For long, RSS-BJP have arrogated to themselves the sole custodianship of nationalism and patriotism. Frenzied chest-thumping and backslapping by leaders of the RSS-BJP and their affiliates and relentless propaganda in the subservient bourgeois media are all aimed at creating an impression that only one political party and one man in that party could protect Indians and India. The election manifesto released by the BJP a few days back has also conveniently relegated to the back all the burning problems wreaking havoc in people’s life and exacerbated significantly during the last 5 years of the BJP rule. Instead, the focus has been on ‘robust nationalism’ which the BJP Prime Minister claimed to be their ‘inspiration’. In fact, it can be said without the slightest of hesitation that those who had masterminded and executed the Pulwama blast on 14 February last killing 40 CRP personnel on the spot, did render a great service to the RSS-BJP on the eve of parliament election. This ghastly incident helped them to reiterate their self- certified credential of nationalism-patriotism with renewed vigour by talking of “kneejerk reaction.” and “immediate retaliation” materializing, as per their claim, in a non-military intervention and a pre-emptive raid in Balakot in Pakistan. Since then, Narendra Modi, the BJP Prime Minister began to swagger audaciously during his election campaign that those who hate him are speaking against the country, implying thereby that the title of patriotism belongs exclusively to him and his party and mentors. Alongside is fanned up a national jingoism, obviously to rally the electoral support of the people behind the BJP and its allies.
RSS-BJP’s doctrine of Hindu nationalism
What have been the antecedents of the RSS—BJP now boasting of holding the sole proprietorship of nationalism and patriotism? Let us flip over the pages of history. According to M S Golwalkar, the ideologue of the RSS and the saffron brigade, “We must be able to see through the game and revert to the truth of our nationalism as an ancient fact and the Hindus being the national society of Bharat, so clearly restated by our revered founder when he decided the word ‘Rashtriya’ for our organization. We must once again stand up in our true and full stature and boldly assert that we shall elevate the Hindu National Life in Bharat to the peak of glory and honour which has been its birthright since hoary time.”1 Mark the expression, “nationalism as an ancient fact and the Hindus being the national society of Bharat”. What he meant was that the nationalism is an ancient concept and there was a national society of the Hindus in Bharat (meaning Bharat during the time of the sages and seers). Incredible indeed! Has there been a single nation which is based solely on religion? If that would have been the case, there would have been one nation in Europe based on Christianity. Similarly, there would have been one Arab nation based on Islam or a singular nation in the entire continent of America. So, it is absurd or an utter falsification of history that the concept of nation was there in Bharat even in the antiquity. The entire territory (now called Indian sub-continent comprising so many different national independent states) was then divided into an endless number of kingdoms or feudal habitations being ruled over by some kings or feudal landlords. These kingdoms were often found to have been engaged in war with each other for expanding or defending their respective territories. In course of that, many kingdoms were destroyed or reconstituted. Often there emerged an emperor which brought several kingdoms under his rule, which disintegrated sooner or later into separate kingdoms or states. The rulers of these kingdoms professed either Hinduism or Buddhism. Later when the Mughals and Pathans invaded the Indian territory, many of these kingdoms either collaborated with or surrendered before them after being defeated in the battles. A good number of the kingdoms who either co-operated or submitted to the invading monarchies were followers of Hinduism. What is more, even though both the Mughals and Pathans were believers in Islam, they fought between themselves to gain territorial hold. Did any concept of Hindu nationalism or Muslim nationalism appear at that time in ‘Akhand Bharat’ (undivided India) what the RSS-BJP talk of?
