Skip to main content

When Islamic nations galore, why question Modi seeking Hindu 'predominance'?

By NS Venkataraman* 
In the 16th century Mughals invaded India, stayed back and then started spreading Islam in the country. Several Hindu families were converted by coercion and other methods. In 1608, British entered India as traders and slowly started occupying the country, spreading Christianity. Many Hindus were similarly converted.
This led to an existential threat to Hinduism. While savants like Swami Vivekananda espoused the rich philosophy of Hinduism and brought it to the attention of some parts of the world and tried to create sense of pride amongst Hindus, his valiant efforts had little impact.
Helpless, many concerned Hindus decided to build a counter force to protect Hindu tradition, culture and way of life in order to stop further erosion. Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) was born a few years before India’s independence, catching the imagination of a section of Hindus to an extent.
While years have passed and several developments have taken place, even RSS was banned for some time in India, yet it remained a force to be reckoned with. Attempts to discredit RSS has continued, yet popular view gained that it has played a positive role in stemming the existential threat to Hinduism.
Till now RSS claimed it was essentially a cultural organization, functioning with the objective of conserving and highlighting the traditional value system of Hinduism. At the same time, several RSS members started showing interest in political activities, thinking that attainment of political power is an essential requirement to protect Hinduism’s glorious past.
A decisive change took place when pledged members of RSS, AB Vajpayee, and later Narendra Modi, became Prime Ministers. Modi has stayed on to the job after convincingly winning in the national parliamentary election for second term, enjoying reasonable level of popularity. 
However, it is crystal clear that BJP is the political arm of RSS, or RSS is the social arm of BJP, with foot soldiers of RSS actively campaigning for BJP in during elections. Both these entities are so closely intertwined that one cannot distinguish between RSS and BJP with regard to goals and objectives. 
Earlier, an impression was sought to be created that RSS functions independently of BJP. But Modi has removed this “curtain” by laying the foundation stone of Ram Temple in Ayodhya at an official function.
An impression was sought to be created that RSS functions independently of BJP. But Modi has removed this curtain by laying the foundation stone of Ram Temple
The ceremony took place in the presence of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. The intention was to establish the fact and conveying the view to the nation that BJP and RSS are the same with regard to objectives and long-term goals. The veil that BJP and RSS are different has now been erased by no less a person than the Prime Minster of India.
Unlike earlier Prime Ministers who were extremely reluctant to be seen in public eye as wedded to Hinduism, Modi has demonstrated his determination to be seen and understood as a Hindu with strong faith in the religion and its rituals.
In several other countries in the world it is common for the governments to be officially associated with a particular religion, as seen in several Islamic nations. There are also countries where Christianity is the official religion. This has not been so in India. India calls itself as a secular country.
While theoretically India continues to remain secular, with all religions enjoying similar status, and those belonging to minority status even getting special privileges, it is for the first time that an Indian Prime Minister asserted the predominant status of Hinduism in India.
While the “secularists” in India object to this approach and stand of Modi, one wonders if there anything ‘unsecular’ with regard to the approach of Modi, as the basic concept of secularism remains intact.
A Prime Minister declaring himself as Hindu and adopting Hindu religious practices and his party being associated with another organization (RSS) wedded to the spread of Hindu philosophy does not mean that secular philosophy of India has been given up.
There appears nothing inappropriate in declaring that BJP and RSS share the same values and they complement each other.
---
*Nandini Voice for the Deprived, Chennai

Comments

Anonymous said…
Refreshingly neutral analysis without making typical accusations of BJP and Hindus seen by other commentators. Others have been alarmists and making a mountain out of a mole hill. India is secular specifically because it has a Hindu ethos. They go hand in hand and the RSS Sangh parivar knows this. They however will call our organisations, religions and individuals who either take advantage of this or are trying to erode this.
Anonymous said…
The problem Hindus have is that bulk of people educated in earlier generation in India were by schools fashioned in Christian worldview, which saw Paganism as bad and idea that pagans need to be salvaged. Hinduism, Buddhism are seen as much closer to Paganism than any Abrahmic faith. So while faults in Hinduism, Buddhism etc. were magnified, flaws of Abrahmic faiths were overlooked.

