Hypocrisy Unlimited

Modi as a Hindu Nationalist

Shamsul Islam

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the only occupier of a constitutional post in the history of Independent India who declared himself to be a Hindu nationalist. He made this declaration in 2013 in an interview to two Reuters journalists, Ross Colvin and Sruthi Gottipati, on July 12 as Chief Minister of Gujarat. Modi glorified his Hindu nationalist identity hiding the fact that the term 'Hindu Nationalist' originated in a specific historical context during India's freedom struggle against the British colonial masters. This freedom struggle was mainly led by the Congress, which stood for an all-inclusive democratic-secular free India. The 'Muslim Nationalists', under the banner of the Muslim League, and the 'Hindu Nationalists', under the banners of the Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS, opposed it, claiming that Hindus and Muslims were two different nations. These Hindu and Muslim 'Nationalists' joined hands with the colonial masters in order to thwart the freedom struggle so that they could have theocratic states of their choice, 'Hindusthan' or Hindu Rashtra and Pakistan or Islamic state, respectively. Moreover, those Hindutva fanatics who assassinated MK Gandhi on January 30, 1948 also called themselves as Hindu nationalist.

Modi's commitment to Hindu nationalism keeps on motivating him to acts crossing all limits of hypocrisy; an integral part of the Hindutva politics. In the last week of 2018 he was on tour of Andaman & Nicobar Islands where the infamous Cellular Jail is also situated. Interestingly, during January-February this area, with fine weather conditions, is also the destination of thousands of government employees from all parts of India who flock to this spot with their families for pleasure trip availing LTC; a partly government funded scheme.

According to press reports immediately after reaching there he visited the Cellular Jail, sat in the cell where VD Savarkar was incarcerated.

Later during the trip Prime Minister Narendra Modi renamed three islands in Andaman & Nicobar. Donning the Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army) cap, PM declared that it was done in deference to the wishes of Netaji who in 1943, had suggested that Andaman and Nicobar Islands be renamed as Shahid and Swaraj Dweep respectively. PM said:
"The country draws inspiration from Andaman. That is why the government has issued a notification and I am proudly announcing that henceforth, Ross Island will be known as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Dweep. The Neil Island will be known as Shahid Dweep and Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep". 

PM also hoisted a 150-feet-high national flag; the Tricolour in Marina Park, South Point, in Port Blair and said the government is committed to creating an India, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose once dreamt of.

There cannot be a greater crime than putting Savarkar and Subhash Chandra Bose on the same pedestal. Modi as a seasoned RSS cadre while worshipping Savarkar maintains criminal silence about anti-national ideas and activities of the latter. Or the fact may be that RSS loves Savarkar for this kind of heritage of his only.

Savarkar, like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), abhorred every symbol of the Indian people's united struggle against the British rule. He refused to accept the Tricolour as the national flag. In a statement issued on September 22, 1941 all Hindus that there should be no confusion about the national flag,

"So far as the flag question is concerned, the Hindus know no flag representing Hindudom as a whole than the 'Kundalini Kripanankit' Mahasabha flag with the 'Om and the Swastik' the most ancient symbols of the Hindu race and policy coming down from age to age and honoured throughout Hindusthan… [Hindus must] rally round and defend the honour of our ancient Hindu Flag".

When Netaji was planning to liberate the northeast of the country through INA, it was VD Savarkar who offered full military cooperation to the British masters. While addressing 23rd session of Hindu Mahasabha at Bhagalpur in 1941, he declared:
"The war which has now reached our shores directly constitutes at once a danger and an opportunity which both render it imperative that the militari-sation movement must be intensified and every branch of the Hindu Mahasabha in every town and village must actively engage itself in rousing the Hindu people to join the army, navy, the aerial forces and the different war-craft manufactories." 

To what extent Savarkar was willing to help the British would be clear by the following words of his:
"So far as India's defence is concerned, Hindudom must ally unhesitatingly, in a spirit of responsive co-operation with the war effort of the Indian government in so far as it is consistent with the Hindu interests, by joining the Army, Navy and the Aerial forces in as large a number as possible and by securing an entry into all ordnance, ammunition and war craft factories… Again it must be noted that Japan's entry into the war has exposed us directly and immediately to the attack by Britain's enemies… Hindu Mahasabhaits must, therefore, rouse Hindus especially in the provinces of Bengal and Assam as effectively as possible to enter the military forces of all arms without losing a single minute." 

Savarkar believed in the invincibility of the British imperialists. His presidential address at Madura is a living testimony to his unabashed support to the British imperialistic designs. He rejected out rightly Netaji's attempts to liberate India. He declared:
"Not only on moral grounds but on the grounds of practical politics we are compelled not to concern ourselves on behalf of the Hindu Mahasabha organisation with any programme involving any armed resistance, under the present circumstances." 

During the World War II Savarkar organised recruitment camps for the British armed forces which were to slaughter the cadres of INA in different parts of the North-East later. At the end of the Madura conference of Hindu Mahasabha he shared the fact with the Hindus that through the efforts of Hindu Mahasabha alone, one lakh Hindus were recruited in the British armed forces in one year. It is to be noted that during this period RSS continued inviting Savarkar to address the RSS youth gatherings for motivating the latter to recruit into the British armed forces. 

It is important to note here that even the Muslim League, sub-serving the interests of the British rulers, refused to align in these war efforts or join Defence Committees established by the British government as done by Savarkar.

It is sad for India with glorious tradition of anti-imperialist struggle that children of those who criminally betrayed Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers are playing mischief with the icons of all-inclusive anti-colonial struggle. What right PM Modi has to talk of Netaji and INA which fought for a democratic-secular India when he as an ideologue of the RSS and BJP declares himself to be a Hindu nationalist, committed to turn India into a theocratic Hindu state and belittling the minorities?

Vol. 51, No.29, Jan 20 - 26, 2019