Rattling Serpent of Hindu Extremism in India

Qammer Abbass Anka

“What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.” -(Robert Kennedy)
Great nations always hold their founding leaders in high esteem and celebrate their anniversaries with national fervour and enthusism. In recent past, World witnessed a strange phenomenon in India when the entire nation was paying homage to their Leader Gandhi on his death anniversarya with tears in the eyes, a vast majority closely associated with the ruling Government celebrated the day as a festival eulogizing the assasin Godse instead of national hero and founding father Gandhi. The participnts hailing from Akhil Bhartia Hindu Mahasabha termed Godse as a hero and martyr who took revenge of the sin of India’s partition by killing Mahatma Gandhi. Indian media widely reported the strange dichotomy on 68th death anniversary of Mr Gandhi. Media while qouting Septuagenarian Pandit Sharma, National Vice President of Hindu Mahasabha wrote, “We celebrate the fact that this country’s hero Nathuram Godse eliminated Gandhi on this very day in 1948. Every year we express our happiness at Gandhi’s killing. We do not believe in the idea of a secular constitution. when India officially declares itself a Hindu Rashtra, Godse will be declared its hero and Gandhi’s assasination would be declared a national festival. Such celebrations can only take place in a country where radicalism has totally taken over secularism.
Hindutva or extreme Hindu ideology can be well understood from the view point of a former Chief of the RSS who advocates, ““The non-Hindu people in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but that of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture. They must not only give up their attitude of intolerance and ungratefulness towards this land and its age-old traditions, but also cultivate a positive attitude of love and devotion instead. They must cease to be foreigners, or must stay in this country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment-not even citizens rights.”
Since inception, Hindu leadership has been showcasing India as a secular and democratic State where all factions of society enjoy indiscriminate treatment irrespective of religion, caste, creed or race. On the other hand, converse of this projection is done for Pakistan to demonize her. Hindu extremism started gradually escalating in India immediately after independence. Partition of 1947 left behind deep scars on face of Hindus who never liked the creation of Pakistan and considered it vivisection of mother India a great folly. These extreme elements organized under RSS did not spare even their greatest leader Gandhi. His assassination at the hands of Nathuram Godse is testimony of this unprecedented intolerance.

The tumor of Hindu extremism kept growing under auspices of RSS and similar other fanatic outfits. The BJP is notorious for exploiting religious card and using religiously sensitive issues for gaining political advantage. The BJP’s extreme and intolerant ideology has contributed to fomenting communal tension. Although the party itself does not openly advocate violence or actions against religious minorities, yet members of the BJP have been linked to such violence. The BJP and paramilitary organizations like RSS and Bajrang Dal continue to seek support by evoking fears and resentment toward religious minority groups. The results have often been explosive and catastrophic.

Today BJP has dominated Indian political cosmos with Narendra Modi in Chair. Narendra Modi is a Hindu nationalist who was a member of RSS, a far-right organization based on European fascist ideologies. The RSS still operates as a nationalist organization with the BJP being its political wing. Modi is known for acrimony against Indian minorities including Muslims. Muslim Genocide in Gujrat during his tenure as Chief Minister earned him detestation and criticism World over. It is alleged that he was complicit in these attacks against Muslims as his administration failed to act to prevent Hindu nationalists from attacking Muslims. This resulted in a travel ban being placed on Modi which prevented him from entering the United States and European Union on grounds that Modi violated religious freedom. He has never apologized for his administration’s failure to prevent the attack. Furthermore BJP activists have been behind several attacks on Christians in India and false accusations against Christians Pastors for forced conversions.

Modi’s victory in Lok Sabha Elections primarily is indebted to anti-Minorities’ and anti Pakistan slogans and pledges to hardliner Hindu elements of RSS. Modi’s Government after winning the elections by adopting anti-minorities’ rhetoric, is now out rightly fulfilling her pledges made during the election campaign. India under BJP is witnessing a surge in acts of vandalism targeting minorities, specially the Christians. Similarly, in pursuance to RSS’s Hindutva agenda, mass conversion of minorities into Hinduism has intensified alarmingly. The vicious mass conversion campaign by Hindu extreme outfits has also raised alarms in Unites States. According to Washington post published a statement issued by US State department which said, “We are aware of recent reports regarding alleged coercion in mass conversions in India, and are monitoring the situation closely. We work to promote respect for freedom of religion and belief in all countries around the world. We call on all states to comply with their obligations to protect religious freedom, as per international norms”. The issue of mass conversion was raised at the State Department’s regular briefing on 11 December, 2014.
Growing Hindu extremism in India is targeting non Hindu minorities under tacit approval of BJP. Events like forced conversions (Shuddi), beef ban and lynching of Muslims, Hinduization of education curriculum, rapes of Nuns and desecration of Christian seminaries, suicides and denial of opportunities to Dalits are the reflection of rapid Hinduization of India.

India’s father of nation M.K Gandhi even became a prey to Hindu extremist named Godse. Godse had admitted at his trial for the murder of Gandhi by saying “I consider it a religious and moral duty to resist and, if possible, to overpower such an enemy by use of force”. Off late, RSS celeberated 30 January to eulogize Nathuram Godse, the assasin of Gandhi. The organization also endevoured to relaese a documentray “Desh Bhakt Nathuram”( Patriot Nathuram) projecting him as a patriot. But, the attempt was forstalled as Pune Court imposed ban on its relaease on grounds that it may incite people on communal lines. The organization seems undettered and launched Godse eulozing camapign by launching a website and commemorating his hanging day 15th Novemeber as ‘Shaurya Divas’ (martyrdom day) throughout Maharashtra. The same Godse was eulogised as “patriot Godse”. Interstingly, Hindu Mahasabha and RSS are mentor parties of BJP and have more infulence on the ruling coalition in India. Indian PM Modi is also RSS’s activist. His wearing of saffron turban during the recent ceremony of Indian Republic day, reflects his real intention which is saffronization of India.

Unfortunately, International community is in deep slumber and intentionally overlooks rising Hindu radicalization in India. Their silence and economically motivated support to India is in fact a support to Hindu extremism. Today, Secular India is fast fading into ‘Saffron India’ forcing Hindu domination in all walks of life. The never ending journey of bloodbath unleashed by Hindu fundamentalism which is consuming thousands of lives of the minorities, mostly Muslims, will continue challenging India’s false claim of being a secular and democratic State worldwide. With BJP reigning India, the minorities will suffer more and their anguish will continue to ridicule concave secularism of India.

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