6. The United Front of Hostile Forces
6. The United Front of Hostile Forces
So far we have discussed (1) the significance of Hindu Society as the last of the ancient societies to survive the invasion of latter-day ideologies, and (2) the methods and means employed by these ideologies to finish Hindu society as well.
In this concluding survey we shall take up the United Front which these ideologies, particularly Islamism and Communism, have forged to malign Hindu society and keep it on the defensive. This United Front functions mostly at a psychological level. But it presents itself as a political alliance also whenever specific issues affecting the welfare of Hindu society come up before the Parliament or are debated in public.
The United Front between Islamism and Communism has been in existence and active since the early ‘forties when the Communist Party of India came out openly in support of the demand for Pakistan. Not many people remember now that the Communist Party had once directed a large number of its Muslim members to join the Muslim League to provide intellectual muscle to the two-nation theory. The ‘Hindu’ Communists were already inside the Indian National Congress to play the game of Islamism. The two Communist brigades together did a great job for Islamism by softening the Hindu intelligentsia and blackening as Hindu communalists and chauvinists all those who dared oppose Partition. Islamism paid back the debt of gratitude partially when the Razakars from the erstwhile State of Hyderabad cooperated whole-heartedly with the Communist Party of India during the Communist insurrection in Telengana.
This close cooperation between Islamism and Communism continued unabated after independence. Islamism had come under a shadow and become suspect in the eyes of most people in this country. But Communism had its earlier respectability restored to it soon after the death of Sardar Patel and the eclipse of his following inside the Indian National Congress. And Communism left no stone unturned to rehabilitate Islamism under the guise of progressivism. The Aligarh Muslim University which had been a hot-bed of Islamism in pre-Partition days, now became the hideout of progressive Muslim professors. Muslim poets and writers who had once thundered from the Muslim League platform, now flocked to the Progressive Writers Association and other Communist fronts. These professors, poets and writers were putting across the age-old slogans of Islamism in their newly acquired language of progressivism.
This United Front between Islamism and Communism would have suffered a set-back when Pakistan became a member of the US sponsored CENTO and SEATO. The Communist Party of India was ranged against Pakistan in support of India’s foreign policy. But the Front was saved because, at about the same time, Arab nationalism moved towards the Soviet Union under the leadership of Nasser. India’s foreign policy became very vocal in espousing Arab causes in an effort to ‘isolate Pakistan in the comity of Muslim nations’. At home also, the Indian National Congress and other political parties who took pride in parading their Secularism bent over backwards to woe Islamism in an effort to ‘wean the Muslims of India from their loyalty to Pakistan’. Communism was in the vanguard of this national consensus. Its protege, Islamism, therefore, suffered not the slightest discomfort.
It is only recently that this United Front between Islamism and Communism has come under some strain due to the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism. A patch-up between Pakistan and the Soviet Union over Afghanistan is not an impossible proposition in spite of American efforts to keep them at loggerheads. A patch-up between Islamism and Communism in India will follow in quick succession. The two are cooperating in support of Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran and in opposition to President Sadat of Egypt.1 But this is not the place to hazard guessess whether Islamism and Communism will cooperate or clash in the near future. Here we want to highlight their achievements during the days of their cooperation.
The United Front between Islamism and Communism achieved its first great victory when it effectively blocked the emergence of Hindi as the national language.
The Founding Fathers of the Constitution had accepted in principle that Hindi should be recognised and helped to become the national language of India. In order to be able to play the role of a national language, Hindi had naturally to fall back upon the store-house of Sanskrit, particularly for the development of a scholarly vocabulary suited to modern science and technology. The European languages had also fallen back upon Greek and Latin in a similar situation. This Sanskritisation of Hindi was bound to bring it closer to other Indian languages, including Tamil, which also had the main source of their vocabularies in Sanskrit. Hindi was also the only language which had translated on a large-scale and made its own the literary and other output of all other Indian languages. In the process, idioms and metaphors of many Indian languages had started finding an honourable place in Hindi.
Communism was the first to unfurl its proletarian flag against the rise of Hindi as a national language. How many people in Chandni Chowk, shouted the Communist spokesmen, understand the Hindi spoken by All India Radio? Next, it brought forward its theory of India being a conglomeration of nationalities, each with its distinct language, which it had first polished up in the ‘forties while pressing the case for Pakistan. Finally, it recommended the Soviet model for a correct language policy in India. And to demonstrate its ardour in this anti-Hindu crusade, it expelled Rahul Sankrityayana from its ranks. Inspite of his great service to Communist causes in India, Rahulji had remained an advocate of Hindi as the national language. Advocates of Hindi were now branded as Hindu chauvinists and Hindi imperialists.
