By Hasan Zia Rizvi, The Milli Gazette
Published Online: Jul 21, 2016
Print Issue: 16-31 July 2016
New Delhi: At the onset of its government at the Centre in 2014, BJP made it clear it will implement the RSS ideology, Hindutva. A large number of RSS men were accommodated in the BJP cabinet under the most successfully marketed RSS pracharak, Narendra Modi.
The BJP website describes ‘Hindutva’ as a great nationalist ideology and proclaims, “The future of Bharat is set. Hindutva is here to stay. It is up to the Muslims whether they will be included in the new nationalistic spirit of Bharat. It is up to the government and the Muslim leadership whether they wish to increase Hindu furor or work with the Hindu leadership to show that Muslims and the government will consider Hindu sentiments. The era of one-way compromise of Hindus is over, for from now on, secularism must mean that all parties must compromise.” (http://www.bjp.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=369:hindutva-the-great-nationalist-ideology&Itemid=501)
The above article coveys a clear message to the minorities that they have to bow before Hindutva or Hindu Nationalism. The BJP changed the definition of ‘secularism’ and used the word ‘compromise’ to indicate that all other religious minorities in India should compromise and follow Hindutva policy.
In 2002, RSS created an offshoot to indoctrinate Muslims. It is called Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM). It was founded and is run by Indresh Kumar, an accused in Ajmer, Mecca Masjid and Malegaon blasts. Mohammad Afzal is the National Convener of this forum. On 30 June, RSS disowned it, saying that this forum is not part of the Hindutva parivar.
MRM was largely inactive since its inception but as BJP rose to power it suddenly became so active that its book “Yoga and Islam” was released by the AYUSH Ministry. MRM has promoted the RSS agenda among Muslims including cow protection, promotion of Yoga and defending the BJP over Gujarat riots. It also worked as a PR arm for Modi during the 2014 elections. MRM’s latest project is to hold a grand Iftar party with an eye on UP assembly elections next year.
Let us look at the Hindutva policies of the government, which it wants to deeply root in India so that nobody in future could oppose it.
1. Yoga: Some people felt proud when UN General Assembly declared “International Yoga Day” on 21 June at the proposal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But not many know the reason behind the date proposed by Modi. He claimed that because 21st June is the longest day in the Northern hemisphere, it should be considered as the international yoga day! But the two most important reasons why Modi chose this date are, “On 21st June summer solstice takes place marking the transition known in Sanskrit as “Dakshinayana,” i.e., the period between summer solstice and winter solstice. Lord Shiva is believed to have become Adiyogi or the first yogi on this day and it is he who imparted knowledge of Yoga to humanity. This is the Hindutva myth related to this date, while, historians, like D.N Jha, completely deny this.”
21 June marks the birth anniversary of the founder of RSS, K.B. Hegdewar. Modi gave tribute to his mother organisation’s father by marketing a practice which was a part of RSS curriculum. Surya Namaskar and Gayatri Mantra, which have been excluded from the International Yoga Day, are part of the mythological Yoga of RSS. Yoga in general I not wrong but they have transformed it as a political tool to promote Hindutva. RSS and VHP want it to be included in every Indian school curriculum.
2. Cow Politics: In the name of cow protection, the BJP agenda of ‘Beef Ban’ and creation of a separate ministry for cow protection is just an instrument to amplify the Hindutva policy. On 16 May this year, a first-of-its-kind national seminar was organised by Modi government at Vigyan Bhawan. It was called ‘Gaushala Meet’ where large numbers of Hindu groups were present. Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Radha Mohan Singh said, “Taking a cue from Gujarat, cow hostels and sanctuaries are being established across the country. Five new veterinary colleges have been set up to take care of old and ailing cows.” What about the cows roaming around on roads of almost every Indian city and town, which are beaten away by Hindu shopkeepers every single day? Rajasthan’s BJP government has formed the first Gaupalan Ministry in India. Ottaram Dewasi became the first cow minister who aims at ‘Gau Rakhsa’ as a priority of the state government.
These developments along with the politics around beef ban, meat ban and incidents of lynching for storing beef or transporting cattle, have made a mockery of the secular constitution of India which gave every citizen the right to eat what he prefers. The important aspect of cow protection is not beef, because large numbers of Hindus in India eat bulls meat, but to impose the Hindu reverence of cows as a cultural practice for all Indians.
The Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi said, “I have been long pledged to serve the cow but how can my religion also be the religion of the rest of the Indians? It will mean coercion against those Indians who are not Hindus. In villages Hindus make bullocks carry huge burdens which almost crush the animals. Is it not cow-slaughter, albeit slowly carried out?” (Gandhi’s prayer discourse of July 25, 1947, from the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, volume 88, as published online by the Gandhi Heritage portal.)
3. Hindutva Militancy: On 10 May, 2016, Bajrang Dal (BD), the youth wing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), organised at Ayodhya a ‘counter-terror training camp’ in which Muslims were depicted as enemies. Hate speech expert BJP MPs, Yogi Adityanath and Sakshi Maharaj, sponsored arms training dubbed as “self-protection”. However, the BD convenor of weapon training camp was arrested by UP police but Ram Naik, governor of UP and old BJP hand, stated that there is nothing wrong in organising a self-protection camp. Such camps were organised in other places as well.
