By Syed Shahabuddin, Member Parliament

HINDU chauvinism spearheaded by the RSS has coined some new phrases to hurt the Muslim Indians — perhaps to browbeat them into abject surrender and the secular force into silent acquiescence! Day in and day out, Hindu chauvinism charges the political system with appeasement of minorities, with creating and manipulating vote banks, with oversensitivity to their grievances and over eagerness to please them at the cost of Hindu interests.

From the suave Advani to the sabre-rattling Ashok Singhal, from the urbane Vajpayee to the obscurantist Madhok, from the organization man Deoras to Chinmayananda, the philosopher, all denounce ‘minoritism,” from the housetops. None have cared to define the term or clarify whether it applies to Muslims or national minorities alone or to other minorities at the state or district or local level, e. g. to the Hindus in Punjab and J& KI

The theme song may have different words but the note remains the same. One often wonders at the limited range of chauvinist concepts. Deoras makes at least ‘one major speech every week, addressing the Swayamsewaks lined up in battle ready. But does he ever have a new message or new theme? Each speech is but a repetition of the other, mouthing the same contradictions, spreading the same lies and half-truths, hitting at the same target. How monochromatic the picture! How single-minded the commitment to contain and control and if possible, liquidate the “Malechha’! The war goes on…

How delighted they would have been if transfer of power in 1947 was accompanied by transfer of population!

Incidentally, how the anti-Muslim phobia accords with the long-term vision of Akhand Bharat, one does not understand. But fanatics  as they are , they may well believe that Muslims of the Subcontinent would have all been liquidated or converted to Hinduism, at least coerced or cajoled into identifying themselves as Hindus; Islam would have then been assimilated and absorbed as Buddhism was, as Jainism has been and as Sikhism very nearly was. How can the indestructible vision of Sub-continental unity ever be realized, if Muslim Indians today feel unsure?

They speak of the Angry Hindu. What is the Hindu angry about? But first, which Hindu are they speaking of, the starving Hindu, the naked Hindu, the illiterate Hindu? Are they speaking of the Hindu worker, the Hindu farmer, the Hindu weaver, the Hindu craftsman, the Hindu masses? Are they speaking of the Harijans and the Adiyasis? No, the Angry Hindu is none but the Angry Brahman, the classical guardian of the privilege of the higher castes; and the angry Brahmin is angry not only with the Muslims and the: Sikhs — but also with the Harijans, the Adivasis and the other Backward Classes because they do not share his cataclysmic nightmare nor his glorious vision, because they demand redistribution of social goods and services, instead of joining hands in purifying the land of the Hindus from nonHindu presence. Secondly, if Deoras is angry at the appeasement of the Muslims, he should be angry with the appeaser. No, his anger is directed against the “appeased” while he tries to curry favor with the appeaser and assures him at every turn that the future is his, if only he would ignore the Muslims. What can he do if even the BJP keeps its Sikandar Bakhts and Arif Baigs and plays to the “secular gallery”?

Let us now analysis the concept of appeasement. Appeasement implies the existence of a villain, a devil, an unworthy claimant. At one level, the Muslim is defined as a Hindu in the larger sense of term. At another, he is to them a descendant of the Hindus who, out of greed or in an act of cowardice, changed his faith to Islam, at the point of the sword or for material gain. At yet another level, outsider in the house, a foreigner, a foreign agent, more specifically a Pakistani agent. Imagine, you are sharing power with someone you should never trust! If this is what secularism implies, we should have none of this secular nonsense. And yet Advani claims that the Hindu ethos is basically secular. Can’t they decide first amongst themselves what the Indians of the Islamic faith are and whether India should be a secular state or not? Of course, it is and should be, Advani would say but according to Balraj Madhok, another High Priest of Hindu Chauvinism, only a Hindu state cans him a circular state!

Explaining the essence of secularism as nondiscrimination on the basis of religion, Advani looks for deviation from secularism in Article 30 of the Constitution, in the right of the religious minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice and in the noncompliance so far with the directive principle of state policy for the introduction of a uniform civil code. Deliberately he closes his eyes to the right of religious minorities to abide by their religion. On one hand, they are to enjoy religious freedom and, on the other, such freedom cannot be permitted to express itself in religious education or in personal law. Advani should know that for a Muslim there is no choice since the Holy Quran ‘contains explicit injections on personal matters. Personal laws based on the Shariat are an essential and inseparable part of their religion and in good conscience they must abide by it. To coerce and even to ask Muslim to: ignore the Shariat in this matter is indeed to ask him to deny his” religion. Moreover, multiplicity of personal laws in a plural society like ours is a fact of life. But Advani is not angry at similar protection given to ethnic groups or at the no acceptance of the Hindu Code by many Hindus. That a Muslim Indian is left free to dive is life in accordance with his religious beliefs strikes Advani as an act of appeasement, a privilege, as a concession. So be it. The recognition of a separate personal law for Muslims is not and shall not be a Hindu Muslim question. It is an internal’ matter of the Muslim society. And as for social reform, let me add, Muslim society can respond effective, only by voluntary endeavor within the mite’s frame-work of the Shariat. As for Article 30 its scope has already been whittled down by Successive judicial pronouncements ultimately the responsibility for educating Muslim Indians must be assumed by the state and implemented through the introduction of a universal and truly secular educational system. The Muslim community must utilize its limited resources for establishing and running religious seminars, to produce the Ulema and the Fugaha, the Khatibs and the Qazis, it needs to suitably supplement state education in order to provide a religious input, for the moral education of its children. What is amusing, however, is that on one hand Muslim Indians are berated for their educational backwardness and, on the other, hindered from investing in education, through erection of legal and administrative barriers at every turn. One may or may not agree with the wisdom of Muslims establishing degree or professional colleges without adequately broad basing primary or secondary education but how does this right stand in the way of national unity or integration? How can this be interpreted as an appeasement? Indeed many nonMuslim social groups, which forma religious or a linguistic or an ethnic minority at state or local level have benefitted from this constitutional provision, including the Marwaris, the Arya Samaj or the Rama Krishna Mission.

