Shrikant G. Talageri : Recently someone illustrated the stark difference between the general staunch Muslim and the Secularist “Hindu” by putting up a facebook post by a Secular Hindu and the response to it by a staunch Muslim:
The person who put this up intended this to illustrate the stark difference between the general staunch Muslim and the Secularist Hindu. But while this difference is certainly illustrated, it illustrates another, and more fundamental, difference even more starkly: the difference between the general Muslim and the Secularist “Hindu” on the one hand, and the BJP “Hindu” on the other. And this difference is the difference between honesty on the one hand, and dishonesty (treachery, hypocrisy and gleeful brazenness) on the other.
Whether one likes their views, statements and attitudes or not, no-one can deny that both the general staunch Muslim (as represented by Muhammad Qasim above) and the Secularist “Hindu” (as represented by Ankita Choudhury above) represent honesty in two different ways: both are open and honest about what they believe in or what they stand for. The BJP “Hindu”, on the other hand, represents unequivocal dishonesty: treachery, hypocrisy and gleeful brazenness: he/she talks Hindutva (especially when elections are around the corner, or when it comes to criticizing anti-BJP entities) but, when it comes to practical or actual issues, behaves and acts exactly like the Secularist “Hindu”. It is time we learnt to evaluate people on the basis of their honesty about what they believe in and stand for instead of on the basis of whether or not we like what they claim to believe in or stand for.
On the scale of anti-Hinduness, I would put the three enemies of Hinduism/Hindutva as:
Anti-Hindu/Breaking-India Forces: BAD.
Secular “Hindus”: WORSE.
BJP “Hindus”: WORST.
I must first explain why I wrote (a) “Anti-Hindu/Breaking-India-Forces” here instead of “general staunch Muslims“, and (b) “BJP ‘Hindus’” instead of “BJP supporters“:
1. While every general staunch Muslim will think exactly like the Muslim illustrated above in matters of religion (whether he states it openly like Muhammad Qasim above, or is more discreet and diplomatic out of respect for his non-Muslim friends and acquaintances or because he wants to live a normal life and not get involved in acrimonious religious arguments and fights), every such staunch Muslim will not necessarily be interested in Breaking India (although, if push comes to shove, his sympathies may well be with the Breaking India forces).
2. Then, there are of course, the minority of progressive or nominal Muslims who may (or may not) be proud of their cultural heritage but they are not “staunch” in religious matters and will therefore never really be in sympathy with the Breaking India Forces.
3. And again, the Breaking India Forces include many more categories than just “Muslims”: there are Evangelists, foreign agents (including Indian “Hindus” whether or not functioning in the name of the caste in which they were born), deracinated and self-identity-hating Hindus (whether leftist or otherwise), etc.
About BJP supporters:
1. BJP supporters are not necessarily people who claim to be “Hindus”. There are, especially in the case of the present BJP regime, huge masses of supporters who care two figs for Hindu issues, even if they do not expressly say so ─ but they don’t pretend to care for them either, except perfunctorily when taking part in BJP programs especially in the presence of “Hindu” (RSS, VHP, etc.) leaders: their stand is very clear that they support the out-and-out capitalist and mercenary policies of the BJP and support what they call the “development” agenda of the BJP (pro-corporate, pro-rich, anti-common-man and anti-labour policies; large scale destruction of forests, ecology and environment; abandonment of heritage issues, etc.). They are as bad for India and Hinduism, in a different way, as the Anti-Hindu/Breaking-India forces and the Secularist “Hindus”, but, at the same time, these supporters (Hindu only by birth, but not by ideological claim) are also as honest as the Anti-Hindu/Breaking-India forces and the Secularist “Hindus” about what they stand for.
2. A special category among the BJP leadership and party members is the leaders (Hindu by birth) from all hues of Secularist parties who join the BJP for the practical tactical advantage it gives them in terms of money and power (and whom the BJP immediately places in positions of party-internal and electoral advantage to the detriment of people who have slaved all their lives for the party). These leaders and new members also do not make any bones about being in the BJP for reasons other than any kind of “Hindu” ideology, and cannot seriously be accused of any dishonesty in this matter.
3. Then there are the “minority” groups within the BJP, consisting of the Muslim and Christian “leaders” and members who also are in the BJP for the practical tactical advantage it gives them in terms of money and power ─ and who carry on Secularist/Minoritarian activities within the party . They naturally do not make any claims for “Hindutva”, and cannot seriously be accused of any dishonesty in this matter.
4. There is also that very small but extremely admirable minority of “minority” members within the BJP (of which Arif Mohammad Khan is perhaps the most shining example) who are truly secular in the genuine sense of the term. They are certainly honest, but cannot be called BJP “Hindus”.
