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

New Odia CM's tribal heritage 'sets him apart' from Hindutva Brahminical norms

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Mohan Charan Majhi took the oath as the new Chief Minister of Odisha following the electoral defeat of the BJD led by Naveen Patnaik, who served as Chief Minister for twenty-four years. The new Chief Minister is the son of a security guard and a four-time MLA who hails from the remote village of Raikala in the Keonjhar district. He belongs to the Santali tribe and comes from a working-class family. Such achievements and political mobilities are possible only in a democratic society. Majhi’s leadership even in the form of symbolic representation in a democracy deserves celebration.

AMR: A gathering storm that threatens a century of progress in medicine

By Bobby Ramakant*  A strategic roundtable on “Charting a new path forward for global action against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)” was organised at the 77th World Health Assembly or WHA (WHA is the apex decision-making body of the World Health Organization – WHO, which is attended by all countries that are part of the WHO – a United Nations health agency). AMR is among the top-10 global health threats “Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a growing and urgent crisis which is already a leading cause of untimely deaths globally. More than 2 people die of AMR every single minute,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO. “AMR threatens to unwind centuries of progress in human health, animal health, and other sectors.”

What stops Kavach? Why no time to focus on common trains meant for common people?

By Atanu Roy  A goods train rammed into Kanchenjunga Express on 17th June morning in North Bengal. This could have been averted if the time tested anti-collision system (Kavach) was in place. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

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".

Top Punjab Maoist who failed to analyse caste question, promoted economism

By Harsh Thakor*  On June 15th we commemorated the 15th death anniversary of Harbhajan Singh Sohi or HBS, a well known Communist leader in Punjab. He expired of a heart attack in Bathinda in 2009.

Ram Teri Ganga Maili: How to maintain ethics in a polluted environment?

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  Is the holy Ganges getting more polluted every day? In addition to daily rituals, bathing, and religious activities performed on its banks, since ancient times, the new age industrial and population pressures are increasingly polluting the holy river. Over the decades a number of government schemes, rules and regulations to purify the Ganges have met with limited success.