Tiranga: A Gimmick By RSS

By Shamsul Islam,

The RSS/BJP gang is once again on to its old pastime of whipping up frenzy against Muslims. They plan to unfurl, Tricolour, the Indian National Flag in Srinagar on January 26, 2011. It may not be out of context to know that BJP and its RSS mentors who are so zealous about hoisting Tricolour in Srinagar have least respect for Tricolour as we will see from the following documentary evidences available in the RSS archives..

Organiser, the RSS English organ in its third issue (July 17, 1947) disturbed by the Constituent Assembly’s decision to select the Tricolour as the National Flag, carried an editorial titled ‘National Flag’, demanding that the saffron flag be chosen instead.

The same demand continued to be raised in editorials on the eve of Independence of India (July 31 editorial titled ‘Hindusthan’ and August 14 editorial titled ‘Whither’) simultaneously rejecting the whole concept of a composite nation. The August 14 issue also carried ‘Mystery behind the Bhagwa Dhawaj’ (saffron flag) which while demanding hoisting of saffron flag at the ramparts of Red Fort in Delhi, openly denigrated the choice of the Tri-colour as the National Flag in the following words: “the people who have come to power by the kick of fate may give in our hands the Tricolour but it never be respected and owned by Hindus. The word three is in itself an evil, and a flag having three colours will certainly produce a very bad psychological effect and is injurious to a country.”

Golwalkar, second chief of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the organization till date, while addressing a gathering in Nagpur on July 14, 1946, stated that it was the saffron flag which in totality represented their great culture. It was the embodiment of God: “We firmly believe that in the end the whole nation will bow before this saffron flag”.

Even after independence when the Tricolour became the National Flag, it was the RSS which refused to accept it as the National Flag. Golwalkar, while discussing the issue of the National Flag in an essay entitled ‘Drifting and Drifting’ in the book ‘Bunch of Thoughts’, an RSS publication and collection of writings of Golwalkar (treated as Bible for the RSS cadres), has the following to say: “Our leaders have set up a new flag for our country. Why did they do so? It is just a case of drifting and imitating. Ours is an ancient and great nation with a glorious past. Then, had we no flag of our own? Had we no national emblem at all these thousands of years? Undoubtedly we had. Then why this utter void, this utter vacuum in our minds?”

Importantly, nowhere in the functioning of the RSS is the Tricolour or National Flag used even today. The RSS headquarters at Reshambaugh, Nagpur does not fly it nor do the RSS shakhas display it in daily parades. It seems the National Flag is meant only to whip up frenzy against Muslims. In 1991(Ekta Yatra) it was Murli Manohar Joshi, another favourite in the RSS hierarchy, who went to unfurl the Tricolour at Lal Chowk of Srinagar, Kashmir. Uma Bharti carried a Tri-colour because it was an Idgah which was being targeted by Hindutva. On the other hand, it is important to note that the Hindutva cadres who went to demolish Babri mosque in 1992 did not carry the Tricolour. They carried only saffron flags which were subsequently hoisted there. The RSS is faced with a peculiar dilemma. For Hindus it has saffron flag and for Muslims Tricolour. This selective use of the national symbols is bound to boomerang and further expose the Hindutva camp’s real designs. But one thing is sure that ‘Muslim Bashing’ remains the favourite pastime of the Hindutva gang.

(The writer teaches at Delhi University)

Delayed Waking Up: Terrorism Investigations

The Ajmer bomb blasts took place on 11th October 2007; these took place inside the holy Shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, killing two people. In the wake of this the central Home minister, in his standard statement said that this is the handiwork of HUJI and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba type groups who are indulging in these activities and this is aimed to disrupt the communal harmony in the country. Three years down the line now a RSS functionary Devendra Gupta and his associates have been accused of triggering this blast and have been arrested. To cap it all there seems to be the connection between this Ajmer blast and the blast which took place in Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, which took place a few months ago of this Ajmer blast (May 2007).

There is also the news that the Rajasthan police despite evidence delayed the investigation of Ajmer blasts as the leads of investigation pointed towards the involvement of Hindu right wing terror gangs. One also hears that since Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur was arrested in connection with Malegaon blasts, her links led to Swami Asimanand of Dangs, who is the major RSS combine figure of the area. He is absconding since then. And now apart from Maharashtra police Rajasthan police is also looking for him.

