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Archives for : August2017

Padma Shri Prof Sukhadeo Thorat- Incidences of untouchability not only persist, they are increasing

“Incidences of untouchability not only persist, they are increasing”, argued Padma Shri Prof Sukhadeo Thorat, former chair of ICSSR, while delivering the ninth Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer Memorial Lecture at the Asiatic Library in Mumbai on Saturday.


The Lecture was organized by the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism and chaired by Shri Dinesh Waghmare, Secretary, Social Justice and Special Assistance Department, Govt. of Maharashtra. The lecture was titled “Why Untouchability and Atrocities Persist Despite Laws? What Government should do to Reduce Untouchability and Atrocities in the Villages in Maharashtra?”



According to Prof. Thorat, untouchability still persists as it enables the upper castes to derive economic benefits out of the low status of Dalits which in turn helps them maintain their higher status in society and derive psychological satisfaction.

Referring to several surveys conducted till 2016 in rural Maharashtra, Prof. Thorat said that Dalits were physically and verbally abused and not allowed access to drinking water and temples. Marriages between Dalit men and upper caste women are not tolerated, he said, and Dalits were denied access to village commons including roads.

Prof Thorat said that while in some areas discrimination against dalits discontinued or was much less, e.g. in public transport, polling booths, police stations and post offices; in other areas dalits had access, but with differential treatment, Primary Health Centres, ASHA health workers, education with separate sitting arrangements in classrooms, midday meals in anganwadis; however, in certain spheres, there was complete denial of access, e.g. wells, grocery shops owned by upper castes, community dinners, cultural festivals and religious celebrations and marriage processions.

Analyzing FIRs filed under the Prevent of Atrocities Act in various police stations in rural Maharashtra, Prof Thorat argued that the conviction rate was as low as 3.4% as in many cases there were delays in registration of FIRs, police officers didn’t apply appropriate sections and didn’t investigate properly though the atrocity cases have to be investigated by police officers not below the rank of DYSP. In most cases, timely compensation was not given to the survivors under the prevention of Atrocities Act and they were unable to stay in the area to give evidence. With this in view, Prof. Thorat argued that the Prevention of Atrocity law should continue without the amendments demanded by a section of Maratha community.

Prof. Thorat, however, pointed out that special laws like the Prevention of Atrocities Act alone would not help reduce the menace of untouchability. What was required was the change of attitude of the members of the upper castes which required Dalits to gain economic independence from the upper castes. This could be achieved through the implementation of schemes like MNREGA, improving access of dalits to schemes like Indira Awas Yojana and providing employment in towns and cities.

Referring to the measures advocated by Dr. Ambedkar, Prof Thorat suggested that Dalits should be resettled in separate larger blocks and make Pachayats responsible for elimination of untouchability. Prof Thorat argued quoting Dr. Ambedkar that for nation building, equality was a pre-condition which ensures fraternity and liberty. Lastly, condemning mob lynching, he stated that mob lynchings were against the spirit of nation

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Patient dies as Haryana BJP leader ‘stops’ ambulance for 30 minutes #WTFnews

The BJP leader, however, denied the allegations and said he had a word with the ambulance driver after it reached the hospital.

The BJP leader allegedly stopped the ambulance near the Lal Batti Chowk in Hisar.
The BJP leader allegedly stopped the ambulance near the Lal Batti Chowk in Hisar.(Representative Image/HT)

Days after the Haryana BJP chief’s son was accused of stalking the daughter of an IAS officer, a BJP municipal council chief allegedly stopped an ambulance that hit his car, resulting in the death of the patient who could not get timely treatment.

The complainant, Arun Kumar, has alleged that he was taking his uncle, Naveen Kumar, to a cardiologist when their ambulance hit the car of BJP municipal council chief, Darshan Nagpal, from the rear.

Nagpal, he alleged, stopped the ambulance near the Lal Batti Chowk in Hisar and squabbled with the ambulance driver over compensation for more than 30 minutes. He alleged that his uncle died before he could be attended by doctors due to this delay.

Nagpal, however, denied the allegations and said he had a word with the ambulance driver after it reached the hospital.

“The ambulance driver hit my car from the rear near the old bus stand. The driver stopped his vehicle to check it, but as there was a patient inside we asked him to leave. All the allegations against me are baseless, and I am ready to join the police investigations,” Nagpal added.

Superintendent of Police (SP) Fatehabad, Kuldeep Singh, said they have received a complaint from Sitaram and Arun Kumar. “The police are investigating the matter. No case has been registered so far.”

“The man died after Nagpal stopped ambulance for half an hour after it hit his vehicle. We have called both sides for further investigation,” the police said.

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As Haryana BJP chief’s son gets bail, questions arise over police action #Vaw

Haryana BJP chief’s son  was held for stalking DJ, drink-driving; woman narrates ordeal on Facebook

The accused were arrested from the housing board light point, Manimjara, bordering Panchkula district of Haryana.

After Haryana Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president’s son, Vikas Barala, arrested for stalking and drink driving, was released on bail on Saturday, politicians and social media users are accusing Chandigarh Police of buckling under pressure and going soft against the accused.

The UT police is being accused of not adding Section 365 (kidnapping) and 511 (attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment) in the FIR registered against the duo, even as the woman in her Facebook post had alleged an attempt to kidnap.

HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Vikas Barala, the 23-year-old son of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala, and his friend were arrested late on Friday night, police said.
Vikas Barala, the 23-year-old son of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala, and his friend were arrested late on Friday night, police said.

Police have arrested two persons, including the son of Haryana Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief, for allegedly stalking a senior IAS officer’s daughter.

Vikas Barala, the 23-year-old son of BJP’s Subhash Barala, and his friend Ashish Kumar, 27, were arrested from the Housing Board light point late on Friday night. They were later released on bail.

While Barala’s son is a law student at a Kurukshetra college, Ashish is a law graduate. The SUV is registered in the name of Jaideep, a relative of Barala, said the police.

The girl, a disc jockey, who was driving from Sector 9, Chandigarh, towards Panchkula at 12.35am, alleged that two men followed her in their Tata Safari Storm (HR-23G-1008) from the Sector 26 Grain Market area. Both were drunk, she alleged, adding that the SUV pulled up close to her car several times and even tried to block her way to force her to other routes.

She claimed that at one point, the SUV blocked her way and the person in the co-driver’s seat got down and started walking towards her vehicle. She reversed the vehicle to evade them, but they continued to follow her. The girl then called up the 100 helpline and gave the number details of the SUV and her location.

“We have registered a case against Vikas, a resident of Fatehabad, and Bhiwani resident Ashish, under Sections 354-D (stalking a woman) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act (drink driving) at the Sector 26 police station. They both are putting up in Sector 7, Chandigarh,” said deputy superintendent of police (DSP east) Satish Kumar.

After their arrest, they were taken for medical examination, which confirmed that they were drunk, said the DSP, adding that after recording the girl’s statement before a magistrate, Section 341 (wrongful restraint) of the IPC was added to the first information report (FIR).

Barala is BJP MLA from Tohana in Fatehabad. A Jat leader, he was appointed BJP chief in November 2014, months after the party formed the government in Haryana.

Though Barala could not be contacted, Jawahar Yadav, chairman, Haryana Housing Board, read out his statement to the media stating that he respects law. “Let the police hold a fair investigation so that truth can come out,” Barala’s statement read.

Hours after the incident, the 29-year-old woman took to Facebook and shared her harrowing experience of being “almost kidnapped”.

“If this is what women deal with in one of the safer cities in the country, where are we going?” she questioned.

“I’m lucky, it seems, to not be the daughter of a common man, because what chance would they have against such VIPs? I’m also lucky, because I’m not lying raped and murdered in a ditch somewhere. If this can happen in Chd, it can happen anywhere.”

Her father, an IAS officer posted with the Haryana government, wrote on Facebook: “I will be failing in my duty as a father to my daughter if I did not stand with her completely in this matter.”

“…The goons must be punished, and the law must take its course. As would be expected, the goons are from influential families. We all know most such cases of harassment go unpunished and even unreported. We know it’s not going to be an easy struggle.”

As the case was registered for stalking under Section 354-D (stalking) of the Indian Penal Code, which is a bailable offence when a person is booked the first time, the two walked free for the time being.

Congress leader and former Union minister Manish Tewari said on Sunday that the police have “completely diluted” the case under pressure. Even the legal fraternity is divided on the issue.

The UT police is being accused of not adding Section 365 (kidnapping) and 511 (attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment) in the FIR registered against the duo, even as the woman in her Facebook post had alleged an attempt to kidnap.

“Police have completely diluted the case under the BJP pressure, and have not added Section 365 and 511. It has exposed the BJP’s double standard,” said Tewari.

Even as the FIR mentions “complaint regarding harassment and attempt to kidnap and outrage the modesty of a girl”, the sections were not included on the basis of the woman’s statement before the magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, said police.

