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Hindu Nationalism in India and the Politics of Fear

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Hindu Nationalism in India and the Politics of Fear

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Dibyesh Anand

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HINDU NATIONALISM IN INDIA AND THE POLITICS OF FEAR

Copyright © Dibyesh Anand, 2011. All rights reserved. First published in 2011 by PALGRAVE MACMILLAN® in the United States – a division of St. Martin’s Press LLC, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. Where this book is distributed in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world, this is by Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited, registered in England, company number 785998, of Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS. Palgrave Macmillan is the global academic imprint of the above companies and has companies and representatives throughout the world. Palgrave® and Macmillan® are registered trademarks in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and other countries. ISBN 978–0–230–60385–1 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Anand, Dibyesh. Hindu nationalism in India and the politics of fear / Dibyesh Anand p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 978–0–230–60385–1 (alk. paper) 1. India—Politics and government—1977– 2. Hindus—India—Politics and government. 3. Hindutva. 4. Hinduism and politics—India. 5. Hinduism and state—India. I. Title. DS480.853.A49 2011 320.540954—dc22

2011016913

A catalogue record of the book is available from the British Library. Design by MPS Limited, A Macmillan Company First edition: XXXX 2011 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Printed in the United States of America. The author would like to thank the following for giving the permission to use ideas and sentences published previously as the following: Anand, Dibyesh (2009). “Hindutva: A Schizophrenic Nationalism,” Seminar 601. Available online at http://www.india-seminar.com/2009/601/601_dibyesh_ anand.htm Anand, Dibyesh (2008). “Porno-Nationalism and the Male Subject: An Ethnography of Hindu Nationalist Imagination in India,” in Jane Parpart and Marysia Zalewski (eds.), Rethinking the “Man” Question in International Politics. London: Zed. Anand, Dibyesh (2007). “Gendered Anxieties: Representing Muslim Masculinity as a Danger,” British Journal of Politics and International Relations 9, 2: 257–269. Anand, Dibyesh (2005). “Violence of Security: Hindutva in India,” The Roundtable: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs 94, 379: 201–213. (Reprinted by permission of Routledge, Taylor & Francis Ltd, http://www.informaworld. com)

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To those who struggle for others

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Contents

Acknowledgments

ix

1 2 3 4 5 6

1 19 49 83 97

Hindu Nationalism in India Hindu Nation under Siege Pornosexualising “the Muslim” The Unawakened India Awakening the Hindu Mind and the Hindu Body The Awakened Hindu India—Ayodhya and Gujarat 7 Politics of Fear

123 151

Appendix I: Islam X-Rayed

161

References

175

Index

193

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Acknowledgments

At various stages I thought of giving up this book. What kept me going was the continuing challenge posed by rightwing Hindu nationalists to the very idea and practice of secularism and democracy in India, the encouragement of colleagues, friends, and strangers from different parts of the world who found my ideas interesting, and the discomfort of many “closet� Hindu nationalists who found the same ideas unduly provocative and anti-Hindu. I owe a debt to scholars and intellectuals who have interrogated Hindu nationalism and challenged it for more than a century now. But this antidemocratic and antisecular movement continues unabated and this is the rationale for my intervention here. I benefited in more ways that I can remember from my interactions with scholars and students during seminars at various venues, especially Australian National University (ANU), University of California Berkeley (UCal Berkeley), Cardiff University, the Central University of Hyderabad (CUH), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the National University of Singapore, Oxford University, and the University of Westminster. My stay as a Beatrice M. Bain Affiliated Scholar at UCal Berkeley (2008) and as a Freilich Visiting Fellow at the ANU (2009) were remarkably productive. My gratitude goes to Paola Bacchetta, Freilich Foundation, and The Research School of Humanities at ANU. I also appreciate the opportunities afforded by Jyotirmaya Sharma at CUH and Zoya Hasan at JNU by inviting me as a visiting fellow at their respective institutions. Nitasha Kaul was generous with her encouragement, ideas, and questions.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank Palden Wangchuk for his help with proofreading the manuscript. He performed magic—he made an otherwise tedious task interesting. Finally, and most importantly, thank you to Robyn Curtis and Palgrave Macmillan for your patience and help.

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Query Form Book Title:

Anand

Chapter No:

Prelims Queries and / or remarks

Query No.

Query / remark

Response

No Queries.

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Hindu Nationalism in India

H

indutva (“Hindu-ness,” shorthand for Hindu nationalism) in India is a chauvinist and majoritarian nationalism that conjures up the image of a peaceful Hindu Self vis-à-vis the threatening minority Other. Hindu nationalism normalizes a politics of fear and hatred by representing it as a defensive reaction to the threats supposedly posed by Muslims to the security of the individual Hindus as well as of the Hindu collective. Hindutva is porno-nationalism in its obsessive preoccupation with the predatory sexuality of the putative Muslim figure and the dangers to the integrity of the Hindu bodies. The proponents of Hindutva mobilize and generate negative stereotypes of Islam and Muslims to legitimize violence against actual Muslims living in India. This book investigates myriad ways in which the discourses of culture, insecurity, nationalism, gender, identity, and violence intersect in Hindu nationalism’s reactionary and right-wing politics of fear and imagination. While scholars and commentators have focused on different aspects of Hindutva in India and within the Indian diaspora, there is no other book-length ethnographic study of the centrality of fear, insecurity, and imagination in the Hindu nationalist project. In this opening chapter, I will introduce the phenomenon of Hindu nationalism and its significance for understanding the politics in India, raise ethical dilemmas involved in an ethnographic research of a right-wing movement, and conceptualize Hindutva as a schizophrenic nationalism. This will set the scene for a more detailed discussion in the rest of the book. The

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topic of Hindu nationalism has been approached by scholars, intellectuals, politicians, activists, and ordinary people from many different angles. I do not offer a comprehensive overview of these approaches nor do I claim to provide an exhaustive account of Hindutva. I focus on providing an in-depth analysis of Hindu nationalist politics of fear and imagination. What is Hindu Nationalism? The discourse of Hindu nationalism—Hindutva—is best understood as a collection of eclectic ideas, images, and practices. It is tempting to reject Hindutva as an intellectually bankrupt idea, as a collective fantasy of a few delusional individuals, as an illiberal attack on the secular multiethnic plurality of India, or as a regressive extremist movement based on a problematic and empirically flawed category of the “Hindu nation.” For instance, such rejectionist approaches were evident after the national elections of 2009 with many commentators discussing the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) defeat as a product of, as well as contributing to, the existential crisis within Hindu nationalism. If Hindutva is indeed in crisis, what explains its tenacity and hold over a significant section of Hindus inside India and in the diaspora? Could this be a case of political setback without a serious dent in Hindutva’s cultural project and the long-term vision for a Hindu India? That Hindu nationalism has so far failed to provide a stable basis for an ever-expanding political movement does not challenge its more pernicious project of shaping a Hindu samaj (society) and sanskriti (culture) into existence. Hindu nationalism remains a significant force in the Indian political landscape. Hindu nationalism is embodied within various political and cultural organizations, most of which are branded as being part of the Sangh Parivar (the Sangh family). While the BJP is the main political party associated with the Sangh family, most identify the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS or the Sangh) as the primary ideological source. Other members of the Sangh family include the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal,

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Rashtra Sevika Samiti, Durga Vahini, and so on (see Jaffrelot 2005; Kanungo 2006). Political Hindutva has become especially significant since the 1990s, the decade that saw the end of Indian National Congress’s dominance and the rise of the BJP. But the history of Hindu nationalism in India is as long as that of the mainstream nationalism represented mainly by the Congress (see Jaffrelot 1999; Misra 2004; Zavos 2000). The attitude of many leaders and activists from the supposedly secular Congress toward majoritarian communalism (of which Hindu nationalism is the primary articulation) and communal violence has been ambiguous. As Gould argues about the early twentieth century, “Congress’s close association with forms of secularism that were based on the attractive and acceptable notion of a ‘Hindu’ civilisation and culture broke down any possible taboo surrounding religious mobilization in the locality” (2004: 9). Yet, BJP and its Hindutva ideology are different and distinct from the dominant ideals of the Indian state as secular. Its rhetoric of democracy, rights, and nation is based on a simplistic majoritarian principle and runs along the following lines: since Hindus are the majority in India, it is “natural” and “democratic” that their “rights” should be promoted by the Indian state, which hitherto has been “pseudo-secular,” indulging in the appeasement of the minorities. The Hindutva movement therefore is a “conservative revolution,” combining paternalist and xenophobic discourses with democratic and universalist ones on rights and entitlements (Hansen 1999, 4). Hindutva targets at influencing and controlling the Indian state and suppressing and domesticating the Muslim and Christian minorities. However, the primary goal is to transform the Hindus themselves, to “awaken the Hindu nation” (see Chitkara 2003; Hingle 1999; Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh 2003). There is a schizophrenic shuttling between the idea of a preexisting monolithic Hindu nation and a lamentation that most members of this supposed nation do not fit into Hindutva’s template of an ideal citizen of the Hindu nation. A Hindutva Web site’s call

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illustrates this well: “No Hindu politics is possible unless there is Hindu-Awakening. And that Hindu-Awakening is not yet in sight (‘Hindus!’ n.d.).” Hindutva is as much about representing the Hindu nation as it is about fabricating one. This has been the case throughout the twentieth century (see Noorani 2002). What is different at the start of the twenty-first century is the respectability and influence gained by exponents of Hindutva through participation in the government at the federal level as well as in various states (such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka) allowing them to gain access to the resources of the state. For instance, leaders who were seen as firebrand ideologues during the 1990s have become members of the government, non-Hindutva politicians competed over who is a more authentic Hindu, school children were taught a history where militant Hinduism is normalized and minority religions such as Islam (and as a corollary, Indian Muslims) are alienated, and government employees joined Hindutva organizations. Thus, there has been a visible shift to the Right in Indian politics and the ascendancy of Hindutva forces is its clearest manifestation. However, it is worth noting that the ascendancy of Hindutva is contested and uneven throughout the country, affected by various local, political, and social factors. Approaching Hindutva Hindu nationalism is a majoritarian nationalism that equates India with Hindu society and claims to be a genuine representative of the Hindu majority population in India. Muslims and Christians, as religious minorities, are cast as “foreign” and those whose loyalty to India is suspect. Couching itself in cultural terms, Hindu nationalism is essentially a political movement seeking to purify culture and transform society in India. The capturing of the state is seen as a means to an end, to create a Hindu nation. The Hindu nationalist movement has been extensively studied in the context of its organization, communalism, and relation with the officially secular Indian state (see Basu et al. 1993; Berglund 2004; Brass 2006, 2003, 1997; Brass and Vanaik 2002; Das 1990; Datta 1993; Hansen 1999; Hansen and

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Jaffrelot 2001; Jaffrelot 1999; Kakar 1996; Kaur 2005; Ludden 1996; McGuire and Copland 2007; Nandy 1988; Pandey 1993, 1990; Sarkar 2002; Varshney 2002; Wilkinson 2005). Communalism as an ideology operates at the level of the individual as well as the collective—the identity and interests of individuals are seen as coinciding with that of the collective, the community. In this sense, it is deterministic. For instance, in the case of Hindu-Muslim communalism, every individual is reduced to only a Hindu or only a Muslim—no other identities matter. The determinism of communal discourse dehumanizes the Other and poses it as a danger to the security of the Self. Paul Brass’s discussion of the Hindu communal discourse (1997, 2003, 2004, 2006) is instructive as a starting point. According to him (in Shah 2004), there are four central elements of the discourse that define Hindu-Muslim relations: historicization (rendering history as one of antagonism, invasion, separatism); memorialization (calling attention to signs of “maleficent Muslim presence” such as mosques, enclaves branded as “miniPakistans,” institutions such as the Aligarh Muslim University); demonization (of the Muslims); and body symbolism (the conflict between Hindus and Muslims as involving dismemberment and vivisection of the Hindu body by Muslims). What the nationalist narratives (both secular and communal) in India often ignore is their subscription to the Orientalist understandings of Hinduism. “Deriving largely from the orientalist construction of Hinduism, emergent national consciousness appropriated this definition of Hinduism as well as what is regarded as the heritage of Hindu culture” (Thapar 1989, 229). Nationalist histories (especially Hindu nationalist ones) borrow heavily from Orientalist scholarship that saw Indian Muslims primarily in terms of foreignness as well as stereotypes such as monolithic, fanatic, et cetera (Metcalf 1995, 955–956). In the contemporary times, while Hindu nationalists rally against “foreign influences” and make claims to authenticity, “through the colonially established apparatus of the political, economic, and educational institutions of India, contemporary Indian self-awareness remains deeply influenced by Western presuppositions about the nature of Indian culture” (King 1999, 117).

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Hindutva shares the neo-Orientalist belief in the primordial naturalness of Hindu-Muslim violence in India (most Western media tend to report it as “historic clash”). Like many other scholars, I reject this belief and argue that “riots” (spectacular incidents of intercommunal collective violence) are not a direct product of communalism (where communities are bounded, historical, and fixed). Instead, I adopt a social constructionist position that sees “communal” riots as exercises in the construction of communities through definition (of what is the Self and what is the Other), mobilization (of the “Self ”), and purification (erasure of commonalities). Communalism is not merely a reflection of a preexisting community but the will to create a bounded community (see Pandey 1990). In this work, I have relied mostly upon two types of primary sources, verbal and written. The first includes personal conversations and interviews with Hindutva leaders and activists and observation of Hindu nationalist events and sites. This resulted from ethnographic research conducted in Ayodhya, Hardwar, Delhi, Mumbai, Nagpur, and Ahmedabad in the winter of 2004–2005. The second source is the writings of Hindutva intellectuals available in various forms including books, pamphlets, tracts, posters, training manuals, online articles, Web sites, discussion lists, and speeches. Some of these printed materials were available through RSS shops in Delhi and Nagpur, others were meant for circulation within the small circle of sympathizers and certainly not for public consumption. The online articles are available to everyone, though some of the key Web sites I used have gone off-line. The use of secondary sources, including existing academic scholarship, is kept to a minimum since the purpose here is to identify and analyze how (and not why) a particular form of nationalism makes sense of the world through a specific use of politics, representation, fear, and imagination. Ethics of Scholarship I analyze Hindu nationalism as a collective political movement, usually a forte of social sciences, using an ethnographic

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approach (see also Bacchetta 2004; Banerjee 2005; Brosius 2005; Hansen 1999). Traditional social scientific frameworks tend to ignore the self-understanding of the political actors themselves and privilege their own explanatory authority. The focus is usually on the political, economic, and social factors behind the rise of Hindu nationalism as a political movement and the ways in which it transforms the wider state-society relations in India. In this kind of analysis, the self-understanding of the Hindu nationalists themselves is underemphasized; the poetics and politics of their imaginations usually ignored. But the choice of ethnography as a method is not without its own problems. In my case, it forced me to confront my own politics of scholarship: how do I conduct fieldwork among actors who indulge in politics I completely disagree with? Should I express my disgust and lose the opportunity to gather ethnographic material? How do we conduct ethnographic research with activists who are in the regular business of dehumanizing a significant section of humanity? When someone glorifies rape or murder, do we challenge him and thus give away the valuable opportunity to get an insight into how they justify it to themselves? Do we laugh at pejorative jokes about Muslim female anatomy and thus get more research material, or do we express our disgust and terminate our research? The moral and ethical dilemmas posed by the ethnographic part of my research remain unresolved. My feminist scholarship implies that I must confront real as well as epistemic violence played out in my name, even if it means being a traitor to my identity categories—gender, caste, religious, and nationalist. Betrayal is a virtue when one’s subjectivity is privileged. My “Hindu, Brahmin, male” identity allowed the Hindutva leaders and activists, especially in small towns, to see me as an insider and, therefore, a potential sympathizer. It led to often intimate conversations with male Hindutva leaders and activists, which provided valuable resource for this ethnography of the imagination. On the other hand, similar identity categories were a hindrance when dealing with women activists. I often went along with the activists’ reading of me during my ethnographic research in 2004–2005 as a natural sympathizer due to my perceived social identity as a Brahmin, Hindu, middle-class

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male, because it allowed me to gain insights into the imaginative politics of Hindu nationalist male activists. However, the tension between my role as a researcher interested mostly in gathering research materials and as a human being who sees majoritarian/masculinist nationalism as a grave danger to societies shaped my pursuit. During ethnographic fieldwork, I privileged the former through an adoption of curiosity and silence while always aware that this divide between researcherhuman being is spurious and problematic. Conscience was a casualty as I listened to activists often boasting about raping Muslim women or joking about Muslim sexuality or moral depravity. I was indeed interested in sexualized jokes and sextalks as ethnographic sites. My silence was read as complicity by most of the Hindu activists with whom I interacted, even though they knew I was a researcher. The academic writing that followed my research also sought to impose its own discipline. For instance, one reviewer advised me to use neutral language and not be one-sided in my critique of Hindu nationalism for an excessive politicization detracts from the objectivity of the work. However, I confess here that I am not neutral and I remain committed to providing a scholarly critique of Hindu nationalism that is in the final instance a political critique. Here, in the tradition of feminist and postcolonial writings, I have pushed the boundaries of academic writing to avoid a depoliticization of my subject and subjectivity. I do not endeavor to provide an authoritative overview of Hindu nationalism, nor a survey of the rich body of scholarship that already exists. I am very much present in my writing about a political movement that legitimizes itself in my name, in the name of my identities. How does the author ensure that the reader can make a clear distinction between her views and those of extremists she is analyzing? The author could use scare quotes or emphasis or he could use qualifying words to maintain a distance between himself and those he is studying. To prevent a disruption of the flow of argument, I keep the use of scare quotes, qualifying words such as “supposedly,” “according to Hindu nationalists,” “in the view of Hindutva,” and so on to a minimum. Writing is a tricky exercise, especially so when one is describing an

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extremist worldview. My own position is clear—a disagreement with everything Hindu nationalists say, and thus, when readers come across a sentence or a phrase that may be read as prejudicial, they should assume that I am describing the Hindu nationalist viewpoint. For instance, if a sentence reads as “Muslims and Christians are disloyal to India” or “Minorities pose a serious threat to the Hindu nation” even without any qualifier such as “according to Hindutva ideologues” or “in the view of Hindu nationalist activists,” readers must understand that the qualifier is implied. If I highlight the problematic ways in which words, phrases, and terms are used by Hindutva in each and every sentence, it will make the writing tedious and filled with qualifiers. I also put the onus upon the readers to appreciate irony or sarcasm that may be implied in my sentences, especially when I am giving a pen picture of Hindu nationalist views. A Schizophrenic Nationalism Hindutva is a schizophrenic nationalism (for a discussion of nationalism and schizophrenia in a different context, see Kane 2007). One that brings together politics of imagination, insecurity, cultural transformation, and social mobilization in a manner that generates violence and fear while at the same time allows for the myth of tolerant Hindus to go unchallenged. I do not imply that individual Hindu nationalists suffer from a pathological disorder or that no other nationalism is schizophrenic. I have no intention of dehumanizing individuals suffering from schizophrenia; I merely use a layperson’s idea of the disorder to analyze a collective phenomenon. In fact all nationalist movements are to a variable extent based on contradictions, delusions, fantasies, and fragmentations. Hindutva is akin to majoritarian nationalisms (such as Han chauvinism in China, Hutu supremacy in Rwanda, white supremacism in the United States., neo-Nazism and antiSemitism in many central and eastern European countries, radical Islamism in Egypt, or extremist Zionism in Israel) that combine a cultural hubris with political anxiety about

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the presence of minorities in the body politic. A better understanding of Hindu nationalism may come from a comparative approach but in this book the focus is exclusively on Hindutva’s schizophrenic Self. If Hindu nationalism had been an individual, it would have been classified as exhibiting an abnormality, one that may be amenable to treatment. But it is not an individual; it is an idea for a collective movement. Curing Hindutva of its paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions will dissolve the rationale for its existence. To put it simply, Hindutva’s schizophrenia is productive of its identity; without it, Hindu nationalism is a dead proposition. There are many consistent identifiable patterns in the discourse of Hindu nationalism. Yet beneath the illusion of consistency there is a selective amnesia of several contradictions that populate the Hindutva worldview. Here I highlight a few of these contradictions and fantasies that provide meaning to the majoritarian nationalism of Hindutva. I will expand them in the subsequent chapters. The contradictions are as much a source of weakness as of strength. They militate against a coherent large-scale political movement. But, they also enable a flexibility, fungibility, and ambiguity for extremist, parochial, and illiberal ethos of Hindutva to pass itself off as moderate, universalist, and enlightened. The primary contradiction is to do with a “Hindu nation.” What makes Hindutva different from any other nationalism in India? It is the accent on Hindu. Unlike the mainstream Gandhi-Nehru-Congress civic nationalism, which asserted its legitimacy in the name of all the residents of India irrespective of their religious affiliation, Hindutva’s legitimacy is its ethnoreligious claim (see Jaffrelot 1999) to speak for the majority Hindu religious community. Their raison d’être for the idea of Hindutva is the privileging of the putative Hindu community in the territory of India. The way Hindu gets defined is unclear. RSS and other Hindu nationalist leaders claim to present an open-minded flexible notion of Hindu and Hindutva, which is about culture and way of life rather than about a specific religion. For instance, the

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RSS leader K. S. Sudarshan says, “Anyone who is the national of this country, irrespective of being a Shaiva, Shakta, Vaishnava, Sikh, Jain, Muslim, Christian, Paris, Buddhist or Jew by way of his creed or mode of worship, is a Hindu” (in Seshadri et al. 1990). Hindutva is assumed to imply an undefinable notion of Indianization and is thus non-confessional. RSS and other Hindu nationalists often make use of a few Supreme Court judgments to bolster their stance that Hindutva is not equal to religious fundamentalism. The Supreme Court pronounced in 1990s to the effect that Hindutva or Hinduism “per se and in an abstract sense—which are related more to the way of life of people in the sub-continent than to the narrow limits of the religion—cannot be assumed to mean and be equated with narrow fundamentalist religious bigotry” (in “Hindutva Not a Narrow concept” 1995; for a critical discussion see Nauriya 1996; Sen 2007). However, I would like to point out that when Hindu nationalists adopt the statements of the Supreme Court judges to validate their position, they do so very selectively. The (in)famous 1995 judgment given by Justice Verma had said that “unless the context of a speech indicates a contrary meaning or use, in the abstract these terms [Hindu/Hindutva] are indicative more of a way of life of the Indian people and are not confined merely to describe the persons practicing the Hindu religion as a faith” and that “the kind of the use made of the word ‘Hindutva,’ the context and the composition of the audience to which the speech is addressed are all significant” (in “Hindutva Not a Narrow Concept” 1995). The Hindu nationalists interpret it as a victory of their notion of Hindutva as non-communal and almost always ignore the parts of the judgment that dealt with the specificity of context and use of “Hindutva.” For instance, in an RSS tract Clean Answers to Confused Questions, the SC judgment is adapted to make a claim that “Hindutva has been looked upon as nationalism. It should be considered a contempt for the decision of the Supreme Court to accuse Hindutva of communalism or of hostility towards other religions” (RSS n.d.: 1). Further in the same tract that claims that Hindutva is committed to the ideology of Hinduism “Let all people be happy” (RSS n.d.: 6), religious conversions are

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rejected because a “person born in India forgets his ancestors and becomes a part of aggressors after his conversion” (7), and “the frequent partitions of India prove that the regions where Hindus are reduced to minority start agitating for separation. A united Hindu society is the only way to an integrated India” (8). If Hindu nationalists are sincere about Hindu or Hindutva being a cultural nationalism for all Indians and not a preserve of any religion, surely what specific religion people belong to should not be a matter of concern. But it is—there is a visible tension between a generous notion of Hindu (as a way of life in India that is pluralistic, culturally nationalistic, and not confined to the Hindu religion) and the more common narrow notion of Hindu (non-Muslim, non-Christian, Hindu religionists). The sincerity of those Hindu nationalists who claim the “Hindu” category to be an inclusive and nonreligious one (for instance, the RSS insisting that Hindu for them is anyone who regards Bharat/India as his/her motherland, fatherland, and sacred land) is questionable because the terms of membership into the Hindu/Indian club make sense only within a confessional framework. If “Hindu” is indeed a geographically located national identity and could include Indian Muslims and Christians, why only idolize certain historical figures who had fought Muslim rulers or adopt Bhagwa Dhwaj (saffron flag), which is unmitigatedly confessional, or see only temples as “symbols of national pride” (Bajpai and Barthawal 2001: 26)? While celebrating the ability of the “Hindu” to subsume all (“Hinduism in teachings and practice has always followed pluralism—Oberoi 2001: 12—and, therefore, is open to all faiths), it is clear that the terms on which other religionists will be accepted will be set solely by Hindutva. The RSS’s previous chief K. S. Sudarshan said that Muslims were free to join the RSS but only if they call themselves “Hindu” since Hindu relates to citizenship (“Muslims welcome” 2006). Hindu nationalists imagine the Hindu community as consisting of all castes, subcastes, outcastes along with Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains, all religionists they call “indigenous” except the “foreign religionists” adhering to Islam and Christianity

