Hinduism doesn’t preach Jihad: Rakesh Sinha
A well known columnist, Rakesh Sinha has done a deep study of the RSS and the philosophy of Hinduism apart from following BJP’s rise to power. Besides being a professor of Political Science in Delhi University, he has also authored a book on the RSS founder titled ‘KB Hedgewar – A Biography’. In another of his famous works ‘Shri Guruji- & Indian Muslims’, he describes the thoughts and ideologies of RSS Sarsanghchalak MS Golwalkar. Being such an authority on the saffron ideology, he talks candidly to Zeenews.com‘s Himanshu Shekhar , about
the issues in the limelight especially the new face of terror, called ‘Hindu Terrorism’.
Himanshu : ‘One man’s terrorist is other man’s freedom fighter’ is a saying. How will you react to the term called ‘Hindu Terrorism’ which has actually put the BJP and RSS in a Catch 22 situation?
Rakesh : Hinduism has a rich history and no one can actually tarnish its image. It is shabby media reporting which has coined terms like Hindu Terrorism. It is a religion propagated by the likes of Ramkrishna Paramhans and
BJP has opposed the high handedness of the political system and its ideological pre-disposition in handling the Malegaon case. Sadhvi’s affidavit has exposed the poltical pressure on criminal justice system. However, in the larger interest of democracy and judiciary one has to maintain faith in the judicial system.
Himanshu : Do you think that very usage of terms like ‘HinduTerrorism’ or ‘Islamic Terrorism‘ is hitting the contours of and secular fabric?
Rakesh : Of course it will have an impact, but in the long run India is strong enough to weather such things. People, who have come out on streets in Mumbai against terrorism, don’t want to see politicians. But surprisingly there has been increased voter turn out in recent elections which indeed is a welcome sign. Results of the recent
elections also indicate that is vibrant enough to tackle any issue- even terrorism and separatism.
Himanshu : That does not answer my question on coinage of Hindu Terrorism and its impact?
Rakesh : Terrorism in Islamic countries is a worldwide phenomenon. I condemn media for using terms like Islamic terrorism. But you need to understand that things like ‘Jihad’ exist in Islam. Quran says that reaching to Allah is only possible if you practice Islam. I understand that people misinterpret it in different ways. Hinduism on the other hand says ‘Ishwar’ is one and there are uncountable numbers of ways that you can connect to him. It becomes the responsibility of the community to send a message that what is wrong is wrong, whosoever
does it. And whatsoever faith they practice. It’s the educated Muslims who have taken to Jihad which is disturbing. Hinduism by and large is free from it mainly because there is no such concept like Jihad and I assure you there never will be.
Himanshu . The basic ideology which instils divisive politics is the philosophy of We and They. Guruji ( MS Golwalkar) was of the view that the Indian Constitution made a grave mistake by treating Hindus (WE) and Muslims (THEY) equally. Where does BJP or RSS stand on this Anti-Semitism now?
Rakesh : Guruji (MS Golwalkar) never used ‘They’ for all Muslims. The very use of the word ‘They’ is there in a book that is titled ‘We or our Nationhood defined.’ We was actually an abridged version of GD Savarkar’s book written in Marathi and Guruji just did a translation. As a matter of fact I would also like to make it clear that ‘They’ was
specifically used in reference to people in , who never thought of one India. In Pirpur, Muslim League passed a resolution which charged of protecting Hindu Fascism, which was
Himanshu : …Why such hatred against the Mahatma then?
Rakesh : There is no hatred. Mahatma was a man whose secular credentials can never ever be questioned. It was he, who said, ‘…Iswar Allah Tero naam…’but he still had to face such charges from the Muslim League. He could have easily taken steps to save India. But it turned out that he could not. The man whom Gandhiji called Qaid-e-Azam was the chief motivator behind India’s partition. Appeasement was accepted by the Congress then and people like Guruji stood up against it. When people have a problem in calling India a mother, or have problems in singing ‘Vande Matram’, then it is an issue. Appeasement just can’t be accepted.
Himanshu : Today Mumbai attack, when there is so much public anger, what should political parties do to win back people’s trust?is fragmented on basis of regionalism, casteism and communalism. Especially after the
Rakesh : The question is do you accept the existence of India. There is a growing intolerance in various sections of societies. I believe it is appeasement which has increased people’s militancy. India has to fight terrorism, naxalism and corruption in a big way. Only a united India can fight it. An India, which parts ways with the pan-Islamic approach, and works on Indianization of Islam. Politics is a reflection of society and it is the society which should work towards change.
Himanshu : Do you think that political-social degeneration has also affected RSS ideology, which has resulted in waning of committed cadres and to add, has BJP lost the tag of the party with a difference?
Rakesh : RSS ideology and organizations are unaffected by political environment. But there is an element of truth that the Bhartiya Janta Party is certainly affected by new rules and behavioral systems of competitive politics, still as a party BJP has shown more resilience than others. But, it also needs to do self introspection.
Himanshu : That means RSS has given up the long standing practice of screen testing people before they could actually get to join BJP. Is RSS losing its hold over the BJP?
Rakesh : It is an issue which media has often talked about. But let me tell one thing again that RSS never interferes with BJP’s inner strategy. Yes it’s a fact that people likeand LK Advani proudly claim to be Swyamsevaks, but there is no law in the BJP which states that only a Swyamsevak can get party membership
Himanshu : BJP’s chief Saraswati Dayanand Pandey, where does RSS stand on the issue?gave a clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya and
Rakesh : Infact Rajnath Singh has opposed the politics behind Malegaon case. His opposition was vindicated by bail granted to Sadhvi and Dayanad Pandey. Pragya was an activist of ABVP but she later began her own mission in a different manner. In Hindutva movement RSS had hegemonic position but there are small streams some of which radically disagree with RSS. It is a misnomer to consider ‘Hindutva’ movement as monolithic and it is wrong to blame RSS for activities of any ‘Hindutva’ activist.
Himanshu : How does the RSS see itself in today’s era where moderation and inclusive politics are the key words? Is modern day RSS shifting its ideology and taking a more realistic approach?
Rakesh : It has expanded its base. RSS talks of one nation and talks of Hindu rights but if someone hates to hear the word Hindu, then there is a problem. What can you say to people who object to calling India as ‘Mother India?’ How will you explain the fact that 100 acres of land given to a Hindu shrine board had to be taken back? If RSS
talks of all this, they are termed as playing divisive politics. Though there is no denying the fact that Indian politics is by and large inclusive and RSS has a responsibility towards generation next, which has more pragmatic things to worry about e.g. jobs, security and freedom.
Himanshu : RSS and BJP have for long talked of ‘Cultural Nationalism‘ and alleged Congress of being pseudo-secular. But in a country with over 150 million of Muslims, what have they done to earn their trust?
Rakesh : This is one area where a lot of work needs to be done. We are not against Muslims, but we are for ‘One India’ and that is what should be showcased. But yes, there is an urge among current leadership in the RSS to be more proactive and send the right signals.
Himanshu : Atal Bihari Vajpayee was BJP’s most neutral face. Now that he has distanced himself from active politics, do you thinkcan gain that support, in case BJP falls short of a majority?
Rakesh : Well, long time back a US journalist asked Pandit Nehru: ‘Who after Nehru?’ And the reply was, “India is a vast and fertile land.” Whenever such situation arises, people come and take responsibilities.
There are people who can easily step in the role but it won’t be good to name and single out people.
Himanshu : Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.