In our country, Hinduphobia seems to be the latest fad amongst the intellectually enlightened ‘liberals‘ from various walks of life. Though hinduphobia subtly existed for decades now, it has become more pronounced due to spite towards the nationalist government at the centre, which came to power seven years back, or it is simply getting noticed now, what with the advent of social media. The latest in the kitty of hinduphobic pieces of work is the non fiction book authored by veteran Congress leader and ex Cabinet Minister, Salman Khurshid , titled ‘Sunrise Over Ayodhya’, based on the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Ramjanmabhoomi issue delivered two years back.
In the instant book, Khurshid compares ‘a robust version of Hindutva’ with the infamous terror outfits of Boko Haram and ISIS, in it’s Chapter 6 titled ‘The Saffron Sky’.
This malicious comparison of Hindutva, in whatever version, with the notorious terror outfits like the ISIS and the Boko Haram, who indulge in grotesque killings, mutilations, rape, torture and slavery, all in the name of their faith, led to massive furore amongst the hindu nationalists, the BJP, RSS, VHP and various hindu outfits, who demanded a ban on the said book. A petition has been filed at the Delhi High Court by two Delhi based lawyers, Vineet Jindal and Raj Kishor Chaudhary seeking seeking direction to stop the publication, circulation, and sale of the book. Advocate Vineet Jindal has also complained to the police against Salman Khurshid.
Salman Khurshid’s scathing attack on Hindutva has drawn flak from amongst his own, a few Congress leaders too and their allies. Senior Congress leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad stated “We may not agree with Hindutva as a political ideology but comparing it with ISIS and Jihadist Islam is factually wrong and exaggeration,” thus expressing his discontent against Khurshid’s anti Hindutva stand. Priyanka Chaturvedi, leader of Siv Sena, which is a Congress ally in Maharashtra, too strongly criticized Khurshid’s remarks on Hindutva through her tweet stating –
“A book comparing Hindutva to terror outfits ISIS & Boko Haram, is an attempt to demonise Hindu religion that has only spoken of
. Half-baked information can get you book publicity but unnecessary consequences of hurting sentiments of millions of Hindus. Shame,”
Facing ire, Salman Khurshid made a meek attempt at damage control stating that he meant Hindutva and the terror outfits are similar and not the same and that his book is about hindu-muslim unity. But that has not helped matters much, nor has it taken away the ignominy he inflicted on the majority community of this country. Such religious bigotry doesnot befit a leader of Salman Khurshid’s nature, who had served in various ministerial positions with the Govt. Of India, the last being that of the External Affairs Minister. He also happens to be the son of Khursid Alam Khan, former Union Minister and the maternal grandson of the third President of India, Zakir Hussain. The icing on the cake is his Oxford Law Degree, which proves that education is not enough to rid one of bigotry and inhibitions. Such words from him are not surprising because in the past too, in his book ‘In home in India‘ he had made an extremely insensitive statement on the 1984 Sikh genocide: “There was also a terrible satisfaction amongst Muslims, who had not completely forgotten the Partition’s unpleasant aftermath. Hindus and Sikhs were alike paying for their ‘sins’. The instant statement vindicates his religious intolerance and abject apathy towards other religious communities. He is currently trying to convince all by telling journalists that he is visiting Kalki Dham now and that he wouldn’t do so if he had anything against hindus.
But, is religious fanaticism the only reason behind Salman Khurshid’s anti Hindutva outburst or is their more to the story? To ascertain the reasons for the same by going back to our nation’s past.
India is home to the world’s oldest civilization, the Indus Valley Civilization which is at least 8000 years old (though opinions regarding the exact time line of it’s existence vary). Incidentally, India happens to be the only ancient civilization which has successfully retained it’s authenticity and it’s ethnicity, unlike it’s contemporary civilizations, all of which simply became extinct. The key to India’s all encompassing development and self reliance lies in it’s ancient history, in it’s texts – the Veds, the Upanishads, the Purans and from the works of the accomplished men and women who walked the earth in those time and who were experts in their respective fields of knowledge.
Our religious texts, the Veds, Purans, Upanishads, our epics – The Ramayan and the Mahabharat bear evidence to India’s excellence in the field of science, technology, literature, art and sculpture. There is no denying the fact that the man who invented zero, Aryabhatta, the mathematician par excellence, Varahamihir, the man who is synonym with Ayurved, Sushrut, the father of plastic surgery, Charak, the great litterateur, Kalidas, the author of Arthasashtra, Chanakya, the grammarian, Panini, were all born and practiced in India.
Centuries of external invasion, aggression, looting and plunder which included destruction of ancient works of architecture, buildings, temples, burning down of old texts which bore evidence to our glorious past could not destroy India’s ancient cultural practices and her heritage. The western conglomerate’s worst nightmare is that of a self reliant India drawing inspiration and knowledge from it’s illustrious past because India, with a population of 139 crores is nothing but a vast market to them, where they can smoothly dump their inferior quality goods too. Hence India’s lack of dependence on them is viewed as a threat. Thus, the only way to stop India from developing, from becoming self reliant, is by cutting her away from her roots, from her glorious past. The western ecosystem or the Leftwing ecosystem have been working on the same for nearly six decades now and the Congress party, which ruled our nation for nearly seven decades happen to be their biggest aides in this matter.
