By Shamsul Islam*
The Constituent Assembly (CA) of India passed the Constitution on November 26, 1949 after almost three years’ deliberations. It was an amazing contribution in the history of the modern liberal democracies as it was not only the lengthiest constitution in the world history (underlining the fact that the polity it was to govern was diverse and vast) but also created a polity based on egalitarian, democratic and non-sectarian ideals never attempted in the past in non-western world.
This commitment was explicit in the Preamble of the constitution.
Two ideals, socialist and secular, added in 1977, strengthened the resolve of the Constituent Assembly that India was going to be a non-sectarian polity with the people of India in thoughts. Yet, shockingly, RSS which has complete sway over the Indian politics through its political appendage, Bhartiya Janata Party and its cadres loaned to the latter (like Prime Minister Narendra Modi), is known to have mourned the birth of Indian Constitution.
RSS was very angry when Indian Constituent Assembly adopted a democratic-secular Constitution under the supervision of Dr BR Ambedkar. We know that the Constituent Assembly of India passed the Constitution on November 26, 1949, the RSS organ “Organizer” came out with an editorial on November 30, 1949 titled ‘Constitution’ declaring:
How RSS denigrates the Constitution of India can be known by the following statement of the most prominent ideologue of the RSS, Golwalkar:
“Our Constitution too is just a cumbersome and heterogeneous piecing together of various articles from various Constitutions of the Western countries. It has absolutely nothing which can be called our own. Is there a single word of reference in its guiding principles as to what our national mission is and what our keynote in life is? No!” (MS Golwalkar, “Bunch of Thoughts”, Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore, 1996, p 238)
By demanding Manusmriti as constitution of India, RSS, in fact was following the belief of its darling Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar who had declared long back:
“Manusmriti is that scripture which is most worship-able after Vedas for our Hindu Nation and which from ancient times has become the basis of our culture-customs, thought and practice. This book for centuries has codified the spiritual and divine march of our nation. Even today the rules which are followed by crores of Hindus in their lives and practice are based on Manusmriti. Today Manusmriti is Hindu Law”. (VD Savarkar, ‘Women in Manusmriti’ in “Savarkar Samagar” [collection of Savarkar’s writings in Hindi], vol. 4, Prabhat, Delhi, p 416)Faith of RSS brass in Manusmriti, naturally, leads them to believe in casteism too which gave birth to the debased practice of untouchability. For RSS casteism is the essence of Hindu nationalism. Golwalkar did not mince words in declaring that Casteism was synonymous with the Hindu nation. According to him, the Hindu people are none else but,
“The Hindu People, they said, is the Virat Purusha, the Almighty manifesting Himself. Though they did not use the word ‘Hindu’, it is clear from the following description of the Almighty in Purusha-Sukta [in the 10th book of Rig Ved] wherein it is stated that the sun & the moon are His eyes, the stars and the skies are created from his nabhi [navel] and Brahmin is the head, Kshatriya the hands, Vaishya the thighs and Shudra the feet.
“This means that the people who have this fourfold arrangement, i.e., the Hindu People, is [sic] our God. This supreme vision of Godhead is the very core of our concept of ‘nation’ and has permeated our thinking and given rise to various unique concepts of our cultural heritage.” (Golwalkar, MS, “Bunch of Thoughts” [collection of writings/speeches of Golwalkar published by RSS], p 36-37)
What kind of a Hindutva civilization RSS wants to build by enforcing the laws of Manu, can be known by having a glimpse of the laws prescribed by Manu for the lower castes, Untouchables and women. Some of these dehumanizing and degenerated laws, which are presented here, are self-explanatory.
