadis was a chilling message. Rumours are afloat that BJP is taking note of the growing strength of the Dalit world and is eager to mend fences with it to strengthen its political leverage. The BJP politicians are ready to sup with the dalits in their huts. Will not the exploited dalits see through the game even if some of their leaders happen to fall for political crumbs?
But, in the turbulent times, there are voices of sanity. An ordinary Hindu woman with a conscience has a message for the nation. ‘I am a woman, a Hindu woman who teaches her son that if you light a candle in the church, bow your head in a mosque or do seva in a gurdwara, you will not cease to be Hindu...I will not eat beef but will not support a ban on it. (Quoted by Mridula Garg, Sahitya Academny Award winning novelist, TOI, Kol, Nov.05, 2015) .
The truth is that simple village folks belonging to different religious factions have been living together in peaceful appreciation of one another’s religion, culture and life style. But when men and women of bigotry entered the centre stage of politics and made use of religious and caste sentiments for political advantage, matters began to take a dangerous turn.
President Pranab Mukherjee sensibly points out that ‘Indian civilization has always accepted dissent and differences. In India civilization has survived for 5000 years because of its tolerance. We have a constitution that has accepted all these differences.’ But, unfortunately, this very constitution is under attack from the rightwing Hindu groups. They question the fundamental values enshrined in them. Sanctity of life under article 21 is a non-negotiable fundamental right. Today religious Talibans are on the street demonstrating their dance of death by killing and lynching people as and when they like. They vandalise churches, mosques and places of prayer because they take exception to people praying in a particular way or in a particular place.
In his recent Ramnath Goenka Memorial lecture Mukherjee stressed that “There should always be room for the Argumentative Indian but not for the Intolerant Indian...Indian history and centuries old civilization is replete with examples of a willingness of the people to doubt, disagree and dispute intellectually. This is the bedrock of our nation; our Constitution is a testament to the accommodation of our differences within the framework of an overarching idea of India.’
We need to take seriously such sane voices. Above all, it is pertinent to remind us of the words of the Father of the Nation, “I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the land to be blown about my house as freely as possible.” In this sprit we shall not bow before the virus of distorted nationalism.#(Published on 05th June 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 23)