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This varsity succumbed to extra-academic mobocracy, 'ignored' Hindutva archives

By Shamsul Islam*
Open letter to Sharda University vice-chancellor
Sub: Discarding a Question on Linkages of Hindutva with Nazism/Fascism is blatant Academic Dishonesty!

Dear Professor Sibaram Khara Saheb,
Namaskaar! According to your esteemed University’s portal:
“The name of University, 'Sharda' is synonymous to 'Goddess of knowledge and learning-Saraswati'. She is identified with 'veena', an Indian musical instrument and the ‘lotus’, where she resides. The lotus in our logo symbolizes the seat of learning that the University is created for. 
"Variety of colours signify the variety of disciplines the university offers and the overlap between petals creating new colours demonstrate the ethos of collaboration between students and teachers of different programme, nationality, creed and colour working towards creating new knowledge…the University's cherished mission to provide education beyond boundaries and to facilitate the students and faculty to achieve pinnacles of success throughout the world!”
The web-site of School of Humanities and Social Sciences states that “The courses have been designed methodically to provide rigorous knowledge of subjects to students as well as to enhance their critical and analytical abilities”.
I am sorry to write that Sharda University by dropping the question “Do you see find any similarity between Nazism/Fascist and the Hindu right-wing (Hindutva)?” in the first-year Bachelor of Arts (Honours) political science paper (2022) has violated the above mentioned noble mottos. The unfortunate saga did not stop here. According to leading English daily a three-member committee of senior faculty members was constituted to look into the possibility of bias in the questions asked and pending this inquiry, the university suspended the faculty member concerned.
The university regretted that such an incident took place that “may have the potential for fomenting social discord” and stated that university authorities were “totally averse to any line of thought which distorts the great national identity and the inclusive culture inherent in our national ethos”. The University also ordered that the specific question found prime facie objectionable, would be ignored by the evaluators for the purposes of an award of marks to the students.
The University Grants Commission which is not supposed to intervene in day-to-day functioning of the universities and remains mute spectator to the countless incidences of violence against teachers and students perpetrated by the organizations connected with the ruling party in many universities was quick to intervene and declared
“It has been observed that the students objected to the question and lodged a complaint with the university. Needless to say that asking students such a question is against the spirit and ethos of our country, which is known for inclusivity and homogeneity and such questions have not been asked.”
Dear Sir, I believe that your esteemed University is a serious place for sharing, learning and development of academic ideas; that is, in fact, the purpose of any educational institution. I am afraid that by discarding the question on Hindutva’s linkages with Fascism/Nazism and penalizing the teacher who set the said question paper, the contributions of the three most prominent of propounders and developers of the theory, Balakrishna Shivram Moonje (1872-1948), Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (1883-1966) and Madhavrao Sadashivrao Golwalkar (1906-1973), regarded as Fathers of Hindutva, have totally been ignored.
Even a casual perusal of their writings (and activities) would make it clear that Sharda University has succumbed to extra-academic-mobocracy totally disregarding even the records available in the Hindutva archives.
All three Fathers of Hindutva unwaveringly fell in love with Fascism/Mussolini and Nazism/Hitler and strongly advocated to emulate these totalitarian European ideologies in India; a prerequisite for turning India into an exclusive powerful Hindu nation and solving the minority “problem”. I am reproducing the original writings of Moonje, Golwalkar and Savarkar in the following so that your University rectifies its serious act of misconduct.