Socio-historic context of emergence of nations and nationalism
Why was it not so? Because the very stage of development when nationalism could evolve as a concept had then not arrived in history. The RSS-BJP and their Sangh Parivar have one advantage. They do not need to prove things. They only say or declare what they need to propagate as truth. But no thinking mind, no human being worth the name can endorse such falsification of history. Truth is to be verified, established on the anvil of history, facts and reason. This is exactly what science has done as hand-maiden of civilization. Mere gospels or unilateral claims have no place in science which ferrets out truth based on experimentation, verification and inference. A scientific analysis of social development has proved beyond doubt that nationalism as an ideological creed and based on it the modern nations had emerged at a particular juncture of human history when capitalism had been growing within the womb of feudalism. The very same process also gave birth to nationalism and nations which developed within the confines of particular geographical territories, during and through their respective people’s struggle against the then ruling feudal authority or monarchy or later in the days of colonialism-imperialism, against the ruling imperialist-colonial power. The basic urge of capitalism was to create a common national economy and market based on industrial development, a centralized administration and system of communication, capital accumulation, capitalist relations and profit-making motive of production. As a superstructure of this growth and establishment of a common national capitalist economy, a common national psychological and cultural make-up grew and developed under the aegis of the newly emerging bourgeoisie, that is, the capitalist class. The capitalist class of a particular geographical territory or the national bourgeoisie of a particular country also sought for, among other things, a territorial and cultural unity of the different segments of people of the given territory or country. The very struggle of the bourgeoisie against feudalism or colonialism-imperialism, termed also the democratic revolution, thus strove for creating a common bond, a common feeling among the fighting people that provided the foundation of nationalism on a given territory among people. This was the process through which nations, that we find today, were born. In Europe, the various nations have different languages. Again, America, Britain, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand are different nations though they all speak English. The concept of nationalism which grew within feudalism or a colony as a socially derived urge for formation of a nation or national state also spurred on and stimulated the process of nation building.
Backdrop of growth of Indian nationalism
The very concept of Indian nationalism grew only in course of the anti-British imperialism freedom movement following growth of Indian national capital and capitalist class and consequent urge for establishment of a national independent Indian state. Had there been no British imperialist rule which, in its own class interest, created a centralized administration and transport system opening scope for various nationalities and sub-nationalities to connect with each other and subsequently share a common cause for integrating into a unified nation, the very concept of Indian nationalism would not have arisen. In that case, all the nationalities having different languages and culture would have developed as different nations just like modern Europe in spite of pre-dominance of Hindu religion. Thus, the British imperialist rule, as tools of history, unconscious though, helped the growth of the concept of unified Indian nationalism. It is true that due to definite historical reasons, the concept of Indian nationalism has developed as half-baked and truncated, with desired cultural unity or wholehearted cultural merger of different nationalities and ethnic-linguistic groups within a nation remaining unaccomplished. That is a separate issue. But politically, a broader sense of Indian nationalism with the common goal of achieving independence was definitely born in the Indian people. If there was anything like Hindu nationalism, how is it that Nepal which hitherto was a Hindu state never sought amalgamation with ’Hindu Bharat’ despite being neighbouring landlocked countries? Why did Bangladesh win independence by fighting the Pakistani rulers though Islam is the dominant religion in both the countries?
Mischievous doctrine of Hindu Rashtra and Hindu nationalism
But the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha instead brought to the fore the doctrine of Hindu nationalism. Based on that there developed the political outfits, first the Jana Sangh and then the BJP; presently the RSS-BJP combine is guided by this very same doctrine. They deliberately seek to distort or disown this historical fact and instead believe “that Hindus are a nation. There will also be no difficulty to concede that the Hindus constitute the vast majority of the population. India is therefore pre-eminently a Hindu nation.”2 Rejecting the scientific concept of territorial nationalism without however giving any cogent reason other than providing irrelevant and unfounded references to epics, myths and Hindu religious scriptures, M S Golwalkar arbitrarily and whimsically concluded that “The theories of territorial nationalism and of common danger, which formed the basis of our concept of a nation, had deprived us of the positive and inspiring content of our real Hindu Nationhood and made many of the ‘freedom movements’ virtually anti-British movements. Anti-Britishism was equated with patriotism and nationalism. This reactionary view has had disastrous effects upon the entire course of the freedom