Monday, August 11, 2014

Hind Swaraj vs Hindu Rashtra; Modi, Amit Shah nothing without RSS- Warns Nagpur

Hind Swaraj vs Hindu Rashtra; Modi, Amit Shah nothing without RSS- Warns Nagpur


"The nation-state offers most of its members a stronger sense of security, belonging or affiliation and even personal identity, than does any alternative large group" - Karl Deutch.


Democracy is not alone a form of state and of administration. It is a philosophy of life and an outlook on the world. The authority of the state and its law is derived from general agreement among citizens upon the main postulates of philosophy of life".

 .. President Masaryk.


".....for India did have a civilization to accommodate democracy's impossible dream, its passions and ambitions ....Hinduism would absorb democracy as it had absorbed everything else, and just as everything else has left its mark, so would democracy". -- Bruce Grant, Australian High Commissioner to India (1973-76).


Author's old notes

Evolution of Indian polity
"From the 7th to the 11th century, lack of interaction between Indians and their Iranian cousins and others in Central Asia, conquered and dominated by Arab-led Islamic Armies, made India inward looking and fossilized its caste-based polity. Indian polity lost its mobility, resilience and the capacity to synthesize and assimilate new ideas. It went on the defensive against the conquering Islamic religion and Muslim polity. It withdrew into its own shell and became frozen. And so it remained throughout the Muslim rule and British rule over Hindustan. The latter only perpetuated the static nature of Hindu polity, reducing Indian rulers as their aides, notwithstanding some social reform ripples. Indians never had a revolution, like the French, Russians, Turks, Chinese or Iranians. The Dharma (religion and duty), put one in one's place. A headman's son could aspire to be a headmen, an untouchable would remain an untouchable.

The process of peaceful massive social engineering through competitive party politics and reservations in favor of the disadvantaged since independence has unleashed social, political and economic forces hitherto unseen in Indian history, in the process rearranging its polity. It shattered the Brahmin-imposed village autonomy based on a rigid hierarchy of priests, landowners, traders, artisans and untouchables, which had survived Muslim and British rule.

Soon, former bus conductors, petty smugglers, village pehelwans (wrestlers), and the progeny of peons could rise to the highest levels of government as chief ministers and cabinet ministers, as shown by the Lals of Haryana, the Yadavs of Uttar Pradesh and others. Imagine the creative and other energies released into the system, with the profession of politics providing an ambitious and determined person, but poor, uneducated, socially and economically disadvantaged, the opportunity to work his or her way up the system.

Unfortunately, in this free-for-all environment, many criminal elements, after first helping the politicians in vote "gathering and controlling", like an Arab's camel, have moved into the tent (of power). And the system's inbuilt resilience for corrective action now appears to have been lost. After watching the slide into dishonesty, chicanery and total disregard for all civic norms, first the Election Commission and then the Supreme Court took some measures to strengthen these independent  institutions, but without great success so far.

The "Hindu" perception of Dharma and the rule of law are often quite ambivalent. Hindus believe that by propitiating local deities and gods (now the local politician, now the police sub-inspector), one can escape punishment. There is no concept of conflict of interest .It is hoped that recommendations for an independent Vigilance Commissioner, a Central Bureau of Investigation and an Enforcement Directorate will be fully implemented, and that the implementation of the rule of law will be further strengthened, with the proper checks and balances of a truly democratic system. The institutions of the judiciary and the media, so easily tempted by wily politicians, have to be above suspicion and exercise their duties without fear and favor."(
Indian Media is now owned by corporates as in the West)


Homo-Sapiens have progressed from obscurantism to cults, beliefs , religions and ideologies on the spine of science and technology , verifiable truth and modernism .Unfortunately after the collapse of materialism based Fascism and Communism aka scientific socialism , science has taken a backseat with so called " End of History" with religion and obscurantism getting the upper hand all over the world  .Is it the end of human destiny ?Of course there is always a possibility that homo-sapiens might even destroy planet Earth and themselves through a nuclear WWIII which US led West has been itching for !


I am reproducing below an incisive and in depth article on Hind Swaraj vs Hindu Rashtra by ANANYA VAJPEYI and two news items on the clash between BJP and RSS. It is a clash between some modernism and total obscurantism .Whatever has been the state of the evolution of the Indian polity ,Brahmins , perhaps 6 or7 percent have dominated by virtue of their education and control via caste-system ,after 1947 until 1960s till the other segments of the polity formed their own parties ie Jats ,OBCs and Dalits and regional formations .Through RSS ,Brahmins and their philosophy would continue to play a dominant role via Nagpur , the foot soldiers are now non -Yadav OBCs like Modis , Kalyan Singhs, Uma  Bharatis and others .