Strange things have happened in connection with the investigation of blasts during last few years. The thesis guiding the police investigation for a long time was that terror groups are being promoted by Pakistan and they want to create communal disharmony, that they are putting bombs in places of Muslim worship. It is due to this and the inherent biases of our investigation agencies that for so long and despite clear involvement of terror groups inspired and connected with ideology of RSS were not touched. It was after Hemant Karkare discovered the irrefutable evidence of Sadhvi’s motor cycle used in Maelgaon blasts and her connections with all others, Lt Col. Prasad Shrikant Purohit, Swami Dayanand Pande, Retd. Major Upadhaya etc., that the nexus was discovered. After the tragic killing of Hemant Karkare again the investigation has put on the slow track. In the face of such strong evidences now some of the investigation authorities are forced to wake up to the threat of terrorism done by these groups.

There has been a pattern of these terror attacks done by the likes of Sadhvi, those connected with RSS ideology or remotely connected with organizations floated by the ones’ trained in RSS ideology. This raises lot of questions about the professional competence of our investigation agencies. The blasts took place in the places where predominantly Muslims congregate, blasts took place at times when their numbers was maximum in the places of prayer. The observation was that after the blasts, blinded by the inherent biases, the investigation agencies made it a routine to arrest some Muslim youth. The names of HUJI, Lashkar, and SIMI have been dished out and lapped up by media which has shaped the public opinion.

The problems which we witnessed in this are two fold. One, the innocents were tortured and their lives and careers were ruined by this crass attitude and second the real culprits carried on merrily one after the other, knowing full well that they will be protected because of their religion and because of their organization, which makes maximum noises against terrorism itself.

The pattern began with Nanded in 2006, when two Bajrang Dal workers died while making bombs, in the same city later a Shiv Sena Shaka member died in the go-down storing biscuits, two Bajrag Dal Workers died in Kanpur in 2008 and many such incidents kept going on. The tide in a way turned when the irrefutable evidence of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakurs’ motor cycle being used in Malegaon blast was detected. The immaculate investigation done by Mahrashtra ATS led to the detection of the involvement of other such affiliates (meaning all those organization who subscribe to ideology of Hindu Nation, Hindutva and whose core team is trained in this ideology). Sadhvis’ photo was also seen with the BJP President Rajnath Singh. Surely after the arrest of the real culprits starting from the Sadhvi, the frequency of terror attacks has come down. In Thane on 4th June 2008, two Hindu Jagran Samiti workers were arrested for planting the bombs in the basement of Gadkari Rangayatan, due to which 7 people got injured. The same group was involved in the blasts in Vashi, Panvel also. This group was also involved in the bomb blast in Goa, recently on the occasion of Narak Chaturdashi. This group idolizes Savarkar (Hindu Mahasabha) and Hedgewar (RSS) and indoctrinates its members into hating Christians and Muslims.

Similarly on 24th August 2008 two Bajrang Dal activists died in Kanpur, while making bombs. The Kanpur zone IGP S.N. Singh stated that their investigations have revealed that this group was planning massive explosions all over the state. Indian Express, 23 Oct 2008 reports that those involved in the bomb blast in Malegaon and Modasa (Sept 2008) had links with Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad

Similarly in Tenkasi, Tamil Nadu pipe bomb attack on RSS office (Jan.2008) was projected to have been done by Jehadi Muslims. The investigation revealed many a Hindu names and later the investigations was frozen. In an alleged Fidayin attack was claimed that in the attack on RSS office in Nagpur (June 1, 2006) three of them were killed in the police encounter, as per the police version. Citizens Inquiry report, headed by Justice Kolse Patil doubted the police version in a serious way; the clarifications did not come through from the authorities.

Pained by this attitude of the State and investigating authorities a Citizens tribunal was held in Hyderabad August 2008, the tribunal concluded that, “This fight against terrorism, victims emphasized, has veered more around witch hunting of Muslims rather than curbing terrorism, thus robbing people of their liberty and freedom and making them more insecure than ever before. The real culprits, they said, often roam freely whereas the poor and gullible Muslims are picked up and thrown into jails at whims and fancies of the powers that be. Victims after victims, who have undergone harassment and torture without any evidence permissible in the court of law against them, deposed before the tribunal — comprising country’s eminent personalities including former judges, lawyers and renowned social activists – and narrated their tales of woes to the shock and anguish of hundreds of audience.”

One of the major hurdles which have obstructed the truth coming out is that the investigation of the blasts cases is not easy and a lot depends on the investigation authorities’ attitude and bias. In these cases media generally laps up whatever is dished out by police and not much of independent voice comes up. Those doubting the police version are dubbed as anti national and media keeps itself at safe distance from those who care to pick the holes in theory put out by police. Usual norm of journalism should be to doubt the state version also and not to dismiss those who have alternative version. In cases of terror attacks this norm is kept aside. It is because of this that so far the investigations do not get the corrective direction, and many a times are totally fallacious, as the truth coming out from Ajmer case and other similar cases show us. One hopes that professionalism prevails over biases and independent voices are not stifled in such matters if we want to reach the truth, if we want to ensure that such attacks do not repeat themselves.