So, then, what is the “Angry Hindu” angry about? Is he angry because the state does not formally embrace the concept of Hindu Rashtra? Is he angry because the state does not accord a higher status to the Hindu Indians? Is he angry because the judiciary does not accept Chopra’s plea for banning the Holy Quran? Is he angry because the state power is only sporadically but not systematically used to liquidate nonHindus? Is he angry because occasionally a nonHindu is elevated to a position of authority and dignity or because he is admitted into public employment now and then? Is he angry because the Indian state does not hold Muslim Indians responsible for whatever is alleged to be done to nonMuslims in Muslim majority states? Or the present generation for the past “misdeeds” of its forebears? And adopt a policy of reprisal and retaliation and treat Muslim Indians as hostages?

On the other hand, the “Angry Hindu” has every reason to be happy about the distance the Indian state has travelled since 1947-1950 form secular ideals. He should be happy at the predominance of Brahmins in the state apparatus, in all walks of life. He should be happy at the near monopoly enjoyed by higher castes in the economic life of the country, in public employment and private, in government and in business, He should be happy at the performance of Hindu rites at state functions. He should be happy at the construction of Hindu temples practically in every police station ‘or block office. He should be happy at the utilization of the government media for propagation of Hinduism in the name of Indian culture. He should be happy at state investment in the revival of Sanskrit and the state assistance in promoting Vedic Studies including Vedic Mathematics and Science. He should be happy at the freedom to organize Yajnas and Yagyas to “liberate” Hindu holy places and to attack other religions and religious communities, even their founders, without let or hindrance. He should be happy at the state machinery protecting him from Muslim “fanaticism” by launching preemptive or punitive expeditions against them.

No, the “Angry Hindu” has nothing to be angry about. But he has much to be apprehensive about. He is not only facing assertion of identity from diverse social groups all over the country; he is facing demands for redistribution from long suppressed and exploited sections of Hindu society. He is facing rebellion against the imposition of Hindi on nonHindi speaking people. He is facing resistance to cultural Hindusation in tribal areas. He is facing revolt from the Harijans and Other Backward Classes. Instead of consolidating his grip on the umbrella of power, he is facing a hurricane of change, a challenge to the age old authority.

The “Angry Hindu”, therefore, is no more than a pose, a part of tactical maneuvers to achieve the strategic objective of resisting the winds of change. One dimension of the tactical plan is to obstruct, as far as possible, any hearing to the Muslim community, any redressed of his genuine grievances and thus to consolidate the advance made since 1950 on the path of Hindusation. Another dimension is to frighten and to unnerve the: secular forces among Hindu Indians and to stop or at least slow down any accommodation to the legitimate concerns of Muslim Indians. A third dimension is to sabotage the growing consolidation of the weaker sections, the wretched of the earth on the other hand; the Muslim Indian has much to be angry about. Do not test his patience; do not force him to the wall; do not play with his religious sentiments; do not close economic doors to him; do not occupy or take over his mosques or graveyards; do not deny the benefit of development to his villages or his mohalls; do not turn away his children from Schools and his youth from employment exchanges and recruitment centers; do not kill him mercilessly. Today he is keeping his cool. Today he is disorganized. Today he has still some hope left. Do not take it away from him. A man without hope becomes an outlaw; a community without hope becomes an adversary; a country without hope becomes a battlefield

Hindu chauvinism is the real enemy of the people of India; i do not represent the spirit of Hinduism; it is fanatic in its thought and militant in its action; it is contemptuous of the national vision and it is a rejection of all that Indians have built together over the ages.

Hindu chauvinism is a threat t the unity and integrity of the country. Uniformity imposed in the name of unity can only divide Assimilation under duress can only lead to disintegration.

Let the Angry Hindu and the Angry Muslim shed their anger and come together in the honest search for a modus vivendi for peaceful coexistence based on mutual respect and common commitment to building a modern, secular nation-state.

A man without hope becomes an outlaw; a community

without hope becomes an adversary; a country without

hope becomes a battlefield.

Hindu chauvinism is a threat to the unity and integrity of

the country. Uniformity imposed in the name of unity can

only divide. Assimilation under duress can only lead to


Hindu chauvinism is the real enemy of the people of

India; it does not represent the spirit of Hinduism; it is

fanatic in its thought and militant in its action; it is

contemptuous of the national vision and it is a rejection of

all that Indians have built together over the ages.

Article extracted from this publication >> June 3, 1988