Shashi Tharoor Has Hit the Nail On the Head
By: RAM PUNIYANI
Shashi Tharoor is a prolific writer-politician, whose recent book, ‘Why I am a Hindu’ is selling like hot cakes. In the book while on one side he upholds his Hindu traditions of inclusiveness and tolerance, though ignoring the crucial issues of caste, on the other he takes up the Hindutva, Hindu nationalism for severe criticism, showing that concept Hindu nationalism is against the grain of India’s freedom struggle and the Indian Constitution.
He stirred a controversy with his recent comment “if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is voted to power again, it will rewrite the Constitution that will eventually create a “Hindu Pakistan.”
These comments met with a strong reaction from the BJP, which criticized Tharoor for insulting India by comparing it with Pakistan, and that his statement is an insult to Hindus. ABVP activists attacked his office in Tiruvanathpuram.
Tharoor had further said, “If they are able to win a repeat of their current strength in the Lok Sabha then, frankly, our own democratic Constitution, as we understand [it], will not survive... because then they will have all the three elements they need to tear up the Constitution of India and write a new one.”
He stated “And that will enshrine the principle of Hindu Rashtra, that will remove equality for the minorities, and that will create a Hindu Pakistan...and that is not what Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad and great heroes of freedom struggle fought for.”
As per Tharoor the equal rights of minorities, which are enshrined in our Constitution will be taken away in the BJP-RSS scheme of things.
While Congress party has distanced itself from what Tharoor has stated, what is the reality?
Why this analogy of Pakistan?
India’s partition was the machination of British policy of ‘divide and rule’. This British game plan was actualized on the ground, due to communal streams of India. Hindu nationalist V.D.Savarkar first stated that there are two Nations in the country, one Hindu and another Muslim. And according to him since Hindus are the original inhabitants they will have primacy. Turning the same argument on its head, Muslim League Jinnah, became adamant about his demand of a separate country for Muslims, Pakistan.
While Jinnah had a complex attitude to nationalism, he did say that people will be free to practice their religion in Pakistan. But since Pakistan was created on a communal premise, gradually this logic overtook that country to tormet the Hindus, Christians and now even the Muslim sects of Shias and Ahmadiyas. Pakistans industrial and education development took a hit as divisive politics created an atmosphere of hate that ensured the dominance of the feudal, mullah-military complex.
While Muslim League succeeded in the creation of its goal Pakistan and major Muslim communal elements migrated to Pakistan, the Hindu communal elements, the Savarkar-RSS combine did not reconcile to the concept of secular democratic India.
They opposed the Indian Constitution, the tricolor and the very ethos of secularism, which are the foundation of India’s progress so far. Since the since communalism became more dominant, the BJP-RSS has been growing stronger, with the polarization of communities and marginalization of religious minorities gradually increasing. This politics peaked as it were during the past four years.
It is during last four years time that intolerance has been growing by leaps and bounds. It led to so many eminent citizens to return their awards, retired civil servants have been pained to see the undermining of values of amity, the spate of lynching in the name of Cow-Beef have skyrocketed, the spread of fear amongst minorities has gone up tremendously.
The overall authoritarian atmosphere and activation of so called fringe elements has been frightening. These foot soldiers of Hindu nationalist politics are feeling emboldened. A large troll army has created an atmosphere shaming the values which came from the sacrifices of Gandhi, Nehru Patel and hundreds of freedom fighters.
We are witnessing the likes of Mahesh Sharma, the central minister visiting the murder accused of Akhlaq, one of the many lynched by a cow mob. We have seen another minister Jayant Sinha garlanding the accused in another lynching case. Also not to be left behind. another minister Giriraj Singh visited riot accused in jail.
While at the ground level these tendencies, which are mirror images of what happens in Pakistan are spiralling, at the ideological level top leaders of RSS-BJP have been saying, loudly that the Indian Constitution does not reflect the age old Indian ethos and needs to be changed. The likes of Anantkumar Hegde have openly said that BJP is there to change the Indian Constitution.
In the wake of the Babri mosque demolition, a Pakistani Poet Fahmida Riyaz, was shattered and wrote a touching poem, ‘Tum Bilkul Hum Jaise Nikale’ (You also turned out be like us).
The majority liberal section of Pakistan like this poetess had been looking up to India for its secular ethos.Eminent citizens like Julio Reibero, have been pained by the present situation and stated they no more feel at home in the changing environment.
The Congress might have distanced itself from Tharoors statement, and the BJP attacked him, but his words have hit the spot.