RSS’s Hindutva is at War with Gandhi’s Hinduism: Ashutosh
| Onkareshwar Pandey, Editor in Chief, IOP - 05 Apr 2019

RSS’s Hindutva is at War with Gandhi’s Hinduism: Ashutosh

By Onkareshwar Pandey

New Delhi, April 4, 2019: “The 2019 parliamentary elections are not between Hindus and Muslims. It is between Hindu India and Hindutva India. This election is between India’s liberal Hindus or secular Hindus and the Hindutva brigade who are in the fight with Gandhi’s Hinduism,” said Ashutosh, a senior journalist and former leader of Aam Aadmi Party in his latest book Hindu Rashtra, which was unveiled in a simple function in Delhi today.

He further said, “RSS’s Hindutva is at war with Gandhi’s Hinduism, whose understandings of religion were well beyond the boundaries of dogma and negativism. Gandhi’s conviction was based on ‘Love’ whereas Hindutva is defined by ‘Hate’, which is used as an instrument of political mobilization to create an artificial construct called the Hindu Rashtra.”

“There is no denying fact that the RSS along with the government led by Modi has succeeded in neutralizing Muslims during their regime. But the battle is still on,” said Ashutosh while sharing his thoughts about his book. 

Talking about the RSS’s ideology, Ashutosh said, in my view, “this project of Hindutva is not to gain power. This project is not to change the tradition of Hindus or their culture. This is the project to change the basic foundation and core values of the whole civilization of Hindus.”

“The 2019 elections are undoubtedly being looked at with a lot of curiosity, but it is also understood that even if Modi were to lose elections the crisis is not going to be over just yet. The threat of Hindutva will continue to loom as it has captured sizeable ground in the last few years,” he added.

Published by Context, an imprint of Westland Publications, Ashutosh’s Book ‘Hindu Rashtra’ is an astutely observed and expertly narrated account of India's socio-political present.

Ashutosh, one of the best-known faces of Hindi journalism, began his career as a journalist in the print media, went on to be a part of the original Aaj Tak team that revolutionised TV news and then became the editor of IBN7 from where he quit to become a political activist. He was the spokesperson of the Aam Aadmi Party. He is also the author of Anna: 13 Days That Awakened India (2012) and The Crown Prince, The Gladiator and The Hope: Battle for Change.

Ashutosh’s Hindu Rashtra, a 329-page book reviews the four years of Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party regime to find out if the party's Hindutva ideology and its clamour for a Hindu Rashtra are strong enough to face the common Indian's discontent.

“I started writing this book, on May 26, 2014, the day when Modi Ji (Narendra Modi) took oath as the Prime Minister. I started collecting the clippings for writing this book. Because I felt that very few people are aware of the real ideology of RSS or Sangh or the Hindutva ideology. Many people may think that this party is involved in communal politics. But all of them have just a superficial knowledge of the Hindutva ideology of RSS-BJP. I think, if you really want to understand this ideology, you will have to read the thoughts of top RSS leaders like Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar.  

Ashutosh, who earlier authored 'Anna: 13 Days That Awakened India', has aptly employed his experience as a journalist as well as a politician to give an insider's view of India's changing political terrain from his own point of view, to which a section will certainly not agree.

Based on his five year’s long thorough research, observations and personal experience Ashutosh’s ‘Hindu Rashtra’ takes a hard, realistic look at the political reality of India and what its future may hold. However, he said, “Today, I am afraid, I might be booked under NSA for writing such things. And I am prepared for that. This is the change and impact of this regime.”

In this book, Ashutosh has quoted several incidents which hit the headlines of national media during the last five years and has explained it with his own observations. 

“If Modi wanted to put an end to the Cow vigilantism, all he had to do was to pick up the phone and say, ‘Stop this nonsense,’ for it to end without a murmur,” writes Ashutosh in the book under the chapter ‘Hate crimes in the name of Gau Rakshas’, observing that this was an example of the weakening of the state.

Speaking on this occasion, senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, said that “the real change in the last five years is the ‘normalization of the hate’. If they don’t like your thoughts, they will simply say, that you are talking in the Pakistani language. The ministers like Giriraj Singh who has been talking in this language of hate, have been rewarded by giving Lok Sabha Tickets and unfortunately, the leaders like Dr Kirit Somaiya, who exposed the corruption in the Shiv Sena has been denied the ticket.”

Nivedita Menon, a feminist writer and a professor of political thought at Jawaharlal Nehru University, started her address by saying, “Main Tukde Tukde Gang ka Ek Tukda hun. In my view, the major change in the NDA-2 government is that there is a change from economic nationalism to cultural Hindutva and the direct and unhindered corporate takeover of the country’s wealth and resources. The second shift in this regime I see is the expulsion of Dalits from Hindu Rashtra. In the first NDA regime, Dalits were used by the Hindutva in the communal violence against the Muslims. But in this second phase, the upper caste terrorism marks the Modi regime.”

Zoya Hasan, a former Professor of Political Science and the Dean of School of Social Sciences at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and a former member of the National Commission for Minorities while speaking on this occasion, said, “In my view the uniqueness of this regime is not that it represents the extreme right wing politics, but the unique relationship between the BJP and the RSS to implement the Gujarat Political Model in the entire country.” “And the biggest shift in this regime is the religious Hindu Nationalism over the Nationalism,” Zoya Hasan said.

In the beginning, Sudha Sadhanand, Editor, Amazon introduced the panel for discussion briefly and elegantly in a power-packed auditorium of Jawahar Bhawan, New Delhi which was attended by several top journalists, intellectuals, academicians and social activists. 

Apoorvanand, a prominent writer and professor at the Hindi Department of the University of Delhi moderated the panel discussion.

Book: Hindu Rashtra

Author: Ashutosh

Publication: Context, an imprint of Westland Publications

Price: Rs 599

Pages: 329

(Onkareshwar Pandey, Editor in Chief & CEO - Indian Observer Post, is a former Senior Group Editor- Rashtriya Sahara (Hindi & Urdu) and also former Editor - News, ANI. http://bit.ly/2mh7hih).

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