The Hindutva fascism and the captive Indian Muslims
Dr. Firoz Mahboob Kamal
The tyranny of Hindu supremacism
The Indian Hindus are very proud of their race, religion, culture, science, and democracy. Such pride indeed forms the basis of the ongoing surge of Hindu supremacism in Indian politics. They boastfully claim that the Hindu religion is the most ancient religion in human history. There is no doubt about its antiquity. But antiquity doesn’t guarantee the genuineness of a religion. Proven lies and ignorance can also survive through millenniums. Along with ancient lies, the stone-age culture of nudity, cave life, hunting habits, food and drink habits, and defaecation practices still survive among humans in places like Nicobar Island and Papua New Guinea. No modern man appreciates such prehistoric practices as acceptable norms and humane civility. It is indeed the practice of ancient ignorance. The same is the exactly true vis-à-vis Hindu religion. It hasn’t moved even an inch from its old beliefs and practices in thousands of years. Whatever they learned from the ancient ancestors is incorporated in their religious beliefs as hundred percent true. They even feel proud of it and never bothered to check its authenticity. It is indeed the religion of ancient ignorance and lies. Such prehistoric ignorance and lies are now deeply embedded in the Hindu mindset in the name of religion.
A physical illness expresses through physical symptoms. But the diseases of falsehood and ignorance expresses through robust religious, cultural, behavioral, and political symptoms. Then, lynching, killing, raping, ethnic cleansing of people of other religions become the way of life. Under its spell, people drink cow urine but can’t drink water from fellow humans of the so-called untouchable lower cast. Awfully, such a disease has attained an all-time epidemic in India. It indeed appears with huge cultural, behavioral, and political symptoms. The lethal toxicity on morality also shows its robust fallouts. As a result, millions of Hindus with top university degrees can worship cows, snakes, idols, and even replicas of male genitals (of Shiva) as Holy objects, but can’t accept Muslims, Christians, and Adivasi (indigenous) people as neighbors. They want them to make ghar wapsi (back to Hinduism) or face annihilation. What could be the ugliest face of fascism than this?
The Indians are very proud of their missile, space, and nuclear technology. But they stay silent on the failures to provide safe drinking water, primary health care or sanitary toilets to its poor people. They boast as a country of great economy, but the world’s largest poor population still live in India. The recent Covid epidemic has exposed their failures. The government failed to supply even oxygen to the hospitals. Hundreds of dead bodies are found floating in rivers or devoured by dogs and other beasts. They are very proud of their colleges, universities, and intellectuals, but couldn’t eradicate the dehumanizing ideologies and faiths. Because of vile beliefs, they even celebrate the lynching and killing of Muslims on the alleged allegations for eating beef.
Whereas, religion is not for killing people. It for promoting peace, prosperity, morality, and saving lives. But in India, in the name of religion, exactly the opposites are happening. In the past, religion has been used to sanction burning alive the widows with their dead husbands. It is a shame that a non-Hindu ruler like the British colonialists had to stop the so-called religious practices. Instead of promoting equality and integration of people, religion is still being used to promote caste-based segregation and to restrict social mobility. In such a hateful ideological cum cultural milieu, how the Muslims, the Christians, the Adivasi, and other non-Hindu people can expect honor, peace, or security? Instead, it could only promote lynching, killing, rape, and deprivation. Because of its toxic spell, the law enforcement agencies also show their moral death. This is why while the Muslims get lynched to death by the Hindutva thugs, the police fail to show up in the crime spots. Even gang rapes, mass killings, and massive arsons against the Muslims fail to prompt the police, the politicians and the government to stop such crimes –as seen in Gujrat, Mumbai, Muzaffarnagar, Assam, and many other places!
The Indians feel very proud for being the largest democratic country in the world. But the Indian democracy has turned to Hindu majority rule that leaves no room for the minority. It runs on the exclusion of the minority in politics. India is indeed the largest fascist country in the world. Democracy has its discrete defining markers. It isn’t only elections. It gives not only voting rights but also survival rights. It also ensures the basic human rights of all of its citizens irrespective of their religion, language, or skin colour. It is about the rule of law and none should be above the law. In a democracy, the government must be made by the people, of the people, and for the people. But such democracy doesn’t exist in India.
