Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Friday, October 31, 2008

From ‘tolerant’ to militant Hindu – the course of Indian polity

by Radha Rajan,
30th October, 2008

The Maharashtra ATS has arrested two men and two women on suspicion for the Malegaon blasts, thus coming close to realizing the wild fantasy of some our experts – to find the yeti named ‘Hindu terrorist’ in their lifetime. They looked foolishly for him in the LTTE and they sought him desperately in the ULFA and now think they have found him and also her finally in Maharashtra. The possible involvement of Sadhvi Pragya Singh and Sushree Sashikala, former President, Durga Vahini, in the blasts even if it is only as ‘ideologues’, is proof of the lively Hindu tradition of women warriors. Unlike the captive women in their communities who are regularly used as human shields by terrorists belonging to the Abrahamic faiths, Hindu women have always stepped into the battlefield as soldiers alongside men; Sadhwi Pragya Singh has followed naturally in the footsteps of Santi Ghose Das and Suniti Chaudhury Ghosh and Major Upadhyaya and Sameer Kulkarni are only carrying forward the torch proudly held aloft by Madanlal Dhingra and Bhagat Singh.

Not just the arrest itself, but the reaction from the BJP and the secular media to the alleged involvement of Sadhvi Pragya Singh in the Malegaon blasts is as laughable as it is predictable. If the Maharashtra government is faithfully playing the colonial British government, then the BJP’s Venkaiah Naidu is playing Gandhi while our media is playing itself. Savarkar was arrested because the British thought he was the ideologue who inspired Madanlal Dhingra to assassinate Curzon-Wyllie in London in July 1909 while Tilak was arrested because the British government thought he was the ideologue who inspired the Chapekar brothers to assassinate British ICS officer Walter Rand in June 1897. All three – Tilak, Aurobindo and Savarkar were tried and found guilty of sedition against the British monarch. The Maharashtra ATS with no conclusive proof that Sadhvi Pragya Singh planted the explosives herself and unable so far to arrest the person or persons who planted the explosives, have instead arrested the Sadhvi merely on suspicion that she may have been the ideologue who inspired the act; Deja vu.

India’s secular polity stopped short when news broke that two former armymen, one of them of the rank of Major had also been arrested on suspicion of having trained the ‘Hindu terrorists’ in use of explosives. It is besides the point that no Hindu terrorist has been arrested so far. Venkaiah Naidu, when shown pictures of Sadhvi Pragya Singh seated along with the BJP President Rajnath Singh and the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivrajsingh Chauhan, went into convulsions and spluttered incoherently about how instead of pointing a finger at the BJP the media should pose the question to organizations which were using people like the Sadhvi for political reasons. While it is not clear to which organizations Naidu was referring, this much was clear – he was rattled by the very idea of the BJP being accused of violence; even terrorism. He distanced himself and his party speedily from Sadhvi Pragya Singh and declared that the party had nothing to do with the Sadhvi’s thoughts or actions; Advani of course is on record that terrorism, even if it is jihad, has no religion while on another occasion he has held re-conversion to be as reprehensible as conversion itself.

Let’s go back in time to 1909 when Gandhi was aspiring for a greater role for himself in India, a role which would make him powerful and which would come with the privilege of sitting at the high table with powerful Englishmen. Gandhi therefore began to position himself as being different from the towering intellectuals and warriors of the time. As speedily as Venkaiah Naidu, Gandhi distanced himself from Tilak, Aurobindo and Savarkar to Lord Ampthill, former Governor and Viceroy Pro-tem in India –

Will you excuse me for saying that I know of no Indian, whether here, in South Africa or in India, who had so steadily, even defiantly, set his face against sedition—as I understand it— as I have. It is part of my faith not to have anything to do with it, even at the risk of my life. Most people, that is, most Indians and Anglo-Indians, express their detestation of bomb throwing and violence in words or in unreasonable action. The movement in the Transvaal, with which I have identified myself, is an eloquent and standing protest in action against such methods. The test of passive resistance is self-suffering and not infliction of suffering on others. We have, therefore, not only never received a single farthing from “ the party of sedition” in India or else-where, but even if there was any offer, we should, if we were true to our principles, decline to receive it. (Excerpts from ‘Letter to Lord Ampthill’, London July 29, 1909, CWMG Vol. 9, pp 447-49)

And again –

Your Lordship‘s question was whether passive resistance was financed or fomented from India.

