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Published in the 1-15 Apr 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Book Review

Strong feelings, strongly expressed

Here is a book that forcefully warns against the possible consequences of allowing Sangh fascism to ride back to power

By Mohd. Zeyaul Haque

The Milli Gazette Online

 

Title: Hindutva: Treason and Terrorism
Author: I K Shukla
ISBN 81-7221-026-4
Year: 2005
Pages: 181 p/b
Price: Rs 130 / Euro 10 / US$ 15 
Publishers: Pharos Media & Publishing Pvt Ltd, D-84 Abul Fazl Enclave-I, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi-110025

Every sensible human being is appalled by murder and mayhem, hate and hooliganism. The Sangh combine has honed these into an art form, so finely orchestrated and balanced that even the murder of Mahatma Gandhi looks rather normal. Narendra Modi of Gujarat presents the 2002 pogrom as some kind of a revolutionary upheaval inspired by the noblest of ideas.

There are litterateurs and sundry writers in Gujarat who take the idea further and sublimate it into a great act of catharsis. Naturally, we need somebody to restore perspective and put things where they belong. It is here that IK Shukla comes charging in, astride a white steed, wielding a mighty ex-calibre, so to say.

The most noticeable aspect of Shukla’s work is the sense of moral outrage at what the Sangh has been up to over the last several decades. The Sangh has not been demonising only the religious minorities (mainly Christians and Muslims), but liberals, Marxists and common Indians of every denomination and political leaning. The Sangh is a microscopic minority that masquerades as the representative of all Hindus, which it is not.

To quote Shukla, “the saffron minority, like all fascist formations in history, resorts to massive vandalism and violence on a regular basis. Sowing division and discord, therefore, is essential to its unholy project, entailing social disruption and endangering national security”.

Shukla is one of the few people who fights against the Sangh on their own turf. The Sangh sets a great store by its “nationalist” credentials. But Shukla says they are downright anti-national. Inspired by nasty men like Hitler, Mussolini and their more recent clones like Austria’s Gaider and France’s Le Pen, the Sangh has got to be brutal. One of its mascots, Parveen Togadia, publicly boasts that he worships Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and US President George W. Bush. Why? Because in his view, they are the greatest foes of Muslims. That makes Shukla remark that the Sangh has always been inspired by and subservient to foreigners.

He makes the point clear by ferreting out Atal Behari Vajpayee’s mafinama (apology) to the British government in 1942. To secure his release, several patriots were betrayed and thrown behind bars. That is a stigma that would not go away, whatever the Sangh does. Shukla rightly calls Vajpayee a police informer.

The book is a collection of articles written around and after the Gujarat carnage of 2002. The last articles were written after the BJP-led NDA was booted out of power from the Centre. Shukla lampoons and lambasts the neo-fascists relentlessly. Finding prose inadequate to attack the adversary, he resorts to limerick at a couple of places. He does not take kindly to Shushma Swaraj threatening to shave her head, don white sari (even though she is not a widow) and eat roasted gram, if Sonia Gandhi became prime minister. He challenges her to go ahead and commit suicide. 

In his limerick, taking poetic licence, he turns Shushma into Sush Maa and Uma Bharti becomes Um Abharti. Incidentally, Abharti (un-Indian) is the antonym of Bharti (Indian). Shukla is convinced that the Sangh nationalism is phoney.

It is interesting reading. Well-produced and low-priced, it is virtually a loot at Rs 130.  «

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