Instead, 200 million Muslims suffer the rule of exclusion, deprivation, and a brutal occupation by the brute Hindu majority. The Muslims and other minorities have been robbed not only of their basic human rights but also their survival rights. Against the killers, rapists, and arsonists, the police, the prosecution, and the judiciary stand inactive if the accused belong to the Hindu majority and the victims are Muslim. More than three thousand Muslims were killed in Gujrat, seldom anyone was punished. About 5 thousand people were killed in Nellie in Assam in 1983, but none was prosecuted. The government’s behavior wasn’t different while the killing of Christians took place in Kandhamal in Odisha in 2008. All India Christian Council claims that 50 Christians were killed and 95 churches and 730 Christian homes were burnt down by the Hindutva fascists there.
Democracy is about accommodating people of all faiths and all races in the governance of a country. But that doesn’t work in India. Here, the Muslims are deliberately kept out of the power structure. While the Hindu supremacist party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the election in 2014, 200 million Indian Muslims were given not even a single ministerial post in the cabinet. More than 15 percent of the Indian population are Muslims, but they are not given even 5 percent of the government jobs. About 20 percent of people of Uttar Pradesh are Muslim, but in the 2014 election, not a single member of the provincial parliament was Muslim. Can democracy survive with such injustices, inequalities, and exclusion of the citizens because of their religion?
The evil of Hindutva fascism
Fascism died in Europe in World War II. But now, India stands as the perfect textbook case of fascism. Its worst victims are the Muslim minority. The term Hindutva (Hindut’ta in Bengali) first appeared in the mid-1870s in Anandamath, a Bengali novel written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. (W. J. Johnson 2010). Bankim Chandra was a government servant in the British raj and appeared as the father of Hindu supremacism and anti-Muslim communal discourse in Bengal. There is a song in the novel; its first stanza has been adopted as the national anthem of India. Prior to partition in 1947, there was also an attempt by the Hindu stakeholders in politics and in the administration to impose this song as an anthem in schools in Bengal. But, because of its explicit Hindutva content that is incompatible with the Islamic belief, the Bengali Muslims rejected it. Literally, Hindutva is Hinduness. It is an expression of Hindu ethnocultural identity. Hindutva showed its malign face first in the so-called Bengali renaissance through its closed-door exclusivity against the native Bengali Muslims who were the majority of the Bengal population.
The Bengali Hindus –with the British collaboration, tried to make their selfish advancement in politics, education, literature, media, public service, business, and other fields of the socio-economics leaving behind the Muslim compatriots. The Muslims were denied any space for social, political, or economic advancement. While Mr. Chittaranjan Das of the Forward Block party and Mr. Hussein Shaheed Sohrawardi –a prominent Muslim politician made a pact to create some space for the excluded Muslims, the Bengali Hindutva forces in politics, administration, and media put an out-right obstruction. As a result, it failed. Because of such an exclusive communal mindset, even the famous Bengali novelist Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay –a Hindu reformist and member of the Indian National Congress, couldn’t consider the Bengali Muslims even as Bengali. So, he wrote: “there was a football match in our village between the Bengalis and the Muslims”. Because of a similar exclusive ethnocultural mindset, another Bengali Hindutva icon Syama Prasad Mukherjee formed Jana Sangh in 1951 that got transformed to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1980.
Ideology never stays confined within any geographical border; it spreads in all directions. Therefore, what started in Bengal in the form of Hindutva or Hindu’s renaissance quickly overwhelmed the whole of India. Before the emergence of communal outfits like RSS, Hindu Mahashava, Jana Sangh, or BJP, a communal Marathi politician named Bal Gangadhar Tilak implanted Hindutva as a political narrative in the mainstream movement of the Indian Hindu majority. (Chetan Bhatt, 2001). The most revered icon of Hindutva is Sivaji – a Marathi warlord who made a desperate attempt to dismantle Muslim rule in India. In 1923, the term Hindutva was further reinforced by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in his book “Essentials of Hindutva” 1923. He used Hindutva to give an exclusive ethnocultural identity to the people who follow the religions that are originated in India like Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. Being influenced by Savarkar’s writings, Mr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar –another Marathi and the founding father of the Rashtriya Sayamsevak Sangthya (RSS) added more aggressive militancy to the ideology. He made Hindutva a Hindu supremacist war cry against the Muslims. Later on, it has been commonly used by Vishay Hindu Parisad (VHP), Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, and other Hindu communal forces to pursue the same socio-cultural and political objective.
