Neena Vyas: Golwalkar and the BJP (2002) // Siddharth Varadarajan: The Mask is Off - A tale of two Hindus (2002)

In a recent interview (IE Sept 22), a senior BJP leader said that while governance is the popular issue in the next elections, they ‘cant leave behind ideological identity’. This is precisely the point. Here are some things to consider about the identity of Hindutva as distinct from Indian nationalism. 

Golwalkar and the BJP
By Neena Vyas NEW DELHI MAY 9, 2002

The Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, virtually disowned the pro-Hitler views expressed by 'guruji' M.S. Golwalkar, a former `sarsanghchalak' of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, in the Rajya Sabha on May 6, but did not explain why in almost every office of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and now, in several ministerial offices at the Centre (including Parliament House), his portraits hang alongside those of Mahatma Gandhi and B.R. Ambedkar. After all, German Government offices today surely do not hang portraits of Hitler nor does the BJP decorate its offices with pictures of Osama bin Laden.

The fact is that both Mr. Vajpayee and the Union Home Minister, L.K. Advani, grew up at the feet of 'guruji' who is still revered as the most influential of all RSS heads who gave the organisation - and the BJP, the political arm of the RSS - its so-called 'ideological' moorings and formed the young minds of Mr. Vajpayee and Mr. Advani during their impressionable years. Mr. Vajpayee dismissed Golwalkar's openly fascist views as 'his own (`weh unke apne vichar the')' and added that the BJP had 'nothing to do with the book (`us pustak se hamen kuch lena-dena nahin hai')' and that his party 'had never given its stamp of approval (`sangathan ne kabhi un vicharon par mohur nahin lagayi')' to those views. But he did not say when and where had the BJP (or the Jan Sangh) distanced itself formally from the views of Golwalkar.

The question that needs to be asked loudly is why it has taken Mr. Vajpayee all of 60 years to distance his party from what Golwalkar had said? Why is it that in spite of his criminally obnoxious views he is revered by the Sangh Parivar and considered to be the guru of all gurus? In fact, contrary to what Mr. Vajpayee said, the BJP has so far never repudiated Golwalkar's views, let alone denounce them.

A close look at Golwakar and a comparison with what the RSS, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal are saying almost everyday establishes the fact that the views of the Sangh Parivar are no different from those of Golwalkar. And this is what "guruji'' had to say in `We on Our Nationhood Defined': "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...a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by.'' The Sangh Parivar insists that all Hindus are of Aryan origin, and denounces historians who suggest that Aryans came from Central Asia at a later date to push the Dravidians to the South.

His 'formula' for nationhood was 'five unities' - geographical (a common country), racial (all people belonging to one race), religious (all `nationals' must follow the same faith), cultural (the same culture) and linguistic (a common language). And he admitted that in India the "knotty problem'' was religion and language. The 'language' problem was resolved by (falsely) suggesting that there was a unity since all Indian languages were derived from a common root language - Sanskrit. Golwalkar's views on the 'five unities' perhaps explains the old Jan Sangh slogan, 'Hindi, Hindu, Hindusthan'.

The only problem left, according to Golwalkar, was that of the religious minorities. The answer to the question why the Sangh Parivar activists even today see themselves as the only true 'nationalists' and look upon Christians and Muslims as 'traitors' can also be found in Golwalkar. This is what he said: 'in Hindusthan, the land of the Hindus, lives and should live the Hindu nation...only those movements are truly `national' as aim at re-building and emancipating from its present stupor the Hindu nation...All others are either traitors and enemies to the national cause...'

And finally, here was Golwalkar's solution to the minorities problem: the 'foreign elements' (Christians and Muslims) may 'live at the mercy' of the 'national race (Aryan Hindus) as long as the national race may allow them to do so and to quit the country at the sweet will of the national race. That is the only sound view on the minorities' problem. That is the only logical and correct solution.' The frightening thing is that this is exactly what has happened in Gujarat - the minorities have been told that there is no place for them there and that they are free to go to Pakistan. Even in Parliament, when Muslim MPs get up to speak, the BJP back-benchers are often heard saying 'go to Pakistan'.

