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Published in the 1-15 Feb 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Hindutva pinch for nervous secularists
By Rizvi Syed Haider Abbas 

Lucknow: ‘Secularists of India Unite’ was the unanimous call of the Regional Convention on Communal Harmony on January 11, 2004 in the state capital of Uttar Pradesh. "National Unity, Secularism and Common Heritage which threads all Indians has to be Safeguarded" was the central theme which resonated through the jam- packed Vishveshwariya Hall, opposite governor house, Lucknow.
"Politics of detestation and dismemberment of society is the unique selling proposition of Bhartiya Janata Party [BJP] and coupled with this is the advocacy for the rights of Hindus in India! But, the reality is starkly opposite, as the proponents of communalism and separatism have traditionally been found to be hand-in-glove with those who believe in making the poor poorer and rendering hordes of people getting unemployed and jobless," said Roop Rekha Verma, former Vice Chancellor of Lucknow University. She was one of the organisers.

"The five year rule of BJP lead NDA at the Centre has amply proved that the BJP is too subservient to internal dacoits of the economy as well as to multinational barons and accordingly it is busy selling our national wealth without the slightest of reservations. The poor populace is just being grinded between the internal corporates and multinational companies, while our PM AB Vajpayee and DPM LK Advani are attaching utmost importance to building a Ram Temple at Ayodhya! These people want to consolidate political power on the plank of hatred and for them the best way to achieve power is to organise riots and pogroms, as has been evidenced in Gujrat." She further said.

India, one should always remember became independent by the twin-revolutionary streams of Ashfaq Ullah Khan and Bhagat Singh along with the non-violence of MK Gandhi. Both these ideologies were fighting against British imperialism on one hand and also against those who were propagating hatred and destruction in the name of cultural nationalism. The fountain head of that exclusivist ideology is Rashtriya Swamsevak Sangh [RSS] and the ruling BJP is but a small unit of it. "RSS did not have even a negligible role in India’s independence and has always dreamed of creating the utopia of a Hindu Rashtra and embarked upon animus against minorities and disintegration of society," said Ashok Misra, general secretary of Communist Party of India [CPI], UP.

Shedding light on the motives of Archeological Survey of India [ASI] report on Babri Masjid – Ram Janam Bhumi excavation site, eminent historian Irfan Habib came out with very interesting points. The ASI report was released on September 25 2003. He considered it an unprofessional document, full of gross- omissions, one-sided presentation of evidences, clear falsifications and motivated inferences. "Its only aim seems to be to so ignore and twist the evidence as to make it suit its ‘conclusions’ tailored to support the fictions of the Sangh Pariwar [RSS] about the previous existence of a temple," he said
One decisive piece of evidence which entirely negates the possibility of a temple is that of animal bones. Bone fragment with cut-marks are a sure sign of animals being eaten at the site, and, therefore, rule out the existence of a temple at the site. The report in its ‘Summary of Results’ admits that ‘animal bones have been recovered from various levels of different periods’. Any serious archeological report would have tabulated the bones, by periods, levels and trenches and identified the species of the animals [which in bulk seem to be of sheep and goats]. There should, indeed, have been a chapter devoted to animal bones in the main text. This astonishing omission is patently due to ASI’s fear of the implications held out by the evidence of animal bone to the temple theory.
ASI did not mention Babri masjid in the entire report! And while digging up the Babri Masjid four floors were found, upper to lower, floor No. 3 is linked to the foundation walls of the Babari Masjid – the ASI’s ‘demolished’ or ‘disputed structure’ – built in 1528. Floor No. 4 is described in report as ‘a floor of lime mixed with fine clay and brick crush’ which is a typically Muslim style surkhi and lime-mortar bounded floor. It is obviously the floor of the earlier mosque [qanati or open mosque or Idgah] and a mihrab and taq were also found in the associated foundation. This is surprisingly not mentioned in the ASI report!

No single example is offered by the ASI of a temple of pre-Mughal time having such a lime-mortar surkhi floor, though one would think that this is an essential requirement when a purely Muslim structure is being appropriated as a Hindu one. 

"Politicians [read BJP] who are gloating over the ASI report are those who have had their way in the writing of the report. We are not surprised that a civil-servant who is completely malleable to the desires of the government was posted for the same purpose soon after the High Court directives to the ASI to excavate the Ayodhya site," he said. "It is nothing but saffronised archeology and the reputation of the ASI has been blatantly compromised and we are still to know as to where the list of the victims of saffronisation ends," he lamented.

