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Nehru's Hindi-ization "root cause" of RSS-BJP Hinduization plan in Arunachal Pradesh: Top scribe

By Our Representative
In a controversial exposure, well-known journalist Shekhar Gupta has said that roots of the RSS-BJP's alleged “Hindu-isation gameplan” in Arunachal Pradesh – cited in the wake of the recent imposition of President’s rule in the state – can be found in “Jawaharlal Nehru's Hindi-isation policy” in what was once known as North East Frontier Province (NEFA).
Pointing out that Nehru was "paranoid about the Chinese in NEFA”, wondering what would happen if the “China-backed separatist virus of Nagaland reached NEFA”, Gupta says in a recent article, the first Prime Minister of India was also “deeply upset” by the activities of the Christian missionaries in the North-East.
This led Nehru to decide on keeping Christian evangelists out of what was to be renamed Arunachal Pradesh”, says Gupta, adding, “Its tribes were brought into the national, and nationalist, mainstream through Hindi-medium education” – in sharp contrast to English medium in other parts of North East.
Pointing out that one has only to talk to Union minister from Arunachal Kiren Rijiju in Hindi to see this, Gupta says, the policy of Nehru was further intensified by Indira Gandhi, who told top RSS ideologue Nanaji Deshmukh once “that she didn’t want the church in Arunachal.”
Instead, Indira Gandhi told Deshmukh, she had rather have Hindu missionaries, Ramakrishna Mission and RSS to fill in. This, believes the top scribe, lies behind the 1978 (when Janata ruled Delhi) the Arunachal assembly’s Freedom of Religion Act, “making proselytisation nearly impossible.”
“That law survives because of a larger Congress-RSS agreement”, Gupta insists, adding, “That compact is now breaking with the rise of the BJP. The RSS has an obsession with the region where its key ideologues have devoted lifetimes.”
Gupta underlines, “The Congress, all these decades, worked on a slow Hindi-isation and Indianisation of Arunachal tribes as distinct from Christian Nagas, Mizos, Khasis and Garos.”
Suggesting things have changed with the NDA government in power Delhi, Gupta says, “The RSS is no longer B team of the Congress in Arunachal. Now it wants rapid Hinduisation. This should put the desperate impatience of its hand-picked governor in Itanagar, as also some statements of the governors of Assam and Tripura, in perspective.”
“While some of Arunachali tribes are Buddhist and a handful Vaishnavite, most would have been called animists in the past”, Gupta says, adding, “The biggest tribes, Adis (Gegong Apang), Nyishi (Nabam Tuki) and Apatanis (former CM Tomo Riba) follow Donyi-Polo, or the worship of the sun and the moon.”
In the RSS view, indicates Gupta, this is not “animism” but part of the Hindu tradition, as “Hindus have prayed to planet-gods forever — note how a Shani (Saturn) temple has been in the headlines lately.”
In fact, one of the points of criticism of the RSS-BJP against the toppled Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki has been that, though belonging to Nyishi tribe, he is “rare Arunachali convert to Christianity”, says Gupta.
In fact, says Gupta, Arunachal Pradesh has always been an eye-sore for other North-Eastern states. Pointing towards protests by the Church in the region, he adds, the Nagaland state assembly took the unusual step of adopting a resolution against the anti-conversion law of Arunachal Pradesh.

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