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Home > 2023 > Why announce aggression now Bhagwatji? | Faraz Ahmad

Mainstream, VOL 61 No 4, January 14, 2023

Why announce aggression now Bhagwatji? | Faraz Ahmad

Saturday 14 January 2023, by Faraz Ahmad

Hindutva aggression is the new leitmotif of the Sangh parivar. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sarsanghchalak (chief) Mohan Bhagwat has declared this. But as the election to the 18th Lok Sabha approaches a little over year from now, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had started showing signs of this aggression from early 2022.

For more than a year since the BJP imported a former socialist S.R. Bommai’s son Basvaraj Bommai to head their government in Karnataka, merely to appease the politically assertive Lingayat community, so far beholden to Bommai’s predecessor B.S.Yediyurappa, in the runup to the state assembly elections due later this year, this Hindutva brigade became more aggressive in sharpening communal divide by preventing Muslim girls from entering colleges and schools with head covering scarves, nee hijab, as the Muslims prefer to call it; making claims upon Idgah lands to perform their pujas and such other related activity; to a call to refrain from buying anything from Muslim vendors. Simultaneously in a presumably modern township of Haryana on Delhi border, Gurgaon, Muslims offering their Friday afternoon special prayers in open spaces allotted for the purpose for several years by successive state governments, has become increasingly hazardous with hordes of Hindutva vigilante brigade descending upon the place and physically preventing the namaz, even though till date not one Namazi offered any physical resistance, thus avoiding a communal flare up.

It is no more time to be shy and apologetic about aggression for the communally surcharged Hindutva brigade. Now the Sangh chief announced to the world outside that these elements do enjoy the support of the Sangh. He chose to send his message through the twin organs of the organisation, in Hindi and English, Panchjanya and Organiser, respectively. He virtually justified the various forms of aggression against Muslims including making claims to their mosques and Idgahs. Never mind the 1991 Act of Parliament which banned making any claim on any place of worship which has existed since the day of Independence, 1947.

Bhagwat said, “You see, Hindu society has been at war for over 1000 years—this fight has been going on against foreign aggressions and foreign conspiracies. Sangh has offered its support…There are many who have spoken about it. And it is because of all these that the Hindu society has awakened. It is but natural for those at war to be aggressive.” In the elaboration further down he left it to no one’s imagination, who is the enemy he was referring to—Muslims and Muslims alone. Since the ascendance of BJP to power, the Sangh Parivar has been playing a duplicitous game of pretending ignorance about the controversial assertion of their second chief M.S.Golwalkar who presided over this organisation the longest and who was clear in his writings that Muslims are the real enemy of Hindus and therefore Muslims will have no place in Hindu Rashtra as and when it fructifies. In Guruji’s writings Muslims could make no claims of any kind except to become subordinates with not even citizens’ rights to serve faithfully the Hindus and Hindu cause. It is significant that after all these years the current Sarsanghchalak is more clearly and lucidly expressing the same view.

Talking of “Hindu society”. he said that Hindu is on the cusp of “yet another war…this war is not against an enemy without, but against an enemy within... The simple truth is this—Hindusthan should remain Hindusthan. Making a pointed distinction between the common place spelling of Hindustan he calls India Hindu-sthan. Now see the recent provocative statement of Malegaon bomb blast accused and Bhopal MP Pragya Sangh Thakur in this perspective. She had asked Hindus to weaponise themselves for the safety of their girls. If nothing else at least sharpen your kitchen knives to face the enemy, she said. Who was her diatribe aimed at? Anybody with an elementary knowledge of politics would know who the Malegaon blast accused was referring to but the hapless Muslims. Or see the call by the ‘sants’ of ‘Dharam Sansad’ for fully eliminating Muslims by picking up arms against them.

“There is no harm to the Muslims living today in Bharat….But at the same time Muslims must abandon their boisterous rhetoric of supremacy,” said the RSS supremo. Even veteran journalist Rahul Dev currently associated with an institution of this government as Honorary Advisor with Speaker’s Research Initiative, Parliament of India, evidently a close associate of this saffron government, speaking in a discussion found this charge of ‘boisterous rhetoric of supremacy’ against Muslims most unreasonable and unjustified, when Muslims are being attacked by Hindutva activists and bodies from all sides since Modi became the Prime Minister of India in 2014.

But then the Sarsanghchalak has set the agenda. So soon after the BJP returned to power in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Goa early last year, thanks to ‘aggressive’ Hindutva agenda of chief minister Yogi Adityanath, the Sangh Parivar was convinced of the desirability of aggressive Hindutva, which, put in other words, meant putting the Muslim in his place. So, they went about it with bulldozers demolishing Muslim houses ostensibly to punish them for holding public protests. The Parivar was kicked by this bulldozer demolition and it immediately caught the fancy of their successive state governments to subdue and suppress any protest from the Muslim community.

By this time it seems various state governments like Madhya Pradesh and neo converts like Assam are competing with each other who would score more brownie points with the Sarsanghchalak. In this race Union ministers also feared not to be left behind. Thus we have Smriti Irani proudly announcing in the preceding Winter session her decision to discontinue the Maulana Azad scholarship scheme for the minorities, started in 1989 which supports hundreds and thousands of poor minority students, not just Muslims but also Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and even Jains. She told Parliament since there were so many schemes already in existence she felt no need for this one. One very interesting aspect of this is that the neo converts to Hindutva ideology are more anxious to prove their loyalty and establish their credibility be it Himanta Biswa Sarma or Basvaraj Bommai or Smriti Irani or even our eminent Vice President, His Excellency Jagdeep Dhankar.

In this race each one has to prove his mettle. So our Law Minister Kiren Rijiju chose to take on the judiciary and sound the apex court on the undesirability of entertaining bail petitions. And when that did not work, he tried extending the threat of curtailing their recesses and regulating judicial appointments in the higher judiciary.

Not to be left behind our current Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar who has quenched his political thirst at various political troughs from Janata Dal to the four-month Chandra Shekhar government to the Congress party and finally to the BJP which he has served with political diligence and sincerity as West Bengal governor. Sure he has been rewarded for his yeoman service to his party in Bengal. But if he has to rise further he has to do better and so unmindful of the office he holds he threw barbs at the higher judiciary in the Rajya Sabha as its chairman in the last Winter session.

But the moot question is why has Bhagwat spoken now? One view with some strength of logic is that the elections to the 18th Lok Saba are barely 12-13 months from now. And despite vigorous denials, the huge spontaneous response to Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra against hate mongers, has perhaps shaken the Parivar a little. And Bhagwat’s announcement is calling all hands on the deck—to fight this with all their strength. Not that they are not doing this already. Their insidious campaign against Rahul is focussed on his T shirt and his remarkable capacity to walk more than 3000 kilometres by now. Some say he is on drugs; others say he is wearing some skin-colour protection which saves him from this severe cold. Still others say actually he is not walking that much. Soon as the camera men disperse he gets into a comfortable car and traverses most of the distance in a car.

I believe that more than anything else the fact that former generals, Navy and Air chiefs and senior bureaucrats and virtually people from all walks of life have associated with Rahul’s mission to awaken people’s consciousness against hate mongering has rung a few alarm bells in the Parivar, for their whole edifice rests on hate and othering. The day the masses rise against it as one man/woman as say they are doing in Iran currently, that would sound a death knell for the Parivar with all its might and electronic voting machines (evms).

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