Savarkar –the guru of Hindutva politics always showed the same venom against the Muslims. He wrote: “Muslims were the real enemies, not the British”. He argued that Islamic ideology posed “a threat to the real nation, namely Hindu Rashtra”. (Jaffrelot, 2009). Savarkar assumed Muslims in the Indian police and military as “potential traitors”. He advocated that the Indian government must reduce the number of Muslims in the military, police and public service and ban Muslims from owning or working in munitions factories. (Lise McKean, 1996). Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the second RSS supremo after Savarkar also showed the same anti-Muslim venom. In 1938, he wrote about his vision of a Hindu India: “The non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either adopt Hindu culture and language, must learn and respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but of those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture…..In a word, they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment—not even citizens’ rights.” (Pakistan and a World in Disorder—A Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century, p.78)
The RSS ideology was explicitly influenced by the European fascist movements. Its leading politicians regularly praised Adolf Hitler of Germany and Mussolini of Italy in the late 1930s and 1940s. (Jason Stanley, 2018). Those who adhere to the religions that originated outside India -like Islam and Christianity, are labeled alien and inimical. They were prescribed ghar wapsi -returning back to home (Hinduism), as the only option to be acceptable to the Hindu. Therefore, those who stay adherent to non-Indian religions like Islam and Christianity are considered enemies. Such enmity gets readily expressed not only through anti-Muslim politics but also through frequent anti-Muslim pogrom, deprivement of their voting rights, and annulment of their citizenship rights along with denial of access to the government jobs.
If conceptually or politically a specific group of people is held enemy of the country –as is the case of the Indian Muslims, how the so-called enemies could be given equal human rights or liberty by those who consider them enemies? Rather, any entitlement for the Muslims is out-rightly labeled as appeasement of the enemies. In a country ruled by the majoritarian supremacists, the people with a tag of classified enemies only face annihilation –as was the case of Jews in Nazi Germany. In such an extreme hostile milieu, deprivation of human rights, political rights, and even deprivation of survival rights become the reality. Truly, the Indian Muslims stand as examples of that. So in 2014, while BJP won the parliamentary election and Narendra Modi –a lifelong member of RSS became the Indian Prime Minister, the country’s two hundred million Muslims didn’t have a single member in the cabinet. Rather, persecution against them received a new intensity. Mr. Amit Shah -the former President of the ruling BJP, labeled the Muslims as termites. It has an implied message. Such a tag of termite is only a prelude to massive genocide. Such leaders in power can only frame policies to exterminate the termites, not to give any space for their survival. Hitler put such a tag on the Jews, too. So, the German fascists made gas chambers to kill the Jews. But in India, the Hindutva fascists need not build gas chambers; they have more simpler and painful means to do the job. They deploy such an Indian tool of genocidal killing in every anti-Muslim riot. The Muslim houses are set on fire to kill Muslim men, women, and children alive –as happened in Gujrat under Modi’s rule in 2002.
The evil ideology and the fallouts
The humans’ minds, deeds,s, and characters are shaped by the embedded ideology and beliefs. Politics, culture, behavior, attitude, and way of life of a man or a woman are indeed its exact expression. People become criminals, not because of bad foods, drinks, climate, or their physical attributes. It owes entirely to an evil ideology or belief. An evil ideology corrupts the conceptual model of the affected individuals; thereby provokes them to be the life-long agents of evil on earth. This is why the devils never poison the foods, the drinks, or the climate, but the ideology. To warn the people on this key issue, the All-knowing Creator had to reveal the sublime Truth in the Holy Qur’an: “Tell (O Mohammad), ‘Everyone works as per his or her (religious, ideological or conceptual) model (shakela).”–(Sura Isra, verse 84).
It was indeed eye-opening guidance to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that he must focus his works on dismantling the evil belief or corrosive conceptual models of the people. For the common men and women, the message is also very clear. To be a true Muslim, they must reconstruct the ideological cum conceptual model with full enlightenment with the Divine knowledge. In fact, human history is full of evidence that most of the heinous crimes on earth are done by corrupting people’s ideology, philosophy, or concept vis-à-vis his purpose of creation, the Creator, role, responsibility, accountability, morality, life after death, and other social or ethical issues. This is why those who want to inflict catastrophic harm to the people start working on the ideological cum conceptual premise. The physical poison kills individuals, but the ideological poisons may cause catastrophic havoc on earth. They can cleanse the whole race, tribe, or people for their dissimilar skin colour, religion, or language. So deaths, destructions, and tortures caused by fascism, nationalism, communism, colonialism, imperialism, racism, and other evil ideologies are more disastrous than that caused by any bugs, beasts, or any poisonous stuff. They could deploy thermal, biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons to cause maximum damage to mankind. More than 75 million people were killed only in two World Wars by the followers of these ideologies. They killed millions of people in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. They could ethnically cleanse almost the whole of the Red Indians, the Incas, the Aborigines, and the Maoris from three continents like North America, South America, and Australia.
