By Ram Puniyani
The arrest of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur in the context of Malegaon blasts of September 29, 2008 has been an important step in the investigation of bomb blasts which have been blowing the social peace and communal amity. Along with her the arrest of army officers, retired and serving, has unfolded the whole new dimension about investigation of acts of terror. The involvement of Bhonsala Military School has also come under the scanner of investigating agencies.
The Sadhvi has been the member of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad and Durga Vahini, which are parts of Sangh Parivar, before she adorned the saffron robe. Sangh Parivar is the word coined by the Rashrtiya Swayamsevak Sangh and its progeny for the whole combine, all of them put together. RSS acts as the central controller and its trained volunteers, Swayamsevaks, set up and manage different organizations to pursue the goals of RSS.
The Sadhvi’s connections with BJP/RSS top leadership came to the surface and the BJP leadership, in particular, distanced itself from her, initially. The ideological and political association was attempted to be played down to a mere acquaintance. Disowning the member of its outfits, after they do the crime is nothing new for Sangh organizations. The first such disowning was done when RSS prachark Nathuram Godse murdered the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Since RSS was not keeping records of its members etc. Nathuram claimed in the court that he had nothing to do with RSS, despite the fact that he was a trained RSS volunteer (Swayamsevak).
In an interview given to The Times of India (25 January 1998), his brother Gopal Godse, who was also an accomplice in the murder, elaborated the apparent reasons for hiding their affiliation with RSS. “Technically and theoretically he (Nathuram) was a member (of RSS), but he stopped workings for it later. His statement in the court that he had left the RSS was to protect the RSS workers who would be imprisoned following the murder, on the understanding that they (RSS workers) would benefit from his dissociating himself”
The second major disassociation has been that from Rajendra Pal, alias, Dara Singh who murdered Pastor Graham Steward Stains. His case in the courts was fought by BJP ex-Minister Dilip Singh Judeo's brother. Dara Singh himself was an active worker of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and other Sangh organizations. All this was denied shamelessly by the RSS combine. And now come the one related to the Sadhvi.
After initial quiet on the issue, now the Hindutva parties (BJP, Shiv Sena) are raising an army of lawyers to fight the case for her. Now their plea is that every accused has a right to be defended. So far they have kept quiet when the lawyers of the accused in the acts of terror have been beaten up and many lawyers’ associations have resolved not to fight the cases of accused in cases of acts of terror.
It was also stated by BJP spokespersons that there is no evidence, proof of involvement of the Sadhvi. The technicalities of this proof in this case apart one will like to know how many times, in how many cases of arrest of “alleged Muslim terrorists” this question is raised. Their being Muslims is good enough proof of being terrorists in the scheme of things propagated by the RSS combine, and even the encounters, most of them fake, are welcomed by a section of these.
Then came the argument that since the Sadhvi is a follower of “cultural nationalism”, she can’t be a terrorist! Here the partisan attitude of those involved in this politics is clear. What they are referring to by cultural nationalism is Hindu nationalism. As such cultural nationalism has been promoted by the practitioners of politics in the name of religion. Be it Muslim terrorists taught in the US- promoted madrassas in Pakistan in yesteryears or the fundamentalists doing politics in the name of any religion. In case of Hindutva, this cultural nationalism is the opposite of democratic nationalism, where diversity and equality of all is the foundation of the political ethos.
In the case of RSS, cultural nationalism is based on the some religious texts and the culture of elite Hindus, which gives priority to the Brahminical values, the values of caste and gender based inequality. Democratic nationalism has its focus on respecting and approving all cultures and religions, while in the RSS scheme of cultural nationalism the Brahminical culture is the base of political nationalism. So what label does one put to the acts of Godse and Dara Singh? Both of them were steeped in the cultural nationalism propagated by the RSS combine. The formula that terrorism done by Muslims is anti-national and the acts done by the ilk of Sadhvi are nationalism defies all logic. Any act of violation of the Indian law is anti-national. There can’t be separate set of laws for those indulging in violence and heinous crimes in the name of religion.
After initial hesitation, the RSS combine started saying that she was pained by the terrorism committed by Muslims, and this revenge terrorism was meant to protect the Hindu society. A subtle justification and approval for this variety of crime was sought on the ground that this was the answer to the terrorism done by Muslims. Some commentators are openly glorifying this and some others are quietly going by this logic. RSS indoctrination reduces all political and social issues to religious ones.
