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Published in the 16-31 Mar 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Muslim foot soldiers of the RSS
By Shamsul Islam 

The RSS/BJP leadership has traditionally despised any discussion on separate existence and problems of minorities in India, treating it as succumbing to ‘minorityism’ and ‘vote-bank’ politics. This was the reason why the Government led by a senior Swyamsevak Atal Bihari Vajpayee immediately after coming to power in 1998 forced the winding up of the National Integration Council, which was created in 1961 to assure security to minorities. Its dissolution had been a long-standing demand of the most prominent ideologue of the RSS, MS Golwalkar. However, there seems to have occurred a ‘change of heart’ of the Hindutva top brass as of late it has been enticing Muslim leaders to join its company and simultaneously organizing Muslim conclaves to curry favour with the largest minority of the country. This change of attitude is the obvious outcome of the realization of the RSS/BJP leadership that despite its deep hatred for Muslims, Muslims voters hold key to any party’s success in around 100 Lok Sabha constituencies in the country. 
Sikander Bakht

Sikander Bakht

Unfortunately, despite the hype created by the Hindutva gang around its wooing of Muslims there is no genuine effort to address the problems of Muslims which are largely the product of aggressive Hindu communal politics when any gesture towards Muslims becomes appeasement. Behind the current mask of sympathy for Muslim minority there lingers its old pastime of rubbing salts into wounds of Indian Muslims. This was clearly visible in the speeches of AB Vajpayee and his deputy LK Advani who addressed two different sponsored gatherings of Muslims in Delhi within a span of one week. Vajpayee while addressing the Muslim Development Conference (25 February) told them more than once that his government had initiated peace process with Pakistan. Advani made why this needed to be specifically told to Muslims six days later. While addressing the second gathering of Muslims (3 March) he said: "The most effective way of reducing tension of Hindus and Muslims [of India] is by reducing tension between India and Pakistan." A group of liberal intellectuals was rightly indignant with this insinuation and came out with a public statement next day [4 March] condemning what Vajpayee and Advani thought about "the aspirations and inclinations of Indian Muslims." The statement went on to say that no wonder Vajpayee-Advani followers "often raise slogans like ‘Musalman ka ek hee sthan, Pakistan ya kabristan’ (There are only two places for the Muslim: Pakistan or the graveyard). This mindset equates Indian Muslims with Pakistan. It is a shame that both Vajpayee and Advani think that Indo-Pak friendship is a bribe that can be offered to Indian Muslims in return for their vote and not a laudable aim in itself vis-à-vis an immediate neighbour. If this be their opinion of the Indian Muslim, how can the interest of the community be safe in their hands?"

In fact, Vajpayee and Advani both were simply echoing the old RSS postulation that Muslims of India had extra-constitutional loyalties towards Pakistan. In fact, the Bible of the RSS cadres, Golwalkar’s ‘Bunch of Thoughts, has a long chapter titled, ‘Internal Threats’, in which Muslims and Christians are described as threats number one and two respectively. The Communists are described as 'Enemy' number 3. This chapter opens with the following statement: "It has been the tragic lesson of the history of many a country in the world that the hostile elements within the country pose a far greater menace to national security than aggressors from outside" (p. 177). While treating Muslims as hostile element number one Golwalkar goes on to elaborate, "Even to this day there are so many who say, ‘Now there is no Muslim problem at all. All those riotous elements who supported Pakistan have gone away once for all. The remaining Muslims are devoted to our country. After all, they have no other place to go and they are bound to remain loyal…It would be suicidal to delude ourselves into believing that they have turned patriots overnight after the creation of Pakistan. On the contrary, the Muslim menace has increased a hundredfold by the creation of Pakistan, which has become a springboard for all their future aggressive designs on our country" (pp. 177f).

Elaborating further on the number 1 ‘Enemy’, Golwalkar presents his thesis which was religiously used by the VHP goons for exterminating Muslim localities in Gujarat in the year 2002, in the following words: "Within the country there are so many Muslim pockets, i.e., so many ‘miniature Pakistans’, where the general law of the land can be enforced only with certain modifications, and the whims of the miscreants have to be given the final say. This acceptance, indirect though it may be, implies a very dangerous theory fraught with possibilities of the destruction of our national life altogether. Such ‘pockets’ have verily become the centers of a widespread network of pro-Pakistani elements in this land…the conclusion is that, in practically every place, there are Muslims who are in constant touch with Pakistan over the transmitter…" (p. 185).

Shockingly, Muslims present in both the above-mentioned meetings found nothing objectionable in the Hindutva thesis that Indian Muslims had extra-territorial loyalties. The reality is that Indian Muslims generally have no confusion about their national loyalties. Unfortunately Hindutva juggernaut has been attracting that section of Muslims who are spineless, have forsaken self-honour and have no regard for self-respect. They simply want to share unprincipled glory and loot despite heaping of insults and humiliations by the Hindutva gang. Truly, they are not the first ones to be part of killer gangs. The case of late Sikandar Bakht who joined the Hindutva gang in 1970s for petty gains will show how Muslim individuals joined the bandwagon despite being terribly humiliated and downgraded. The RSS/BJP leadership knows that there is no dearth of such individuals in any community even today. Many of us know that Sikandar Bakht chose a Hindu girl, Raj Sharma, to be his life partner. The marriage took place on 24 May 1952 in Delhi. The significance of this marriage was that Sikandar though a Muslim did not convert Raj Sharma to his religion as it was solemnized as a civil marriage under Special Marriage Act. But many of us do not know that the RSS under whose wings Sikandar chose to come later turned Delhi into a battleground against Muslims as a result of this marriage. The RSS in league with the Hindu Mahasabha created a situation of civil war in the capital of India. In order to know what transpired in those days one has simply to look into the 2 June 1952 issue of the RSS English organ, Organiser.

Read in the next issue what Organiser said about Sikandar Bakht in 1952

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