Before you brand me an “urban Naxal” or a member of the Tukde-Tukde gang, let me give the details of my great Hindu credentials. You can make out from my name and occasional tilak on my forehead that I am a devout Hindu. While still in my early teens, my father insisted that I should recite Durga Saptasati on all nine days during Durga Puja every year. I learnt Gayatri Mantra before I learnt the alphabet.
Being a staunch Shiv Bhakt, the chant of Om Namah Shivay comes naturally to me on all occasions – good, bad or challenging. Namami Shamishan Nirvan Roopam is my favourite hymn, which I leant from my grandfather even before I had started going to school.
With such strong credentials in place, I have decided to be on the right side of the cause of converting India into a Hindu Rashtra. A section clearly wants that to happen. After all, 97 crore Hindus and 33 crore Devis and Devtas should have a country of their own. At least, they would want us to believe that.
But I have three small queries which I need clarity on before I go whole-hog on my support to the cause of Hindu Rashtra.
Whose Hindu Rashtra: Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas or Shudras?
My first query relates to a certain verse in Rigveda’s Purusha Sukta. It says that from the sacrifice of primeval man – the Purusha’s – head came Brahmins; from his arms, the Kshatriyas; from his thighs, the Vaishyas; and from his feet, the Shudras. And then there are many others, called Adivasis and Dalits, who are Hindus but outside of the Varna system altogether.
So while building a Hindu Rashtra, who should we give primacy to? The Brahmins, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishays or the Shudras? Or just follow the Ved Vak (what Vedas ordain) How are we going to ensure dignity to nearly 70 crore Hindus who are supposed to have originated from the Purusha’s feet and still many others who were not considered part of the Varna system?
Our Constitution and democratic polity gave dignity to all. Will the Hindu Rashtra alter that and restore what was undone by the Constitution?
Think, reflect and come up with a logical answer before you start celebrating the impending arrival of the Hindu Rashtra.
Tukde-Tukde Gang Ko Goli Maaro?
My second query is regarding the treatment to be given to all the dissenters, now very conveniently labelled as ‘urban naxals’ and or members of the Tukde-Tukde gang. Despite my great Hindu credentials, I, and scores of students of that and preceding and succeeding generations were exposed to the writings of Karl Marx, the principal ideologue of most of the present day dissenters, along with Mahatma Gandhi, BR Ambedkar and the philosophy called liberalism.
Since the erstwhile USSR was our closest ally, books written by Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Maxim Gorky, Fyodor Dostoevsky were freely available to all of us. They were the only affordable books, other than the ones written by Premchand, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, BR Ambedkar, Ram Manohar Lohia and Jayaprakash Narayan (all of them could well become urban naxals in today’s context), we could buy and read. They all instilled in us the spirit to question and dissent. Even the most admired teachers in schools and colleges never asked us to read the writings of Golwalkar or Savarkar. Not even the ones with very strong RSS leanings.
What will the Hindu Rashtra do to all those who grew up reading those books and imbibing that particular worldview? Purged, disenfranchised, or sent to detention camps?
Aadarniya (respected) bhakts, please clarify your stand on the mass of such Indians who followed the curriculum in government-run schools, colleges and universities and are infected with the virus called dissent. Mind you, the virus is not confined to JNU alone. It is quite widespread in its reach. Not even an inch, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, is fully disinfected.
Muslims Be Stripped Of All Fundamental Rights?
And my final query. What will happen to the 18 crore Muslims in the Hindu Rashtra? Purged, disenfranchised, stripped of their fundamental rights, or sent to detention camps/Pakistan?
Forget about the cost – human as well as economic – involved, is that even possible? What is feasible, though, is to make everyone feel as one of our own. Persecution in the name of religion has been a reality in small pockets, all across the world. Not on a scale that has been day-dreamt here, earlier in whispers and now quite loudly.
Since none of the proponents of Hindu Rashtra can answer these and many other questions, why not stick with what we have: A republic backed by a secular Constitution? It is not just desirable, it is the only viable option we have. Why not, then, make the most of what we have and forget about something that is impossible to accomplish? We have moved a long way since Independence. Reversing the tide may come at a huge cost.
So respected bhakts, let us accept the fact that the elusive dream of Hindu Rashtra is just a political tool to gain power and escape accountability.
Diversity is the only reality and everything else is a myth. If that was not the case Pakistan would have been the most peaceful and prosperous country in the world as it sought to get rid of all the diverse elements.
(Mayank Mishra is a senior journalist who writes on Indian economy and politics, and their intersection. He tweets at @Mayankprem. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed in this article are that of the writer’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)