20 April 2009

A Brief History of Hindutva - 2

A Brief History of Hindutva

When Gandhi became the supreme leader of the freedom struggle, it should have meant the triumph of Hindu nationalism. For he was a deeply religious Hindu, proud of his country's ancient heritage. But it was not to be. For some reasons, Gandhi did not have the confidence to make Hindu-ness, or Hindutva, the basis of Indian nationalism. The ideological vacuum was filled by Nehru (Gandhi's closest follower and chosen heir) with his secularism and socialism. It was left to a doctor from Nagpur to found an organisation that would keep alive the flame of true Indian nationalism. Hindutva, which should have been the dominant, mainstream ideology was instead marginalised and banished to the fringes.

In 1947, after half a century of struggle, India became free. Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last! But the moment was bitter-sweet. Along with the joy came shock, horror and anguish. Mother India, our beautiful Mother India, was torn apart. Her right and left arms were chopped off from her body. Meanwhile the Congress became the dominant political party of independent India. It had disregarded the advice of its patron saint to disband itself. Enjoying a virtual hegemony, it imposed Nehru's secularism and socialism on the nation.

The nationalist organisation meanwhile soldiered on, now led by a zoologist-turned-sanyasi. In 1949, Nehru signed a pact with Pakistan agreeing to set up a "Minority Commission" and guaranteeing "minority rights" in the country. This shocking compromise with the nation's sovereignty, unity and integrity was the trigger for the birth of a nationalist political party, which had the blessings of the sanyasi.

For the next four decades the Congress ruled the country, implementing its "secularism", which in practice meant:
– Dividing the country into "majority" and "minority" communities, instead of uniting the country as one.
– Giving special rights to minorities, instead of giving equal rights to all citizens regardless of religion.
– Turning a blind eye to minority communalism, while branding any talk of majority welfare as "fascism".
– Creating and nurturing minority vote banks, while doing nothing to solve their genuine problems.
– Appeasing minority fundamentalists, and creating a separatist mindset in the minds of the minority.

During the freedom struggle and at the time of Independence, Indians had not embraced their identity as Hindus, preferring Nehru's secularism instead. Gradually they realised that something was seriously wrong with this "secularism", that this country was on the wrong track, and that they were being made fools of. As the cynicism and manipulations of the rulers continued unabated, the country started boiling beneath the surface. A correction became overdue. All that was needed was a trigger.

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