Good example is social mobility & caste system. Caste system blamed for discrimination and prevention of upward mobility in India. But they conveniently ignore the fact that in West also there was no upward social mobility, until the beginning of Industrial age. India is still a developing country. So Hindu society can be compared with Western society only after India reaches comparable economic status matching per capita income.

Other good example is slavery, rape etc. In Abrahmic traditions slavery is allowed and rape of slave girls were accepted. Read old testament, Koran etc., while it is not accepted in Hinduism. Nobody was sold in slave market in Hindu tradition. There were bonded people, who lost their freedom due to debt.

While Hindus were criticized for their flaws they were not given credit for higher ideals such as preaching to be in harmony with other creatures and nature.

What is needed is through re-evaluation of Hinduism, Buddhism in balanced manner and realize that Hinduism and India has much to offer to world.

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Upholding labour rights, Nehruvian scientific temper, Rajni Patel opposed Emergency

By Harsh Thakor*  Rajni Patel, who died 40 years ago, whatever his flaws, had one great quality: his human touch to offer selfless service and ability to galvanise or influence human beings from all walks of life. Few people would ever go out of the way to help someone or serve as selflessly without aim of personal gain. Rajni championed Nehruvian secular ideas and scientific temper. As a master in public relations he revealed utmost humility. As a barrister, he never appeared against the trade unions or workers. A Fabien Socialist he opposed liberal capitalism and radical socialism. Unlike most lawyers, he did not succumb to the lure of amassing wealth. Rajni was born in Sirsa, in Gujarat, on the very day Gandhi set foot on Indian soil, on 9th January, 1915. He gained his baptism through one of Gandhi's speeches calling for the boycott of foreign goods, which was the virtual turning point of his life. Rajni toed Gandhi to organise boycott of foreign goods. Rajni was able to cros

Targeting mosques, churches: 'Roadmap' for 2025, RSS' centenary year?

416 years old Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Goa  By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Fascists use manipulative strategies aimed at whipping up sympathy and support from the majority community, to which they normally ‘belong’. They do so in a variety of insidious and subtle ways. In the past few months, they have gone overboard in their efforts to denigrate and demonize minorities in India, particularly Muslims and Christians. They have spewed hate and divisiveness through their venomous speeches; incited people to violence and have effectively used officialdom to further their vested interests. The results are there for all to see: greater polarisation of the majority community in a country which prided itself for its pluralism and diversity. Their meticulously planned agenda is in order to gain absolute power of the country in the 2024 national elections. More so it is also a roadmap towards 2025 when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will complete one hundred years of its existence.

Vadodara violence: Fine Arts Faculty alumni raise fingers at Varsity's political appointee

Hasmukh Vaghela with PM Counterview Desk  In a statement, alumni of the Faculty of Fine Arts (FoFA), Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU), Baroda, Gujarat, referring to the “violence” by right-wing groups for displaying “objectionable” paintings that “hurt religious sentiments” at the one of India’s top fine arts institute May 5, have taken strong exception to “the assault and rustication” of one of the students, and lack of action taken against those who “violated” the institution and committed the act. Floated as an online petition seeking wider support, the FoFA alumni, in their statement, addressed to the vice chancellor, MSU, said, there should be “thorough” investigation in the whole incident and “immediate action” should be taken against syndicate member Hasmukh Vaghela, MSU, who sparked the assault, and “other co-conspirators” for breaching “university code of conduct and unlawful activities committed in broad daylight”. While the alumni statement doesn't say so, Vaghela