UT senior superintendent of police (SSP) Eish Singhal said: “We always go by the victim’s statement, in which no such case of kidnapping was made out. To claim it in a Facebook post is different. Nonetheless, we are seeking legal opinion.”

‘They came with intent to abduct’

Talking to HT, the woman said: “I didn’t specifically use the word kidnap before the magistrate. But, any girl or any person whose car window was being knocked on at that hour would know this wasn’t just a routine affair. One can sense it. It couldn’t have been for a conversation, right? It was with an intention of abduction.”

The 29-year-old, however, said she had faith in the system, given the promptness the cops showed that night after she contacted them.

“Besides being punished as per law, the accused need to be punished in a way that they realise the trauma of the person on the receiving end,” she said.

Her father, a senior Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer, said: “At this stage, we don’t want to intervene in police investigation. But if at a latter stage we feel the matter hasn’t been dealt with properly, I will bring in my own team of lawyers. More sections can always be added in court. I have faith in our judicial system.”

The police had initially registered an FIR under Section 354 D of the IPC at the Sector 26 police station. Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act (driving by a drunken person) was added after the medical examination of the accused stated “their breathe smelled of alcohol”.

After the woman’s statement before the magistrate, Section 341 (wrongful restraint) of the IPC was also added.

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JSA -Health of thousands at risk as Narmada dam gates shut

NEW DELHI: Jan Swasthya Abhiyan decried the inhuman attitude of the Gujarat government in risking thousands of lives in the Narmada Valley by closing the gates of the Sardar Sarovar dam on June 17 despite the rehabilitation of dam-affected people not having been completed.

The Supreme Court directive of February 8 was to complete this rehabilitation within three months, before May 8, 2017.

Unjust displacement without proper rehabilitation in developmental projects is an important social determinant of ill health in many parts of in India. The Sardar Sarovar project is a classic example. Currently thousands of people in the Narmada Valley face an assault on their health and well-being, and even on their lives, due to this closure of the gates, JSA said.

After completion of rehabilitation by May 8, the Valley was to be cleared of human habitation by July 31, to avoid drowning due to the rising waters of the now 139 metre-high Sardar Sarovar dam. The Gujarat government has decided to go ahead with closing of the gates, and MP government started forceful eviction of the dam-affected people, despite non-completion of rehabilitation of about 18,000 families. Fortunately on July 31, in a hearing, the SC was convinced that rehabilitation is incomplete and withdrew its directive that the Valley may be emptied by July 31.

The government does not have the sanctity any more from the SC for forceful eviction. But this is not enough. We demand that the gates of the Sardar Sarovar dam be opened Immediately, without waiting for directive from the SC in the forthcoming hearing. Otherwise thousands of people in the Valley would be exposed to the immediate risk of drowning in the rising waters of the Narmada.

JSA said many of the rehabilitation sites, the dwellings erected are not fit for human beings. Moreover there are absolutely no health care facilities in these rehabilitation sites. Hence tens of thousands of ordinary people are being forced into inhuman and extremely unhealthy conditions.

The health movement expressed its support for the peaceful agitation of the Narmada dam affected people and the indefinite fast undertaken by Medha Patkar and 11 other activists. “We are concerned about the health and lives of these activists, and urge the Gujarat government to immediately re-open

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What is Hindu Rashtra ?

An expose of Golwalkar’s fascistic ideology and the Saffron Brigade’s practice. By SITARAM YECHURY

This article was first published in the Frontline issue dated March 12, 1993, and is reproduced here.

CONSIDERABLE controversy has been generated, once again, around M.S. Golwalkar’s book We or Our Nationhood defined (Bharat Publications, 1939, Re.1). The controversy centres on the embarrassment of the Saffron Brigade, which finds its real mission of establishing a Hindu Rashtra being exposed in all its fascistic glory by this book. Thus, puncturing its efforts to mislead the Indian people by posing as adherents of democracy becomes important.

Various advocates of the Saffron Brigade, in various tones, assert that it was not Golwalkar who actually wrote this book; that it was not republished after 1942, and so on. Interestingly, however, not one of them makes any substantiative point by retracting any position that Golwalkar has taken.

For the benefit of those who say that this book was not written by Golwalkar but was merely a translation of the Marathi work Rashtra Meemansa by Babarao G.D. Savarkar, brother of V.D. Savarkar (as claimed by a senior official of the RSS-run Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Research Centre, New Delhi, in Jansatta, January 7, 1993), here is a quote from the preface written by Golwalkar on March 22, 1939, to the first edition of the book:

“In compiling this work, I have received help from numerous quarters, too many to mention. I thank them all heartily; but I cannot help separately naming one and expressing my gratefulness to him—Deshbhakta G.D. Savarkar. His work Rashtra Meemansa in Marathi has been one of my chief sources of inspiration and help.

“The manuscript of this book was ready as early as the first week of November 1938, but its appearance earlier, however desirable, was not possible due to many difficulties.” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 4).

The authorship thus being beyond dispute, we can say quite certainly that the book was neither barred from republication nor withdrawn after 1942 (on the basis of such a claim by the same RSS official in Jansatta, the editor of Navbharat Times went to the unethical extent of appending a comment to one of my articles that RSS claims that it has withdrawn this book!). We have in our possession the fourth edition of the book published in 1947 (Golwalkar, 1947). Though it must be noted that in certain places offensive language has been modified (for example, “idiots” is replaced by “misguided”), the content remains the same. Such modification, however, was considered so marginal that the author does not mention it in his preface; neither is it discernible unless closely scrutinised. An important omission from the latter edition was the foreword to the book by one “Lok Nayak” M.S. Aney.

The reasons are not far to see. Aney says: “I also desire to add that the strong and impassioned language used by the author towards those who do not subscribe to his theory of nationalism is also not in keeping with the dignity with which the scientific study of a complex problem like the Nationalism deserves to be pursued. It pains me to make these observations in this foreword” (Golwalkar, 1939, page xviii).

Such views could not have been allowed to be propagated at a time when the RSS was reaping most of the benefit of the growing communal tensions and strife preceding Partition. The inflammatory propaganda value of the book could not be undermined.

The disinformation that they are now spreading is to conceal their ideological foundations, as Golwalkar’s book continues to be the clearest expression of the real nature of the Saffron Brigade’s mission today.

We can do no better than quote a very sympathetic account of the RSS, J.A. Curran’s Militant Hinduism in Indian Politics—A Study of the RSS: “The genuine ideology of the Sangh is based upon principles formulated by its founder, Dr Hedgewar. These principles have been consolidated and amplified by the present leader in a small book called WE or OUR NATIONHOOD DEFINED, written in 1939. ‘WE’ can be described as the RSS ‘Bible’. It is the basic primer in the indoctrination of Sangh volunteers. Although this book was written twelve years ago, in a national context different from the contemporary one, the principles contained in it are still considered entirely applicable by the Sangh membership” (Curran, 1979, page 39. Emphasis as in the original).

The importance of this book for the RSS must be seen also in relation to Golwalkar’s role in its history. Golwalkar assumed the reins as the RSS chief in 1940. Two years prior to that, in 1938, he was appointed RSS general secretary by Hedgewar. Incidentally, the RSS Sarsanghchalak (chief) is always nominated by the outgoing one. He continues in his post till death. So much for their “democratic” credentials!

Golwalkar served in this capacity till 1973. His role, particularly in the first phase, from 1940 to 1954, has been summed up thus: “It (Golwalkar’s leadership) remains a historical source today for the RSS and its ‘family’, called upon to suit specific times and audiences (particularly, during riots). It is also exceptionally helpful for our understanding of precisely what the triumph of Hindutva will mean for our country” (Basu, Datta, Sarkar, Sarkar and Sen, 1993, page 25).

Golwalkar’s abiding influence has been in providing the Saffron Brigade with an ideological formation, not merely in terms of ideas and principles but also in establishing an organisational structure to achieve the aim of a fascistic Hindu Rashtra.

