Hindutva’s history rewrite

Hindu right is pushing post-truth versions of culture, nationalism, freedom.

Written by Brinda Karat | Published:March 28, 2017 12:00 am
RSS, RSS uniform, rss new uniform, mohan bhagwat, sangh, Sangh parivaar, Vijaydashmi, sangh dress, sangh uniform, rss dress, bhagwat modi, indian express news, india news It is now common for VCs to openly flaunt their proximity to RSS as a means of getting ahead; this includes the head of ICCR describing PM Modi as an incarnation of God. (Source: PTI Photo)

The RSS “participated in the freedom movement”. “No RSS literature discriminates against the minorities.” RSS projects “never discriminate on the basis of caste or religion.” “RSS never indulged in anarchy”… and so on. Welcome to the RSS post-truth narrative, as enunciated by Rakesh Sinha in his article titled ‘Of swayamsevaks and intellectuals’ (IE, March 24).

For Sinha, facts do not count, personal belief does. So, if he believes so, it must be so and anyone who disagrees must be influenced by communists. In his article, Sinha refers to “archival evidence” of the RSS’s role in the freedom movement. Now, this is a self-goal, one that RSS intellectuals such as he must avoid. It conjures up the image of RSS bhakts having to search dusty files to find their heroes and failing to, even as a footnote in India’s glorious struggle for her freedom.

But, on the other hand, you don’t need to search too hard to find how the Hindutva icon, V.D. Savarkar, cringed before the British, apparently begging for forgiveness from his cell in the Andamans, describing himself as “the prodigal son”. Savarkar wrote, “where else can the prodigal son return but to the parental doors of the government”. It is this person whom RSS bhakts glorify, insulting the memory of our martyrs, naming the Andaman jail after him.
The contemporary RSS project, of a chauvinistic, aggressive Hindutva nationalism, requires a whitewashing of historical facts; that is what people like Sinha are expected to do.

As for discrimination, the BJP itself is an RSS project. Is it not blatant discrimination, prejudice and bigotry that while a range of criminals got BJP tickets in Uttar Pradesh, the party could not find a single Muslim candidate to put up? In the years of India’s independence, in every single communal conflagration towards which commissions of inquiry have been set up, the hand of the RSS has been clearly identified; a day after Sinha’s piece appeared, two RSS pracharaks were convicted in terror cases.

But, apart from the contempt for objective facts regarding the communal nature of RSS ideology and practice, more ominous is the stated aim that “while the RSS dominates India’s politics, its domination in the country’s intellectual discourse is awaited”. For Sinha, the “challenge is to decolonise the Indian mind and to revitalise Indian culture”.
In reality, it is precisely Indian culture, pluralist, multi-dimensional, diverse, of many streams and colours, that is sought to be replaced by the Hindutva definition of “culture”. Here is how Golwalkar, the “Guru” of the RSS and of the present prime minister, described it: “In this country Hindustan, the Hindu race, with its Hindu religion, Hindu culture and Hindu language (the natural family of Sanskrit and her offspring) complete the nation concept… All those not belonging to the national, that is, the Hindu race, religion, culture and language, naturally fall out of the pale of real national life.”

There are several aspects to the “revitalisation” project which are unfolding in a more accelerated manner. The first is the take-over of institutions of higher education and other autonomous bodies through the appointment of persons whose main credentials are their allegiance to the RSS. The hit list has targeted all the important universities and colleges. It is now common for VCs and other office-bearers to openly flaunt their proximity to the RSS as a means of getting ahead; this includes a tweet from the JNU VC welcoming the verdict of the UP elections, or, the head of the ICCR describing Narendra Modi as an incarnation of God.

The second aspect of the “decolonising the Indian mind” project is the syllabus for school children. Dinanath Batra’s atrocious textbooks are now being taught in schools across BJP-governed states. The books include such gems as the example that the birth of 100 Kauravas in the Mahabharata, from one egg of Gandhari, was an example of stem cell research in India.

Science and rationalism are anathema to the RSS. Ironically, on the day Sinha’s piece appeared, The Indian Express published the outrage expressed by Nobel Laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan at his alma mater, Maharaja Sayajirao University in Vadodara, bringing India’s real, internationally acclaimed scientific achievements “into disrepute” by making absurd claims based on mythical figures.

The third is the open hostility, victimisation, hounding, bullying of intellectuals who refuse to acquiesce to the divisive, hate-filled agenda of the RSS. Where such intimidation fails, the ABVP, the student wing of the RSS, is called into action, as it has been, most recently, in Ramjas College of Delhi University.

In the coming days, we can expect more such fascistic methods, concealed under the guise of “revitalisation”. We can also expect wider resistance.