5. Finally, we have the huge mass of BJP “Hindus” who have spent all their lives criticizing the Secularism of the Secularist parties and “intellectuals”, and the leftists, and exposing or calling out against the activities of the Breaking-India forces. These include the old-time Jan Sangh supporters, the neo-BJP (post-JP-break-up, 1980-1985) supporters, and the people who became supporters of the BJP during different post-1985 phases on the grounds of different Hindu issues and Hindu ideology.
These BJP “Hindus” continue to claim that they stand for Hindu interests, and continue to express outrage at every anti-Hindu act of the Secularists, leftists, and other Breaking India Forces. Every criticism of Hinduism or Hindutva in any foreign forum or newspaper, and every pro-minority or anti-Hindu act of any non-BJP politician or intellectual or foreign entity, has them up in arms in “defense” of Hinduism or Hindu interests. But, when the BJP government and its Parivar commit acts, most of which are much more blatantly pro-minority and anti-Hindu ─ and much more lethal to Hinduism, Hindutva and Hindu interests than any act ever committed by its openly Secularist predecessor governments ─ these “Hindu” BJP supporters not only turn a completely blind eye to every single one of these acts, but, if necessary, indulge in defense, whitewashing and ultimately even glorification of those acts! The amazing thing is that it is not that they now accept that their earlier stance was wrong and say that they have now realized that pro-minority and anti-Hindu acts are for the good of the country (!), they simply go on condemning the Secularists, Leftists and other (Indian and foreign) Breaking India Forces for the very same things for which they now defend, whitewash and glorify the BJP government, and they still go on claiming that they stand for Hinduism, Hindutva and Hindu interests!
In short, from among all the people belonging to all the political formations in India, the BJP “Hindus” stand out as the only Indians who are completely and thoroughly and brazenly dishonest in their political claims. They, more than any others, represent the forces which will be remembered in history by future generations as the main forces responsible for the utter and absolute destruction of Hinduism and Indian Culture in the next few decades of this century.
I have already written much on this subject in earlier articles, but there are so many really committed Hindus who have taken up the herculean task, and made it their life’s mission, to point out, document, and publicize, on the social media and on various other public forums, the endless treacheries and lethal back-stabbing acts of the BJP government. That all this is like water off a duck’s back for the BJP “Hindus” is the tragedy of Hinduism and India. I am not going to waste my energies on this topic. I will only write here about the one recent event which was for me absolutely the last straw. To understand this, I will have to go back a bit on the history of the BJP.
The BJP was formed in 1980 as a metamorphosis of the Jana Sangh which had earlier merged into a United Opposition party called the Janata Party after the Emergency was lifted in 1977. After its cosy cohabitation with the other Secularist non-Congress parties, this new avatar of the erstwhile Jana Sangh came out as an openly Secularist Party, supported of course by the “Hindu” RSS. Four years later, in its first Lok Sabha foray in 1984, the party was almost decimated out of existence.
Present generations of Indians may not be aware of the complete nature of this decimation (cleverly dismissed by BJP pundits as solely the result of the brutal assassination of Indira Gandhi). So here are the facts as represented by the results to the 543 seats of the Lok Sabha elections 1984:
Telugu Desam: 30.
Janata Party: 10.
Akali Dal: 7.
Indian Socialist Congress: 5.
Lok Dal: 3.
National Conference: 3.
Yes, Indira Gandhi’s brutal assassination did create a backlash in favor of the Congress which got a record 414 seats. But see the list of parties above which did not get decimated in the same manner, and to the same extent, as the BJP.
Six parties got 2 seats each: BJP, Muslim league, Kerala Congress, Forward Bloc, DMK, and the 2 (appointed) Anglo-Indians!
[It must be remembered that one of the two seats won by the BJP, Hanamkonda in Andhra Pradesh, was only by the grace of the Telugu Desam party, the only party in India to completely weather the Congress cyclone, and which supported the BJP on that seat; and the second, Mehsana in Gujarat, was won with the support of the Janata Party. In short: the BJP was actually completely decimated in 1984].
Only three parties got less, i.e. 1 seat each: Congress (Jagjivan Ram), PWP (in Maharashtra) and the Plains Tribal Council of Assam!
How did the BJP rise from the ashes? Did somebody sprinkle phoenix-blood on the ashes? Did Lord Krishna decide that it was a fitting case of “yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata” and appear on the scene to give life to the party? Did rishis meditating in the Himalayas for thousands of years descend the mountains in order to bring the party back to life with their powers? Did Harry Potter come and wave his magic wand?