Gyanvapi case: Use of 'illegal' lawfare to keep the communal pot simmering

By Venkatesh Narayanan, Bobby Ramakant, Manoj Sarang* With a steady drumbeat of bad news for the lives of ordinary citizens --  inflation at a multi-year high , rupee at an all-time low , negative job creation and when all forward indicators as seen by industry leaders point to recessionary clouds on the horizon , what’s a serially-incompetent government to do?  Dust out their time-tested-citizen-distraction playbook. The Gyanvapi-Masjid case is all of this -- as a weapon of mass distraction. This zeitgeist of our times is best captured by a recent opinion piece : "The idea is to keep the pot on a perpetual boil, simmering at the top, whirling feverishly beneath. A restless society forever living precariously on the precipice arouses distrst, uneasiness, fear and discomfort, That is a toxic panoply for manufacturing rage, which can then be effortlessly mobilized at short notice. BJP is creating an eco-system of real-time instant delivery of hate-mongers. That is how we are sudde

World Bank proved right, Narmada is already a destructive project: Medha Patkar

By Rajiv Shah  Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar has said that the World Bank’s independent review mission, which brought out the Morse Commission report , has been proved right: The Sardar Sarovar dam has not only failed to live up to the loud promises made for irrigating large arid areas of Saurashtra and Kutch in Gujarat, those who were displaced and resettled in Gujarat are getting increasingly restive as many of them are unable to get the promised water for irrigation and some for drinking water too. While 50,000 families have been resettled in three states and 20,000 have received land rights as land or cash, the authorities have not calculated what should be done with 15,000 families, whose houses are acquired for Sardar Sarovar but following changing backwater levels of the Sardar Sarovar dam, they are denied rehabilitation, Patkar tells Counterview in an interview (part1*): *** Q: What is the latest position in your view as far as the Sardar Sarovar dam is concerned?

UK leader cites Indian farmers' struggle one of top global fights against neoliberal order

Counterview Desk  Jeremy Corbyn, member of the UK Parliament, former leader of the UK Labour Party and founder of the  Peace and Justice Project , in his  inaugural speech to the  Progressive International’s  Summit at the End of the World on May 12, 2022, has said, what is happening across globe suggests that "image of apocalypse -- bombs and raids, oil spills and wildfires, disease and contagion -- is a reality for people across the planet." In an adaptation of his speech, distributed by  Globetrotter , Corbyn, however, said, there are fresh examples action, too -- by Indian farmers forcing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw three neo-liberal laws;  by workers, communities and activists against the top giant multinational Amazon's "greed and exploitation"; and by Latin American people's struggle to say "no more to the domination by imperialism, the destruction of their communities and the abuse of their environments." Stating that this is n

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why is NIOH-ICMR 'official' making false claims on silicosis?: Health rights NGO

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, Dr Jagdish Parikh, trustee, health rights NGO People’s Training and Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, and Jagdish Patel, director, PTRC, have said that the claim being made for the use of biomarker for detection of silicosis raises concern about scientific tenacity of the diagnosis of the deadly occupational disease. The letter also objects to the reported claim by a top health official that it is possible to detect silicosis at the sub-radiological stage. It asks, “What is this subradiological stage of silicosis? We have not heard any such scientific term being used. Again, the report is using a term which is not found in any scientific literature so far. Is this term acceptable by ICMR? Is ICMR thinking of any explanation?” Text : This is with reference to our letter dated November 28, 2021. In our communication we had raised our concern about the scientific tena

Welfare? Govt of India spends just 19% of manual scavengers' rehabilitation budget

By Bharat Dogra*  While the Dalit community has been always known for higher levels of poverty as well as social discrimination, even within the Dalits there is a sub-section known for even worse levels of poverty as well as social discrimination. This is the section which was traditionally involved in manual scavenging. The shocking injustice they have suffered from over the years has been widely recognized leading to a ban on manual scavenging. At the same time there is urgent need for the rehabilitation of those engaged in manual scavenging. Hence a self-employment scheme for the rehabilitation of those engaged in manual scavenging was drawn up. The allocations and the expenditure for this scheme for the last eight years are shown in the Table below: Union Budget for Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of  Manual Scavengers (in Rs crore) By Budget Estimate we mean the original allocation made when the budget is presented. It is clear from this table that the actual expenditure