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(as exemplified in Joshi et al. 2003)—in short everyone except Muslims and Christians. However, in practice, their relationship to Sikhism or Buddhism is also problematic. In contemporary times, Hindutva argues that Hindus are a distinct politicocultural nation, a nation whose numerical majority has not translated into a political majority in post-independence India. This “discrimination” is ascribed to a conspiratorial alliance of Islam, Church, Communists, Secularists, and Westernized media; this is detailed in chapters 2 and 3. Hindutva wants the Hindu nation to acquire its rightful place within India. But where is this Hindu nation? While Hindu nationalism claims to represent the Hindu nation, Hindu nationalists also lament the absence of a united Hindu collective. Hindu nationalist political consciousness has never been hegemonic among Hindus in India. A close analysis of the writings of Hindutva leaders and ideologues shows that while Sanatana Dharma is used as the umbrella term and (mis)quotes from non-Hindutva leaders including Bhimrao Ambedkar, Sri Aurobindo, or Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi are selectively scavenged upon to make a case against Muslims and Christians, Hindu nationalism’s main grudge is against Hindus themselves for not being united. Hindutva suffers from melancholia and hence has a low self-esteem (Miller 1996). The exhortation of Hindutva ideologues is for the Hindus to “awaken,” “arise,” recognize the enemies, vote for pro-Hindu parties to punish anti-Hindu secularists and those who betray their earlier promises of being pro-Hindutva, organize as a votebank, and remind the ungrateful Muslim and Christian minorities who the “real” (awakened Hindu nationalist) Hindus are. The Hindu nation does not exist as a conscious corporate body, and a Hindu nationalist seeks to create one. In this sense, while claiming to be a mere representation of the preexisting nation, Hindutva’s main emphasis is on creating this imaginary nation. This process of representation-creation is intimately connected with the question of Self-Other, something that will be discussed in detail in later chapters. Hindu nationalism is a celebration and affirmation of the Hindu Self, but it derives its meaning only from a negation

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of the minority Others and their allies (the communists, secularists, and Westernized elite). The Hindu Self is represented as a self-evident category of identity that has existed for millennia. The naturalization of this modern Hindu Self underemphasizes the historical and political processes through which it has been created since the late nineteenth century starting with the Revivalist movements and the beginning of religious categories–based enumeration through Census (see Datta 1993; Dayal 2004; DeVotta 2002; Jones 1981; Rajalakshmi 2004; Rao 2010). Going against the mainstream Indian nationalist movement, Hindu nationalism in the twentieth century sought to present the Hindu Self as the Indian Self, rendering non-Hindu Indians as untrustworthy Other, anti-Hindu, and invariably anti-Indian. It should be noted that Hindutva seeks to create a unified Hindu samaj not by removing hierarchies nor by redressing the historical and contemporary injustices suffered by many Hindus but by shifting the blame for all ills onto the “foreign” Other. Everything that is wrong within Hinduism is a product of a society perverted through a series of foreign invasions mostly by Muslim rulers. Dalits and indigenous people (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as identified in the Indian Constitution) are appropriated within the Hindu fold through the mode of assimilation without addressing the actually existing injustices or demands (on Hindutva’s caste politics, see Ganguly 2005; Jaffrelot 1998; Maclean 1999; Omvedt 2006; Narayan 2009). Reform of Hinduism is touted only as a tool to counter the possible appeal of Islam or Christianity for the hitherto unprivileged and oppressed Hindus. There is no evidence of a genuine desire to make Hindu religion and practices progressive. By creating the specter of the dangerous Other, inimical foreigners within the rightful homeland of the indigenous Hindu body politic, Hindutva seeks to brush under the carpet, though not very successfully, the tensions existing within the category “Hindu.” The story of the Hindu Self is thus a story of non-Hindu/antiHindu Other (on the history of this, see Sharma 2003). Despite the halfhearted claims made by some Hindu nationalists in the

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BJP that Hindutva is not anti-Muslim or anti-Christian but is universalist so long as Muslims and Christians accept to live on the terms set by Hindutva, even a cursory examination of the philosophy and ideology of all strands of Hindu nationalism shows that representation of religious minorities (Muslims and Christians) as inimical, foreign, anti-Hindu and, therefore, antiIndia is an obsession for many. The Hindu samaj, sanskriti, and sabhyata (society, culture, and civilization) are under siege from Islam and Christianity—this is not a nightmare but a waking reality according to Hindutva. Deploying various stereotypes, it represents the minorities, especially Muslims, as waging a war against Hindu India. The extremely diverse Indian Muslims are reduced to a singular stereotyped identity—“the Muslim”—and invested with a belligerence and fanaticism that individual Muslims cannot escape. Hindu nationalists may differ among themselves over the root of this supposed Muslim fanaticism—moderates in the BJP or RSS may blame some Muslims for disloyalty and terrorism without mentioning Islam or Prophet Muhammad. But many Hindu nationalists from the Sangh Parivar, especially the VHP, Bajrang Dal, and even the RSS (RSS in practice if not always in words), do not shy away from rejecting Islam in its entirety as the enemy. Treating all Muslims with the same Islamophobic brush, Hindutva plays a game of fear with many strands—Islam by its very nature is fundamentalist (the idea of moderate Muslims is an oxymoron); the history of Muslim rule in India is nothing but a catalogue of crimes of violence, plunder, and rape of Hindus; Muslims are solely responsible for the partition of Akhanda Bharat (united India) and those Muslims who stayed back in India did so because they were not satisfied with a separate Pakistan but desired the Islamization of the whole of India; Muslims, with the active backing of Pakistani and Gulf money, are waging a continuous war against Hindu India. Terrorism, violence, genocide of Kashmiri Hindus, conversion, illegal infiltration by Bangladeshi Muslims, seduction and rape of innocent Hindu girls, and overpopulation are all conjured up as weapons used by the traitorous Muslims to overwhelm Hindus in India. Christians are said to collude

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in this war by seducing poor Hindus into conversion and by encouraging separatism in the north eastern regions. By stereotyping Muslim and Christian minorities as the irredeemable anti-Hindu, anti-India Other, Hindu nationalism generates a politics of fear. This process of essentializing and stereotyping antagonistic identities (Self versus Other) is central to the Hindu nationalist project; a benign and pluralist imagination of minorities on equal terms will take the wind out of the sails of Hindutva. Poetics and politics of fear are instrumental in explaining away the use of violence by Hindu nationalism as an avoidable reaction. Violence is central to an understanding of Hindutva. It plays a dual role as it is the rationale for, as well as the product of, Hindu nationalism. Hindu nationalists frequently indulge in violence and yet it is the Muslims who are blamed for all violence. All acts of anti-minority violence are sought to be legitimized by ascribing them to just reactions and hurt sentiments of the long suppressed, unusually patient Hindu society. In this way, the sufferings of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 and Christians in Orissa in 2008 are seen not as the results of a conscious pogrom or a well-planned hate attack; rather, they are claimed to be the regrettable but justifiable and understandable reactions of the awakened Hindu community. The state is absolved of all responsibility: after all, what can it do when it is the entire Hindu society that lashes out in hurt caused by an arrogant expansionary minority? Thus, in the Hindu nationalist view, complicity of politicians, police, activists, and the general populace are all bracketed under the rubric of an aroused Hindu nation. This performs an important function of explaining away individual responsibilities and state complicity. If it is the abstract Hindu nation that has reacted to the originary violence of expansionary minorities, how does one begin pinpointing responsibility for the violence? Numerous, well-documented, acts of anti-minority violence committed in the name of Hindutva do not disrupt the self-understanding of Hindu nationalists where they see themselves as the wronged party.

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As we will see in this book, contradictions, splits, fantasies, and paranoia continue to be mobilized by Hindu nationalist activists. The schizophrenic Hindutva Self remains a lethal threat to the ideas of democracy, secularism, liberalism, and plurality in India. A Hindu Rashtra, with domesticated unified Hindus and subservient minorities, remains a vision for which millions of Hindu nationalists continue to work.

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Query Form Book Title:

Anand

Chapter No:

Chapter 1 Queries and / or remarks

Query No.

Query / remark

Response

No Queries.

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Hindu Nation under Siege

H

indutva as a majoritarian nationalism presents itself as an awakening of the majority Hindu community to the threats it faces. It seeks to convert the numerical majority of Hindus into a political dominance. Why should Hindus mobilize themselves politically as Hindus? Because if they don’t, according to Hindu nationalist thinking, Hindus will soon be reduced to a minority status in their own land, their country will be lost, their culture and religion destroyed, their entire civilization decimated. According to Hindu nationalists, the threats to Hindu society have not altered radically over time, especially since the beginning of the twentieth century. Islam and Christianity were always the primary enemies, though over time communism, secularism, and occasionally materialism have been added to the list. What is remarkable is a consistency of pattern and a sharing of vocabulary when it comes to assessing the threats to the Hindu body politic. A microscopic approach that, in the name of anthropological detail and capturing the nuances, eschews an overview of the Hindutva thought-world, will fail to notice these consistencies. One needs to have an overview and make generalizations, and this is what this chapter does. Writings and speeches of ideologues are repetitive, the characterization of enemies is formulaic, and even the personal narratives of activists located in geographically distant places have similar motifs. New events and developments are added on as empirical fodder to the ongoing saga of war that Hindus have

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been facing—they merely reconfirm what Hindu nationalists have been screaming from the very beginning. Nothing that Muslims and Christians can do will challenge the Hindutva framework of hostility. Transcending the boundaries of space and time, appropriating incidents that may have occurred in different parts of the world or in different historical periods, Hindutva sees the Hindu nation as under attack from hostile forces. To quote a booklet available from the RSS bookshop in Delhi: Hindus at present are passing through a serious crisis. They are facing the religious, social and political problems and challenges both internally and externally of unprecedented magnitude even in Hindu majority (85%) independent India. On the other hand, the minorities, both Muslims and Christians, are enjoying all possible economic and political patronage and religious advantages much more than the Hindus. (Paliwal 2003: 3)

Across the different shades of extremism or moderation, Hindu nationalists see the Hindu nation as equivalent to India. There is no aspect of Indian nationalism that can be credited to nonHindus. Non-Hindus can occupy the position of a marginal guest of the Indian/Hindu nation forever grateful to the Hindus for their magnanimous hospitality or be the disloyal subjects of the Indian state doomed to be outside the Indian nationhood. At best, individual non-Hindus could, in theory, go against their own religionists and prove their loyalty to India. But most of the time, they will remain peripheral or a hurdle to the national project. Combing through leaflets, speeches, books, and online sources produced by different Hindutva personalities and organizations, let me give a general picture of the Hindu nation under siege from internal and external hostile forces. The disproportionate focus here is on Islam and Muslims because they are represented as the enemy number one. As a saying among Hindutva sympathizers goes, “pehle kasai, phir isai” (first the butcher—pejorative term for Muslims—and then the Christians). On rare occasions, Christianity is seen as equal or a greater threat. For instance, an ideologue writer Paliwal reminds

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his readers that in independent India, “the tactics, strategies and modes of operation of the christian missionaries have been more subtle, cunning, fraudulent, and indirectly of far reaching consequences than that of the Muslims” (2003: 31). There are two ways in which one could approach the representations of threats to India/the Hindu nation—identifying the hostile forces posing the threat (Muslims, the Church, communists, secularism, Westernized media) or outlining the different threats posed by these hostile forces (terrorism, conversion, demographic challenge, antinationalism, secessionism, denigration of Hindu symbols, and so on). I combine the two and analyze the primary ways in which representations render certain people, communities, ideas, and actors as hostile to the Hindu nation. Here the focus will be on Islam and Christianity, and the next chapter will examine in greater detail the sexual politics of representing Muslims as enemy. Chapter 4 will briefly outline the different ways in which Hindutva portrays the Hindu society as suffering not only from outside attacks but also made weak due to internal weaknesses and thus necessitating a reawakening. A Calculated Conspiracy Hindu nationalist narrative always starts with a positive view of the Hindus before they were depraved by outside influences and then goes on to catalogue historical and contemporary legacies of the corrupt forces. This is typified in Goel’s booklet Hindu Society Under Siege (n.d.; originally published in 1981). Soon after the opening sentence, “Hindu society is the only significant society in the world today which presents a continuity of cultural existence and functioning since time immemorial,” Goel launches into why even after India’s independence in 1947, Hindus remain unfavored in their own country: The Muslim and British invasions of India, though defeated and dispersed, have yet managed to crystallize certain residues— psychological and intellectual—which a battered Hindu society is finding it very difficult to digest. These residues are now in active alliance with powerful international forces, and are being

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aided and abetted on a scale which an impoverished Hindu society cannot match. And, lastly, although at loggerheads amongst themselves, these residues have forged a united front, which is holding Hindu society under siege. The danger is as much from within as from without. (Goel n. d.b, emphases original)

Thus, the threats posed by Islam and Christianity are not mere accidental products of incompatibility of religions, according to the Hindu nationalists. The irrationality of these foreign religions and their Indian followers is part of a well-planned conspiracy to overwhelm Hindus. According to Goel (n.d.b), Islamism has “evolved a strategy in which the Muslims of India are envisaged as a base and an arsenal” and these strategies include brainwashing all Muslims and denouncing those individual Muslims who may criticize Islam or stand for “the mainstream of India nationalism”; contriving to “pass off as a downtrodden minority, oppressed, exploited and treated as second class citizens by the ‘brute’ Hindu majority”; ganging up as a vote bank; agitating for India’s support to all international Islamic causes; staging “street riots on the slightest pretext”; using the frequent riots to further frighten Muslims and coax them to live in exclusive conclaves, which can then be used to stock arms and ammunition. A corollary to this seven-fold strategy is the conscious efforts of Islamism to “frustrate the emergence of a genuine and positive Indian nationalism by always harping on India’s multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-language, multi-national and multi-cultural character” (Goel n.d.b). Thus, Hindutva goes against the dominant framing of Indian nationalism as “unity in diversity.” While paying lip service to tolerance, Hindutva actors often articulate their frustrations with plurality in India. In private, a number of activists express their preference for the RSS’s monochromatic saffron flag (representing Hindu religion) over the Indian national tricolor. Bhasin’s tract (n.d), which has been banned by the provincial government of Maharashtra after complaints from Muslim community groups, claims that the Muslims within India after 1947 have recommended a plan of action for all Muslims in India to use the following 10 methods

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for immediate implementation: 1. Convert Hindus by every means to embrace Islam. 2. By polygamy. God himself divinely allows you this. 3. By thwarting any family planning programme. 4. Infiltrate into India from all directions to grow fast as servants of Allaha. 5. Form Muslim majority geo-political areas within India. 6. Force Mass expulsion of Hindus when they come close to being a religious minority. 7. Jehad is the duty of every Muslim. Be Allaha’s own soldiers to fight & kill those who oppose his diction as said in Qur’an. 8. Let no nonbeliever dare settle where you have come into close majority. 9. Abduct women of Hindus to breed out of them your children. Hindu abducted woman are delivered to you as MALE GANIMAT [booty]. 10. Attack the foundation of Hindu culture in India, their temples and their books. They will then automatically follow Allaha’s ordainment and convert to ISLAM. Know thus, that India is under attack of ISLAM.

This tract leaves no room for doubt about categories of identity or the intention of the actors. “Muslims within India after 1947 have recommended a plan of action”—how did millions of Muslims, divided along caste, regional, class, ideological, and linguistic lines living throughout the length and breadth of the vast country come up with “a plan of action” was not a question worth pondering for Bhasin (n.d.). For Bhasin, as for all Hindu nationalists, all Muslims act as a herd, as a single corporate body. Diversity of Muslim lives is papered over as an artificial homogenized identity of Indian Muslims is created. For Hindutva, the lethality of siege comes from the conspiratorial combination of forces of Islam and Church, support provided to them by communists and secularists, and finally lack of resistance from the ignorant, misguided, Westernized/decultured, disunited Hindus. The “United Front of Hostile Forces,” according to Goel, work together in India because: They have chosen to feed upon different limbs of the large-sized Hindu society. Christianism is busy amongst Hindu “tribals” whom Hindu society had always left undisturbed. Islamism is on the prowl amongst the Harijans whom a power-hungry leadership is fast preparing for political blackmail. Communism is spreading its tentacles amongst the upper and middle classes whom it parades as its “proletarian base.” (Goel n.d.b.)

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The tensions between Christians and Muslims in many parts of the world are not lost to the ideologues; but the emphasis is laid on the Church and Islam suspending their competition in India. According to Paliwal, both are working hand in hand to annihilate the Hindus and Hindu Dharma first, and probably, later on, they will settle scores between themselves (2003: 16). Hindutva writers do not care to explain how the disparate forces come together or through what institutions or personalities they coordinate to put their supposed plan into action. Finding Allies Sometimes Hindutva portrays the problems faced by Hindus as a local manifestation of a global crisis. This is done mostly in the case of globalized Islamic fundamentalism. A contextualized understanding of Political Islam or Islamic fundamentalism in different parts of the world is eschewed in favor of a simplistic picture—Global Jihad against non-Muslims. Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilization” thesis (Huntington 1993) was referred to innumerable times by my Hindutva respondents as confirming what they already knew. That Muslims are responsible for violence in different parts of the world is almost common sense for the subscribers of Hindu nationalism. For instance, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, the head of the Ram temple movement in Ayodhya, in a personal conversation said, “Muslims are anti-nationalists in India, in the UK, in the Netherlands, everywhere” (Personal Interview 2005e). Dr Ram Vilas Vedanti, an outspoken senior sadhu and two-time member of Indian Parliament with the BJP (1996–1998 and 1998–1999), made a clear statement to me, “The United States has launched a war on Muslims. We will join them” (Vedanti 2005). The image, therefore, is of Muslims as the problem par excellence in the world and Hindus as one of the many victims. Hindu nationalist activists in the United States, for instance, often sympathize with Israel and the West for being victims of a common enemy. But this desire to work with rightwing Jewish Zionists, Christian Zionists, and Islamophobic commentators is a phenomenon confined mostly to the

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United States. Notwithstanding recent overtures made by the RSS and its publications to praise India-Israel cooperation, Hindu nationalists in India, especially those who are active in transforming the society and often not directly involved with BJP politics, have no such strong well-thought plan to create a wide coalition against Muslims because Jews are not part of the picture. Hindu Exceptionalism A narcissistic nationalist will by definition be preoccupied with an inflated sense of the Self. For Hindu nationalism, the dangers faced by the Hindu Self—Self can be the individual as well as the community—is uniquely multifaceted and vicious. Many Hindu nationalists lament the exceptional danger faced by India. Some point out that China and India are the only historical civilizations that have so far survived the onslaught of Semitic religions; others argue that India is uniquely under pressure either because the Chinese have adopted an egalitarian principle of keeping all religions suppressed (Personal Interview 2005e) or because they are communist (the implication is that this has compromised China’s link with its own past), or because China is opening up to the Church. There was a general lack of knowledge about China among the Hindutva activists I conversed with. In Ashok Singhal’s view as exemplified in a pamphlet distributed at a gathering of sadhus in Hardwar in 2005, China has opened itself to Christian missionaries after its alliance with the United States, and now “India is the only country in the world that is still combating the armies of Church and Islam” (n.d.). The world geography of most Hindu nationalist activists within India is thus quite narrow and distorted—the focus is on three major entities of Hindu India, Islamic world, and the West (Christian world). For instance, during a conversation with a few Bajrang Dal activists outside a gathering of VHP leaders in Hardwar in 2005, a middle-aged man, who refused to give his name, explained to a captive audience that “three types of people shape international politics—Christians who have guns but prefer to spread by preaching, Muslims who are happy to

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use violence to expand, and the Hindus who are peaceful and thus remain powerless despite their cultural superiority.” Such a simplistic and reductionist view of international politics does not imply ignorance or stupidity of Hindu nationalist individuals but their priority. Preoccupied with giving their Hindutva gloss to life at the local and the national level, international events are brought into the picture only to confirm their preexisting view. Evidence that complicate the culturalist viewpoint of Hindutva or that show Muslims or Christians as not predatory are always ignored. China is occasionally added to the list of major players (Hindu, Islam, and Christian West) by some Hindu nationalists, but there is only a scant reference to a Buddhist world in East Asia and no place for Africa or Native America ravaged by the Western colonial Christianity. There is no sustained attempt to understand civilizations and cultures other than that of Hindu India. According to Champat Rai, a man who had been actively involved in the destruction of Babri mosque in Ayodhya in 1992 and has become the Organizing Secretary of VHP recently, “We have nothing to learn from others since their values have not stood the test of time for more than a few hundred years” (Personal Interview 2005f). Such narcissistic view of the Hindu Self feeds into the discourse of vulnerability and asserts the need to defend this precious Self from the enemies. Defining the Boundary Nationalism and boundary making is intimately linked. Who belongs to the national community, who does not belong to it, where to draw the boundary of the nation—these questions are often more vexed than the drawing up of boundaries of states. While states’ borders have legal and territorial identity (this is not to deny the constructed and contested nature of the borders), a nation’s identity is more complicated to define. The people inhabiting a nation can be subject to ambiguous, messy, shifting, and contested notions of nationalism. Different nationalist movements will have their own ideas of who is part of the national Self and who will remain outside it.

