Where is secular India headed?

Where is secular India headed? If re-elected, which he is likely to be, Modi would amend India’s constitution to make India a Hindu republic, writes Amjad Jaaved.

It is eerie that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Corps) celebrated ‘Accession to India’ day on October 26, 2020. History tells us that the RSS, a communalist outfit, was fanatically opposed to plebiscite or accession of the disputed state either to India or Pakistan. It wanted Hindu majority Jammu chunk of the Kashmir state to be a separate state or integrated with the then Punjab.

The RSS’s affiliate Jammu based Praja Parishad spearheaded the demand for separation of Jammu from the valley. One is baffled to see BJP’s predecessor, the Jana Sangh, its political mentor RSS and the organization supported by these two, the Jammu based Praja Parishad celebrating `accession’ of Jammu and Kashmir to the Union of India, which happened on 26 October 1947. The accession itself is a myth but, it is strange that opponents of accession are now riding the same accession bandwagon. Had Sheikh Abdullah or Pandit Jawahar lal Nehru been alive, they would have been stunned by RSS’ clever tactics.

Distortion of history

The RSS-BJP conglomerate is busy renaming the Kashmir tunnels and bridges after Jana Sangh leaders. But, the Jana Sangh was all along opposed to incorporating Article 370 in the constitution as per the commitment given by the Indian Union Government in the so-called Instrument of Accession. Later, when the Union Government signed the Delhi Accord with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir’ for closer ties, they again opposed it.

Read more: Modi’s Kashmir gamble and Pakistan’s policy options

According to an eminent historian, Professor Alastair Lamb, ‘the Praja Parishad movement had sought the separation of Jammu from the vale of Kashmir, either as a state or as part of the Indian Punjab’.

Nehru wanted to win the hearts and minds of Kashmiris. He feared the Kashmiris would vote for Pakistan under the impact of RSS’s communal politics.

Nehru called Jammu agitation ‘a remarkable instance of folly or of mischief’ in his letter of 27 January 1953 to the chief ministers. He spurned the idea of a separate Jammu province.

Two nation theory

Nehru was believed that if Jammu gets separated from the valley on communal grounds, it  would shred the vision of a secular India. He saw no difference between Jinnah’s two-nation theory and advocacy for a separate Jammu state. Nehru expressed his thoughts in an emotional speech at Calcutta, on January 1, 1952`There can be no greater vindication than this of our secular policies, our constitution, that we have drawn the people of Kashmir towards us. But just imagine what would have happened in Kashmir if the Jana Sangh or any other communal party had been at the helm of affairs. The people of Kashmir say that they are fed up with this communalism. Why should they live in a country where the Jana Sangh and RSS are constantly beleaguering them? They will go elsewhere, and they will not stay with us’.

The National Crime Records Bureau withheld collected data on murders; burning Muslims alive, cow-related lynching and offences committed for religious reason.

In another speech at a public meeting held on 06 July 1952 under the auspices of the Delhi PCC, he expressed his shock at their activities.

‘I am amazed at the way they have gone about doing things in Kashmir in the last couple of years. Basically, their tactics are to denounce the present regime in Kashmir, thereby sowing the seeds of dissension at the time it is essential for all of us to march together. How does it benefit anyone? The Praja Parishad claims loudly that Kashmir must be merged with the Indian Union. We too want that. But it is easy to see the result of tactics they have adopted. It is amazing to see the references to the Jammu Praja Parishad in the Pakistani newspapers. Pakistan is aware that the Praja Parishad is making their task easier by creating dissensions in Kashmir. So you can understand why it is important to act circumspectly’.

Read more: Future of the Kashmir Issue

In his speech in the Lok Sabha on 26 June 1952, he said ‘Do not think that you are dealing with a part of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar or Gujarat. You are dealing with an area, historically and geographically and in all manner of things, with a certain background. If we bring our local ideas and local prejudices everywhere, we will never consolidate. We must be men of vision and there has to be broadminded acceptance of facts’

If re-elected, which he is likely to be, Modi would amend India’s constitution to make India a Hindu republic.