This is demonstrated sharply in the period following the withdrawal of the ban imposed on the RSS after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. (The ban was in effect from February 4, 1948, to July 12, 1949.) The RSS, eager to negotiate the withdrawal of the ban, adopted a course of deceitful compromises. Curran notes: “Golwalkar’s announcement soon after legality had been restored, that he had given “no agreement or assurances” to the government, was an ineffectual attempt to maintain ‘face’. The provisions for elections within the organisation and the promise to denounce communalism and to maintain a tolerant attitude towards other communities were quite contrary to past Sangh practice and obviously had been accepted because of government insistence. However, these provisions have not been observed; in practice, the Sangh membership has consistently ignored them” (Curran, 1979, pages 31-32. Emphasis as in the original). Forced by the government, the RSS adopted a constitution (which till date is not available for public scrutiny). Article 3 states: “The aims and objects of the Sangh are to weld together the diverse groups within the Hindu Samaj and to revitalise and rejuvenate the same on the basis of its Dharma and Sanskriti, that it may achieve an all-sided development of the Bharatavarsha” (quoted by Curran, 1979, page 35). But Curran himself adds: “The Constitution gives no hint of a militant and intolerant advocacy of a Hindu state. There is a basic difference between the formal profession of aims embodied in the constitution and actual plans of the Sangh. The Sangh abjures secrecy of ends and means, but the incompatibility of the tolerant Hindu philosophy of the constitution and the fanatically pro-Hindu and anti-non-Hindu aims instilled in the membership is clear. The proclaimed philosophy is a pale and often deceptive reflection of the real objectives of the Sangh. …Too open an expression of Sangh ideals would undoubtedly result in repression of RSS activities. The Sangh leaders are too shrewd to risk an open struggle with the government while the odds heavily favour the latter” (Curran, 1979, pages 35-36. Emphasis as in the original).

It is in line with this that Golwalkar in September 1949 publicly voiced in Lucknow the RSS criticism of the Indian Constitution which he termed as “UnBharat”. There is a similarity indeed here with the present leaders of the VHP who describe it as “UnHindu”.

Apart from such tactical manoeuvres, Golwalkar undertook certain organisational initiatives. Following the agreement with the government on the withdrawal of the ban, Golwalkar went on to establish the now infamous Sangh Parivar. The strategy was clear. The RSS would in the public eye confine itself to “cultural activity” while its affiliates would branch out into the various sections spreading the message of “Hindu Rashtra”. These seemingly independent tentacles were welded together by the RSS. This organisational network is today there for all to see.

Golwalkar’s important initiative, however, comes in the attempt to organise the Hindu religious leaders in mid-1964 “to discuss ways in which various Hindu sects and tendencies could sink their many differences, work together and establish contacts with Hindus residing abroad. Thus was laid the foundations of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and an RSS pracharak, Shivram Shankar Apte, became its first general secretary. The subsequent career of the VHP, today the most formidable of the RSS affiliates, demands a separate study” (Basu, Datta, Sarkar, Sarkar, Sen, page 50).

Another organisational measure taken by him was to utilise this organisational structure of the “family” to create a political front which would be always under the leadership and control of the RSS. In 1951, he sent cadres to help Syama Prasad Mookherjee to start the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, whose later incarnate is today’s BJP. Among those who were sent were Deen Dayal Upadhyay, Atal Behari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani and S.S. Bhandari. (This fact is mentioned in Basu, Datta, Sarkar, Sarkar, Sen, 1993, page 48). It is precisely for this reason that when Advani was arrested after the December 6, 1992, events, it was S.S. Bhandari who was BJP’s chief spokesman.

Thus, Golwalkar’s role in evolving the present ideological foundations for the Saffron Brigade cannot be underplayed. The entire organisational structure was to establish a political goal, and this was unambiguously articulated in the book We or Our Nationhood defined. Hence, the abiding importance of this book for the Saffron Brigade. A proper understanding of the contents of this book and the intentions of the Saffron Brigade is necessary for all patriots who do not wish to see India slide into the morass of darkness and medieval theocracy.

Golwalkar begins his entire exercise by seeking to understand the word “Swaraj”. He begins by questioning what is “Swa”, meaning “We”. In the prologue to the book, he says: “We stand for national regeneration and not for the haphazard bundle of political rights—the state. What we want is Swaraj; and we must be definite what this ‘Swa’ means. ‘Our kingdom’—who are we?” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 3). The entire book is an elaboration of the thesis that “we” means the Hindus and hence Swaraj means the Hindu Raj or Hindu Rashtra.

The basic purpose of the book was to establish that India was always a Hindu nation and continues to be one. By India here Golwalkar means the “lands from sea to sea”. In fact, the map on the cover of the book gives the outline of his geographic limitations of India which expands from Afghanistan to Burma and includes Sri Lanka.

Golwalkar attempts to achieve this purpose through an ingenious distortion of both history and science. First, the entire diversity of culture, traditions, language and customs of the peoples who inhabited India over centuries is sought to be straitjacketed into a monolithic “Hinduism”. Secondly, an external enemy is created (that is, “external” to Hindus), the hate against whom is used to whip up “Hindu” consolidation.

Golwalkar here relied heavily on the experience of Hitlerite fascism. Georgi Dimitrov, the indomitable anti-fascist who led the struggle of the international working class, had said: “Fascism acts in the interests of extreme imperialists but presents itself to the masses in the guise of a ill-treated nation and appeals to outraged ‘national’ sentiments.” To present the RSS as such a champion, it was necessary to create a false consciousness that the Hindus have been and are deprived while, at the same time, generate hate against the Muslims (taking the cue from Hitler’s rabid anti-Semitism) to the effect that they are responsible for this. This was the precise purpose of the book.

The present-day activities and propaganda of the Saffron Brigade is based precisely on these two points that Golwalkar provided as the ideological input. To achieve this, it has perfected the Goebbelsian technique of telling big enough lies, frequently enough to make them appear as the truth.

It is necessary to note, at this stage, that the external enemy was not identified by the RSS as the British, against whom the Indian people were then in struggle. The hate against the Muslim community was sought to be spread much deeper than against the British by the RSS precisely because the Indian people could not be united for their “Hindu Rashtra” against the British, since their anti-British feelings found expression in the growing strength of the united freedom movement. It is for this precise reason that the RSS never nailed down the British as its enemy. For that matter, it virtually boycotted and at times opposed the freedom struggle. Even sympathetic accounts of the RSS (The Brotherhood in Saffron by Walter K. Andersen and Shridhar D. Damle, 1987, amongst others) detail the virtual absence of the RSS in the freedom movement and the consequent concessions it gained from the British. Even Nanaji Deshmukh raises the question: “Why did the RSS not take part in the liberation struggle as an organisation?” (Deshmukh, 1979, page 29). This urge to establish a “Hindu Rashtra” drove the RSS to be a virtual ally of the British. The freedom struggle and the Congress were regarded as a diversion from their objective. The animosity grew particularly after the AICC announced that free India would be a secular, democratic republic (at the Karachi Congress, 1931). This was seen, and correctly, as the very antithesis of the RSS conception of a Hindu Rashtra.

Mahatma Gandhi, the tallest of devout and practising Hindus, was assassinated because he along with the majority of Indian people embraced secular democracy—rejecting the RSS ideology.

Golwalkar, however, had to establish certain points in order to validate his thesis. First, it was necessary to establish that Hindus and Hindus alone were the original inhabitants of India. This Golwalkar does by the simple recourse to assertion. He states: “We—Hindus—have been in undisputed and undisturbed possession of this land for over 8 or even 10 thousand years before the land was invaded by any foreign race” and therefore, this land, “came to be known as Hindusthan, the land of the Hindus” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 6). There is a deliberate total silence on the entire wealth of investigations of ancient Indian history, including the possibility of the name Hindusthan originating from people outside India who described this land as the land of the Indus river.

Having asserted this, he proceeds to “prove” that Hindus did not come here from anywhere else. This is absolutely central to Golwalkar’s political project since, if this cannot be proved, then logically the Hindus would be as much of a “foreign race” as anybody else who came to this land.

A remarkably perfidious exercise is employed to prove this point. All through this book Golwalkar uses the terms “Hindu” and “Aryan race” synonymously. He thus sets out to show that the Aryans did not migrate to India from anywhere but originated here. All historical evidence to the contrary is dismissed as the “shady testimony of Western scholars” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 6). The RSS guru, however, had to contend with Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s theory of the Arctic origin of the Vedas. However, Golwalkar, accepting Tilak’s thesis, comes up with the incredible assertion that the Arctic zone was originally that part of the world which is today called Bihar and Orissa, “…that then it moved north-east and then by a sometimes westerly, sometimes northward movement, it came to its present position. If this be so, did we leave the Arctic Zone and come to Hindusthan or were we all along here and the Arctic Zone left us and moved away northwards in its zigzag march? We do not hesitate in affirming that had this fact been discovered during the life-time of Lok. Tilak, he would unhesitatingly have propounded the proposition that ‘The Arctic Home of the Vedas’ was verily in Hindusthan itself and that it was not the Hindus who migrated to that land but the Arctic Zone which emigrated and left the Hindus in Hindusthan” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 8).

Lunatic logic indeed! Granting the benefit of doubt, that Golwalkar was unaware of the advances in geological sciences and plate-tectonics (which today fairly accurately allows man to map the movement of various land masses over centuries), we ask the simple question: Even by the logic of his own argument, if the Arctic zone moved away from Bihar-Orissa, how could it leave behind the people who were inhabiting that land mass? When the land mass moves, it moves along with everything on it. People cannot be left hanging in a vacuum only to drop down when and where Golwalkar wishes! Such perfidy is employed to “establish” that the Aryans originated in India and did not immigrate from anywhere else. This is central to the political aim of establishing a fascistic Hindu Rashtra.