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In the case of Hindu nationalism, it is interesting to note the discursive placing of Muslims and Christians both inside as well as outside. In much of the writings, Islam and Christianity are rejected as imperialistic and foreign while Indian Muslims and Christians (the majority of whom have converted from some form of Hindu religion at some point in history) are seen as enemies within the country. Occasionally, some Hindutva ideologues will use this distinction between the alien religions and indigenous converts to emphasize that they are not antiMuslim but merely anti-Islam; that their politics are informed by disagreement with an ideology rather than with people. For instance, according to a pamphlet, “Indian Muslims are descendants of . . . victims of Islamic imperialism. They are culturally and anthropologically very much Indian. Due to the imposed alien Arab ideology of Islam, their loyalties lie with the pan-Islamic issues, as they do not know the cruel history of the forced conversion of their ancestors”(Krishnaswami n.d.: 18). Such a statement can deceive one into believing that Hindutva may offer a space to Indian Muslims or Christians within a Hinduized body politic so long as they give up their foreign ideology. It is not surprising then that Hindu nationalist leaders parrot the line of “we are not anti-minority, we are pro-Hindu and anti-minoritism.” The claim of Hindu nationalism to be inclusive is spurious, for how can Indian Muslims or Christians give up their “foreign,” “imperialistic” religion, short of apostasy? They are not exhorted to experiment with more indigenous forms of Islam or Christianity nor to moderate their religious practices. The entire gamut of religious beliefs is rejected in toto as foreign. Too much significance should not be given to the claims of Hindutva ideologues to distinguish between bad religion and not-bad followers of the religion. The image of Indian converts as victims of fear, greed, and duplicity is not only patronizing and ahistorical, it also shifts the attention away from the politics of making this distinction. It allows Hindu nationalists to express hatred of certain religions on ideological grounds while at the same time excusing themselves of accusations of hatred against minorities in India. In fact, a close study of how Hindu

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nationalist ideas are put into practice, or what the ideologues making this distinction go on to say elsewhere in their writings, or how activists see their enemies, shows that Hindutva is fuelled by a suspicion and hatred of Islam as well as Muslims, of Christianity as well as Christians. Adopting a systematic scientific garb, Joshi et al. (2003) provide a study of religious demography of India and focus on heterogeneity introduced by “foreign religionists” (Muslims and Christians), and not foreign religions, in India. This study becomes important because it gets quoted and cross-referred to by several pamphlets and online discussions as a “scientific proof ” of the decline of Hindus in India and the Foreword was written by Lal Krishna Advani, the Home Minister of India at the time of book’s release. In his foreword Advani does not use the words Islam, Muslim, Christianity, or Christians but leaves no doubt what his implication is: For more than a millennium now, India has been host to some of the greatest, most vigourous and expansive religions of the world. This circumstance has endowed India with a rich diversity; but it has also given rise to some of the most acute strategic, political and administrative problems that the Indian nation has had to face in the past and continues to face till today. Rigourous and continuous observation and analysis of the changing demography of different religious groups in various regions of the country is therefore of paramount importance in maintaining the integrity of our borders and peace, harmony and public order within the country. (in Joshi et al. 2003: 4)

This quote illustrates the facile nature of distinction drawn between the “foreign religions” and “foreign religionists.” Both are seen as expansionary and security threats to the Hindu nation. Accent on the Enemy Within Hostile ideologies confront Hindu nation and Hindu society mainly through their followers—the so-called “foreign

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religionists,” the Muslims and Christians, as well as “foreign” ideas of communism, secularism, and Westernization. Ashok Singhal in his speech to the VHP’s Dharma Sansad (“Religious Parliament,” an event VHP periodically organizes to bring together religious as well as Hindutva figures) in December 2005 put the spotlight on the unholy alliance of internal and external enemies of India and Hindu nation—Muslims are backed by the rich Gulf states; Christians get support from Europe and the United States; communists, who are Hindus but have rejected Hindu dharma, are financed by China; secularist, opportunist Hindus who align with caste-based parties and destroy Hindu culture for selfish reasons, are backed by all the anti-India and anti-Hindu forces (Singhal 2005). That nationalisms operate through a conception of the Self and the Other is well accepted. For Hindutva, the most dangerous Others are within the Indian society, living among the Hindu population, and thereby weakening the Hindu national body. They live within but remain without loyalty to it. The dual positionality of Muslim and Christian minorities in Hindutva worldview makes them the most lethal enemies, more so than even the foreign actors (the Western or Islamic world) they are accused of working for. Nationalist movements, especially in their formation stages, invest plenty of energy in defining the Self by distinguishing it from the foreign Other. Anticolonial nationalisms reject the colonizers as foreign and hence illegitimate rulers. For example, for the mainstream Indian National Congress’s version of Indian nationalism, British rulers (not their ideas, religion, or the British people per se) were the alien Other. It is worth noting that for Hindutva the main enemy has never been the British, but the Muslims and sometimes the Church. The moment of departure for Hindu nationalism is not the consolidation of European rule in India in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but the invasions by Muslim rulers starting with Mahmud of Ghazni in the early eleventh century. British imperial rule is rendered as just another episode in the long campaign of onslaught waged by foreign religionists on the Hindu society. Reference to the British as inimical is

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conspicuous by its absence within all the writings, speeches, and conversations I have analyzed. The main fault of the British was that they introduced Christian missionaries, though some writers go on to praise the British officials for not giving a free hand to the missionaries. For instance, Goel while putting forward his thesis of Hindus under siege, for the first time in 1981, points out that Christian crusaders never acquired the foothold that Islam did in India because the British rulers did not allow them to “use state power, directly and in an uninhibited manner” maybe because they had undergone a “Renaissance” (I assume he means Reformation) and a decline of religion in Europe (Goel n.d.b.). This reservation of primary antipathy for distant historical Muslim rule (pre-eighteenth century) vis-á-vis the more recent British rule should not surprise a historian of Hindu nationalism. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, too, Hindu nationalists focused on combating Muslims more than challenging the British. Contemporary Hindu nationalists often moan that the partition of India was a tragic vivisection of “Mother India,” a cutting of her limbs and some even hope for Akhanda Bharat (undivided India that will include present-day Pakistan as well as Bangladesh; for a discussion on Akhanda Hindustan during the British colonial rule, see Bhagavan 2008). But when one scratches under the surface, it is clear that the fantasy is not so much a recovery of undivided Hindu India as it is of purifying the present day India of its “foreign religionists.” The fantasy is not of expansion but of expulsion. Paliwal expresses this when he writes that Hindus and Muslims are two different nations and “the non-exchange of Hindu-Muslim population [India insisted on being home to all religious groups] was a more serious blunder even than the partition of India itself ” (2003: 19). Though Pakistan is often brought into the discussion as an enemy, the focus remains on Indian Muslims. In fact, the construction of Pakistan (and not Islam) as the archenemy of India is seen by Hindutva as a ploy of secularists to distract people’s attention. According to Krishnaswami (n.d.: 30), it is a “mean trick” of the pseudo-secularists to “blame Pakistan but insulate and absolve the Islam from any charges of terrorist crimes . . . ‘Pakistan is bad

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but Islam is good’ is a media sponsored fraud.” This move to shift the battle from a specific neighboring state to a global religion of Islam does not indicate an appetite to fight Muslims everywhere but a desire to contain Muslims living within India. During the VHP’s Dharma Sansad of December 2005, I heard many sadhus, saints, and ideologues sloganeering as if they aimed to conquer Islam everywhere (one story I was told was that beneath the Kaaba in Mecca is a Shiva linga and once a Hindu pours water from the Holy river Ganges there, the Kaaba will be destroyed and Muslims defeated). However, when it came to serious discussions on how to further their goals, the focus was always on the immediate enemy—the Indian Muslims and Christians. Historicization of the Present: Cataloguing Crime In the Hindutva worldview, the challenge from Islam is not new, but part of a centuries-long struggle. Hindu-Muslim relations are read in terms of historical continuity where present-day Muslim minorities carry on waging the war that their predecessors had started. The idea of nation is taken as perennial and primordial. Though Christianity’s history in India is more recent in comparison to Islam’s, the former’s theology, too, is represented as violent. In the words of Paliwal, “History of Christianity and Islam is full of bloodshed, barbarism, massacre and genocide of innocent people of other faiths . . . mainly due to the concept of prophetism, revelational methodology, and prophecies” (2003: 15). History is thus reduced to a clash of distinct and antagonistic religious cultures. In fact, Hindu nationalist history is ahistorical— contexts are unimportant in the larger perpetual war of religions. Islam or Christianity or Hinduism remain unchanging beasts. History is fodder for Hindu nationalists; it allows them to situate their contemporary demands and desires as an inevitable product of historical animosity suffered by Hindus in the face of foreign invasions. Muslims pose a threat because of Islam; Islam poses a threat today because it has always posed a threat. Negating the actual messy and complicated history of centuries of conflict, cooperation, trade, mysticism, social change, and

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political evolutions, Hindutva focuses almost exclusively on violence as the driver of history. “Is there an existence of a globally well-established ‘Kafir-Jihad’ behaviour pattern throughout the Islamic history?” asks a commonly available pamphlet from RSS shops (Krishnaswami n.d.: 1). It then goes on to answer in the affirmative by delving into the history of Islam and providing a “catalogue of crimes.” The pamphlet narrates a history of Hindu-Muslim historical clash and relies upon selective quotes from Western and Indian scholars. It is worth noting that Hindutva while claiming to protect indigenous knowledge from foreign influences has no qualms in validating its narrative of hate by relying upon Orientalist and right-wing Western commentators. Koenrad Elst (http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org) and Francois Gautier (http://francoisgautier.wordpress.com) are favorites on many Hindutva online forums. The pamphlet of Krishnaswami starts its story of the “Islamic Dark Age” thus, “Since 712 AD parts of India have been under the Islamic theocratic rule, that is almost for 1200 years, in this Islamic dark age Hindus were killed, plundered, taxed, enslaved, raped and sold by foreign Muslim invaders, for whom the Jihad against idolater Hindus was a religious duty dictated by the word of Allah, as stated in Koran” (Krishnaswami n.d.: 6). History of the emergence of Muslims in India is thus rendered as a tragedy, as a festering wound on the otherwise continuous healthy Hindu civilization. History of Islam is nothing but a history of violence. Events (say, Muslim rulers’ patronage of temple building) or people (Mughal Emperor Akbar’s efforts to bring together elements of Islam and other religions in his Din-i-ilahi) or phenomena (such as Sufism) that do not conform to the Hindu nationalist version of History are rejected as secular fallacies, Marxist distortions, or Islamic smokescreens. Centuries of rule by various Muslim dynasties, often competing with each other violently, thousands of instances of Hindu elite collaborating with Muslim rulers; all these are ignored to come up with a simple stark picture of Muslim oppression of Hindus. Any other version of history is rejected as a lie. For instance, many Hindutva Web sites and commentators quote Gautier’s conclusion approvingly—that the collective memory

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of “genocide perpetrated by the Muslims” has been erased in India by the secular establishment to appease minorities (quoted in Krishnaswami n.d.: 14). The threat posed by Christianity to India is no less real for Hindu nationalists (see Chowgule 1999; Desai 1997). Paliwal portrays the history of Christianity as a saga of duplicity and violence, “They came with the Cross in one hand and sword in the other” (2003: 31).The focus here is less on history and more on how Christianity is spreading in recent times. Calling a Spade a Spade: Religion as the Root of Evil “If Muslims give up Koran, they can become Indians,” thundered Dr Vedanti, a Hindu sadhu, in a public gathering on December 6, 2005, celebrating the destruction of Babri mosque. Since the belief in the Qur’an is essential to Islam, according to the likes of Vedanti, a Muslim has to commit apostasy in order to become an Indian. Being secular or agnostic is not enough—individuals have to renounce beliefs that make them Muslim. Hindu extremists often scavenge upon ex-Muslims but are in selective in this—the rationalist, humanist, secular, and/ or liberal motivations of writers like Anwar Shaikh (1994, 1999, 2001) or Hamid Dalwai (1972) in criticizing Islam is ignored; what is emphasized is their critique of Islam only. That a similar critique of Hinduism from a humanist and rationalist perspective will deny the very basis of Hindu nationalism is conveniently forgotten. That fundamentalism or religious extremism can be found in the history and philosophy of all religions is not acknowledged by Hindu nationalists. Hindutva spares Jesus Christ from most of its venom. But it does focus on intolerance implied in monotheism. Why this antipathy to Islam and Prophet Muhammad? This is because for Hindu nationalism the problem lies with original Islam itself, not with its myriad manifestations or (mis)interpretations. We are often told that Muslims are peace-loving people and only the terrorists are misinterpreting Islam, but if we study Islamic theology, we shall know for certain that there is nothing

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called peace-loving Muslim or terrorist Muslim’, rather whoever believes in the Qur’an and hadiths are either real terrorists or potential terrorist and all those people who believe in Islam cherish a single desire in their hearts: destruction of all nonMuslims and Islamising the whole world. (A Board of Experts n.d.)

In the mainstream public discourse in India (as in the West), violence justified in the name of Islam is understood in terms of extremist rather than moderate Islam, as a fundamentalist fringe versus the majority peace-loving Muslims. Except for the extreme Islamophobes, the consensus is to blame Islamic fundamentalism and not Islam per se. Hindu nationalists reject this distinction between moderate and extremist Islam—Islam is nothing but extremism for them. For instance, the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation, claiming to “preserve, protect and advance Hinduism,” exhorts Hindus to protest against Maharastra government’s ban on an anti-Islam tract titled “Islam: A Concept of Political World Invasions by Muslims” (Bhasin n.d.) because the tract is held as exposing “nearly ten centuries of the atrocities of Muslim rule in India and the passages [from Qur’an] that support the terror and violence” (Islam Watch 2008). “Islamism is a self-righteous psychology and a closed cultural attitude which makes it impossible for its converts to coexist peacefully and with dignity with other people” (Goel n.d.b.)—such an attitude toward Islam (for Hindutva, Islam, Islamism, and Islamic fundamentalism are one and the same thing) leaves no room for Muslims to escape the charges of fundamentalism. Therefore, individual Muslims cannot but be fundamentalist and regressive within the Hindutva worldview. Krishnaswami encourages his readers to recognize that any disagreement with the Hindutva view is a sign of the inferiority complex suffered by non-Muslims on account of living under Muslim rule—“Dhimmitude [slavish mentality of second-class non-Muslim citizens of Islamic states and of ‘pseudo-secular’ politicians and media] will never pay, therefore always call a spade a spade” (Krishnaswami n.d.: 28–29).

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Thus, on Islam and Muslims, unlike many contemporary liberal hawks who might say that it is not Islam as a religion that is a problem but perversion or radicalization of the religion by a minority within Islam, Hindutva calls for what it says is an honest assessment of the “Muslim problem.” It blames Islam as a religion for all the ills faced by nonMuslims. Hindutva writings seek to dispel any erroneous notion that it is the perversion of Islam by self-seeking fundamentalism that leads to Islamist violence; according to them Islam is nothing but cruelty and violence. Jaydeep Sen in his pamphlet argues that the Islamic Jihad stands for “slaughter of non-Muslims, loot and arson of the kafirs’ property and rape of their women” and cutting across the national, regional, linguistic, and other forms of diversity, “unique uniformity in the behaviour-pattern of the followers of ‘Allah and His Prophet’ can be explained only by an unbiased analysis of Islam in the light of the Qur’an which forms the Muslim psyche” (Sen 2001: 2). Lest one thinks this is a rant of a single extremist, one only needs to browse through scores of books, information booklets, pamphlets, and leaflets available from shops and establishments run by different components of the Sangh Parivar. Krishnaswami (n.d.: 2) explains in gory details how the “entire Koran is a manual on Jihad” and requests every intellectual to read the Qur’an and dispel themselves from “pseudo-secular propaganda that all religions preach peace and brotherhood” and “cure themselves of Gandhi’s syndrome, the ‘Sarva Dharma Sambhava [all religions are one].’” If only people familiarize themselves with the Qur’an, they will be awakened to the danger posed by today’s Muslims. Hindutva warns against trusting anything Muslims say or do because of the legacy of the Qur’an. For instance, expanding on what he claims to be the Islamic doctrine of permanent war, Sen warns against trusting any Muslims’ peace offering because “it is strictly prohibited for a Muslim to befriend a non-believer or make peace with him except temporarily, when it is in the interest of Muslims”(2001: 7). Islam and peace therefore cannot go together, in the Hindutva worldview.

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A favorite tactic of some Hindu nationalist intellectuals is to selectively pick up, translate, and highlight those ayats that discuss how to wage wars against the infidels and thus to make it clear to the reader that the religion they are dealing with is backward, vicious, irredeemable, and a dangerous enemy. Krishnaswami (n.d.: 19–25) argues that Islam divides into three incompatible and hostile parts:space (Dar-ul-Islam where Sharia rules and Dar-ul-Harb where Kaffirs live), time (Jahiliya, the age of ignorance; and Ilm, the age of illumination), and mankind (Muslims and Kaffirs). Again, it ignores the rich debate about the meaning of verses or concepts that has taken place within Islam across the globe (see Armstrong 2006; Bakhtiar 2007; Barlas 2002; Dawood 1956; Khalidi 2008; McAuliffe 2006; Muir 1988; Pickthall 1930; Ramadan 2007; Rustomji 2007; Sachedina 2006; Saeed 2008). That words and verses should be interpreted within the context or that they acquire a very different meaning if read on their own or that meanings can get lost or gained in the process of translation from Arabic—none of these matter for Hindu nationalism. According to Hindu nationalists, Islam’s “problem” emerges from the revelation (Qur’an) as well as the person to whom it was revealed—Prophet Muhammad. During my research, Hindu nationalists did not criticize Allah—in fact, they often presented themselves as magnanimous enough to include Allah as one of the many gods, if only Muslims were willing to accept this—but the Prophet. They reject as a secular or Marxist conspiracy, the historical body of scholarship that situates violence or temple destruction during the Muslim rule within non-religious socio-politico-economic practices of the time. Violence against non-Muslims stems from the Prophet and the origin of Islam itself. Anwar Shaikh, quoted extensively by Hindu nationalists, argues that the reason Muslims destroyed Hindu temples was “psychological, whose roots go back into the ambitions [Dominance Urge] of the Prophet Muhammad himself ” (2001: 1). Prophet Muhammad is represented as uniquely ambitious and ruthless in his pursuit of power and the whole of Islam and Islamic history of more than a millennium is subsumed under this representation. According

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to Shaikh, “Islam is essentially the cult of Muhammad-worship” and the Prophet’s megalomania is so great that instead of him worshiping Allah, “in Islam, both angels and Allah worship Muhammad by praying peace to him!” (Shaikh 2001: 11). Shaikh claims to recuperate God from the Prophet and says that the Muslims “had no quarrel with India on account of a Universal God. Their dispute centred around Muhammad who declared that faith, without believing in him along with Allah, was useless” (Shaikh 2001: 20). Such analysis of the Prophet and Islam is taken up by Hindutva as revealing the true face of their enemy. It performs two moves at the same time—it rejects all cross-cultural or interfaith dialogue with Muslims as useless and it asserts the supremacy of the more tolerant Hinduism. In the war of religions, Islam is doomed to be intolerant and violent. Fanaticism and Violence “Muslims are by instinct kattar (fanatic),” “kattarwadi Mohammedan” (fanatic Muslim)—the notion that Muslims are fanatic is part and parcel of Hindu nationalism. Their fanaticism is held to flow out of their religion, history, and politics. Following Elst and other conservative historians, Sen passes judgment on Muslim rule in India without making a single exception—it has been “the bloodiest epoch in her [India’s] annals, and grossly devoid of humanity—the worst suffering mankind ever experienced anywhere” (2001: 12). Such a reading of Muslim history in India, an Islamophobic interpretation of global events, and a shared intimate “commonsensical knowledge” work together to equate Islam, Muslims, fanaticism, and violence. Vedanti (2005) proclaimed in a public gathering, “Is desh mein terrorism ka jad musalman, videsh mein terrorism ka jad musalman, jab tak musalman nahin samapta hoga, terrorism nahin khatma hoga” (“Muslims are the root of terrorism in this country, Muslims are the root of terrorism in the foreign countries; until Muslims are not erased, terrorism will not end”). This equation of terrorism with Muslims is widespread

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in Hindutva. Not only do Hindu nationalists blame the terror attacks committed by self-identified Islamists on all Muslims, they also see all political and resistance movements waged by Muslims everywhere as terrorism. “Muslim terrorism” is the only lens through which struggles (such as in Kashmir, Palestine, Chechnya, Xinjiang, Philippines, or elsewhere) are perceived. The debate, historical as well as contemporary, around the concept of Jihad and its association with multiple ways of striving is ignored, and the only meaning of Jihad for Hindutva is religiously sanctioned violence against nonMuslims. Paliwal argues that Muslims in India wage Jihad against Hindus and secularist state because Jihad “is the main mechanism of Islam and a mandatory religious duty of every Muslim to fight against the Kafirs to change Dar ul Harb into Dar ul Islam” (Paliwal 2003: 21). Rather than critically approach the concept of Jihad through a scholarly engagement, Hindutva ideologues focus on using selective translated quotes from Islamic texts in a revelatory mode. The revelatory mode of narrating Islamic doctrines allows the Hindu nationalists to hide their own ideologies and present their prejudices as the truth about Muslims. In Ayodhya’s Kar Sewak Puram area, Hindu nationalists have a prototype of a grand temple they envisage to build on the disputed Babri Mosque-Ram Janmabhumi site. During my visit there in December 2005, I found no explicit symbolism that could link the site of the prototype temple with Hindu nationalism. There was an exception—in a corner of the main hall, a leaflet in Hindi was available for devotees and visitors to take away with them. The leaflet did not make a case for Ram temple as one may have expected given that the location was Ayodhya and the date was December 6 when Hindu nationalists celebrate the mosque’s destruction. The leaflet authored by Anand Shankar Pandya (a diamond exporter based in Mumbai; he is often described as a leading freedom fighter and writer on the Internet) in Hindi titled Atankwadka Bharat par aakraman (Terrorism’s Attack on India) opens with a typical Hindutva line: “In the absence of unity, the supremely wise, strong, and prosperous Hindu society has today become the world’s most oppressed, poor, and humiliated,” and goes on to

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provide a catalogue of terrorist crimes committed by Muslims against Hindus (Pandya n.d.). The leaflet, with benign pictures of Lord Rama and an imaginary temple, is far from benign and polite in its text. It reveals, in graphic description, violence allegedly perpetrated by Muslims: “In Doda in Jammu, Hindu children were killed and their meat shoved inside the mouth of their father and mother. In Pakistan and Bangladesh, Hindu women have been paraded naked on streets and suffered gang rape” (Pandya n.d.). Lest the reader thinks this is a fantasy or a story, the leaflet has the following sentence written in red ink, “Every word of this essay is true. You must read it for the security of yourself and your country.” Thus, it is important to understand that extremist and prejudiced statements and views of Hindu nationalists do not stem from a misunderstanding of reality but are very labored and conscious attempts to shape the truth for the wider society. The main message they give out about Muslims is that they are violent, unreliable, and hence a threat to personal as well as national security. Hindu nationalists when presenting Muslims as a threat, appeal to individual Hindu’s sense of identity (belonging to a collective Hindu society and nation) as well as personal security (so that individuals realize that the threat is not only to the collective but also to them or their family). After ascribing Islam’s historical spread to violence—Krishnaswami argues that Muhammad succeeded by “recruiting desperadoes from all over Arabia through lure of loot & free sex and bloodlust” (Krishnaswami n.d.: 27)—Hindutva reminds contemporary Hindus that their property, women, and survival are at stake in this violent war being waged by Muslims on innocent Hindus. Disloyalty Muslims are not only rejected as fanatics, but also as traitors. Their loyalty is said to reside elsewhere. Praveen Togadia, a senior VHP leader, writes in a foreword of an anti-Islamic book (Bhasin n.d.): “Even in the present India, I for one strongly apprehend that at least if not 100%, a great percentage

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of Muslims continue to owe extra territorial loyalties to Arab land than to India. In the event of any military conflict between India and Pakistan, a large number of Indian Muslims may be expected to aid Pakistan than India.” Togadia’s polemic does not provide any evidence or the rationale behind equating the putative loyalty of Indian Muslims to Arab land and to Pakistan, for Pakistan is not a part of the Arab world. In a public gathering, Sadhvi Prachi, a Hindutva sadhvi (ascetic), expressed her anguish with the Muslim traitors, by reciting a verse from Mirza Ghalib: Dil ke phaphole jaluthe seene se Mere ghar mein aag lag gayi ghar ke chiraag se Barbad chaman ko karne mein jab ek ullu kafi hai Anjaam e gulistaan kya hoga har shaakh pe ullu baitha hai (The blistered heart burns in my chest My home set afire by the lamp within To destroy a garden, an owl would suffice What hope then for a place abloom, where owls are perched on every branch)

The rapturous audience or the speaker herself did not see any irony in the use of a Muslim poet’s words from a very different context to denounce the present day Muslims. “Indian Muslims do not see themselves as Indians; their allegiance is to Babur and Aurangzeb and not to Bharat mata [Mother India],” lectured a Hindu sadhu to me (Personal Interview 2005h). A common abuse for Muslims in India is that they are “Babar ki aulad” (“children of Babur”). Muslimdominated regions are “mini-Pakistan,” Indian Muslims support Pakistan during cricket matches, they are a fifth column, their loyalty is doubtful, many of them work for the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI—Pakistan’s intelligence agency)—such notions of distrust are common among Hindutva activists. The political struggle waged by Kashmiri Muslims—internally divided along different ideologies, personalities, and interests, some secular, some confessional, some nationalist, some Islamist, and some opportunist—is rejected as the strongest evidence of Muslim disloyalty toward India. A perceived over-representation of

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Muslim gang leaders, especially in the Mumbai underworld, has fed into the criminalization of Muslims. “Jis thali main khaate hai, usi main ched karte hai” (“they dig hole in the plate from which they eat”)—this common Hindi saying was often repeated by my respondents to signify the treachery of Muslims. Disloyalty of minority religious communities is represented as not only against the Indian state but also against Hindu/Indian culture. Hindutva is upset by the fact that Indian Muslims adopt Arabized or Persian names or take up causes common to Muslims across geographical regions or Christians look to European culture as the norm. Conversion is seen as a rejection and humiliation of Hindu civilization. Paliwal quotes, out of context from a book by a Benedictine monk who lived in India as a sannyasi, Bede Griffiths, to argue that Christians are a problem because they are made to reject their “Indianness.” Griffiths’s discussion about the practice of early Portuguese Christian missionaries many centuries ago is presented by Paliwal as if it is about the contemporary situation: [The new converts] were given Portuguese names [the first significant move toward spreading Christianity in modern India took place under the Portuguese rule in Goa] (which they retain to this day) and compelled to adopt European habits of food and clothing, which meant that they became “outcastes” [sic] to the Hindus. Not only were all the forms of religion, liturgy, theology and devotional customs of a rigidly Western pattern, but also the external forms, churches, statues, paintings and music, were faithful copies of western models. (Griffiths, misspelt as Griffith, quoted in Paliwal 2003: 33)

Here we see the “foreign” elements adopted by Indian converts to be a sore point for Hindu nationalists. Do they offer Indianization of foreign religions as the solution then? No. Further in the same booklet (as in many other tracts written by other authors), it is the Indianization of Christianity—for example, adoption by missionaries of Hindu-style ashrams and temples with idols of Jesus and Mary, using incense and chants—that is seen as a greater danger and as “a fraud which should be exposed” (Paliwal 2003: 43).

