OPED

Pragya Thakur, Malegaon blast accused out on bail on health ground, is at the centre of the present turmoil around Nathuram Godse. The story begins with her filing nomination papers for Bhopal Loksabha constituency. The criticism came up that how can an accused of act of terror be a candidate of elections. Narendra Modi; jumped into the controversy stating that calling her a terrorist is the insult to the five thousand year old glorious civilization and that no Hindu has ever indulged in an act of terror. As per him and his party the earlier coining of the term Hindu terror, Saffron terror, in the wake of series of blasts which took place between 2006-2008; was to defame Hindus.

The next link in the whole controversy comes with big film star, now turned politician, Kamal Haasan stating that Nathuram Godse was the first terrorist of Independent India. When he was attacked for stating this, slippers were thrown at him in a public meeting. He further confirmed that every religion has its own terrorists. Pragya Thakur, the new recruit of BJP, went out to pour her heart stating that Nathuram Godse was a nationalist, is a nationalist and will remain a nationalist Her statement threw the BJP in tizzy and she was asked to apologize. She was not the only one coming forward to uphold Godse and express their real and deeper ideological stand. Anantkumar Hegde, the current Union Minister, who has been asking for change in Constitution, stated that there is no need to be apologetic about Godse any longer. While another Karnataka BJP leader Nalin Kumar Kateel also came in Godse’s defense. To cap it all BJP Madhya Pradesh media in charge Anil Saumitra said that Mahatma Gandhi was father of Pakistan. Saumtira has been suspended while others have been asked to apologize and notices have issued against them by BJP.

Narerndra Modi surpassed hypocrisy when he said that while Thakur has apologized, he will never be able to forgive her! While some reprimand has been administered against her, she continues to be BJP candidate for Bhopal constituency. Is BJP really serious about taking action against those upholding Godse? It is not the first time Godse is being upheld. Many a times in the past, those belonging to BJP-RSS-Hindu nationalists have expressed their praise for Godse. One recalls the RSS Sarsanghchalak Rajendra Singh, alias Rajju Bhaiyya, stating that Godse’s intentions were right, he believed n Akhand Bharat (expanded India incorporating Afghanistan Myanmar, Srilanka etc.) Then we have Sakshi Maharaj, the present BJP MP, who has been given ticket to fight the election again, who had also called Godse as Nationalist. Despite such ideas he is part of BJP. During last few years glorification of Godse, temple for him in Meerut, demand for land for his memorial and busts are gaining strength in the country.

When he is called a nationalist, in a way what is hidden from the word is its essential prefix, Hindu to the word nationalist. Godse was a Hindu nationalist for sure. It is only from Hindu nationalists, RSS and its affiliates that Godse is upheld and praised. BJP is in a dilemma. They do hold on to Hindu nationalism, they have deeper sympathy for what Godes did; still they cannot support it openly. The dilemma is that BJP does pursue the path of Hindu nationalism, in contrast to Indian nationalism as propounded in our constitution. Why can it not openly support Godse and his assassinating Gandhi? One recalls that after the murder of Gandhi sweets were distributed in RSS shakhas. One recalls that RSS chief even at that time expressed his sorrow and stopped RSS work and declared thirteen days mourning. One recalls that RSS was banned by Sardar Patel for spreading hatred in the society. Still the point remains that that all those upholding Godse cannot yet openly say so. That is not yet ‘politically correct’ for BJP. This is what the BJP line is. Support Godse’s nationalism internally but do not say so openly. The reason is Gandhi cannot be criticized and bypassed in the country. His contribution in making of modern India, his central mission of cultivating fraternity, cutting across the lines religion, region and language are too profound to be ignored. The path delineated by him, the one of non violence has captured the imagination not only of the country but of the whole World. His campaign against untouchablity had deeper impact. His contribution in this direction was in the line of what Ambedkar wanted His acting as ‘one man army’ in the sectarian violence has been a landmark in the story of India and the World!

So BJP, while pursuing Hindu nationalism has to make the show of respecting Mahatma. Very conveniently it has made him symbol of ‘Swatchta Abhiyan’ (cleanliness campaign), bypassing Gandhi’s central mission of Hindu Muslim unity and his path of Indian nationalism. What we are witnessing on one hand is the contradictions of BJP on the electoral arena and its long term goals. In electoral arena, to make a success it is BJP’s compulsion to uphold Gandhi, while all its major leaders and workers are trained in the values of Hindu nationalism, in its shakhas and training camps. In its training module Savarkar, the progenitor of HIndutva Hindu nationalism, has a pride of place, while Gandhi is presented as appeaser of Muslims and the one who was responsible for partition of the country. Godse was ardent follower of Savarkar. Savarkar was also a murder accused along with Godse but escaped the punishment in the absence of any corroborative evidence.

Savarkar-Godse duo is looked up among most of the followers of Hindutva ideology. That’s what explains the spontaneous outbursts of the likes of Sakshi maharaj, Anantkrishna Hegde and Pragya Thakur. BJP is compelled to make the show of speaking against them, bowing to electoral and global compulsions, while letting them thrive in the party in various capacities!  