Islamism immediately revived the lost cause of Urdu behind the smoke-screen of this Communist campaign against Hindi. It lauded loudly when progressive Urdu poets like Firaq Gorakhpuri lampooned Hindi in a language which was largely unprintable. Simultaneously, Islamism started parading Urdu as the great language of culture and refinement which will be lost to India for good if Urdu was allowed to go under. No Communist came forward to examine this ‘culture and refinement as a legacy of decadent Muslim courts and a frivolous Muslim aristocracy. No Communist questioned the heavy Persianisation and Arabicisation of Urdu which made it incomprehensible even to educated people, leave alone the man in Chandni Chowk. The recognition of Urdu as a second language has today become a sine qua non of Secularism.
That brings us to the second subject where the United Front between Islamism and Communism scored a notable victory-the subject of Secularism. They joined hands to jibe at Secularism till the concept was totally distorted and became a synonym for Islamic imperialism.
Secularism as a state policy had been evolved in the modern West which had become sick of the contending theocratic claims of Christian churches. Theocracy had been as alien to Hindu state and society as it had been intrinsic to Christian and Islamic state and society. Secularism was, therefore, nothing new for the Hindus. They had practised it for long in their socio-political, even private family life. No Hindu raised an objection to the acceptance of Secularism as a state policy. But Communism was soon firing its salvos at a Secularism under which ‘the Hindus occupied all places of power and prestige and the poor Muslim minority was denied its rightful place in national life’. It raised an accusing finger at a President who performed Hindu religious rites inside the Rashtrapati Bhavan and went to Hindu places of pilgrimage. It denounced as Hindu communalism and revivalism the breaking of coconuts and use of garlands at the inauguration of some public projects and functions. This Secularism, according to Communist Party resolutions, was a sham and a shame.
Islamism was not slow to jump on this bandwagon as well, and parade its endless economic, social, political and cultural grievances. Who could question the legitimacy of these grievances now that they were being trumpeted not by the Muslim League, which could be branded as communal, but by ‘progressive Hindu intellectuals who had no communal axe to grind?’ Political parties were now warned by the Muslim vote-bank that their claim to Secularism was not sound so long as they did not champion Islamic causes in domestic as well as international politics. The final upshot was a revival of the old Islamist demand for reservations for Muslims in every sphere of national life, including the armed forces.
Another field in which this close cooperation between Islamism and Communism has achieved remarkable results is the re-interpretation of Indian history till it has been emptied of all such content as can nourish a nation. We have already dealt with this subject. The aim of both Islamism and Communism in this joint effort has been to explode the ‘theory’ that Hindus have always been a nation, and sabotage the sound proposition that the non-Hindu communities in India have to seek from the Hindus and make to the Hindus such legitimate concessions as will enable them to get integrated into a broad Indian nationalism. In the new progressive perspective, the ‘Hindu conglomeration of castes’ has to concede everything to the non-Hindu communities and demand nothing from them.
There are many other fields, major and minor, in which Islamism and Communism have marched hand in hand. Christianism has not been an equal and direct partner in this United Front against Hindu society. But, indirectly, it has subscribed to and participated in this United Front, more pronouncedly on the issue of Hindi as a national language and the character of Secularism as a state policy. This is not the place to elaborate all the details.
It also needs to be stated that this United Front functions under the protective umbrella of Macaulayism which never fails to incorporate the slogans of the Front in its own respectable language. We have already seen the ideological affinities which Macaulayism has with Communism, and how these affinities always keep it on the defensive vis-a-vis Communism. It is, therefore, very easy for Communism to transfer its own slogans as well as the slogans of its main accomplice, Islamism, on to the prestigious platform of Macaulayism. Christianism finds a ready access to Macaulayism because the missionary schools and colleges provide the main recruiting ground for Macaulayism. We shall, therefore, further investigate why Macaulayism plays the role it does.
Every society has its normal quota of social evils. The animal in man spares no society from its depredations. Hindu society is no exception to this universal rule of Nature. It has always had and will always have its normal share of social evils. It has perhaps accumulated more than its normal share because it has suffered a long spell of foreign rule without losing its identity. Loss of freedom does make a society suffer from arterio-sclerosis and a dimunition of dynamism. Economic impoverishment which always follows loss of freedom is also a fertile field for social vices.