In order to achieve an internal consistency for such an incredible theory, Golwalkar had to resort to a gross distortion of history. Presenting the “glory of Hindu civilisation” till the time of the Mahabharata he says that later, “we have another gap of many centuries, which the accredited history has not been able to fill. But we can surmise that the nation lived its usual life without any serious occurrence. Then came Buddha and the great Emperors of the Gupta Dynasty, Asoka, Harshavardhan, Vikramaditya, Pulakeshi, and others of whose rule of peace, power and plenty, we obtain incontrovertible evidence. The invasion of the ‘world-conqueror’ Alexander was a mere scratch. In fact he cannot be said to have invaded the country at all, so hasty was his retreat” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 9).

Totally ignoring—in fact rejecting—the recorded history of this period which was available to Golwalkar’s generation, he straitjackets these centuries into a static time-frame whose only denominator is “Hindu kings”. Even amongst the kings he names, why was it that the same Pulakeshin II stopped the southward march of Harshavardhana and defeated him on the banks of the river Narmada? Both were great Hindu kings according to Golwalkar and members of the same nationhood! His exercise defies not only history but also the laws of social development. Why do kings fight against one another, why do empires rise and fall? Why did the slave system give way to the feudal agrarian order? Or how and why did the British succeed in subjugating “Hindu kings” through superior arms? Why did the great Hindu nation not produce such firepower? All such questions are irrelevant to Golwalkar’s exercise.

In a similar vein, revolts against the oppressive Hindu rituals and caste order are ignored. Buddhism is described merely as a variant of Hinduism. In fact, all other religions (especially Sikhism and Jainism) which originated in India are sought to be appropriated into the Hindu monolith.

Indian history for over eight hundred years is depicted as a single thread of a long war by the “Hindu nation as a whole” against the invading Muslims. Golwalkar, however, says that the Hindu nation, which was finally emerging victorious, was subjugated by a new foe—the British. The First War of Independence against the British in 1857 is depicted as “the last great nation-wide attempt to end the long war” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 11) by the Hindu nation. “The attempt failed but even in their defeat a whole galaxy of noble Hindu patriots stands out—glorious objects of the Nation’s worship” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 11).

Golwalkar conveniently forgets that the symbol of this revolt against the British, even by the heroic and devout Hindu queen, Rani Laxmi Bhai of Jhansi, was the Mughal monarch, Bahadur Shah Zafar! Was this the war of ‘Hindus’ against Muslim invaders or that of Indians for their freedom? Such facts of history, however, are irrelevant for Golwalkar. Further, Golwalkar adduces five characteristics (or “unities”) which, according to him, define the nation. “Geographical (Country), Racial (Race), Religious (Religion), Cultural (Culture) and Linguistic (Language)” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 33). The entire exercise that follows is to establish that the Hindus in India possessed all these characteristics and hence have always been a nation.

But the task, even for Golwalkar, is not easy. Of all, “the knotty point is Religion and to a certain extent language” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 33). Race for Golwalkar is “… by far the most important ingredient of a Nation” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 21). It is for this reason that he always uses the terms Hindu and Aryan synonymously. Historical evidence, of course, is irrelevant.

According to his entire body of argument, the Indus Valley civilisation would be an indigenous Aryan civilisation. In which case, why did it disintegrate? What were the internal causes? If this civilisation was overrun from outside, who were these people? After coming into this land, did these people continue to live here or did they go back? And if evidence points to the fact that they continued to live here, what was the race that emerged as a result of this admixture? All these questions are as inconvenient for Golwalkar as historical evidence is inconvenient for the Saffron Brigade today. Such questions are countered by the formidable assertion of “matters of faith”. Noted historian Romila Thapar, for example, says, “The linguistic evidence of Vedic Sanskrit supports the coming into India of an Indo-European language from Iran but does not support the notion that India was the homeland of the Aryan-speaking people” (Seminar 400, December 1992; also see Seminar 364, December 1989).

Golwalkar dismisses all such historical evidence in a footnote: “But obsessed with the idea, that Aryans came to Hindusthan from somewhere near the Caspian Sea or the Arctic region or some such place, and invaded this land in bands of marauders, that later they settled down first in the Punjab and gradually spread eastward along the Gunga, forming kingdoms at various places, at Ayodhya among them, the Historian feels it an anachronism, that the kingdom of Ayodhya in the Ramayan should be older than the more western Pandava Empire at Hastinapur. And he, with pedantic ignorance, teaches us that the story of the Mahabharat is the older. Unfortunately such misconceptions are stuffed into the brains of our young ones through textbooks appointed by various universities in the country. It is high time that we studied, understood and wrote our history ourselves and discarded such designed or undesigned distortions” (Golwalkar, 1939, pages 5-6).

The inspiration for the BJP State governments to change the syllabi and curricula in accordance with such an understanding originates in this source. However untenable this theory may be, on this basis Golwalkar asserts the overall supremacy of religion in social life. This has little to do with religiosity. This has to be established to achieve the political objective Golwalkar sets out for the RSS. He dismisses the modern concept of a secularism where religion is separated from both politics and state and treated as an individual question. Treating secularism as virtual blasphemy, he argues: “There is a general tendency to affirm that Religion is an individual question and should have no place in public and political life. This tendency is based upon a misconception of Religion, and has its origin in those, who have, as a people, no religion worth the name” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 23).

Since no other religion is worth its name except Hinduism, he asserts: “Such Religion—and nothing else deserves that name—cannot be ignored in individual or public life. It must have a place in proportion to its vast importance in politics as well… Indeed politics itself becomes, in the case of such a Religion, a small factor to be considered and followed solely as one of the commands of Religion and in accord with such commands” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 24).

He thus negates the historical experience—different nations having the same state religion, or secular nations having no state religion and the existence of multinational states—and the scientific validity of the fact that religion has nowhere and at no time cemented national unity. The fact that Islamic Bangladesh separated from Muslim Pakistan as a result of the national struggle of the Bangladeshi people despite a common religion is, of course, uncomfortable for such a standpoint to consider. But it is necessary for Golwalkar to assert the overall supremacy of religion for his political project.

Golwalkar’s ingenious perfidy is, however, in relation to language. The multitude of languages that exists in our country, each with its own history, culture and tradition, and the fact that nationalities have emerged on this basis and continue to coexist is dismissed with contempt. “It appears as if the Linguistic unity is wanting, and there are not one but many ‘Nations’, separated from each other by linguistic differences. But in fact that is not so. There is but one language, Sanskrit, of which these many ‘languages’ are mere offshoots, the children of the mother language. Sanskrit, the dialect of the Gods, is common to all from the Himalayas to the ocean in the South, from East to West and all the modern sister languages are through it so much inter-related as to be practically one. It needs but little labour to acquire a going acquaintance with any tongue. And even among the modern languages Hindi is the most commonly understood and used as a medium of expression between persons of different provinces” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 43).

Such incredible logic, however, is only applicable to India. Many a European nation uses a common language, or their languages have been the off-shoots of a single Indo-European mother. They exist because of different languages and accompanying cultures and traditions as different nations and nationalities today. This is, however, irrelevant for Golwalkar, as the purpose of his exercise, divorced from scientific analysis and historical experience, is to straitjacket Indian diversity into a monolithic unity for political purposes.

It is precisely on the basis of this understanding that the Saffron Brigade all along opposed and continues to oppose today the linguistic reorganisation of States. It is, of course, of no concern to them that at least Tamil and Kashmiri have their origin in a non-Sanskrit group of languages. Or for that matter Sanskrit itself was a branch of Indo-European languages which evolved and developed in this part of the world. The Saffron Brigade’s opposition to Urdu, a language that completely and thoroughly evolved only in India, and its efforts to impose Hindi, are also to be traced to this source. Its current slogan, “Hind, Hindi, Hindusthan”, portends what its political project holds for the future of crores of non-Hindi speaking people of India.

Golwalkar finds himself in complete isolation from both the Western concept of a nation and that of the concept found in the Indian scriptures. He himself says: “For the Rashtra concept to be complete it should be composed of ‘Desh’ country, ‘Jati’ race or ‘Janpad’ people” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 52). But in order to reconcile his theory, he conveniently twists this understanding to assert that though “no mention is found of the three components Religion, Culture and Language” (in the ancient Indian scriptures), “the concept of ‘Janpad’ explicitly includes these” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 52).

Having thus “established” that the Hindus were always and continue to remain a nation on the basis of an unscientific and ahistorical analysis, Golwalkar proceeds to assert the intolerant, theocratic content of such a Hindu nation.

“…The conclusion is unquestionably forced upon us that… in Hindusthan exists and must needs exist the ancient Hindu nation and nought else but the Hindu Nation. All those not belonging to the national, i.e., Hindu Race, Religion, Culture and Language naturally fall out of the pale of real ‘National’ life.

