Moving Towards Calamity

The New Right is Hindu Right

Shamsul Islam

[Rajiv Lall, a prominent banker (founder managing director and CEO of IDFC Bank), emboldened by the Hindutva policies of the current RSS/BJP regime in a write-up (THE NEW RIGHT, The Indian Express, January 18, 2017) demanded adoption of old Hindutva vision of India, belief in a super leader, disliking for democracy, hatred for all-inclusive India, love for unbridled capitalism and allergy to social justice. The writer responded to it in the same paper, THE NEW RIGHT IS WRONG.]

Rajiv Lall reproduced almost nine decade old Hindutva vision of India as 'The New Right' (The Indian Express, January 18, 2017). Honestly speaking it should have been tilled as 'Hindu Right' as he repeated almost all those features which Rashtriya Sawamsevak Sangh (RSS) spokespersons or RSS cadres loaned to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been churning out zealously about their kind of 'Hindusthan' in the recent past.

The first is distrust of democracy. According to him since in Indian democracy, "the vast majority of voters live in poverty—it is especially difficult to make a politically compelling case for economic policies that favour growth over equality". This is akin to demanding Elitist Democracy where only educated and Haves would run democracy, disregarding issue of equality guaranteed by the democratic-secular Constitution of India. According to Rajiv 'growth' and 'equality' are antithetical to each other and if Indian voter prefers equality over making of billionaires is bad democracy.

Second is the need for 'strong leaders'. Rajiv rightly admits that India's democratic institutions "have been weakening" but for this he finds fault with the fact that there are no "strong leaders to fix them". The reality is that Indian democratic institutions have lost much of their relevance due to strong leaders like Indira Gandhi in the past and present strong leader, PM Modi. This is corroborated by many strictures which the highest court of justice has passed against the current regime in last two years. There is general consensus that all government powers are concentrated in PMO surpassing even the times of Indira Gandhi.

The top BJP brass as well as print and electronic media are witness to the fact that Modi is becoming India and vice versa. In fact, this has been the vision of RSS Guru, Golwalkar, under whose tutelage PM Modi was groomed into a political leader. Outlining the nature of the future Indian polity, Golwalkar as early as 1940, declared that India should be governed under "one leader and one ideology".

Third characteristic of Rajiv's ‘The New Right’ echoes the same old beliefs of RSS and its fraternity about India. According to him "the time has come for us to move beyond the tired narratives of syncretism and mandalism". Just on the eve of Independence, RSS English organ, Organizer in an editorial ('Whither', August 14, 1947) decrying the all-inclusive, syncretic India declared, "in Hindusthan only the Hindus form the nation and the national structure must be built on that safe and sound foundation...the nation itself must be built up of Hindus, on Hindu traditions, culture, ideas and aspirations".

His hatred for 'mandalism' and demand for "reservations based on economic status" is also in conformity with the Hindutva ethos. According to RSS Casteism is synonymous with Hinduism and Hindu nationalism. As a corollary, it demands promulgation of MANUSMRITI as constitution of India. Unfortunately, flag-bearers of anti-Mandal politics fail to take note of the fact that Reservation is essential because Indians live an enormously unequal society and as per a latest report, 1% Indians making merry of 58% of national human/physical resources. Unless this UNDECLARED RESERVATION is eliminated, the need for constitutional Reservations will remain a necessity. A solution is right to work to all but defenders of "Hindu mythology and historiography" due to their love for market economy will not support it. It may be noted that right to work will benefit vast majority of marginalized Hindus who constitute 80% of the Indian population.

Lastly, it is shocking that Rajiv's 'Indic-Hindu civilizational heritage' has no place for Islam and Christianity. It also is in conformity with RSS vision of India. According to it India is a Fatherland and Holy land for Hindus only and followers of 'foreign religions' like Muslims and Christians need to be cleansed. According to this vision Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism are part of Hinduism. Interestingly, ideas of Vivekananda, Gandhi, and Dr Ambedkar are presented as philosophical mentors of Hindu Right. Rajiv needs to correct his notes in this regard.

Vivekananda was straight forward in declaring that "if ever any religion approached this equality in an appreciable manner it is Islam and Islam alone". He concluded that India could be invincible only with "Vedanta brain and Islam body". Gandhi was killed on January 30, 1948, because he did not subscribe to Hindutva vision of RSS. So far as Dr Ambedkar as mentor of Hindu Right is concerned he unequivocally declared "if Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will no doubt, will be the greatest calamity for this country".


Vol. 49, No.33, Feb 19 - 25, 2017