Mainstream, VOL LV No 11 New Delhi March 4, 2017
PM Modi’s Muslim Bashing in UP Elections
CARRYING FORWARD THE RSS LEGACY OF HATRED TOWARDS MINORITIES
Sunday 5 March 2017, by
As the multi-phased UP Assembly elections progress, PM Modi as the only mascot of the BJP’s campaign is becoming more belligerent in his communally polarising rhetoric. Speaking at an election rally on (February 20, 2017) at Fatehpur, the PM, while raising the issue of appeasement of the Muslim minority in the State by the current Samajwadi Party Government, went to the extent of declaring: “Ramzan me bijli ati hai to Diwali me bhi ani chahiye; Bhedbhav nahi hona chahiye (If there is electricity during Ramzan then it must be available during Diwali too; there shouldn’t be any discrimi-nation.)...Gaon me kabristan banta hai to shamshaan bhi banna chahiye (If there is a ‘kabaristaan’ (grave-yard), there should be a ‘shamshaan’ (cremation ground) too in the village.)”1
PM Modi was clearly targeting the Akhilesh Government for favouring Muslims over Hindus of UP. Though he did not share any data to prove this serious allegation, the PM wanted to convey to his Hindu audience that the Samaj-wadi Party did not care for Hindu votes and was in power due to Muslim votes, and so naturally he cared for the latter only.
This brash allegation needs serious investi-gation. Modi has been addressing election meetings in UP for almost the last three weeks but never raised this issue. The Fatehpur address showed that he was trying to heighten the pitch for polarisation between the Hindu and Muslim electorate. It also meant that the UP electorate, overwhelmingly consisting of Hindus, had not come out in support of the BJP. So, the bogey of Muslim appeasement and ‘enemy’ Muslim were being raised. Responding to this development a leading English daily of the country editorially wrote that halfway into the UP campaign, “both the PM’s choice of examples, and his message, are unfortunate...It neither behoves the PM nor his office”.2
Before delving into the ideological background of the PM’s Muslim bashing, let us judge this spate of allegations from a common-sensical point of view. Modi’s argument is that the Akhilesh Government was elected by Muslim voters; so it naturally worked for the interest of its ‘Muslim vote-bank’ overlooking the demands of the Hindus. While making any final opinion on this issue we have to take into account the following figures: Muslims constitute 19.3 per cent of the UP population whereas Hindus are 79.73 per cent in the State. Out of a total 404 UP Assembly seats Muslims have a share of more than 30 per cent votes in 73 constituencies and 20-30 per cent votes in 70 constituencies. In the last 2012 Assembly elections, the Samajwadi Party secured 224 seats. If Modi’s argument is tested in the light of the above facts and figures, it would be suicidal for any political party in UP to win on the strength of Muslim votes alone and serve the interests of Muslims in the State. It would be sheer illiteracy to claim that 19.3 per cent Muslim voters would elect a government which should win a minimum of 203 seats to rule. The BJP’s own list of candidates for the 2017 Assembly elections shows that it does not find Muslims as a significant or deciding factor in the current Assembly elections. It has not nominated a single Muslim candidate for these elections. The myth of ‘Muslim vote-bank’ is in fact an insult to the Hindu electorate of UP that have often elected non-BJP governments.
The Hindutva bogey of Muslim appeasement has no factual basis, totally disregards common sense but continues to be touted in RSS shakhas and ‘boudhik baithaks’. Whatever PM Modi says about Muslim appeasement is the outcome of his being a ‘Hindu nationalist’ and groomed as a political leader by Guru Golwalkar, the second supremo of the RSS, who is also referred to as the ‘Guru of Hate’.
Golwalkar, as early as in 1939, declared that Muslims and Christians of India belonged to foreign races and in order to stay in ‘Hindusthan’ they “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. There is, at least should be, no other course for them to adopt. We are an old nation: let us deal, as old nations ought to and do deal, with the foreign races who have chosen to live in our country.”3
The RSS outrightly rejected the idea that Indian Muslims too were part of the Indian nation. The English organ of the RSS, Organiser, on the very eve of Independence (August 14, 1947), editorially chalked out its concept of nation in the following words: “Let us no longer allow ourselves to be influenced by false notions of nationhood. Much of the mental confusion and the present and future troubles can be removed by the ready recognition of the simple fact that in Hindusthan only the Hindus form the nation and the national structure must be built on that safe and sound foundation...The nation itself must be built up of Hindus, on Hindu traditions, culture, ideas and aspirations.”
Even after Independence its hatred for mino-rities, specially Muslims, continued unabated, in fact, got more focussed. The ‘Holy’ book for the RSS cadres, Bunch of Thoughts, which is a collection of writings and speeches of Golwalkar (first published by the RSS in 1966) has a long chapter titled as ‘Internal Threats’ in which Muslims and Christians are described as threat number one and two respectively. He goes on to spit venom against common Muslims in the following words: “W
ithin the country there are so many Muslim pockets, i.e., so many‘miniature Pakistans’...The conclusion is that, in practically everyplace, there are Muslims who are in constant touch with Pakistan over the transmitter...”4
While addressing the leading RSS cadres of South India in Bangalore on November 30, 1960, Golwalkar made the following sensational statement:
“Right from Delhi to Rampur, Muslims are busy hatching a dangerous plot, piling up arms and mobilizing their men, and probably biding their time to strike from within.”5Shockingly, there was no substantiation or proofs offered for such a serious allegation against the whole Muslim community residing in the western Uttar Pradesh (UP). More shocking was that the police of Karnataka or UP did not prosecute Golwalkar for rumour-mongering.
Golwalkar’s hatred for Muslims was endless. He continued to preach that Muslims
“are born in this land, no doubt. But are they true to their salt? Are they grateful to this land which has brought them up? Do they feel that they are the children of this land and its tradition, and that to serve it is their great good fortune? Do they feel it a duty to serve her? No! Together with the change in their faith, gone is the spirit of love and devotion for the nation. Nor does it end there. They have also developed a feeling of identification with the enemies of this land.”6
PM Modi’s bashing of Muslims in the UP elections should not surprise anybody. He may be a PM of a democratic-secular country but has been groomed by the RSS and Golwalkar into a political leader and proudly identifies himself as a ‘Hindu nationalist’.7 He is out to implement the RSS agenda of demonising minorities, specially Muslims, the largest minority of the country, in order to prepare ground for the consolidation of Hindus. He represents the greatest challenge to our democratic-secular polity from within. It is unfortunate that Modi’s long stint with our democratic-secular constitutional set-up has not brought even an iota of change (or secularisation) in the Hindutva perception of PM Modi. The election results of the UP elections in the first half of March 2017 are going to settle the future of the Indian polity. Will Indian democracy survive the attempts to undo it from within? This is a billion-dollar question.
3. M.S. Golwalkar, We Or Our Nationhood Defined, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, pp. 47-48.
4. M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore, 1996, p. 185.
5. M.S. Golwalkar, ‘From Delhi to Rampur Muslims are conspiring’, Organiser, December 12, 1960.
6. M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore, 1996, p. 125.
Shamsul Islam, a well-known theatre personality, is a former Associate Professor (now retired), Department of Political Science, Satyawati College, University of Delhi. For some of the author’s writings in English, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Punjabi, Urdu and Gujarati see the following link: http/du-in.academia.edu/Shamsullslam