AP Bardhan, the All India General Secretary of CPI took the audience into the historical reasons which gave birth to the RSS and its progeny Vishva Hindu Parishad [VHP]. He cited examples from yester years when the Hindutva [the word was first coined by VD Savarkar] campaign was conceptualized. How Savarkar in 1939 had the temerity to state that nationality does not depend so much on a common geographical areas as on unity of thought, religion, language and culture and for this reason German and Jews cannot be regarded as one nation. "Savarkar was the one who imported the ‘two-nation’ theory to India from Germany."

We should see as to how the German Nazi press feted Savarkar in 1940’s for his enthusiasm at the German occupation of Sudentenland. The leaders of organised Hindutva [M/s Golwalkar & Savarkar] had very close ties with the principal fascist ideologues in Italy and Germany.

"After the Jewish Holocaust Golwalkar had written that race pride at its highest has been manifested in Germany. It has shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for Hindustan to learn and profit by," said Vardhan.

He further added, that the issue of the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya is the best whipping-boy of BJP, but, the latest October 17 2003 flop show of VHP at Ayodhya has proved that people now understand the divisive politics of BJP."
The next speaker, Prakash Karat, member Polit-bureau of CPI, elaborated on the reasons for the BJP win in the three recent assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. Congress won only Delhi.

He exhorted that the primary task of all the secularists is to defeat the BJP in the coming general elections. "We have to see that the myth created by the BJP that it won elections on the slogan of development is broken at the earliest as out of 99 seats reserved for Schedule Tribes [ST] in the three states, BJP could win 76, and this is nothing but the outcome of RSS-working amongst the tribals, everyone knows how RSS manipulates them. The organisational resources of RSS lead to BJP winning the elections finally."

Armed with accurate data Karat cited that 22 per cent of votes in all the four states went to non-Congress and non-BJP candidates, thereby showing, that wherever the voter had got an alternative he chose it for good. Quoting from an article by Praful Bidwai, he said, ‘the factors behind the BJP’s victory are its exploitation of the Hindutva platform, effective caste alliances and election micro-management. Although it did not overtly campaign on the Ayodhya issue, the BJP used Hindutva in a variety of ways: in choosing candidates, deploying Hindutva symbols and personalities associated with the temple agitation VHP-RSS cadres turning into election Kar-sevaks dispatched from Gujrat and Maharashtra.

"The Telugu Desham Party [TDP], an outside ally of BJP in Andhra Pradesh, has thrown every election norm in the dustbin as 79 per cent of people have been enrolled in the voters list! This is about 20 per cent above the election commission’s parameter. A huge reserve of bogus voters has been created in AP and fortunately the chief election commissioner has even initiated an enquiry into the same. BJP and its allies are manipulating even government agencies for their electoral ends," he pointed. 

"We are open to cooperation with Congress on a number of issues, both inside and outside parliament, which are important for the mobilisation of all secular and democratic forces despite Congress having no different economic policies than the BJP," he announced.

A resolution expressing grave concern was adopted about the growing activities of BJP MP Yogi Adityanath in districts of East UP like Gorakhpur, Deoria, Kushi Nagar, Sant Kabir Nagar, Basti and Maharajganj. Yogi has unleashed a reign of terror in the past and is better known as Narendra Modi of Eastern UP. The previous BSP-BJP government has aided and abetted him. 

The resolution condemned the way Biharis have been killed and targeted in Assam. What makes the situation worst is the total impotence of the government in catching the riot-perpetrators and punishing them. When riots, as has happened in Gujarat 2002, get channelised through state sponsorship. Now even the witnesses of murders and mayhem are being coerced to turn hostile in the court in Gujarat. 

The resolution demanded Central Bureau of Investigation [CBI] to take proper steps to get LK Advani, MM Joshi and seven others tried for their role in the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6 1992. The resolution explicitly expressed that the court’s verdict is the final solution to the title suit of Babri Masjid / Ram Janambhumi. A further demand to bring Yogi Adityanath to justice for instigating a spurt of communal violence, at the earliest, was made.

Minorities have lost faith in the security forces, hence, to win their confidence, an adequate representation of minorities in security forces is needed and desired…..was one of the points of the resolution. 

All said and done, now it is time to see how a strategy to hinder the prospects of BJP is formalised and executed to stop the nation from going for yet another BJP led NDA government at the center. 
"
We took Rs. 100 each from about 150 members of the welcome committee to organise the programme," said Ashok Misra.

Surely and definitely, the sane and peace loving people are finding their resources shrinking, but the valour and grit and zest for a new secular dawn, which runs through their veins, deserves kudos and applause.
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