Civilization debate within India
Qazi Mizan: While Pakistan remains engrossed in internal political strife and altercation, the Indian media is discussing an RSS sponsored agenda point, “Hinduism: Civilisational State”. Before focusing on this debate, we would like to present the argument on why Saffronization of Science, Culture and History by RSS is based on fear factor.
In one of our syndicate articles published in the Nation in 2019, we had opined that RSS was Saffronizing science and history and developing an absurd sense of superiority whereas the reality is that India was ruled by foreign powers for almost 2000 years. From verbal abuse and trolling of opponents and liberals to physical assault, India was becoming a Lynchistan. It is likely that this hate train will morph into a culture of mass killings and pogroms like the Gujarat massacre under Narendra Modi.
The RSS agenda has indubitable similarities with the ideology of Nazi Germany. German Workers’ Party was founded by Dietrich Eckart which later evolved into NSDAP National Socialist Deutsche Arbeit Party aka Nazi Party. Ektart was a key influencer of Hitler. Although Ecktart is not much discussed in Pakistan he has similarities to Golwalkar and Savarkar, the founders of RSS.
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum website has published enormous material on rise of Nazism in Germany, its featured article titled ‘Culture in the Third Reich: Disseminating the Nazi Worldview’ throws some light on how Nazi Party changed the politico cultural landscape of Germany to advance its agenda. The paper suggests that National Socialism represented much more than a political movement. Nazi leaders who came to power in January 1933 wanted to gain political authority, to revise the Versailles Treaty, and to regain and expand upon those lands lost after a humiliating defeat in World War I. But beyond those goals, they also by wanted to change the cultural landscape. They wanted to return the country to traditional “German” and “Nordic” values, to remove or limit Jewish, “foreign,” and “degenerate” influences, and to shape a racial community (Volksgemeinschaft) which aligned with Nazi ideals. They stressed family, race, and Volk as the highest representations of German values.
Taking a cue from our previously published piece in the Nation and without going into details of how Hitler consolidated his power and what happened to Europe between 1939 and the fall of 3rd Reich, summary of some of the ideological moorings and actions of Nazi party is given in succeeding paras to highlight how Nazis took the entire German Nation of a ride. Each action of Nazis in Germany has also been annotated with examples of what RSS goons are doing in India.
The Nazi party promulgated Laws of Nuremburg in 1930s which reduced Jews, Hippies and some other communities as second-class citizens because of Nazi definition of “impure blood”. Jews were ostracized in businesses and civil services and common Germans kept quiet as lost jobs and businesses in targeted communities benefitted them, something similar is happening in India where Muslim businesses especially beef market has been systematically targeted in the name of Gao Raksha.
Anti-Semitic rioting became common and German women were told to avoid relationship with Jewish men, similar discrimination is taking place against Muslims in the name of Love Jihad, Ghar Wapsi and Beti Bachao. Systematic assassination of dissenting and liberal voices and trolling by Sanghis also echoes of what happened to German liberals and democrats. Gauri Lankesh, Dabholkar and M M Kalburgi were assassinated by death squads of Abhinav Bharat and Sanatan Sanstha (both offshoots of RSS), whereas the alleged killers and RSS activists like Sadhvi Pragya Thakur are sitting in Indian Lok Sabha.
Coming back to the civilizational debate in India, it has intensified in the past ten years. India Today, which boasts to be a liberal media outlet, has become the mouthpiece of RSS Saffron agenda. As mentioned earlier, it held a Conclave for three days this week with focus on various issues confronting India. One of the major moot point was “Hinduism: Civilisational State, whose Idea has come”. Although the debate appeared to be open and frank, it was dominated by RSS ideologues and propagandists.
Harsh Madhusudan was a key participant on this forum, who has co-authored a recent book ‘A New Idea of India-Individual Rights in a Civilisational State’ and incidentally the topic chosen by India Today conclave has drawn a lot from title of this book. Madhusudan’s narrative enunciated in the book has tried to smash four walls of Indian history. The first wall is the post-independence idea of Nehruvian India, the second wall is how British perceived Indian culture and history, 3rd being the era of Muslim rule in India and fourth is the Post Christ conquest of India by other civilizations.
Heavily relying on absurd ideas of Golwalkar and Savarkar, Madhusudan appears to be the modern reincarnation of both, this is evident from his strong narrates of Hindu victimhood and its glorious past.
If we go into details of the RSS agenda being packaged for Indian public, particularly from 2014, the BJP needs to demolish these four walls of history and culture due to political exploitation. Nehru is to be stigmatized and discarded as a leader to ensure Congress party doesn’t make a meaningful comeback, British rule of India has to be projected as an inglorious past to overcome the inferiority complex, the Muslim rule and civilizational contribution to India is to be rubbished to keep Indian Muslim community on the defensive and pre-Muslim rule of India by Central Asian and Persian civilizations needs to be discarded to connect the Hindu youth with Maurya and Gupta empires.
Before concluding the piece, we have a couple of questions to ask from flag bearers of RSS and Hindutva.
If civilization and history is a continuum connecting the past with the present, why is the RSS hell bent upon artificially discarding 2000 years of Central Asian, Muslim and British rule and civilizational contribution?
If all modern states and nations start applying this formula, what will be the state of people of Americas and Australia?
Why are the Indians celebrating the rise of Rishi Sunak as PM of a white-majority country?
If the Middle Eastern Muslim states start applying the nationalist agenda, like that of RSS, what will happen to millions of Hindus working there?
In case RSS is able to establish Hindutva Republic in this decade, is it going to return to oppressive caste system imposed on India by Guptas and Mauryas?
World advice to RSS ideologues would be to let India maintain its secular credentials, at least for face value and let the oppressed Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Adivasis have some sigh of relief. After all, they constitute 50 percent of India.