Writing this in response to another embarrassment faced by India due to former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s hateful comment against Islam. US Secretary of State Ned Price condemned both BJP official’s recent comments, and said India should promote human rights and freedom of religion.
In 70 years, nobody had to worry about these issues in India. We were a struggling nation, ravaged by colonialism, poor, largely illiterate, but were were always wise, just and kind. Nowadays, every other country is lecturing us on how to be better? Why? Because something is going wrong under Modi rule. Modi is busy fulfilling RSS goals, not India’s goals. RSS is determined to make India a Hindu Rashtra. As per latest media reports, they are intending to accelerate the efforts and make India a Hindu Rashtra by 2025.
When Pakistan chose to be a Muslim nation India decided to be secular to prove the point that we could do better, be wiser, that despite being 80% Hindus we were big and generous enough to protect our minorities and honour Muslim heritage. In Modi’s 8 years we turned into a 12-year-old petty jealous vindictive sibling who wants more attention.
The idea of India was to be different, unique, better, wiser. A vision that we won’t do the stupid things nations across history have always done – fight each other over identities, kill in the name of religion. That we will be modern progressive and liberal. But RSS-BJP killed that vision.
RSS-BJP claim to make India Vishwa Guru. Truth is team-Nehru had that vision and India was already a Vishwa Guru by showing how a nation with immense diversity can still protect them all, love them all, live in harmony. We set an example for the likes of European Union who were finding is very hard to manage their linguistic diversity. But it’s Modi who destroyed this.
RSS never accepted the vision shared by Nehru Gandhi Patel Netaji Bhagat Singh etc. all other freedom fighters. RSS had one obsession, religion. Nothing new in it, every other petty fascist group in history had the same bad idea. So, they kept working on how to destroy the idea of India and do what Pakistan did in 1947, be a theocracy. Like I said, nothing unique.
However, from RSS perspective they are being unique and special. They keep saying Muslims have some 50 nations we don’t have any Hindu nation, so India will be Hindu nation. We will paint everything saffron, talk about Vedas all day etc. Unique. Problem is, nobody cares. Everybody loves their own religion and culture. You can’t become #vishwaguru by obsessing about your own.
Obsessing about one’s own identity, thinking my culture, my religion, my civilization, my ancient knowledge are the best, does not make you great or special or unique. Loving everybody despite extreme differences is.
RSS-BJP’s Hindutva project is not great. But India is paying a heavy cost to fulfil this project. In 8 years, Modi has not achieved anything significant except fulfil various RSS goals. Abrogation of Art 370, Ram Temple, Triple Talaq ban, ban on religious conversion, Hindu-Muslim marriage, beef, digging up of more masjids to find temples underneath, attack Muslim identity on various excuses like Azan, Hijab, Namaz etc. are all RSS goals. Not India’s goals. These make India petty and vindictive. BJP govt at Centre and States are busy fulfilling RSS goals by obsessing about conflating India’s identity with Vedic identity. One example is to name govt schemes in Vedic/Sanskrit terms. Whom are we impressing by doing this? Are we becoming greater than others by this?
This goal of making India Hindu Rashtra where India’s identity is conflated with RSS’s version of Hindu identity (actually UP, MP etc Hindi heartland state’s identity) is similar to Taliban’s goal in Afghanistan or Khomeini’s goal in Iran, Erdogan’s goals in Turkey.
Afghanistan, Turkey, Iran are all Muslim majority countries which became modernized and secularized around 1920s-30s-40s. Citizens enjoyed individual freedom, women could wear short dress, study, work. But religion obsessed leaders started Islamic revolution to go back to past. As Islamic revolution in Iran succeeded various regressive practices and rules of the religion came back. Women were now forced to wear hjiab. Similarly in Afghanistan. Is it not obvious that RSS’s goals of Hindu revolution or jaago Hindu or Hindu Rashtra are similar to these? RSS will say, but Hindu religion does not have any regressive practice so no problem if we run the country as per Hindu laws. Well, all religion has some regressive practices but that’s not the point.
The very idea of turning back from modern secular to religious past is regressive. Moreover, if a nation’s identity is conflated with one religion or one version of a religion in this case RSS’s version of Hinduism or Sanatan, how will other identities fit into that scheme? In 1979 after Islamic revolution won the old secular Constitution was abolished. A new Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran was adopted. It was declared that there is only one God.
For RSS therefore it is not an unprecedented or impossible idea to change or abolish India’s Constitution. For us, who want India to remain secular, the fear that RSS could do it is not baseless. It is a clear and present danger and should worry every patriotic Indian because we will not be great by this. We will be just another nation that went back like Iran or Afghanistan.
While Taliban achieved the same goals using guns Iran achieved it via people’s movement. RSS seems to be following a mix of German and Iranian model. Fascism with less violence. Not all will be killed or jailed. Only the few activists, secularists etc. I mean, after all, Golwalkar in his book said that most of Hitler’s ideas were great except that he went wrong when he started killing the millions of Jews.