Laws of Manu denigrating Dalits/Untouchables
- 1. For the sake of the prosperity of the worlds (the divine one) caused the Brahmana, the Kshatriya, the Vaisya, and the Sudra to proceed from his mouth, his arm, his thighs and his feet. (I/31)
- One occupation only the lord prescribed to the Sudras, to serve meekly even these (other) three castes. (I/91)
- Once-born man (a Sudra), who insults a twice-born man with gross invective, shall have his tongue cut out; for he is of low origin. (VIII/270)
- If he mentions the names and castes (jati) of the (twice-born) with contumely, an iron nail, ten fingers long, shall be thrust red-hot into his mouth. (VIII/271)
- If he arrogantly teaches Brahmanas their duty, the king shall cause hot oil to be poured into his mouth and into his ears. (VIII/272)
- He who raises his hand or a stick, shall have his hand cut off; he who in anger kicks with his foot, shall have his foot cut off. (VIII/280)
- A low-caste man who tries to place himself on the same seat with a man of a high caste, shall be branded on his hip and be banished, or (the king) shall cause his buttock to be gashed. (VIII/281)
As per the Manu Code if Sudras are to be given most stringent punishments for even petty violations/actions, the same Code of Manu is very lenient towards Brahmins. Shloka 380 in Chapter VIII bestowing profound love on Brahmins decrees:
“Let him never slay a Brahmana, though he have committed all (possible) crimes; let him banish such an (offender), leaving all his property (to him) and (his body) unhurt.”
Laws of Manu demeaning Hindu women
- Day and night woman must be kept in dependence by the males (of) their (families), and, if they attach themselves to sensual enjoyments, they must be kept under one’s control. (IX/2)
- Her father protects (her) in childhood, her husband protects (her) in youth, and her sons protect (her) in old age; a woman is never fit for independence. (IX/3)
- Women do not care for beauty, nor is their attention fixed on age; (thinking), ‘(It is enough that) he is a man,’ they give themselves to the handsome and to the ugly. (IX/14)
- Through their passion for men, through their mutable temper, through their natural heartlessness, they become disloyal towards their husbands, however carefully they may be guarded in this (world). (IX/15)
- (When creating them) Manu allotted to women (a love of their) bed, (of their) seat and (of) ornament, impure desires, wrath, dishonesty, malice, and bad conduct. (IX/17)
The above selection of Manu’s Codes is from F Max Muller, “Laws of Manu”, LP Publications, Delhi, 1996; first published in 1886. The bracket after each code incorporates number of chapter/number of code according to the above edition.
The reproduced parts of the Manu Code above need no further elaboration and commentary. They are too glaringly venomous, Fascist and degenerated against Untouchables who are referred to as Sudras by Manu. Perhaps this was the reason that the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche who contributed immensely to the growth of totalitarian ideas in Europe in the 20th century, fell in love with this work.
It is to be noted here that a copy of Manusmriti was burnt as a protest in the presence of Dr BR Ambedkar during the historic Mahad agitation on December 25, 1927. Dr Ambedkar called upon Dalits to commemorate December 25 as the Manusmriti Dehen Diwas (Manusmriti burning day) in future. In fact, the Brahmanism as basis of the RSS world-view is the original fascism in the history of human civilization.
RSS’ dislike for democracy
It is true that when RSS faced the wrath of the Indian State when Sardar Patel was the home minister of India it criticized the detention laws without trial. In an editorial in Organizer it wrote:
“Section 21 and 22 providing for detention without trial reduce all the wordy assurances about liberty, equality and fraternity to just near meaningless verbiage.” (“Organizer”, November 30, 1949)
But once in power the RSS-BJP rulers led by Modi have sought to convert Indian democratic-secular polity into a totalitarian Hindutva oligarchy where any kind of dissent is treated as anti-national and anti-Hindu. It is the continuation of hatred for democracy as decreed by Golwalkar as early as 1940. Golwalkar while addressing the 1350 top level cadres of the RSS declared:
“RSS inspired by one flag, one leader and one ideology is lighting the flame of Hindutva in each and every corner of this great land.” (Golwalkar, MS, “Shri Guruji Samagar Darshan” [collected works of Golwalkar in Hindi], Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, volume 1, p 11)
*Formerly with the Delhi University, click here for some of Prof Islam’s writings and video interviews/debates. Facebook: https://facebook.com/shamsul.islam.332;