Category :- English Bazaar Patrika / OPED

Terrorism Worldwide has assumed horrific proportions. We have witnessed worsening acts of terror from 9/11 2001. After this terrible act; terrorism got to be linked a religion, and the term ‘Islamic terrorism’ was popularized by American media. The turmoil’s in West Asian countries due to intervention of American Imperialism for the control over oil resources created an unprecedented crisis in this region. Acts of terror became the everyday affair. The reactionary backlash was not too far behind and surfaced when Andres Behring Berwick, a Norwegian young man, shot 86 youth with his machine gun in 2011. The phobia created against immigrant Muslims in ‘White majority countries’ and global Islamophia are supplanting each other to create the scene, where terrorism is assuming horrendous proportions.

The attack by suicide bombers in three Churches and two luxury hotels in Sri Lanka killed nearly 250 innocent Christians celebrating the Easter on 20th April 2019. While ISIS has taken the credit for the same, Sri Lankan Administration attributed it to local National Thowheeth Jama’ath, a militant Islamist group. As per defense minister of Sri Lanka Ruwan Wijewardane the attack seems to be in retaliation against attack on Muslims in New Zealand, Christchurch mosques in which nearly 53 people died. This attack in New Zealand was done by an Australian immigrant, who is a white supremacist. The Jamath has been banned now in Srilanka.

In the aftermath of the grave tragedy in Sri Lanka, the media was abuzz again with narratives centered around ‘Islamic terrorism’ blaming Islam for such acts of terror. We need to have a deeper understanding of the issue in order to label and analyze today’s terror tales. The major story begins with the America’s planning and funding of the Mujahedeen, Taliban in especially set up Madrasssas of Pakistan. The use of Wahabi-Salafi version of Islam, prevalent in Saudi Arabia for indoctrination into acts of terror is the beginning point. This version of Islam is ultra conservative, focuses on Sharia and targets those opposing it.

In these madarassas meanings of words Jihad and Kafir were distorted to train the youth into what emerged as Al Qaeda. America’s funding of this enterprise to the tune of 8000 million dollars and seven thousand tons of armaments was the key to raise a group which led the anti Russian forces. The key to unravel the mystery lies here. In post Vietnam demoralization of US army, US planners banked on raising the terror force through training Asian Muslim youth. The primary goal was hegemonic control over oil resources in West Asia.

The trajectory of Mujahedeen, Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS and then IS and its local offshoots, are a grave tragedy for human society. Not only this goal of controlling West Asia by America has given birth to Islamophobia, now it’s equal and opposite reaction in the form of Anders Behring Berwick and Brenton Tarrant has completed the circle of insanity. ‘An eye for an eye’ seems to be ruling the globe. The cancer of terrorism could be given birth by indoctrinating the youth; but to put the genie back in the bottle is much more difficult. Now Muslim immigration is being used a pretext by the likes of Berwick and Tarrant. There may be many more supporting this superficial understanding about the issue of immigration.

There is a great deal of overlap in ethnic and terrorist violence also. Right in Sri Lanka Bodu Bala Sena (Budhhist Power Force) has been targeting Muslims and Christians. In Sri Lanka itself the Tamil (Hindus) have been targeted. In Myanmar Ashin Wirathu, a Buddhist monk, is advocating the use of violence and has been targeting Rohingya Muslims. In India the likes of Pragya Thakur, the terror accused in Malegaon and Ajmer blasts, had targeting the places where Muslims congregate in big numbers. Currently the sectarian politics is not only wearing the clothes of religion it is justifying the use of violence for its narrow political goals. The tragedy is that since its language is laced in that of the religion, the whole religious communities get colored in the vicious hatred spread by these groups.

One fallout of it has been the demand for banning burqa by Mumbai Shiv Sena mouth piece Saamana’s editor Raut. He taunted that burqa has been banned in Ravan’s Lanka, when will it be banned in Ram’s Ayodhya. This is as such a distortion of what happened in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka President, using his special powers has put a restriction on any apparel which hinders identification the face. Niqab or Burqua was not named in particular.

This has set cat among the pigeons in India. Following Raut’s statement, Javed Akhtar, the noted poet-writer, said that he was not averse to such a ban on Burqa so far as it is accompanied by a similar measure against Ghundhat, the practice which is prevalent among Hindus in some parts of the country. Meanwhile Kerala’s Muslim Educational Society put out a notice which prohibits girls from wearing “any dress which covers the face” in its 150 educational institutions across the state. This is a laudable move in social reform, the move coming from within the community. Still no one has a right to impose any dress code on the women. We have witnessed regular campaigns by the likes of Bajrang dal, opposing girls wearing jeans. Dress code for women is one of the mechanisms of strengthening patriarchal values in the society.

The Sri Lanka suicide bombing, New Zealand shootings are a wake up for the global community to put this cancer to rest, the cancer of using religion for the political goals. One of the major reasons for genesis and perpetuation of this violence is the interference of imperialism in the oil rich zone and America’s promotion of retrograde leaderships in the region. The promotion of democratic impulse at global level coupled with restrain the US designs in the area do remain the key in wiping out terror of all shades from the World!

Category :- English Bazaar Patrika / OPED