One Year of Modi

Saffronization – Unleashing the Fanatic Hordes

Subhashini Ali

One year of Modi Sarkar has been witness to an unrelenting campaign of ‘Saffronization’ that has encompassed or touched upon so many social spheres that its ultimate objective of achieving the establishment of a Hindu Rashtra can no longer be questioned.

Mr. DinanathBatra, an RSS man and founder of the ShikshaBachaoAndolan (Movement to Save Education) who had succeeded in getting Penguin India to trash Wendy Doniger’sbook “The Hindus: and Alternative History” just before the elections in 2014, followed up this triumph by sending alegal notice to Orient Black Swan in response to which they suspended publication of 5 books, including ‘Communalism and Sexual Violence:  Ahmedabad since l969’ by Rhodes Scholar, Megha Kumar.  Batra is now recognized as an authority on textbooks by the Ministry of Human Resource Development despite the fact that his knowledge of history is pitiful and textbooks authored by him in Gujarat are full of racist and misogynist content – he has even referred to ‘Negroes’ in the US in derogatory terms and bestowed fulsome praise on Hitler.

Within this period, the entire Censor Board headed by a cultural luminary like Smt. Leela Samson resigned in protest against government interference and has been replaced by people affiliated to the BJP.  A film on the communal violence that occurred in Muzaffarnagar, “In DinonMuzaffarnagar” has been refused clearance for screening and producers of commercial films are also facing harassment and interference.

An essential element of the Hindutva project is the unification of Hindu society.  Dr. Ambedkar’s renunciation of Hinduism and the iconic status that he enjoys within the Dalit community have made the task of Dalit assimilation into Hindu society without any change in their social status a great challenge for the SanghParivar which attempts to overcome this by using various methods to create enmity between Dalits and Muslims hoping that this will force Dalits to gravitate towards the Hindu fold. These attempts began immediately after Government formation.  On the one hand, Dalits who had converted to Christianity and Islam generations ago were ‘persuaded’ to re-convert to Hinduism, to return home as part of a ‘GharWapsi’ campaign.  This campaign was accompanied by verbal and physical attacks on Muslims and Christians and their places of worship.  MPs and leaders of the SanghParivar and Shiv Sena gave public statements saying that there was no place in India for Muslims and Christians who would have to become Hindus ‘again’ if they wanted to live here.  Some leaders said that while Hindu women should produce a large number of sons, Christian and Muslim women should be prevented from bearing children at all.  A Shiv Sena MP demanded that the right to vote be denied to Christians and Muslims.  Shockingly, there were also calls given that Hindu men should abduct and seduce Muslim women and then impregnate them with Hindu children.  This was, of course, the other side of the accusation hurled against Muslims that they were deliberating seducing and abducting Hindu women.

In September, 2014 itself, the RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat released three books: Hindu CharmakarJati, Hindu KhatikJati and Hindu BalmikiJati authored by RSS men who make a mockery of history by claiming that it was the Muslim invaders who forced sections of Hindus to do ‘abominable works like killing cows, skinning them…Foreign invaders thus created a caste of charma-karma (dealing with skin) by giving such works as punishment to proud Hindu prisoners.” They even advance the absurd claim that pigs were unknown before the Muslim invasions who introduced them to India!

In the field of higher education a great deal of damage is being done which will have far-reaching consequences.  RSS –promoted ‘scientists’ are trying to promote the ‘fact’ that in ancient, Hindu India, scientific discoveries like the aeroplane and atom bomb existed and that medicine had advanced to the extent that plastic surgery (placing of an elephant head onto a human torso to produce Lord Ganesha), IVF etc. were all being practiced.  History is now being replaced with myth.  The ICHR is now being headed by Dr. Y.P.S. Rao whose main research project has been that of proving the historicity of texts of epics like the Mahabharata and Ramayana.  He is the president of the AkhilBharatiyaItihasSankalanYojana (All India Historical Research Project) that operates out of the RSS office in Delhi.  He is a votary of the caste system and his caliber can be judged by this remark of his “Ayodhya is, technically speaking, not a historical problem, because Ayodhya stood even before the modern genre of history was born”.

The aggressive process of Saffronisation noted in the first 100 days of the Government has continued apace.  Dr. Rao’s tenure at the ICHR has led to the resignation of Prof. SabyasachiBhattarcharya from editorship of its prestigious journal that had an international reputation, the Indian Historical Review.  Just a few days ago, the Advisory Council of the journal which had members of the stature of Dr. RomilaThapar and Prof. Irfan Habib was disbanded by Dr. Rao.

Most appropriately, one year of Modi Sarkar was celebrated by one of its supportive organizations, Shiv SenaHindusthan, by blackening signs of roads named after Muslims in the capital, Delhi.  The four that they chose for this act of vandalism were Safdar Hashmi Marg, Firozeshah Road, Akbar Road and Aurangzeb Road.  Of course, none of those responsible have been arrested despite the fact that the Delhi police comes directly under the Home Ministry of the Central Government.

Massive mobilizations and protests must be organized to save our society from plunging into the depths of ignorance, superstition and civil strife