“underlying these religions were a common set of beliefs about how you treat other people and how you aspire to act, not just for yourself but also for the greater good”
(Obama in his interview about Religion given to Cathleen Falsani, March,27,2004; cf. to his mother’s teaching about the validity of diverse faiths and the value of tolerance.)
So, now, India is home to “Hindu” terrorism.
Departing from the more usual banner-appelation, “Saffron Terror”, I wish the fact to be registered that saffron is drawn from the stamin of a delicate and indescribably pretty mauve flower grown exclusively in my home valley of Kashmir, and exclusively by Muslims. My inherited memories of it are thereby sweet and secular to the core.
Also, saffron when used to grace milk products, Biryani, or to brew the heavenly Kehwa is a thing of the gods truly.
It is only when it is coerced against the use of nature to colour politics that it rages against the sin. Then, don’t we know, what gruesome consequences begin.
I think it proper, therefore, to stick with the more direct and honest description “Hindu” terrorism, since, much against their grain, even India’s premier TV channels are now bringing us news of “Hindu” terrorism, so compelling the materials gathered by the investigating agencies thus far.
This despite the fact that in my view the term “Hindu” trerrorism is as erroneous as the term “Muslim” terrorism. Even though not a religious man myself, I am able to see that being Hindu or Muslim by accident of birth has no necessary connect with how one’s politics turn out to be in adult life. A plethora of specific contexts and shaping histories are here provenly more to the point.
It was way back in 1923 that Savarkar, never a practicing Hindu (indeed a self-confessed atheist) had first understood that from this benign term, “Hindu,” could be drawn the toxic racial concept Hindutva, and made to serve a forthrightly fascist purpose. That Brahminism had always been a socially toxic form of Hinduism was of course an enabling prehistory to the new project.
He it was who established Abhinav Bharat in Pune (1904), that theoretical hotbed of twice-born Brahminical casteism against which low-caste social reformers such as Phule, Periyar, and Ambedkar were to struggle their whole lives long.
Such casteism was made the instrument of communalist politics to serve two major objectives: one, to overwhelm and negate the specific cultural and material oppressions of the low-caste within the Hindu Varna system , and two, to elevate the low-caste as a warrior of a common “Hindutva” army against the chief common “enemy,” the Muslim.
Such an army has been seen to be needed to salvage the “real” nation from this so-called common enemy who continues to be represented to this day by the RSS and its hydra-headed “educational” front organizations as an “invader” still bent on seeking to convert India into an Islamic theocratic state.
Aided in these mythical fears and constructions by the British during the crucial decades leading upto Independence, India’s majoritarian fascists continue thus to keep at bay all consideration of secular oppressions based entirely in the brutal social order of Capitalist expropriation.
Savarkar thus counseled how a resurgent nation could result only if “Hinduism was militarized, and the military Hinduised.”
Clearly enough, the serving army Colonel, S.P. Purohit and the other retired Major, one Upadhyay, who the Mumbai ATS (Anti-Terrorist Squad) tells us, are at the centre of the Malegaon terrorist blasts of September 29, 2008, alongwith Sadhvi Pragya and the rogue-sadhu, Amreetanand—and very possibly complicit in half a dozen other blasts as well—seem to have heeded Savarkar’s advice to the hilt.
Indeed, in his Narco-test confessions, Colonel Purohit, sources have told some TV channels (Times Now), admits to his guilt and justifies his actiIndia’s majoritarian fascistsons as retribution for what he thinks SIMI (Student’s Islamic Movement of India) have been doing. He is understood to have further indicated that the rogue sadhu, Amreetanand, nee Dayanand etc., has been the kingpin and chief coordinator and devisor of several other blasts carried out by this cell, including the blasts at the revered Ajmer Dargah (Mausoleum of the 12th century Sufi saint, Chisti, which to this day draws devotees across faiths the world-over), and at Kanpur.
The ATS are now busy exploring the routes through which huge sums of money have been brought into the country for such terrorist activity as Hawala transactions, and whether the RDX, suspected to be used in the Malegaon blast, was procured by Colonel Purohit through army connections. It is to be noted that Purohit has been in Military Intelligence, and serving in Jammu & Kashmir, where it is thought he made contact with the rogue sadhu, Amreetanand.
(Indeed, as I write, news comes of the ATS claiming that Purohit actually stole some 60 kilos of RDX which was in his custody while doing duty at Deolali, and that in his Narco-test confession he admits to passing it on to one “Bhagwan” for use in the blast on the Samjhauta Express train in Feb.,2007.)
Needless to say, that alongwith the courts, we will also require that the ATS is actually able to obtain convictions rather than merely pile on evidence which may not be admissible in law.
To return to the argument:
As I suggested in my last column, “Notions of the Nation” (Znet, Nov.,4), Hindutva militarism since the establishment of the Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS has been inspired by the desire to emulate and then better Muslim “aggressiveness” seen as a racial characteristic that defined “Muslim” rule in India, and rendered Hindus “limp” and “cowardly.”
Thus, if Savarkar established Ahninav Bharat, Dr.Moonje, an avowed Mussolini admirer who in turn inspired Dr.Hedgewar to establish the RSS on Vijay Dashmi of 1924 (victory day, denoting the liquidation of the Dravidian Ravana by the Aryan Kshatriya warrior, Ram) established the Bhondsala Military Academy at Indore (1937). It now transpires that this academy has been playing host to the Bajrang Dal for militarist training routines etc., and its director, one Raikar, has put in his papers.
Unsurprisingly enough, both these institutions are now under the scanner.
Over the last decade, terrorist blasts have occurred in India across a wide variety of sites and in major cities and towns.
Many of these blasts have taken place outside mosques and known Muslim- majority locations, as well outside cinema halls that were thought to be showing movies inimical to Hindu glory.
Briefly, these sites are: cinemas in Thane and Vashi in Maharashtra, Jalna, Purna, Parbhani, and Malegaon towns, again all in Maharashtra—and all areas of high Muslim density, in Hyderabad outside a famous old mosque, and in Ahmedabad and Surat in Gujarat.
Curiously, in the Surat episode, some sixteen odd bombs were found placed along the main thoroughfare in tree branches, on house-tops, on electric poles and so forth. Not one of them however exploded. This was thought to be the result of defective switches. Curious circumstance that; besides the wonder that Ahmedabad’s Muslims could find such sprawling access to such strategic locations without Modi knowing a thing.
Yet, regardless of where the blasts have taken place, almost without exception the Pavlovian response of state agencies as well as, sad to say, media channels has been invariably to point fingers of suspicion and culpability towards one or the other “Islamic” outfit.
Often, young Muslims men have been rounded up in the scores and held for days of brutal questioning without the least prima facie evidence. Nearly in all such cases, however reluctantly, they have had to be let off.
The most recent case is that of some fifteen young Muslims picked up after the Hyderabad blasts. Tortured with electric shocks, they have nevertheless been found to be innocent and let go.
Indeed, after the gruesome blasts in the Samjhauta Express—a train service of reconciliation and confidence-building between India and Pakistan—in which some 68 people were burnt to cinders, 45 of them Pakistani citizens, fingers were immediately pointed towards the SIMI.
Yet, the ATS of Mumbai now suspects that this may also be the doing of the “Hindu” terrorists in custody. These speculations have been raised by the circumstance that the suitcases that held the bombs had Indore labels on them.
Just as the ATS now suspects that more than half a dozen blasts (the two at Malegaon, in 2006 and 2008, at the cinemas in Thane and Vashi, at Jalna, at Purna, at Parbhani, provenly at Nanded and Kanpur) have all been the handiwork of “Hindu” terror groups.