By Tabish Khursheed
For some time now, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, is featuring in the news for his outlandish statements and efforts to rename every city , town and railway station. Recently, he renamed Mughal Sarai as Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhayay Nagar, Allahabad as Prayagraj and Faizabad as Ayodhya; he seems hell bent to carry on in the same manner whenever he gets a chance to do so. If we critically or historically examine Yogi and what he is doing, we arrive at the conclusion that his statements and doings are not idiosyncratic or individual in nature and spirit but he is a character on a mission to deliberately speak a voice and perform acts which are extremist or communal .It seems that Hindutva or the RSS backed nationalistic or cultural ideology is aptly personified by Yogi and he plays an advocate to strengthen the same.
The efforts to rename cities and towns are an expression of the Sangh defined nationalistic or patriotic ideals which for them are mandatory for every citizen to abide by. Yogi plays a character in a drama whose nature is predetermined by famous RSS ideologues like Savarkar and Golwalker who have actually sown the seed where from Hindu political and cultural nationalistic thought and imagination sprout. Sawarkar was of the opinion that India is a land of Hindu(ness) and every citizen should claim allegiance to the three prerequisites of Hindutva : a common nation (rashtra), a common race (jati) and a common civilisation (sanskriti). For him, every person who chooses a different cultural consciousness, embraces different cultural thought processes and converts to other religions other than Hinduism constitutes foreign element infecting spirit of India. He wanted to create a nation which invokes , creates and maintains ancient Hindu culture and excludes from dominant scene all those cultural , political and religious ideals which have been impacted or conditioned by outside influences.
Savarkar’s mission was to glorify the ancient history of India for it subsumed all political, social and cultural life in Hindu ideals .In the same way, Gowalkar preached Hindutva and wanted national regeneration which for him is possible through consolidation of Hinduness. He out rightly rejected the concept of “territorial nationalism” and instead advocated “cultural nationalism” backed and informed by Hindu ideals of nation. Govalkar rejected the western concept of democracy and promoted what we call Hindu Dharmocracy , a nation and government for the Hindus, by the Hindus and of the Hindus. Yogi Adityanath has the same job to falsify and fragment concept of India and history and demonstrate that every Indian cultural, architectural and technological existence grounded in the Hindu tradition. His adventurous renaming of railway stations, cities and towns is not simply a name changing newly born habit but it sends a signal that every non Hindu real or symbolical presence in India should either be decimated or be relegated to marginal existence.
The RSS and BJP is a combined brigade which, directly or indirectly , visibly or invisibly tinkers with historical and cultural narratives and influence contemporary discourses in order to construct a Hindu Rashtra. Yogi’s approach is not UP centric alone; it is a national Hindu ideology which runs on marginalizing , cornering and annihilating everything outside Hindu(ness).
The author is a freelance columnist from Islamamad(Anantnag). He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org