Scientific knowledge could usher in the industrial revolution and add huge luxuries, but couldn’t eradicate evil ideologies. The dehumanizing and destructive power of an evil ideology is always cataclysmic. It makes peaceful co-existence or civilized living impossible. Evil ideologies if supported by advanced science and technology may cause catastrophic calamity -as seen in World Wars and in wars of occupation. Because of Hindutva fascism, the peaceful survival of the Indian Muslims indeed stands shattered. The country is moving fast towards a dreadful disaster.
Hence, in all ages, nothing could be more beneficial or more righteous than eliminating such evil ideologies or religious beliefs. It is indeed the greatest prophetic job. Tens of thousands of prophets were appointed by the Almighty Creator to take people out of such moral darkness. In eradicating such evil, Islam’s last prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his rightly guided companions showed remarkable success. They could save the female children from live-burial. They could release people from slavery, dismantle racial inequality, establish a rule of law and raise the finest civilization on earth. Their unprecedented success indeed owes to the most remarkable paradigm shift in understanding the truth vis-à-vis this worldly life and the Divine responsibility. Their conceptual model (shakela) was entirely based on the Qur’anic knowledge. But later on, the Muslims failed to sustain such Islamic ideological construct because of disconnection or poor connection with the Qur’an. So, they lost their Islamic ideological paradigm. As a result, the downfall ensued and still continues.
The Hindutva hype and the danger
But for the Indian Hindus, the history is altogether different. They didn’t have a single day free from moral and ethical darkness. Apart from building some monumental temples and idols, they couldn’t build any enlightened law, civil code, or civilization. For coming out of the spiritual darkness, one needs the light of moral guidance. One needs enlightenment of the mind with Divine knowledge. It needs Divine Book. But the Hindus didn’t have. The cows, the idols, the snakes, the rivers, the mountains, and many others they worship couldn’t give that. What the Hindu supremacists claim about their past glory is nothing but lie-full myths. These myths are invented only to cover up their failures. They claim superiority only to hide their inferiority. Even today, the so-called saints they consider holy stand fully naked even in public.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many Hindu leaders have already proven to have the fertile minds in inventing wishful myths to feed their Hindu supremacism. Mr. Modi himself believes as he told an audience in 2014, that ancient Indians had mastered “genetic science”. To prove his claim he put his evidence from Mahabharata –the pre-historic Hindu epic. He told that Karna -an anti-hero character in the story, was born outside his mother’s womb. Mr. Modi also claimed that his ancient ancestors perfected plastic surgery. He presented Ganesh –a Hindu idol with an elephant’s nose as proof. (Maseeh Rahman, 2014). It is claimed that Ganesh’s head was cut off by someone and then an elephant’s head was implanted on his trunk by plastic surgery. As the chief minister of Gujrat, Mr. Modi wrote a preface of a history book for the school children. In that, he claimed that the Hindu god Rama had flown the first aircraft. (John Elliot, 2014).
It is noteworthy that Mr. Modi and his comrades are not the only people to make such claims of superiority of the Indians over others. Even many Indian academics and scientists are not different either to present prehistoric myths as proofs for the Indian glory. In 2015, there was an Indian Science Congress inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi himself. It beggars belief that the participants argued that the Indians had built jets capable of interplanetary travel and place a man on Mars. It is also claimed that the Indian cows converted the grass they ingested into “24-caret gold”. (India Today, 2015). Some are also claiming that cow urine can cure not only all diseases but also protect against nuclear radiation in any nuclear war! Some Hindu priests even claimed that cow urine can cure Covid-19! Indian social media and some newspapers are full of such myths. Who can argue with such myth-mongering sycophants?
The greatest calamity for mankind is not caused by earthquakes, cyclones, and tsunamis. It is the annihilation of the Divine Truth, morality, and ethical values. Such a crime makes civilized living impossible. And in India, the Hindutva forces have taken such annihilation of Truth, morality, and ethical values as the political mission. These evil forces are strengthened not only by the Hindutva fascists but also by the whole Indian state infrastructure, the Army, the Media, and the big businesses. They are also supported by the world’s big economic and military powers. Because they care about the Indian market of 1.3 billion consumers. After the Gujrat massacres, President Barak Obama put a ban on Mr. Narendra Modi’s entry to the USA. But after a short while, it was lifted to promote the USA’s business interest. Thus the material gains get preference over morality, humanity, and justice. Thus the evil forces get hugely emboldened by other evil interest groups. As a result, the Hindutva fascists of India appear not only as enemies of the Indian Muslims but also the formidable enemies of the whole of mankind. 1st edition 29/09/2019; 2nd edition 03/07/2021
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