As India celebrates yet another Republic Day, it is again an opportunity to examine where it stands, so to speak, and what it means for people in its margins. Now, the rise of the right wing Hindutva forces in India isn’t, arguably, much of a surprise; indeed the argument could be made that there isn’t much difference between having a Congress or BJP government now, since the majoritarian consensus on key issues like Kashmir, national security etc has already been established. This, in fact, could be called the larger success of the right wing in India. Ideologues of the BJP, as it was gaining ascendancy after the destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992, would claim the party merely drew inspiration from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and was not its political tool. Later, after the BJP came into power, some commentators argued that India needed a centre-right party, and the key factor for the BJP would be if it managed to cut its umbilical cord to the RSS. That both views were mere tactical ploys, germinating from within the RSS itself has been clear for some time. What needs to be stressed, and realised, is that RSS has taken over India. It is ruling India, directly. This Hindutva organisation has always thought long-term, and in gaining power in Delhi it has fulfilled one of its aims.
The ‘Sangh Parivar’ has always sought to achieve multiple objectives via various arms, while each arm ostensibly operates independently. So, for example, the RSS ‘guides’, the VHP maintains Hindutva demands like building a Ram temple, and the Bajrang Dal works as storm troopers on the streets, whenever needed.
The Nazi analogy (storm troopers) is not an invention. The RSS was founded for a specific purpose, a purpose that led its founding fathers to idolise Hitler and his extermination of the Jews: MS Golwalkar, in his books ‘Bunch of Thoughts’ and ‘We, or our Nationhood Defined’, says that what Hitler did was “a good lesson for us in Hindusthan (sic) to learn and profit by”. The RSS’ idea of Muslims and minorities, as defined by him, is that the “non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either adopt Hindu culture and languages…(and revere) the Hindu religion…Or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment — not even citizens’ rights”. The gradual marginalisation, ghettoisation and demonisation of Indian Muslims, thus, is no historical/political accident.