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Why The BJP Will Remain Intolerant Of The Idea Of India

08/12/2015 10:40 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Boat man paddles traditional boat (shikara) in Lake Pichola at sunrise.

As Robert Louis Stevenson said - "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."

We need to understand the seed, the idea that has given birth to the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and why its ascent to power will always take the nation towards intolerance. The seeds of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and its offshoots like the BJP, VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad), Bajrang Dal etc. lie in Manusmriti and in the books written by the RSS Ideologue M.S. Golwalkar, in particular, Bunch of Thoughts and We or Our Nationhood Defined.

The understanding of what is written in these books will help one understand why the BJP, when in power or otherwise, leads to spreading of intolerance in society.

The worldview of these organisations is diametrically opposite to the democratic, diverse, plural, liberal, equal and secular Idea of India. RSS ideologue M.S. Golwalkar, while delivering a speech before the 1,350 top level cadres of the RSS in 1940 declared: "RSS inspired by one flag, one leader and one ideology is lighting the flame of Hindutva in each and every corner of this great land". They want uniformity whereas India is a land of diversity. They want one ideology, whereas India is a land of multiple faiths and beliefs.

The Indian constitution is a progressive document based on the principles of equality, justice, liberty and fraternity. These are very progressive ideas in a society which is essentially feudal and where most of the elite in power still believe in the laws of Manu as given in the Manusmriti.

Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh on the floor of the Lok Sabha said that Dr Ambedkar did not think of leaving India in spite of the insults and derisions that he faced. The Home Minister conveniently forgot that the insults were heaped on Dr Ambedkar and continue to be heaped on almost 1/7th of humanity because those in positions of power still continue to have the worldview based on Manusmriti. This belief allows the comparison of kids burnt in Haryana to dogs without any remorse. It is the same belief that allowed PM Modi to compare dalits to "mentally retarded children". This subconscious belief in Manusmriti leads to the killing of 2 dalits and 3 dalit women getting raped every day. This belief allows them to call any person who questions them, to migrate elsewhere and not be part of India.

The RSS and the BJP has always put a façade and tried to disown its own past and its ideologues

The belief in Manusmriti does not allow the RSS to accept India as an inclusive and secular State where every citizen has certain rights irrespective of caste, religion or gender. RSS and its ideologues like Savarkar never came to terms with the new Constitution, because it was not based on Hindu scriptures, in particular the laws of Manu.

Savarkar harboured great affinity for Manusmriti. "Manusmriti is that scripture which is most worship-able after Vedas for our Hindu Nation and which from ancient times has become the basis of our culture-customs, thought and practice. This book for centuries has codified the spiritual and divine march of our nation. Even today the rules, which are followed, by crores of Hindus in their lives and practice are based on Manusmriti. Today Manusmriti is Hindu Law," he wrote.

And what does the belief in the laws of Manu does to those born as Dalits in India? Dalit students face discrimination from childhood in the school. A recent study in Madhya Pradesh found that 79% of the dalit students are forbidden from touching mid-day meals and 35% are required to sit separately in school. The discrimination does not end in school but only increases and pervades all the spaces--education, government, private sector, judiciary etc.

When attempts were made under the stewardship of Ambedkar and Jawaharlal Nehru in the late forties to give limited rights to Hindu women in property and inheritance through the passage of the Hindu Code Bill, Golwalkar and his associates had no qualms in launching a movement opposing this historic empowerment of Hindu women which was to take place for the first time in history. Their contention was simple: this is inimical to Hindu traditions and culture.

The HRD Minister must be thankful that Dr Ambedkar along with Nehru ensured that women in India get their due rights, which the Manusmriti has denied to them since ages. Had it been her party in power at the time of drafting of the constitution, the women would have been confined to the kitchen and even in that place they would have been barred for few days in a month. Without the foresight of Dr Ambedkar and Nehru, Smt Smriti Irani would not have got the honour to be the HRD Minister of the world's largest democracy.

The Indian Constitution was one of the earliest Constitutions to give universal adult suffrage. The Idea of universal adult suffrage is anti-thesis to the ideas of Manu and hence the Organizer on 30th Nov 1949 (4 days after the Constitution was finalized) wrote: "But in our Constitution there is no mention of the unique constitutional development in ancient Bharat. To this day Manu's laws, as enunciated in the Manusmriti, excite the admiration of the world and elicit spontaneous obedience and conformity. But to our constitutional pundits that means nothing".

The HRD Minister must be thankful that Dr Ambedkar along with Nehru ensured that women in India get their due rights, which the Manusmriti has denied to them since ages

Even after Independence when a democratic-secular Constitution was in force, it continued denigrating Indian Constitution. This can be seen in the following statement of MS Golwalkar: "Our Constitution too is just a cumbersome and heterogeneous piecing together of various articles from various Constitutions of the Western countries. It has absolutely nothing which can be called our own. Is there a single word of reference in its guiding principles as to what our national mission is and what our keynote in life is? No!".

The RSS and the BJP has always put a façade and tried to disown its own past and its ideologues when the time demands.

When the Parliament conveyed on the 26th of November, the Modi Government used this day for adding one more event on our national calendar. The reasons could not be obvious to the people at large though on social media, where the perceptions are made on half-baked information, it seemed like the Government of the day was actually paying tribute to the work of our founding fathers, especially Dr B.R. Ambedkar, to mark celebrations on account of his 125th birth anniversary in 2016.

The list of ironies of the Modi Government got a tad longer--it professes to abide by the Father of the Nation, but its affiliates glorify his killers. It has no love lost for the Indian Constitution but it publicly calls it the Holy Book. 6th December, the black day in the Indian history, when Babri Masjid was demolished in spite of the commitments given to the Supreme Court by the RSS and BJP leaders, is celebrated by the social media army of the right wing as Shaurya Diwas. As usual, the BJP does not see the contradiction between its words on the floor of the house and the action of its associates and sympathizers. Its founding fathers had no role to play in making of the Constitution, but now the BJP wants to be at the forefront to claim its legacy and to become its champion. May be this is the only way for the Modi Government and the RSS to worm its way into the history of the National Movement, in which they had no role to play.

When the whole purpose of the RSS is to protect and impose the regressive ideas of Manu on India, how can its offshoot, the BJP, be expected to pay obeisance to the Indian Constitution in letter and spirit? They can try their level best to become the torchbearers of the values of the Indian Constitution, which is beyond their DNA and their roots. For the BJP to become the real champion of the Indian Constitution, it will have to annihilate its association with the RSS, but that would mean it would have to annihilate itself.

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