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One could assess Indianization of Christianity as a healthy development, as religion responding to the needs of the context, as sacred being brought closer to the people. But Hindutva does no such thing. Christians in India have no way of escaping Hindutva rhetorical attacks. If they adopt “foreign” Christian names or cultural practices, they are accused of rejecting their Indian heritage; if they indigenize Christianity, instead of being praised for adapting their religion into the Indian context, they are attacked for using smokescreens and fooling people. Goel attacks the following as a conspiratorial strategy—“Hinduising the outer accoutrements of Christian priests, liturgy and sacraments in order to convince the Hindus that Christianity is not an imported creed, and that Christianism is not out to corrode Hindu culture” (Goel n.d.b.). Hindu nationalism finds the Indianization (and even quasi-Hinduization) threatening because it challenges the neat picture of Muslims and Christians as foreign to the Hindu body politic. The issue of trust comes up again and again in the discussions. A Hindutva pamphleteer claims to have used a record in the India Office Library (“Mss-2397”) of a British officer from the First World War to narrate an incident after which “the British never deployed the Hindu and the Muslim soldiers of the British Indian Army on the same front.” In this supposed incident in Crimea, Muslim soldiers “stationed behind the Hindu soldiers, shot them at the back and killed many” because they did not “want to fight the Turks who were on the side of the Germans and who were holding Crimea” (Sen 2001: 42). I have failed to find any material to corroborate this statement given as historical evidence by this ideologue. Either Sen has got hold of a historical document missed out by all serious historians or he is making this up. The diatribe in this pamphlet (Sen 2001) comes from a liberal plagiarizing of other Hindutva writings, all of which warn against threatening minorities/foreign religionists. This threat is represented as active and not passive, as expansionary and not localized. Goel reminds his readers that “Hindu society has to realize that Christianity and Islam are not religions but political ideologies inspired by imperialist ambitions. These ideologies came

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to India as accomplices of Islamic and Western armies,” (Goel n.d.a) and the story of origin of these religious ideologies is tied into the story of their spread in India. Expansionary Impulse of Semitic Religions: Conversion Ashok Singhal in a pamphlet tells everyone, “Contemporary Pakistan and Bangladesh are unfortunate examples of India partitioned on account of religious conversions . . . Today India’s North Eastern region has come under Church’s control” (Singhal n.d.: 2). Muslims have no option but to expand their religion—expansionism is at the core of Islam, according to Hindutva ideologues. That there is a well-thought, vigorously executed strategy of Muslims to Islamize India is beyond the realm of debate for Hindu nationalists. This Islamization is supposed to occur through calculated demographic growth and through Jihad. Overpopulation imagery will be discussed later in the next chapter. Jihad, as we saw earlier, according to Hindutva is nothing but violence; it is to “wage a relentless religio-political war against the infidels . . . and their government to Islamize the rest of India and establish here Nizam Mustafa—the rule of the Prophet” (Paliwal 2003: 21). What propel Muslims in their “jihadi expansionism” are religious ordinances, carnal gratification, and booty, and this mode of expansionism is not only condoned by Islam but also held as a great virtue, claims Sen (2001: 9–10). Such statements are meant to remind Hindus that they should not be relaxed about the numerical minority status of Muslims or Christians since the Semitic religions of Islam and Christianity have expansionism as well as monotheism as their central pillars. Gandhi’s “sarva dharma samabhava” (equal treatment of all religions) is rejected as self-defeating by Hindu nationalists. Following in the footsteps of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Shuddhi (Purification) movement, contemporary Hindu nationalists coax and pressurize Indian converts to Christianity and Islam, especially the recent ones or those held as practising the “incomplete” form of any religion. They are encouraged to “purify” and come “back” to the Hindu fold.

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Hindutva sees this as a legitimate reaction to counter the missionary impulse of Islam and Christianity. Instances of nonMuslims, especially white Westerners, adopting Hindu practices are praised as validation of the greatness of Hinduism. However, conversion from Hinduism into Islam or Christianity is held as a wound. Agency is denied to the Indian converts in this game of conversion and reconversion. Their decision to convert is ascribed to their innocence, stupidity, cowardliness, greed, or opportunism; never to a conscious well-intentioned search for a faith that provides better meaning in this world or afterlife. This is obvious from Goel’s rant, “No lie was vile enough in the service of Christian ‘truth.’” No fraud was foul enough in the service of Christian ‘virtue’” (Goel n.d.b.) or Paliwal’s assessment that the target of Christian organizations is mostly “tribals, poor and gullible” (Paliwal 2003: 33). For Hindu nationalists, Indian converts into Christianity have no independent will except being greedy for rewards offered by missionaries. Hindutva has appropriated the term “crypto Christians” to suit its own worldview. Ignoring the original implication of crypto Christianity as involving secrecy and camouflaging to escape persecution and death, Hindu nationalists use it to designate opportunism and self-interest. To Hindu nationalists, crypto Christians are those Dalits and tribals who have recently converted into Christianity or Islam but hidden this fact so that they continue benefiting from state-provided affirmative action programs for low-caste Hindus. “Six crore crypto Christians today retain Hindu name and Hindu caste to enjoy luxuries by snatching it away from Hindu dalits” (Singhal n.d.: 15). While Hindu nationalists in private conversations often reject affirmative action for marginalized castes as divisive and anti-Hindu, Singhal has no qualms in criticizing Christianized Dalits and tribals for taking away from the limited pie hitherto available for Hindu Dalits and tribals. In case any person believes that religious conversion is no big deal, Singhal has this warning: “With conversion India’s geography will remain intact but its nationhood, dignity and culture won’t. After religious conversions here the temples

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won’t remain places of worship but mere museums” (Singhal n.d.: 3–4). National Insecurity Hindu nationalists argue that Muslims encourage separatism in several places, including Kashmir, while Christianity adds fuel to anti-India insurgency in the North East. Conversion is a hot topical issue in many states of India, but nowhere as much as in the northeastern states for here it is projected as a national security concern. In fact, the dominant threat posed by Christianity according to Hindu nationalists is conversion in this politically sensitive region. The mass conversion in northeastern states of India is seen as the most dangerous for that maps onto anti-India insurgencies taking place there. Again, no room is available to analyze if these insurgencies are fuelled by political, economic, and historic grievances and demands that have nothing to do with religion. Rebels are portrayed as ungrateful antinationalists, an increasing number of which are subscribing to the foreign religion of Christianity. Church and insurgency are perceived through the same lens. Another example of Hindutva scavenging on a manufactured panic can be seen with regard to “Operation Topac.” A quick online search will give an impression that Operation Topac is the name of an actual conspiracy plan hatched by Pakistan’s General Zia ul Haq in 1988 to Islamize Kashmir and break India up; this plan was leaked and published first in the Indian Defence Review in 1989. However, this is a false story. Serious doubts have been raised about the veracity of this plan (see Dittmer 2004: 12; Schofield 2003: 141). It was only a hypothetical military exercise. While the journal that had published it the first time, Indian Defence Review, now accepts that it had “war-gamed and published in July 1989 the anticipated course of action by Pakistan in Kashmir under the title OP TOPAC” (“OP TOPAC: The Kashmir Imbroglio” 2007), the official Web site of the Indian armed forces continued to present it as a fact, at least until 2009 (http://armedforces.nic. in/airforce/afkargil/pakistaninkargil.htm—this site no longer

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works but can be accessed through the online tool of wayback machine—http://www.archive.org/web/web.php). This mythical operation, however, was referred to as tangible proof of Pakistan’s nefarious intentions by a number of my Hindutva respondents. While this “plan” had been picked up by mainstream media and defense commentators who are not directly connected to Hindutva (Chadha 2005: 123), Hindu nationalists have allowed their fantasy to run wild with it. “Operation Topac” is presented as an example of Pakistan’s “proxy war” strategy by defense analysts in India. For Hindu nationalists, the “game” aspect of the “war game” is dropped conveniently and the focus shifts from Pakistan’s proxy war in Kashmir to the balkanization of India. For them “Operation Topac” is the evil of Islam at its purest—spreading the virus throughout the country starting with the only Muslim-majority state of India. From a specific operation to take over Kashmir, it became one to Islamize Kashmir, and then very soon to Islamize various parts of the Indian territory and balkanize the country. Hindu nationalists added layers to this story. For instance, Paliwal quotes a person named Nawabzada Nabiullah Khan from a Baluchi magazine of 1999,—“The ultimate aim of Operation Topac is to make India a million pieces so that it is easy for Pakistan to swallow India once [sic] piece at a time”(Paliwal 2003: 2). This Islamist man goes on to give his wish list for Islamizing India: “Our vision is to make the entire India, 100% Muslim Nation . . . When you make an unequivocal statement that only Muslim are voters and declare that India is Islamic Republic, then automatically the people will become Muslims” (quoted in Paliwal 2003: 23). A search on the Web to verify the source takes us only to Hindutva Web sites that use the name Nawabzada Nabiullah Khan (see Hindu Voice 2002). I could not find any other source to verify whether this man exists or has been fabricated by Hindu nationalists. Hindu nationalism is, therefore, a discourse of anxiety that stems from the fear of dangers posed by dangerous minorities. The politics of fear and danger is multifaceted as actually

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existing religious minorities are represented in specific ways. For the Hindu nationalists, it is the Muslims who are seen as the primary source of threat to their project of creating a Hindu India. The title of a Hindu nationalist pamphlet encapsulates Hindutva’s paranoia—Vishwawyapi Muslim Samasya (“The Global Muslim Problem,” Madhok 2003).

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Query Form Book Title:

Anand

Chapter No:

Chapter 2 Queries and / or remarks

Query No.

Query / remark

Response

No Queries.

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Pornosexualising “The Muslim”

W

hile the “Muslim terrorist” is constructed as a grave threat to the national security of India as well as to the personal security of Hindus by the Hindu nationalists, this is not the biggest danger. In the long term, what is seen as even more lethal to the existence of the Hindu nation is the specter of “overpopulating Muslims.” Islam is said to pose a threat to Hindus not only through tools of fear, but also through attraction. Muslims seduce the Hindus through propaganda, lies, money, and the promise of a better life. To repeat my disclaimer—I do not imply that Muslims seduce Hindus or have launched demographic warfare. I am identifying and critically analyzing stereotypes marshalled within Hindu nationalism and for the sake of uninterrupted flow, I avoid peppering the text with “according to Hindutva” or “in the Hindu nationalist view”; but these qualifiers are implied in all Islamophobic statements here. Another warning is about language—impolite quotations from hate-filled pamphlets or lascivious views from Hindutva activists are being used. Without quoting them, the offensive strand of Hindu extremism cannot be identified or challenged. A key plan of Muslims, according to Hindutva ideologues, is to “allure, attract and abduct young Hindu girls for marriage to the Muslims” (Paliwal 2003: 24). Statements such as this reveal what Hindu nationalism sees as the primary

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enemy—a certain stereotype of vile and virile Muslim masculinity. Fear, disgust, and desire work together in creating the image of “the Muslim,” a stereotyped Muslim hypersexual masculine figure that performs the function of the constitutive Other against which the new Hindu (read Hindutva) Self is called for. In this chapter, I will first identify and critique the “overpopulation threat” and then examine the pornosexual explanation of this threat as provided by Hindu nationalist activists and ideologues. In a pamphlet, Krishnaswami reminds his readers that the Muslims are said to have proclaimed after 1947 that “Hans ke liya hai Pakistan, Lad ke lenge Hindustan” (“Taking of Pakistan was like a child’s play, we will now fight and take India”) and they are implementing the slogan by: (a) Conducting Information war: i.e. Buying out writers, journalists and film makers and placing them strategically inside the print, cinema and electronic media so that “kafirs” can be brain-washed and duped into believing that Islam is a religion of peace. (b) Launching Demographic war: Seducing and marrying Hindu girls and displaying them as proud jihad trophies i.e., jihad through “love”; rejecting population control measures, and encouraging infiltration in order to reduce the majority of “Kafirs” into the minority of “dhimmis.” (c) Organizing proxy war: i.e. spreading terror so that they can bleed the Hindu society and nation through thousand cuts. (Krishnaswami n.d.: 41; emphases added)

During my fieldwork, conversations about “the Muslim” almost always turned into what I would call pornonationalism. While the public aspect of Hindutva discourse is consciously asexualized, “the Muslim” has a conspicuous dimension of pornosexuality for the ordinary young Hindu male activists. Using jokes, slogans, gossip, public speeches, and pamphlets as ethnographic resources, this chapter will chart the framing of the “overpopulating Muslim” as the gravest threat to India. The sexual dimension of the Hindutva

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discourse is relevant not only as ethnographic curiosity but is politically salient too. A narrative common among Hindutva intellectuals, leaders, and activists across the country was that of a conscious Muslim ploy to seduce “innocent” Hindu girls. The imagination of the Muslim as a hypersexualized overpopulating Other allows Hindutva to frame itself as a defensive legitimate reaction. The Mother of All Conspiracies: Demographic Warfare For Hindu nationalism, violence, religious conversion, and illegal infiltration are three of the four main tools deployed by Islam and Christianity to defeat Hindus and take over India. Illegal infiltration by Bangladeshi Muslims is presented as an important way in which India is being swamped. It is difficult to estimate the veracity of different figures on illegal Bangladeshis in India; but this uncertainty has offered even greater space for Hindu nationalists to whip up hysteria. By assigning the vices of illegality, parasitism, disloyalty, and overpopulation to Bangladeshi Muslim migrants, Hindu nationalist discourse adds to their representation as national security threat, especially in the border areas. The movement of Bangladeshis is not seen in terms of flight of the poor to relatively richer areas in search for livelihood; all individual migrants are reduced to being part of a conspiracy to create “Greater Bangladesh” or pockets of “mini-Pakistans.” Singhal reminds his readers of “a vast conspiracy to bring and settle in infiltrators” aided and abetted by secularist political rulers who are either ignorant or complicit (Singhal n.d.: 4). However, illegal infiltration is seen as less of a problem than the fourth and most pernicious mode of expansion— conscious overpopulation. The Hindutva propaganda machinery is obsessed with the idea of a demographic conspiracy being waged against Hindu India, especially by Muslims. According to a 2001 census, of the total population in India, 80.5 percent were Hindu, 13.4 percent Muslim, 2.4 percent Christian, 1.8 percent Sikh, 0.8 percent Buddhists, 0.4 percent Jains, 0.6 percent other religions and persuasions, and 0.1 percent religion

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not stated (Census of India 2001). In 1951, the first Census of independent India, the Hindu share was 84.9 percent, Muslim 9.9 percent. This rise of the Muslim population from 9.9 percent to 13.4 percent in 60 years is seen by Hindutva as part of a demographic warfare in which the enemy is increasing its numbers consistently. This warfare is seen as a product of high fertility sanctioned by religion, culture, and sexual behavior of Muslims. A pamphlet claims to quote from Thomas Patrick Hume’s Dictionary of Islam on Prophet Muhammad’s view on the desirability of fertility in women: “Men should marry those women who will love their husbands and produce many children. Because I want my people to be more in numbers than others” (Anon. n.d.: 9). It then goes on to use this “quote” to support its case that high population growth of Muslims in India is therefore not a product of socioeconomic backwardness but a religiously sanctioned cultural trait. The fear of demographic siege has a century-long history in India. U. N. Mukherji’s analysis of Hindus as a dying race in 1909, “they count their gains, we calculate our losses” (in Elst 1997) was just the start. Suresh Das, a Hindu nationalist religious leader, explained to an admiring public in his speech in Hardwar in December 2005 that Muslims are not bothered about how to take care of their numerous children. All they want is to increase their number so they can overtake Hindus, control India, and then seize Hindu properties and women: “roti, beti, zameen loot lenge” (“We will loot your food, daughters, and land”) (Das 2005b). Different Hindutva commentators flag up different estimates of when Hindus will lose their majority or when will they have to concede another partition or when will they be decimated. Wild imaginations run riot as critical faculties are suspended and Hindu nationalists scramble to come up with ever more dire nightmarish scenarios. Paliwal cites different studies that predict Muslims attaining the “magic number” of 33 percent plus (the same as when India was partitioned in 1947) in 2151, a non-Hindu majority in India by 2300, decimation of Hindus by 2300, or a Muslim majority by the turn of the twenty-second century and says that one thing is certain, “Hindu population is

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decreasing, and that of Muslims is explosively increasing” (2003: 28–29; emphasis added). Can one rely on these predictions that are so different from each other? Such questions are never asked within the Hindutva worldview. Therefore, Paliwal, who cites different figures in his pamphlet, concludes with his truth, “A regular decline in the Hindu population in any country leads to the annihilation of the Hindus and Hindu dharma. Such a demographic imbalance in the Hindu-Muslim population first leads to minoritization of the Hindus and in India it is likely to take place within next 2–3 decades” (2003: 6). On what basis does he choose to predict two to three decades when all the studies he himself quotes give a date a couple of centuries later? Paliwal is not exceptional in his conjuring up a figure from the air. A close study of most Hindutva commentators reveals that the absence of evidence is never allowed to come in the way of their already formed conclusion about being besieged; the lack of evidence is itself ascribed to the secularist conspiracy. All studies that confirm the prejudices are taken as proof while those that challenge them are rejected as pseudo-secularist conspiracy. In recent years, Hindu nationalists have jumped upon a study of religious demography by Joshi et al. (2003) to bolster their case of demographic warfare. This is the same study mentioned earlier in which the Home Minister of India Lal Krishna Advani had written a foreword. Joshi et al. (2003) claim to provide a “systematic” analysis of religious demography of India, an analysis that then has provided fodder and “scientific” validation to already held prejudices of Hindu nationalists. They distinguish between Islam, Christianity, and the rest collectively termed as “Indian religionists” (including Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, and even Parsis and Jews). On what basis is this distinction of Indian and foreign religionists made? For a study claiming to be systematic, it is significant that no justification is provided for the very basic categories of identity that are being deployed. The tension within the categories and subcategories are ignored. One wonders how to explain the appropriation of Buddhists within “Indian religionists,” ignoring the contempt toward it shown by some Hindu nationalists

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(Champat Rai, a RSS leader I met in Hardwar, pointed out to me that “Buddhists disappeared in eighth century because they were anti,” Personal Interview 2005f). There is a pathological fear of heterogeneity as the infusion of Islam and Christianity is represented as ending an “almost timeless consensus on fundamental civilization principles . . . collectively known by the name of sanatana dharma” (Joshi et al. 2003: 6) that was aided by geographically natural entity and impregnable frontiers. Their main argument is that Indian religionists will become less than 50 percent of the total population just before 2061. The prediction assumes that there will not be any variation in the rate of population growth between 2001 and 2061; that increasing literacy, urbanization, and economic wellbeing will not have an impact on the rate. Without acknowledging it, the study assumes that the demographic trend associated with socioeconomic change that is widely held to be a key determinant in the decline of the rate of population growth, will bypass Indian Muslims. Socioeconomic determinants (could the higher Muslim fertility be ascribed to the fact that more Muslims are illiterate, socioeconomically backward?), regional, and intra-community variations (is the fact that Muslims in South India have lower fertility than both Hindus and Muslims in the more populous and backward North India not significant?), or the absence of a sound scientific basis to link religion and fertility in demography have been ignored in this study by Joshi et al. A close reading of the study thus reveals it to be a polemic rather than a work of scholarship. The reason I mention it here is because of the widespread reliance on it within Hindutva tracts as the authoritative proof of the Hindu nationalist’s case of demographic siege. The most problematic category Joshi et al. use is “India.” They use “India” for the subcontinent comprising present day India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan and “Indian Union” for the state of India. It is interesting how more extremist commentators dispense with this distinction between India and Indian Union and appropriate Joshi et al.’s dubious study to exaggerate the decline of “Indian religionists.” A typical Hindu nationalist

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pamphlet presents as a fact the statement that by the middle of twenty-first century, Indian religionists will be almost 50 percent in India, and this is a reduction from 79.32 in 1901 to 58.5 percent in 2050. (Anon. n.d.). It conveniently forgets to mention that they use “India” for contemporary India along with Pakistan and Bangladesh). Even more stark is the case of deliberate manufacturing of paranoia in Mughalistan (2007). Joshi et al. point out that between 1900 and 1990, the Muslim share in the population of “India” (India-Pakistan-Bangladesh combined) has increased from 22 percent to 30 percent while that of the Hindu has declined from 77 to 68 percent. But Mughalistan (2007) quotes from another article titled “Deathly Demographic Warnings for India” that the “total Muslim population zoomed from 12.5% (1991) to 30.3% (2001) in just 10 years”—they take the rough figure of 1991 for the Indian Union (12.5%) and of 2001 (30.3%) from India-Pakistan-Bangladesh and cry hoarse that Muslims have increased almost threefold in a decade. Such “mistakes” are not accidental but calculated to fool the readers and alarm them. The certainty of demographic decline remains untouched by alternative evidence. Unless the Hindus retaliate in this demographic game, they will be reduced to a minority status—“jis din hindu alpasankyak ho jayenge, Musalman beti, roti, aur makaan loot lenge” (“The day Hindus become a minority, Muslims will plunder our daughters, food, and houses,” Das 2005a; Suresh Das, a charismatic Hindu sadhu, focused obsessively on the loot of Hindu women and property in his two speeches delivered in two different towns 2005a and 2005b). Hindu nationalist leaders as well as activists love to repeat one or the other variation of the following saying:—“Hum do, hamare do [Hindus follow the Indian state family planning model of two child], Hum paanch, hamaare pacchis [Muslim men do not follow the family planning and each have four wives and 25 children].” These slogans can be found online, in private conversations with activists and sympathizers, in public forums and speeches. “‘Hum do hamare do’ slogan is meant only for Hindu society . . . Who will then protect the state and religion?”, asks VHP leader Singhal in a widely circulated tract (Singhal n.d.: 18).

