If I was an Indian Muslim, I would have a whole lot of questions today and certainly no answers.
So far, I believed in the pictures of Rahul Gandhi, skull cap and all, in Iftar party breaking his fast, so to speak, at sunset during a day in the Ramadan month. His remarks that Congress is a party of Muslims. Now, I read he said Tuesday in Indore that his party is one of Hinduism.
It raised a whole lot of issues to my mind. Does Congress stand for Muslims, Dalits, Hindus or everyone. So far I have been told the only protectors Muslims have are Congress. They engineered a special protection for my Jammu and Kashmir brethrens and sisters in Indian Constitution. They stood up for Sharia during the Shah Bano case; are most determined for Rohingya refugees; paralyzed the country on Kathua tragedy; stalled the Triple Talaq bill, spotlight every single–half or full–lynching incident in the remotest hamlets of the country. Now they say they are one of Hinduism.
All this while, they dubbed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as sectarian and communal even though Narendra Modi never once said he stood only for Hindus. Isn’t Rahul Gandhi now being communal by opening claiming his party is one of Hinduism? Isn’t it polarizing the communities? Widening the gulf of fear and insecurity between practitioners of two religions? Is this the vision of One India or daring of a burglar who wishes to rob the home of 1.3 billions of all its valuables?
Then I look at my newspapers. My day begins with Indian Express, the “journalism of courage.” For the last four years and half, they have reported every single incident against my Muslim community, and Dalits, with sincerity and not a little bit of imagination and creativity. They have marked anniversaries of Dadri, Pehlu or a Junaid by sacrificing the space for news of their front pages. They made sure my Muslim community didn’t forget for a single day the crimes which have been committed against them during the Modi regime (Nor did they Una or Bhima-Koregaon on behalf of Dalits). Indian Express seemed seriously concerned about the future of Indian Muslims.
And look at them, now that Rahul Gandhi has jumped the ship, to my eyes at least, Indian Express choose to completely blank out his Indore comment in today’s edition (31.10.2018). Why didn’t they report Rahul Gandhi for his communal and polarizing comment? Why did they desert me and million of Indian Muslims like me who dread a majoritarian narrative in this country? Could Indian Express be said to be standing up to the idea of secular, free and equal India? Just imagine if Modi had said BJP stands only for Hinduism? (They haven’t allowed him to live down the Kabristan-Shamsaan speech to this day).
If I could ask Indian Express why for a similar offence, BJP is communal and Congress is not. Why give ammunition to right-wingers who claim there is never a pro-Hindu story on your front pages? Why make even your die-hard fans like me and other Indian Muslims doubt your sincerity when you sweep Rahul Gandhi’s all-for-Hinduism comment under the carpet?
I’ve tried to give my faith in Indian Express a second chance. What if your reporter truly miss the Indore event? Extremely unlikely for Rahul didn’t offer his comment in private. It was a press conference. Even if your reporter missed the event, news agencies such as PTI must have brought the news on your teleprinters. On close inspection, I even find this Indore press conference of offensive-comment buried inside your newspaper (Page 8).
Then why did you throw a cloak on this Rahul remark from our views? Why have double standards on BJP and Congress? If you care about us Indian Muslims or the idea of India that you numb our minds daily with, why avoid the searchlight on Mr Rahul Gandhi? Is that an editorial policy or a direction you receive from “Above”? And who’s this “Above”? Does this “Above” have the welfare of us Indian Muslims or India as a whole in mind?
These are all very disturbing questions to my mind. I hope Indian Express takes my fears in the form of questions to Rahul Gandhi. Ask its editorial writers from JNU and Ashoka University; Kancha Ilaiahs or Apoorvanands, to prove they truly speak for us minorities. That their propagation of free and secular India is not fake. Scratch the surface of Kapil Sibal and Shashi Tharoor who are never out of your reach, or representation, in your newspaper on a daily basis. You could even evoke write-ups from retired professionals such as Justice Fali S. Nariman or Chelameswar, ex-cop Julio Ribeiro, ex-election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi etc who don’t even need an invitation to fill your editorial pages.
After all, you are “journalism of courage.” You profess to stand up for us minorities. You claim to care for a free and secular India. The proof of burden that you don’t write on behalf of Muslims and Dalits only when it suits you.
Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar needs you on his 45th death anniversary on Tuesday (June 5, 1973). Chances are he would be reviled by Leftists Sitaram Yechury, and “Liberals” Ramachandra Guha, for his alleged affinity with Adolf Hitler. It would help them paint Rashstriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a Fascist and Nazist force, a virulent campaign meant to neutralize the sting out of Pranab Mukherjee’s upcoming visit to RSS headquarters on June 7.
“Guruji” as Golwalkar is known, was in public eye for a long period between 1940-1973 as the second sarsangchalak of RSS. In his profuse writings, letters, articles, statements and interviews, there is NOT ONE single sentence which declares Guruji’s admiration for Hitler. Not one. Yet libraries of articles and books repeat the lie to run down the world’s biggest mass organization.
