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The myth of a secular India

Opinion

May 1, 2019

The 24 spokes of Ashoka Chakra symbolize life-principles like love, inclusion, patience and righteousness. It manifests Ashoka's transformation from war and violence to peace and inclusion. Apart from adorning the Indian flag and being the state emblem, Ashoka Chakra is India's highest peacetime non-military decoration. India also prides itself with the roots of Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism; four religions whose core belief is 'ahimsa' – non-violence.

It was in this ‘ahisma’ land that a proponent of non-violence, MK Gandhi, was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, an RSS member. In later years, Indira Gandhi’s assassination led to a horrifying rampage by frenzied mobs, who used gurdwara voter lists to identify Sikhs. Thousands of Sikhs were murdered ruthlessly, many burnt alive. Rajiv Gandhi justified the massacre by quipping: “Baraa per girta hai toh dharti toh hilay gee hee” (when a large tree falls, the earth is bound to shake). Among other Congress leaders, Jagdish Tytler (accused of murdering Sikhs at Delhi’s Gurudwara Pulbangash), Sajjan Kumar (awarded “life sentence for the remainder of his life" in Dec 2018 by the Delhi High Court) and Kamal Nath were accused of personally orchestrating the pogrom under the direct supervision of Rajiv Gandhi.

The word ‘Hindutva’ was coined in 1923 by Vinayak Savarkar, an ardent admirer of Hitler and Mussolini. In his book 'Hindutva: Who Is a Hindu', he professed a “Hindu Rashtra stretching from the Subcontinent to Indonesia”. RSS was founded in 1925 by Savarkar follower Keshav Hedgewar. RSS sarsanghchalak (chief) MS Golwalkar wrote way back in 1938: “Germany has shown it is impossible for different races to be assimilated into one whole...Germany has manifested race pride by purging itself of Semitics". Addressing RSS members the same year, he said: “(Indian) Muslims will have to play the part of German Jews.” Golwalkar’s 'Bunch of Thoughts', the holy book of the RSS, names three threats to India: “Muslims, Christians and Communists".

The destruction of Babri Masjid at Ayodhya set the tone for the BJP to win Gujarat and the rise of a decades-long RSS member, Narendra Damodardas Modi. His ascent saw not only the Muslims but all 'low castes' and religious minorities exposed to the horror of Golwalkar's doomsday assertion of being “relegated to the fate of German Jews”.

The horrific Gujarat carnage saw rampaging mobs with voter-lists going house to house to identify Muslims. Independent reports assert over 5000 Muslims were murdered, and women were raped, Muslim houses and businesses pillaged and burnt. The Independent wrote: "The violence has begun to take on a systematic look: ethnic cleansing, Indian style."

Political psychologist Ashis Nandy called Modi a “Nazi Gauleiter” who “shamelessly presided over the (Gujarat) riots and acted as its chief patron.” Dubbed internationally as "the butcher of Gujarat", Modi 'regretted' the suffering of Muslims “as he would that of a puppy run over by a car.” He also labeled Muslim relief camps as “baby-making factories”. VHP's Ashok Singhal (head of the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi movement) ominously termed the Gujarat carnage a “successful experiment” and warned that "it would be repeated all over India".

Dr Bheem Rao Ambedkar, framer of the Indian Constitution was a Dalit (‘untouchable’). Despite extreme persecution at school, he went on to earn doctorates in Economics from Columbia University and London School of Economics. His book 'Annihalation of Caste' castigates the caste system. He accused Gandhi of duplicity for writing against it in English papers while supporting the same in Gujarati ones. Lamenting that “Democracy in India is only a top dressing on an Indian soil which is essentially undemocratic”, in 1956 Ambedkar along-with 400,000 followers converted to Buddhism. Today, his statues are defiled by RSS; the Lucknow one bears the inscription: "My struggle of life is my only message".

A National Commission on Scheduled Castes Report (India) about crimes against Dalits states that each week "13 are murdered, 5 homes are burnt, 6 are abducted; daily 3 women are raped, 11 are attacked and every 18 minutes a crime is committed against a Dalit". These figures are from filed cases only, for fear of reprisals, a vast majority goes unreported. The report also cites a multitude of religiously motivated attacks against religious minorities. What a travesty, a 'secular' India and an Occupied Kashmir with millions of Sikhs, Christians, Dalits and Muslims butchered and maimed; those alive in a perpetual state of fear.

PM Modi's mindset can be well-gauged from the fact that when he was CM Gujarat (2001 to 2014) not one Muslim got a BJP ticket to the Gujarat Legislative Assembly. The BJP is also the only governing party of India which did not award a single ticket to a Muslim in the elections nor does it have any elected Muslim member in the Lok Sabha. It reminds one of Hitler’s taunt to German Socialists: “I do not want your votes".

On May 8, 2018, Delhi Archbishop Anil Couto issued a letter (termed a "direct attack on Indian secularism" by RSS ideologue Rakesh Sinha) to be read out in church congregations throughout India. It called for a yearlong prayer vigil ahead of the 2019 Indian elections. In the letter the Archbishop prayed: "May the ethos of true democracy envelop our elections and flames of honest patriotism en-kindle our leaders. This is our cry in these troubled times as we see clouds eclipsing the light of truth, justice, and freedom... let marginalized (read brutalized) be brought into the mainstream of nation-building. Protect our legislature as a place of discerning minds; raise our judiciary as the hallmark of justice...keep our media as the channels of truth for edifying discourse... Protect our institutions from the infiltration of evil forces”.

SM Mushrif, ex-IG police of Maharashtra authored a book 'Who killed Karkare' (Hemant Karkare was head of the Mumbai Anti Terrorist Squad). He writes about the mysterious murder of Karkare during the Mumbai attacks. He elaborates that Karkare was unraveling saffron terror and had evidence on the terrorist activities of, among others, Col Purohit and Abhinav Bharat. He writes about the Sangh Parivar’s nefarious design to infiltrate and take control of the media and the Intelligence Bureau. Elias Davidsson's revealing book, 'The betrayal of India', meticulously proves (with evidence) that the Mumbai attack, immediately blamed on Pakistan, was actually an "inside" act of terrorism.

This is the 'secular' India where hate, persecution and acrimony is encouraged, preached and prevails; an India that sees Pakistan as its nemesis, where the likes of senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar fantasize that "Pakistan will be a part of India after 2025", where RSS/BJP edicts of gao rakhsha (cow protection - notwithstanding the fact that India is the largest beef exporter with annual exports topping $4 billion), ghar wapsi and love jehad reign supreme. Any Indian who even dares utters a word against this is branded a deshdrohi (traitor); rampaging lynching mobs become judge, jury and executioners.

This, in reality, is the 'secular' India where PM Modi ascended to power on an anti-Muslim/Pakistan juggernaut in the garb of “sabka sath, sabka vikas" (together with all, development for all) but has allowed a reign of terror on beleaguered Christians, Dalits, Muslims and in Occupied Kashmir.

Isolated or individual terror incidents by crazed demented minds can, if propagated and encouraged by the state, fireball into death and destruction that destroys a nation’s foundation. After the recent Christchurch mosques' horror, New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern united a whole country. As they grieved together, the nation emerged stronger than ever before with Muslim immigrants brimming with patriotism and fervor for their adopted land. In her solidarity with the bereaved, PM Ardern emerged as a role-model for the suffering families and billions across the globe.

To be continued

The writer is a freelancecontributor.

Email: [email protected]

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