Fascist threat to Hinduism
So this is how the cookie crumbles. Who would have thought India would find itself at this dangerous crossroads so early in its democratic journey after all those historic sacrifices offered by the founding fathers for freedom. They gave the country a fine constitution and great institutions that have truly been the envy of the world.
All that is now under assault, with one democratic and constitutional institution after another being systematically assailed or undermined from within.
What happened this week in Bulandshahr, a sleepy district of Uttar Pradesh less than 81 kilometres from Delhi, should come as a wake-up call to all Indians, especially the sane and sensible majority of Hindus of this country in whose name this obscene dance of death and rape of institutions has been going on. What law and what rule of law when the custodians of law can be killed and dragged through the streets like wild animals. We should all be afraid, very afraid, of what the future has in store for us.
And the chief minister of India’s largest state of 205 million people (the combined population of Britain, France and Germany) is happily campaigning for the BJP down south, promising the safety and security of the kind that he has been presiding over in UP.
Even when the saffron-robed chief minister returned to Lucknow, his first priority was administering the “severest punishment” to the “cow killers”, not justice for the valiant sub-inspector of police Subodh Kumar Singh who was killed in the line of duty. One is not sure whether to laugh or cry over the state of the nation.
So this is how the blessed Hindu Rashtra is ushered in. The idea of a secular and democratic India must be ripped to pieces first. But this dismantling of the idea of India hasn’t happened overnight. It has taken the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the mothership of Hindutva, nearly a century to capture all levers of power. It rules the roost today and is truly the master of all it surveys. Even the media, the so-called fourth estate, is now firmly in its pocket. The watchdog of democracy has become the lapdog.
This slow implosion of the largest democracy has happened on the watch of secular political parties, including the Congress, the party that led the freedom movement and was once considered the natural party of governance.
However, instead of confronting these forces of darkness, the grand old party thought it best to look the other way or even subsume and ‘integrate’ them. Today, the saffron clan has the temerity to promise a ‘Congress-free India’. Call it poetic justice or whatever.
When many genuine well-wishers of the nation warned against the spectre of religious fascism and the dangers of the wanton, wilful destruction of secular and democratic institutions of the country, their desperate forebodings fell on deaf ears.
The silent majority refused to see Hindutva for what it is: a dangerous supremacist fascist ideology inspired by the European fascists and Nazis. Their view of religious minorities and Dalits, the low-caste Hindus, bears little difference from what the Nazis thought of Jews and gypsies. For them, minorities, especially Muslims, belong in Auschwitz-like gas chambers or Pakistan, which in their view is equivalent to that.
Yet the RSS and its many avatars and their dangerous antics have, at best, been viewed as a minor nuisance, even after the assassination of Gandhi at their hands.
Using faux religiosity and emotive issues like Ayodhya and presenting themselves as the protectors of Hindu interests and, most importantly, by creating an absurd persecution complex in the Hindu majority, the Parivar has steadily expanded its malevolent presence across the country.
By painting a vulnerable and dispossessed minority as the enemy and blaming it for Partition and other “historical wrongs”, it has succeeded in poisoning successive generations of Indians.
The shocking scenes of hate and hysteria that we saw this week in Bulandshahr are a result and manifestation of years and decades of hatemongering and brainwashing, with the help of imaginary issues and angst like cow slaughter, love jihad and the multiplying ranks of Muslim. The majority has somehow been persuaded that it is being victimised in its own land despite its overwhelming numbers.
The thing about hate is that it destroys everything in its path. It doesn’t distinguish between friends and foes. Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured, as Mark Twain would put it.
The forces of chaos that the BJP and RSS have unleashed now threaten to destroy the very country that they claim to champion. And it is not just Muslims and other minorities who find themselves at the receiving end. Subodh Kumar Singh, the Bulandshahr cop, was a proud Hindu – a Rajput at that. What was his crime other than doing his duty of keeping peace and upholding rule of law?
By the way, he is the same brave cop who had probed the lynching of Mohammed Akhlaq in Dadri, the first case of cow terror and had earned the wrath of the saffron brigade for his audacity to confront them.
What was the crime of Hemant Karkare, for that matter? The top Mumbai cop and head of the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad, who had been probing the saffron terror plot, was conveniently eliminated during the chaos of the 26/11 terror attacks.
But when you normalise hate, routinise violence and reward murderers, rioters and hatemongers with the highest offices in the land instead of holding them to account, this is what happens. The distinction between the right and wrong vanishes in no time. Innocence dies unwept.
When crimes against humanity go unpunished and lofty principles like justice and rule of law – essential for a civilised society – are reduced to meaningless words, you virtually open the gates of hell and invite all that is evil and corrupt.
If anyone thought this hateful ideology only targets minorities and is on the side of Hindus, they had better think again. When they destroy a society and corrupt its core institutions as has been happening in India – from the judiciary to universities, from security forces and Central Bureau of Investigation to Election Commission and the Reserve Bank of India – it is not just the minorities alone who will suffer. When the idea of India is destroyed, the silent majority will be the biggest loser.
Ten years ago, in the wake of 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai, I had warned Muslims that this was no time to hide. I implored the faithful everywhere to speak up forcefully and effectively against extremism and extremists in their ranks.
Just as the extremism of groups like Al-Qaeda and Isis once posed – and still does – a potent threat to Islam and its followers, the Hindutva terror has emerged as the greatest danger to the great religion of Hinduism and its peaceful, magnanimous followers.
This onward march of Hindutva fascism can only be stopped in its tracks when the silent majority of Hindus rise in revolt against extremists in their ranks and say enough is enough – just as Muslims have. Silence is no longer an option for the sane majority.
The writer is an award-winning journalist and editor.
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