Moonje had personal audience with Mussolini & spent his life to emulate fascism in India

Moonje led the Hindu nationalists (who believed India to be a land for Hindus only, Muslims and Christians as foreigners and Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism not independent religions but branches of Hinduism) in establishing concrete relationship with Fascist Italy led by Benito A. A. Mussolini (1883-1945).
He has left detailed accounts of his visit to Italy, Fascist military institutions, personal meeting with Mussolini and emulating Fascism in India in a diary which are available with Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Delhi.
The Italian researcher, Marzia Casolari, has done pioneering work in making public the direct linkages between this Hindutva ideologue and Mussolini based on Moonje’s diary. Moonje, a politician openly related to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had man-to-man meeting with Mussolini on the evening March 19, 1931 at Rome. According to Moonje’s own diary, he told Mussolini that
“I just saw this morning and afternoon the Balilla [Italian Fascist Youth Organisation which specialized in killing opponents of Fascism and Jews] and the Fascist Organisations and I was much impressed. Italy needs them for her development and prosperity…Every aspiring and growing Nation needs such organisations…’Signor Mussolini–who appeared very pleased–said–Thanks but yours is an uphill task. However I wish you every success in return.’ Saying this he [Mussolini] got up and I also got up to take his leave.”
According to Moonje’s diary immediately after his return from Rome he called upon prominent Hindu nationalist leaders to
“Imitate the youth movements of Germany and the Balilla and Fascist organisations of Italy. I think they are eminently suited for introduction in India, adapting them to suit the special conditions. I have been very much impressed by these movements and I have seen their activities with my own eyes in all details”.
On March 31, 1934, Moonje, Hedgewar and Laloo Gokhale had a meeting, the subject of which was again the military organisation of the Hindus, along the Italian and German lines. Moonje called upon the gathering that they should work for
“standardisation of Hinduism throughout India...But the point is that this ideal cannot be brought to effect unless we have our own swaraj with a Hindu as a dictator like Shivaji of old or Mussolini or Hitler of the present day Italy or Germany... But this does not mean that we have to sit with folded hands until some such dictator arises in India. We should formulate a scientific scheme and carry on propaganda for it…”
Moonje publicly admitted that his idea of militarily reorganizing Hindu society was inspired by the “military training schools of England, France, Germany and Italy” His ‘Preface to the Scheme of the Central Hindu Military Society and its Military School’ declared at the outset:
“This training is meant for qualifying and fitting our boys for the game of killing masses of men with the ambition of winning victory with the best possible causalities of dead and wounded while causing the utmost possible to the adversary.”
Moonje’s diary expresses overgenerous love for Mussolini and Fascism and his boundless commitment to emulate their principles in India while organizing Hindus. He wrote:
“The Balilla institutions and the conception of the whole organisation have appealed to me most, though there is still no discipline and organisation of high order. The whole idea is conceived by Mussolini for the military regeneration of Italy. 
"Italians, by nature, appear ease-loving and non-martial, like Indians generally. They have cultivated, like Indians, the work of peace and neglected the cultivation of the art of war. Mussolini saw the essential weakness of his country and conceived the idea of the Balilla organisation…Nothing better could have been conceived for the military organisation of Italy...The idea of fascism vividly brings out the conception of unity amongst people...
“India and particularly Hindu India needs some such institution for the military regeneration of the Hindus: so that the artificial distinction so much emphasized by the British, of martial and non-martial classes amongst the Hindus, may disappear…Our institution of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of Nagpur under Hedgewar is of this kind, though quite independently conceived. I will spend the rest of my life in developing and extending this institution of Hedgewar all throughout Maharashtra and other provinces.”
[All quotes from Moonje's diary cited in Casolari, Marzia ‘Hindutva’s foreign tie-up in the 1930’s: Archival evidence', “The Economic & Political Weekly”, January 22, 2000, pp. 218-228.]

