Change of Gear by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (July 20, 2017)

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Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam


After a relentless bout of persecution of Muslims over the last three years under well-orchestrated programmes like ghar wapsi, love jihad, and cow protection the Sangh seems to be preparing for a gear shift. This is indicated by the Prime Minister’s latest remark that murder of people for the protection of cows brings the country into disrepute internationally. Hence, it must stop.

Before moving further, we should pause here to consider a few points. The spate of lynching and murder of Muslims in the wake of BJP coming to power at the Centre (and later in UP) is the direct result of the feeling among perpetrators that with their party in power they can get away with murder. Such attacks can also be attributed to the intense anti-Muslim hate propaganda the BJP resorted to in its election campaigns. It is only natural that such hate propaganda will fructify into lynchings, murders and random brutal attacks on the objects of hate, the Muslims.

We have to realise that the PM sat quiet over the murders for over a year, before choosing to say something but gave the attackers a clear signal that he would not mind some more murders. The country had already seen his modus operandi during the 2002 Gujarat killings. In fact, it was precisely for this reason that a lot of people voted for him and his party in 2014. True to his character and style, the PM observed a few weeks ago that Mahatma Gandhi would not appreciate people getting killed in the name of cow.

The Sangh storm troopers got the right signal that since the PM was not Mahatma Gandhi, he would not mind it too much if people were killed by cow vigilantes. In any case the mahatma was bumped off by one of their own, Nathuram Godse, a direct disciple of VD Savarkar, who was the originator of the term Hindutva and an intense Gandhi-hater. Ironically, when the PM’s party ruled the Centre under Atal Behari Vajpayee, a portrait of Savarkar was hung in Parliament even though his disciple had murdered the mahatma, taking inspiration from Savarkar’s teachings.

In its characteristic doublespeak the Sangh (with its offshoots) speaks in encryptions that only its followers grasp. The latest remark of the PM suggests that the curtain is likely to fall on Act I of the drama. Act II, Scene I of the drama is likely to shift to Ayodhya and Ayodhya-related violence against Muslims. The script writers of Sangh’s mass violence drama (as neatly described by the American political scientist specialising in the Sangh’s anti-Muslim violence project, Paul Brass) know that the interest of audience begins to wane after a while. Hence the curtain has to fall on a scene, to be raised again on a new scene to keep the audience interest from flagging.

Taking a cue (even cue is a word that comes from drama) from the Prime Minister’s ostensible disapproval of cow vigilantes’ goonda attacks on hapless Muslims the Sangh’s storm troopers must be getting ready for Act II, Scene I of the play. If they needed any clarity, BJP chief Amit Shah told them earlier this week that the party had to concentrate now on work towards strengthening cultural nationalism and Ayodhya. As Sangh’s founder BR Hedgewar (Doctorji), his disciple MS Golwalkar (Guruji) or, before them, VD Sawarkar believed nationalism means cultural nationalism, which translates as Hindu nationalism.

To all these people Hindus and other indigenous faith communities like Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains constitute the nation. Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Jews, whose faith originated outside India, are not “nation”. They are some other undesirable category “left solely at the mercy of Hindus”, according to Golwalkar. Savarkar more categorically defined nation as people whose pitrabhoomi (fatherland) and punyabhoomi (holy land) both are India. Those with punyabhoomi in Makkah, Jerusalem or Iran are not Indian nationals from this reckoning.

Building further on the idea Golwalkar wrote in his We, Or Our Nationhood Defined that non-Hindus will have to live in India at the mercy of Hindus and respect their culture which derives from their religion, failing which they have to be eliminated or completely subjugated. By this he meant possibly to turn Muslims into untouchables. Golwalkar wrote with appreciation how Hitler “eliminated” Jews to purify German nationhood.

Now, in this background, if we look at the agenda of “cultural nationalism and Ayodhya” being the theme of Act II Scene 1 of the BJP drama as pronounced by the sutradhaar, Amit Shah we come to dread it more than cow vigilantism. We very well remember L K Advani’s Ayodhya campaign and the trail of blood it left all over the country. In short, we have to be prepared for another round of mass hysteria and bloodletting as the curtain falls on cow vigilantism. Whatever the Sangh programme, the victims are always the Muslims as others are too small in number to be noticed.

(To be concluded)

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