struggle, its leaders and the common people.”3 But then in the futile attempt to elicit acceptance of a wrong proposition, the RSS did need to create a host of confusions, concoctions and unsubstantiated assertions. So Shri Golwalkar held and his followers uphold today that “knowledge is in the custody of Hindus alone. It is a divine trust, we may say, given to the charge of the Hindus by Destiny.”4 And then they peddle a show of scholasticism to state: “the underlying idea in all those movements (i.e. Indian freedom movement -P Era) was merely one of ousting the British. And that idea was equated with nationalism. For most of the leading men of those times (meaning the nationalist leaders and freedom fighters—P Era),’anti-Britishism’ and ‘nationalism’ were interconvertible terms. (this is) superficial kind of thinking…our nation and also of other nations …was not based on antagonism to anyone else. … slightest distortion in the initial concept of the national goal would… ultimately lead us to irretrievable catastrophic results.”5 Again we need to take note of another important proposition—‘nation is not built on antagonism to anyone else’. Why do they say so? Because, “Another advantage of the Indian view of society (meaning RSS’s doctrine of Hindu nationalism—P Era) is that it eschews class- war. It postulates social harmony as a potentiality, if not as a full actual order of law and custom, observances and enforcements. Indian thought too has sound notions of the role of the State as the agent of common good –‘raja dharma’ which now may be designated ‘rajyaniti’ or ‘rajya dharma’. The State should be above partial interests and should regulate all activities according to ‘dharma’. The State is not a class agent of the upper class, according to Indian shastras or political and social science. Nor it is an exploiting agency. It is an agent of morality or ‘dharma’. It precludes socialism in the sense of adding economy to political power.”6 So, the concept of Hindu nationalism does not believe in ‘class war’ but ‘class harmony’ and also does not view the capitalist state as an agent of the upper class, that is, the capitalist class. They lie and lie squarely when they say that such a falsified notion is in accordance with ‘political and social science’. Cunningly, the expression equates “Indian shastra” with “social and political science” as if both are the same.
Sorry gentlemen! You can sell such a weird story to a few people for some time but cannot make the informed minds gulp such a trash. Political and social science has proved conclusively that in the primitive society, there was no concept of private property. The primitive clan society was completely a classless one. But, at a particular juncture of history, when land appeared as a stable means of production or property, a condition was created for the small section of horde leaders, or chieftains in primitive society, to forcibly establish their ownership over cultivable land and appropriate the fruits of others’ labour by sheer might. Thus, community property was transformed into private property by flexing of muscle power by a tiny powerful section who by way of having established their ownership over the means of production became the rulers while the others—the majority of the toiling populace bullied into submission of the rulers became the oppressed slaves and constituted the ruled section. From then onwards, the society was class-divided between the exploiters and the exploited with their respective class interests being antagonistic to each other. So, the very origin of private property lies in injustice, coercion and forcible acquisition. In order to protect their right to private property, the slave masters in the first class-divided slave-master society sought to make this right to be perceived as sacred by the ruled slaves. At the same time, to ensure that this perception is accepted without any qualm, the slave-masters needed to develop a slew of coercive instruments like army, invoke a set of laws which were to be compulsorily obeyed by the slaves and thereby put in place a system to serve their class interest under the garb of bringing and sustaining order in the society. This coercive instrument in the hands of the rulers came to be known as the state. And obviously the state was, and still is, nothing but political power of the ruling class in the form of an instrument to perpetrate class exploitation, domination and coercion. The society transited from slave-society to feudal-monarchy and then to capitalism in course of intensification of class struggle and development as well as fulfilment of certain definite socio-historic conditions of bringing about the changes. And according to the inexorable law of social development, the society would finally reach classless communist society through a transitory stage of socialism. Hence, the craftily-fangled theory of Hindu Rashtra or Hindu nationalism totally stand against the laws governing the development of human society and is nothing but trash with wrapped in religious fanaticism.
So, it is clearly seen that the propositions of the RSS-BJP about class war, about the state being not a class agent of the upper (meaning ruling) class, not an exploiting agency but a morality and ensuring social harmony are not corroborated by the objective scientific law of social development. Scrutiny will reveal that those are cunning espousals for the deceptive concept of class harmony which the ruling capitalist class continuously propagate to confound people and stem the intensifying class struggle. They are aware that it is the class struggle which, if allowed to intensify, would accelerate the process of inevitable crumbling of the ruthlessly exploitative capitalist order. And the RSS-BJP and their allied outfits come out as not even covert, but overt agent of the oppressive capitalist rulers.