Golwalkar penned a book in praise of fascism & Nazism

The most prominent ideologue of the RSS, MS Golwalkar (known as Guru Ji in the RSS circles) authored We Or Our Nationhood Defined in 1939 which justified cleansing of Jews by Mussolini and Hitler and demanded the same treatment for Muslims and Christians of India. This book, a Holy book for the RSS cadres stated:
“If, as is indisputably proved, Hindusthan [sic] is the land of the Hindus and is the terra firma for the Hindu nation alone to flourish upon, what is to be the fate of all those, who, today, happen to live upon the land, though not belonging to the Hindu Race, Religion and culture.” [Golwalkar, MS, “We Or Our Nationhood Defined”, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, p. 45.]
For Golwalkar there was no confusion on this issue. It would be like what Jews faced under Hitler and Mussolini. Thus Golwalkar glorified the Holocaust in the following words:
“German Race pride has now become the topic of the day. To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races—the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by." [Golwalkar, MS, “We Or Our Nationhood Defined”, Nagpur, 1939, pp. 34-35.]
Savarkar (centre) with Golwalkar (right)
Golwalkar, following into the foot-steps of Hitler, arrived at the following solution for the minority “problem” in India; Muslims and Christians who were declared as foreign races,
“From this stand point, sanctioned by the experience of shrewd old nations, the foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e., of the Hindu nation and must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment not even citizen’s rights. 
"There is, at least should be, no other course for them to adopt. We are an old nation: let us deal, as old nations ought to and do deal, with the foreign races who have chosen to live in our country." [Golwalkar, MS, “We Or Our Nationhood Defined”, Nagpur, 1939, pp. 47-48.]
When Hitler’s armies were devastating neighbouring countries and cleansing Jews, it was Golwalkar who came forward unfalteringly in defence of ‘ethnic cleansing’ by Nazis in the following words:
“The other Nation most in the eye of the world today is Germany. This Nation affords a very striking example. Modern Germany strove, and has to a great extent achieved what she strove for, to once again bring under one sway the whole of the territory, hereditarily possessed by the Germans but which, as a result of political disputes, had been portioned off as different countries under different states…
“German pride in their Fatherland for a definite home country, for which the race has traditional attachments as a necessary concomitant of the true Nation concept, awoke and ran the risk of starting a fresh world-conflagration, in order to establish one, unparalleled undisputed German Empire over all this ‘hereditary territory’. This natural and logical aspiration of Germany has almost been fulfilled and the great importance of the ‘country factor’ has been once again vindicated even in the living present.”
[Golwalkar, MS, “We Or Our Nationhood Defined”, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, pp. 34-35.]
Golwalkar equally praised the Fascist ally of Hitler, Italy led by Mussolini for enslaving Ethiopia and Libya as part of his project of building a Roman Empire in Africa and the Balkans. Golwalkar justified enslaving of nations by Mussolini glorifying “depredatory ancestors” in the following words:
“Look at Italy, the old Roman Race consciousness of conquering the whole territory round the Mediterranean Sea, so long dormant, has roused itself, and shaped the racial-national aspirations accordingly. The ancient race spirit which prompted the Germanic tribes to overrun the whole of Europe has… [arisen again] in modern Germany, with the result that the nation perforce follows the aspirations predetermined by the traditions left by its depredatory ancestors.” [Golwalkar, MS, “We Or Our Nationhood Defined”, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, p. 32]

