September Campaign: Pamphlet III

Vajpayee Government

Stop Communalising the Atmosphere Or


Three years ago the BJP formed the Government with much fanfare through an election fought and won on a common programme with its NDA partners. It was a programme tailored to garner the support of the regional parties who formed a part of the Alliance, and to enable these parties to gather votes on an agenda that did not include the BJP issues of the Ram Temple, Article 370, and the uniform Civil Code. Three years into BJP rule it is clear to everyone that the BJP led government has been implementing what is essentially the RSS agenda for this country.

This warrants repetition. Following the ban on the RSS after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, the RSS entered into a series of deceitful compromises to have the ban lifted. It promised, amongst others, not to participate in the country’s politics. However, to circumvent this, it sent leading swayam sevaks to help Shyama Prasad Mookherjee, who had then resigned from the Nehru Cabinet, to start a new political party. Among those sent were late Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, L.K. Advani, A.B. Vajpayee and S.S. Bhandari. Thus was formed the Jana Sangh in 1951. The BJP is the later day incarnate of the Jana Sangh — the political arm of the RSS. Its agenda is the fascistic communal RSS project of converting the secular democratic republic of India into a rabidly intolerant "Hindu rashtra".

The Vajpayee government has precisely been implementing such an agenda.


  • On his very first day in office after the new government took over Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi, the Minister for HRD, appointed as Chairman in the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) Mr. BR Grover- a historian of mediocre status and a RSS sympathiser of high standing! Mr. Grover had managed ‘evidence’, as the VHP representative on a Govt. panel on the Babri Masjid dispute, to argue that a Ram temple indeed existed on the Babri Masjid site and that it was destroyed during Babar’s regime. Never mind that the weight of historical scholarship and archaeological evidence is to the contrary.
  • The entire Council of the Indian Council of Historical Research was reconstituted to achieve a near monopoly for the RSS in this important institution. The Indian Council of Social Science Research , the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (Simla), the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (which comes under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting), and the All India Council for Technical Education, the Indian Institute for Philosophical Research, the Archaeological Survey of India, the National Museum, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, the NCERT, and NIEPA have been similarly revamped. Vice Chancellors to various Universities have been appointed with the sole criteria of having a sympathiser at the helm of affairs. In Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and UP there is not a single vice-chancellor who is not affiliated to the Sangh Parivar.
  • Among the most ‘famous’ people recruited for the advisory committees in NCERT is a Mr. Rastogi who is still proud of having murdered a Muslim woman during the partition riots in 1947, and claims it as a service (‘qualification’?) in his memoirs.
  • The idea clearly is to influence the direction of funding and scholarship towards the Sangh Parivar’s communal agenda.
  • In Gujarat schools are forced through a government circular to subscribe to the RSS weekly and teachers regularly attend RSS shakhas. Despite the withdrawal of the move to allow government servants to participate in RSS shakhas, the Gujarat government ensures that in actual practice the government servants in a large number participate in the shakhas.


"Indianise, Spiritualise, Nationalise." What Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi did not manage to push through formally at the State Education Ministers’ Conference held in September 1998, this Vajpayee government has been defiantly implementing nevertheless. The Brahmanical religious tradition, Hindu festivals and rituals, Sarasvati Vandana, and even sati, child marriage, and prejudice against the minorities are preached in the name of defending Indian cultural traditions. Pride in India’s achievements as opposed to the West means teaching vedic mathematics, believing that whatever the west achieved in its modern period was already there in Ancient India, and so on.

This new curriculum has simply been thrust on the nation despite protests and disapproval within a significant section of the academic as well as political community across a broad spectrum.

  • This exercise at rewriting of history school texts meant the doing away with the existing texts written by Romila Thapar, RS Sharma, Bipan Chandra, Satish Chandra, and Arjun Dev. The reasons given are equally predictable: the leftist ‘bias’ needs to go they say. In actual fact the component of history in the school syllabus is to be drastically reduced in favour of such contemporary concerns as the movement for the Ram temple at Ayodhya and so on, if the pronouncements of the NCERT director, CS Rajput, are anything to go by. And so on.
  • In terms of gender this new curriculum aims at retaining the best feature of each gender, a formulation that speaks for itself.
  • Sanskrit is to be given significance not merely in schools, as it is the "basis of Indian culture" and best suited for the age of information technology, but also in Universities. The latest circular of the UGC aims at funding spoken Sanskrit language courses in all universities, with appointments being made directly by the UGC, and with the requirement of minimum qualification of BA for the so-called teachers. This is nothing but a means for RSS study circles to be funded by public money in public institutions.
  • While resource crunch is given as excuse for everything that ails the educational system and for withdrawal of the state from education, courses in Vedic Astrology, karmakand, yogic consciousness etc. are being pushed through by the government.
  • The Moral Science texts form the central thrust of the Hindutva education programme, They mean a goodbye to facts of history and science. What the 20,000 odd RSS Vidya Bharati schools teach is sought to be universalised.