I am fully aware of the allegation that we are acting in co-operation with the Extremist Party in India. I however give Your Lordship the emphatic assurance that the charge is totally without foundation. Indian passive resistance in the Transvaal had its rise in that Colony and has been continued absolutely independent of anything that is being said or done in India; indeed, sometimes, even in defiance of what has been said or written to the contrary in India or elsewhere. Our movement is absolutely unconnected with any extremist movement in India. I do not know the extremists personally.

.....and now Mr. Henry S.L. Polak is in Bombay, from the Transvaal, in order to place the position before the Indian public. He has gone there with definite instructions not to come into touch with the Extremist Party, but to be guided largely by the Editor of The Times of India, Professor Gokhale and the Aga Khan. It would be improper for me not to add that I follow what is going on in India with the keenest interest and some of the phases of the national movement with the gravest anxiety. (Excerpts from ‘Letter to Lord Ampthill’, August 4, 1909, CWMG Vol. 9, pp 457-590)

When the Indian National Congress split at the time of the Surat Congress in December 1909, the two factions were called ‘Nationalists’ and ‘Moderates’. Gandhi, like Venkaiah Naidu was so anxious not to be seen to be associated with Tilak and Aurobindo which would jeopardize his political ambitions that he renamed the ‘Nationalist’ faction the ‘Extremist party’. Just so we understand this clearly, the forefather to Sonia Gandhi’s Congress, the Congress of GK Gokhale, MK Gandhi, Motilal Nehru and his son Jawaharlal Nehru distanced itself from and repudiated its own men, Congressmen Tilak and Aurobindo. Leading lawyers in the Congress Party like GK Gokhale and MK Gandhi refused to defend Tilak, Aurobindo and Savarkar in court; instead they sat back and watched in complete inaction and deafening silence, the British government dispatching Aurobindo to prison while Tilak and Savarkar were sentenced to transportation for life, away from India. A few years later, the Congress and Gandhi would not lift its little finger to defend or save Bhagat Singh and Gandhi would machinate to have Subhash Bose thrown out of the Congress party. Tilak, Aurobindo, Savarkar, Bhagat Singh and Bose, let me add were all advocates of armed resistance and use of force in the cause of political freedom.

Pontificating to ordinary Indians on use of force to attain political freedom, Gandhi wrote about Tilak’s exile in the Indian Opinion, a journal he edited in South Africa. He first played the grieving crocodile and then bared his teeth:

The sentence passed on Mr. Tilak, the great patriot, is terrible. The few days’ imprisonment which the Transvaal Indians suffer is as nothing compared to transportation for six years. The sentence is not so much surprising as terrible. At the same time it is nothing to be unhappy about. It is not surprising that a Government we seek to defy should inflict oppressive measures on us.

Yet we should not blindly follow the policies of those whom we regard as great. It would be casting a reflection on Mr. Tilak’s greatness to argue that his writings had no bitterness in them or to offer some such defence. Pungent, bitter and penetrating writing was his objective. He aimed at inciting Indians against British rule. To attempt to minimize this would be to detract from Mr. Tilak’s greatness.

The rulers are justified, from their point of view, in taking action against such a man. We would do the same in their place.

What we need to consider is whether Indians should accept the views of Mr. Tilak and his party. We submit, after great deliberation, that Mr. Tilak’s views should be rejected. It will be harmful, even useless, to use force or violence for uprooting that rule. Freedom gained through violence would not endure. (Sentence on the great Tilak, Indian Opinion, 1-8-1908, CWMG Vol. 9, pp 28-29)

Lest we forget, Gandhi’s pious platitudes on self-suffering and non-violence had no impact on the Muslim League or its determination to achieve Pakistan through jihad against the Hindus. Even now, secularists in the country, which includes the English language print and electronic media, refuse to attribute religion to jihad. They take objection to phrases like Islamic terror and Muslim terrorists with specious arguments like terrorism has no religion, do not communalise terrorism, etc etc. But in the last week the media has been generous in its use of phrases like saffron terror (incidentally they never called jihad ‘green terror’), Hindu terror, Hindu extremism and Hindutva fundamentalism.

