Mainstream Weekly

Home > Archives (2006 on) > 2017 > Everyday Agnipariksha of UP Madrasaas to prove Patriotism: Hindutva Attack (...)

Mainstream, VOL LVI No 1 New Delhi December 23, 2017 - Annual Number

Everyday Agnipariksha of UP Madrasaas to prove Patriotism: Hindutva Attack Must Be Faced Innovatively

Sunday 24 December 2017


by Shamsul Islam

On the eve of the 70th anniversary of India’s independence, the Government of UP led by a senior leader of the Hindu Mahasabha and RSS, Mahant Adityanath Yogi, came out with a stunning order for madrasaas (Islamic semi-naries). They were ordered to compulsorily observe the Independence Day, August 15, and the same had to be video-graphed to be sent to the administration as proof. The order was issued by the Registrar of UP Madrasa Shiksha Parishad, Rahul Gupta. The circular directed all madrasaas to hoist the tricolour and sing the national anthem at 8 am. The madrasaa gatherings were also asked to be told about the sacrifices of the freedom fighters. The flag-hoisting was to be followed by a speech on the importance of the freedom struggle and the sacrifices made by the freedom fighters. It was also ordered that students would have to pay tributes to freedom fighters on the occasion.1

When asked why only madrasaas were ordered to celebrate independence with a list of dos and provide proof of the same and this order was not applicable in government schools, the Basic Education Board Secretary, Sanjay Sinha, crossing all norms of fair-play, justice and equal treatment to all citizens, made a shocking statement: “We trust our schools. They are our teachers, our students and so why should we seek any evidence.’’ 2So making it clear that madarsaa students and teachers were ‘others’ whose loyalty was suspect. This statement not only doubted the loyalty of Muslims attached to madrasaas but also aimed at creating hatred towards the largest minority community of UP. Such a statement coming from a senior UP official could lead to violence against Muslims in general and was a criminal act under Section 153 A. The police should have filed FIR under it.3

No action was taken by the State which was expected but more shameful was the indifferent attitude of prominent Muslim organisations of UP who slept over it, instead of taking recourse to judicial redressal.

Madarsaas played a Great Heroic Role in India’s Freedom Struggle

The madrasaas under communal attack in UP and elsewhere have been part of India’s glorious freedom struggle. The renowned historian R.C. Majumdar, who produced tremendous research- based works on the Cellular Jail, found out that the first batch which was incarcerated there consisted of leaders of the 1857 Uprising like Maulana Fazle Haq Khairabadi, Maulana Liaqat Ali and Maulana Jafar Ali Thaneshwari who died there while serving life sentences. The second batch of prisoners were the Wahabi maulvi revolutionaries who had continued waging the 1857 liberation struggle.4 V.D. Savarkar, before turning into an apostle of Hindu separatism, in his monumental work on the 1857 Uprising, The Indian War of Independence 1857, hugely praised maulvis like Ahmed Shah who “had woven fine and cleverly the webs of the Jehad.5

According to the contemporary documents of the British military archives, in Delhi itself the British Army after capturing the city in September 1857 hanged more than 3000 teachers and students of madrasaas. Muslims were not allowed entry into the city till 1859.

During the anti-colonial freedom movement, there were madrasaamaulvis (teachers) like Maulana Shibli Nomani, Maulana Shaukat Ali, Maulana Mohammed Ali, Maulana Hifzur Rehman, Maulana Hasrat Mohani, Hafiz Ibrahim, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Maulana Habeebur Rehman Ludhianvi and Maulana Madani who—with Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Patel—bore the brunt of the repression for being a part of the freedom movement. Some of these maulvis were incarcerated at Malta and spent half of their lives in British jails. It is to be noted that these maulvis refused to accept Partition of India on the religious basis despite the Congress accepting it.

Madrasaas, with such a glorious role in the freedom struggle of India with countless martyrs from their past fraternity in the cause of the freedom of India, are being ridiculed and harassed today for being ‘disloyal’. The state is out to teach the ‘anti-national’ Muslims patriotism. Let’s compare this fundamental character of madrasaas with the role of the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha in the freedom struggle whose children rule India presently.

RSS’ Hatred for Tricolour

The RSS, since its inception in 1925, hated anything which symbolised the united struggle of the Indian people against British rule. The case of the Tricolour is the most pertinent one. In December 1929 the Congress, at its Lahore session, adopted ‘Purna Swaraj’ or complete self-rule as the national goal and called upon the people to observe January 26, 1930 as Indepen-dence Day by displaying and honouring the Tricolour (the Tricolour was by consensus considered the flag of the national movement by this time). In response to this Hedgewar as the chief issued a circular to all the RSS shakhas to worship the bhagwa jhanda (saffron flag) as the national flag.