Bunkum of destiny-bestowed ‘divine trust’
Next point is of ‘divine trust’ that destiny has bestowed on the Hindus. And then Golwalkar further elaborated that “Hindus have a solution to offer. But our solution is not based on materialism…. on theories or ‘isms’ stemming from materialism… The word Hindu…has a national character. It connotes the entire culture and civilisation of the Indian people from pre-historic times developed on Indian soil through millennia.”7 So, they clearly declare that their version of Hinduism—which they flaunt as Hindutva—is no ‘ism” based on materialism but is a culture with a national character divinely ordained from “pre-historic” time. Clearly the assertion is against history, science, reasoning and objectivity. We have already seen that nationalism emerged at a particular juncture of history based on objective necessity. So, the question of Hindu nationalism existing from ‘pre-historic’ days is an absurdity par excellence! Like any other thought, even the concept of divinity also arose in human mind only at a given point of human civilization, under particular objective conditions, not the other way round. There was no concept of god among the ancient cave-dwelling nomadic people. Their thinking was based on the material world and nature. To win and overpower natural forces, primitive men worshipped those forces thinking that by doing so, they would be able to propitiate these forces. They never worshipped any super-natural force. Vivekananda himself admitted this fact in his discussion on ‘Adaitya Vedanta’ or ‘scientific religion’. Concept of divinity and religious belief arose at the initial stage of class-divided human society i.e. the slave-master society. Based on the concept of a ruler of human society, concept of a ruler of the world or master of the universe arose through a process of drawing analogy. So, the claim of “divine trust given to the Hindus by destiny” is really hollow and ill-conceived to blunt rational thinking. Moreover, in ancient India, there were powerful materialist philosophers like Charvaka and Lokayat. Buddhism and Jainism also had powerful influence. So, it would be a travesty of truth if one claims that since ancient time, this land which is now known as India had only Hindu religion.
Question of anti-Britishism and nationalism
Now we come to examine whether it was a folly to presume ‘anti-Britishism to be interconvertible with nationalism’. In the preceding paragraph, we have discussed the historical backdrop of emergence of a nation and the concept of nationalism. The process of and urge for formation of an Indian national state free from the colonial rule of the British imperialists began in the second half of the nineteenth century in tandem with growth and development of Indian national capital and emergence of the Indian national bourgeoisie who took initiative in giving shape to industrial capital. It was on the basis of this urge to develop Indian national capital, an Indian national market on a given territory that a new consciousness of Indian nationalism emerged. And consequently developed the Indian freedom movement against the alien British rule. This freedom movement was spurred on by the newly dawned concept of Indian nationalism. Hence Indian nationalism was inseparably linked with the just struggle to end British colonial rule.
Treacherous role of RSS and Hindu Mahasabha in Indian freedom movement
The RSS-BJP leaders are now championing themselves as true nationalists and patriots, as avowed worshipper of Bharat Mata. But their past history, particularly the role and stand of the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha during the Indian freedom movement had been disgraceful. While the entire country was in ferment, flowering youths charged by nationalist-patriotic fervour were facing bullets and bayonets, embracing gallows and spurning so called comfort and security of conventional life to free their motherland from the stranglehold of British imperialist rule, the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha not only opposed the freedom movement but declared their support and allegiance to the Britishers. We have already seen that the ideologues of the RSS-BJP discarded anti-British freedom fighters as reactionary as well as non-patriotic and held it to be counterposing true concept of nationalism meaning Hindu nationalism. So, according to them, all the revered national leaders, freedom fighters and martyrs starting from Netaji Subhas, Deshbandhu Chittaranjan, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Kshudiram, Bhagat Singh, Surya Sen and others were all reactionaries and traitors because they did not talk of Hindu nation. Will the people of the country accept this atrocious view?
Explaining further as to what does their version of Hindu nationalism mean and how it would be operationalized, Golwalkar wrote:“…foreign races in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e. of the Hindu nation and must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment not even citizen’s rights.”8It meant that those who do not profess Hinduism would have to compulsorily respect Hindu religion, Hindu culture and Hindu language i.e. Sanskrit. Otherwise, they would have no right in this country and, as elaborated by Golwalkar elsewhere, they would have to live as second grade citizens. Golwalkar also was effusive in praise for Hitler and his wanton racist thoughts, when the entire world and democratic minded people branded Hitler as the worst enemy of humanity. To quote from his open declaration: “To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic Races – the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifest here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by”9, Dindayal Upadhyaya, another RSS man having “complete unison with the thoughts of his Guruji (Golwalkar), was a front-ranking Muslim-basher and hater. He never shied away from using fiery rhetoric and incite mass hysteria against the Muslim community. He even went to the extent of saying that, “it is observed that Hindus even if they are rascals in individual life, when they come together in a group, they always think of good things. On the other hand when two Muslims come together, they propose and approve of things which they themselves in their individual capacity would not even think of. They start thinking in an altogether different way. This is an everyday experience.”10 All these bear eloquent testimony as to how Hindu nationalism of the RSS-BJP find in Hitlerite fascism a unity of thought. Obviously, can an apologist of fascism be a protagonist of nationalism or patriotism by any stretch of imagination?
