The speech by RSS Chief Dr Mohan ji Bhagwat on 4th July has seen varied reactions – from appreciation to alarm, to dismay, to ridicule to condescending conceited criticism by neo_Hindutva warriors. I was watching TV debates yesterday in which the usual suspects from ‘secular’ groups that include for the purpose of this commentary, proponents of Islamism, Jihadism and liberalism (a better word would be Hinduphobic).
The ‘secular group’ is alarmed that if RSS’s olive branch is accepted even by a small section of Muslim population that is tired of sustained hateful outpourings of their self-styled guardians who wish to keep them in 6th Century where they can have no opinion and Maulanas can enjoy the fruits of monopoly of votes by keeping their flock in perennial fear of ‘Kafirs’, squeezing out their liberty and destroying their self-worth. That is why any Muslim or ‘Kafir’ daring to question the authenticity of Hadees and Sharia as the Prophet or Allah given edicts can be termed an ‘apostate’ with strict punishment. A person wishing to leave their oppressive control is fit to be killed with ‘sar tan se juda’ call.
This group has been repeating the charge of ‘lynching’, forgetting that more Hindus have been lynched protecting cows than those smuggling and killing cows cruelly. More Hindus have been killed for daring to organise Hindus than any PFI of SIMI activist. History of Kerala and Bengal is witness to this violent intolerance for Hindus who wish to come together and create a strong society. This is happening across Bharat. Generally, the perpetrators have gone scot free. Therefore, I would have been happy if violence against Gau Rakshaks and deliberate disrespect to Hindus for their love for cow had also pointed out to the Muslims listening to RSS chief when he talked about lynching. Lynching must be condemned in every form irrespective of the perpetrator and the victim. RSS chief has the moral authority to make the people listen. But, his statement doesn’t detract from the invitation he has given to Muslims society to join the mainstream.
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There is dismay among many Sangh supporters, who feel that it is a wasteful exercise that will not bear any fruit; that there was no need to offer of an olive branch when the other side is hell bent upon fulfilling its objective of Nizam-e-Mustafa and Dar-Ul-Islam, even if I leave out ‘Ghazwa-e-Hind’. They are not ready to keep the door ajar for the small group of Muslims who wish to break free. We should remember that the person who has offered this hand of friendship, and his colleagues have dedicated their lives, besides four earlier generations and are aware of this history too. Their work on field gives them confidence that an offer that doesn’t compromise on security of the Hindu society if it is organised and strong; is worth a try. One can be sure that they have not lowered their guards. It is not Prithviraj syndrome but Shivaji syndrome that inspired this speech was made.
There are neo-Hindutva proponents who are riding on the Hindutva wave created with a meditative effort of nearly a 96 years by RSS that understands the psyche of Hindu society with years of work on the ground much better than the new hard core ‘militants’ (though not the right word, as their militancy is confined to TV studios and YouTube etc). There is no doubt that this aggressive approach too has a place, and it has always been there. However, the current lot, unlike Veer Savarkar have not, as yet, faced violence on the field and stood firm, like RSS has. RSS has channelised this aggression into assertive Hindutva and created an atmosphere for Hinduness that pervades Bharat today, except in the air conditioned sealed confines of intellectual elite or wokes. I have no issues at all with the ultra-Hindutva proponents, but they need to imbibe Hindu tradition of logical, calm discussion and debate and not run down or insult or ridicule others with similar thinking but a slightly different world view. Only constructive critique I have seen so far is from Rahul Roushan in OpIndia.
What is the difference between Gandhian olive branch and what Mohan ji Bhagwat has said two days back? Gandhi ji never confronted aggressive violent Islamists and showed them their place before offering peace. It was a surrender from the word go when he rose as the unchallengeable leader of Congress in 1920. His first big agitation of ‘non-cooperation’ itself rode on the shoulders of highly violent and ‘Islam first’ Khilafat agitation. He condoned every violence and goon behaviour of Jihadi elements though they never hid their intent. This is not the place to quote what Gandhi ji and Nehru ji did and said during those turbulent times. Suffice to say that it saw Pakistan taking physical shape from this fateful year.
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Contrary to Gandhian approach, RSS from its birth, stood firm and responded to goons trying to harass Hindus and push their jihadi agenda in later years in kind where required, even at a huge cost. Not many people know how Dr Hedgewar responded with just 100 RSS swayamsevaks in uniform with tactical use of its sparse resources in such a way in 1927 that Nagpur never saw a riot to this day. RSS braves sacrificed their lives, their livelihood, got separated from their families to save lakhs of Hindus and Sikhs in 1947. RSS swayamsevaks paid with their lives to keep off Pakistan in 1947-48. Its supporters fought against separatist politicians and stood against Islamist separatists for decades to get Jammu and Kashmir integrated India and won the prolonged war. Its workers paid with their lives to stop relentless run of Church backed separatists in north east. They have borne the brunt of Jihadism and Church inspired separatism in various parts of Bharat in so-called ‘sensitive’ areas. (By the way, has anybody ever questioned why dominant areas of minority become sensitive but never the Hindu dominant areas?)
The only force Islamists are afraid of is RSS. That is why the hue and cry of ban on RSS rose from the Muslim League and newspaper backing it, prior to Pakistan formation. The first one to welcome ban on RSS in 1948 was Muslim League in Pakistan. Having recognised that Jihad will have to face the iron will of RSS, they have been spreading canards and spouting poison even when RSS helped their brethren during disasters. However, we can’t deny that there is a growing section of Muslims wishing to break away from this stranglehold of ‘secular groups’. This olive branch is for those sections. Those who understand this will discount any effect on Owaisis and Rahuls of this world. This offer of welcoming the saner elements is from a position of strength, and full understanding of the aggressive and violent nature of Islamists. It doesn’t arise of appeasement to somehow gain their cooperation like Gandhi ji and Nehru ji.
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That we have common DNA cannot be wished away. If self-hating Muslim extremists wish to disown this history it is their choice. The recent PEW research clearly points out the minorities of India have retained the core of civilisational values like respect and tolerance for the other point of view and beliefs like rebirth and karma etc. It is this rooted population that RSS is trying to address. Even brothers have common parents (DNA) but they fight. Whether the fight becomes irreconcilable or can be calmed by reminding them of their parentage is an option that RSS has tried. It is upto the other side to accept it or try to break away and join some unknown Arabic backyard that doesn’t recognise them as its own.
The ‘secular groups’ crying foul about RSS extending a friendly hand comes from this understanding that RSS will not compromise when it comes to national interest and Hindu interest. This fear of a strong organised Hindu society is good sign.
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India will remain secular only till Hindus dominate the polity and social life. This statement has enough historic evidence to back this self-evident truth. One has to just look around the neighbourhood, or in current scenario the situation in UK and Europe; and efforts of Islamists in Canada to occupy streets for no reason at all, except showing the middle finger to the country that gave them shelter and livelihood. RSS has no intentions of forgetting lessons of history. Nor is it going to lose sleep if Muslims don’t respond to this call for a better life together. It is for saner elements in Muslims community to accept this offer, move out of victimhood syndrome and enjoy life in India in peace. Let us not get hysteric about a fresh tentative move from the people who understand Bharatiya civilisation and dedicated their lives to protect it.