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India, or Hindu Rashtra?

Politicians are governed by innumerable compulsions. At times their goals, agendas and purposes cannot easily be discerned from what they say. Often they do state exactly opposite of what they mean. 

Deputy prime minister LK Advani, while replying to the debate in the Lok Sabha (November 18, 2002) said that "India will never be converted into a Hindu state and is deeply committed to secularism which has been spelt out clearly in the Constitution."

One may ask if BJP is not working for Hindu Rashtra, then what is it doing in the political arena. BJP is the political progeny of RSS, whose goal it is to bring in Hindu Rashtra, and if possible to extend the frontiers of this Hindu Rashtra to areas where once Hindu kings ruled, and till Afghanistan, Burma and Sri Lanka are occupied by Indian forces to form Akhand Bharat (indivisible India). One is clear that this Akhand Bharat is not an association of nations or a democratic union of nations and peoples like the European Union. It is the restoration of Hindu rule to areas where at one time the glorious Hindu kings hoisted their flags. 

BJP, and its siblings like VHP and Adivasi Kalyan Ashram are centrally controlled by trained volunteers of RSS (swayamsevaks) whose primary loyalty is to the RSS and its goal of Hindu Rashtra and its ideology of Hindutva, whose underpinnings are in Brahminical Hinduism. Many a times it appears that the Togadias, Singhals and Vajpayees are at loggerheads with each other. That may not always be a correct estimate, however.

Vajpayee clarified this point while reiterating the Election Commission's order of ban on VHP’s yatra from Godhra (November 17, 2002). While talking on the recalcitrance of Togadia, he pointed out that even Togadia was only doing his duty. The different members of this family, Sangh Parivar, have to play different, sometimes contradictory tunes, but all as a part of an orchestra being conducted by its bandmaster, the RSS. So, at a deeper level there is no contradiction. Both the prime minister, in asking for a ban on VHP yatra and the International General Secretary of VHP in defying the order in a symbolic way are supplementing each other in the overall grand symphony written and conducted by the RSS.

Togadia, Thackeray and Company, though branded by some as India's loony right, are vehemently asserting that enemies of the Hindu Nation will be properly dealt with. The parivar's close cousin, Bal Thackeray, has gone on to even openly defy the Constitution and law by calling for suicide squads to deal with terrorism. This is a bit surprising as the call is being given at a time when the "most nationalistic" (Hindu nationalist, not Indian nationalist) government is supervising the destiny of the land. Most of the wings of Sangh Parivar feel suffocated if the oxygen of Hindu Rashtra is not administered to them for even a brief while. In this scenario these words coming from Advani smack of deceit.

Just to recall, BJP was formed on the plank of "Gandhian socialism." (Please don’t take it as a joke.) And it was a miserable failure at the hustings till Advani gave a political veneer to the apparently religious movement of Ram Janmabhoomi. That movement gave ample opportunities to the warriors of Hindu Rashtra to use Lord Ram himself for vote, to spread venom against minorities and to consolidate a section of Hindu community for electoral purposes. The section, which could not distinguish between Gandhi’s Hinduism and Hindu Mahasabha-RSS's Hindutva, between composite nationalism, the secular democratic nationalism emerging from the freedom struggle and the Hindu Rashtra, the battle cry of those who remained aloof from freedom struggle, did get drawn into this movement. During this period the same Advani redefined the outlines of Hindu Nation. The same Advani who said last fortnight that India was a secular state, was then talking of Hindu Rashtra. Talking with a forked tongue comes easy to the parivar.

The minions of the parivar learnt the word from Advani himself. Parivar associates like Bal Thackeray, whose tirades against South Indians, Gujaratis and others had begun to lose their venom, found this new mantra effective for creating hatred against minorities and mobilise Hindu vote. Hindu Rashtra became a household word courtesy Advani. In a way, this also built up not only BJP but also raised his own status. It also brought into focus the Singhals, mobile-wielding mahants and a host of Togadia clones. The RSS could not have been happier. 

It felt its labour of last seven decades rewarded. The soil which was made fertile by the regular toil of hate ideology started giving the crop of votes to its progeny.

Ż Ram Puniyani

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