The mask is off: A tale of two Hindus
Siddharth Varadarajan

TWO weeks ago, the resident editor of The Times of India in Ahmedabad sent our office in Delhi a photograph so shocking it made my stomach churn. Shocking not just for what it depicted but because, to paraphrase Barthes, ‘‘one was looking at it from inside our freedom’’. This was my India. This is my India.

On a hot and dusty patch of asphalt lies the naked body of a woman, Geetaben, her clothes stripped off and thrown carelessly near her. One piece of her underclothing lies a foot away from her body, the other is clutched desperately in her left hand. Her left arm is bloodied, as is her torso, which appears to have deep gashes. Her left thigh is covered in blood and she is wearing a small anklet. Her plastic chappals sit sadly alongside her lifeless body and in the middle of the photo frame is a gnarled, red, hate-filled remnant of a brick, perhaps the one her assailants used to deliver their final blow.

Geetaben was killed in Ahmedabad on March 25, in broad daylight, near a bus stop close to her home. She was a Hindu who in the eyes of the Hindu separatists currently ruling Gujarat had committed the cardinal sin of falling in love with a Muslim man. When the sangh parivar mobs came for him, she stood her ground long enough for him to flee. But the killers seemed more interested in her. She was dragged out, stripped naked and killed. No lethal dose of Zyklon-B delivered surreptitiously in a darkened, secluded chamber.

Geetaben’s murder was never meant to be a furtive, secret affair. The holocaust that chief minister Narendra Modi’s administration presided over was engineered in the knowledge that the Indian state never punishes murderers with political connections. Delhi 1984, Bombay 1993, Gujarat 2002. Neither Congress, Third Front or BJP believes in Nurembergs.

In these troubled times when heroes are scarce and villains abound, Geetaben deserves to be worshipped. She is Gujarat’s Jhansi-ki-Rani, its La Passionaria. I salute you, Geetaben, from the bottom of my heart for your one brief moment of defiance. For even in death, with your helpless, innocent body bloodied and your clothes ripped apart, you showed more courage, humanity and dignity and more fidelity to the Hindu religion — than prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has done in the past month. When the day of reckoning comes, no one will dare ask you where you were when Gujarat was burning. But when Yama waves a dossier at Mr Vajpayee and asks him how many lives he saved, what will he answer, I wonder. Will he hang his head in shame as he did at Shah-e-Alam camp in Ahmedabad? Or will he lecture the Hindu God of Death about Godhra and jehadi Muslims, and claim, as he did on Wednesday, that if only Parliament had condemned the Sabarmati Express carnage, the genocide which followed would never have happened.

When I heard what Mr Vajpayee said at the BJP rally in Goa last week, I experienced the same contaminating, stomach-churning sensation of being present at a crime scene that I felt when I saw the photograph of Geetaben. Though the PM now insists he was misquoted, whichever way his words are parsed what he told his party faithful at Goa was bone-chilling. ‘‘Wherever Muslims are’’, he said, painting a broad brush to describe not just the followers of Islam around the world but the one-fifth of India’s citizens who happen to be Muslim, ‘‘they do not want to live with others peacefully’’.

At the best of times, such a statement would be unforgivable. But when you consider that he was talking about the killing of as many as 2,000 Muslims in Gujarat — and to an audience which believed this genocide was justified — one can only react in horror. Already, the sangh is enforcing an economic boycott of Muslims. There is not a single Muslim business left in Gujarat. Photocopying stalls near Gujarati courts turn Muslim lawyers away. Men with beards are not served in restaurants and shops in the state. Muslim mothers pray their children won’t call them ammi on the street. Instead of speaking out against this, Mr Vajpayee actually had the gall to say, Muslims do not wish to live in peace. 

For tens of millions of Indians, including those who might have flirted with the BJP, Mr Vajpayee’s remarks have served as a wake-up call. At the Shah-e-Alam camp he said the riots had shamed India. But what he said at Goa has shamed India even more. For all his fulminations against jehad, Mr Vajpayee’s ideology is equally jehadi. His party does not believe in people living in peace, in ensuring that the citizens of India — whether Hindu, Muslim or other — have the wherewithal to live as human beings. The BJP does not respect the rights of citizens or of the nation as a whole. Instead, a bogus, hollow ideology of ‘Hindutva’ has been erected to cover up their utter contempt for the rights of the people of India.