Mere acquaintance with certain more facts and evidences would be further revealing. In 2003, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government installed a portrait of V D Savarkar in Parliament’s central hall, right opposite Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait. Of late, BJP Prime Minister Modi has renamed the Port Blair Airport in the Andamans as Veer Savarkar Viamn Bandar. Savarkar was another protagonist of arch communal Hindutva and so called Hindu nationalism. He was associated with the Hindu Mahasabha. He wrote a book on Hindutva and Hindu nationalism which was profusely praised by Golwalkar and others. Way back in the 1920s, the title veer (gallant) was bestowed on Savarkar by the Hindutva zealots. But how ‘veer’ was he?
In his early life, he was associated with the revolutionary current of freedom movement. Once arrested, he was sent to the Andamans cellular jail. But his ‘famed fortitude’ was rarely on display during his years of imprisonment in the Andamans. He tendered craven apologies to the British, willing to bargain for his own freedom, not the freedom of his country. In 1911 itself, Savarkar petitioned the British authorities for clemency. Savarkar referred to this first petition in his second petition to the British on 14 November 1913. In its concluding part, he wrote: “I am ready to serve the Government in any capacity they like… The mighty alone can afford to be merciful, and therefore where else can the prodigal son return but to the parental doors of the Government?”11In his third mercy petition in 1914, he said, “I most humbly beg to offer myself as a volunteer to do any service in the present war, that the Indian government think fit to demand from me… I know that a Kingdom does not depend on the help of an insignificant individual like me, but then I know also that every individual, however insignificant, is duty-bound to volunteer his or her best for the defence of that Kingdom.”12 He also declared that he no longer believed in violence, justifying his conversion to constitutionalism because of the reforms the British government had introduced. Savarkar said his conversion to the constitutional line would bring back “all those misled young men in India and abroad who were once looking up to me as their guide”.13Thus, at one stroke, he himself disowned his past association with the Indian revolutionary movement. In his mercy petition personally submitted to Sir Reginald Craddock, the then home member of the Government of British India, read thus: “I had to pass [a] full six months in solitary confinement… From that time to this day, I have tried to keep my behaviour as good as possible… I have 50 years staring me in the face! How can I pull up the moral energy to pass them in close confinement?”14 Even his treacherous behaviour in the jail is evidenced in another incident. Once he encouraged other inmates of the jail, mostly freedom fighters, to go on hunger strike. But when everyone including those older than him participated in the strike, neither he nor his brother joined it. Trailokya Nath Chakravarti, one of the venerated leader of the revolutionary trend of Indian freedom movement, narrated this incident to the historian R C Majumdar. In his final petition to the British rulers, he categorically said, “I heartily abhor methods of violence resorted to in days gone by, and I feel myself duty bound to uphold Law and the constitution…”15 Finally, he was released by the British government on conditions that he would be staying in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra and not engage himself in any political activities, publicly or privately. Savarkar accepted these terms, shattering the myth spun around his much-serenaded bravery and immediately landed in the service of the British rulers. In reciprocation, the British government allowed K B Hedgewar, the founding sarsanghchalak of the RSS, and his mentor B.S. Moonje to meet him in Ratnagiri and he was even allowed to revive the Hindu Mahasabha. Savarkar was elected President of the Hindu Mahasabha in 1937. During the Quit India movement in 1942, when a large section of Indian people and the freedom movement leaders were repressed and jailed, Savarkar chose to cooperate with the tyrannical British rulers. Addressing the 24th session of the Hindu Mahasabha in Kanpur in 1942, Savarkar justified his support to the British by saying that “The Hindu Mahasabha holds that the leading principle of all practical politics is the policy of responsive cooperation…(and) breaking so-called united front against British imperialism.”16 He also asked the Hindus to cooperate with the British. Abhorring the arch communal-fundamentalist stand of the RSS and the venomous admixture of politics with religion, Netaji Subhaschandra had long before cautioned the countrymen in1938 that, “Communalism has raised its ugly head in an all-out nakedness… Even the oppressed, the poor and ignorant long for independence. We hear voices of Hindu Raj in India owing to a majority of Hindu population. These are all useless thoughts. Do the communal organizations solve any of the problems confronted by the working class? Do any such organizations have any answer to unemployment and poverty?