Golwalkar, the most prominent ideologue of the RSS and Guru of many of the present lot of RSS/BJP leaders, while addressing a Guru-purnima gathering in Nagpur on July 14, 1946, stated that it was the saffron flag which in totality represented their great culture. It was the embodiment of God: “We firmly believe that in the end the whole nation will bow before this saffron flag.”6

Even after independence when the Tricolour became the National Flag, it was the RSS which refused to accept it as the National Flag. Golwalkar, while discussing the issue of the national flag in an essay entitled ‘Drifting and Drifting’ in the book Bunch of Thoughts, an RSS publication and collection of writings of Golwalkar, decried the Tricolour in the following words: “Our leaders have set up a new flag for our country. Why did they do so? It is just a case of drifting and imitating....Ours is an ancient and great nation with a glorious past. Then, had we no flag of our own? Had we no national emblem at all these thousands of years? Undoubtedly, we had. Then why this utter void, this utter vacuum in our minds?” 7 The most shocking denigration of the National Flag by the RSS came just on the eve of India’s independence. The RSS’ English organ, Organiser (August 14, 1947), while demanding hoisting of the saffron flag at the ramparts of Red Fort in Delhi, openly denigrated the choice of the Tricolour as the National Flag in the following words: “The people who have come to power by the kick of fate may give in our hands the Tricolour but it will never be respected and owned by Hindus. The word three is in itself an evil, and a flag having three colours will certainly produce a very bad psychological effect and is injurious to a country.”

RSS/Hindu Mahasabha shamelessly betrayed Freedom Struggle

The RSS/BJP Governors of UP by enforcing celebration of Independence Day on the madrassas of UP are, in fact, attempting to cover-up their betrayal of the glorious united freedom struggle of the Indian people. The RSS never participated in the freedom struggle and it was confessed by Guru Golwalkar who was the boss of the organisation from 1940 onward. The Non-cooperation Movement and Quit India Movement were two great milestones in the history of the Indian freedom struggle and here is how he decried these movements:

“Definitely there are bound to be bad results of struggle. The boys became unruly after the 1920-21 movement. It is not an attempt to throw mud at the leaders. But these are inevitable products after the struggle. The matter is that we could not properly control these results. After 1942, people often started thinking that there was no need to think of the law.”8

Thus, Golwalkar wanted the Indians to respect the draconian and repressive laws of the inhuman British rulers! Guruji also confessed how the RSS kept away from the freedom movement:

“In 1942 also there was a strong sentiment in the hearts of many. At that time, too the routine work of Sangh continued. Sangh vowed not to do anything directly. However, upheaval (uthal-puthal) in the minds of Sangh volunteers continued. Sangh is an organisation of inactive persons, their talks are useless, not only outsiders but also many of our volunteers did talk like this. They were greatly disgusted too.”9

The Hindu Mahasabha led by the RSS’ beloved, Savarkar, ran coalition governments with the Muslim League in Bengal, Sind and NWFP when the Congress was banned due to the launch of the Quit India Movement. Shockingly, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, another Hindutva icon of RSS/BJP was the Deputy Chief Minister in the Muslim League Ministry of Bengal.10

It must have been due to the ideological reason that Golwalkar (RSS chief since 1940), Deendayal Upadhyay (prominent RSS cadre since 1937) and L.K. Advani (RSS activist since 1942) never participated in the freedom struggle.

Even the greatest Hindutva icon of the RSS/BJP, Savarkar, wrote four-five mercy petitions to the British masters for release from the Cellular Jail. Ultimately, he was released after 10 years while he had been sentenced for 50 years.

This discriminatory order, doubting the patriotism of Muslims imposed by the RSS/BJP rulers of UP for madrasaas, has, naturally, terrorised Muslims of UP and a strong sense of despair prevails amongst them. They are scared that this issue like cow will be used to physically target them and another spell of lynching and destruction will follow.

The saddest point is that the Muslim organisations, which mushroom in UP and elsewhere, have kept mum on this brazen attack. The discriminatory order was not challenged for being a serious cause of spreading hatred against the common Muslims. Apart from challenging it, madrasaa administrations should have used this opportunity to equip the Muslim audiences with the anti-national history of the RSS/BJP rulers. If they announce that during the next August 15 (2018), the madrassas would discuss the treacherous anti-national role of the Hindutva gang while following this order, the latter may be consigned to the dustbin. But for it the madrasaas will have to prepare documents in Urdu specially focussing on the betrayal of the freedom struggle by the Hindutva gang. The next August 15 is not too long away, the preparations must start now.




3. Ingredients of Section 153A:

 The act of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste, community or any other group.

 Acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different groups or castes or communities, if the acts disturb public tranquillity.

 Acts causing fear or alarm or a feeling of insecurity among members of any religious, racial, language or regional group or caste or community by use of criminal force or violence against them.

4. R.C. Majumdar, Penal Settlements in Andamans, Government of India, Delhi, 1975, 143.

5. V.D. Savarkar, The Indian War of Independence 1857, Rajdhani, Delhi, 88.

6. M.S. Golwalkar, Shri Guruji Samagar Darshan (Collected Works of Golwalkar in Hindi), Bharatiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, nd., volume I, p. 98.

7. M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore, 1996, pp. 237-238.

8. SGSD, volume IV, 41.

9. Ibid., p. 40.

10. Samagar Savarkar Wangmaya (Collected Works of Savarkar), Hindu Mahasabha, Poona, 1963, 479-480.

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 use the following link: http/

ISSN (Mainstream Online) : 2582-7316 | Privacy Policy|
Notice: Mainstream Weekly appears online only.