K. Gajendra Singh 11 August, 2014.


Hind Swaraj vs Hindu Rashtra

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Hindutva is a historic and possibly doomed attempt to change everything about Hinduism that makes it what it is — its ability to accommodate mind-boggling diversity, its avoidance of strict definitions and boundaries, its amorphous, heterogeneous, tolerant and fluid character


The 2014 national election, resulting in a decisive victory for the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), seems to have thrown the Indian commentariat into ideological disarray. Intellectuals and opinion-makers that have professed particular beliefs and held certain positions for the longest time, appear now to be changing their views. This began happening during the campaign, continued through the election, and has become routine in the new dispensation.


Larger changes in the media, in institutions of research and higher education, and the electoral rout of the Congress and Left parties add to the general climate of confusion and mistrust. Each day it appears that one more person whose voice carries weight comes out to endorse Narendra Modi's regime. Criticism is replaced with qualified support, while in some cases the reverse is true — heartfelt enthusiasm is replaced with bitter condemnation of the Prime Minister and his team. Nobody knows any more who is with us and who is with them; who is on the left and who is on the right.


Fading secular opinion

In an earlier piece in
 The Hindu (April 9, 2014), I had suggested that the "euphemistic contract" leading some commentators to pass over Mr. Modi's Hindutva agenda and turn a blind eye to his complicity in the violence of Gujarat 2002 needed to be broken if there was to be some chance of curbing or defeating the BJP at the hustings. Others argued that his veiled and explicit stances against minorities worked in his favour, and increased his popularity rather than damaging his image. Whatever the case, his party won the majority of seats and he was able to form the government.


Mr. Modi has begun appointing individuals who are adherents or sympathisers of the hardline Hindu fundamentalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to serve as ministers and as heads of cultural and educational institutions. He has shown little interest in the services of former secularists, liberals and feminists who had indicated their willingness, even eagerness, to work with him once he took office. The fact that neither the Congress nor the Left seem any longer to be conversant with or proud of the left-liberal political traditions that dominated Indian politics since independence, drives the final nail into the coffin of secular opinion.


A face-off between majoritarians and egalitarians, between the Sangh Parivar and secular-liberal parties, has been a long time coming. This election may have turned the tide, but the build-up began close to a century ago. The RSS was founded in 1925. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh was founded in 1952. The BJP was founded in 1980. Considerable gains were made by the Hindu Right during the Ram Janambhoomi movement, climaxing in the demolition of the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya in December 1992 and nationwide Hindu-Muslim rioting.


The National Democratic Alliance, headed by the BJP, had its first substantial stint in government from 1998 to 2004. Seen in this chronology, Hindu nationalism punctuates the entire 20th century at intervals of 20-30 years, but it is never able to decisively transform the mindset of most Indians. Even today, when the BJP polled 31 per cent of votes cast, it is not clear whether it is the party's Hindutva face or its face of economic growth that appealed to voters.


The problem with Hindutva

The problem with Hindutva, which has impeded its capture of the average Hindu's political and cultural imagination, is that it is the outcome not so much of hatred for others, especially Muslims, but rather of Hindu self-hate. It's a historic and possibly doomed attempt to change everything about Hinduism that makes it what it is — its ability to accommodate mind-boggling diversity, its avoidance of strict definitions and boundaries, and its amorphous, heterogeneous, tolerant and fluid character.


Hindutva wants to "Semitize" Hinduism, giving it a god, a book, a revelation, a prophet, an ecclesiastical order, a pontiff, a race, a language, a country (or a holy land), a history, a canon, doctrinal stability and missionary zeal. It's an attempt to standardise, essentialise, codify and systematise a vast universe of incommensurate beliefs, practices, rituals, theologies and narratives — to render Hinduism modern and modular.


Vinayak Savarkar's manifesto for Hindu nationalism, Hindutva (1923, 1928), was conceived and written over several years of solitary confinement and hard labour in British jails on the Andaman islands and in coastal Maharashtra — Savarkar was sentenced to two consecutive life-terms for anti-government activities. His sentence was later commuted but the trauma never left him. Hindutva opens with its most definitive claim: "A Hindu means a person who regards this land of Bharatvarsha, from the Indus to the seas, as his Fatherland as well as his Holy Land, that is, the cradle of his religion." Savarkar wants to imbue Hinduism with all the qualities it lacks — and thus his coinage, Hindutva. A true Hindu, in his estimation, has in him something better than and apart from mere Hindu-ism — he has Hindu-ness.