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Fantasy overdrive of Hindu nationalists is best exemplified by a map allegedly proving the demographic conspiracy—the map is a pictorial representation of a plan for “Mughalistan” (also spelled “Mughalstan”), an independent homeland for Muslims in India. I first came across the map printed on the back cover of Paliwal (2003), ascribed to “Mughalstan Research Institute” (MRI) of Jehangir Nagar and then later in greater detail on the Web site Mughalistan (2007). Was this a fiction concocted by Hindu nationalists? Research on this threw interesting light on the fantasy-machinery of Hindutva and let me indulge in it. Original reference to this “plan” was first made not as a warning on Hindutva Web sites, but as a campaign on a Dalit (treated as “outcastes” or untouchables in Hindu caste system) activist Web site, www.dalitstan.org. This Web site has been taken down since the middle of 2006 and was one of the sites blocked by the Indian government as a hate site; it is no longer alive and its retrieval was made possible thanks to http://web. archive.org. The main dalitstan.org Web site was created in May 1999 and disappeared in May 2006 and was a portal for espousing anti-India Dalit nationalism but also acted as a forum for anti-India Christian and Muslim advocacy. Research using web. archive.org shows that the link to a separate section on Muslims (which when alive would have taken the readers to a dedicated site of Hezb-e-Mughalstan, the Party of Mughalstan, http:// web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.dalitstan.org/mughalstan) appeared around June 2000 on the main site and disappeared soon after 9/11. However, a separate page dedicated to Mughalstan remained alive until April 2005. While http://www.dalitstan.org/mughalstan went through changes in its life span from the middle of June 2000 to April 2005 (check http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://dalitstan.org/ mughalstan), it mostly presented itself as a plan to liberate “Mughal Muslims” in India from Anglo-Brahmanical tyranny and as “the Muslim response to Hindu Rashtra.” The tone was defensive. Initially in late 2000, the Web site focused on issues like “Genocide of Mughal-Muslims,” “Mass murder in Kashmir,” Bin Laden’s Jihad for Mughalstan (referring to a journalistic piece from a mainstream magazine India Today, which discussed

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Bin Laden’s antipathy to India and focused primarily on Kashmir and did not mention anything resembling Mughalstan; “We should now target India” 1999), International Mujahideen, warfare guides, and links to sites including a “Mughalstan Research Institute: The academic side of the Struggle for Mughalstan” (MRI) (see http://web.archive.org/web/20000824175046/www. dalitstan.org/mughalstan). The last hyperlink to MRI would take the reader to a “Mughalstan Historical Society” (http://web. archive.org/web/20000818232905/www.freespeech.org/delhi), which did not provide any map or clue to its physical location but merely further hyperlinks to documents denouncing Hindu dark ages, many of them from www.dalitstan.org itself—an interesting example of two different sites operate in a loop and validate their views by referring to each other. However, the link to MRI existed on the Web site very briefly (see the site’s revamping http://web.archive.org/web/20010413040348/www. dalitstan.org/mughalstan/ and this remained the format until the Web site’s death). The main page on Mughalstan witnessed a shift as three maps appeared in 2001 including “Mughalstan Map, Mughalstan Res. Inst., No copyright. 2000,” “Map of Mughalstan by Gulbaz Khan, Pan-Islamic Mughalstan, Lahore, 2000. Copyright 2000. All Rights reserved,” and the most detailed one “Proposal for the Ethnic Partition of South Asia by Jehangir Khan, Mughalistan Research Institute, No copyright. Jehangirnagar, Bengladesh, 2000AD” (see http://web.archive.org/web/20010413040348/ www.dalitstan.org/mughalstan/). The idea for Mughalstan was put forward on an anti-India extremist Web site. It is interesting to note that the idea of Mughalstan represents itself as a response to Hindu nationalism. But Mughalstan here was not a plan but a manifesto that had very few subscribers beyond the original Web site. Very few discussion forums seem to pick it up and in most cases, the overwhelming response was to reject it as a fantasy or lunacy. That was until the Hindu nationalists picked the story, embellished it, and re-presented it. Mughalstan has acquired a new lease of life after the closing down of the www.dalistan.org/mughalstan Web site. This comes not from other Islamists but thanks to

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endless reference to it in Hindutva writings. The adoption by the Hindu nationalists of the “plan” from this purportedly Dalit forum (which saw Muslims and Christians as allies against Brahmanical Hindus, but ignored class and caste inequalities among Muslims and Christians) for their own purpose was highly selective. While references were made in an article in a Hindi newspaper Amar Ujala on October 6, 2001 (see Bhasin n.d.) and pamphlets and leaflets thereafter (Paliwal 2003), the story was reinvigorated after 2007 starting with a reference to it on www.hindujagruti.org (“New Pakistan—Mughalstan” 2007). But now Mughalstan was no longer a manifesto given on an extremist Web site, but represented as a well-thought plan of intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Bangladesh working hand in glove. Note how in the most detailed map, “Proposal for the Ethnic Partition of South Asia by Jehangir Khan, Mughalistan Research Institute, No copyright. Jehangirnagar, Bengladesh, 2000AD” (see http://web.archive.org/web/20060216083650/ www.dalitstan.org/mughalstan/images/sasia.gif) South Asia is mentioned, map’s author’s name and the location of MRI both start with Jehangir (further raising the doubt as to the seriousness of this), and it is not only South Asia but neighboring countries too that are divided (e.g., China into Uighuristan, Tibet, Ngambon, Huistan, Han China, and Mongolia or Afghanistan into Baluchistan, Hazaristan, Daristan, and Badakshan). The manifesto is thus a fantasy of ethnic and not religious enclaves. Muslims in this map are as divided as Hindus. Clearly for the cyber activists behind the original map, the only obsession was Mughalstan spreading from Pakistan to Bangladesh, taking over most of North India. But the same map undergoes small, but significant, transformation when it came to be adapted by Hindu nationalists. The map became one of the “Evil Designs of Destroying India,” the neighboring countries and their subdivisions disappear thus giving the impression that this supposed plan is only for India. As the story circulated, it acquired additional embellishments and further concretization. This comes out most comprehensively on a blog (Mughalistan 2007) where the vagueness of

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previous stories and maps disappear. It is now argued that the map proves that “the comprehensive plan for a second partition of India was first developed by the Mughalstan Research Institute (MRI) of Jahangir Nagar University (Bangladesh).” The use of the name of an actually existing University lends a certain authority to the conspiracy plan. This shift from a laughable manifesto presented on an extremist Web site to a conspiracy hatched allegedly by a Research Institute of an actual University is a product of Hindu nationalist imagination. There is no evidence that MRI ever existed at Jahangir Nagar University—a search on their web site drew a blank, enquiries from scholars from Bangladesh, including alumni from this university, confirm that they have never heard of such an institute ever being there. The sly manner in which Jehangir Nagar was replaced by Jahangir Nagar University on Mughalistan (2007) and many other Hindu extremist Web sites reflects the desire of Hindutva to play up the Islamic threat. This is confirmed by the fact that they underemphasize the origin of the map on a Dalit nationalist platform. Moreover, Hindu nationalist Web sites selectively edit out certain parts from the original articles such as “What is Mughalstan? [A short FAQ on Mughalstan].” Hezb-e-Mughalstan, claiming to be the owner of www.dalitstan.org/mughalstan, did not deny the rationale for Hindu Rashtra (Hindu nation) but argued that in places such as Maharashtra or Gujarat dominated by “IndoAryans,” Hindus would be free to create their own nation. The enemy of that Mughalstan project therefore was the very idea of secular, multiethnic India. Note that it says, “Establishment of a Mughalstan would facilitate rather than hinder the establishment of Hindu Rashtra. In this case, the common enemy are the liberals. Lest we both are annihilated in the multi-cultural cess-pit, let us save ourselves and our heritage.” (http://web. archive.org/web/20010128125300/dalitstan.org/mughalstan/ azad/whatisms.html). Clearly Mughalstan proponents had no serious problems with the Hindu nationalist viewpoint—they were fellow travellers in the sense that both assumed Hindu and Muslim categories to be self-evident, mutually exclusive, and antagonistic. Both saw liberal secularism as the enemy.

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Mughalstan thus is a putative plan to create an undivided Islamic nation by dividing India. To understand what is being discussed and analyze how various facts, fictions, and lies are jumbled together to provide a coherent narrative of doom, it is important to examine samples of the text. I use the text of the “plan” from the Web site http://mughalistan.wordpress.com (Mughalistan 2007, accessed 4 July 2009): Mughalistan (or Mughalstan) is the name of an independent homeland proposed for the Muslims of India. This MughalMuslim state in the Indian subcontinent will include all of North India and Eastern India, and will be formed by merging Pakistan and Bangladesh through a large corridor of land running across the Indo-Gangetic plain, the heartland of India. This Mughalistan corridor will comprise Muslim-majority areas of Northern India and eastern India that will be partitioned for the second time in history. The comprehensive plan for a second partition of India was first developed by the Mughalstan Research Institute (MRI) of Jahangir Nagar University (Bangladesh) under the patronage of the two intelligence agencies, Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and Bangladesh’s Director General of Forces Intelligence, DGFI. The “Mughalistan Research Institute of Bangladesh” has released a map where a Muslim corridor named “Mughalistan” connects Pakistan and Bangladesh via India. The Pakistani Punjabi-dominated ISI’s influence on the MRI is evident even in the Punjabi-centric pronunciation of the word “Mughalstan” (without the “i”), instead of the typical Urdu pronunciation (Mughalistan). Islamic jihadis in India have been well-armed and well-funded by the neighbouring Islamic regimes, as part of Operation Topac—the late Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq’s grandiose plot to balkanize India . . . This Islamic beach-head, which squeezes India from both sides (Pakistan and Bangladesh), gradually links up with a Fifth Column within India and gains fresh territorial and demographic victories within the last two decades (Kashmir valley, several districts of West Bengal and Assam, Malappuram district in Kerala, and the Hyderabad-Deccan region). The Islamic Anschluss creeps steadily and bloodily, until the Western

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beach-head (Pakistan) is linked up demographically with the Eastern beach-head (Bangladesh) through the formation of a Islam-dominated belt called “Mughalstan,” that will then run through Jammu, Mewat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Assam . . .

So here we have a “plan” to link two Muslim-majority countries to each other by Islamizing a large part of India hatched in a research institute that does not exist under the patronage of intelligence agencies of two countries with embittered relations. The Hindutva subscribers of this imaginary conspiracy are oblivious to the complexity of Bangladesh politics such as the fact that the country was created after a revolt against Pakistan, and has the wound of violent liberation wars etched in the nationalist memory, or that the country has jostled between secularism and moderate Islam since its inception. Judging by the pamphlets and online forums, in their zest to spread the awareness of this “plot,” Hindu nationalists do not pause to ask a simple question “If Islam is such a cohesive force that brings all Muslims together, why do so many Muslim states exist?.” All Muslims are reduced to a single identity of Islam in this plan and it is assumed that Muslims, forgetting their linguistic, political, class, ethnic, gender, and nation differences will rally together to create an Islamic nation. If Ummah, as a political entity, has failed to materialize and has remained a vague dream of fraternity in all parts of the world, why would Muslims in South Asia unite as a single nation? The crisis faced by Pakistan, partly a legacy of its foundation on a two-nation theory (Hindus and Muslims as separate nations), is evident to all, except the Hindu nationalists who hang on to the idea of Hindus and Muslims as distinct hostile nations. Fragility of Pakistan or Bangladesh is ignored as they get represented as evil organized enemies. In case this nexus of Pakistan-Bangladesh-North Indian Muslim is not threatening enough for the readers, Mughalistan (2007) mentions that the plan to create “Greater Pakistan to ‘liberate’ the Muslims of India from the Hindus” has the full support of Osama Bin Laden, the Mumbai underworld led by Dawood Ibrahim, and numerous Islamist extremist organizations inside

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India and in neighboring countries. Thus, the picture one gets is of a solid coalition of Muslim terrorists, extremists, separatists, expansionists, and traitors. A Muslim becomes a part of this coalition simply by being a Muslim; she does not have to act in a certain way to be seen as a part of the conspiracy. Her identity is what marks her as conspirator. This is illustrated in the analysis of the “Muslim problem” in Mughalistan (2007). For instance, the presence of five Muslim members of Parliament and 45 members of the state’s Legislative Assembly in West Bengal is presented as a proof of the conspiracy. The fact that the numbers are well below the Muslim share of population in the state—five out of 42 MPs is approximately 12 percent, 45 out of 294 MLAs is 15 percent, and the Muslims constitute 30 percent of the total population—is conveniently unremarked upon. Mughalistan (2007) ratchets up the rhetoric of this fictive plan. In case the ramifications of the unfolding scenario are not yet clear to Indians, the bomb-blasts and religious riots are a roaring continuation of the 1400-year Jihad against India—an ongoing war that will culminate in the Islamisation of what’s left of Hindustan. Already the demographic battle is underway and the Mughalistan scenario looks feasible . . . Lest one mistakenly thinks that Mughalistan is the culmination of the Islamisation of India and that somehow the rest of India will be spared its fate, it must be stressed that this second partition of India is only the beginning . . . (There are pockets in Hyderabad, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Kerala in central and South India where Muslims are growing faster) . . . The planning and execution is well underway to ensure a continuing Anschluss where several Muslim majority pockets such as Moplahstan (in Kerala) and Osmanistan (in the Deccan) will gradually spread in size and link up with Mughalistan to form a Greater Mughalistan. This Greater Mughalistan is of strategic significance as it will provide a contiguous, strategic corridor linking the Ummah into a pan-Islamic Caliphate. The ISI-DGFI-Indian Jihadi triumvirate has fondly nicknamed this pan-Islamic Caliphate as Islamistan (meaning “Land of Islam”), a synonym for “Islamic

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World” or “Dar-ul-Islam.” This geographical Islamic crescent will link the Islamic Middle-East to Islamic South-East Asia, with the new Islamic World stretching all the way from Morocco and Bosnia in the West to Malaysia and Indonesia in the East . . .

Here we have a reconfirmation of two pet images of Hindu nationalism—all South Asian Muslims working together to conspire against Hindus and Islam’s conspiracy against India as part of its global war of supremacy. The Mughalistan (2007) Web site and Hindutva commentators are thus using the distorted map of a fictitious body called MRI to create, consolidate, and spread their conspiracy theory through different channels. Their hope of informing their sympathizers is fulfilled as many of my respondents during fieldwork mentioned a “prestigious think tank from a Bangladeshi university,” which they claimed was working on a concerted plan to break India up. Jihad by Seduction Paliwal, a Hindutva ideologue, criticizes the Hindu social practice of dowry only because it indirectly helps Muslims (and Christians) in seducing innocent Hindu girls: one of the main strategies of Muslims is to “allure the beautiful, educated, employed, wealthy, as well as poor [Hindu] girls for marriage” (Paliwal 2003: 11). The handsome Muslim who is a master in the art of seduction, the lecherous Muslim, and the rapist Muslim—all these images play upon each other as a danger for “innocent” Hindu females (see Gupta 2001). This then encourages the mobilization of Hindu women for Hindutva in the name of self-defense and protection of the body of Hindu women and the Hindu nation. More crucially, it exhorts Hindu men to “protect” their innocent Hindu mothers, sisters, and daughters. PT (name withheld), a young VHP activist in a Nagpur office (Personal Interview 2006) explained the role of the “Westernized” media and Hindi cinemas (where several prominent leading actors are Muslim) in portraying sex and

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thus putting ideas into the heads of young Hindu girls; a “good cultured girl will never run away with a Muslim, ” but if she does, this is because the family is collapsing as women spend more time in front of the television sets and neglect their children. The blame and emphasis thus is on a lecherous Muslim preying upon a Hindu girl, a girl who is more vulnerable due to Westernized media portrayal of sex and because of mothers neglecting their children for television. Hindutva, even when extolling women in certain roles (mother, sister, daughter, ascetic, warrior), never acknowledges their right over their sexuality. Female sexuality is something that demands patrolling to prevent it from being exploited by the Muslim conspiracy to seduce Hindu girls as part of their wider demographic warfare. The close connection between demonizing the Muslim and policing (Hindu) woman’s sexuality has been studied in detail (see Bacchetta 2004; Gupta 2001; Sarkar 2002). The notion of Muslim men preying upon Hindu girls is common sense in Hindutva thinking. Krishnaswami (n.d.: 22) reminds his readers that Wooing Hindu girls, but at the same time compelling their own sisters to wear burqua [sic] and to stay away from the Hindu boys, practising polygamy, rejecting population control measures and encouraging cross-border infiltration from Bangladesh and Pakistan in order to reduce the majority of kafirs into a minority of Dhimmis by the end of 21st century, are the demographic dimensions of jihad.

During my field research, in different locations including Ayodhya, Hardwar, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bombay, and Nagpur, I came across localized, “factual,” stories concerning a disconcertingly common theme—kidnapping of Hindu girls. Everywhere I was told by narrators that they personally knew of cases where kidnapping of a Hindu girl has been foiled or a kidnapped girl has been rescued by brave Hindutva activists. All the stories were uncannily similar; they were variations on the same theme. This clearly reflects a sharing of vocabulary

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of mythmaking. I call it mythmaking because the “factual accounts” were ridden with inconsistencies, were narrated in a stylized manner, and in selective cases where I sought to verify the story, there was no evidence. I am not in a position to claim with authority that all the stories are false; my research was not about truth or falsity of Hindutva representations but the consistencies and inconsistencies in it. The remarkable commonalities in the stories told about “a conspiracy to kidnap innocent Hindu girls” by activists from different regions of India implies either of the two things—that there is a vast conspiracy to Islamize Hindu women, or that there is a conspiracy to generate paranoia about a conspiracy that does not exist. My analysis points toward the second option. There clearly is a general desire, if not a coordinated conspiracy, within Hindutva to foster fear and paranoia. Let me give an example of two stories of “kidnapping,” both narrated by PT (Personal Interview 2006). The first story was about Hindu girls falling victim to seduction by Muslims. In Amravati, there was a clear conspiracy to lure Hindu girls away. Muslim girls would befriend Hindu girls, introduce the latter to their Muslim brothers and encourage them into having affairs. There will be a kiss, and then the Hindu girl will be blackmailed, and a blue film will be made. Muslim boys with new bikes (funded as part of the conspiracy to portray them as attractive) would attract Hindu girls. Hindu girls would be married, converted, and then more than 90 percent will be abandoned. In the second story narrated by PT, the theme is of rescuing. In a small town close to Nagpur, a Bajrang Dal activist overheard in a public telephone center the plan of a Muslim man to lure away a Hindu girl—the man was informing his own Muslim wife of the plan, proving that the Muslim women are complicit in this type of crime. Al Qaeda offers an award of Rs 70,000 to lure a single Hindu girl. The Bajrang Dal activist followed the man, gathered his friends, beat the man up, forced the girl to have an abortion, and sent her back to her parental family despite her objection. Both the stories validate Muslim deviousness and conspiracy and hold Muslim women as partners in crimes committed by Muslim men; neither questions

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the “innocence” of the Hindu girl. Could the girl be a willing partner in this? This question is never asked. In the second story, the woman was clearly in love, but then for Hindu nationalists there is no possibility of love without politics when it comes to Muslim males and Hindu females. Love is in fact regarded as a conspiracy too—a tool in the hands of Islamists to wage a “love jihad.” Since early 2009, Hindutva blogs got animated by the discovery of a love-jihad conspiracy. Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), a Hindutva publication, gives a story where “Love Jihad” is a jihadi organization: Trapping naive Non Muslim girls in the web of love in order to convert to Islam is the modus operandi of the said organisation . . . As per the instructions to recruits of this organisation, they have to love a Hindu girl within the time frame of 2 weeks and brainwash them to get converted and marry within 6 months. Special instructions to breed at least 4 kids have also been given. If the target won’t get trapped within first 2 weeks, they are instructed to leave them and move on to another girl. College students and working girls should be the prime target. Once completed their mission the organisation will give 1 lakh Rupees and Financial help for the youth to start business. Free Mobile Phone, Bikes and Fashionable dresses are offered to them as tools for the mission. Money for this Love Jihad comes from Middle East. Each district have their own zone chairman’s to oversee the mission. Prior to College admission they make a list of Hindu girls and their details and target those whom they feel vulnerable and easy to be brainwashed. (“Love Jihad” 2009; more extensive coverage at http://www. scribd.com/doc/16640747/LJa, accessed 23 July 2009).

This “breaking news story” about the discovery of an organization in Kerala in South India forgets to mention that the “jihad by love” or “love jihad” is not a new representational motif. Krishnaswami (n.d.) mentions it and so did a VHP activist thousands of kilometers to the north of Kerala a couple of years ago. A VHP activist is quoted in a documentary from 2007 about love in Meerut (a small city in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh) that he knows that there is a conspiracy under

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which Muslim boys seduce Hindu girls by assuming false Hindu identities. By the time the poor girls realize it, they are too far gone in the relationships. This is “loving jehad,” a no-weapons terrorism (“Love” 2008). If “love jihad” was already being talked about, why do Hindutva newspapers and magazines like HJS present the story from Kerala as breaking news of a discovery? The purpose is to generate moral panic. The tales about this conspiracy of jihad by seduction gets circulated through the media and online blogs. The following “news” item from the daily Sanatan Prabhat appears on a Web site exhorting Hindus to unite globally (New Fatwa 2008). New Fatwa: “Seduce Hindu girls and make them Muslims” Sambhajinagar (Maharashtra): There is an ordinance stating, “Attracting the Hindu young girls by your charm lure them and force them to accept Muslim religion.” Many Hindu Organisations have made a complaint to the police stating the above declaration. A Muslim youth who was arrested by the police told about the ordinance. (O, Hindus! Remember, the Government would not take any step against this ordinance that is against Hindus. If you wish to protect yourself from the Muslims who are bent upon ruining the Hindus in all respect there is no other alternative but getting united and ready to fight them!—Editor) The youth also told the police that each of these Muslim youths is given Rs. 200 per day for doing this service. (It is quite evident from this how much hatred towards Hindus they have. Hindus should decide whether to keep contact with Muslims anymore or not!—Editor) There is news published by a Daily in Marathawada stating that similar ordinance is being published in Parbhani, Nanded, Beed, and Latur and many Muslim youths are seen moving in groups to achieve their goal. They are also given two wheelers to facilitate them to allure the girls going to schools and colleges. One Muslim youth who was seen moving suspiciously was questioned by some social workers and handed over to the police by following him when he was trying to run away. He revealed this shocking conspiracy.

By adding editor’s notes in brackets, HJS laments and reminds Hindu readers that the problem being discussed is not localized

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but part of a vast conspiracy. PT in his interview with me (Personal Interview 2006) had mentioned the figure of Rs. 70,000 but had said that the “prize money” offered by Bin Laden to Indian Muslims varies depending upon the caste and status of the Hindu girl being lured. Apparently, the amount of prize money is greater if the girl’s caste is higher. The news story from the daily Sanatan Prabhat cites no source for the “ordinance” nor does it show a copy of the ordinance. Within a month of this story, the HJS Web site gave another sensationalist news to confirm the supposed ordinance. The story goes like this (Latur 2009): A news was published recently stating that, every Muslim youth would be given Rs. 200 every day by Moulavi, a Mohammedan jurist for alluring the Hindu young girls. 2 Muslim youths were arrested for putting this order to affect in the police locality itself. They were caught immediately and beaten and later were handed over to the police . . . In Sambhajinagar too the police arrested 6 Muslims. 4 Muslim youths were teasing a young girl in the police locality. (It is quite evident from this that they are not even afraid of police while teasing the girl. Will the girls from police families be safe in such heedless Congress rule?—Editor) Watching this some Hindu youths objected to them. (Congratulations to those youths for raising objection to the Muslim youths for teasing the girls!—Editor) There was altercation between the two groups. The Muslim youths told them about the order of the Moulavi. It was news to those Hindus. (Muslims follow the order blindly. How many Hindus follow the teachings of their Dharmacharyas?—Editor) The Muslims showed them the cutting of the order. Hindus were not aware of it. (Not to know such an important order amounts to slumber!—Editor)

Again, this story gets cited on other Hindutva Web sites without a hint of skepticism. The Muslim youths in this story are presented as merely following the order of a religious leader and there is lament that Hindus do not do so. Who is this Islamist leader who has given the alleged order? If Hindu nationalists sincerely believe in this story, why not complain about

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this Maulavi to the police? If they are not conjuring this story up, why not encourage the Hindutva youth to search for the Maulavi who they accuse of ordering Muslim men to seduce Hindu girls? They do no such thing because it is clear that they are indulging in scare mongering. In the blogosphere, the tales of a love jihad conspiracy circulate without any serious questioning of what the evidence is. One extremist Web site quotes another, and when you check the second one, they would cite the first one. Alarmist stories have titles such as “HJS member saves a Hindu girl from clutches of Muslims” (“HJS member” 2009) or “Muslim abducts a young & married Hindu woman” (“Muslim abducts” 2009). Hindutva commentators lament the state of affairs and demand vigilante actions to protect Hindu women and punish Muslim men but no one calls for unmasking of the Islamist leaders who supposedly gave the order in the first place. It is clear that endless circulation of stories perform a more important function for the Hindutva than an actual investigation into the veracity of it. It feeds into a specter of dangerous Muslim males prowling for innocent Hindu girls in order to dishonor them, convert them into Muslims, and produce more children. Why the Overpopulation? Why is the Muslim body (at the level of the individual as well as the collective) overpopulating according to Hindutva narrative? The explanation brings together all the threats I had discussed in Chapter 2 with a new element—a vile, virile, hypersexual Muslim masculinity (a stereotype I term “the Muslim”). The demographic increase of Muslims is to do with religion, calculations, and sexuality and here distorted representations flourish—Islam is backward and regressive in its attitude toward reproduction; the Qur’an exhorts adherents to produce more children; the Prophet set a personal example; there is a prohibition on birth control; and most importantly, Islam allows/encourages Muslim men to have four wives. Producing more children is also seen as a calculated move to exercise

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dominance. The Muslim proclivity for producing children is seen as a calculated strategy for outnumbering the Hindus demographically (Baber 2004). The explanations of “over-fertile” Muslim body are tied in closely with the question of identity and difference. By reducing Muslims to nothing but their overarching religious identity, by denying any agency to individual Muslims in their own fate, and by bracketing more than a billion Muslims into one single identity, Hindutva, like other fundamentalisms, works with a simple stereotyped view of the world. The identity of “the Muslim” is not what he shares with other human beings (his humanity) in general or with Hindus in India in particular (say, a shared love of Hindi movies and songs or cricket). It is what marks him as different from Hindus—his God and prophet, his religion, his social practices (in case they differ from the Hindus around him), his moral values, and his physicality (circumcized penis is held as marking Muslim men as different from Hindu men). “The Muslim” thus acquires his identity primarily through these differences and his behavior (supposed high fertility in this case) is understood as a product of these differences (from Hindus), which gives him his separate identity. The focus is not so much on Muslim women, who in any case are reduced to being passive, baby-producing machines with no say over their body; it is on men. Muslim men, unlike women, are seen as having a reproductive choice, which they are accused of utilizing for the conspiracy of uncontrolled population growth. Presenting Uncontrolled Fertility as a Sign of Degenerate Islam The image of a fertile Muslim masculine body follows on from the image of a rigid, fanatic Muslim psyche/mentality and is associated with a discourse of Islamic degeneracy. This degeneracy is presented not as a decline from or a distortion of Islam, but as a true manifestation of original Islam. Islam for Hindu nationalist extremists is a degenerate religion from its inception. The leaflets and pamphlets I am relying upon here should not be seen as expressions of extremists on the fringe

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of otherwise not-so-extremist Hindu nationalism. Almost all the Bajrang Dal and VHP activists, and many RSS activists, I conversed with in northern and western India during my fieldwork derived their views from these easily available and well-circulated tracts. Hindutva activists and ideologues often call upon the Muslim psyche (as if there is a psyche that is common to hundreds of millions of Muslims in India) to make sense of the world. While they ascribe tolerance and positive values to “Hindu sentiments,” the “Muslim psyche” for them is always already negative (cf. Brosius 2005: 208). Hindutva specializes in speaking in the name of “hurt” Hindu sentiments but never extends the possibility of sentiments (that could be legitimately hurt) to Muslims. Krishnaswami (n.d.) details this putative Muslim psyche as marked by various features: rigidity; intolerance; in-built fanaticism fostered by mosques, imams, and Friday prayers; a penchant to always act collectively; duplicity (fooling outsiders with the notion that Islam is a religion of peace while knowing fully well that it is a religion of war); and blind devotion to the Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad. In this description, one can sense not only hatred toward followers of Islam, but also a convoluted admiration of it in some ways, a desire for emulation, which we will discuss later in the book. For instance, one can read the mention of fanaticism engendered by Friday prayers or the ability to act collectively with a common purpose not as a criticism of fanaticism or collective action (by Muslims) but as an expression of regret that Hindus lack this. In fact, Bajrang Dal activists in Nagpur during my fieldwork (January 2006), lamented that Hindus did not have a regular ritual such as Friday prayers to bring practitioners together. The image of “overpopulating Muslims” also fits in with the ideological representation by Hindutva of Islam and its Prophet as sexually permissive and morally dubious. Hindutva activists and ideologues often validate their views on sexuality and Islam by referring to the writings of Anwar Shaikh, a Cardiff-based businessman who had rejected his Islamic faith and upbringing. One particular work of his, which goes into the details of sex and violence, was referred to me frequently by my respondents.

