Nitish Kumar in an obvious reference to opposition to Modi’s possible projection as the Prime-ministerial candidate of NDA, in the next parliamentary elections said that NDA’s Prime Ministerial candidate should be one with secular credentials. His aide went on to say that Vajpayee had the intention of sacking in the wake of Gujarat carnage and the NDA lost 2004 Parliamentary elections due to the
Gujarat carnage and role of Modi in the same (June 19,
2012). In response Lalu Yadav questioned Nitish as to how he, Nitish, continued
to be part of NDA after Gujarat happened? The
BJP spokesmen talked at various levels. One of them said that ideologically
Vajpayee, Advani and Modi are all the same. Another one said that Hindutva is
truly secular and liberal so why Modi cannot be the PM candidate. RSS Supremo
Bhagwat buttressed the point by saying as to why the nation cannot have a
Hindutvawadi prime minister?
Nitish was part of the cabinet. What did he tell Vajpayee at that time one does not know, but as a secular person, his threat of pulling out from the Government would have set the house in order to a great extent. Even today, right under his nose his ally; the BJP of Bihar, is communalizing the polity. Communalism is not just communal violence. Communal violence is just the superficially visible part of the process of communalization, which aims to abolish secular space and liberal values.
Some of the statements of BJP spoke-persons are partly true also. The claim that Vajpayee, Advani, and Modi (one can add even people like Praveen Togadia, Promod Mutallik, Vinay Katiyar and the likes) are similar, is true to a great extent. They are all ideologically committed swaymsevaks, (RSS trained Cadres) working for the agenda of Hindu Rashta, the goal of RSS politics. There are dissimilarities amongst them also; there is a division of labor amongst them also. Since BJP is not hoping for coming to majority on its own strength, it has to keep a liberal façade. Precisely for this reason Vajpayee was the prime Minister, while prime mover of the chariot of communalism through
campaign, Advani, was forced to play the second fiddle. When Vajpayee withdrew
from the scene, Advani decided for the image change over and he suddenly
realized the secular worth of Jinnah. It is another matter that he overplayed
the game and their patriarch, RSS, decided to clip his wings and demote him.
All the top brass of BJP, VHP, Bajrang Dal, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and many
other RSS outfits are primarily the RSS swayamasevaks, which is too well known
by now. Ram Temple
When the previous avatar of BJP, Jan Sangh, merged in Janata Party in the wake of lifting of emergency, the other components of Janata party, socialists in particular, demanded that the Jan Sangh members should give up their membership-affiliation with RSS. For Jan Sanghis breaking link with RSS was unthinkable and they decided to pull out from Janata Party and then they regrouped as Bharatiya Janata Party, as it is known at present. Vajpayee, in his famous address to NRI Indians in Staten Island, US, asserted that he is Swayamsevak first and anything else, PM, later.
In that sense they are on the same ideological wavelength but playing different roles at any point of time. They are communal to the core, with the agenda to work for religion based nationalism. To say that Hindutva is secular and liberal is like putting the reality on its head. Hindutva is not Hinduism. Hinduism is an umbrella of various religious streams, which flowered and existed in this part of the world. Hindutva as a concept and political ideology started emerging during colonial period and was later popularized by Savarkar. He defined it as ‘Whole of Hinduness’, a combination of Aryan race, culture and language. In particular Hindutva is based on the Brahmanical stream of Hinduism, subtly promoting caste and gender hierarchy, reviving the feudal hierarchical system in the modern idioms.
When the whole nation was coming together on the principles of
Equality and Fraternity, the upholders of Hindutva, coming from the sections of
Rajas, Jamindars and section of upper caste Hindus kept aloof from the struggle
against British. They came together as Hindu Mahasabha and later founded and
supported RSS. Their politics was parallel and opposite of the
politics of Muslim League, which was arguing on the similar line for an Islamic
Muslim League also had base amongst the landed aristocracy, Nawabas, Jagirdars
and later joined by educated elite. Hindutva stream, Hindu Mahasabha-RSS
projected the glorious Hindu past and asserted we are a Hindu Nation from times
immemorial. Muslim League identified with the rule of Muslim kings and traced
their lineage to the first invasion of Muslim King in this part of the world.
The National movement under Gandhi was for throwing away the yoke of colonial
rule and for social change of caste and gender relations. It articulated that
we are a Nation in the making.
How does one understand the difference between Hinduism and Hindutva? One has to take recourse to the example of the ‘father of the nation’ to avoid the heavy academic debates. Gandhi was a Hindu but not a follower of Hindutva. Godse and the RSS tribe are the practitioners of ‘Hindutva politics’. For this politics a Hindu like Gandhi is unacceptable ideologically as he could reach the zenith of secular ethos while being the best of the Hindus! We do realize that while the statement by Nitish Kumar is a symbol of shadow boxing it also presents one of the aspects of the political reality being witnessed by the nation.