… The ideas of Savarkar and. Hindu Mahasabha of anti-Muslim propaganda in practice means full collaboration with British!” 17AHe once again sounded the caution in 1940 that “Hindu Mahasabha has sent sannyasis and sannyasinis to solicit votes with tridents in hand. Every Hindu bends his head by seeing saffron cloth and trident. Hindu Mahasabha has appeared in the scene by taking advantage of and defiling religion…. isolate these traitors from the national life. Do not listen to them. We want that all freedom-loving men and women of the country serve the country unitedly and intently.”17 RSS often talks of vyaktinirman (man making) through a number of disciplined practices and conduct like drills, yoga, spiritual learnings etc. The RSS Sakhas (i.e., units) are claimed to have been built up for that. Noteworthy fact is that for being familiarized with an archetypal of the vyaktinirman the RSS had conceived, its leader A B S Munje visited Mussolini’s Italy to learn their fascist methods of training youth with regimentation and military training. The RSS units were thus based on fruits of Munje’s mission.
The RSS-BJP have been projecting these Golwalkar-Savarkar-Hedgewar-Munje-Dindayal and their ilk as nationalists and patriots while branding the death-defying freedom fighters and leaders in our country as reactionaries. Now it is upto the people to decide whether the persons on whom the RSS-BJP have been putting a label of nationalist were patriots or Netaji, Kshudiram, Bhagat Singh, Chandrasekhar Azad, Surya Sen and a host of other valiant freedom fighters who fought the British imperialists and courted martyrdom were patriots.
RSS-Hindu Mahasabha’s connivance in partition of the country
V D Savarkar went full-throttle in spewing communal venom and hatred against the minorities right from the days he announced his allegiance to the British imperialists. In 1923, he wrote a book titled Essentials of Hindutva, under the pseudonym of A Maratha. There he declared that “Our Mohammedan or Christian countrymen… are not and cannot be recognised as Hindus. For, though Hindustan to them is fatherland as to any other Hindu, yet it is not to them a holy land, too. Their holy land is far off in Arabia or Palestine,”18 In 1924, Savarkar also started holding ‘shuddhi’ (purification) ceremonies, or the reconversion of non-Hindus to the Hindu fold. In 1925, after a Hindu-Muslim riot broke out over Rangeela Rasool, a scurrilous booklet on Prophet Mohammad, Savarkar wrote an inflammatory article in the English newspaper, Mahratta, following which the communal conflagration soon spread to parts of Punjab. And most importantly, he and his fellow-travellers were staunch protagonists of so called religion-based nationalism and hence endorsed the most atrocious two nation theory based on which the country was divided. While addressing the 19th session of the Mahasabha in Ahmedabad in 1937, he declared: “There are two antagonistic nations living side by side in India. Several infantile politicians commit the serious mistake in supposing that India is already welded into a harmonious nation, or that it could be welded thus for the mere wish to do so… India cannot be assumed today to be a unitarian and homogenous nation. On the contrary, there are two nations in the main: the Hindus and the Muslims, in India.”19 Thus, the theory of two nations, first proposed in the ‘Essentials of Hindutva’, was passed as a resolution of the Mahasabha in 1937. Three years later, the All-India Muslim League, led by Jinnah, adopted the concept in its Lahore session. After a meeting with Savarkar in Bombay on 9 October 1939, Lord Linlithgow, the then viceroy of India, in his report to Lord Zetland, the then Secretary of State for India, wrote that “The situation, he [Savarkar] said, was that His Majesty’s government must now turn to the Hindus and work with their support… Our interests were now the same and we must therefore work together… Our interests are so closely bound together, the essential thing is for Hinduism and Great Britain to be friends and the old antagonism was no longer necessary.”20 On 15 August 1943, Savarkar said in Nagpur, “I have no quarrel with Mr Jinnah’s two-nation theory. We, Hindus, are a nation by ourselves and it is a historical fact that Hindus and Muslims are two nations.”21 Savarkar’s theory of “responsive cooperation” enabled the Mahasabha to combine with the Muslim League and form coalition governments in Bengal, Sind and North-West Frontier Province. Fazlul Huq of the Muslim League became the Chief Minister of Bengal, while Shyama Prasad Mookerjee of the Hindu Mahasabha, was the deputy chief minister in that coalition government in 1941. It is pertinent to mention here that Fazlul Huq, then public prosecutor of the British government, had sent Trailokya Nath Chakraborty to the Cellular Jail.