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“If you want to know how perverted Islam is, read Anwar Shaikh,” was a frequent comment. Available online, Shaikh (1999) argues that “sex and violence rank as the two pillars of the Islamic faith . . . which seeks to exploit man’s weakness for libidinous delights at the expense of feminine rights and dignity.” Shaikh discusses in detail the conflict between “dominance urge” (of men) and “feminine charm” (of women) and how Islam is all about the conquest of the latter by the former. Shaikh’s writings are very popular with Hindu nationalists who present it as authoritative proof of Islam’s doctrinal as well as practical reality. Almost all Hindu nationalism pamphlets and leaflets I read revel in salacious discussions about the Prophet’s sex life and claim to cite from the Qur’an and Hadith different ayats and passages to prove Islam’s backwardness. Many of the tracts present themselves not as a polemic in favor of a positive ideal, but as a factual account of how everything is wrong with Muslims and how everything wrong with Muslims flows from the immorality of Islam itself. The self-contained discourse of Islam’s doctrinal, historical, and moral degeneracy dispenses with the notion of interpretation and translation. Hindu nationalism is oblivious to the fact that there could be alternative translations of the same ayats or that all texts are open to interpretation, or that if one puts Hinduism under scrutiny using an ahistorical and selective approach of the Hindutva kind, it too will come out as hypocritical, sexist, racist, casteist, and degenerate. For instance, Hindutva writings are remarkably blind to the celebration of fertility and preference for a son within Hindu religion. Islam’s degeneracy, according to Hindutva, is reflected best in its sexual immorality; Hindu nationalists present their own views, often regressive, on sexuality as moral. In order to elicit disgust from its readers, a pamphlet (Krishnaswami n.d.) quotes historical texts to show how Muslim rulers revelled in plundering India because their religion encouraged them to do so. “If the breasts are large or vagina wide or baggy (which does not give requisite pleasure) whether in a virgin or a non-virgin, the purchaser has a right to return her to the seller and claim refund for money”—according to Krishnaswami (n.d.: 10), this

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was one of the rules provided in Fatawa-i-Alamgiri. Hindutva writings selectively (mis)quote from a wide range of historical sources and use their own version to suit their agenda. What is missing is a critical discussion of the choice of sources and wider historical context within which such manuals for behavior and conduct may have been written. Also missing is selfreflection. Don’t the Hindus have religiously sanctioned sexual practices (say that of Devadasis) that are no longer socially acceptable? Hindutva writings mostly ignore such scrutiny. The most important thing here is the purpose of citation from Islamic sources. What is the significance of citing passages from historical documents written many centuries ago? It is not to promote historical scholarship, but to validate a certain Islamophobic political position. An ahistorical or a selective take on history is used to confirm the contemporary Hindutva position. The motif of Rape performs an important function in Hindu nationalism—it represents a dangerous act indulged in by inimical Muslims throughout Islam’s history, it represents the vulnerability of Hindu women, and it represents an always present security threat to the body as well as honor of individual Hindus and the collective Hindu community. A discourse of defilement is often deployed to paint Muslim minorities’ relation with the Indian body politic—Muslims have “raped” or are hell-bent on “raping” India. Amrish Ji (2005), a leader of a militant organization Bajrang Dal, in a public speech accused Muslims of treating “Bharat Mata” (“Mother India”) as a “dayan” (“Witch”), of raping her. Hindutva ideologues indulge in stories of rape or attempted rape of Hindu women during Muslim rule, sometimes in gory detail. For instance, while cataloging what he calls the historical crime of Muslim rule in India, Sen highlights the sex-enslavement of Hindu women under Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351–1388) in these terms: “According to Tajriyat-ul-Asar, the abducted Hindu ladies were not just raped, they were subjected to unparalleled tortures like penetration of female organs with red hot iron rod, sewing up of vagina and chopping-off of breasts by the Muslim invaders” (2001: 26). This is

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no gender-sensitive or feminist critique of the use of rape as a tool of war but a provocative piece to generate disgust among Hindus. Hindutva ideologues have no concern for women and sexual violence directed against them. Hindu nationalists have no interest in the documentation of gender-related violence suffered by all women, including Muslims. For instance, Hindutva forums largely ignored the news of rape and murder of two Kashmiri Muslim women in May 2009 even though all major media outlets covered it—a search on Hindutva Web site, www.hindujagruti.org, on 20 July 2009 refers only to the rape of Hindu women at the hands of Muslims or Christians, but not a single mention of Muslim women as victims. A similar search on www.sanghparivar.org on 22 July 2009 brought news mostly of “Hindu women raped” and a few of the “alleged rape story of a nun.” It presented stories of Hindu women victims as facts only when the perpetrators belong to minority religions while ignoring all other cases. Hindutva seeks to bolster the myth of preying Muslim males. Not a single pamphlet, leaflet, book, online tract I came across ever mentioned Hindu men as perpetrators of sexual violence. The specter of the Muslim rapist and Hindu female victim is the only one propagated by Hindu nationalists. Sexual violence committed by Hindu men is rendered invisible in Hindutva accounts. Rape of a Hindu woman becomes an attack on the honor of the Hindu community only if the rapist is a non-Hindu. Even in the actual rare cases of Muslim rapist/Hindu victim (e.g., a case of gang rape of a girl in Surat in July 2009 was discussed by Hindutva sympathizers solely in terms of Muslim rapists and Hindu victim—see “3 Muslims gang rape” 2009— even though there is no indication that the religious identity of the victim or the perpetrators is relevant at all; VHP called for a strike in the name of avenging Hindu pride, see “Gang Rape” 2009, while Muslim organizations went out of the way to demand strict punishment against the rapists, see “Surat gang rape” 2009), the woman’s individual humanity and pain has no meaning in the Hindu nationalist worldview; only Hindu honor matters. This dehumanization of a victim of rape (for her only role is as yet another Hindu victim of the rapacious

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Muslims) is a reminder of opportunist appropriation of narratives of female rape by Hindutva. It is not difficult to see the salacious undertones of these narratives. Gory descriptions of sexual violence betray a porno-sexual impulse. This impulse by its very nature may not always be evident publicly, but can be experienced during private conversations. With many of my young male respondents from the Bajrang Dal, stories of rape were more like a fun story to share. The pleasure derived from storytelling was more visible when discussing the sexual degeneracy of Muslims. Sexualizing “The Muslim” The “overpopulating Muslim” is linked not only to religion but also to the virility and irresponsible sexuality of Muslim men (and the overfertility of Muslim women). This imagined virility is used to construct an image of Muslim masculinity that is marked by an uncontrolled and uncontrollable lust and is hence a danger to Hindu women. As Bacchetta points out, “The counterpart to the chaste Hindu male is the Muslim male polygamist or rapist, and to the chaste motherly Hindu woman is the Muslim woman as prostitute or potential wife” (2004: 101). Asexualizing the Hindu Self (or at least disciplining sexuality) within Hindu nationalism accompanies a pornosexualizing of Muslim men and women. The imagined Muslim male body, with the female body being merely a passive recipient, is a repository of various sexual desires/revulsions expressed by Hindu nationalist activists. The hypersexuality of the Muslims is seen as common sense within Hindu nationalism. Muslims are believed to have rampant sex—many jokes, sayings, personal stories (“I do not know any Muslim myself, but someone I know knows a Muslim man who . . .”), pornographic tales, and serious analysis (“why are Muslims more dangerous than Christians?”) take this sexualization of Muslim men for granted. The motif of “overbreeding” Muslims is seen as proof of the hypersexuality of the Muslim male body. Jokes about prolific, irresponsible, indiscreet, and immoral sexuality of Muslims proliferate. Alternative sexual practices (homosexuality) are also imagined

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onto the Muslim Other. Muslim hypersexuality is ascribed to religion, diet, culture, physicality, living pattern, and morality. Most of the views about Muslim sexuality (see also Kakar 1996) here have been gleaned from personal conversations and interviews I conducted during my fieldwork in 2005–2006—these came up in our discussion on the supposed high fertility and its explanations. Hypersexuality was presented as the obvious explanation for Muslim overpopulation. RD (name withheld), a male photographer in his twenties from a provincial north Indian town and a Hindu nationalist activist with the VHP, explained to me how he was an expert in identifying Muslim men just by looking at their eyes since there was an essential untrustworthiness and (“vehshiyat”/savage) lust in their eyes (Personal Interview 2005a). In an almost lyrical Hindi, he explained that Muslims engage in rampant open sex since they are children—“Bachpan mein chuppan chuppai khelte samay, chudam chudai ho jaati hai” (“While playing hide and seek during childhood itself, fucking takes place”). A small admiring crowd consisting of young male activists, a few older volunteers, and half a dozen policemen gathered around us to see an awakened Hindu man (RD) enlightening a naïve Hindu man (myself). Their smiles turned into laughter as RD narrated a joke about a typical Muslim family—“Ek baap ne apni ladki ko akele paa kar pakad liya aur kahaa jo mazaa tujhme hai woh theri maa mein nahin. Ladki ne kahaa, haan bhaiya bhi yah kehte hain” (“A father, finding his daughter alone, catches her and says, ‘you give more pleasure than your mother.’ The daughter replies, ‘yes, elder brother says the same’”). When I suggested that the common view of Muslim families in India is of sexual repression as symbolized by Muslim women in burqa/veil and not hypersexuality, RD brushed it aside as my ignorance. His repartee played upon the pronunciation of word “burqa”. This is veil in Urdu and Hindi; but when spoken aloud, it can sound similar to a pejorative expression for “of cunt” or “cunt’s”— “kehne ko moohn ka parda, kehlo to bur/qa” (“Supposedly a veil for the face, can be called of cunt’s”). Incest, sexual permissiveness and indiscretion, perversion—all these are imagined onto the Muslim bodies. The overwhelming discourse here is

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of Muslim degeneracy. Excess is condemned as a vice here but the manner in which it is narrated implies a pleasure drawn out of the narration of the excess. Rejection of sexual pleasures as a sign of immoral excess of Muslims went hand in hand with unprompted indulgence in describing it. Such pornosexual imagining of Muslims allowed young male activists like RD to derive pleasure through displacement. In lieu of sexual excess, which may be difficult in the conservative environment of the small towns and because of Bajrang Dal activists’ own inadequacies (while seemingly proud of their Hindu nationalist identity and even bragging about the power and influence they have, a number of them betrayed anxieties about not having money or contact to move higher in life and, thereby, condemned to be looked down upon by big city types), they indulged in stories and myths. I say myths because when I asked them about the basis of their “knowledge” about Muslim sexuality, their answer was “We all know,” “everybody knows.” In the minds of these Bajrang Dal and VHP activists, Muslim virility was a product of irresponsible sexuality, which in turn was a cultural condition. Muslim culture is said to be permissive even when it may seem apparently more conservative. Family, the bastion of cultural values in the case of Muslims, is invested with unfamily/immoral practices (incest). The overall picture is of animality. PT (name withheld), a young VHP activist in Nagpur in central India, narrated a story to support his claims about Muslim overpopulation, immorality, hypersexuality, and cultural backwardness (Personal Interview 2006). A police constable on his routine nightly round in a Muslim area noted a common practice and informed PT that because “there are so many people in a single household they all cannot sleep together inside the house; so the young men and old men take turns to go inside and sleep.” This narration of a supposed observation has a sexualized connotation too; it hints at young men and old men having no discretion about who they sleep with when they go inside. This became clear during my conversation with PT and half a dozen other male Hindu nationalist activists in the VHP office. Most explanations about the Muslim threat were filled

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with talk about sexual license within Muslim families. I was informed that “if a Muslim man gives triple talaq [divorce] to his wife and then regrets it, there is a way out—the woman can marry someone else and then get a divorce from the second person and come back to her first husband or more simply rectify the talaq by sambhog [sex] with another man.” PT had gained his knowledge about Islamic practice from Swarup’s booklet. Swarup (n.d.), originally published in 1982, provides a detailed discussion of marriage and divorce in Islam through (mis)quotations from the Hadith. The tone is one of salacious gossip. “One cannot remarry one’s divorced wife unless she subsequently married someone else and the new husband had sexual intercourse with her and then divorced her.” Without going into the veracity of such a quote, I only want to point out the intention behind the citations. The intention of Hindutva ideologues is not to understand or analyze Islamic practices but to present them selectively as illustrations of sexual immorality. For religious nationalists who may frown upon widow remarriage (except as a regrettable necessity to ensure that Hindu widowed women do not get preyed upon by Muslims; PT and his friends in Nagpur gave this as a rationale; for a similar trend in early twentieth century, see Gupta 2001) or who may find practice of sati (widow burning on her husband’s pyre) as an ideal, a religious sanctioning of easy divorce and remarriage is perceived as immoral. A policeman, SS (name withheld), I met in Ayodhya as well as in Hardwar where he was protecting a senior VHP leader (Personal Interview 2005b), offered his own elaborate rationalization of supposed Muslim hypersexuality in multiple terms—their nonvegetarian diet (especially beef) increases body heat; Islam as a religion encourages all forms of immorality; male circumcision or khatna; the public face of the repressive Muslim culture hides the oversexed practices inside the homes; and cramped living conditions (ghettoization) of Muslims in old parts of many cities encouraging closer physical contacts. SS revelled in attention as I noted down his hate-filled stereotypes, which he saw as common sense. The association of beef eating with sexuality came up a number of

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times in different towns—beef eating and hypersexuality were both condemned as signs of cruelty, irresponsibility, animality, and immorality. Ghettoization of Muslims is presented by Hindu nationalists as a cultural preference (“these people prefer to live cooped up like animals”) and not an unavoidable response to discriminatory practices in the wider Indian society. When I asked if SS or other activists standing around him would mind if a Muslim family moves in as their neighbor, all were united in their resolve not to let Muslims reside in Hindu localities. I pointed out that if most Hindus share their attitudes, Muslims will have no option but to be ghettoized, their response was “so what?.” The connection between their attitude toward neighborhood and the not-so-common practice of Muslim ghettoization or separate enclaves was lost on the activists. SS had also brought a sexual organ into the picture as an explanation for “the Muslim.” The penis—rather the circumcised penis—came up a number of times in private conversations in response to my question as to how do Hindu nationalists explain the alleged Muslim overfertility. As pointed out earlier, “the Muslim” is imagined as an identity that is based on everything that is different from the Hindu norm. Body and physicality militate against an easy distinguishing of Muslims from Hindus. Sartorial practices may enable one to identify Hindus from Muslims only if they are wearing what is seen as traditional outfits. Difference of religion does not mark itself on the corporeal identities, except in one way. Circumcision of the penis is not a common practice among Hindus while it is religiously binding for Muslims. This minor difference gets blown up in the rhetoric of Hindu nationalists when explaining Muslim sexual politics. SS (Personal Interview 2005b) argued that circumcision is unnatural and increases the sex drive of Muslim men. A common slang used for Muslims in North India was katua (or kattu or katwa, infamously used by BJP MP Varun Gandhi in an election campaign speech in 2009) referring to one who is circumcised (on stigmatization of circumcised penis, see Mehta 2000). This reduces a Muslim male to one of his body organs. The organ that is referred to

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pejoratively as abnormal is appropriated as an explanation for abnormal hypersexuality and abnormal immorality of the person possessing it. It is this abnormality that makes the Muslim a lurking rapist and a potential threat to Hindu women. But he’s not only a rapist but also a seducer and hence an even greater threat to Hindu men. As Giriraj Kishore is quoted as having said, “There is a physical reason Muslims can seduce Hindu girls. They give them more sharirik anand (physical pleasure) because they have a surgery, Hindus don’t” (quoted in Naqvi 2007). Such a porno-nationalist imagination of the Muslim Other performs two moves at the same time. It assures the Hindu nationalist Self of its moral superiority; yet, at the same time, it instils an anxiety about the threatening masculine Other. As Tanika Sarkar rightly points out in the context of anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002, “There is also the perpetual fear of a more virile Muslim male body that lures away Hindu girls, a kind of penis envy and anxiety about emasculation that can only be overcome by doing violent deeds” (Sarkar 2002). This fear clearly informed attempts by militant Hindutva organizations in 2005 to prohibit Muslim men from participating in the Dandiya festival in parts of central India (Indian Express 2005). The anxiety about Muslim male sexuality among young VHP and Bajrang Dal activists was a strong theme that emerged out of my ethnographic fieldwork with them. For instance, PT, the young activist at VHP’s Nagpur office tried to convince me that “Muslim men are too sexy because they have hard forehead due to circumcision and this is preferred by (Hindu) girls” and this is why “we need cultured Hindu girls who think of their family and not sex” (Personal Interview 2006). This anxiety threatens to destabilize the Hindu collective body unless it is awakened to the threats posed by the Other. Hindu nationalists take the protection of Hindu women, Hindu family, and Hindu property as their responsibility. Individual anxieties about the “protection” of Hindu female bodies metamorphose into a collective masculine anxiety about the security

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and welfare of the Hindu samaj (society), dharma (religion), and sabhyata (civilization). Sociocultural organization and political mobilization are answers to this anxiety. Hindu nationalism, despite being a majoritarian nationalism, has a masculinist anxiety to which it claims to provide a solution through a masculinist-nationalist awakening.

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Query Form Book Title:

Anand

Chapter No:

Chapter 3 Queries and / or remarks

Query No.

Query / remark

Response

No Queries.

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The Unawakened India

H

indu nationalists see themselves as a beleaguered lot fighting against hostile religious minorities to protect the Hindu majority and strive for a Hindu Rashtra. Their role is of a vanguard because the significant bulk of the Hindu population they claim as their cultural constituency have never voted for Hindu right-wing political parties. Most Hindus have kept away from Hindu nationalism politically. Hindutva blames this on the influence of alien ideologies (secularism, democracy, communism), degenerate foreign ideas (Westernization), political opportunism (non-Hindutva political parties are rejected as opportunists who pander to minority and caste vote banks), and divisive tactics of foreign religionists. According to a Hindutva ideologue, the “Hindu addict of Macaulayism” (Macaulayism is used pejoratively to signify deracinated, Westernized Indians, following on from Thomas Babington Macaulay’s initiative to anglicize education in India in mid-nineteenth century British India) refuses to recognize any danger to Hindu society, pities minorities as downtrodden, assigns to the Hindus “an inescapable moral responsibility to rescue their less privileged brethren from the plight into which the Hindus have pressed them”; and harangues Hindus to set their house in order first (Goel n.d.b.). The unawakened Hindus (i.e., non-Hindutva Hindus) are sleepwalking into destruction brought about by the religious minorities and the only solution to this is the culture and politics of Hindutva.