After Malegaon, Hubli

Hubli Court BlastOn 10th May 2008, a blast rocked a magistrate court in Hubli, Karnataka where seven SIMI members suspected of terrorist activities were to be produced before the court. No one was hurt in the blast and Maharastra police later arrested Zakti Shaukat Ali Iqbal Ahmed who was then transferred to the Karnataka police for further investigations.

The incident and the arrest was widely covered in the media and rediff.com reported that the Hubli blast was linked to Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Dargah blasts. Continue reading After Malegaon, Hubli

And Now Hindu Terrorists?

Sadhvi Pragya Singh ThakurMuslims for long had been objecting to the term Islamic terrorists and when the term Hindu terrorists was used by a section of the media the Sangh Parivar members protested how can one use the term ‘Hindu Terrorists? The first to object to this term was Mr. Ram Madhav of RSS told The Asian Age “There is no such thing as Hindu terror at all. It is an orchestrated campaign to protect the real terrorists.” Also when asked about the Sadhvi Pragnya’s arrest, he immediately tried to distance RSS from her. The “involvement of individuals, he said, “had nothing to do with any Hindu organization.” Continue reading And Now Hindu Terrorists?

Whither India: Qualitative Change In Polity

Varanasi, IndiaLast six months have been most disturbing on the Indian political scene. As far as the values of integration are concerned they are being attacked very severely by terrorist-communal forces. First, we saw the series of bomb blasts, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Delhi and Malegaon. It was projected by the authorities that all these acts are due to Jehadi Muslim groups that police have succeeded in cracking the network. One outcome of this was the Batla house encounter in which police, bravely killed the terrorists. Continue reading Whither India: Qualitative Change In Polity

How Secular Is India Today?

Gateway of IndiaThere is always a big gap between theory and practice, theology and history. Indian constitution, no doubt, is one of the best in the world. It is truly secular in spirit so much so it was secular even when word secular was not added to it until 1975 i.e. during emergency. If it were truly implemented India would be an ideal country to live in especially for minorities, both religious as well as linguistic. Continue reading How Secular Is India Today?

Media, Muslims And Mujahideen

Newspaper StackMubasshir Mushtaq

Now that the Delhi Police has “cracked” the bomb blasts, I can make my own confessions. Suspicion is not a fundamental right enshrined in Indian Constitution but it is an unalienable right in a flourishing democracy. Suspicion is the fundamental premise on which the edifice of our intelligentsia stands. Therefore, intelligence agencies cannot be denied the right to suspect. The same right to suspect cannot be denied to ordinary Indians. Equality is the hallmark of a true democracy.

Continue reading Media, Muslims And Mujahideen

Peace In A Plural Society

Red Fort, DelhiTranslated from the chapter titled Aman Mushtarik Samaj Mai (‘Peace in a Plural Society’) in Maulana Wahiduddin Khan’s Urdu book Aman-e Alam (‘Global Peace’) [Goodword Books, New Delhi], pp.142-160.

India won its political independence from the British in 1947, but this was accompanied by the tragic Partition of the country. The Partition was based on the ‘two-nation’ theory. But far from solving the problem of communal conflict between Hindus and Muslims, it only further exacerbated it. Prior to the Partition, the conflict was between two communities, but, with the Partition, it now became one between two countries. Continue reading Peace In A Plural Society

Then They Came For Christians

St. Thomas Kottakkavu Church Orissa is witnessing unprecedented violence against the tiny Christian minority. On August 23, 2008, Swami Laxmananand along with his four followers was killed, probably by a group of Maoists. Immediately, anti-Christian violence began on big scale. The way it began it seemed as if preparations for it were well afoot. It was systematic and widespread. It sounded as if preparation was already there, just the pretext was being waited for. Continue reading Then They Came For Christians

Rajnath Singh At BJP National Executive – Two Steps Backward

Rajnath SinghBJP National Executive which was scheduled to hold its meeting in Jaipur had to change the venue to New Delhi (1-2 June 2008) because of the recent Gurjar protests. I just went through the text of Rajnath Singh’s speech on the occasion and it is a message to the party to start preparing for the 2009 parliamentary elections. Continue reading Rajnath Singh At BJP National Executive – Two Steps Backward