25. T. G. Mohandas
25. T. G. Mohandas
Before going into the questions raised by Dr. Godbole, let us understand the stage where we stand and discuss.
In today’s Bharath, a Hindu is a Hindu because his father is a Hindu. So is the case with a Muslim or a Christian. Generally, nobody knows or even bothers to know the guiding principles of one’s own faith, leave alone understanding someone else’s faith. Hindus go to temples, perform some rituals (of which they do not have any understanding) and claim to be devout Hindus. Same is the case with Muslims and Christians. Consequently, everybody forms an opinion about each religion from the occasional speeches they hear, stories that are being told, debates that appear in newspaper columns etc. This process brings out only the beautiful and acceptable facets of all religions because everybody wants to score debating points and entertain his readership / audience. In short, people are led by perceptions and not by truth. As such, everybody is offended the moment his religion’s flaws are pointed out. This has created a situation in which one who tries to tell bitter truths is immediately branded as communal and fanatic. To overcome this, one is compelled to put at least a facade of ‘Sarva Panth Samadar’, or he will not be able to catch the attention of his target group. Precisely, this writer feels, this is the reason or logic behind the occasional utterances of Hindu leaders as outlined by Dr. Godbole. Nevertheless, I am sure that Dr. Godbole will agree with me if I say that no serious policy document, resolution, communique or publication belonging to any of the organisations of the Sangh Parivar, advocates any of the eight arguments. This writer had the good luck of listening to innumerable Baudhiks from none other than Param Poojaneeya Guruji to a not-so-learned humble pracharak who talks to a small group of five or six Swayamsevaks. I must categorically state that during the last 37 years of my life as a Swayamsevak, I have not heard a single Baudhik which prompted me to believe that Islam is in any way equivalent to Hindutva. However, the points shown by Dr. Godbole are occasionally heard in public speeches and therefore are to be treated as statements or overtures made to create a conductive atmosphere for a meaningful dialogue with Muslims. This writer feels that to save Muslims from the clutches of Islam, the Quran is to be discussed and exposed. For this, it is better to tell Muslims that we are ready to accept the Quran but have serious reservations on the preaching of Islam and Quran vis-a-vis Hindus. This could possibly initiate a dialogue and open-minded Muslims, howsoever minuscule in numbers, could be forced to read the Quran and ponder over the facts presented by us. Conversely, if we start with a head-on confrontation, that will invite only blind rebuttals and voice of reason will be lost from both sides.
Notwithstanding all the above, we must be very clear in our mind that the supreme goal of the RSS is not to expose Islam, not to have dialogue with other religions, not even to reorganise the Hindu religion to make it capable of fighting others. We do all these things as means, not as an end. Our aim is the Paramvaibhavam of this Nation. Param Poojaneeya Doctorji started organising Hindus because he felt that this is the only way to lead the Nation to Paramvaibhavam. All other things are questions of strategy which can be formed and modified depending on the context but without making any compromises. Our fight has to have many facets. While Prajna Bharati will take on the westernised anglicised, ‘intellectuals’, VHP will beat the Missionaries in their own game of conversion by performing ‘paravartan’. Forming a Sarva Pantha Samadar Manch is not contrary to this direction but definitely complementary. Samadar or respect of some idea need not necessarily mean that you agree or subscribe to that idea. How do we normally show our difference of opinion? Are we not starting with ‘With all due respect to you, sir, I beg to differ with you ‘? This is only a sophisticated way of expressing total disagreement. So, I think we need not worry much about the literal meaning of words so long as we move in the right direction. And I have no reason to believe that, of everybody, Mananiya Thengdiji will take a wrong direction.
With this as a prelude, I will try to analyse the issues raised by Dr. Godbole.