 A face-off between majoritarians and egalitarians, between the Sangh Parivar and secular-liberal parties, has been a long time coming. This election may have turned the tide, but the build-up began close to a century ago 


In order to possess Hindutva, a man (because Hindu nationalists tend to think in rigidly gendered, masculinist and patriarchal terms) must regard India as his "fatherland" (the land of his ancestors, pitr-bhumi) and his "holy land" (the land where he accumulates the fruits of good karma, punya-bhumi); he must be attached to this land, this territorial expanse called "Bharat" through the fact of his birth there, through ties of blood to his family, his forefathers, his race of fellow-Hindus, and moreover through a love for Hindu "civilization" (sanskriti) "as represented in a common history, common heroes, a common literature, a common art, a common law and a common jurisprudence, common fairs and festivals, rites and rituals, ceremonies and sacraments." His insistence on what is "common" between the innumerable "Hindu" cultures of the subcontinent comes precisely from the impossibility of stating where exactly lies this commonality, so fervently desired by Savarkar.


If Hinduism is centrifugal, Hindutva is centripetal. Savarkar responded to the demands and pressures of modern nationalism — he was not only disinterested in, but perhaps even averse to, the religious life of millions of Hindus. It's interesting and entirely reasonable that Savarkar was a thorough atheist. For him, being a Hindu was a political identity, not an identity based on religion. Even Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Buddhists, so long as they are born and raised in India, and follow the Indian way of life, are thus de facto "Hindus." Hindutva is a pure construct, a completely empty envelope that Savarkar creates from his own mind as he spends decades locked away, utterly segregated from the shared collective life of his fellow-Indians.


Gandhi vs Savarkar

Mohandas Gandhi's vision for the future was swaraj or self-rule, where the "self" was at once each individual struggling to master inner demons, and a vast aggregation of millions in search of India's independence from British rule. Gandhi himself was deeply religious, but he never defined the "self" of "self-rule," the swa- of swaraj, as Hindu, Muslim or even Indian. It was Gandhi's quest for the self and for its sovereignty that carried the day, creating the decades-long struggle which eventually liberated India. Savarkar became president of the Hindu Mahasabha — the precursor to the BJP — in 1937, firmly opposing Gandhi's non-violence, his "Quit India" movement, the rise of the Muslim League and the creation of Pakistan through Partition.


When Savarkar's acolyte Nathuram Godse shot at Gandhi on January 30, 1948, at the Mahatma's daily public prayer meeting, ironically, Gandhi's dying words were those of a devout Hindu: "Hey Rama!" In the wake of the Mahatma's assassination, Savarkar had to retreat from public view for the remainder of his life. He was regarded with intense dislike, suspicion and contempt by Nehru and other leaders who constituted the top echelons of the Congress administration. Nobody from the Maharashtra government attended his funeral in February 1966.


Today, for the first time the RSS can dream of a restitution of Savarkar in the modern national pantheon. The question is, have decades of official secularism made Indians, more than 80 per cent of whom are Hindu, receptive or hostile to the father of the Hindu Right? Can ordinary Hindus look upon him with a fresh perspective, or has history left him behind in the dust?


Recently, I was startled to see in the Central Hall of Parliament a portrait of Savarkar staring at Gandhi's portrait directly across the length of the room, symbolising a foundational antagonism written into the very genealogy of our nation-state. It is Hind Swaraj pitted against Hindu Rashtra. Indian intellectuals, understandably feeling bruised and buffeted by enormous political changes, would do well to remember that the roots of their present ideological conflicts go back to the beginnings of organised nationalist politics, and that questions of ideology are unlikely to be settled in a hurry.


(Ananya Vajpeyi is the author of Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India, HUP, 2012. E-mail:


Mohan Bhagwat's message to Modi, Amit Shah: You're nothing without RSS

by FP Politics  Aug 11, 2014

At the BJP's national council meet on Saturday, the top two of the Bharatiya Janata Party spoke in one voice, prime minister Narendra Modi heaping lavish praise on BJP president Amit Shah as the man of the match and the latter calling the party's incredible performance a victory for Bharat Mata.

But the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, widely believed to have provided the force multiplier effect in the Lok Sabha elections with its lakhs of members and pracharaks campaigning hard for the BJP, apparently didn't think much of the prime minister and party president patting each other's backs.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat took a dissenting tone on Sunday, a day affter the national council meeting, when he said the BJP's victory could not be ascribed to the work of any leader or leaders.

at. AFP

Bhagwat didn't take any names, but was quite candid nevertheless. The Indian Express quotes him as saying, "Some people are giving credit to the party while others are giving credit to some individuals for the victory. But the organisation and the party were there earlier too, and so were the individuals. What happened then? It is the people who wanted change during the elections, who brought the party to power."

report in The Times of India said Bhagwat attributed the BJP's win to people's yearning for change. "... Bhagwat said if the people are not happy, they would change this government too in the next general elections," the report said.