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In this chapter I focus on how Hindutva represents the majority community of Hindus as vulnerable to seduction and a victim of minority expansionism. The discussion will be brief because while Islam (and to some extent Christianity) elicits fear and disgust among Hindu nationalists (the subject of this book), “internal” weaknesses afflicting Hindus themselves elicit disappointment and lament. In his defense of the RSS, Oberoi argues that the origin of the organization in 1925 under Hedgewar can be ascribed to a realization that “real cause of failure of Hindu society was internal dissension, lack of self-respect, lack of collective concern about the interest of the nation as whole” (Oberoi 2001: 3). In fact, one can identify a significant difference over the public presentation of selective elements of politics of fear. RSS writings and ideologues focus more on how to organize Hindus as a nation and their primary rationale is the perennial existence of a distinct Hindu nation without always mentioning the minorities as enemies. On the other hand, more openly extremist activists of the VHP or Bajrang Dal are preoccupied with the representation of hostile forces and mobilization of Hindus as a response and their primary rationale is not the Hindu nation but the threatened Hindu nation. Historical Heroes and Violence How did a relatively few foreigners manage to conquer and rule India? Hindu nationalists have a fairly standardized reply to this question—Hindus were not united. An anonymous Swayamsevak (activist) of the RSS writes that while in the collective consciousness of Hindus in the past, India had been “dharma bhoomi, karma bhoomi, punya bhoomi and moksha bhoomi (“holy land, land of deeds, pure land, land of deliverance”) par excellence, the most important basis of national identity, India as our rashtra-bhoomi [national land]” (A. Swayamsevak 2000: 24–25) had disappeared and this allowed for few foreign invaders to rule India. While characterizing the centuries of Muslim rule as the “Dark Ages,” some Hindu nationalists seek to recover self-respect by arguing that

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not all Hindus were unconscious. Muslim rulers failed to wipe out or convert all Hindus because of “their vast population and stiff resistance to conversion” (A Board of Experts n.d.: 5). The “stiff resistance to conversion” is bandied around without giving any evidence of sustained long-term campaigns for religious conversion carried out by Muslim rulers. Hindutva mythologizes certain historical figures, in a rather ahistorical manner, and presents them as heroes of the Hindu nation. The main criteria for being a “hero” is not the promotion of Hindu dharma but the use of violence to fight against those deemed as enemies of Hindus. This reveals the essential ethos of the entire Hindu nationalism—national heroes are those who fight, kill, and get killed in the process of “defending” Hindu India. Historical figures that preached peace, negotiated living with diversity, experimented with more humane religious practices, or even promoted Hindu religion without being antagonistic to Islam do not form part of the Hindu nationalist iconography. Patriotism is proven through violence. In a tract produced by the RSS, violent struggle (rather than accommodation) is emphasized as the source of pride for the putative Hindu nation: “Continual struggle against alien subjugation by patriotic countrymen was the glorious period of our history. Had such national consciousness been there with all of us, this country would never have been subjugated” (Bajpai and Barthawal 2001: 3). Hindus: A Divided Nation Rajendra Das, a fiery sadhu at the VHP’s Dharma Sansad in Hardwar, said with a flourish to his audience: “Hinduon ka khoon thoda thanda ho gaya hai” (The blood of Hindus has cooled down) (Das, 2005). Pacifism is equated with impotence and lack of vigor and Hindu nationalism is presented as a militarized/masculinized response. Many Hindus, according to Hindu nationalists, are vulnerable to defeat from hostile outsiders because of disunity, “false” ideologies of communism and secularism, influence of Westernization, and an anti-Hindu democratic political system. Hindu nationalism bemoans the

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refusal of Hindus to act as a corporate body. They ascribe this to “opportunist” politicians who focus on caste interests rather than on a single Hindu identity. Singhal’s speech at the Hardwar Dharma Sansad was littered with lament at Hindu weakness and disunity—“Muslims and Christians rule us because we vote along caste lines,” and “Our parliament is a supporter of Pakistan and of foreign businesses” (Singhal 2005). Hindutva ideologues are not blind to social practices among Hindus (such as extreme caste-based discrimination) that may contribute to alienation of the poor and the marginalized thus making them look for alternatives. Paliwal acknowledges that some of the problems faced by Hindus arise out of their “own social, cultural and religious distortions and deteriorations” (2003: 4) but, and this is a significant but, many more are due to the effects of “evil designs of cruel foreign invaders and anti-Hindu rulers who distorted and misinterpreted the Hindu Dharma Shastras to mislead the Hindus.” While Hinduism may suffer due to distortions and misinterpretations, the same charitable attitude is never extended to Islam—Islam is seen as nothing but a fascistic religion, and thus Islamic fundamentalists are understood as the true face of Islam. The endless divisions and subdivisions among Hindus is ascribed to distortions that are blamed on outsiders. Hindu nationalists encourage Hindus to go beyond their caste affiliations and act as unified Hindus—the negative portrayal of Muslims plays an important role in facilitating intercaste solidarity against a common enemy. Hindu nationalism has had a complicated relationship with caste, something that is not the focus here, and will require an entirely new research project. Let me only mention a couple of observations I made during my fieldwork. During my conversations with activists in Ayodhya, when I sought to raise the issue with a few sadhus who came from a “backward caste” by saying that Hindutva may be an uppercaste conspiracy to prevent them from seeing through the injustices of the Hindu caste system, the response was not of hostility but of evasion. In the case of my respondents at least, a sense of inferiority had been internalized and their frustration was successfully transformed into a venomous tirade against

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“our common enemy” [Muslims and Christians]. During my personal session with the head of the Ram Janmabhumi Temple movement, Nritya Gopal Das (Personal Interview 2005e), an interesting incident occurred. My name and surname does not give away the caste I was born into. Assuming that I was a Non Resident Hindu Indian (a category that is often seen as a constituency for Hindu nationalism), Das started with a rehearsed tale of how Hindus and Muslims are brothers and if only Muslims give away certain mosques, there will be harmony in India. Upon the advice of a friendly sadhu, I emphasized that I came from a Brahmin family and Nritya Gopal Das’s tone changed. He became more friendly and open and lamented how it is not only Muslims but “neechi jaati ke log” (lower caste people) who have created all the problems. A mere mention of “Brahmin” identity opened up many avenues of discussion with more than half a dozen senior sadhus who work directly with the VHP. The views they expressed of other castes in whispered tones was only slightly less pejorative as their views of Muslims and Christians. It is interesting to note that these private views on caste do not usually get aired publicly; this is in contrast with the public expression of private prejudices against Muslims. The rationale for this selectivity is that Hindu nationalists are immersed in the project to consolidate a single Hindu identity and will not want to complicate this by bringing up politically salient and divisive issues such as the caste-based affirmative action for marginalized caste groups. The silence over caste “disunity” also contrasts with the shrill rhetoric against foreign ideologies affecting Hindus—communism, secularism, and Westernization. Alien Ideologies and the Unawakened Hindus Communism or Marxism as an idea or political philosophy is not engaged with ideologically by Hindu nationalists. The Hindu Vivek Kendra (HVK http://www.hvk.org), a “resource centre for the propagation of Hindutva” based in Mumai, tries to rectify this (in a short tract published by HVK, Raina argues for the establishment of high-quality modern scholarship

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in a non-Marxist framework; Raina n.d.). Most of the time, communism is rejected as an enemy for its “foreign origin” and its “anti-Hindu bias.” Goel writes, “A communist cannot help being a traitor to his country and his people” (Goel n.d.b.). Allusions are made to the fact that the communist political movement in India derived its ideological inspiration from outside India and that communist politicians allegedly received funding from the Soviet Union in the past and from China nowadays. Communism is seen as anti-Hindu for dividing people along class lines and thus disrupting harmony that is supposedly a feature of Hindu society. Fostering of class consciousness and awareness of injustices within communities threaten the Hindu nationalism idea of an organic Hindu society. Communists are also seen as anti-Hindu because of their progressive cultural politics. The rhetoric of the rights of the marginalized raised by the Left is seen as divisive by Hindutva. Champat Rai dismissed communists as “unke rakta aur beej videshi hai” (“their blood and seed are foreign”; Personal Conversation 2005f). A more lethal affliction of modern Hindus, according to Hindu nationalism, is secularism. India has become a “Secular dharamshala” (Pandya 2007) allowing anti-Hindu forces to flourish. The “disease” of secularism, according to Hindu extremists, does not affect Muslims and Christians for they are seen as incapable of being secular. There can be no secular Muslims or genuine Indian nationalist Muslims for they are those who stayed back to Islamize the rest of India (Paliwal 2003: 51). This idea that Muslim elite who stayed in India after 1947 did not do so out of love for the country or preference for secular nationalism but because they wanted to Islamize the whole of India was repeated to me by different Hindu nationalist activists in many towns of north and west India. For Hindu nationalism, secular Muslim is an oxymoron. Paliwal argues that minorities cannot be secular because to be “secular one has to take decisions according to ones’ own consciousness, freedom of will, and welfare of the state and their people. But the religious scriptures of these minorities do not allow their adherents to do so” (Paliwal 2003: 52). In a narcissistic vein, the

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development of various forms of secularism in other parts of the world is ignored in the Hindu nationalist narratives. More moderate writers such as Varghese put the onus on minorities to “confirm” their secularism by expressing gratitude to the Hindu hosts: “The time has come for the minorities in India to express their full confidence in the fairness of Hindu society. Only the minorities can bury communalism in India by reposing their faith in the non-exclusivity of the Hindu religion and the secular foundations of the Indian Constitution” (in Vasuki n.d.: 5). Hindutva adopts a two-fold rhetorical strategy when it comes to engaging with secular democracy—Genuine Secularism and No Secularism. The first strand rejects the dominant strand of secularism as pseudo-secularism and presents itself as genuine secularism and Hindu Rashtra as truly secular (Genuine Secularism strand). For instance, Rao argues that a “Hindu State has always functioned as a secular and democratic State” in Seshadri 1990). Subramaniam Swamy in his Hindus Under Siege: The Way Out calls for an “enlightened secular democracy which redresses all historical wrongs done to Hindus” (Swamy n.d.). The second strategy is to reject secularism as alien, opportunistic, and anti-Hindu and argue for a full Hindu Rashtra (No Secularism strand). It may be tempting to see these strands as reflecting a tension within Hindu nationalism, as marking a distinction between moderate and extremist Hindutva. But I see this less as a tension and more as a convenient ploy to “have your cake and eat it too”—attack secularism while claiming to be defending it, reject democratic ideals of equality and dissent while using democratic processes to acquire power and authority, reject the ideals of free speech and individual rights in the name of community cohesion while claiming a right to espouse hate politics in the public sphere. One may ponder that from a strictly egalitarian principle the Genuine Secularism strand has a fair case and that it argues for equal treatment of all religions, a uniform civil code, and the withdrawal of the “privileged” status of Jammu and Kashmir (Article 370 of Indian Constitution grants a special autonomous status to the Muslim-majority state). This is misleading,

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for Hindu nationalists are selective in their appropriation of the discourse of equality, rights, freedom, and democracy. While marshalling these ideals when denouncing Muslims or Christians, they are active in taking offense at any statement, act, or creative endeavor they classify as anti-Hindu. The Genuine Secularism proponents will connive with No Secularism activists in clamping down on cultural practices they find threatening (say Hindu-Muslim marriages, women going to pubs, artists depicting Hindu deities unconventionally, books arguing for a secularist outlook on Hinduism). If we examine the details of the Genuine Secularism strand, we see that their demands on the minorities, their prescription of complete assimilation, will mean an erasure of all differences and hence imply religious minorities becoming proto-Hindu. If Muslims start seeing Allah as one of the many gods, this will imply polytheism. Praveen Togadia, one of the most vocal Hindu extremist leaders, famous for his opposition to secularism, writes sanctimoniously, “Hindutva is itself secular and all those born in India ought to be the honest & true Indians. Our written Constitution guarantees to every Indian citizen, a right to live in peace with freedom in a Hindu Rashtra� (Foreword in Bhasin n.d.). If the Hindu nation is indeed secular and democratic, why change the Constitution of India to make India a Hindu Rashtra? Seshadri, a Hindutva ideologue, has an answer that appeals to the supposed nonpolitical national character of the Hindu nation: The difference [between the modern secular concept of nation and Hindu nation] is profound indeed as between a living and a non living body. In short, Hindu Rashtra is essentially cultural and content, whereas the so called secular concept pertains to state and is limited to the territorial and political aspects of the Nation. State is just one of the instruments though a very vital one created by the nation to serve its material needs. The nation denotes the whole, while the state only a part. State represents functions of the body part, while the culture represents those of the mind and the intellect. It is to denote this whole of our national entity that the word Hindu is used. (Seshadri 1990)

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However, for most Hindutva extremists, including members of the VHP and Bajrang Dal, secularism is a challenge they must confront. “The country is suffering from extremism of Jihad, terrorism and Church due to secularists . . . Anti India powers encourage Church and Islamic fundamentalisms in the name of secularism with the support of Indian government” (Singhal n.d.: 8–9). Secularism for Hindu nationalism is part of a conspiracy to undermine the Hindu character of India by blinding Hindus to serious threats posed by Muslims and Christians. A pamphleteer exhorts the readers: “After partition of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have become Islamic fix deposits but India is a joint current account that can be operated at will. In independent India, the secularism has degenerated into an instrument in the hands of militant Muslims and Nehruvian establishment to blackmail and harass Hindu majority” (Krishnaswami n.d.: 4). Unlike the “imperialistic” religions of Islam and Christianity, those that emerged from India including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and so on are “basically spiritual in nature; and emphasize on humanism, equality, allround physical, mental, and spiritual development and economic progress of humanity through self-development along with blessings of God. Here is no messiah, no middlemen, and no agent to seek God and achieve salvation” (Paliwal 2003: 16). Secularists in India, who argue for equal respect of all religions, are rejected as self-hating Hindus who fail to recognize the inherent superiority of Hindu Dharma. Singhal, from the VHP states it bluntly—Secularists are solely responsible for disasters brought about by materialist and consumerist cultures (Singhal n.d.: 19–20). The Hindutva attack on secularism is multipronged. They reject secularism as alien and anti-Hindu, secularists as opportunists (according to Champat Rai, secularists are “beech-ke log, na satya mein shraddha, naa satya mein” (“in-between people, have allegiance to neither truth nor untruth”; Personal Interview 2005f), and secular nationalism as problematic. For instance, they disagree with the secularist reading of the partition of India in 1947 as a product of the British policy of divide and rule and the fringe religious communalisms.

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Goel in his pamphlet blames the interaction of two behavior patterns for the ills of the Hindu society; according to him, “Muslim behaviour pattern was characterized by acrimony, accusations, complaints, demands, denunciations, and street riots. The [Hindu] National behaviour pattern, on the other hand, was characterized by acquiescence, assent, cajolery, concessions, cowardice, self-reproach, and surrender” (Goel n.d.c). This reading of Indian nationalism damns postindependence India for being anti-Hindu. The ideals of secularism, socialism, democracy, multiethnic nationalisms, unity in diversity, and so on that the Indian state presents as the strength of India, are all seen as anti-Hindu by the Hindu nationalists. It is interesting to see how Hindutva extremists oppose all progressive politics while denouncing the Muslims as regressive and backward. Paliwal rejects progressive movements of Dalits, women, and environmental protection as conspiracies hatched by the Church to exacerbate Hindu disunity. According to him, these are “theo-political activities directed by the foreign Missionaries and practically executed on the spot by the local Indian Christians and cheap labour engaged by the foreign money” (2003: 47). Another example can be found with VHP leader Ashok Singhal, who writes that an example of how the secularist Congress government conspires to destroy the backbone of Hindu society is the new law giving equal right to daughters to paternal property (Singhal n.d.). Instead of seeing this as a step forward in empowerment of women or even a validation of Hindus as more modern than other religious communities in India, Singhal argues that the equal right to property is a conspiracy of the Congress government to destroy Hindu families by suffocating them within British-imposed legal structure and thus make them amenable to attack by the Church. This is so because “the pure brother-sister bond will collapse as the awareness of right to property will erode the sense of duty” (Singhal n.d.: 16–17). This attitude of VHP’s senior leader serves to reinscribe the boundary of rights and duties for Hindu women—a good woman is one who is sacrificial and self-effacing for her family.

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The discomfort of Hindutva with the discourse of rights as opposed to duty is symptomatic of majoritarian nationalisms. A movement speaking in the name of a single nation existing within a diverse population shifts the locus of rights from the individual to the collective. It asserts the right of the nation to dictate how the state should function or how the state should treat those who might be citizens of the state but not belong to the nation, the minorities. It leaves only duties for the individuals. In this sense, majoritarian nationalism is by its very nature illiberal. Apart from attacking secularists and communists as self-hating Hindus, Hindu nationalists often criticize a “de-Hinduisation of public life” (Krishnaswami n.d.: 33) through the influence of Westernization (some term it Macaulayism). The residue of Macaulayism (Goel n.d.b.) is a “creeping toxaemia which corrodes the soul of a culture and corrupts a social system in slow stages”; a denigration of all things Hindu is accompanied by an extolling of all things Western. Parmananda, a Hindu religious figure, attacked both the secularists for weakening Hindu society and the media for westernizing innocent Hindu boys and girls through sexually permissive images. His statement, “apne bache aur bachiyon ko kutta, kuttiya kyon banana chahte ho?” (“Why do you want to turn your sons and daughters into dogs and bitches?”), was met with a loud applause during a public speech in Hardwar in December 2005 (Parmananda 2005). Westernization is blamed for anti-Hindu ethos in various walks of life—media, education, history textbooks, culture, and so on. Singhal in his pamphlet argues that the Westernization of electronic and print media, consciously or unconsciously, is destroying Indian culture. “The shamelessness being served by various channels is poisoning our families and society. Once the family starts to disintegrate, we should accept that the very basis of Hindu society will start cracking” (Singhal n.d.: 18). The bulk of the media, especially English media, is criticized as anti-Hindu. Krishnaswami laments that “the ‘obsessive-compulsive’ pseudo-secular behavior of national media can only be explained in psychopathological terms. It is indeed neurosis, which blinds them to see the obvious

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fact. That the foundation of Indian secularism rests upon the sands of Gandhian falsehood—‘The Islam is a noble faith’” (Krishnaswami n.d.: 3). Most commentators in the leaflets and tracts I have researched point toward the ills brought by Westernization in general but never criticize Indian business practices or the professional class that has benefited from recent liberalization and globalization. Paliwal draws attention to the role of Christianity in Westernization. He talks about the Church working along with “capitalistic colonialism” and of free entry of MNCs in press and electronic media as “destroying Hindu culture, ancient history and misrepresenting Hindu Dharma” (2003: 49). However, it is difficult to take this apparent antimaterialism of Hindutva at its face value. For it does not seek to provide any sustained or well-thought out assessment of the role of business in a society. It is easy to reject such lip service to antimaterialism because the same writers talk about threats to national economy and industries by local environmental activists. For example, Paliwal accuses the environmentalists of working for the Church’s agenda of slowing down industrial growth (2003: 47). Most Hindu nationalists remain pro-business and antiunionized labor. Hindutva affiliated labor unions often work to create divisions among workers. Democracy as an Enemy For Hindu nationalism, the fear of conspiracy from Islam and Christianity and the ill-preparedness of Hindus to fight this due to secularism, materialism, communism, and Westernization is made worse by India’s political system—democracy. According to Paliwal, Indian Muslims exploit secular democracy in various ways—in the name of protection of minority rights, they pressurize the Indian government not to implement a Uniform Civil Code and they “set-up Muslim pockets as Vote Bank by purchasing extensive areas of land and property in India by foreign money” and consolidate it “in the name of Allah and Islam through Fatwas for political purposes” (Paliwal 2003: 26).

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Hindu nationalists have a complicated relationship with democracy. Many try to present Hindutva as a center-right democratic movement or as being in favor of majority rule and hence a genuine democracy. But VHP and Bajrang Dal activists I interviewed and interacted with especially in Ayodhya, Hardwar, Ahmedabad, and Nagpur were united in their skepticism of democracy. For them democracy privileges those who are united. Muslims act as a vote bank while Hindus are divided along caste lines; hence the organized minority (Muslims) and opportunist secularists (non-Hindutva Hindus) who pamper them win. “The Hindus, in general, do not appear to possess a strong political will to vote and support, en masse, only a pro-Hindu candidate and the political party, during the local, state and central government elections. Slackness in exercising the right to vote in elections among the well placed, and middle class Hindus, is also a serious problem” (Paliwal 2003: 12). It is interesting that the anxiety expressed here is not only of Hindus not voting along religious lines, but of low turnout from “well placed, and middle class Hindus.” This class is seen as more prone to Hindu nationalist viewpoint than the poor, marginalized lower classes. While calling for the creation of Hindu vote banks, Muslim voters (i.e., the Muslim vote bank) are presented as possible danger to national security. We saw in Chapter 3 how the Mughalstan (2007) conspiracy lumps all Muslim voters and all successful Muslim politicians as threats to security. “Due to the concentration of the illegal immigrants in certain pockets, they determine the fate of the election there. Thus, the person that wins will be chosen not by Indians, but by foreigners. They can well form significant blocks, whose interest will necessarily clash with those of the country. One thus sees a major security threat in the situation” (HVK 1995: 4–5). Thus, in the Hindu nationalist worldview, democracy fails the majority community. Suresh Das of Digambar Akhara, in his speech at the VHP Dharma Sansad in 2005, called family Planning “Hindu virodhi” (anti-Hindu) because he saw it as a conspiracy aimed at reducing the Hindu population and enabling a Muslim takeover under democracy (Das 2005b).

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Das sees the democratic system of rule of the political majority as the catalyst for a Muslim-calculated overpopulation. All the sadhus at the Dharma Sansad shared his skepticism of democracy as a system, with one calling for a shift from Adharma Raj to Dharma Raj (Irreligious Rule to Religious Rule), where rulers are bound by the guidance of religious figures. Conclusion “Honestly speaking, the bare truth is that in the truncated India today, the Hindus appear to be unconcerned with the crisis of their own survival and existence. They are desperate and unorganised. They are socially fragmented, religiously divided and politically exploited” (Paliwal 2003: 7). Hindutva presents itself as the cure. Playing a politics of fear—where secular democracy colludes with the machinations of hostile minorities in keeping the Hindu nation in disarray—Hindutva calls for an awakening of the Hindu body politic.

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Query Form Book Title:

Anand

Chapter No:

Chapter 4 Queries and / or remarks

Query No.

Query / remark

Response

No Queries.

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Awakening the Hindu Mind and the Hindu Body

O Hindu ab to jaag O Hindu ab to jag, kantha mein laagi phansi! Kantha mein laagi phansi, thari log udave hansi!! O Hindu . . . (O Hindu, now at least, awaken O Hindu, now at least, awaken, there is a noose around your neck! There is a noose around your neck, people laugh at you!! O Hindu . . .) (VHP 2003: 308)

I

n the imagined battle with hostile expansionary foreign religionists, in contrast to emasculated Westernized Hindus infected by the alien idea of secularism, Hindu nationalists call for an awakening of the Hindu mind, body, and body politic. An awakening that emphasizes paurush/virility. Hindu nationalism seeks to masculinize the Hindu society. History is interpreted in terms of a pre-Islamic golden era, Hindu-Muslim antagonism for the past many centuries, emasculation of the Hindu body under Muslim rule, and selective masculine heroes who resisted alien Muslim rule, thus providing an inspiration for contemporary Hindus. Religion is reinterpreted to purge its ambiguity, diversity, and accommodativeness and to emphasize its martial and organizing potential. Prakashananda, a 100-year-old religious figure, declared to a crowd in Hardwar in December 2005,

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that the day Hindus awaken the universe will shake: “bharat ke charno par brahmand jhukega” (“the world will bow at the feet of India”) (Prakashananda 2005). In this chapter, I chart out the centrality of awakening to the Hindutva enterprise. The emphasis is on the individual Hindu’s mind and body as well as on the collective Hindu nation. Fear of the inimical minorities is sought to be countered by a pride in the Hindu self, a self that shuns pacifism and proves its virility through persistent individual vigilance and occasional collective violence against minorities. Champat Rai, a senior VHP leader, explained the rationale for having a militarized Hindu nation: “Most Muslims in India are converts; they converted out of fear, greed, or ignorance,” and if Hindus are strong, most “cowardly” converts will come back to the Hindu fold (Personal Interview 2005f). Thus, Hindutva’s collective fantasy of a resurgent Hindu nation embodies violence, pride, and a strong sense of affirmation. Contemporary Hindu nationalists imagine a masculinized Hindu society that is reproductively fertile, effectively organized, proud of its culture, and awakened to the dangers posed by enemies within the country. Awakening the Hindu Mind Though critics often reject Hindutva as a combination of extremism with obscurantism, Hindu nationalists place a lot of emphasis on consciousness raising and infusing the society with Hindutva ideology masking itself as true knowledge. Hindutva has its own version of “false consciousness,” which is said to affect secularist Hindus who do not see Muslims and Christians as enemies. Hindu nationalists involve themselves in generating, among the wider population, a sense of pride in Hindu nationalist consciousness. As shown in the previous chapters, this consciousness is intricately linked with being conscious as well as cautious about the enemies of the Hindus. Paliwal reminds his readers that “every Hindu should watch carefully the goings on in their neighbourhood, and complain to the government against those who are indulging in antinational activities” (Paliwal 2005).

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Hindutva’s ideologues, in public speeches as well as private conversations, in writings (online and offline) as well as through images, remind Hindus of primarily three things: first, their cultural identity as Hindu is most important; second, they should be proud of this and act collectively as a body politic; and third, the Hindu nationalists are the defenders of their cultural identity and political interests against the combined forces of their enemies. Goel cajoles his readers that the awakening has to be comprehensive as Hindus should become aware of the fundamentals of their own faith (Hindu Spirituality), the premises on which their own society has evolved (Hindu Sociology), and the vicissitudes which their own society has experienced in the march of Time (Hindu History). These are the three domains in which the Hindu image has been distorted to the utmost by imperialist thought systems, resulting in a deep sense of inferiority from which Hindus suffer at present. (Goel n.d.a)

The primary emphasis of Hindutva is on the mind as its awakening is seen as the first and most crucial step toward the realization of the Hindu nation in India. Leaflets, pamphlets, books, blogs, and so on are utilized to spread and consolidate Hindutva’s views. The exhortation to spread the “truth” around to increase Hindu nationalist awareness is strong. An example can be found in the foreword of a book by Balraj Madhok, a prominent Hindu nationalist ideologue who has a sparring relationship with the Sangh Parivar (especially the BJP). Unfortunately the people of Hindustan i.e. India which has been the worst victim of this conflict for centuries have remained ignorant about the root causes of the conflict and motivation behind Islamic Jehad. This ignorance of the leaders and policy makers of Hindus have cost the Hindus and Hindustan dear. The problem is getting worse every day because of the growing Muslim population. Basic authentic information about Islam and Muslim problem has been given in this booklet for the

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benefit of English knowing Hindustan, particularly opinion makers and religio-cultural and political leaders . . . , Please read and circulate. (Madhok 2005)

The awakening of the Hindu mind is thus mostly about accepting the Hindutva narrative on Hindu India under siege from hostile minorities and spreading this message around. A person has the responsibility to not only open her eyes to the truth (the only truth is the one espoused by Hindutva) but to encourage others around her to do the same. The best, and most disturbing, example of this is a manual (A Board of Experts n.d.) I managed to lay my hands on in Ahmedabad’s VHP office. I have summarized key parts of the manual in Appendix A. “The main purpose of this training manual is to create a group of non-Muslim experts on Islamic theology in order to expose Islam to the non-Muslim masses and demolish the myth of ‘religion of peace’ as Islam is generally misportrayed by the secularist agents of Islam,” the book clarifies. This manual clearly destroys the self-serving myth that Hindutva responds to and merely speaks for the already existing views of Hindus against the minorities. It must be zealously remembered and followed for all times that this “Training Manual” is not meant for the general public. It is specifically for the people who have resolved to shoulder the job of exposing Islam as a mission of life. Each copy of this “Training Manual” has a separate code-number. The activist to whom a copy of this ‘Training Manual’ is allotted must not part with his copy. Lending the copy to another person, whoever he may be, for even a very short period or photocopying the same is strictly prohibited and any such act shall be considered a serious breach of organizational discipline for which the concerned activist shall be held liable and answerable. The reader must go through this “Training Manual” with utmost sincerity and thoroughness and must achieve a complete grip over this subject before taking it to the public. In each and every session/debate on this particular subject, activists are instructed to carry a copy of the Quran for ready reference and demonstration. (A Board of Experts n.d.)