But, after all is said and done, Hindu society remains a very human society. It still retains and cherishes great spiritual, moral, cultural and intellectual traditions. It was only the other day that this society gave to the world a galaxy of great saints, poets, statesmen and scientists. The heart and mind of Hindu society are still sound and throb with great aspirations. Its days of creativity are not yet over and its contributions to the greater good of mankind can still be counted upon.
The tragedy of a Hindu victim of Macaulayism is that while he is acutely aware of the evils prevalent in Hindu society, he is not aware of the Hindu doctrines which provide no sanction for these evils and which can be depended upon in any endeavour for their eradication. In the process, he has reduced himself to the status of a Miss Mayo whom Mahatma Gandhi had aptly described as a drain-inspector.
His tragedy is made doubly dangerous by his ignorance of the evils prevalent in non-Hindu societies in which he has never lived as an insider. He also does not know that quite a few of the inequities in non-Hindu societies have their sanction in the dogmas by which these societies swear. He is, therefore, easily taken in when Islamism presents Muslim society as based on brotherhood of men, or Christianism boasts of Christian society as overflowing with love and charity, or Communism claims that an equation society exists in the Soviet Union. He does not know that Islamic brotherhood has always been a brotherhood of bandits, that Christian love and charity are largely a function of the riches which Western nations supply to the Christian missions, and that Communist talk of equalitarianism is nothing more than a doublespeak for a serfdom unprecedented in the annals of human history.
Who could be more acutely aware of the shortcomings in Hindu society than Maharshi Dayananda, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Hedgewar? But that awareness did not inspire them, as it does the victims of Macaulayism, to join the Nirad Chaudhries of their days. Nor did they welcome, as our victims of Macaulayism do, the acrimonious accusations which Islamism and Christianism were advancing against Hindu society in their days.
Who could be a greater critic and sterner scolder of Hindu society than these four great thinkers, reformers and leaders of men? But they did not sit in armchairs in air-conditioned offices gloating morbidly over the evils in their society, or using those evils as subjects for spilling ink in the daily and the periodical press, or feeling free from their duty towards their society after self-righteous pontifications from political platforms on evils prevalent in Hindu society. Instead, they gave stirring calls to Hindu society to get rid of the dirt and dross it had collected in course of time, and revive and reconstruct itself in the light of the spiritual and moral traditions it had inherited. More, they themselves entered the field and fought many a battle against orthodoxy, ignorance, privilege and power, and in defence of justice and equity.
It is perhaps too much to expect from our Hindu victim of Macaulayism that he would any day enter the field of social action and reform. He is at best a scholar who borrows his jargon from abroad and tries to fit the ‘jigsaw puzzle’ of Hindu society into its strait-jacket At worst he is a scribe who makes a living by selling whatever verbiage he can produce at short notice for his paymasters in the press. But he can at least inform himself better about the shortcomings of non-Hindu societies so that he is cured of his one-sided animus.
The United Front amongst ideologies hostile to Hindu society will certainly suffer a set-back the day Macaulayism withdraws its patronage from it and refuses to function as its transmission belt. Macaulayism is wedded to Secularism and Democracy. It has to find out for itself as to who are the enemies of Secularism and Democracy and who their best friends. This can be done only by looking beyond the United Front of Islamism, Communism and Christianism.
The nature of this United Front is negative. The participants in the Front agree that Hindu society should die and disappear. But there is no agreement among them regarding what sort of a society should replace Hindu society. We are not sure what model Christianism has in mind. It never goes beyond saying that India should be the land of Christ, which may mean many things to many people. But Islamism and Communism leave us in no doubt. The Islamist model is presently on display in Zia’s Pakistan and Khomeini’s Iran. The Communist model is being demonstrated next to our doorstep-in Afghanistan.
The three ideologies have not yet started exchanging blows simply because their areas of operation have not yet coincided. They have chosen to feed upon different limbs of the large-sized Hindu society. Christianism is busy amongst Hindu ‘tribals’ whom Hindu society had always left undisturbed. Islamism is on the prowl amongst the Harijans whom a power-hungry leadership is fast preparing for political blackmail. Communism is spreading its tentacles amongst the upper and middle classes whom it parades as its ‘proletarian base’.
Thus Hindu society not only presents itself as a prey to these exclusive, intolerant and imperialist ideologies but also acts as a buffer between them. India is secular because India is Hindu. It can be added as a corollary that India is a democracy also because India is Hindu. If Hindu society permits this free for all any further, the days of Secularism and Democracy in this country are numbered. Let the Hindus unite and save themselves, their democratic polity, their secular state, and their Sanatana Dharma for a new cycle of civilization, not only for themselves but also the world.
This was written before President Sadat was assassinated. ↩