An idea of what they represent can be seen from the very few examples given below:

  • It is because we are the children of Manu that we are known as manushya or manav (human). (Manu Aur Manav, Ch. 3, Sanskar Saurabh, Pt. 4).
  • Scientists consider plants as inanimate, while the Hindus consider them as animate and to have life (pg. 45, Sanskar Saurabh, pt. 4).
  • Our original ancestors Manu and Shatrun gave life to this earth. (pg. 1, Akhil Bhartiya Sanskriti-Gyan Pariksha Prashnotri, ed. Vidya Bharti, for Class 8).
  • On refusing to accept Islam Banda Bairagi had the heart of his son thrust down his throat. (pg. 7, ABSGPP).
  • Man took birth in Tibet, originally a part of India. All beings were Arya beings. It is from there that they spread out into the fields. It is now 179 million crore (arab crore), 19 lakh, 59 thousand, 84 years since man stepped on this earth. (Pg. 67, Dharma Siksha, for class 6)
  • Sati is presented as a Rajput tradition that we should be proud of (ch. 28, Sanskar Saurabh, pt. 3, for class 5).

Needless to say examples such as the above are strewn all through the entire series of texts.


Archaeology has become a favourite subject of the RSS "intellectuals". Through a revamped ASI efforts are on to fund ‘research’ that will ‘prove’ the Indus valley civilization to be Aryan civilization, the Aryans historically alien to India, to be described as the original inhabitants of the Indian soil, and Indian culture as Vedic in essence. Every syncretic place of worship turned into a potential site for a communal campaign, and a temple conjured up below the ruins of every medieval monument. The RSS affiliated archaeologists have turned into virtual karsevaks-all with the connivance of government funding. Indus civilization is now referred to as Indus-Saraswati civilization to give it a Hindu flavour, and to show its origins in India rather than in areas that now lie in Pakistan. Ruins of Jain temples have suddenly been discovered below the Fatehpur Sikri in Agra, the horse has been found in the Harappan inscriptions and seals, great scientific discoveries are attributed to ancient India. One could just go on about the amount of ‘research work’ put in by these intellectuals!


There have been numerous attacks on academic freedom and secular cultural expression through out the period of this government’s tenure. The celebrated Towards Freedom volumes have been withdrawn by the ICHR. Circulars by the Home Ministry curtail the rights of academics to participate in seminars abroad and to invite academics of their choice from abroad on issues that the BJP government defines as pertaining to "national security". .

There are routine attacks by the ABVP to enforce dress codes, to disallow celebrations of New Year, by Shiv Sena on the films Fire and Water, and communal campaigns against the students of Jamia, Shibli College in Azamgarh and AMU immediately come to mind when one thinks of campuses.

One remembers well-known instances of well-orchestrated attacks on secular culture-personalities, creations and formations: violent vilification campaigns against M.F Husain and Dilip Kumar, attacks on Deepa Mehta’s Fire and Water, SAHMAT exhibition on the history and culture of Ayodhya, scurrilous campaigns against senior historians like Romila Thapar, K.N Panikkar and D.N Jha, attack on Ajeet Cour’s academy in Delhi, general attacks and campaigns against prominent Muslim film-stars like Shahrukh Khan, Amir Khan, Salman Khan, Saif Khan, removal of Surendran Nair’s painting Icarus from the National Gallery of Modern Art, etc.


These attacks on secular expression have been accompanied by hate campaigns against the minorities, and organised pogroms against them with the connivance of the state machinery and active participation of Bajrang Dal cadres.


Throughout 1998 and 1999 local land issues, an inter-religious marriage, an old religious structure- anything was made into a statewide campaign of hatred all over the country. In Gujarat, the ‘Model State’ of the proposed Hindu Rashtra, Muslims were driven out of their villages by the VHP and the Bajrang Dal and placards proclaimed that ‘You have now entered Hindu Rashtra’. There were organised killings in many villages. Living in Gujarat state became a virtual encounter with death for many families. Many citizens groups have documented the series of barbaric attacks and hate campaigns designed to turn Gujarat into a ‘model state.’