If historians use the phrase ‘Muslim separatism’ to define the struggle to carve out a Muslim nation from India in the last century, the project of the RSS-BJP could well be called ‘Hindu’ separatism. Separatism or secessionism is not just about the desire to create physical distance; it is as much about striving to distance oneself from the political, cultural and philosophical mores of the country. The BJP’s separatist project poses as ‘Hindu’ but it aims to secede from the philosophical and cultural foundations of India, including Hinduism, and from the political principles that Indians have evolved over the past 200 years of struggle for their rights.

The aim of this project is to establish a state where all Indians, including Hindus, will be devoid of rights except those which will be bestowed upon them as a privilege. Today, Mr Vajpayee tells Muslim, Christian and Sikh Indians at Goa that ‘‘we (i.e. the BJP) have allowed you freedom of worship’’. Tomorrow, Hindu Indians will be told what they are ‘‘allowed’’ to do. Those that transgress - like Geetaben, or Medha Patkar, journalists and others - will be dealt with. Gujarat has thrown a challenge to the country. The writing is on the wall. Either we stand up to defend the rights of all citizens; or we will all go down eventually.

Hindutva’s Foreign Tie-up in the 1930s Archival Evidence
(p 220-221)- Discussion among Dr. Moonje, Hedgewar & Laloo Gokhale on 31 March 1934:

A few months later, on March 31, 1934 Moonje, Hedgewar and Laloo Gokhale had a meeting, the subject of which was again the military organisation of the Hindus, along Italian and German lines:

Laloo - Well you are the president of the Hindu Sabha and you are preaching Sanghathan of Hindus. It is ever possible for Hindus to be organised? 

I said - You have asked me a question of which exactly I was thinking of late. I have thought out a scheme based on Hindu Dharm Shastra which provides for standardisation of Hinduism throughout India.. But the point is that this ideal cannot be brought to effect unless we have our own swaraj with a Hindu as a dictator like Shivaji of old or Mussolini or Hitler of the present day in Italy and Germany...But this does not mean that we have to sit with folded hands untill (sic) some such dictator arises in India. We should formulate a scientific scheme and carry on propaganda for it 

Source cited: Moonje papers, NMML; microfilm, Diary rn 2, 1932-36).

Will the Sangh Parivar repudiate these views of its hero V.D. Savarkar, whose portrait they installed in the Lok Sabha? (Portrait as mirror The Hindu, March 3, 2003)
Here's a citation from the great man: V.D. Savarkar in Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History, where he criticises Shivaji and Chinaji Appa for their chivalry in not molesting captured women. 
Quote: 'The Muslim women never feared retaliation or punishment at the hands of any Hindu for their heinous crime (of playing a devilish part in the mutilation and harassment of Hindu women). Suppose if from the earliest Muslim invasions , the Hindus also, whenever they were victors in the battlefield decided to pay the Muslim fair sex in the same coin or punish them in some other ways that is, by conversion even by force, then with this horrible apprehension in their heart, they would have desisted from their evil design against Hindu ladies.. Even now we proudly refer to the noble acts of Chatrapati Shivaji and Chinaji Appa when they honourably sent back the daughter-in-law of the Muslim governor of Kalyan or the wife of the Portuguese governor of Bassein respectively. Did not the plaintive screams and pitiful lamentations of the millions of molested Hindu women which reverberated throughout the length and breadth of the country reach the ears of Shivaji Maharaj and Chinaji Appa? Once they (Muslims) are haunted with the dreadful apprehension that the Muslim women to stand in the same predicament as is the case with Hindu women, the future Muslim conquerors will never dare to think of such molestation of Hindu women. ... But because of the then prevalent perverted religious ideas (sadguna vikriti), about chivalry to women which ultimately proved highly detrimental to the Hindu community,  neither Shivaji Maharaj nor Chinaji Appa could do such wrongs to the Muslim women .. It was the Hindu idea of chivalry which saved the Muslim women simply because they were women from heavy punishment for committing heinous crimes against Hindu women..  their womanhood became their shield sufficient to protect them..' (end quote) See Six Glorious Epochs...Section 92-93, The Hindu chivalry towards enemy women; paras 449 - 455 .

Also see: 
Why does the RSS hate the idea of India ?

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