[Anant Kumar Hegde, Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and the Member of Parliament for Uttara Kannada taking oath of office in this file photo.]
Hindutva Juggernaut Runs Amok
PM Modi’s pet bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad to be operational in 2022 may never materialize as by then BJP/RSS may not be ruling India and hopefully national priorities would change for more earthly causes. ‘Achche-din’ promised by Modi immediately after taking over as PM in 2014 may be decades away, however, the Hindutva juggernaut under the present BJP/RSS rulers is running amok despite India still being committed to a democratic-secular polity. Ironically, the Hindutva rulers who took oath to remain faithful to the democratic-secular Constitution of India continue indulging in nefarious anti-national activities crossing all limits. In fact, there seems to be a competition going on amongst them that who would inflict the maximum damage to the present constitutional polity of India.
Making Of A Hindutva Zealot
The latest character from this Hindutva demolition squad to decry and denigrate Indian constitutional polity is Anantkumar Hegde, blue-eyed boy both of RSS and PM Modi and a minister in latter’s cabinet. Hegde who learnt Hindutva tricks of polarization while threatening to convert the Guru Dattatreya Baba Budan Dargah in the Baba Budan Giri range of Chickmagalur into the ‘Ayodhya of the South’ declared war on the Indian Constitution. It is to be noted that he was made a central minister despite the fact that he was caught on camera hitting a doctor, grabbing him by the throat and slamming him against a wall. Hegde was furious because he felt the doctors were not paying enough attention to his mother, who had suffered multiple fractures after a fall at home. He also gave a call for uprooting Islam.
Hegde Denigrates Secularism
This Hindutva champion while addressing a public meeting (December 24, 2017) organised by the Brahman Yuva Parishad in Koppal district of Karnataka declared that the BJP had come to power to “change the Constitution” which it would do in the “near future”. He was immensely scornful of the principle of secularism. According to him secularists were “people without parentage or who don’t know their bloodline. They don’t know themselves. They don’t know their parents, but they call themselves secular. If someone says I am secular, I get suspicious. I hope there are no secularists here”. While denigrating secularists he brought in the issue of their parenthood, declaring the former as illegitimate children. Thus he not only spread canard against the present upholders of democratic-secular India but also denigrated great leaders like Bhagat Singh, Chandershekhar Azad, Ashfaqullah Khan, MK Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Sardar Patel, Dr BR Ambedkar, Abul Kalam Azad, Subhashchander Bose, Jawahar Lal Nehru who lived and died for an all-inclusive India.
Bye-Bye To Indian Nationalism
He made it clear that though word secular was part of Indian Constitution but “this will change in the near future”. India of Hegde could not be an all-inclusive India but where people would identify themselves as per the religions they professed. Hegde stressed that “if someone says I am a Muslim, or I am a Christian, or I am a Lingayat, or I am a Hindu, I feel very happy because he knows his roots”. According to Hegde’s take there are no Indians but Hindus, Muslims, Christians and so on. Thus Hegde presented himself as a votary of religious based identity of Indians like the Muslim League.
Love For Manusmriti
As if all this was not enough he went on to glorify Manusmriti as ancient Hindu law. Defending BJP/RSS love for Manusmriti, Hegde declared: “They talk about Manusmriti today, but it’s ancient. Today, what is being used is Ambedkar Smriti, and before that was the Parashar Smriti. Smriti simply means ancient laws. If you don’t know history, you are foolish.”
Hegde, in fact, was underlining an old demand of RSS of replacing democratic-secular Constitution of India with a Hindu rashtra where Manusmriti which decrees a sub-human status to Hindu women and Sudras would be law of the land. When the Constituent Assembly of India passed the Constitution of India on November 26, 1949, RSS was not happy. Its organ, Organiser 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.”
By demanding promulgation of laws of Manu in an Independent India RSS was simply following its mentor, philosopher and guide VD Savarkar who argued: “Manusmriti is that scripture which is most worship-able after Vedas for our Hindu Nation and which from ancient times has become the basis of our culture-customs, thought and practice. This book for centuries has codified the spiritual and divine march of our nation. Even today the rules which are followed by crores of Hindus in their lives and practice are based on Manusmriti. Today Manusmriti is Hindu Law.”
The glorification of Manusmriti in a programme of an organization of Brahmins by Hegde was quite meaningful. As per the Manu Code if Sudras are to be given most stringent punishments for even petty actions sitting with the people of high Cates, the same Code of Manu is very lenient towards Brahmins. Shloka 380 in Chapter VIII bestowing profound love on Brahmins decrees: “Let him never slay a Brahmana, though he have committed all (possible) crimes; let him banish such an (offender), leaving all his property (to him) and (his body) unhurt.”
President Of India& Supreme Court Must Intervene
It is shocking that a central minister is brazenly declaring his and his BJP/RSS government’s plan to undo democratic-secular India. It is anti-national declaration, betrayal of the ideals of the freedom struggle, sabotage of the wisdom of the Constituent Assembly of India and open defiance of dozens of decisions of the Supreme Court in which highest court of justice decreed secularism and democracy as ‘basic features’ of the Indian polity. The Supreme Court of India must take a suo motu cognizance of Hegde’s crime and order filing of a case against him for planning subversion of the Indian polity. Moreover, President of the Indian Republic, a Dalit icon, must order the removal of Hegde from the Modi government and order his punishment for anti-national call.
Sadly, with ministers like Anantkumar Hegde around, no foreign enemy is required to destroy democratic-secular India. It is high time that custodians of Indian polity should take stern action against this subversion from within.
[Shamsul Islam is a retired Professor of University of Delhi.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For some of S. Islam’s writings in English, Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Punjabi, Urdu & Gujarati see the link: http://du-in.academia.edu/ShamsulIslam Facebook: shams shamsul, Twitter: @shamsforjustice]