“We repeat: in Hindusthan, the land of the Hindus, lives and should live the Hindu Nation—satisfying all the five essential requirements of the scientific nation concept of the modern world. Consequently only those movements are truly ‘National’ as aim at re-building, re-vitalising and emancipating from its present stupor, the Hindu Nation. Those only are nationalist patriots, who, with the aspiration to glorify the Hindu race and nation next to their heart, are prompted into activity and strive to achieve that goal. All others are either traitors and enemies to the National cause, or, to take a charitable view, idiots.” (Golwalkar, 1939, pages 43-44). He continues: “…We must bear in mind that so far as ‘nation’ is concerned, all those who fall outside the five-fold limits of that idea can have no place in the national life, unless they abandon their differences, adopt the religion, culture and language of the Nation and completely merge themselves in the National Race. So long, however, as they maintain their racial, religious and cultural differences, they cannot but be only foreigners” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 45).

And further: “There are only two courses open to the foreign elements, either to merge themselves in the national race and adopt its culture, or to live at its mercy so long as the national race may allow them to do so and to quit the country at the sweet will of the national race…. From this standpoint, sanctioned by the experience of shrewd old nations, the foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e., of the Hindu nation and must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment—not even citizen’s rights. There is, at least should be, no other course for them to adopt. We are an old nation; let us deal, as old nations ought to and do deal, with the foreign races, who have chosen to live in our country” (Golwalkar, 1939, pages 47-48).

And how should such “old nations” deal? The adulation of fascist Germany could not have been more naked. “The ancient Race spirit, which prompted the Germanic tribes to over-run the whole of Europe, has re-risen in modern Germany, with the result that the Nation perforce follows aspirations, predetermined by the traditions left by its depredatory ancestors. Even so with us: our Race spirit has once again roused itself as is evidenced by the race of spiritual giants we have produced, and who today stalk the world in serene majesty” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 32).

Further: “To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic Races—the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how wellnigh impossible it is for Races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 35).

Hitler, thus, emerges as the “Guruji’s Guru”. This, in fact, exposes the diabolic nature of the RSS’ political project. It has no compunction in borrowing a thoroughly modern and Western concept of fascism, but making it appear in the garb of upholding Hindu religion and all that is ancient. All other Western concepts and civilisational advances are condemned as “alien”, except for fascism!

A glaring inconsistency, however, does not seem to bother Golwalkar. If, according to him, the Hindus were Aryans, who then were these Aryans that Hitler was championing? If those were also Aryans, then did they migrate from India to Germany or vice versa? According to his theory, both India and Germany should be part of a single nation!

The whole exercise, thus, provides the ideological basis for a fascistic Hindu Rashtra which continues to be the kernel of the present-day Saffron Brigade’s mission.

Two other important aspects of the book must be discussed. The first relates to the question of minorities. Castigating the minority treaties laid down by the League of Nations, Golwalkar says: “Our modern solution of the minorities problem is far more dangerous. It confers untold rights not only on those who by their number and years of residence (we doubt it) may be considered according to the League as minorities, but also on all else, howsoever few or recent in their settlement—rights and privileges far in excess of the minimum advocated by the League. The natural consequences are even now felt and Hindu National life runs the risk of being shattered. Let us take heed and be prepared” (Golwalkar, 1939, pages 49- 50. Emphasis added).

Seen together with the earlier-noted intolerance against the minorities, this understanding maps out the vision of purges that may well put to shame Nazi fascism—if the Saffron Brigade succeeds in establishing its concept of a Hindu Rashtra.

The second aspect refers to its conception of the social order in its Hindu Rashtra. Golwalkar acclaims Manu as the “first and greatest law giver of the world” who “lay down in his code, directing all the peoples of the world to go to Hindusthan to learn their duties at the holy feet of ‘eldest born’ Brahmins of this land” (Golwalkar, 1939, pages 55-56).

Now what does the Manusmriti say? “(Consumption of) liquor, slaying women, Shudras, Vaishyas, or Kshatriyas (i.e. all except Brahmin men) are all minor offences” (Manusmriti, XI; 67). “A Brahmin may take possession of the goods of a Shudra with perfect peace of mind, for, since nothing at all should belong to the Shudra as his own, he is one whose property can be taken away by his master” (VIII; 417). “As woman cannot utter the Vedic mantras, she is as untruth is” (IX; 18). “Indeed, an accumulation of wealth should not be made by a Shudra even if he is able to do so, for the sight of mere possession of wealth by a Shudra injures the Brahmins” (X; 129). “The wealth of the Shudra shall be dogs and donkeys. The dress of the Shudra shall be the garments of the dead, their food they shall eat from broken dishes, black iron shall be their ornaments and they must always wander from place to place” (X; 52).

It is not as though such love for the Manusmriti was confined only to this book by Golwalkar. Much later, in his Bunch of Thoughts, he said: “Brahmin is the head, King the hands, Vaishya the thighs and Shudra the feet. This means that the people who have thus, four-fold arrangement, i.e. the Hindu people, is our God” (Golwalkar, 1966, page 25).

It is this understanding that prompted the RSS to oppose the amendments to the “Hindu Code Bill” after Independence, and it is this understanding that today propels the Saffron Brigade affiliates to reassert the Manusmriti. Witness the aggression at the recently held “Dharam Sansad” and the castigating of the present Indian Constitution as “non-Hindu”.

In this context, the significance of upper caste Maharashtra Brahmins being the leaders of the RSS till date must be noted. “The centrality of Maharashtra in the formation of the ideology and organisation of Hindutva in the mid-1920s might appear rather surprising, as Muslims here were a small minority and hardly a threat, and there had been no major riots in this region during the early 1920s. But Maharashtra had witnessed a powerful anti-Brahmin movement of backward castes from the 1870s onwards, when Jyotiba Phule had founded his Satyashodhak Samaj. By the 1920s, the Dalits, too, had started organising themselves under Ambedkar. Hindutva in 1925 as in 1990-91, was an upper caste bid to restore a slipping hegemony…” (Basu, Dutta, Sarkar, Sarkar,Sen, 1993, pages 10-11).

The vision of a social order under the Hindu Rashtra is thus one which legitimises both the inhuman caste oppression and the denial of elementary rights to women. Under such a dispensation, criminal practices such as Sati may not only be legitimised but may well be glorified.

This vision outlined by Golwalkar continues to form the basis for the Saffron Brigade to establish its vision of a Hindu Rashtra. If it today claims not to have republished this book in the 1950s, it has little to do with repudiating this vision. If this was so at all, then it was due more to the defeat of fascism in the Second World War and the liberation of millions from its oppressive yoke. With the Golwalkar-formulated ideal having been smashed, the Saffron Brigade could not propagate it in India. Domestically, following the assassination of Gandhiji, its offensive remarks about the Congress could not have been much of a comfort.

But the essential understanding outlined in the book, as noted earlier, continues to be the inspiration for the Saffron Brigade today. The dual objective is: attempt to straitjacket the internal diversity amongst the “Hindus” under a single domination, and generate hate against a community outside of the Hindus—the Muslims. (For an exposure of the falsehood on the basis of which the Saffron Brigade spreads this hatred, see Pseudo Hinduism Exposed: “Saffron Brigade’s Myths and Reality”, a CPI(M) publication, January 1993).

As a digression, it would be interesting to note that even the symbol around which they seek the internal unification of the Hindu people—Ram and Ramayana—has a very rich diversity. I recollect from my childhood the untenable characters in the Ramayana, the kings south of the Vindhyas like Vali, Sugreeva and Jambavanta who are depicted as animals and not humans. Was this not a reflection of the attempt of Aryan domination over the Dravidians?

Or take the legend around the festival of Onam celebrated in Kerala: The people of Kerala celebrate the annual return of their favourite King Maha Bali, who is described in the Aryan version as the king of Asuras (demons) who had to be killed by Vishnu in the form of Vamanavatara.

A hero for one set of Hindus is the villain for the other! (The Saffron Brigade, however, may say that these kings were different. Like the “sants” who when man landed on the moon screamed that this moon was different from the one referred to in the scriptures.)

Or, for that matter, take the entire interpretation of Ravanayana which describes the epic as the story of Ravana, who having earned the ultimate boon of not being killed by any living creature, gets fed up with mortal life and engineers that God comes down in the form of Rama, to be killed by his hands to achieve moksha. Vijaya Dashmi day, instead of marking the triumph of good over evil, could well mark the moksha of Ravana! (Refer Paula Richman, 1992).

In fact, the Kamba Ramayana in Tamil is found as a version authored by one Kampan in Thailand adorning the galleries of the royal palace in Bangkok. A rich story of epic proportions, which as Kampan says “it spreads, ceaselessly various, one and many at once,” is today being straitjacketed for the political purposes of establishing a fascistic Hindu Rashtra.

