National and International Issues

From Persecution to Prosecution: Legalizing Hindutva

India has turned into a saffron terrorism hotbed. The long-held desire of making India a ‘Hindu State’ and implementing a uniform civil code by RSS is rapidly nearing realization. Before the Muslims of India experience the worst persecution in history, the world community must halt India’s nefarious designs.


India, for a long time after its independence on August 15, 1947, was largely successful in giving the impression to the outside world that all its citizens have equal rights and no one is discriminated on the basis of caste, color, creed or religion. If an incident occurs, its status is portrayed as entirely individual and by and large, Hindu fundamentalism has no patronage of the government or the state. It is noteworthy that perhaps the early rulers of India did not deliberately patronize Hindu nationalism at the official level. The Congress rulers did not do this out of love for humanity but for their own political interests. Now, given the rapid spread of hatred among Hindu masses against minorities, it might be more realistic to call it saffron terrorism instead of Hindu fundamentalism.
Impartial observers are of the view that the history of Hindutva mindset in India is quite old, but the outside world realized its seriousness when the results of the eleventh general elections of the Indian Lok Sabha came out in May 1996. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not win a simple majority but became the single largest party in the lower house. In 1996, the Vajpayee government was in power for only 13 months, but the fantasts of Ram Rajya succeeded in forming the government again in mid-1998. Since 2014, under the leadership of Narendra Modi and Mohan Bhagwat, BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), rule 17.7 per cent of the world’s population, i.e., India.


Everyone knows that the construction of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple on the site of Gyan Vapi Masjid is among the top agenda on RSS’ to-do list for a long time. Woefully in this context, the Indian courts are also providing a conducive environment for RSS and almost everything in India seems to be clouded by saffron terrorism.


Establishment and Agenda of RSS and BJP
In 1925, Dr. K. B. Hedgewar founded the RSS in Nagpur, which was initially declared a non-political organization. The party divulged the famous Hindu warrior, Shivaji, as its idol and emulating him, introduced saffron flag as its identity. Since then, the organization has been working towards achieving its manifesto and agenda, one of which is the establishment of Hindu supremacy in India. Purposely, the recruitment of Hindu youth as volunteers started and their number increased rapidly. After Nagpur, the branches of this organization were established in Maharashtra and soon this chain spread all over India. By the end of 1947, immediately after the independence of India, a certain kind of sectarian atmosphere had developed in Bharat. Thus, after the partition, RSS felt that it had made clear progress towards the establishment of Ram Rajya, where only Hindus would prevail. On January 30, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a member of the organization, and the RSS was banned, which lasted for about 18 months. It is arguable, whether the ban strengthened or weakened the RSS because a strong lobby within the Congress, led by Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, an adherent of the sectarian Hindu ideology, deemed RSS as a vastly patriotic segment of the country. 2
The Sangh Parivar realized that they could not achieve their goals without gaining political power. Thus in 1951, the political wing of the RSS came into being in the form of Bharatiya Jana Sangh. It was founded by Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, a former member of Nehru's cabinet. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh’s manifesto was issued on October 19, 1951, emphasizing the promotion of Hindu culture for Indian coherence, full integration of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) into Hindustan and the implementation of a common civil code in India. In 1980, Jana Sangh’s leadership renamed the political wing of the RSS the “Bharatiya Janata Party”, the same BJP that has been in power in India for eight years.
Implementation of the Uniform Civil Code in India
After coming into power for the second time in March 1980, Vajpayee issued his manifesto with three points at the top.
▪  Termination of Article 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution regarding the status of IIOJK.
▪  Implementation of a common civil code by abolishing Personal Laws of Muslims.
▪  Establishment of the Human Rights Commission by abolishing Delhi Minority Commission.
In 1980, RSS leaders realized that the BJP alone would not be enough to possess full political power. Therefore, under the aim of Akhand Bharat, organizations like Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Akhil Bhartiya Yuva Morcha, Hindu Raksha Samiti and Hindu Jagran Manch came into existence to pursue the aim from different directions. One of the purposes of their establishment was to continue the activities from different platforms even if RSS or any other organization was banned. 
On August 5, 2019, the RSS fulfilled its long-cherished dream of ending the special status of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and passed various discriminating laws in India including the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, Love Jihad, and Gow Raksha. With these steps, the Hindu fundamentalists have become more delusional and they feel that they can really make the establishment of Akhand Bharat and Ram Rajya possible.


Through the movie, The Kashmir Files, saffron leaders declared Muslims the enemies of Hindus and India. Provocations have been made by the delimitation of IIOJK. Sometimes there is talk of demolishing even the Taj Mahal and replacing it with Teju Mahalia Mahadev Temple and sometimes there is an attempt to distort the role of Muslims in history by changing the syllabus. 