In 2003, Bajrang Dal started countrywide Trishul Diksha Samarohs in which 40 lakhs Hindus were given trishuls (tridents). BD has been effectively militarising the Hindu society by providing youth weapons from trishuls to swords and guns.
This is also the scenario of all other Hindu right-wing outfits, some of which are accused of saffron terrorism like Sanatan Sanstha and Abhinav Bharat. BJP, RSS and VHP leaders are the main promoters of communalism and anti-minority violence through their hate speeches and promoting and protecting umpteen militant outfits like BD.
4. Land Politics: According to a new initiative by the BJP government, Pakistani Hindu refugees in India will now get Indian citizenship. This had happened earlier also during the UPA regime when collectors were authorised to grant citizenship to Pakistani Hindu refugees while a Pakistani Muslim overstaying in the country is treated as a terrorist or criminal and jailed. Government will now amend Indian nationality law to allow Pakistani and Bangladeshi Hindus to buy property in India, apply for PAN and Aadhar cards and open bank accounts. On the other hand, properties of Muslims whose ancestors or relatives migrated to Pakistan during Partition are regarded as “Enemy Property” according to the Enemy Property Act 1968 which was amended with drastic changes and passed by Lok Sabha last March. Since it is stuck at present in a Rajya Sabha select committee, a fresh ordinance has been passed to allow the Custodian to continue to take over properties whose numbers are increasing by every passing day.
BJP also proposes building separate colonies for Kashmiri Pandits and ex-servicemen in Jammu & Kashmir and has demanded land for the same from the J&K state government. Modi government is also reviewing the cancellation of around 32 land allotments to RSS and its affiliate groups by the UPA government.
5. Saffronisation of Education and History: The most treacherous and far-reaching tool of the BJP government is the saffronisation of education. They want to implant seeds deep into the minds of children of India so that they are raised with a heavy dose of Hindutva. It is a scheme for religious hegemony in a country where the non-Hindu communities comprise at least 30 per cent of the population and many “Hindus” too do not subscribe to the north Indian Brahminic hegemonic narrative.
At ‘Hindi Swaraj Diwas Samaroh’, Minister of State for HRD Ram Shankar Katheria said on 19 June, “Be it saffronisation of education or Sanghwad (dissemination of RSS ideology), if it’s good for the country it will definitely take place.”
According to top BJP leader and former education minister Murli Manohar Joshi, saffronisation means to go back to the holy traditions of India and to glorify ancient Hindu cultural history.
During the previous NDA rule (1999-2004). when history books were rewritten, the medieval period of India was saffronised and described as “a dark age of Islamic colonial rule which snuffed out the glories of the Hindu empire that preceded it.” The man behind the current saffronisation of textbooks, Dinanath Batra said, “NCERT textbooks will be rewritten according to the aim and objects of the nation so that it inculcates feeling of patriotism among children. Modernity is not westernisation. We want modernity with Indian base.”
After becoming Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister, Smriti Irani worked on the instructions of RSS and formed a committee to study ancient Hindu texts, like Vedas, Upanishads and other epics to select relevant material for teaching. According to a report, Irani recruited Vishram Jamdar as the chairman of Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT). Jamdar wrote a letter to Irani in which he said, “Being recognised as RSS person I could remain there in VNIT Nagpur as BOG member in spite of the fact that Mr Arjun Singhji was HRD Minister during that period. This may probably speak of my work in VNIT Nagpur.”
*Government started appointing RSS and BJP loyalists as heads of prestigious institutions. Saffronite Gajendra Chauhan was appointed as the chairman of Film and television Institute of India (FTII), Pahlaj Nihalani, who made a documentary praising Modi, was appointed as the chairman of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) while cricketer Chetan Chauhan was appointed as the chief of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT). The most sarcastic part of the appointments is the fact that none of these worthies has the relevant qualifications for the posts.
*CBSE will give grades for Yoga practices like Surya Namaskar and these will be included in the students’ report cards.
*Government has approved the proposal of considering Adi Shankaracharya as the National Philosopher and celebrating his birthday on 11 May as the National Philosophers Day. RSS has described Shankaracharya as the consolidator of ‘Advaita Vedanta’ philosophy of Hinduism.
*RSS-backed Samkalp Institute has claimed that 60 percent of this year’s UPSC picks studied there. RSS leaders will give lectures at the felicitation function to be organised in July this year for the Indian civil service officers selected from the coaching institute.
There are many more policies by BJP-RSS government to patronise the Hindu community. Ravi Sahankar Prasad, Telecom and IT minister with additional charge of the Postal department, introduced a new initiative of delivering ‘Gangajal’ (Ganga river water) at doorsteps through postmen. Government has also released huge funds for Ganga mission and various Hindu festivals. Very recently, with an eye on the forthcoming UP elections, the central government has earmarked Rs 300 crore for the development of Ramayna Circuit in an around Ayodhya and other places related to Rama, and Krishna Circuit in and around Mathura. A sum of Rs 50-70 crore will also be made available for Buddha Circuit. Earlier Rs 200 crore was allotted for a museum in memory of the Jan Singh ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay.
6. HUF: The “Hindu Undivided Family” (HUF) beats them all. It is an old unique scheme through which the Indian exchequer loses trillions of money as taxes year after year. Under this scheme only Hindu businessmen divide their income/profits between the members of the whole family and thereby pay no or less taxes than others. No other country in the world seemingly has such an ingenious scheme to benefit a certain segment of society.