Political arm of the RSS, BJP could secure only 31% of the total votes polled in the 2014 parliamentary elections (if this percentage is analyzed in context of the total voters in the country this percentage would further drop down to less than 17 percent). This clearly showed that 69% of the Indians; 80% of whom were Hindus did not vote for BJP. However, overlooking this reality the masters of BJP; the RSS top brass boasted that BJP’s victory put “an end to 800 years of slavery” and by 2020 “entire country will be Hindu”. The VHP patron Ashok Singhal went to the extent of declaring that by “2030 the entire world will be Hindu”.
With this frame of mind RSS is getting more myopic and accelerated its game of turning a democratic-secular India into a Hindu theocratic polity. In fact, such over-bearing attitude may be the outcome of feeling of insecurity of the Hindutva leadership which knows that the Hindus of this country do not subscribe to their kind of theocratic politics and in the next elections they may be shown the door by the India electorate. After getting political power they seem to be in hurry and resorting to all kinds of tricks to capture national institutions specially belonging to the realms of art, culture and academia. This clique knows that time is running out fast and they need to bulldoze.
After appointing a twelfth class pass as HRD minister, the eminent national institutions have been brought under the clutches of RSS cadres. The Indian Council of Historical Research witnessed the appointment of Y Sudershan Rao, an old RSS cadre, a votary of 'sanatan' Hindu religion, as its chairperson. The National Book Trustwas given under the charge of Baldev Sharma, former editor of RSS Hindi mouthpiece Panchajanya. Lokesh Chandra was crowned as head of The Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Chandra while talking of Narendra Modi says: "Woh bhagwan ke avatar hain (He is reincarnation of God)". He goes to the extent of claiming that Modi "from a practical point of view supersedes the Mahatma”.
The list is endless but all have not succumbed to the Hindutva juggernaut. The faculty, students and alumni of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), the country’s premier film education centre continue to be on an indefinite strike since June 12 protesting the Information & Broadcast Ministry’s appointment of low grade film/television actor-turned-politician Gajendra Chauhan as Chairman. It was a shocking choice as his only qualification was that he was close to RSS. It would be interesting to know the names of chairpersons who headed this prestigious institution. They were all great theatre/film personalities like, Anwar Jamal Kidwai, R K Laxman, Shyam Benegal, Mrinal Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Mahesh Bhatt, Girish Karnad, Vinod Khanna, U R Ananthamurthy and Saeed Akhtar Mirza.
The other prominent national institutions which have stood against Hindutva interference are IITs and IIMs. The renowned Indian nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar, chairman of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, resigned from the selection committee, chaired by the HRD minister Smriti Irani, which was to interview candidates for directors of three IITs. Anil Kakodkar who was also chairman of the Standing Committee of the IIT Council (SCIC) resigned after “disagreement” over the choice of IIT directors.
The Hindutva design of control of IITs suffered a severe set-back when IIT Madras was forced to withdraw the draconian order of banning ‘Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle’,after nation-wide protest. The ban was imposed on May 22, 2015 by the administration on the orders of HRD ministry following an anonymous complaint that this Student Group in IIT Madras was inducing "hatred" against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Hindus. The HRD ministry made an inquiry into the activities of the said group and ordered its shut down. Faced with national and international protests the banning order was rescinded on June 6.
The Hindutva project to control IIMs also met with stiff opposition. Reacting to the IIM draft Bill AM Naik, Chairman of IIM-Ahmedabad said: “The new bill gives sweeping powers to the government, which makes the institution only an operational centre while all the major directions and approvals are allowed only from the Centre. This would be detrimental to the management institutes in India - not only for IIM-A, but for other IIMs as well. The current bill if passed would take away the autonomy of the institution.”
This dissent was also endorsed by IIM-A Director Prof. Ashish Nanda. According to him, the government has proposed some kind of control in almost every decision that the institute takes."The draft bill proposes control of government in almost every matter, such as selection of chairman of board of Governors, fee structure, expenses, etc. They have covered almost everything from strategic to operational decisions," said Nanda. The similar protest was registered by IIM directors of Kolkata, Lucknow, Bangalore, Kozhikode and Indore.
According to Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen there is a clear Hindutva pattern in the appointments of key educational and cultural institutions. According to him: “The obvious danger of the saffronisation project is not the appointment of party-favourites in government institutions, which every ruling party does, but challenging the principle of scientific enquiry and terming anything rational as anti-Hindu. No scientist ever claims that his/her theory is infallible and is not open to revision if there is newer evidence. Rather than being certain about their beliefs, what scientists - whether material, social or formal - engage in is a search for truth. Consequently, their public behaviour is rational too.”
Sen underlined the fact that the biggest threat to a rational, scientific approach that the modern world is built on is faith and agenda-driven fake science. Evidence and scientific processes give way to fundamentalist faiths, emotions and rhetoric—and that is precisely what the RSS is attempting to do with the help of its “cargo cult science” practitioners. And the HRD ministry is a willing partner.
The strong opposition to the IIM Bill forced the Modi government to shelve it for the time being.
The RSS and its minions were furious with this challenge. Instead of countering this opposition with facts and arguments, the Hindutva camp raised the bogey of ‘Hinduism in danger’. Responding to the quashing of the order of banning ‘Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle’ by IIT-M, the RSS English organ Organizer wrote (June 28, 2015) that central government buckled under the pressure of fringe elements at IIT-M and allowed anti-Hindu activities. The same issue declared any opposition to the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as “anti-Hindu propaganda”.