RSS indoctrination is carried out through its Shakha Baudhiks (branch intellectual sessions) and camps. It says that this nation belongs to Hindus alone. Here, the Muslims and Christians are foreigners. The secular people are trying to say that this country belongs to all the people, which is wrong. We need to ensure that these threats to Hindu nation are dealt with properly.
RSS-type indoctrination has also created the myth that all terrorists are Muslim, deliberately overlooking that terrorists come from all the religious communities, but not due to religious reasons. The reasons behind terrorism are social, economic and political. Be it LTTE, Khalistanis, ULFA, Irish Republican Army all have indulged in terrorism, the reasons being anything but religious. In the RSS scheme of things all the acts of terror have been projected to be due to Islam and Muslims. So the two modules merge and create the mind-set of the Sadhvi or Bajrang Dal members who have died while making bombs in Nanded and Kanpur or members of Hindu
Jagran Samiti who planted bombs in Thane near Mumbai.
The current involvement of army officers, Bhonsla Military School and the members of different wings of Sangh privar should not be a surprise if one sees the structure and functioning of RSS. RSS founded to oppose democracy and to work for Hindu nation has been working, indoctrinating and creating more and more organizations to fulfill it objective of Hindu nation, which in essence means to restore the feudal hierarchical values of caste and gender in Indian context, to work for status quo around the modern version of Brahminical system. Its trained swayamsevaks, have been on one hand directly entering the political formations, Bhatiay Janata Party, Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarhti Parishad, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashrma, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Hindu Munnani, Bajrang Dal, Samajik Samrasta Manch on one hand, creating subordinate organizations amongst women, Rashtra Seviak Samiti, Durga Vahini etc on the other hand. Vast layers of Saints, the likes Asaram Bapu or Sri Sri Ravishakar, or Narnedra Maharaj are ideologically on same wave length as RSS and through their work they lay the ground for the politics of RSS to flourish in different sections of society.
Its second strategy has been that of infiltration in the different wings of state machinery, police, bureaucracy, Judiciary. On yet another layer its recruits have been working in the field of education and media by the mechanism of infiltration. Its hold and vicious grip on society cannot just be assessed by the electoral strength of BJP. That?s why Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the then Prime Minister, in Staten Island could assert that first he is the swayam sevak of RSS and then the prime minister. That?s why in 1977, when the Bharatiya Jansangh, previous avatar of BJP, who were part of Janata Party, were told to severe their links with RSS, they preferred to break the Janata party rather then severing their affiliation with RSS. Its strength comes from the earlier silent, by now violent, infiltration in all spheres of social and political activities. Its wing amongst retired military officers ensures that people like Retired army Officer Upadhyay is probably the part of the Malegaon and other such blasts.
Bhonsala military school has been managed by RSS in more ways than one, so not only it may be a place for hatching the conspiracies for blasts, but also for turning out recruits who can aid and assist this Sangh combine while serving in the army. Surprise is not that Bhonsla military school?s connection with this politics is coming to surface, surprise is not that Upadhyay and Purohits? links are coming to surface so late; surprise is that how they hid it so long and so well?
Various components of RSS family sometimes have some differences also, but these are sorted out by the patriarch RSS, through subtle control and ideological mechanisms so that their cohesion with the goal to destroy democracy, through all the means, including using democratic platforms for the same, remains intact. Sadhvi is involved in the blasts or not, army officers or involved in these acts or not should hopefully come out despite their ideological plants scattered all over. What it has brought to our notice is the dangers of this multi headed hydra, which is working in the democratic system with a goal to abolish democracy itself and bring in Hindu nation, another name of fascist formation, abusing the Hindu religion, the religion of Kabir and Gandhi!
In RSS scheme of things the organizational affiliation comes second, the primary thing which they instill is the ideological subordination. Most of those involved in these acts will not have any remorse for what they did, as like the Al Qaeda variety, they are indoctrinated to believe that it is nationalism (Hindu in this case, in Al Qaeda variety it is Islamic nation of course) so what you are doing while instigating anti minority violence or while planting the bombs is for the service of your religion!
While superficially at loggerheads the ideological wavelength of RSS indoctrination is similar to the one used in Pakistani Madrassas for training Al Qaeda. Here the religion is different paradigms are same. To deal with such ideologies leading to acts of terror, what is also needed is to combat their ideological foundations.