Can Modi-Shah-Doval restrain the RSS?

How long before the worm turns? The muscular state, hardline Hindutva and vigilante groups on the rampage are being watched internationally and an implosion appears a distinct possibility

Photo by Mujeeb Faruqui/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Mujeeb Faruqui/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

An Opinionated Observer

News of India's growing internal tensions has travelled across the globe. Our tinderbox mix of ethnicities and the fragility of the delicate balance among them is hidden from no one. As Yogi Adityanath blipped on the international radar—a rare occurrence for a mere chief minister of an Indian state—and The New York Times came out with a disapproving editorial, the Indian MEA put out an unconvincing, sanctimonious and mealy-mouthed critique while the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval rushed to the United States to explain the developments.

Mr Doval, as expected, gave the Americans a stabilising spin and managed to get Donald Trump to put in a two-minute call to Narendra Modi to congratulate him on the state election results. Reliance and Subhash Chandra-owned media then tom-tommed it in undying echoes to reassure investors and deluded citizens that all was well with the Modi-Shah-Ambani-Doval-RSS universe.

But you can only fool some of the people sometimes, not all the people at all times. ‘Rigged’ elections, ‘bought’ legislators, fudged economic statistics and padded growth rates have raised a stink that has spread worldwide.

As domestic tensions mount, Islamic countries are not blind or deaf to Muslim distress in India, where the Muslim population is greater than the entire population of Pakistan. Nor is the powerful Judeo-Christian Western World any longer unaware of the fear and persecution under which Christians are now being forced to live in this once secular country. The violent fringe Hindu outfit, to which Dara Singh, the killer of the missionary Graham Staines and his two young sons belonged, is now mainstream and patronised actively by the ruling dispensation under Modi.

Ahead of PM Modi's first official visit to the US, the US Senate's Foreign Relations committee had held hearings on this very subject as his poor human rights record as a CM who was denied a US visa was not exactly unknown to the US Congress. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom had complained of its members not being allowed to visit India to look into these matters. US charities and Christian bodies are upset that they are no longer allowed to provide funds to Christian charitable organisations in India and are in fact being asked to divert those funds to Hindu, RSS-backed NGOs.

As for India's beleaguered Muslims, suffice it to say that if the grievances of one crore Muslims in Kashmir can give so much leeway to Pakistan that India's peace is forever disturbed, the impact of Yogi on 4 crore Muslims of UP and that of Yogi-isation on 20 crore Muslims will have not only the entire Muslim world against us but also the entire liberal West up in arms against the BJP-RSS regime, not to mention the UN. It is interesting to note that no incident of violence against Christians in India has been reported ever since Trump backed by White Supremacists won the Presidential election in the US. Even after an Indian IT engineer, S Kuchibhotla, was killed in a racist hate crime in the US as was a Gujarati Patel store-owner and others injured in similar circumstances.

Prime Minister Modi maintained a stoic silence about the spate of racist attacks on Indian citizens in the US. He left it to his highly competent foreign minister to talk to the bereaved families and his emissary, the foreign secretary, to register India's concerns on the issue before the Trump administration.

Mr Doval would know that trigger-happy white vigilantes are ready to cherry pick on Indians and may even perpetrate a massacre if provoked by incidents against Christians in India. The RSS and its acolytes understand that language of violence very well indeed, for it is their own stock in trade as well. And with America's agenda and preferred methodology of regime-change and creation of civil war in host countries they wish to dominate strategically, these tensions will give the Americans the perfect excuse to meddle in our internal affairs and enforce a regime change here as well, much more openly, crudely and violently than they have ever done before.

Turning the peaceable Hindu religion into radical Hindutva as a mirror image of Jehadi Islam will soon turn India into an international battleground worse than Afghanistan, Syria or Iraq. None of our immediate geographic neighbours is now favourably inclined towards us and Russia too follows the polar opposite of BJPs extreme right wing ideology.

Can any sane person believe that serious attempts to "reunite" Akhand Bharat will not invite the harshest form of geopolitical and strategic retaliation? The votaries of hardline Hindutva are very clear about what they want to do with Pakistan. But they do not seem to have even the faintest clue about what they will do with China or Russia.

Somebody needs to sit down amid all this frenzy and think these things through as also to explain it to these intellectually bankrupt medievalists slowly and patiently, preferably in words of single syllables, so that they can at least get some common sense knocked into their addled heads.

The unveiling of Yogi on the Indian political scene at such an early stage signifies the desperation of the RSS, which probably feels it may never have such a great opportunity again to implement its agenda. This hurry is the sign of inner panic in the Sangh which is well aware that it may not have as savvy and unique a Prachaarak as Modi again in the near future, such generous corporate funding and so much international goodwill and latitude as it has inherited.

Now that the mask is off, they are undermining institutions to serve their own narrow ends and may even be tempted with their brute majority in Parliament to amend the Indian Constitution for the same purpose. At least at that juncture the worm will turn, if not before. Or at least, so one hopes.

The writer’s identity, feels the author, is not important and would like to be known as a concerned Indian citizen.

This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own.

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Published: 05 Apr 2017, 1:29 PM