Bhagwat was apeaking at a function in Bhubaneshwar, but the message was, no doubt, for New Delhi.

At the RSS's own national executive that concluded the previous weekend, speakers had held forth on the Modi government's failure to stay true to its ideological roots in tackling issues such as FDI. As Firstpost reported, some speakers even suggested that the government was crumbling under US pressure to modify its policies.

Over several weeks now, the RSS has hotly opposed some of the Union government's moves. On GM crops, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch and the Bharatiya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh, both RSS affiliates, actually managed to stall field trials. A "foreign gene" is dangerous because once introduced, it is irreversible, they claimed. That wasn't the only area of dissent.

The RSS-Modi government contest would probably have been more vocal had it not been for impending Assembly elections. Given that the BJP needs to remain in poll mode, the RSS has offered a short-term compromise -- it has asked sister organisations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad (VKP), Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) and Bharatiya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh (BKMS) to go easy on the BJP, a party with too many electoral compulsions right now.

But that compromise apparently doesn't extend to the RSS handing credit for the BJP's electoral success to Modi or Shah. Bhagwat's comment is a quick rap on the knuckles for BJP leaders, a reminder that the RSS will wink at some compromises on policy, but forget to give due credit at your peril.


RSS offers BJP two-year respite but differences on Centre's policies continue


by Chandrakant Naidu  Aug 5, 2014

Bhopal: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will sustain its Hindutva hardline and the stated position on issues like GM crops, Land Acquisition Act and FDI in defence or retail trade and yet allow the BJP government come to terms with the task of running a socialist, secular dispensation that conflicts with its ideological upbringing.

The leaders of the parent body clarified that both the RSS and the BJP can pursue their business without conflict or complaints as there was clarity on the concept and ideology of Hindutva and national development. The RSS will continue to influence its workers whether they are in the parent organisation, the party or the government.

h. AFP

The four-day national executive conference of the RSS that concluded in Bhopal on Sunday with a message to affiliates like Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad (VKP), Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) and Bharatiya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh( BKMS) to put off all agitations for two years in view of the administrative compulsions of the BJP. In the event of urgency on any issue the representatives of the parivar can directly contact the concerned minister to resolve the matter.

Most speakers were all fire and brimstone while criticising the two-month oldNarendra Modi government for not sticking to the ideological line in dealing with issues like the role of MNCs and showing inclination to accept FDI in defence and retail. Some speakers went as far as suggesting that the government was crumbling under US pressure to modify its policies. Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi who was deputising for RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had to pacify the speakers. The concluding session however had a sobering effect on all speakers.

The parent body of the BJP is aware of the huge expectations built up on the government. In view of the elections scheduled in some states it would need to keep the flock together through tough talk while winking at some compromises being made to woo the voter.

Bhagwat who joined the sessions a day later said if the Hindus stay united the nation can take on any aggressor. He, however, warned against a capitalistic overdose. He said while India was becoming rich Indians were growing poorer. The Sangh offered help to make villages self-reliant by backing rural enterprises. But the government must guard against corrupt and self-centric politics.

Significantly, Bhagwat also cautioned the VHP leaders against using offensive language against followers of other faiths. This was particularly in the presence of Praveen Togadia who was shrill in his advice to the government on dealing with terrorism. The VHP was told to observe restraint while celebrating its 50 years next month. This was after Togadia had said the VHP will celebrate its anniversary on a grand scale on Janmashtami day.

The speakers expressed concern over price rise and its handling by the government. The ideology can wait but issues concerning common man must get priority the party was told. The new BJP president Amit Shah who was expected to join the conference could not make it.

With a clear mandate the government is secure so the Parivar need not be hasty about the implementation of the ideological agenda. The public has shown that the government should not be apologetic about its ideology, said member who was part of the deliberations. However, the government can ill afford inept handling of economy and create a positive sentiment, Bhawat said. Both the party organisation under a new president and the government would be tested during the upcoming elections as the government has not made a big splash on the economic front, as speaker observed during the intellectual session. The impact of the Uttarakhand by-elections could not be taken lightly, the RSS chief said.

The RSS intervention to stop field trials of GM crops would, however, force the government to go slow on the issue. The parivar members defended the stand as valid one. During the political session the speakers underlined the synergy between the RSS and the BJP. The RSS provides ideological and inspiration support to the BJP is ideological and inspirational. It need not involve itself in the day-to-day functioning but its views on various issues are valued by the party and the government, said Murlidhar Rao, who is the interface between the Sangh and the manifesto implementation committee of the party. Several important functionaries in the government and the BJP have come from the RSS. Now two senior pracharaks Ram Madhav and Shiv Prakash have been loaned to the party and may be offered organisational responsibility.