No! it was the Ayodhya movement, and the Ayodhya movement alone, which triggered off a continuously spiraling graph which took the BJP from 2 seats in 1984 to the present 303 seats in 2019. Without the Ayodhya movement to begin with, the BJP would still have been floundering to this day as just one (and not even the main one) of many opposition parties, occasionally perhaps called upon (like any other party) to participate in a short-lived coalition government.
The chequered history of the Ayodhya movement, its many minor tributaries and distributaries, and the many major and minor heroes, villains and episodes in its course, is a long and interesting one. While there were many heroes and villains in the story, the one person who stood out from all the others ─ as villain in Hindu eyes and hero in Muslim ones ─ was Mulayam Singh Yadav, the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (1989-1991) in his first term ─ who in 1990 ordered the police to fire on Kar Sewaks or Hindu volunteers who approached the Babri-Masjid-structure, killing 16 Kar Sewaks.
To put it coarsely, among all those whose martyrdom fuelled the Ayodhya movement and whose corpses formed the stepping stones on which the BJP mounted the Indian throne, the most prominent were the Kar Sewaks killed by Mulayam Singh Yadav (followed later by the Kar Sewaks in the train at Godhra).
Now, on 5th April 2023, the BJP commemorated the memory of the martyred Kar Sewaks for their sacrifice by post-humously awarding the second highest Indian Civilian Honor, the Padma Vibhushan, to Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Nothing the BJP does should have the power to shock anyone any more. Nor actually should the reaction of the BJP “Hindus”, to the acts of the BJP government, have the power to shock anyone any more. We non-BJP Hindus are merely the common animals of this Indian Animal Farm watching the last scene of Orwell’s classic being enacted, and should be inured to anything and everything by now.
But, to me, although I have always had my eyes and ears, and mind and conscience as well, wide open, this was something unbelievable. Not just the BJP government giving this highest award to Mulayam Singh, but the fact that the BJP “Hindus” continue to remain totally and utterly unfazed by this, and continue to support and defend the BJP, stonewalling all discussion on this matter ─ I have personally experienced the extent of this on the internet and on various “Hindu” discussion groups. Now, with the Lok Sabha elections due in early 2024, the “saints” and leaders of the Ayodhya movement have decided that the new glorious temple to “Ram Lalla” (although work on the structure is not fully completed and will continue after that) will be thrown open to worshippers in January 2024, with all the intended political repercussions on the elections to soon follow. BJP “Hindus” will now once again become enthusiastic “Hindus” and celebrate the “inauguration” of the temple by going out to cast their votes in large numbers for the party which gave the Padma Vibhushan to Mulayam Singh for shooting and killing 16 Kar Sewaks in 1990 and giving a fillip to their Ayodhya “card” (as Uma Bharati once candidly described the Ayodhya issue in an interview).
The ugly fact is that Mulayam Singh, the one-time villain for BJP “Hindus” ─ but now a hero for them since his contribution to the rise of the BJP has now been officially recognized by the Party ─ although a killer of Kar Sewaks (a latter day General Dyer), and a supporter of the acts of gang-rapists (remember his indulgent defense of the Mumbai Shakti Mills gang rapists in 2014), has, through every phase of his villainy, been characterized by openness and honesty in his statements. Brazen honesty, but still honesty. The BJP government by its act of honoring him for his exploits, and BJP “Hindus” by endorsing this act at the ballots in the glow of the new “Ram Lalla” temple, will be guilty of brazen dishonesty. By this single act, the BJP and its BJP “Hindu” supporters have redefined the whole “Hindu” narrative and proved their absolute commitment to the principle of dishonesty in politics.
Is there ever going to be an end to this? Already, the next connected step has taken place in Gujarat: the BJP government in Gujarat appealed against the bail application of Kajal Hindustani on the ground that “Kajal Hindustani’s speech had hurt sentiments of Muslim community which led to communal clash“. A scholarly BJP “Hindu” defended this in a discussion group on the ground that this was “necessary to maintain order“!
Will the next step be a declaration by the BJP government in Gujarat that “the slogans of the Kar Sewaks in the train at Godhra had hurt sentiments of Muslim community which led to burning of the train“? Are more Padma awards in the offing, this time for the accused in the train burning incident? It is not even interesting any more to hear the apologetic excuses of the BJP “Hindus” for each new case of backstabbing.
The BJP and BJP “Hindus” very clearly represent a force which is much more dangerous to India, Hinduism, and Hindu interests, and much more reprehensible, than either the Breaking India forces or the Secularists.