To return to Golwalkar. In the epilogue to his book he says, “All past civilisations ‘had their day, abode a day or two and passed away,’ because they had nothing to fulfil. We, however, live on, despite far greater calamities, and ever emerge triumphant masters of the world. We have no reason to lose hope. ‘Act first… a stage so gloamed with woe, We all but sicken at the shifting scenes. And yet be patient, our Play Wright ‘will’ show, in some fifth Act what this wild drama means. Let us be patient.” (Golwalkar (sic), 1939, page 65).

The “wild drama” is unfolding its fascistic proportions. Georgi Dimitrov (in his Address to the Seventh Congress of the Communist International, 1935) says that fascism, “while acting in the interests of the most reactionary circles of imperialism, intercepts the disappointed masses who deserted the old bourgeois government with its irreconcilable attitude to the old bourgeois parties”. Note today the vehemence with which the Saffron Brigade has mounted its attack on the very fundamental pillars of secularism and democracy that define the polity of independent India. Note also the vehemence with which it today places the entire blame for the wanton destruction of the Babri Masjid at the doorstep of the present government policies and not as an act committed by the Saffron Brigade in flagrant violation of the existing Constitution and the law of the land.

Further, Dimitrov notes: “Fascism puts the people at the mercy of the most corrupt and venal elements but comes before them with the demand for an honest and incorruptible government speculating on the profound disillusionment of the masses… fascism adapts its demagogy to the peculiarities of each country, and the mass of petty bourgeois and even a section of the workers, reduced to despair by want, unemployment and insecurity of their existence fall victim to the social and chauvinist demagogy of fascism.”

It is precisely this feature of fascism that defines the demagogy and campaigns of the Saffron Brigade today. Utilising the discontent arising out of the bourgeois-landlord class policies, they are attempting to divert this, not into channels that will reverse the conditions of impoverishment that continue to grow but divert this discontent into religious communal channels to advance their objectives. By placing before the people the construction of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple as the only agenda, the Saffron Brigade, in fact, is strengthening the very edifice of exploitation that is heaping miseries on our people. In conjunction with the open attempt to seek imperialist patronage for its purpose, this spells doom for the Indian people.

The Saffron Brigade today has clearly revealed that the actual conditions of the people and the alleviation of their miseries are not its concern. That more Indians than the entire population of the U.S. live below an abysmally low poverty line is of no concern to it. That children in our country, outstripping in millions the entire population of many a country, are forced to earn a livelihood is of no concern to it. That more Indians die every year from malnutrition than the entire population of Australia is of no concern to it. Can such a diversion of the people’s discontent for their political ambitions be allowed? In the name of Ram, the Saffron Brigade today seeks to consign crores of Indians to conditions of growing impoverishment. Golwalkar and the Saffron Brigade would, however, say, “ … it is not these that are our bane, but the dormancy of National feeling…” (Golwalkar, 1939, page 62).

The agenda that the Saffron Brigade is posing before the country and the methods that it uses to achieve its objective are nothing but an expression of an Indian variant of fascistic rule. Both in terms of the form of state and in terms of its economic and social policies, the BJP has exposed itself as the most reactionary section of the ruling classes. The present attempt by the Saffron Brigade is not merely one of establishing a medieval theocratic “Hindu Rashtra” but one of negating the very basis of democracy and secularism.

The Saffron Brigade’s agenda has to be defeated today in order to safeguard modern India. Unless India is saved, it cannot be changed for the better. Two years after this book was published, the Jamaat-e-Islami was founded. On August 26, 1941, under the leadership of Maulana Abul Ala Maududi, the founding conference was held in Pathankot. Maududi is to the Jamaat what Golwalkar is to the RSS. The similarity of their political project and roles is indeed remarkable. Just as Hitler was a hero for Golwalkar, so was he for Maududi. Just as Golwalkar rejected everything modern in human civilisation—liberty, equality, fraternity, secularism, democracy and parliamentary institutions—as “alien concepts”, so did Maududi and the philosophy of Muslim fundamentalism.

Maududi, in a speech at Pathankot in May 1947, when Partition was imminent, urged Indians to organise their state and society on the basis of Hindu scriptures and laws, as they would organise Pakistan based on the laws laid down by “Allah”. He said: “If a Hindu government based on Hindu law came to India and the law of Manu became the law of land as a result of which Muslims were treated untouchables and were not given any share in the government, they did not even get the citizenship rights, I would have no objection” (Quoted in Nizami, 1975, p. 11).

Hindu communalism and Muslim fundamentalism feed on each other. In the process, both spread communal poison deeper, threatening the very fabric of our country’s unity and integrity. Both act against the interests of the majority of people they claim to represent. India today is a secular democracy because a majority of Hindus and Muslims rejected this politics. It is this axis of Hitler-Golwalkar-Maududi that has to be politically defeated to preserve India today. All patriots who have not sold their conscience to the enemies of the nation have to rise as one man to meet this fascistic challenge.


Andersen, W. and Damle, Sridhar D., The Brotherhood in Saffron: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu Revivalism, Vistaar Publications, New Delhi 1987.

Basu, Tapan; Datta, Pradip; Sarkar, Sumit; Sarkar, Tanika; Sen, Sambuddha; Khaki Shorts: Saffron Flags, Tracts For The Times/I, Orient Longman, New Delhi, 1993.

Curran, J.A., Militant Hinduism in Indian Politics: A study of the RSS, The All India Quami Ekta Sammelan, 1979.

Deshmukh, Nana, R.S.S.: Victim of Slander, Vision Books, New Delhi, 1979.

Golwalkar, M.S., We or Our Nationhood defined, Bharat Publications: I, 1939, with a foreword by Loknayak M.S. Aney, Re. 1.

Golwalkar, M.S., We or Our Nationhood Defined, Bharat Prakashan: 1, Fourth Edition, 1947, Re. 1

Golwalkar, M.S., Bunch of Thoughts, Vikrama Prakashan, Bangalore, 1966.

Nizami, Z.A., Jamaat-e-Islami: Spearhead of Separatism, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, New Delhi, 1975.

Richman, Paula (ed)., Many Ramayanas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1992.

Thapar, Romila, “The Perennial Ayrans,” Seminar, no. 400, December 1992.

Yechury, Sitaram., Pseudo Hinduism Exposed: “Saffron Brigade’s Myths and Reality”, a CPI(M) Publication, New Delhi, 1993.

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Rhodes scholar to Carnatic singer, meet 4 young lawyers in privacy fight


Prasanna believes that technology ruling lives can only be deemed as fair if it is “proveably so and nothing in Aadhaar has been able to convince me of that”.

right to privacy, privacy as fundamental right, Supreme Court on privacy fundamental right, Aadhaar card compulsion, aadhar act, latest news, india news, indian express

(From left) Gautam Bhatia, Prasanna S, Kritika Bhardwaj and Apar Gupta outside the Supreme Court. Tashi Tobgyal

AS THE Supreme Court examines whether privacy is a fundamental right, a community of young lawyers has taken it upon themselves to spread the word — that the right to privacy is “non-negotiable”. So, from sitting through every court hearing to live-tweeting proceedings, from taking on the Centre when it argues that the Constitution does not provide for privacy as a fundamental right to breaking down the web of legalese around the debate, these lawyers are trying to help shape the architecture that will govern Indian lives in the age of unique IDs, technology and machines.

Prasanna S, Apar Gupta, and Kritika Bhardwaj are assisting senior counsel Shyam Divan, who is representing four privacy petitioners, including Shanta Sinha, the former head of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, and Magsaysay awardee Bezwada Wilson. Gautam Bhatia is assisting another senior lawyer, Arvind Datar, who is arguing for the Election Commission and for privacy as a fundamental right.

There are seven petitioners in the case with at least 12 active counsel in the matter before the nine-judge bench.

Prasanna S, 34

The Hosur-born, Tamil-speaking Prasanna sees nothing exceptional about his transition from the world of software to the thickets of Constitutional law four years ago. “Many technologists have moved to fields like investment banking. No questions are asked of them,” says Prasanna, now an independent, Delhi-based lawyer. Prasanna, who is also a trained Carnatic singer, believes his background in software and technology gives him “at least the vocabulary to understand new challenges to civil liberties”.

“Many technologists have moved to fields like investment banking. No questions are asked of them,” says Prasanna, now an independent, Delhi-based lawyer. Prasanna, who is also a trained Carnatic singer, believes his background in software and technology gives him “at least the vocabulary to understand new challenges to civil liberties”.

He says the general lack of opposition among the public to ideas such as Aadhaar, the unique ID programme that is at the core of the privacy debate, stems from a “fascination with technology” and a belief “that if it is a machine, it will make correct choices”.