Nehru wanted to win the hearts and minds of Kashmiris. He feared the Kashmiris would vote for Pakistan under the impact of RSS’s communal politics.

In a pensive mood, Nehru, in his letter on 29 June 1953 confided to his friend B.C. Roy how the Praja Parishad movement had harmed the interests of the country. He minced no word, ‘If Hindu communalists could organize a movement in Jammu, why should not the Muslim communalists function in Kashmir? The position now is that if there was a plebiscite, a great majority of Muslims in Kashmir would go against us. In fact, there has been some petty violence also.’

The Muslim Rashtriya Manch (Muslim National Forum)

The RSS is trying hard to prove that it is not a communal outfit. It includes Muslim also. In 2002, K.S. Sudarshan, then RSS chief floated the MRM. They claim to have 10,000 volunteers. During Muslim protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, the RSS employed Muslim munch to rout protesters.

 The ‘cow citizen’

The Indian Supreme Court validated the demolition of the Babri masjid. The Supreme Court judge Ranjan Gogoi was inducted, shortly after his retirement as a member of the Rajya Sabha (council of states) as an exhange for his pro-government decisions.

He took no action on the abolition of Kashmir’s special status. The serving Supreme Court judges rejected a petition for inquiry into Gogoi’s in-service conduct.

Read more: The Great Transformation: How is RSS transforming India into a fascist regime?

The National Crime Records Bureau withheld collected data on murders; burning Muslims alive, cow-related lynching and offences committed for religious reason.

It is strange that the status of cows over-shadowed all other issues in India’s elections. Hindu-monk chief minister Yogi Adityanath of India’s Uttar Pradesh state equated cows with human beings. He directed that cow-related offences be registered under India’s national Security Act. He jailed people for social posts `Love jihad’ and Pakistan zindabad. He declared that only the pandemic prevented him from allowing the whole India to make pilgrimage (Ram darshan) at the under-construction Ram temple at Babri mosque.  Anyone differing with ruling BJP’s policies is prosecuted for sedition.

A Goa legislator complained that cow vigilantes (gau rakhshak) intercept beef trucks into Karnataka and put phenyl on it to make it unfit for eating.

Judge Mahesh Chandra Sharma of the Rajasthan High Court, in his 193-page judgment, stunned people by mentioning the mythical benefits of cow milk, urine and dung. His judgment, a mélange of scriptures and law, glistens with claims like ‘cow is a surgeon’, ‘a complete pharmacy’, and cow is a ‘national animal’.

Read more: Here is everything you need to know about Hindu beliefs on cow dung, urine

While lynching the beef eater, the Hindus ignore that, according to the National Sample Survey Office, more than 80 million Indians consume beef, of whom Hindus account for 12.5 million, the rest belonging to various other communities, including Muslims and Christians.

Moreover, according to 2015 figures, India has been the largest exporter of beef since 2014 and has been outpacing Brazil in that department steadily over the past few years. India’s Al-Dua is a leading exporter of halal/kosher meat to Arab nations.

BJP legislator Sangeet Som is a beef exporter. Goa allows beef consumption as does the Northeast. Both, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu have openly admitted being beef eaters.

Preventing cow slaughter or the eating of beef has neither economic nor constitutional backing. Where is secular India headed? If re-elected, which he is likely to be, Modi would amend India’s constitution to make India a Hindu republic.

Read more: Op-ed: Future of Muslims in India

Mr. Amjed Jaaved has been writing free-lance for over five decades. He has served federal and provincial governments of Pakistan for 39 years. His contributions stand published in the leading dailies and magazines at home and abroad (Nepal. Bangladesh, et. al.). He is author of eight e-books including The Myth of Accession. He knows many languages including French and Arabic.

 

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