The writer is a member of the CPM politburo

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  1. D
    Mar 29, 2017 at 3:34 pm
    Brilliant Mrs. Karat. Although I do not believe in CPM politics, I appreciate her attempt to critically analyse the relevant history, which I believe was placed somewhat distortedly by Prof. Sinha. However, I am shocked by some of the feedback comments for their unnecessary untowardness in the manner of presentation. We all should maintain the dignity of holding discussion and open mindedness for the civilised space and time. While one may disagree to an opinion, there is no scope of presenting that difference in opioin using lowly expression.
    1. S
      Mar 28, 2017 at 4:53 pm
      She and her party have lost all credibility in India and the world today. Best form of insult to these commies is to ignore and not acknowledge them in any way.
      1. A
        Ajay G
        Mar 27, 2017 at 8:02 pm
        Political aim is to be achieved, by any means. That has been the slogan of all political parties since Independence. lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt;Didn't Rajiv hi take a retrograde step on issue of Shah Bano and later opening doors of Ram Mandir !! lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt;That,however, can not be justification for another crime.
        1. A
          Mar 28, 2017 at 12:39 pm
          Freedom movement is over long back. Generations have relished fruits of that movement. lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt;In 21st Century, emphasis should be more on inclusiveness. Mes are more loyal to it than revitalization.
          1. A
            Mar 28, 2017 at 1:26 am
            Brinda madam, please give your enlightened views on TRIPLE TALAQ and Uniform Civil code before you give sermons.
            1. T
              Mar 28, 2017 at 8:24 am
              Excellent article mam!!!! we need more people like you to expose the hidden agenda of present regime to make poor more poor,to spread hatred n forget humanity..fed up of present govt
              1. A
                Mar 30, 2017 at 10:32 am
                Third rate article from a third rate politician.Where are you commies when Hindus are killed in Kashmir to Malda?
                1. T
                  Tar b
                  Mar 28, 2017 at 3:12 pm
                  Why not SC acts on banning those baseless and harmful lessons of RSS in schools of bjp govt state.
                  1. S
                    sushil chadha
                    Mar 28, 2017 at 3:27 pm
                    She needs a large tube of BURNOL
                    1. S
                      sushil chadha
                      Mar 28, 2017 at 4:29 pm
                      She's dumbo moron
                      1. A
                        Mar 28, 2017 at 9:11 am
                        The last bastion of defence against sanghi Taliban rule will be south India ! It is better to die fighting sanghi Talibans and preserve our freedom than eating gober burger and gaumutra mutra cola every day!
                        1. G
                          Mar 28, 2017 at 1:12 am
                          post truth? very funny .... coming from a self professed marxist theoriian.. marxists / communists were masters in distortion of facts , data, to suit their requirement. there is no harm now in seeing the other side of the argument. this is the marxist version of intolerance.
                          1. I
                            Ishan Ishan
                            Mar 28, 2017 at 6:36 am
                            Being Communist should be a crime in every democracy.
                            1. K
                              KK Jha
                              Mar 28, 2017 at 7:48 am
                              Leftist live in different world.
                              1. K
                                Kiranprakash Gupta
                                Mar 28, 2017 at 1:59 pm
                                There was understanding between Nehru and Communists to keep control over the poor with a plot.The communists were established in every educational insutions to twist the facts that can suit them and Nehru was projected as hope of this country by these stooges. Now the Citadel of Communists are under threat hence they are crying.
                                1. R
                                  Ramakrishna Mohan
                                  Mar 28, 2017 at 6:10 pm
                                  Disgusting article. Where were you all these years?? The people of India have rejected you long back. Why are you claiming a lost battle?
                                  1. S
                                    Mar 28, 2017 at 3:10 pm
                                    I will agree with your nonsense the day you your husband and other communists contest an election and win. You and your ilk have always found your place in Raya Sabha all these years. Now let's see how you will get to RS when your term ends
                                    1. H
                                      Harminder Singh
                                      Mar 28, 2017 at 10:39 am
                                      Please correct but isn't 80% of potion of India Hindus if so then what's this hulla a balloo al about ?
                                      1. l
                                        lakshmi %25e2%2580%259cLaki%25e2%2580%259d
                                        Mar 28, 2017 at 7:05 pm
                                        Get your harmon levels checked and take your medicines regularly, Sister. Take a one way ticket to beloved land China. Your Stalinist Commies were sleeping on the wheel when the freedom struggle was waged only by believers of the Hindu faith.
                                        1. M
                                          Mar 28, 2017 at 12:51 pm
                                          People are neither naive nor coward not to understand what is truth and not to express their views that they think are logical.
                                          1. S
                                            Mar 28, 2017 at 7:38 am
                                            I would prefer fascistic regime than leftist and the congis who have systematically undermined the hindu religion by first dividing the hindus in the name of caste and caste bases reservation and them working on minority. How long can these people go to change the political, economic and social fabric of India.
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