Nothing could be more flawed, he says. “I can see through that clearly, being fully aware of how technology can have design limitations,” says Prasanna. In the case of biometrics, Prasanna says, “With an error-rate higher than 10 per cent, if this flawed technology rejects the population the size of the state of Bihar as being ineligible for rations, what is to be done? Is that acceptable?”

Prasanna believes that technology ruling lives can only be deemed as fair if it is “proveably so and nothing in Aadhaar has been able to convince me of that”.

right to privacy, privacy as fundamental right, Supreme Court on privacy fundamental right, Aadhaar card compulsion, aadhar act, latest news, india news, indian expressThe lawyers photographed on the central lawns of the Supreme Court in New Delhi. (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal)Gautam Bhatia, 28

The Rhodes scholar is also a sci-fi geek. He edits Strange Horizons, a UK-based science-fiction magazine, and is now looking at post-colonial science-fiction. One of the lawyers on senior counsel Datar’s team, he is among the leading voices in the privacy debate, even live-tweeting the apex court’s proceedings. Bhatia was studying for a degree in legal philosophy at Yale when WikiLeaks broke, followed by Edward Snowden’s revelations in June 2013. In December 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a law against surveillance and Bhatia took a train to the New York district court to hear ACLU fight the US National Security Agency for two-and-a-half hours.

After he returned to India, his alma-mater, the National Law School in Bengaluru, asked him to do a paper on surveillance in the Indian context. To Bhatia, that was a “golden moment”, when his academic pursuits and events at home and abroad got him interested in data, meta-data and privacy concerns. Bhatia believes that Aadhaar in itself is not a surveillance mechanism, but has the “potential” to be one. “If information is in different silos, the seeding of databases is okay, but the minute you combine it, then you are very well placed to be a perfect surveillance state,” he says.

Gautam speaks of how metadata gives you a deeper insight into people than actual data. “If you tape my phone conversation, you get data, but if you know who I called, who I had coffee with, visited a doctor, a divorce consultant and a physiotherapist… that gives you much more data to map me with near perfection,” says Bhatia, who is the author of Offend, Shock or Disturb: Free Speech Under the Indian Constitution.

So what is an ideal right to privacy law? “Any law on privacy has to be founded on principles of informed consent and specific consent. Informed consent means the person is aware of what use it’s being put to and specific consent means that the authorities must seek consent for each specific act.”

Gautam thinks a national political culture that does not value privacy can only go one way. “Look at history — societies where privacy is devalued become totalitarian. East Germany, with its Stasi (Ministry of State Security that carried out mass surveillance), was not a strong state, but a state where the national political culture is such that privacy does not count, becomes a surveillance state,” he says.

Gautam believes that violation of privacy enables discrimination. “Bezwada Wilson has spoken of how manual scavengers do not want to be identified, nor do people like trafficked women who have been freed. Too much data about citizens with the state is anti-democratic.”

right to privacy, privacy as fundamental right, Supreme Court on privacy fundamental right, Aadhaar card compulsion, aadhar act, latest news, india news, indian expressThere are seven petitioners in the case with at least 12 active counsel in the matter before the nine-judge bench. (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal)Apar Gupta, 33

@Aparatbar is a familiar Twitter handle to serious followers of the privacy and data debate in India. Gupta says he operates in the space between the “polar worlds of rockstar litigant Harish Salve and Prashant Bhushan, who does public interest litigation”.

A product of Columbia Law School and before that, Mount St Mary’s school in Delhi, Gupta says, “It is true society will be incredibly digital, but if you divorce it from civil rights and constitutionality, you will get something very unjust. We want to push this back.”

So why would governments want Aadhaar to be made compulsory when they have passports and PANs? “There is an administrative fetish, which is fed by Aadhaar. (Governments) get a digital dashboard and are able to create the illusion that they are administering efficiently. It’s on a good-faith basis to some degree, but all digitisation is not good. Digital IDs by themselves have resulted in savings, but that has been without Aadhaar. Conservative estimates are that nearly Rs 11,000 crore has been spent on Aadhaar,” he says.

Kritika Bharadwaj, 26

She is currently reading three books: Delete, on the Right to be Forgotten, The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir and Seven Minutes, a courtroom thriller. But Kritika, a political science graduate from LSR, went on to do an LLB from Delhi University’s Faculty of Law and later Masters from Cambridge in Information Law. But even before her Masters, she had cut her teeth on Aadhaar-related matters and done meticulous research on international laws, biometrics, international practices, protocols and databases in the world.

“We were shocked by the Centre’s arguments that privacy is not a fundamental right. We had prepared things pertinent to Aadhaar, of projects, exclusion and biometrics. But when the government made this plea, we all sat up and decided to help push this back,” she says.

Yet, she says, the “real challenge to us is the ‘so what’ challenge. “So what if privacy is violated, people say. We are still trying to address that convincingly,” she says. “My understanding and study tells me that the real worry is that the citizen does not even know what the government knows about him and how it will be used against the citizen. That is a lot of information asymmetry. Also, with so much data about everyone, there is implicit, a presumption of guilt of each citizen,” she says.

Rhodes scholar to Carnatic singer, meet 4 young lawyers in privacy fight

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After Chhattisgarh , now cow ambulance service to be started in MP #WTFnews

Amid ongoing debate over cow protection and controversies over cow vigilantes a cow ambulance service is being started by the authorities in Madhya Pradesh


Neeraj Santoshi, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
File photo (Photo by Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times)
File photo (Photo by Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times)

Bhopal: Amid ongoing debate over cow protection and controversies over cow vigilantes a cow ambulance service is being started by the authorities in Madhya Pradesh. The initiative has been taken by Khargone district administration, which has decided to start the ambulance for cows injured in road accidents and ailing bovines that need emergency medical care.

Cows getting injured or killed in road accidents has been a major concern in the state. Many times, if the cow or cows die in the absence of prompt medical attention, it leads to major tension and even violence by locals and cow vigilantes. Last year in August, a truck driver and helper jumped into Barna River in Raisen district after they ran over three cows on Jaipur-Jabalpur national highway to escape the angry mob. Later the body of the driver was found downstream.

Wilson Dawar, deputy director animal husbandry Khargone said, “A large number of cows are injured in road accidents. Though we have a veterinary hospital, the transportation of the injured cow is a big issue. How to lift and transport an injured cow to the veterinary hospital becomes a major stumbling block in saving it. Many cows die because they can’t be easily lifted and transported from the road to the hospital”, he said.

Dawar said under district ‘Gau Samiti’ the collector earmarked Rs 10 lakh for buying a specially designed ‘Gau-ambulance’.

“The ambulance will be fitted with a hydraulic lift powered lifting machine by which the injured cows would be lifted and ferried safely to the veterinary hospital. The cows would be lifted with ease no matter how heavy they are”, he said.

Dawar said the district administration was in touch with an Ahmedabad-based agency that will fit the hydraulic lift equipment on the vehicle which will be provided to them.

“We will send a vehicle to Ahmedabad where the hydraulic lift will be fitted. It will be ready in a month and delivered to us”, he said.

On how they thought of starting the ‘Gau-ambulance’ service, Dawar said owners of some cow shelters informed them that a similar ‘Gau-ambulance’ service was operating in Haridwar. “Taking a cue from this input, we sought detailed information and came to know about this company in Ahmedabad. After that we set the process in motion to get the special hydraulic lift fitted ambulance”, he said.

Such ambulances have also been started in other states earlier. In 2015, a Jharkhand-based industrialist-cum-social worker RK Agarwal had also come up with an ambulance service for bovines, with specially designed ten ambulances.

MP has the highest cattle population in the country, with 1.96 crore cows according to 2012 livestock census. Authorities and right wing activists are also worried over the decline in the population of cows here. In 2007, the population of cows in MP was 2.19 crore which came down to 1.96 crore in 2012.

Earlier this month MP cabinet approved a proposal to ban “Cow-killer” polythene bags in the state from May 1. Spokesperson of the state government and parliamentary affairs minister, Narottam Mishra said a large number of cows were dying due to polythene bags, prompting the state government to ban them.

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CRPF troopers accused of molesting Dantewada schoolgirls, cops launch probe #Vaw

A public relations exercise to boost the CRPF’s relations with tribals in the

Maoist bastion of Dantewada backfired badly after a few troopers allegedly

molested some schoolgirls.

The Chhattisgarh Police has launched a probe after  the warden of a girls’ hostel complained that CRPF troopers molested schoolgirls in Palnaar in Dantewada district.
The Chhattisgarh Police has launched a probe after the warden of a girls’ hostel complained that CRPF troopers molested schoolgirls in Palnaar in Dantewada district.(HT PHOTO)

The Chhattisgarh Police have started an investigation against unknown personnel following a complaint that CRPF troopers had molested a group of schoolgirls at a government hostel in the Maoist stronghold of Dantewada during a cultural programme.

