Change of gear II by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (August 7, 2017)
Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam
In the last piece we discussed how, with the Prime Minister’s public disapproval of goonda attacks on Muslims by cow vigilantes, we hope this mode of anti-Muslim violence will cease for a while for other modes of anti-Muslim violence to take over. The violence will never stop. Only the programmes, under which such violence is inflicted, change periodically.
We have got some clue to what is to follow from BJP chief Amit Shah’s advice to his party functionaries recently in New Delhi. It is going to be “Ayodhya and cultural nationalism,” according to Shah.
Explaining what is cultural nationalism, MS Golwalkar, the second chief of RSS wrote in his We, or Our Nationhood Defined that this nationalism grew from Hindu culture, which was rooted in Hindu religion. Hence, in Hindu cultural nationalism there is no room for non-Hindus.
The present government at the Centre is being run on the lines recommended by “Guru” Golwalkar in which there is no scope for non-Hindus. This was very closely indicated by the election campaign of the BJP in 2014, which was wholly and unabashedly conducted on anti-Muslim propaganda. The UP assembly too was won by BJP and Mahant Yogi Aditya Nath’s Hindu Yuva Vahini by creating anti-Muslim hysteria, denying even a single ticket to any Muslim.
With these elections BJP and Hindu Yuva Vahini proved that Indian politics can be managed without the participation of Muslims and Christians. By ditching Lalu Prasad and his party Nitish and BJP leaders have proved that they can do politics without Muslims. No sooner than Nitish joined BJP, cow vigilantism was revived in Bihar also. Interestingly, this BJP assertion of cow politics has begun when it is receding elsewhere after the PM’s last speech.
The point is whether it is cow politics or Ayodhya-cultural nationalism politics anti-Muslim violence is going to be a part of it. The hooliganism and terror of Sangh activism is not going away.
Such terrorism and anti-minority violence has been unambiguously endorsed by Guru Golwalkar who is the inspiration and personal hero of all Sangh men and women. Prime Minister Modi is one of the greatest admirers of Guruji, who wrote appreciatingly about Hitler’s ethnic cleansing of German Jews: “To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of semitie races–the Jews.”
An out and out racist ideology, “cultural nationalism” shared by Nazis and the Sangh inspired Golwalkar to write about Hitler’s Germany “Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by.”
In view of all this, Amit Shah’s recent advice to BJP men to focus now on cultural nationalism is a frightening idea that reminds us of Chinua Achebe’s remark: “I hate the word culture. It has a fascist ring to it.” Now, added to that is the revival of the Ayodhya movement. We have not yet forgotten LK Advani’s rath yatra that increased the anti-Muslim hysteria, leading to the murder of thousands of Muslims in 1992-93.
Let us hope and pray that history is not repeated and we do not have to see the wave of Ayodhya violence once again in the days ahead.