The veneer is coming out
This is just a synopsis of the kind nationalism and patriotism that the RSS-BJP have been practising and pursuing since long ostensibly in subservience of bourgeois class interest. That is why, when the Vajpayee-led BJP government installed a portrait of Savarkar in the central hall of the parliament building in 2003, Vishwanath Mathur, a freedom fighter from Bhagat Singh’s party who had also served a sentence in the cellular jail, was furious. Describing Savarkar as a “coward being portrayed as a revolutionary”, he said in protest that “This government is determined to legitimise a symbol of national shame. Not only did he beg for mercy from the British and was an accused in the Mahatma Gandhi assassination case, he was also a proponent of the two nation theory.”22 Goebbels, the infamous propaganda minister, once remarked that “with sufficient repetition, it would not be impossible to prove… that a square is in fact a circle.”Again, RSS-BJP are holding Hitler-Goebbels as well as Mussolini, role models to paint communalism-fundamentalism as nationalism, collaboration with the colonial government as fighting for freedom, going to any length to divide people along communal line as patriotism, cowardice as courage and traitors as national heroes.
What is clear is that when there was need to promote nationalism and true patriotism by wholeheartedly participating in the anti-British freedom struggle, RSS-Hindu Mahasabha flaunted their outright anti-national non-patriotic character. But today, the ruling Indian national bourgeoisie who assumed state power from the British rulers through compromise and as an inalienable part of the decadent moribund utterly corrupt and reactionary world imperialism-capitalism is bent upon prolonging its ruthlessly oppressive worn-out class rule by squeezing out even the last drop of blood of the toiling countrymen and fooling them with deceptive slogan of nationalism and patriotism. This present slogan of nationalism and patriotism is in fact national jingoism supporting which is akin to plunging into servile servitude of ruling capitalism and thus militates against the imperative task of overthrowing capitalism by revolution. Hitler also camouflaged his fascist face under the catchphrase of national socialism. By championing themselves as self-styled votaries of nationalism and patriotism which they are twisting into their old and pure fascist ideological connotation, whereby any criticism of their rabid communal stand, actions and abject failures is decried as anti-national the RSS-BJP have also been playing the role of trusted political managers of the ruling bourgeoisie. How could they dare to hoodwink people with all these falsified notions of nationalism and patriotism? Because most of the countrymen are illiterate and are not aware of history and truth. On the other hand, a sizeable section of the intelligentsia has become oblivious of history. But it is heartening to note that a good number of right thinking conscientious intellectuals, scientists, artistes and writers have shown courage to openly oppose the ‘unreason and lies’ propagated by the RSS-BJP-Sangh Parivar and sought their electoral defeat. It is hoped that a greater number of democratic-minded people would join and strengthen this voice of protest. What is needed is not just an electoral defeat but a complete ideological routing of such falsified doctrine of Hindutva, Hindu nationalism or Hindu Rashtra.
Sources of quotations/ references: –
1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7—Bunch of Thoughts
2, 8, 9—We or our nationhood
10, 22— Quoted by Pavan Kulkarni in‘The Wire’ dated30-10-17
11, 13, 15— Quoted from a two-part series article on V D Savarkar by Azaz Ashraf in ‘The Scroll’ dated 27-05-16
12, 14, 16, 19, 20, 21— Quoted in the article ‘A lamb, lionised’ by Niranjan Takle in ‘The Week’ dated 24-01-16
17A. Speech in Coomilla on 14 June,1938
17—Ananda Bazar Patrika, 14 May, 1940
18—Essentials of Hindutva