The greatest desire and endeavor of the RSS is to end the secular status of India by 2025, the 100th anniversary of the organization and declare India a "Hindu state". In March 2019, a senior RSS leader, Indresh Kumar, said that after the year 2025, Ram Rajya would be established, and RSS will achieve its long cherished dream after all.
The abolition of Personal Law for Muslims in India has always been the top agenda on RSS' manifesto. The Sangh Parivar's dream is to get rid of Personal Laws and enact a common civil code, and some BJP leaders are claiming that homework is being done fast on its draft. What will happen if this law is passed? In that case, Indian Muslims and other minorities will have to follow the Hindu pattern and customs. It is also observed that the tolerance of Indian Muslims against this discrimination is declining and they have begun to resist this saffron extremism. However, it is expected that BJP would present the drafted law of the Uniform Civil Code for approval in the Indian Parliament as soon as the opportunity arises because Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pitched the idea of “One Nation, One Election” numerous times in the last few months. 
Dilating Cracks in Indian Social Fabric
It is also noticeable that as a result of this saffron mentality, the social fabric of India is rapidly being ruptured which may never heal. BJP's entire focus now is on achieving its long-standing religious goals rather than development and education. Yogi Adityanath was able to form a government in Uttar Pradesh for the second time in a row, but where this saffron delusion would lead India? 
The UDISE report of the Education Department in Lucknow revealed that the number of government schools in India decreased by thousands in 2019-20 as compared to 2018-19. In just one year, the number of these educational institutions decreased by 51,108 and the said schools were completely shut down during that period.3
Saffron Tension Simmering Among the Masses
The Hindutva mentality in India is gripping everything at the moment. As an obvious consequence, sectarian and religious tensions in India are rising sharply with each passing day. Every day, news about Hindu-Muslim clashes, Hindu-Sikh riots and the plight of other minorities comes to light from our neighboring country. In such a situation, not only the venom of Hindu extremism is rapidly spreading in the society, but other extremist organizations are also getting a favorable environment. There is also a fear that ISIS is rapidly gaining ground in India and if so, this anomaly will be detrimental not only to India but it might also cause tension in the South Asian region. In 2019, Indian Home Minister for State, Kishan Reddy, submitted a written reply to the Lok Sabha acknowledging that ISIS is gaining strength in various Indian states and that despite the arrest of hundreds of members of the organization, the chain is growing. Indian moderate circles are also expressing concern over the fact that ISIS has set foot in Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Bihar, etc., under different names. Kishan Reddy claimed that ISIS is actively using Dark Web to strengthen their hold. 
India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) has claimed to arrest hundreds of people from these areas on the charges of having links with ISIS and asserted that action has been taken against them under the Indian Penal Code, 1967.4 It is pertinent to mention here that a section in India is also expressing fear that ISIS may not be as active in India as the Modi government professes and that Indian Muslims are being exploited under the pretense of terrorism.
It is also unfortunate that the atmosphere of the desecration of another Babri Masjid is being brewed in India and it is rightfully feared by the Muslim community that in the near future, the Gyan Vapi Masjid in Varanasi will be demolished and Kashi Vishwanath Temple will be built. Varanasi court has ordered to conduct a survey of the mosque to determine whether this has been a Hindu religious site in the past. Muslims are fearing that the plan of demolishment of the mosque is being carried out in a systematic manner.5
Everyone knows that the construction of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple on the site of Gyan Vapi Masjid is among the top agenda on RSS’ to-do list for a long time. Woefully, in this context, Indian courts are also providing a conducive environment for RSS and almost everything in India seems to be clouded by saffron terrorism.
Analyzing this scenario, it can be said that no one knows the mental state of the minorities living in India better than themselves. The Muslims living in India have to endure innumerable suffering, including Love Jihad, Gow Raksha, Bahu Lao Beti Bachao, demolition of religious places, and worst possible discrimination.
Impartial observers are of the view that when India came into being on August 15, 1947, humanitarian circles around the world expected that this country might go on to serve as the flagbearer of the subjugated nations as the Hindu nation was largely subjugated for about 1200 years and they have experienced slavery firsthand. This is why its upper classes would be well aware of the extent of mental confusion and misunderstandings and perhaps they’ve learnt nothing from the history. That’s why the rulers of Delhi are deliberately using saffron terrorism against minorities and this process is not only going on at the diplomatic, political or religious front, but also no sector of life is safe from this negative attitude.
It is pertinent to recall here that Indira Gandhi declared India as a secular country through the 42nd Amendment to the Indian Constitution during the emergency of 1976. Otherwise, before that, India was never a secular country even from a constitutional point of view.
It can be said that RSS and saffron mentality seems to dominate the Hindu masses and there is no major obstacle in front of them to carry out at will. That is why it is sometimes demanded to ban Azaan (Muslim call to prayer) on loudspeakers. Sometimes, the destruction of thousands of mosques and dargahs is promised. Through the movie, The Kashmir Files, saffron leaders declared Muslims the enemies of Hindus and India. Provocations have been made by the delimitation of IIOJK. Sometimes, there is talk of demolishing even the Taj Mahal and replacing it with Teju Mahalia Mahadev Temple and sometimes there is an attempt to distort the role of Muslims in history by changing the syllabus. 
The question is how long will this last and what effect it could have on India and the South Asian region itself. Of course, along the way, these crimes of destruction and crimes against humanity by the RSS will push India into a quagmire of more difficulties, which could destabilize the entire region. The world community really needs to play its role in saving the minorities from the worst persecution in history.


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1 Many sections of the global and Indian media, and political parties, including the Congress and the leftwing parties, have termed the growing extremism in India as saffron terrorism.
2 Bharat main Inteha Pasand Hindu Nazriyat ka Farogh, Asghar Ali Shad, IPRI paper.
3 Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE Report 2018-19).
4 Daily Nawaiwaqt, August 8, 2021.
5 Gyanvapi Mosque Row: Security Upped in Varanasi as Survey Continues for Second Day, Republic World.

 

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