1. What is the harm in adding Jesus and Muhammad to the 33 crore Hindu Gods?
Dr. Godbole answers this question from a Muslim point of view and his answer is correct from that perspective. I am trying to answer as a Hindu. Strictly speaking, a Hindu should not have objection to adding a Pepsi bottle to his list of Gods, leave alone Jesus and Muhammad, because Hindu Gods have attained all the qualities which they are supposed to have, through the attributions of Bhaktas. Hindus are free to create any number of new Gods by attributing the qualities which they expect from a particular God. Precisely, that is why Hindus worship almost every object they come across. But, there are practical problems is enrolling Jesus and Muhammad in the list. Some people have already attributed some qualities (which are arrogant and exclusivist in nature) to Jesus and Muhamamad. Therefore, even if a Hindu decides to accept Jesus as his Upasanamoorthy, that will be entirely a different Jesus i.e. a Hindu Jesus. This is quite absurd and will lead only to confrontation with the followers of conventional Jesus. As rightly pointed out by Dr. Godbole, neither Christianity nor Islam allows any other Gods because that will reduce the status of their God to one in 33 crores. In fact, Mr. Saed Naqvi, the well-known journalist, once told Shri S. Gurumoorthy that Islam does not allow picturisation of Muhammad because they are afraid that Hindus will apply a tilak on the prophet’s forehead, light some agarbattis and lamps, and declare him as one among their 33 crores of Gods. This joke was narrated by Shri S. Gurumoorthy in one of his speeches in Kerala.
2. All religions lead to God.
Yes, all religions lead to their respective Gods. But, it must be understood that Gods as described in the Bible and the Quran are highly intolerant to those who do not follow them. This difference must be exposed.
3. Islam is good but Muslims are bad.
I fully agree with Dr. Godbole i.e. the converse is true. Muslims minus Islam are good. But then, what is a Muslim without Islam?
4. If Muslims are told of their common ancestry, they will unite with Hindus.
The Quran categorically prevents Muslims from uniting with any non-believer. A true Muslim can be loyal only to a Muslim country/nation. Whatever be the level of awareness about his ancestors being non-Muslims, a devout Muslim who abides by each and every word of the Quran cannot enter into friendship with non-believers. However, this teaching of the Quran is normally not publicised and therefore most of the Muslims are unaware of this fact. The fact being so, an earnest attempt through this line may prompt or rather embolden some of the Muslims to outgrow the heinous teachings of Islam.
5. The Congress used Muslims. Congress treats Muslims as vote banks. We (BJP) will treat Muslims as human beings.
The arrangement between Congress and Muslims was mutually beneficial to the leaders of both sides. The ordinary Muslim (who does not know what is Quran or Hadis) was not provided with even basic education. It is a must that we treat them as human beings because their leaders treat them as slaves. A common civil code will show the Muslim male his right place and bring the Muslim woman out of her purdah. Yes, I fully subscribe to BJP’s slogan - justice for all and appeasement to none. The tactical voting etc. will come to an end once they really go through the experience of an honest governance.
6. Sufis are tolerant Muslims.
This writer has not had the opportunity to study the Sufi phenomenon and therefore would like to refrain from commenting on this point.
7. Muslim leaders are responsible for the ghetto mentality of Muslims.
Though Islamic theology is responsible for this ghetto mentality, it is the Muslim leadership which is propagating and perpetuating the same. An average Muslim who is not aware of the theology or who does not follow the Quran verbatim may not like his isolation. But Muslim leaders create issues out of nothing, create some sort of persecution-mania, and the rhetoric becomes so shrill that any sane voice is drowned in the din.
8. Namaaz offered on a disputed site is not acceptable to Allah.
Though I have no first hand information about this, going by the tone of the Quran it is quite unlikely. Quran openly advocates killing of the non-believers. So naturally it should have no objection to offering Namaaz at a disputed site.
I am not going into the question raised by Dr. Godbole on the Sarva Panth Samadar Manch because I have already put my opinion in the prelude.
Once again, I would like to humbly request all concerned to evaluate our movement in its totality. Analysing each event or slogan in isolation may not give us a correct picture. Over and above, we must appreciate that many a time it is not the truth but the perception about the truth that dominates the society. While we have to be committed to the core, it is imperative that we must be clever and dynamic enough to cope with the multipronged attack against Hindutva.
Footnotes: The writer works in the Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram, an RSS organization at Trivandrum in Kerala.