The RSS continues with its Hindutva rhetoric. Its mouthpiece in its July 19, 2015 issue again raised the bogey of ‘Hinduism in danger’. The article titled ‘FTII Row: Making Boards Accountable’ while degrading the opposition to IIM Bill declared “these government funded institutes from tax payers money are becoming ground for anti-India and anti-Hindu activities. Faculties with low moral are misguiding students.” What these “anti-India and anti-Hindu activities” were that was made clear in the course of the article. One was that though Roorkee waspart of Devbhoomi i.e. Haridwar district [in fact Haridwar is approximately 35 kms from Roorkee] the IIT Roorkee served non-vegetarian food. The second one was the presence of a mosque with in the campus of IIT Roorkee.
It is sad that RSS as champion of Hindutva claims to be the sole representative of Hinduism and India. It is faithful to neither. So far as a democratic-secular India is concerned, the RSS is dead against it and wants to convert it into a Hindu theocratic state. Both the RSS ‘Prayers’ and ‘Oath’, mandatory for its cadres demand establishment of a Hindu rashtra. Organizer in its issue on the very eve of Independence, dated 14 August, 1947, rejected the whole concept of a composite nation (under the editorial title ‘Whither’): “Let us no longer allow ourselves to be influenced by false notions of nationhood. Much of the mental confusion and the present and future troubles can be removed by the ready recognition of the simple fact that in Hindusthan only the Hindus form the nation and the national structure must be built on that safe and sound foundation…the nation itself must be built up of Hindus, on Hindu traditions, culture, ideas and aspirations.”
The same issue denigrated the choice of Tri-colour as the National Flag. It said: “The people who have come to power by the kick of fate may give in our hands the Tricolour but it never be respected and owned by Hindus. The word three is in itself an evil, and a flag having three colours will certainly produce a very bad psychological effect and is injurious to a country.”
The RSS is committed to undo the Constitution of India and replace it with dehumanized Manusmriti. When the Constituent Assembly of India had finalized theConstitution of India RSS was not happy. Its organ, Organizer in an editorial on November 30, 1949, complained: “But in our constitution there is no mention of the unique constitutional development in ancient Bharat. Manu’s Laws were written long before Lycurgus of Sparta or Solon of Persia. To this day his laws as enunciated in the Manusmriti excite the admiration of the world and elicit spontaneous obedience and conformity. But to our constitutional pundits that means nothing.”
It is to be noted here that a copy of Manusmriti was burnt as a protest against its denigration of women and Dalits in the presence of Dr. BR Ambedkar himself during historic Mahad agitation in December, 1927.
So far as RSS claim to represent Hinduism is concerned it is also questionable. Its insistence that non-vegetarian food is forbidden in Hinduism is neither supported by history nor by the practices at present time. The chapter 5 of Manusmriti (Laws of Manu) specifically allows non-vegetarian food. For instance the verse 18says: “The porcupine, the hedgehog, the iguana, the rhinoceros, the tortoise, and the hare they declare to be eatable; likewise those (domestic animals) that have teeth in one jaw only, excepting camels.” The verse 30 reads:
“The eater who daily even devours those destined to be his food, commits no sin; for the creator himself created both the eaters and those who are to be eaten (for those special purposes).” Even beef was consumed in Vedic times which is corroborated by Swami Vivekananda. He while addressing a meeting at the Shakespeare Club, Pasadena, California, USA (February 2, 1900) on the theme of ‘Buddhistic India’ declared: “You will be astonished if I tell you that, according to old ceremonials, he is not a good Hindu who does not eat beef. On certain occasions he must sacrifice a bull and eat it.”
In present times in major parts of India Hindus consume non-vegetarian food and to reduce Hinduism to vegetarianism would be injustice to its followers. In fact, RSS represents a shade of Brahmanical Hinduism which is practised in the Doaba region of northern India.
Another sinister development is that RSS has accelerated its ambition of controlling politics realizing that Modi’s present regime is the last opportunity to fulfill its nefarious designs. In fact this ambition was expressed long back by its most prominent ideologue, MS Golwalkar. His first statement tells us about the kind of personnel who are sent to manipulate politics and what is expected of them by the RSS. While delivering a speech on March 16, 1954, in Sindi, Wardha, he said: “If we say that we are part of the organization and accept its discipline then selectiveness has no place in life. Do what is told. If told to play kabaddi, play kabaddi; told to hold meeting then meeting….For instance some of our friends were told to go and work for politics that does not mean that they have great interest or inspiration for it. They don’t die for politics like fish without water. If they are told to withdraw from politics then also there is no objection. Their discretion is just not required.”
The second statement is also very significant in which he said: “We know this also that some of our swayamsevaks work in politics. There they have to organize according to the needs of work public meetings, processions etc., have to raise slogans. All these things have no place in our work. However, like the character in a play whatever role has been assigned should be portrayed with best of capability. But sometimes Swayamsevaks go beyond the role assigned to a performer (nat) as they develop over-zealousness in their hearts, to the extent that they become useless for this work. This is not good.”
We find here Golwalkar referring to the swayamsevaks loaned to political satellite as ‘nat’ or performers who are meant to dance to the tunes of the RSS. But the issue is whether people of this country which includes vast majority of Hindus will submit to dance to the tunes of the RSS.
[Shamsul Islam is a former professor of Delhi University. He can be contcated at email: firstname.lastname@example.org]