Two Nation theory


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An article release by SAHMAT, 8, Vithalbhai Patel House, Rafi Marg, New Delhi- 110001
BJP  President L.  K.  Advani  has  often  in  the past  shown  a  tendency  to  use Indian  history  as  a  political  resource.  His  effort  to  establish  an  organic  link  between  Hindutva  and  and  the  ideological  foundations  of Indian  nationalism  are  familiar from  the  Ayodhya  mobilism.  That theme  has been relatively subdued of late,  since  the  BJP  has  been  more  concerned  with  bringing on broad  electoral  allies who  will  help  ot to  escape from the  ideological  cocoon  fashioned  for  itself  by  the various  pursuit  of  the  Hindutva  agenda.
A recent  campaign  speech  of  Advani's  however, provides  a foretaste  of  things  ot  come  in  the  near  future.  Speaking  at  Guntur during a recent  campaign  tour,  Advani briefly dipped  into  his  favored  realm  of  history.  The  target  of  his  offensive  was  the  'two  nation'  theory  that  that had allegedly led to the partition of the sub-continent and disruption ao the age-old nationalist unity on India.  Whereas all other parties had to a greater or lesser degree, gone along with the 'two-nation' theory, only the ideological progenitors of BJP, claimed Advani, had steadfast and consistent in opposing it.
Advani's historical exertion merit some attention. An unbiased consideration would show that the BJP' s forebears in the RSS, far from opposing the two nation theory, in fact propounded a particular version of it.  And since every ideological express prodeces an equal an opposite reaction, the Muslim League's later adaptation of 'two nation' theory be viewed as a derived phenomenon.
It is not necessary to take up a detailed analysis of the foundational text of Hindutva ideology. Merely one would do  - M. S. Golwalker's We, or, Our Nationhood defined - published in 1939.  Though apt today to cause considerable embarrassment, it has undeniably been a formative ideological influence upon the current generation of the BJP's top leadership.
For Golwalker, the notion of political power as embodied in the 'state' was subordinate to that of the 'Nation'.  Perhaps this is the reason he opposed the Quit India movement - that climatic act in the process of decolonization - and explicitly instructed his RSS flock to 'stick to their posts and continue to perform their regular duties.  His views in the 'Nation' however, were of a far more uncompromising sort.
To illustrate, Golwalkar's insistence on racial and purity was so strong that he was led to applaud the Nazi programme of the extermination against the Jews: ' Race pride at its interest has been manifested here.  Germany has also shown how wellnigh impossible it is for Races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated in to one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by'
The RSS has convicted that those movements which contributed to the glorification of the 'Hindu' idea were truly 'National', and those took another view were 'either traitors' or 'to take a charitable view, idiots'.
The view of the Nation that emerged from this presuppositions was exclusive and hierarchical - a legally sanctified version of the cast system. Absence from the conception of the RSS was the idea of a State in which citizens would equal entitlements, irrespective of religion, denomination or caste.  Those who did not subscribe to the predetermined notion of national identities had only tow choices in Golwalker's view: ' to merge themselves into the national race or to live at its mercy so long as the national race may allow them to do so and to quit the country at sweet will of the national race'.
It is immaterial that We was quietly withdrawn from circulation because of its obvious crudities. More germane is the question whether any member of the Sangh parivar has explicitly dissociated himself from the pronouncements.  The evidence in fact to contrary .  Many of the inflammatory slogans adopted by the parivar during the Ayodhya mobilism, ('Agar Hinduism mein rahna hoga to...';  ' Mussulman ka bus do sthan...') show the direct influence of the Golwalker world view.
Advani has in the past disclaimed any knowledge of the inflammatory slogans that have been raised in the cause of 'cultural nationalism'.  It is not clear whether he would care to disown the intellectual tradition on which they are based.  That would obviously, cut at the roots of his political identity.

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Last updated: October 31, 2000 .