In November 99, the Sangh Parivar used the occasion of the Pope’s visit to unleash hate filled campaign against the Christians. Christmas was made the occasion for a hate filled campaign against the minorities through a wide distribution of leaflets and pamphlets.

A shilanyas for a Ram Temple in a Gujarat village took place under the nose of the Government. Census type questionnaires that left the Christian and Muslim communities feeling insecure were initiated by the state machinery and permitted by the Government. Dharma Sansads, which spilled over into actual violence against the minorities in many states, were held all over the country. The BJP government in UP withdrew the cases against those accused in the Meerut riots a decade ago- on the strange grounds that it would be in the interests of communal harmony!


December 6, the date of the demolition of Babri Masjid has been celebrated as victory day every year, but year 2000 became particularly hateful and bloody. In the run up to December 6, 2000, there were door to door campaigns in which the minorities were forced, along with other sections of the population, to be witness to heightened rhetoric on the temple and on the rights of Hindus in this country. They were forced to hear speeches of hatred against themselves, to receive these objectionable visitors into their homes for fear of reprisals, and to hear humiliating sermons of how they must adopt the Indian culture. They often had the RSS stickers stuck on their front doors. The door-to-door campaign has also been timed with Ramzan and Christmas, and culminated in Vajpayee announcing that the temple was a matter of national sentiment and an unfinished task that must be completed.

In Gujarat in Surat and Ahmedabad districts there was violence preceded by public campaigns that Muslims are slaughtering cows, and that they see it as their holy duty to do so in the month of Ramzan. Curfew had to be imposed in similar circumstances in Jaipur. In Moradabad a wall of a mosque was razed to the ground and tension was created on the pretext of a burial ground. A mosque was destroyed in Rae Bareilly.

Christian churches, schools and missionaries were similarly targeted for their ‘foreign affiliations’. The Sangh Parivar inaugurated a new phase of hate campaign in Orissa on pretext of forced conversions. In the one month of November alone, the Dara Singh Bachao Samiti threatened to burn churches and beat up priests in Orissa, Christian prayer meetings were disrupted in Chandigarh, and in Goa the BJP Chief Minister threatened that churches must be swadeshi, if they have to exist. There were intimidations of priests and nuns at Majuli in Jorhat district in Assam ,and Chatra Dohogoda village in Jharkhand. In the Kolar district of Karnataka a church was stoned by a 100-strong mob on the pretext that the missionaries had been distributing religious pamphlets and books and St. Mary’s Senior Secondary School, in Jawalpur near Hardwar was similarly attacked. In Chindra, Vyara Taluk, Surat Dist., Gujarat, a church was forcibly occupied by some 400 sword and knife wielding RSS and VHP extremists, the Cross destroyed and Hindu idols planted in the Christian sanctuary. A 65 year old Catholic priest was attacked and beaten up with iron roads in Pearra, Morena district of Madhya Pradesh, and a church ransacked in Bokaro.

In New Delhi, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad working president Ashok Singhal attacked the Christian missionaries and accused them of using government machinery to carry out mass conversions in the Northeast. "The missionaries are carrying out mass conversions to create Christian states," Mr. Singhal said. He said the VHP had received reports about people being forced to convert to Christianity in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura. The VHP and Bajrang Dal activists actually created a scene with slogans and attempts to install a statue of Ganesh at the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque. And succeeded in creating tension in the entire area. (Hindustan times, November, 15, 2000).

Numerous instances of threats to Muslims were reported from UP.


In 2001 the attacks on the minorities have again increased in the run up to the state elections in UP. Recent attacks on Christians have taken place in Himachal, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, where Sangh Parivar goons have been threatening, coercing and intimidating managements of Orphanages, church groups and evangelists. VHP men in Varanasi actually "arrested" innocent Christians. In Kota, the Sangh threatened the Emmanuel orphanage. On 4 August in Chamgarh in Solan district of Himachal, two seminarists Arun Magar and Sandeep Masih of the Believers Church Bhawan, Solan, were caught and manhandled as they were distributing booklets. They were forced to sign statements that they were `forcibly converting’ people. The Himachal police has not shown any keenness in protecting the innocent and is in fact harassing the seminary.

In Thane near Bombay in Maharashtra, the situation became tense on 6th August 2001 following a murderous attack by over 40 Sangh Parivar activists on Father Oscar Mendonca near the St John the Baptist Church. Father Mendonca, who was returning after visiting a clinic for treatment, has been seriously injured. The activists, in their own words, wanted to “punish“ the Christians for the killing of three RSS men in Tripura. The mob kept chanting that the church was responsible for killing Hindus throughout the country. This lie is a standard component of most Sangh literature now widely circulated in the country.

