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Hindutva and Minority 'Problem'
By Ram Puniyani

RSS leadership has invited the Bishops for 'dialogue'. Since the agenda has not been made public, neither has it been intimated to the participating bishops, (one does not know whether it is going to be the much hyped inter-faith dialogue) nor the RSS wants to explain the "Hindutva line" on minorities to the religious leaders of Christian community.
This event is coming in the wake of sustained anti-Christian violence, which has been going on for the last four years. The popular perception has come to realize that somewhere it is linked to the Hindutva forces whose patriarch is RSS. This violence such as the attacks on missionaries, rape of nuns, burning of Bibles, attack on Missionary schools, which 'peaked' itself in the horrendous burning alive of Pastor Graham Stuart Stains along with his two innocent sons is going on unabated. Its manifestations keep coming up here and there, now and then. This violence is quite different from the anti-Muslim violence, which came up in the form of communal (anti-Muslim) riots in a concentrated fashion. The anti-Christian violence has been preceded by a word of mouth and leaflet-booklet campaign by the Hindu rightists. The salient features of this tirade had been that Christianity is a foreign religion, these foreign funded organizations are converting the gullible by inducement and force and that they run schools and colleges as a mere tool for their 'anti-National' conversion activity.
The literature published by RSS and its offshoots is full of half-truths and blatant lies about the activities of missionaries. RSS progenies have been propagating that preaching of religion and conversions is against Constitution and so the Missionaries are anti-National. Most of the RSS propaganda is direct and they have used every platform to put forward these lies. It is surprising as to why knowing all this very well the Bishops of CBCI, by accepting the invitation to have a dialogue, have given legitimacy to the RSS as representative of Hindus, which it is not.
Do bishops expect that they will be able to 'change the heart' of the fountainhead of Fascist-Fundamentalist organization? Or is it that they have accepted the invitation out of the fear since RSS is the patron saint of the lead party of the ruling coalition? On the other hand why should RSS be 'wasting' its time in convincing the Bishops that it has no role in the ongoing anti-Christian violence etc.?
One needs to understand that Hindutva, the politics of RSS is very clear and unambiguous about the place of minorities in Hindu Rashtra, which they want to bring in place of the present Secular Democratic India. Hindutva pioneer Savarkar had clearly laid the foundation of the 'minorities as second class citizen's' in his book 'Hindutva or Who is a Hindu', "The Aryans who settled in India at the dawn of history already formed a nation, now embodied in the Hindus
Hindus are bound together not only by the tie of the love they bear to a common fatherland and by the common blood that courses through their veins and keeps our hearts throbbing and our affection warm but also by the tie of the common homage we pay to our great civilization, our Hindu culture."(Savarkar; Who is a Hindu, 1923). Hindutva according to him rests on three pillars: geographical unity, racial features and common culture. He further went on to elaborate the criterion for defining as to who is a Hindu?
According to him all those who regard this land as their fatherland and holy land are the only ones who are Hindus and thereby the people to whom this land belongs. This led to the automatic interpretations that the Christians and the Muslims, whose holy places are in Jerusalem and Mecca, are not on par with the 'Hindus' who own this country. Initiating the theorizing of the 'doubting of patriotism of minorities', Savarkar states, "but besides culture the tie of common holy land has at times proved stronger than the chains of a motherland. Look at Mohammedans: Mecca to them is a sterner reality than Delhi or Agra" (Savarkar, ibid)
Second RSS Supremo, Sarsanghchalak, Mr. M.S.Golwalkar further elaborated the themes outlined by Savarkar. He was very appreciative of Hitler's 'tackling' the 'problem' of Jews. Commenting about Hitler's methods, Mr. Golwalkar writes, "German National pride has now become the topic of the day. To keep up the purity of the nation and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races-the Jews. National pride at its highest has been manifested here.

G
ermany has also shown to the world how well nigh impossible it is for races and cultures
having differences going to the roots to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in India to learn and profit by." (Golwalkar, We or Our Nationhood Defined , 1938,)

He is very candid in showing the other races and those belonging to 'foreign' religions their place, "The foreign races in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no ideas but those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture or may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment not even citizens rights." (Golwalkar, ibid)
Later in his second book 'Bunch of Thoughts' he gave further instructions to his followers about the threats posed by the minorities and Communists. As per him this Hindu Nation is facing the internal threat from Muslims, Christians and Communists (Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 1966)".

Keeping this tempo of 'understanding' about minorities RSS and its progeny, Sangh Parivar, kept up the pressure against them by various
means. First in line of the firing was Muslims, who have been subject of major demonization through Shakha Bauddhiks (Intellectual Sessions) and
the literature produced by Sangh Parivar. Their 'word of mouth' methods, which has also earned them the epithet 'Rumor Spreading Society' has served them extremely well in spreading the communal venom, and 'doctoring the social common sense' which in turn has formed the base for sustaining anti-minority violence during last many decades. Lately the Sangh Parivar has focused its energies more on the Christians. To begin with Christians have been brought in to active firing line due to the fact that
anti-Muslim tirade has stopped yielding desired dividends. Then in the villages and remote places, where the missionaries have been doing their
social work, the Adivasis, due to the education and secularization activities encouraged and promoted by them, have begun to protest against the oppression of the vested interests, who in turn are the social base of Sangh Parivar. Also this has challenged the established social hierarchies. Sangh Parivar politics being essentially for status quo cannot swallow the social transformation. And finally the very base of Hindutva type of politics is to keep sustaining the hate for the 'other'.
And as per that logic Christians are the next in line after the Muslims. RSS has changed none of its premises and understanding about its concept
of Religion based Nationalism. Its current literature is full of hatred for the activities of Missionaries. In this light one is amazed by the naivete of the Bishops in making the trip to Hedgewar Bhavan in Nagpur, from where the current top brass of RSS operates. But RSS has a definite agenda in wooing over the Bishops. In the light of the sustained anti-Christian violence there has emerged a strong group of laity and some religious leaders amongst the Christians who are operating on Secular grounds, and are associating themselves with Human Rights movements, and seem to be coming to the forefront of leadership of the Christian community. They are also building bridges to the other democratic and secular movements. And this is something, which can be a strong counter to the designs of Sangh Parivar. To undermine these secular Democratic elements from the community, RSS wants to give the recognition to the politically nave Bishops as the 'leaders' of the community. It wants to deflate the reach and appeal of the newly emerging leadership from the Christian community. But the point is how long can this vehicle of politics of Hindutva succeed in its methods in keeping the minorities fragmented, divided and aloof from the broader democratic struggles which are a serious threat to its goal of Hindu Rashtra.
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