This ocean of lies floats on a mere two paragraphs which appeared in Guruji’s maiden book in 1938, “We, Our Nationhood Defined”. The book has never been reprinted since 1947. It’s been over 70 years but these two paragraphs alone is the edifice around which an entire cottage industry of RSS-bashing, Hindu-mocking has flourished. Only Shiva knows how many careers have been launched; reputations air-brushed; funds transferred to crooks reaping the harvest out of these two paragraphs.
As an analogy, why Karl Marx is not Hitler-like for he too described Jews as “arch-exploiters”? Or John F. Kennedy so, for he praised Fascism-for-Italy and Nazism-for-Germany in the 1930s? Or our own Pt. Nehru for he swore by socialism even as millions were being massacred in its name in Stalin’s Russia?
But let’s look at these two contentious paragraphs first:
“From the standpoint, sanctioned by the experience of shrewd old nations, the foreign races in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture or language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e. of the Hindu nation, and must lose their separate existence or merge into the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment–not even citizens’ rights.”
Let’s look at key issues in the paragraph. One, there is no call for genocide for it says “minorities can stay in the country.” The sentence “not claim any privilege” isn’t objectionable either for that’s the decree of “secularists” alone. All the democracies of the world are run by this maxim.
As for Citizens’ Rights, before we describe its context, let’s remember most Muslim countries till today exclude non-Muslims in its political decision-making system. Golwalkar’s prescription for Non-Hindus is vastly different from Sharia’s prescription for non-Muslims. Golwalkar isn’t stopping non-Hindus from bearing arms or riding a horse. So if Golwalkar/RSS are fascist, how would you describe Quran and Sharia?
Now look at the context of this sentence. In 1938, the talk of a Muslim nation was gathering wind. Muslims advocated the two-nation theory in India. Such a theory had been applied on Austria-Hungarians, Ottoman and Czarist empires. Lenin has supported it; so had USSR constitution. Muslims claimed they were distinct from Hindus by dress and customs; food and marriage; religion and holy days etc. They also lived in separate neighbourhoods. So Golwalkar was only accepting the Muslim logic.
Those advocating a Muslim nation in 1938 unambiguously expressed and defined Muslim community as a separate nation (ummah). So if you are a separate nation, how could you be a full citizen in a Hindu state? As Dr Koenraad Elst says: “Remember, the same choice was given to Kennedy (John), the first Roman catholic president of the (protestant) US. He was asked if he was loyal to Roman Catholic Church or country? He said country.”
Now let’s turn to the second paragraph in contention:
“To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races — the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also 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 us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.”
This paragraph again must be viewed in the context of 1938. This was the year when Hitler was hugely popular in India and no less around the world. He had transformed Germany; challenged the order of colonial powers. Why, even after WW II, Charles de Gaulle was spewing anti-Jews views. Eugenic politics was on in US and Scandinavia till the 1970s. The “Hitler Salute” was fairly common well into the 1950s. Democratic countries were racists and publicly proud of it. Subhas Bose was hailed in India even though he had joined hands with Japan, an ally of Fascist-Nazist forces.
Just to highlight the double standards, look at how Mahatma Gandhi shed tears on destruction of British Parliament and Westminister Abbey in WW II. But he had no such feel for monuments destroyed in Germany. Was England’s record in India any better than Germany in other countries in 1940?
All Golwalkar said was that Germany proved two nations in one state was not feasible. He drew an analogy but never supported Nazism. He could’ve done so in 1938 since England was still not at war with Germany.
If Golwalkar was a Nazi, he wouldn’t have extensively quoted Western scholars in his work. For instance he approved of John Stuart Mills’ words: “Free institutions are impossible in a country made up of different nationalities.” Golwalkar publicly believed in the authority of League of Nations (while fascist Italy left League of Nations in 1937).
Golwalkar never said Muslims must not hold public office; or intermarriage must be clamped down upon; or that “pogroms of Muslims” was the answer. He didn’t ask for Muslim professors to be removed from universities after the Partition. Golwalkar looked for assimilation of minorities; not dissimilation like Hitler did. What you would never be told is that US, England and France etc—all democratic countries—had refused rights to minorities in League of Nations. They all stood for assimilation of minorities. And so did Golwalkar.
Golwalkar had seen how Muslims in India had appealed to foreign Muslim powers, like Amir of Afghanistan, during the Khilafat Movement. His appeal for their assimilation in the 1930s thus appears perfectly legitimate. Those criticizing Golwalkar, must tell us what was RSS’ position during WW II? They must also be asked: Why don’t you quote from Deendayal Upadhyaya’s Integral Humanism, formulated in 1965 and the official ideology of RSS? Every BJP member has to swear by it.
In the same book, Golwalkar says: “The superiority complex of the White Man blurs their vision. (We.., Pg 6, 11).” Does it look like a comment of “White-Only” Nazis?
An American student who travelled Europe in the 1930s, wrote to his parents saying fascism is right for Italy; Nazism for Germany.” This student was no other than John F. Kennedy. Nobody calls Kennedy as Fascist or Nazist. Those who have no moral compunction while doing the same to Golwalkar and RSS, are at best agents of Left-Liberal mafia. They feed on chaos and anarchy; bloodshed and genocide in a society. Spot them in the light of Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to RSS Headquarters on Thursday.