In village Korua, district Kota, Rajasthan, a Christian ashram catering to 1500 destitutes under Bishop M. A. Thomas was subjected to vandalism and threats of his murder. In Orissa, 17 Dalits opting for Christianity have been forcibly converted to Hinduism by RSS riff raffs, the state administration colluding, and the so-called Shankaracharya of Puri presiding over this violation of human rights. In Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, an attempt was made to kill a 30-year-old nun on August 7, 2001.

A 500-year old Kalandari mosque at Asind near Bhilwara in Rajasthan was destroyed and ‘converted’ into a ‘temple’ by placing a statue of Hanuman. In this case they have not even bothered to find an excuse such as birthplace, etc., except that it stood next to a temple and belonged to non-Hindus. It must be understood that there was no problem in the proximity prior to this incident. The matter was made public days after it took place and was reported widely in the press on July 31, 2001.

Again in Rajasthan, in Pander town, ten kilometers from Jahazpur in Bhilwara district, the Sunni jama masjid was attacked and the cupboard containing copies of the Quran Sharif deliberately set on fire. (Indian Express and TOI, August 14, 2001). This is the second such incident in this area in less than a month. On July 19 two mazaars were damaged in Jahazpur. There is tension in many districts as a result of sangh parivar aggressive propaganda in Rajasthan, where the BJP was soundly defeated in the last elections, and where it is now trying to divide settlements where people live amicably. Ajmer town, where the dargah has served to retain amity, the VHP is trying hard in the villages in the district to destroy peace and amity.

Killings of Muslims took place in Moradabad and other towns of UP in the recent past.

All these are not isolated incidents. There is a pattern in the violence and coercion which every time takes place in the backdrop of a sustained campaign of malice, slander and hate against the community by religious fundamentalists and ideologues. In not a single incident have the guilty been brought to book.


Arms training being given to thousands of Bajrang Dal ‘volunteers’ all over North India and the poisonous propaganda being unleashed through them are illegal and unconstitutional acts. No private individual is legally permitted to own firearms. Creation of private armies is unconstitutional. If anything, these armies are worse than the Ranvir Senas in Bihar in the sheer number of people involved and given training to in these camps. The Bajrang Dal openly declares that it has made it its business to deal with ‘internal’ enemies; to identify them at its own initiative and to mete out its own private vendetta as ‘punishment’; and the Home Minster actually promotes this activity as patriotism. Never in the history of independent India has a government and the Home Minister behaved with such open partisanship and such open political cynicism, as LK Advani does. He has declared a virtual war against the minorities in the name of fighting ISI and given full freedom to the Sangh Parivar storm troopers to decide who these ISI linked individuals or groups are. He has given them full freedom to substitute for the state machinery and to lead and command the state machinery when required for their purposes. The government is giving legitimacy to attacks on minorities.


The Hindutva forces being encouraged by the BJP led government are a virtual threat to women’s equality and their movements for emancipation.

From numerous incidents in the last three years it is clear that a saffron invasion is taking place in their lives through strong-arm tactics of the storm troopers of the Saffron Brigade who are forcing women in Gujarat and Jharkhand to use the mangal sutra and the sindoor as symbols of marriage, asking Muslims to adopt Hindu names in order to prove their loyalty to the nation and "joining the mainstream." Untouchability, suppression of property rights, access to family income, sati pratha, gunghat, and forcing women to simply be at home and define themselves as mothers were being forced on women.


It needs to be understood that a BJP government in power with a clear majority can virtually result in the transformation of the secular republic of India into a Hindu Rashtra. The lesson that Hitler came to power by utilizing the spaces and mechanisms of both the electoral parliamentary system as well as the nazi storm troopers is not lost on the RSS. It is necessary to fight the forces of communalism on the ground and within the electoral system, which is an instrument for gaining legitimacy. A constitutional review could as well translate what is illegal and unconstitutional today into legality, where large sections of minorities and members of the lower castes would be second class citizens with no citizenship rights, where artists and intellectuals will be constantly under siege and liable to answer for anti state activity at the drop of a hat, and where the rights of the working people will be eliminated, women’s equality will no longer be a right and a citizen would be left to their mercy. We have the horrific historical example of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy to draw lessons from. If we do not want such forces to make further headway in India, the time has come to issue them a challenge that either they must reverse these policies or the NDA government must quit.

For the sake of India i.e. Bharat, Quit

August 28, 2001