The Congress loyal or darbari historians have tried to whitewash and distort our history by either hiding the fables of brave hindu rulers or by a miniscule mention of the same, while going all out to glorify our invaders, specifically the Mughals. Our art and literature, have been constantly denigrating hindus while glorifying other religious communities, for decades now. The reason being the one mentioned above. Salman Khurshid’s book is just an addition to the myriad of anti hindu literature being pushed through from our own soil.
The word Hindu is derived from the Indus Valley Civilization – the inhabitants of the civilization which grew up around the Indus river, whose Sanskrit name is Sindhu. As our civilization evolved, the various practices, disciplines and means to livelihood also evolved and to lend credence to them, those enunciated as texts so that all could follow those as a way of life. Hence, hinduism, the world’s oldest religion evolved, not as an organized religion propagated by a prophet, drawing a set of followers, whose task was to draw others towards that particular religion by any means, but as a better way to lead life. Hence, the question of preaching and propagating or imposing it on those who didnot wish to follow it, never arose, ever since it came into existence.
On account of a number of invasions cutting across millennia, India had become home to a variety of people from different faiths, ethnicity, race and culture, thus diluting it’s original cultural practices to some extent. When India was invaded by the Islamists from the Middle East and Central Asia and later on by the Europeans, culminating in British colonial rule for 200 years, some of the original inhabitants of our country too, converted to different faiths, either due to coercion and fear or after being convinced of a better life post conversion. However, there is no denying the fact that their roots lay in this land and their forefathers were hindus. The invaders’ primary concern is to convert the people of the land to their own faith because it becomes that much easier for them to enslave the latter and destroy the cultural fabric of that land so that the invaders can easily impose their own cultural practices on that land, thus preventing any chance of revolt by the inhabitants there, with the intent of going back to their roots by pushing out the ‘outsiders’. Our history is witness that the hindu rulers never ever tried to change the ethnic character of any land that they won in battle unlike the Islamists and the Westerners. Hence, the allegation against hindus of excesses against other religious communities will find no takers.
The term ‘Hindutva’ was first coined, used and explained by the Bengali scholar Chandranath Basu in his essay ‘Hindutva or the Authentic History of the Hindus‘ (Hindutva ba Hindur Prokrito Itihas) in 1892. The term was articulated and popularized by Veer Vinayak Savarkar to instil a sense of pride amongst fellow Indians, in their own faith, the Sanatan Dharma, their culture and heritage and to take pride in it. It is only when the Indians start taking pride in their sanatani identity and their culture, laced with numerous remarkable achievement, only then the feeling of nationalism will rise in them, encouraging them to fight with increased vigour against the British colonial rulers and snatch freedom from their clutches. Savarkar’s idea of Hindutva was that of a common nation (rashtra), common race (jati) and common culture (sanskriti) which would unify all the hindus to fight against their common enemy. The Hindutva ideology was adopted by the Sangh Parivar – the RSS, the BJP, the VHP and the Bajrang Dal to revive the spirit of nationalism amongst fellow hindus as in the inhabitants of the world’s oldest civilization, the Indus Valley Civilization, so that they strive and work towards the betterment of our nation as well as to defend themselves from their aggressors using any means. This ideology is not owned by them, nor does their endorsement or embracing of the ideology make it a solely political one to be shunned by the non BJP politicians or their supporters. Hence, Khurshid’s statement delineating Hinduism from Hindutva is also incorrect.
As is evident from above, the Hindutva ideology rightfully encourages the hindus to take prife in their faith and culture – nowhere does it encourage them to aggress on others or mindlessly kill them. Thus, Khurshid’s slanderous comparison is totally baseless and absolutely false.
Salman Khurshid being a true blue Congressi, shouldnot surprise many with his abject hinduphobia. The Congress, on numerous occasions have done the same – the most prominent display being that during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, when they had tried to pass off the same as ‘Hindu’ terror and would have succeeded in doing the same had the brave Tukaram Omble not caught Ajmal Kasav alive. Going a step further, the veteran Congress Leader, Digvijay Singh, who was the Congress General Secretary then, released a book written by Aziz Burney, Editor-in-Chief of Urdu Newspaper, Sahara, called ‘26/11 RSS ki Saazish’, an attempt to frame RSS for the gruesome terror attacks. However, Salman Khurshid’s hypocrisy lies threadbare now that while accusing the Sangh Parivar of imposing ‘robust’ hindutva whom he feels is akin to terror by the radical Islamist outfits, ISIS and Boko Haram, he forgets the excesses committed by his owb party of en masse killings whenever their interests were hurt – the killing of Chitpavan Brahmins of Maharashtra in 1948 to avenge Gandhi’s assassination by a Chitpavan Brahmin, Nathuram Godse and the Sikh genocide of 1984 to avenge the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Not to mention the atrocities on opposition leaders during the 1975 emergency or the mindless banning and censoring of art, literature and people if those offended the powers that be in the Congress. The Congress, a party formed to act as a safety valve for the British to prevent nationalist uprisings of the nature of the 1857 war of independence and kept on serving their masters till power of governance of India was transferred to them and also beyond, has a lot of answering to do regarding the mysterious disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the death of Dr. S. P. Mukherjee, the death of the 2nd Prime Minister of India, Lal Bhahadur Sashtri, the death of the Father of India’s Atomic Energy Program, Dr. Homi Bhaba, some of their own leadere and a host of ISRO scientists. It is too much to ask if the likes of Salman Khurshid will ever garner enough courage to question their own party with regard to the above before labelling false allegations on an entire religious community with the intent of spewing venom on their political adversaries.