Issues

Hindutva threat to culture

By Zaboor Ahmad

Jan Sangh, the previous avatar of BJP had failed miserably to taste power for a considerable period of time. Indira Gandhi provided the necessary opportunity for Jan Sangh to sneak into the corridors of power. Riding high on the anti-democratic wave of Mrs Gandhi, Janata Party, an amalgam of ideologically incongruent parties formed the government in 1977. It adopted gradually an instrumentalist strategy of manipulating the identity symbols for political mobilisation. Actually, all former Jan Sangh members of the party supported a bill to amend the Constitution to catapult cow protection into in the federal list. It clearly revealed the hinduvta conception of power. The goal is that  minorities respect the Hindu culture and assimilate into it by displaying allegiance to its symbols of identity. Those who are not ready to travel that extra mile shall be parachuted into Pakistan. This prescription is not only on the lips of every political bigwig but also violent cultural militias with whom they share organic horizontal and vertical links.

 Hinduvta is the movement for space and territory. These central coordinates are used to increase exponentially the catchment areas of god and goddesses. Brand new territories are usurped in the name of god. Religious places are used for settling political scores, to undermine the support base of political opponents, in which the religious institutions are made causality, without any compunction. Not even a single prime minister of the largest democracy mustered the courage to seek apology from any of the communities which have become victims of state terrorism. Be it the theft of holy relic of the prophet in Kashmir or else the scandalous and outrageous act of destruction of Golden Temple. The mosque vs temple issue in India has never been simply an equation of who shall be worshipped where but a well-choreographed and planned action of religious and political movement as such related to changing the political context. The political success of BJP is wholly banking on crafting an alliance with its cultural-terror outfits allowing it to use religious narratives in political space. The protest launched by Vishwa Hindu Parishad against the existence of Babri Masjid has been a well constructed narrative to engender the psychology of Hindu victimhood, a “threatened” Hindu majority.

The recent anecdotes of cultural and religious usurpation of majority community have surfaced in Kashmir. A new pilgrimage to Abhinav Gupt cave in Beerwah areas of Budgam district of Kashmir is in the offing. The idea behind the organisation of the yatra is to redevelop links with people and communities that continue to believe their origin to be in Kashmir. So has been the move of VHP, the organically linked militia of BJP to start the pilgrimage to Kowsarnag, mesmerising lake and the fount of various rivers in Kulgam, a southern district of Kashmir It was only after the opposition from the people that the idea was put in cold storage. This is a nicely planned move to revive the past of a particular religion to brainwash the people about the place which has been the point of origin of their religion, there by creating a new dispute. The Hinduvta forces are hell bent on shrinking the space for religious freedom of minorities, more particularly of Muslims and Christians while simultaneously it is making claims to new areas. It is an attempt to discreetly and slowly annihilate everything associated with Muslims. A claim has also been laid to the cultural symbol of Taj Mahal however the matter is sub judice. The names of various roads have been changed. More changes are in offing.

 Brainwashing is done along with murder, riots etc. Brainwashing is done through rewriting of textooks coupled with packing of cultural institutions with RSS people to provide the necessary wherewithal to execute the Hindutva enterprise with nicety. Speaking in different voices has been the hallmark of BJP and its militia groups. The mainstream media of India has carried a lot of stuff about the existence of ISIS in Kashmir, a brainwashing attempt indeed. This is to ensure that new threats are manufactured constantly to ensure continuance of draconian laws. Arming and providing military training to Hindutva volunteers is a recipe for communal disaster. Hindu right wing terror differs from “Islamic” one as it sprouts itself as mob violence, seemingly as spontaneous outbursts, but to all intents and purposes these events are well horeographed and orchestrated with planning in advance.

The author is a teacher of political science in Kashmir. He may be contacted at ahmadzaboor@gmail.com 

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 July 2016 on page no. 2

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