Savarkar’s profuse love for Nazism & fascism

Savarkar, the originator of the term ‘Hindutva’ who penned a book with the same title in 1923 too had great liking for Hitler’s Nazism and the Fascism of Mussolini. Savarkar went on to support Hitler’s anti-Jewish pogroms and on October 14, 1938, he suggested the same solution for the Muslim problem in India: "A Nation is formed by a majority living therein. What did the Jews do in Germany? They being in minority were driven out from Germany." [MSA, Home Special Department, 60 D(g) Pt III, 1938, ‘Translation of the verbatim speech made by V D Savarkar at Malegaon on October 14, 1938’, cited in Marzia Casolari, p. 223.]
While delivering the Presidential address to the 22nd Session of the Hindu Mahasabha at Madura in 1940 he declared,
“There is no reason to suppose that Hitler must be a human monster because he passes off as a Nazi or Churchill is a demi-God because he calls himself a democrat. Nazism proved undeniably the saviour of Germany under the set of circumstances Germany was placed in…” [Savarkar, VD , Samagra Savarkar Wangmaya: Hindu Rashtra Darshan, vol. vi, Maharashtra Prantik Hindu Mahasabha, Poona, 1963, p. 418.]
Savarkar rebuked Jawahar Lal Nehru for opposing Fascism and Nazism in the following words:
“Who are we to dictate to Germany, Japan or Russia or Italy to choose a particular form of policy of government simply because we woo it out of academical [sic] attraction? Surely Hitler knows better than Pandit Nehru does what suits Germany best. The very fact that Germany or Italy has so wonderfully recovered and grown so powerful as never before at the touch of Nazi or Fascist magical wand is enough to prove that those political ‘isms’ were the most congenial tonics their health demanded.” [Casolari, Marzia, ‘Hindutva’s foreign tie-up in the 1930’s: Archival evidence’, The Economic and Political Weekly, January 22, 2000, p. 223]
Savarkar not only had devotional attachment towards racist and totalitarian political project of Fascism but also praised its male chauvinist attitude towards women as an ideal to be emulated by Hindus. In an essay titled ‘Madam Mussolini’ which he wrote in praise of the wife of Mussolini, Rachele Mussolini he stated that she was worshippable because
“She is a simple, rich house-wife who never comes out of home…she believes that domestic chores, bringing up children, serving husband, managing family and slaves are the primary and fundamental duties of a woman. This is her commitment and interest. Mussolini’s wife is achieving real great status as a house-wife.” [Savarkar, VD, Savarkar Samagr, vol. iv, Prabhat, Delhi, 2000, p. 520]
Dear Vice-chancellor, I am immensely sad to write that Sharda University’s total ignorance of the original writings of Fathers of Hindutva which prove inalienable fraternal linkages with Fascism and Nazism led to a situation that a teacher who had real knowledge of the facts is being penalized. The anti-academic attitude of the University has created a situation that the above mentioned question is being presented as attack on Hinduism by those who know more about Hindutva then Moonje, Golwalkar and Savarkar.
Since, paper setter happened to be a Muslim the Hindutva eco-system communalized the whole debate. A leading Hindutva news-portal joined the hate mongering by stating:  “It is worth noting that Waqas Farooq Kuttay also attended Jamia Millia Islamia University. He had passed the JRF and NET (National Eligibility Test) exams. He continues to write articles targeted toward nationalists.” 
It also carried the following tweet by one Vikas Pritam Singh targeting Muslims in general: “The name of the University is Sharda but see the act that the students are being asked in the examination to prove 'Hindutva’ as essentially equivalent to Fascism and Nazism. This question paper is allegedly made by a Muslim teacher.” [translated from Hindi]
Sir, the trolls are targeting his name, his upbringing, his family and religion. Shockingly Sharda University helped this Islam-o-phobic witch-hunting by declaring the question having potential to “foment social discord”.
Without looking into the writings and deeds of Moonje, Golwalkar and Savarkar your University came out in defence of Hindutva declaring it as “great national identity”. The University seems to be totally oblivious of the fact that those criminals who assassinated Father of the Nation, Gandhiji, identified themselves as Hindu nationalists and believers in Hindutva.
Professor Sibaram Khara Saheb, ignorance should not be bliss for any sensible person or institution specially an educational institution and those running it. I would make a humble request that the individuals or committees of Sharda University which took atrocious decisions on this issue must read the original writings of three Fathers of Hindutva.
I can gift these to the University. If University and UGC want to censure those who established linkages of Hindutva with Fascism/Nazism, Moonje, Golwalkar and Savarkar have to be investigated and censured, not a poor teacher whose only fault was that he had read them and asked a genuine question!
I hope University under your guidance will not betray the truth!
---
Formerly with Delhi University, click here for some of Prof Islam's writings and video interviews/debate. Facebook: https://facebook.com/shamsul.islam.332. Twitter: @shamsforjustice. Blog: http://shamsforpeace.blogspot.com/

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