12. Adwayanand R. Galatge
12. Adwayanand R. Galatge
Dr. Shreerang Godbole, an RSS worker from Pune, has done some plain speaking to the Sangh leaders on the question of Muslims. It is tragic to find that they really deserve it. It is a measure of the level to which the RSS has been reduced by its leaders’ recent preoccupation with politics. The sordid drama recently enacted on the Gujarat stage exposes the hazards of politics to which RSS is open and can ill-afford. The small-time ‘shows’ like ‘Sarva Panth Samadar Manch’ and the political gimmicks like the ‘eight formulations’ that Dr. Godbole has cited (and criticised), are the natural fall-out of this preoccupation. They are, if anything, the ‘saffron brand of secularism’. If the Sangh leaders believe that these exercises will win the confidence of the Muslims for the political gains of the BJP, they are deceiving themselves. The sooner they disabuse their minds of this misconception, the better. Nor does it show any political maturity on their part to believe that these exercises will bring the Muslims into the national mainstream. It makes one wonder whether Sangh leaders also are so obtuse as to be incapable of learning from history like those whom they criticise.
This does not mean that the RSS should close its doors to Muslims, or help perpetuate their ghetto mentality. Those from the Muslim community who subscribe to Sangh philosophy should be admitted to the RSS camp, but this should be done strictly by the test of honest adherence to the Sangh principles and ideals, and not by and kind of appeasement, howsoever subtle.
THE PROBLEM OF ISLAM
This, of course, does not solve the problem of Islam, which is chiefly responsible for the ghetto mentality of Muslims. Muslims should, no doubt, be viewed as victims of Islam, as Dr. Godbole puts it. But politics is not the way to ‘cure’ them of it. Politics, if anything, will entrench them in Islam, and not ‘cure’ them, as the post-Independence politics of India has demonstrated.
Most of the Muslims of India are former Hindus. Islam has conquered nations by forcible conversions, and what is conquered by force cannot be reconquered except by force, if history is any guide. But this historical road is not open to the Hindus due to their adoption of the democratic system of government, apart from the fact that it is against their Sanatana Dharma.
The idea that Islam will crumble if efforts are made to ‘expose’ it, is also misplaced. Islam is not an ideology like Marxism or any other ‘ism’ as Dr. Godbole believes. Ideologies that usually go under the suffix of ‘ism’ have at least some philosophy at their base. Islam has no philosophy whatsoever. It is a system of beliefs and blind beliefs, at that, - with outdated medieval customs and practices to bolster it up. Hence Islam is not open to rational debate or arguments as all ‘isms’ are. On the contrary, any attempt to ‘expose’ it rationally, or even artistically, is counterproductive as the examples of Rushdie, Taslima and Anwar Shaikh go to prove. It fans the very fire of fanaticism that it intends to quench.
THE ONLY SOLUTION
This brings us back to the RSS, i.e. to the reason that led Dr. Hedgewar to found it. Dr. Hedgewar never worried himself with the problem of Muslims, still less of Islam. He set out to set his own house in order. It is a sad day in the history of the RSS that its leaders are so much exercised over the problem of Muslims and Islam, which is not their concern. They are frittering away their energies in wrong directions and useless channels. They should know that it is politics that has created the so-called Muslim problem. It is strange that, of all the people, it is the Sangh leaders who are breaking their heads on this problem. Muslims are a problem, if at all, to the politicians, not to the Sangh leaders. Sangh leaders should first address themselves to the ‘problem’ of the Hindus, which, if solved, will automatically solve the ‘problem’ of the Muslims, if it is a problem; and this they can do effectively only if they completely abstain from politics, because politics never solves problems. It creates problems.
The recent political victories of the BJP have fired the ambition and imagination of the Sangh workers, and thrown them headlong into politics. The recent writings of thinkers like Ram Swarup, Frawley, Shourie, Anwar Shaikh et al, intended for political effect, seem to have persuaded them to pay all their attention to ‘the dangerous political ideologies masquerading as religions’. There is no harm in ‘exposing’ these so-called ‘ideologies masquerading as religions’. But that will not solve the ‘Hindu problem’, irrespective of whether this ‘exposure’ will bring about their downfall. The fall of Communism in Russia was not due to the intellectual exercise of ‘exposure’ of Marxism, but to social and economic causes. In any case, these ‘exposures’ are no solution to our immediate problems, and I honestly feel that the energies of the Sangh workers should not be wasted on issues that do not directly concern us. Their energies should be constructively utilized in the cause of the Hindus, who are progressively being divided on caste and other lines by political upstarts. But engaging in political battles to counter the effect of these upstarts will only accentuate the problem and not solve it. It should never be forgotten that it was political interests and ambitions that kept the Hindus disunited and divided, and made them fall an easy prey to Muslims throughout history. (Did not political ambition split the monolith BJP, the party of discipline, in Gujarat?) The seeds of BJP’s Muslim appeasement under ‘saffron brand of secularism’ lie in this very political prepossession. Let not those seeds sprout, which will certainly do if Sangh workers engage in its politics by staging such ‘shows’ as the ‘Manch’.
Let the Sangh leaders and workers stop fighting battles and begin working seriously to win the war.
How politics vitiates the intellectual perception of the Hindu leaders can be seen from the very first formulation that Dr. Godbole has cited. It says that there is no harm in adding Jesus and Muhammad to the 33 crore Hindu gods. This is the height of ignorance on the part of those who make this preposterous statement. No Hindu scripture says that there are 33 crore Hindu gods. ‘Koti’ does not mean ‘crore’ but ‘class’ as in ‘Manushya-Koti’, ‘Deva-Koti’ etc. (See V.S. Apte’s Sanskrit-English Dictionary). There are 33 classes of natural elements, metaphorically called deities (and not gods), like earth, fire, water etc. These 33 natural elements or principles are listed in BrihadaraNyakopanishad, in Chapter 3, BrahmaNa 9, verses 2 to 9, where their discussion leads the sage to reduce them by logical steps to one Ultimate Principle called Brahman or the World Spirit. How are those, who make the above statement, going to add Jesus and Muhammad to these 33 natural elements, like earth, water etc., and how do they reduce Jesus and Muhammad to the Ultimate World Spirit, are the questions they must answer! When the leaders themselves betray such ignorance, what can be said about those whom they ‘lead’? This example shows how the ‘touch’ of politics can even change gold into mud, a miracle no other ‘discipline’ is capable of!
Footnotes: The writer is from Bhoj in Belgaum District of Karnataka.