The probe was launched after the warden complained to the police. Palnaar, where the alleged incident took place, is 25 km away from the district headquarters of Dantewada.

“We have received a complaint from the warden of the hostel against the unknown men in uniform and started investigation,” said Abhishek Pallav, additional superintendent of police (ASP) in Dantewada, told Hindustan Times.

“An FIR under Section 354 IPC has been registered promptly at Kuakonda police station. More sections can be added based on Section 164 of the CrPC and statements of victims.”

Pallav also said the issue is a serious one and proper investigation in the case will be carried out. “The statement of the girls will be taken and the accused will be identified,” he added.

The matter also came into light after an activist, Himanshu Kumar, wrote a Facebook post on Sunday about the alleged molestation.

“There was programme of a private news channel on Rakshbhandhan going on in the hostel in which the CRPF personnel were invited so that the girls could tie rakhi on July 31. When the programme concluded, few girls went to the toilet and there they were molested by the CRPF personnel,” Himanshu Kumar told HT.

“The personnel molested them in name of frisking. The warden later complained about the act to senior administrative officers but nothing was done,” he said.

Himanshu claimed that the CRPF camp in Palanaar is just 100 meters from the hostel and that other atrocities of the CRPF officers were also reported in recent past.

Tribal leader Soni Sori also visited the school a couple of days back but the warden did not allow her to enter the school.

The alleged molestation can potentially snowball in a crisis situation in the Bastar region where security forces have been accused of human rights abuse and rape.

The Chhattisgarh government has been making efforts to wean away the younger generation from Maoist influence by opening schools in remote areas and getting the children to stay in hostels. The alleged molestation has the potential to reverse the government’s gains to win the heart and mind of the tribals.

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Monsanto’s complicated relationship with agriculture in India

  • By Christopher Beyer and Sudipto Maity

As Monsanto, the Creve Coeur-based seed and pesticide giant, prepares to merge with Germany’s Bayer, observers wonder how the marriage will affect the company’s reputation in India, one of the largest markets in the world.

Monsanto has a complicated relationship with the nation of 1.3 billion people. Critics claim Monsanto’s business practices have led farmers into dependence, debt and suicide, a charge the company refutes. Supporters credit the company with advancing India’s Green Revolution of increased crop yields and say its technology is essential for a rapidly growing population.

Monsanto representatives declined to comment for this story on the pending $66 billion merger and public criticism of the company, which is famous for herbicides such as Roundup and insecticides such as Bollgard II.

The company has multiple outreach efforts geared toward helping farmers in India. According to a 2016 Monsanto sustainability report, its Sustainable Harvest Agriculture Resource Environment program, or SHARE, has educated and increased productivity among nearly 71,000 small farmers. Other Monsanto initiatives deal with sanitation, clean water and encouraging education for farmers’ children. And the company works to reduce child labor through a committee that keeps watch on business partners to ensure no child under 14 works in the fields and awards school funding to any “model village” that has 50 farms and no child laborers.

Still, the debate continues in both India and in the U.S.

Richard Oswald, president of the Missouri Farmers Union, said Monsanto’s monopoly has grown by consuming nearly 600 smaller agriculture businesses over the past 50 years, giving the company colossal control over the prices charged to farmers. He fears the merger with Bayer will simply increase the company’s pricing power, and said, “Farmers don’t really seem to take that to heart.”

At the same time, he said, the public is increasingly aware of concerns surrounding glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup. According to the National Pesticide Information Center, a cooperative agreement between Oregon State University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, studies have shown conflicting results on whether products containing glyphosate are associated with cancer. Some have associated use of glyphosate with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Monsanto has argued glyphosate is not a carcinogen.

“The public is looking at increased bad publicity about glyphosate being found in our food and even in the tissue of our bodies,” Oswald said.

Many of the same concerns trouble people across the globe, including in India, home to Monsanto’s sole daughter company outside of the U.S.

‘Guilty verdict’

The Monsanto Tribunal is an international civil society initiative whose purpose is to hold Monsanto accountable for human rights violations. A board of judges listened to victims’ testimonies about issues such as the “right to adequate food,” glyphosate and genetically modified seeds, and delivered an advisory opinion on Monsanto’s actions in April in The Hague in the Netherlands. The tribunal delivered a “guilty verdict,” stating the company infringed on “fundamental human rights.”

Vandana Shiva, an Indian environmental activist, has fiercely opposed Monsanto since 1987 and is known internationally for boldly voicing her contempt for the company’s actions. She has called Monsanto a “criminal” entity and took the company to court in 1999 on charges of illegal smuggling of BT cotton, a genetically modified, insect-resistant variety, into India.

“The Monsanto Tribunal is showing that … it’s a criminal in its behavior of not obeying this law,” Shiva said in an interview after a press conference in Kolkata, India.

Shiva and her supporters say the benefits for farmers have been largely exaggerated and that Indian farmers would earn “four to 10 times more” by not spending money on Monsanto’s seed.

Krishna Vir Chaudhary, a farmer leader, joined Shiva in submitting a report to India’s National Human Rights Commission alleging Monsanto trapped farmers in debt, created a monopoly on seed price control and sued Indian companies for not paying royalties for using their seed, which conflicts with patent law in Indian courts.

Some researchers and Monsanto critics link debt with rising farmer suicides. But on a company website, Monsanto says the issue is much more complicated, that “farming in rural India brings with it a set of systemic and social issues that can lead to hopelessness among farmers ….” The company says “significant research” has disproved the claim that genetically-modified crops are the leading cause of farmer suicide.

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi — and the country’s Agriculture Ministry — called for an antitrust regulation against what they consider Monsanto’s monopolistic practices.

Shiva said she believes the company’s decision to merge with Bayer is an attempt to repair its reputation and fool the public into thinking the company is being bought and controlled by Bayer when it is actually maintaining the same practices. She said she fears the merger will lead to a company powerful enough to manipulate India’s government.

Bayer has its own problems. Its annual reports show it’s no stranger to controversy or legal suits, with an extensive list of lawsuits.

But there are those who believe most farmers in India would be worse off without Monsanto’s help and that regardless of the company’s faults and reputation, India will need its technology.

Key to the future

Bhagirath Choudhary, founder director of the South Asia Biotechnology Centre in New Delhi, said Monsanto has helped India, giving it BT cotton technology in 2002, allowing farmers to triple their yields from 2002 to 2015. Today, India produces 39 million bales of cotton. The merger can’t be stopped, Choudhary said, so India should look for ways to benefit from its inevitability.

“I am advocating for all those companies who have the technology that can help the Indian farmers, and Monsanto is one such,” Choudhary said.

The company’s investment portfolio shows that Monsanto Growth Ventures, the company’s venture capital arm, has been a heavy investor in biotech startups. It has helped fund some budding firms in digital agriculture “aiming to be the next Google or Skype of farm data management systems,” said Jason Miner, senior global chemicals analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence.

Miner said biotech companies like the impending chemical-agricultural behemoth are essential to India’s future.

As controversy swirls, other seed and chemical companies are also planning to merge — driven in part by the hope of serving growing populations in countries like India and China with genetically modified seeds and crops.

Miner said there are concerns that these mergers will decrease competition, leading to less incentive for cutting-edge research and development in biotechnology.

To ensure against too much market dominance, antitrust regulators are meticulously inspecting these companies, setting the Monsanto-Bayer merger completion date back to late 2017.

Meanwhile, some Indian activists, businessmen and women, and others are looking for ways for India to sustain its people without a major agrochemical conglomerate.

Shiva, for example, started the Bija Vidyapeeth, or “Earth University,” through her nonprofit organization, Navdanya, which helps teach farmers alternative systems of agro ecology in order to get out of debt and produce healthier foods.

But financial analysts say India is a growing economy where companies such as Monsanto should invest, not divest. “It’s a vibrant market for agricultural inputs for farming,” Miner said, adding that the future holds even “more growth opportunity.”

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Aadhaar-linked unique IDs for Uttarakhand cow vigilantes #WTFnews

Shivani Azad

DEHRADUN: To keep “genuine” cow protection activists safe and also check violence by “self-proclaimed vigilantes”, the Uttarakhand Gau Seva Aayog, a government body for overseeing cow protection measures, has decided to provide unique IDs to activists in the state.

The IDs will be linked to their Aadhaar cards and the district magistrates of all the 13 districts have been told to zero in on such people by taking Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in the loop within a month. The state has witnessed a surge in cases concerning cruelty against cows, with more than 150 FIRs registered in 2016-17, much more than in the past, according to data with the Aayog.

Aayog chairperson Narendera Rawat said, “It is important to draw a line between real workers and miscreants.This move will deter troublemakers from creating mayhem in the name of cow.”

The panel had earlier asked DMs to provide details of cow protectors in their respective districts, but no one paid heed to it. Rawat said, “The fresh directives have to be implemented in a time-bound manner, failing which action will be taken against  district magistrates “

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