UP the ‘best governed’ state and ‘Holocaust approver’ Golwalkar a cultural icon?

Subhas Chandra Bose sought Hitler’s help to liberate India, but did not approve of the holocaust. But Golwalkar did. And now the Ministry of Culture has officially eulogised his ‘thoughts’. What next?

UP the ‘best governed’ state and ‘Holocaust approver’ Golwalkar a cultural icon?

Ranjona Banerji

Somewhere in Uttar Pradesh, India’s best-governed state, two young Dalit girls are found dead in a field. The third is in hospital, barely clinging on. They were said to have been poisoned by water adulterated with pesticide. Villagers say the girls, when found, had their arms and legs tied up with rope. The police have arrested two suspects and called it a love affair gone wrong. O wait. This is Unnao. Known for some horrific rape cases, including one involving BJP politician Kailash Sengar, now convicted. That Unnao. One more case of Dalits being the targets and women the perennial easy target of violence.

Did I mention that UP is India’s best governed state according to several of our enthusiastic propaganda TV channels and their excitable anchors.

The price of petrol has now reached the century mark in some parts of India, with diesel not far behind. Every record we breach is a matter of pride. To be able to afford to pay ₹100 for a litre of petrol is the sign of a great flourishing economy, surely? Or, in the words of Narendra Modi, our most adored prime minister, it is not just a privilege but also, conversely, the fault of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

We know by now that the Modi administration has no failures at all but only mighty successes. All perceivable failures are not Modi’s fault but of someone in the past, usually Nehru but also anyone from Chandragupta Maurya to Alauddin Khilji and of course Aurangzeb.

BJP politician Pamela Goswami is arrested in Kolkata for possession of 100 gm of cocaine. The TV channels are quiet. And BJP leaders believe the cocaine was planted by the police. Compare that to what the media did to Rhea Chakraborty.

But this is not a normal world. Either we are now so inured to travesty and transgressions of our right to life and of our Constitutional rights that we no longer believe we have those rights. Or we are happy, secretly or overtly, that democracy as we know it, has been so easily subverted.

The Ministry of Culture this week “celebrated” the birthday of the second head of the RSS, “Guru” Golwalkar. Amongst his many published “thoughts” and his definitions of nationhood, there is this most infamous and anti-Semitic gem, which both emphasises the RSS admiration for Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany and underlines the RSS’s view of religious minorities:

“…To keep up the purity of the nation and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of Semitic races – the Jews. National pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh 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 Hindustan to learn and profit by.”

There are those who still pretend that the BJP is just another political party. To bolster their argument, they list various questionable politicians in other political parties in India. But we have now reached a stage where such wilful blindness and deflection are dangerous.

To have in power an administration which openly celebrates a man who recommended the Nazi idea of holocaust for sections of a country’s population cannot and should not be ignored. We have already seen this Nazi-inspired hatred in action when it comes to Muslims, Dalits, Christians, other religious minorities. Now we have an official validation from the Ministry of “Culture”.

Let’s get Subhas Chandra Bose out of the way. BJP’s latest appropriation, Netaji, did move towards the Axis powers of Germany and Japan during the Second World War. We should not be scared of admitting that Bose made a mistake here, even if he used the theory of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”, to help India gain Independence from British colonial rule.

However, Bose’s political legacy does not include a celebration of genocide of a people based on their religion. Golwalkar’s descendants are in power. And they have now brought into the open what their earlier governments in the Janata experiment and the AB Vajpayee years sought to hide.

You can tie up this inherent hatred for anyone who is not of Aryan/Hindu supremacist stock with a complete disregard for governance as demonstrated in Uttar Pradesh and in the rise of fuel prices in India. You can also remember, if indeed you have forgotten, that so many who have used democratic tools to oppose this government are booked under sedition and terrorism laws.

And you must also look again at this government’s treatment of farmers who want to be heard.


It’s not hard if you open your eyes.

(The writer is a senior journalist and commentator. Views are personal)

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