Equating acts of revenge and self-defense with the original crime or with a perceived threat to survival on the basis of bogus morality is White Christian tactic to enable it to stride uninterrupted towards world domination. Thus the perpetrators of all original crimes against humanity – crusades, jihad, colonialism, slavery, genocide and destruction of non-Islamic, non-Christian cultures, peoples and religions are walking free while Saddam Hussein, Robert Mugabe, Slobodan Milosevich, Narendra Modi and Hindu nationalists invite White Christian and Islamic wrath.

Sadhvi Pragya Singh, Sameer Kulkarni and Major Upadhyaya are Hindu nationalists who have picked up arms to defend the Hindu bhumi against Islamic jihadis and evengelising Christians – both of whom want to alter the religious demography of the Hindu nation by preying upon tribal and Hindu communities. If Indian polity will not protect the Hindu bhumi from predatory religions and their practitioners, Hindu society will have to do it. Sadhvi Pragya Singh, Sameer Kulkarni and Major Upadhyaya are everything I do not have the courage or the commitment to be. If those setting off explosives in trains and temples, those seeking to vivisect the Hindu bhumi to carve out a dar-ul-Islam or a Kingdom Of God are doing this in the name of their religion, seeking refuge behind the minority-ist Indian Constitution, then those that stop them in their tracks with acts of revenge are also doing the same in the name of their religion because this nation’s territoryis the janmabhumi of Hindus.

This nation has to remain Hindu. Either Indian polity reigns in these monstrous religions or lives to see Hindu society doing it. Indian polity must ask itself why ex-servicemen are training Hindu nationalists into becoming Bhagat Singh and Madanlal Dhingra and why Sadhvi Pragya Singh felt compelled to follow in the footsteps of the brave women of the Jugantar party. Hindus were not protected by state power then; Hindus are not protected by state power now. Manmohan Singh, Advani and Amar Singh are following faithfully in the footsteps of Gokhale, Gandhi and Nehru. Why are we pretending to be surprised that History is playing itself out again? But this time, I assure you, there will be neither vivisection of the Hindu bhumi nor Hindu tolerance. The tolerant Hindu is becoming a militant Hindu – his dharma demands this transformation. As Aurobindo put it, “It is the nature of the pressure that determines the nature of the resistance”.

The threat to the Hindu bhumi from jihad and the evangelising Church is enormous – both have declared their unrelenting intention to destroy the kaffir and to convert the Hindu. If Hindu resistance is stirring strong passions, well Aurobindo said it again, perfectly –

If hatred is demoralising, it is also stimulating. The web of life has been made a mingled strain of good and evil and God works his ends through evil as well as through the good. Let us discharge our minds of hate, but let us not deprecate a great and necessary movement because, in the inevitable course of human nature, it has engendered feelings of hostility and hatred. If hatred came, it was necessary that it should come as a stimulus, as a means of awakening. When tamas, inertia, torpor have benumbed a nation, the strongest forms of rajas are necessary to break the spell; there is no form of rajas so strong as hatred. Through rajas we rise to sattva and for the Indian temperament, the transition does not take long (Aurobindo on the Morality of Boycott, Bande Mataram, page 127)

Sadhvi Pragya Singh, Major Upadhyaya and Sameer Kulkarni have demonstrated to Hindus and Indian polity alike that it is the primary responsibility of the State to protect not only national borders but also the sense of nationhood. When the nationhood of a people is threatened by predatory religions, the very nation is threatened. In such times, the call of nationalism to those with a stake in this bhumi, is irresistible. If Hindus disown the Sadhvi, the Major and Kulkarni, we are as guilty as Gandhi, Gokhale and Nehru when they disowned Tilak, Aurobindo and Savarkar.

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