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Shape Up Or Ship Out

Shape Up Or Ship Out

RSS chief and BJP’s ideological mentor Mohan Bhagwat’s equating all Indians with Hindu is a farfetched dream that is never going to be. He heads the Sangh organisation that does not believe in India’s secular diversity and cultural spectrum. That is what he spelt out at the RSS Vijay Sangharsh Rally in Hyderabad: “The son of Bharat Mata (Mother India), whether he may speak any language, be he from any religion  or non-religion, follow any worship, is a Hindu...In this regard, for Sangh all the 130 crore people of India is Hindu society. Sangh wants all to be tied on the same string.” 

His attempt to bring all Indians under the Hindutva umbrella is a Rashtravadi idea which equates Bharat Mata with Hindu India. His recent Hyderabad statement should be understood in the context of the proposed NRC. He highlights that all are citizens of Hindu Rashtra, a name that obliterates India. Such pronouncement is no more a hidden agenda of the Sangh Parivar. It is right here in the forefront staring at all Indians in the face. 

From here Bhagwat and his Sanghis will go further and tell all non-Hindu citizens that “now that you belong to the Hindu nation, become full Hindu, otherwise you face the consequences. Adopt Hindu psyche, follow Hindu way of life, think and act as Hindu”. We have already seen such attitude and provocation in their treatment of the Adivasis. They tell the indigenous people point blank that they are turncoat Hindus and their only salvation in India is ‘ghar wapsi’ (returning to the ‘fold’).

With such audacity they are capable of dictating to other religious minorities to get to the ‘fold’ or roll up the mat and spirit away, otherwise face the consequences! In other words, ‘Shape up or ship out!’ This is what the minions of the Sangh Parivar have been broadcasting all along. The Sadhus and Sadwins became willing tools to propagate such an idea and shout from roof tops: Go to Pakistan, Get out of India and what not! 

Union Minster for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale, an ally of the BJP, has taken exception to Bhagwat’s statement. “It is not right to say that all are Hindus. There was a time when everyone was a Buddhist in our country. If Mohan Bhagwat means everyone is an Indian, then it is good. In our country, people are from Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Jain, Lingayat faith and different communities live here.” 

The recent developments such as CAA, NRC and NPR are devised to push the Hindu Rashtravadi agenda through legislation. It looks as if the nation is divided into two camps, the pro-Rashtravadi groups supporting CAA, NRC and NPR and the non-Rashtravadi groups crying foul against the Sangh-supported central government’s all-out effort to get every citizen to be counted, re-counted and uncounted.   In order to achieve the Rashtravadi agenda they use all tools possible: counter rallies, state administration, provocative and threatening statements, dubbing their critics as anti-nationals by detaining them or slapping cases on them with sedition clauses. 

Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi vociferously denied detention centres, facts are otherwise. It has been reported that nationwide detention centres are getting ready with the centre’s directive in different parts of country. No one can guess who and how many will be dumped into these detention camps. The creeping fear of emerging signs of ethnic cleansing may be overpowering people of minority communities.

Imagine a police senior police officer in Meerut telling people to go to Pakistan as he walks his talk along a road where people were demonstrating against CAA (NDTV News “Go to Pakistan”: On Video, UP cop during citizenship law violence, Alok Pandey, Dec.8,’19). According to the same news, the cop in question Akilesh Narayan Singh, Superintendent of Police (City) of Meerut, virtually the second in command in the district, tells three Muslim bystanders: “I will throw every man from every house in jail. I will destroy everyone.” His explanation that there were youths shouting pro-Pakistani slogans and, hence, he retaliated thus does not wash as he is supposed to hold a non-partisan government post.  People know that such saffron coloured terror provoking statements are coupled with brutal violence and state-sponsored terrorism and they enjoy impunity.  

Today, all over India, people who express their democratic right to dissent as guaranteed by the fundamental right of freedom of speech are faced with detention, incarceration or reprisals.   I remember the Emergency days during Indira regime. There were widespread arrests and illegal detentions of citizens for their nationwide democratic dissent. Even Jayaprakash Narayan, a freedom fighter among other tall leaders, was not spared. The BJP government, who often justifies its actions by telling that it was the Congress government that did this and did that, cannot hide under the argument that in Indira regime the Congress government declared emergency and arrested and detained citizens, and, hence what is wrong if it does what Indira did. 

In UP, many people’s properties are confiscated as compensation for ‘the damage done to public property.’ On the other hand, in the same state, during the 2018  Bulandshahar mob violence organised by the Bajarang Dal against alleged cow slaughter during which Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was killed and public property damaged, ‘The Chief Minister (Yogi Adityanath) made it clear that he was more concerned about the so-called cow slaughter than bring to book the murderers of an officer on duty.” (Brinda Karat, NDTV, Jan. 25, 2019). No attachment of property of the criminals. In fact, the accused was garlanded on his getting bail.

What is more confounding is the fact that after making statements with foot in the mouth, people’s representatives and their spokespersons can churn out illogical explanations as if to hoodwink people. For example, Yogi Adityanath made it clear in public that those who went violent and damaged property will be taken to task and their property would be confiscated. He further said ‘ badla lenge’ (We will take revenge.) Even when the statement has gone viral and is on social media verbatim, the Chief Minister’s office dishes out an indigestible argument that what the C.M. meant was that properties will be confiscated as compensation. Now a class 3 student can make out the difference between ‘ badla lenge’ and ‘ badle me lenge.

Thus, we are to gulp down as ignoramuses the government’s erroneous and falsified explanation about the C.M.’s words of revenge. This only shows to what abominable level our administrators, elected heads, and bureaucrats have dragged themselves down. So, in a country where different standards of rules are executed, where some are treated ‘more equal’, it is unimaginable to believe the so-called promises of the nation’s rulers that the citizens are nothing to worry.  

For the last half a decade, people have been fed with lies and false promises which were explained away later by the rulers and rule keepers as ‘mere jumlas’. It is this jumla-infested government that has been taking the citizens for a ride. Today, the people on the streets are expressing their democratic counterpoint against the Jumlawalas and their foot soldiers. At a time when the nation is in the frying pan of economic depression due to the wrong policies of the BJP government, the provocative act of introducing CAA, NPR and the proposed NRC is an agenda-based exercise to divert people’s attention from burning national issues. It is like telling you when your house is on fire: ‘run, the wolf is coming!’ 

Finally, coming back to the Hindu nation question, let not the nationalist advocates think that minority religious communities will take lying down the downplaying of the Indian constitution by the nationalists by foisting their Hindu nation theory. Historical evidences point to the Dravidians and Adivasis as earliest settlers in India. They have not claimed this as Dravid land or Adivasis land. How come the later-comers arrogate to themselves the privilege of naming this land after their religion? 

Let it also be noted that Christians as citizens of this nation are not appendix to the Hindus. Their national identity comes from the authority of the Constitution. They carry the message of their founder Jesus Christ as love in service. It is this message that they have put into practice for the development of this nation through charitable services through education, health services and many other humanitarian programmes. They appreciate all that is good and valuable in all other religions.

Hence, Christians are noted for their peaceful co-existence with all other co-citizens.  It is such diversity of religions and cultures that make India beautiful. It is this beauty which Bhagwat and his disciples want to mar and mutilate. No wonder, the nationwide strikes and demonstrations by all sections of Indians, including nation-loving Hindus, are a proof that the sinister moves by nationalist forces will be defeated.  

(Published on 06th January 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 02)