Hidden Agenda


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Sangh Parivars Hidden Agenda
(By Ram Vilas Paswan)

Hindustan Times, Thursday, February 25, 1999, New Delhi

The recent violent attacks on Christian missionaries have questioned the
fundamental rights enshrined in our Constitution. The Sangh parivar, by
targeting the religious minorities, has shown its hidden motive -ethnic

By alleging that the conversions were forceful, the VHP and the Bajrang
Dal have succeeded in whipping up passions of local Hindu communities. It
is disturbing to note that the BJP has not denounced the violence against
Christians categorically. Their main thrust is to force the Sangh Parivar
culture on Christians and stop them from propagating Christianity. Their
old animosity towards Muslims was known. Now Christians are the Sangh
parivar's soft targets. Actually, it is not Muslims, Buddhists and
Christians who are abhorrent to them but the propagation of Islam, Buddhism
and Christianity on Indian soil. The teachings of these religions go
against their interest. If Muslims and Christians adopt Hindutva culture,
Hindu communalists will have no problems with them.

By perpetuating religious conflicts, the Sangh parivar is bent on putting
a check on the propagation and progress of other religions in secular
India. The implementation of the Mandal Commission report, instead of
helping, destroyed the political base of Janata Dal. Similarly the politics
of hatred may land the BJP, VHP and Shiv Sena in danger. They know how to
communalise the atmosphere. In the absence of a social agenda they opt for
religion. The recent controversy about the film Fire and India-Pakistan
Test matches can best be understood in the light of their politics of
disruption. If the members of the Sangh parivar are really concerned about
society, like the missionaries, why do not they work for the socio-economic
development of tribals? How will they tolerate the missionaries educating
the masses ?

However, conversion has a different history in India. Everyone in India is
a convert. If we talk of returning to our ancestral faith, all of us will
become Aryan. The national culture of India can never be Hindu culture and
Hindu culture is not the Sangh parivar culture. From ancient days Indian
culture had been secular. Our first and most important books, the Vedas,
gave no basis to the caste system which is posing a serious danger to our
present-day society. It is false propaganda that Aryans were Hindus. In the
Vedas we do not find the word 'Hindu'.

Hinduism as a religion never existed in Aryan society, and was recognised
as a religion much later. This land gave birth to Buddhism and Jainism of
which we can really feel proud. They taught us non-violence and peace. With
the concept of equality and honesty, Islam was welcomed in India. Later in
the 16th century we notice strong religious movements like the Bhakti
movement, 'Sufism' and 'Sikhism' with the message of love and tolerance.
How can we forget the teachings of these religions and movements which made
us tolerant and live proudly with the unity-in-diversity philosophy?

What the Sangh parivar is preaching is not Hinduism but Hindutva. V. D.
Savarkar wrote in 1923: "Hindutva is different from Hinduism". Hindutva is
an ideology of hate and violence and an instrument of Brahmanical hegemony.
But Hinduism is a religion. At a time when the rightists in the governments
in the states and at the Centre are facing a political crisis, once again
the Sangh parivar has decided to use the Hindutva card for its political
survival. It is a political weapon to spread intolerance. Violence is an
integral part of RSS culture. RSS leader M. S. Golwalkar said in 1952
"violence should be used as a surgeon's knife... to cure the society".

Indians, particularly Hindu communities, are there in good numbers in
different European countries and the United States. They have been
practising their religion and culture with enough freedom which can be
merely a dream in India. Have the followers and activists of Sangh parivar
ever thought that their anti-religious and criminal activities may provoke
the Christians and whites to go against Hindus and Hinduism in their land?

The tribals have their own culture and history. They are born into their
own peculiar religions. Article 25 guaranteeing freedom of conscience does
not exclude the tribals from its purview, and like all other Indians, they
have a right to embrace any religion of their choice. Even the census
reports do not treat the tribal communities as Hindus. Social inequalities
on the basis of caste is the most hateful aspect of Hinduism. In India one
can change his religion but not caste! What is needed is a debate on the
caste system and deep-rooted poverty which are the causes behind the
mounting social tension. We must not politicise the conversions.

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Last updated: February 23, 2000 .