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Hindutva awakening is actually a concerted attempt to transform the common sense of the Hindus. While claiming to represent truth about Islam, Hindutva activists are engaged in fabricating their selective Islamophobic representations as the truth. Hindutva is thus engaged in propaganda. One of the instructions provided in this training manual is for the experienced Hindutva activist to confront a secularist in public: “Remember that though the secularist fellow sitting opposite you is the focus of the questions, but you should throw these questions in such a manner [as] if you are asking the same to the public. Interact with the crowd always to expose and heckle a secularist” (A Board of Experts n.d.: 85). The clinical and calculating characteristic of this manual leaves no doubt that there is nothing spontaneous or natural about Islamophobia among Hindus; fear of Muslims is a product of labor. The “Training Manual” is divided into three broad parts. The first part deals with the “theological Exposition of Islam,” the second with guidelines on how to counter specific arguments made by secularists and the Muslim intellectuals about Islam being a religion of peace. The third part deals with the “Strategy of creating awareness among the non-Muslims regarding the Islamic danger.” An important strategy for collective awakening is the control over language. Hindu nationalists recognize the important role of language in shaping the perception of reality. Krishnaswami advises activists to use the following expressions: “Muslim terrorist” instead of “Kashmiri militant,” “Islam” in place of “Islamic fundamentalism,” “Hindu victims of ethnic cleansing” for “Kashmiri migrants,” “Opportunistic Islam” for “moderate Islam,” “Mask-of-Islam” for “Sufi-Islam,” “terrorist rights” instead of “human rights,” “bastard-harem culture” instead of “composite culture,” “Agents of Islam” instead of “Leftists and Communists,” and “Nationalism” instead of “Hindu communalism” (Krishnaswami n.d.: 30–31). Thus, Hindutva’s mind awakening is aimed at individual as well as collective “salvation.” The awakening is not about the development of critical faculties but an acceptance of conformity. A conformist way of thinking that accepts the Hindutva

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worldview without questioning. It is also an uncritical celebration of what is presented as an authentic Hindu cultural identity. The term that is relevant here is jagran—it implies both an awakening and a worshipping. Hindutva’s effort to awaken the Hindu nation goes hand in hand with worship (uncritical celebration) of the Hindu Self. Let me give another example of how Hindutva seeks to generate Hindu pride through subtle and mundane ways. Rather than invent new modes of communication, they seek to use the already existing ones. Culturally embedded modes of transmission of ideas and narratives allow Hindutva to represent itself as a mere reflection of the Hindu culture, rather than as an innovation. For example, a Hindutva ideologue exhorts his readers and followers to use stories to propagate Hindu dignity (Abhayankar 2001). In a pamphlet produced during Sangh’s Rashtriya Jagran Abhiyan (National Awakening Campaign) of 2000, there is a Q&A “Did you know” section. Quizzes and Q&As form a staple of the print media in India, and Hindutva tracts too make use of these formats. A quick look at some of the questions and answers illustrates the purpose—it is not to generate general knowledge but to instil a sense of pride in Hindu history. Who discovered America? Christopher Columbus? No. There is proof of images of Indian art in the temples of the Aztecs which prove that the Indians had already been there. Who discovered India? Vasco-de-Gama? No. Vasco-de-Gama’s ship was towed from Africa to South India by an Indian sailor. The Indian ship was many times bigger than the ship of Vasco-de-Gama . . . When was electricity discovered? About 100 years ago? No. The Vedas the oldest book in the world, give clear definitions of electricity, magnetism, heat, light, sound and ether . . . All the above is just the tip of the iceberg, the list is endless. But, if you don’t see even a glimpse of that great BHARAT in the India of today, it clearly means that we are not working

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up to our potential and that, if we do, we could once again be an evershining and inspiring country taking along the world to great heights. Let us be confident. If our forefather could do it, why can’t we, their worthy children? (RSS 2000b: 16–18)

The above example shows that Hindutva is adept at utilizing popular modes of knowledge creation and transmission. They not only appeal to faith, but seek to shape the common sense of the wider society. It is wrong to see Hindu nationalists as parochial, nonmodern, and unaware of the globalizing world around them; they are no “country bumpkins.” Hindutva thinkers always make use of examples from beyond India to validate themselves. As the above quiz shows, the “knowledge” about the modern world is very much part of the Hindutva lexicon. However, this modern worldliness has only one purpose—to legitimize and validate the superiority of the ancient Indian/ Hindu civilization. Hindutva polemic never looks for validation through Persian, Arabic, or Turkic sources and it conveniently ignores achievements made in India under the Muslim rulers. The focus is always on using Europe to validate Hindu civilization. The knowledge of the “international” as well as “history” services the contemporary politics of reshaping common sense in India. Awakening the Hindu (A)Sexual Body As expressions of collective politics, the national cannot function without individual corporeal bodies that perform. The body is crucial to the nationalist project. Performativity is “not a singular act; it is a repetition and a ritual, which achieves desired effects through its naturalization in the context of a body, understood, in part, as a culturally sustained temporal duration (Butler 1999: xiv–xv; see also Butler 1993). These performative and performing bodies in the nation-politics are predominantly, though not exclusively, male identified bodies, especially when conjured up as active agents. However,

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limited scholarship has dealt with the masculinity of the movement, particularly in regard to its personnel, ideas, and ethos (Bacchetta 1999; Banerjee 2006; Hansen 1996). Hindu nationalism is a gendered nationalism; and even though this gendering has masculine as well as feminine aspects, depending on the context (for instance, the representation of Mother India), overwhelmingly, it is gendered masculine (where an awakened masculine nation is called to protect the feminine land). Hence, it is not very different from nationalist movements worldwide (see Anthias and Yuval-Davis 1992; Enloe 1989; Nagel 1998; Pettman 1996). A focus on masculine bodies does not imply that feminine bodies are secondary since no conception of masculine can exist without a constitutive mirror opposite of the feminine. Peterson is right when she argues “it is women’s bodies, activities, and knowing that must be included if we are to accurately understand human life and social relations” (1992: 11). It is equally important that we reconceptualize political movements of dominance such as nationalism for what they first and foremost are: construction/expression of masculinized bodies that assume the biologically “maleness” as the main referent point. We cannot understand nationalism unless we see it as constituted primarily through, to modify Peterson, men’s bodies, activities, and knowledge, even while recognizing that categories of men and women are not biologically but socially constructed. The ideal Hindu person for Hindutva combines a vigilant mind with a strong body. The Shakha system of the RSS is presented as a “process of man making.” As a pamphlet produced by the Sangh explains, for them man making is the same as character building (which in turn is a mix of love for the motherland, feeling of brotherhood for the fellow swayam sevaks and regarding the whole nation as a family) (Bajpai and Barthawal 2001: 9; see also National Movement & the RSS 2000). The use of motifs of man, motherland, and brotherhood clearly illustrates the idealized Hindutva subject—a masculine figure who works for the goal of collective Hindu Rashtra.

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The RSS, the movement/organization seen as the core of Hindu nationalism, has an ideal of “saravangee unnati” (“allround development”) that places a premium on “militarylike discipline . . . essential for any nation building exercise” (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh 2003a) with its stress on physical exercises to mold boys and men. The Hindu body that is to be (re)masculinized is both individual and collective. Individual Hindus, through exercises and service, have to become strong and the collective Hindu nation has to react like a viraat purush (one corporate masculine body). M. S. Golwalkar, the second RSS sarsangh chalak (supreme leader), credited with developing the Sangh as an “ideal ‘Man making’ instrument” (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh 2003b), saw Hindutva’s mission as that of shaking off emasculating notions instilled by Westernization/Marxism/Secularism and making “real living men.” The Hindutva call for an awakening of the Hindu nation is a project of constructing a militant Hindu masculinity. In the Madura session of the Hindu Mahasabha in 1940, Savarkar said: “I want all Hindus to get themselves re-animated and reborn into a martial race (in Sharma 2003: 148). By setting up contrasts with the dangerously virile Muslim masculinity as well as with docile Hindu men emasculated by the feminine principles of Hinduism, the pacifism of figures like Lord Buddha, the nonviolence of Gandhi, and the dangerous idea of secularism (Agarwal 1995: 37–38), Hindutva presents itself as creating/awakening a different masculinity. One that is virile and masculine (in contrast to secularist Hindus) and yet responsible and controlled (in contrast to Muslims) (see Bacchetta 2004). The preoccupation with recuperating masculinity, tolerating no more, showing who the real man is—these characterize the writings and speeches of Hindutva leaders as well as everyday language of Hindutva workers (see Patwardhan 1994; Banerjee 2006; Sharma 2004). No one is spared as the iconography of favorite gods and historical figures (Shivaji and Rana Pratap) undergo militant and homoerotic makeover with stress on bulging muscles, war-like expression, and erect demeanor. Lord Rama’s Rambo-esque

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imagery (see Kapur 1993), replete with bulging muscle, used in many Hindutva posters stands in contrast to a more familiar image of him as soft (see Mishra 2002). The bulk of Hindus are meant to be reproductively fertile and produce an increasing number of sons. “We will become Pakistan unless we organize,” thundered Ashok Singhal in Hardwar (2005) reminding his audience of the dangers of family planning. According to him, as with most Hindu nationalists, it is only naive Hindus who adhere to the norm of family planning while minorities breed uncontrollably. The general Hindu population is encouraged to fulfil their duty to the Hindu nation by “competing” with overpopulating Muslims. Suresh Das screamed over the loud applause from his audience: “Each Hindu bhai [brother] should have at least 6 sons, two for the service of religion, two for protecting borders and two for the economy” (Das 2005b). No one asked him about the future of his ideal Hindu society if only sons, and not daughters, are born. Singhal’s vision is clear: since Muslims will be 50 percent of the population because they have a conspiracy of “bacche badhakar lenge Hindustan” (“we’ll take over India by increasing children”), Hindus must end family planning and the religious figures must give the blessing of “Doodho nahaon, pooto phalo” (“Bathe in prosperity, have plenty of children”) to all Hindus (Singhal 2005). Clearly Hindutva is not a reproductively suicidal movement, but it has the ideal of asexual virility for the committed leaders and activists. The awakening of the Hindu nation requires sacrifices from at least some of the awakened Hindu male bodies. A sacrifice not of their masculinity but of their sexuality, and this sacrifice is deemed to be essential to the performance of that masculinity. This challenges Connell’s emphasis on sexuality within hegemonic masculinity, including the argument that “the most symbolically important distinction between masculinities is in terms of sexuality. Hegemonic masculinity is emphatically heterosexual, homosexual masculinities are subordinated . . .” (2000: 102). While remaining convincingly heterosexual, Hindu nationalism extols chastity over sexuality and control over performance. Thus, the hegemonic masculinity within Hindu

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nationalist imagination is not simply sexual, but ranges between asexuality and controlled (hetero)sexuality. “The RSS degrades sexuality . . . but does not expel them from the discourse altogether. Instead, it projects sexuality onto its Others” (Bacchetta 2004: 101). To be masculine is to perform heterosexual sex; yet, the ideal Hindu masculinity does not perform or offer a controlled performance. It does so by denigrating sexuality and sexual acts as demeaning, distracting, and weakening. The real men are those that control and/or transcend these bodily weaknesses. The activist in the RSS is “enjoined to be a brahmachari; a self-less, celibate disciple whose devotion to the common good is in direct proportion of his self-control” (Alter 1994: 568). Thus, the ideal Hindu nationalist masculinity does not lend itself to an easy analysis in terms of virile heterosexuality, for the ideal masculinity is virile asexuality for the activists and controlled sexuality for the general population. Therefore, sex is not for pleasure but a means of producing Hindu children to proliferate the Hindu population (see Bacchetta 1999). Most Hindu nationalist senior leaders remain unmarried and celibate in the name of total devotion to the motherland. Like religious ascetics, they see marriage as a distraction from the higher goals of life; but unlike them, the Hindu nationalists’ goal is not religious but a nationalist salvation. Nationalism is conceptualized as an awakening of the Hindu nation, which is seen as being made possible by awakening the Hindu body, particularly the Hindu male body. As Dr Rameshwar Das Vaishnav Das, a Hindu nationalist religious figure, proclaimed in a public speech in Hardwar in December 2005, “so long as we have potent (punsat) men, we will win the oncoming war against the Muslims and their allies” (Vaishnav Das 2005). These potent men are the ones who can protect Hindu female bodies, the Hindu nation, and mother India. But this potent masculinity demands an awakened mind and an awakened body. In this context, the emphasis on physical exercises, outdoor sports, and quasi-military drills are meant to make the Hindu male body physically strong. Brute physical strength is accompanied by an awakening of the mind, a mind that is able to recognize the enemies of the nation and is proud

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of Hindu history and culture. The concept of shakti (strength) combines physical ability and mental fortitude. What makes these men potent is not their ability to perform sexually as an individual body, but their willingness to sacrifice their individual desires to serve the higher cause of the collective Hindu body. The RSS, as Hansen argues, serves to “encourage a systematic sublimation of sexual energy into ideologically purified services to the Mother—the nation” (1996: 148). While Hindutva is predominantly about masculinizing the nation and nationalizing masculinity, the role of women is very important in the movement. A conspicuous feature of Hindu nationalism, when it rose to political prominence in the 1990s, was the visibility of women as active participants; and several studies have analyzed the relationship between women and the movement (Bacchetta 2004; Basu 1996; Butalia 1995; Jayawardena and De Alwis 1998; Kumar 2006; Menon 2010; Sarkar and Butalia 1995). Since my research focused predominantly on the production of nationalist-masculinism and its politics of fear, I do not have much to add to the existing scholarship on women and Hindutva. Hindu nationalists are not blind to the gender-based inequalities in India. Unsurprisingly, they blame it all on the foreign influences. As a pamphlet of the most prominent Hindutva women’s organization, the Rashtra Sevika Samiti, makes it clear: “Due to constant foreign invasions by Muslims and later on by British Colonial rule, Hindu traditions were seriously affected and the status of women undermined” (Rashtra Sevika Samiti 1999: 1). Once all the ills of contemporary Hindu society are ascribed to the foreign ruler and “foreign religionists,” Hindutva writers and activists wax eloquently about the idealized position of women in Hinduism. The emphasis is on woman as a mother figure. The Sangh, an exclusive bastion of men (Samiti is affiliated to the Sangh family, but women cannot join the RSS), reminds people that: Giving utmost respect to womanhood is one of the most important values of the Hindu way of life. Woman is not regarded as an object of mere sexual pleasure but as a divine

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cultural treasure. It is an integral part of the Hindu way of life to treat every woman, except one’s wife, that too only in regard to her role as a wife, as equal to one’s own mother. Every woman including girl child is to be regarded as incarnation of motherhood. This value has been evolved and preserved as the most powerful antidote to the basic male tendency to look for a chance to assault women . . . Every Hindu attaches great importance to motherhood and has deep respect for Swa-mata (one’s own mother), Stree-mata (woman as mother), Bhu-mata (mother-earth) and Bharatmata (in case of those whose motherland is different from Bharat, their respective country). It is for this reason that a Hindu, whichever country happens to be his motherland, remains loyal to that country. This is a special quality or attribute of the Hindu way of life. (RSS 2000b: 5, 7)

Purportedly about the role of women in Hindu society, the RSS tract makes it clear who the primary audience is—the Hindu male (see also RSS 2000a). It is the male who has the nationalist agency, who is supposedly a respecter of his mother, women, earth, and mother-nation. The Hindu way of life is seen as an “antidote to the basic male tendency to look for a chance to assault women” (one wonders what is the source of this understanding of male behavior). This allows the RSS and its affiliates to brush off all incidents of brutalization of women in India as resulting from non-Hindus or non-Hindu influences. A Christian or Muslim male rapist is seen as reflecting his religious values, but a Hindu male rapist is seen as having failed to imbibe the “Hindu way of life.” The homosocial bonding that characterizes the lives of Hindutva male activists prevents a meaningful engagement with women as active agents of politics. During my ethnographic field trip, all the activists I met repeated the idealized polemic of Hindu women as mothers/ sisters/daughters, while reserving sexualization for Muslim, Christian, and Westernized Hindu women. In contrast, my limited interaction with women activists— except for a few sadhvis (Hindu female ascetics) in Hardwar, the only ones I met were Sevika Samiti and Durga Vahini activists in Nagpur—gave a different and more diverse understanding of

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the role of Hindu women in the Hindu nation. My identity as a male was an obstacle here and prevented me from establishing a rapport. The emphasis for Hindutva female activists was on performing various duties to strengthen the Hindu nation. They focused on empowerment, on nari shakti (women’s power), at least in their rhetoric. Unlike the Sangh men who give a more paternalistic and patronizing view of the Samiti (in private, the VHP and Bajrang Dal activists in the Nagpur office during my visit in 2005 laughed off female activists as only good for bringing in tea), women themselves appropriate a more equal role. In the official biography of Mausiji, the founder of the Rashtra Sevika Samiti, her relationship with the RSS founder Keshava Baliram Hedgewar is narrated thus: “Dr Hedgewar became an elder brother, guide and philosopher for Lakshmi. She also gave a new direction and a larger dimension to Dr Hedgewar’s philosophy. She made him realise the significance of the dormant woman power and how essential it was to evoke and channelise it for the national and social welfare” (Rai 1996: 25). Clearly Hindutva women see their role as more than that of a nurturer and carer. A widely available Sevika Samiti pamphlet “Empowerment Pragmatic” celebrates historical women figures as “able administrator, a statesman leader and an ideal mother” (Rashtra Sevika Samiti n.d.). Yet, the differences over the role of women in Hindu society are not fundamental. Hindutva men and women agree on the primacy of the patriarchal family. Any agency that a woman has is subsumed to that of the family and the ideal family is one that has a clear division of labor and authority between husband and wife. Sevika Samiti emphasizes on “Mother Power” and “Mother Consciousness” and rejects the mainstream women’s movement in India for “destroying the family setup instead of destroying the evil conventions” (Rashtra Sevika Samiti 1999: 8). While extolling historical female figures for their leadership, most activities of Hindutva women’s organizations are geared toward making girls and women subsidiary to the male figures in their lives (for example in Ritambhara n.d.). Any leadership aspiration has to be fulfilled only with the permission of the patriarch (father or brother or husband). As Sehgal shows through her research,

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empowerment of women by Hindutva to counteract the supposed historic victimization by Muslim men ends up reaffirming feminine vulnerable identity (2007). The empowerment thus has to be domesticated and nonthreatening to the patriarchal values of the society. Sadhvi Ritambhara has this to say: I cannot preach women to struggle with men. There is no question of fighting with men. Our place is higher than that of men. If you find womanly satisfaction [stri sukh] in competing with men, you have my permission; but remember that the struggle and competition will only bring you grief.... The satisfaction you will get when you give birth to a son, hug him close, and raise him nicely, feed your loved one, can not be derived when you salute others [work for others] . . . Motherhood and maternity is your essence. (Ritambhara 2003: 17–18)

This Hinduized version of women’s empowerment idealizes family and refuses to challenge patriarchal values and the gender inequities that flow from it. Hindutva women, as well as men, are thus the “awakened” Hindus who give up their individual interests for the bigger goal of awakening the Hindu body politic. This giving up of individual interests for the collective is not a progressive move to struggle for rights and justice. It is a conservative reaction to social changes that are seen as negative and as resulting from anti-Hindu conspiracies of minorities. “A Hindu identifies himself with the glory, the insult and the calamities of Bharat and responds to it in a very spontaneous manner disregarding his personal interests. Awakening these sentiments and organising the Hindus on a cultural basis through women for universal peace and happiness is the life-mission of Samiti” (Rashtra Sevika Samiti 1999: 17). Hindutva’s awakening of the individual bodies thus is aimed at the awakening of the Hindu collective, the resurgence of the Hindu nation. Awakening of Culture Dharma Sansads (Religious Parliaments) are gatherings of Hindu saints and religious figures under the aegis of the VHP

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and are meant to discuss the main issues affecting the Hindu religion and then agree on resolutions to give guidance to the activists of the VHP. I witnessed one in the north Indian pilgrimage town of Hardwar on 13–14 December 2005. The event started with a sadhu leading a collective song: “Humko apne Bharat ki mati se anupam pyaar hai . . . har Hindu ka rom rom Bharat kapehredar hai” (“We have unparalleled love for the soil of Bharat, each breath of every Hindu is Bharat’s guard”) preceded and followed by loud chants of “Jai Shri Ram” (“Hail Lord Ram”). Sadhus would close their palms, raise both hands, and shout their approval to resolutions being discussed in Parliament through the chants of Om. The emphasis was on using songs and kirtans and chants and cajoling the audience of sadhus to join. Repetition in different pitches and with different word arrangements was an effective tool. There was a display of symbolic supremacy of sadhus and sants (holy person) with VHP leaders being mere lay disciples. Even Ashok Singhal and Praveen Togadia, two senior-most VHP leaders, touched the feet of senior sadhus and all the sadhus were garlanded by lay activists. As it became evident during the Dharma Sansad, religiousculture is the primordial essence of human life in Hindutva thinking. Culture is seen as the realm of organic life, as everything good about human collectivity, as heritage, as the common bond. Sabhyata (civilization) and sanskriti (culture/heritage) are what make people distinct. However, it is a specific religioninfused and religion-determined take on culture. The Hindu nationalist worldview on subjects of local life, national politics, and international relations are suffused with a religious-cultural framework with the focus on three norms and an aberration— the clever and expansionary Christian way of life, the violent and expansionary Muslim way of life, the peaceful and inward looking Hindu way of life, and the alien and alienating Chinese communist way of life. It is a putative “Hindu culture,” deriving from thousands of years of history, which is seen as the sole determinant of Indianness. Indian = Hindu is beyond the realm of questioning. Thus, here we see the imagination of an identifiable Hindu culture through two processes—a historicization

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of contemporary Hindu culture (what is done today has been going on since time immemorial) and a homogenization of it (worship of certain gods, say Ram or Hanuman, is promoted as the essence of Hindu culture). It is Hindu Dharma, which determines the sabhyata and sanskriti in India and, therefore, the onus is on the Hindu samaj (society/community) to recognize this self-identity, promote and protect it. Democratic politics is seen as a betrayal of culture. In the Hindu nationalist imagination, culture is good, democratic politics is bad. Hindu nationalists equate politics with elections. They argue that the compulsions of democratic politics, the divisions and lack of awareness within the Hindu society of its own cultural supremacy, the legacy of Gandhi and Nehru in terms of betraying Hindus and promoting “pseudo-secularism,� and assertive and conniving enemies within (Muslim, Christians, secularists, communists, Westernized media) have all contributed to the lack of confidence of Hindus in their own culture. Politics is corrupt. Parmananda, a sadhu, during the Dharma Sansad speech, used an analogy of dowry to explain the behavior and greed of politicians. In a eight daughter family, the father offered the hand of his youngest daughter of 18 years with a dowry of 1 lakh, his second youngest with a dowry of 2 lakhs, and so on with the eldest daughter available for marriage with a dowry of 8 lakhs. Power hungry politicians are like a man who goes and marries the eldest daughter due to his greed and thus misses out on the youngest and hence most desirable daughter. (Parmananda 2005)

The audience laughed at this. This sadhu’s advice was not to be greedy but to marry the youngest daughter. His assumption accepted by the approving audience was that dowry is natural and it is the youngest, who by virtue of her lower age, is the most desirable. Hindu nationalists indulge in politics, but present it as a regrettable necessity of political mobilization to defend the culture. While most commentators argue that Hindu nationalists

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mobilize cultural resources for political purposes, the selfunderstanding of Hindu nationalism is very different. They have to participate in politics because that is the only way to defend the Hindu sanskriti, sabhyata, and samaj—the Hindu cultural body. So, a Hindu body politic is demanded to defend the Hindu cultural politic. Hindu nationalists, therefore, present themselves as reluctant political crusaders. But they highlight that anything else will destroy the Hindu community. So, as a “reaction” to the democratic compulsion, they are willing to play the game of vote bank while at the same time claiming that their goal is above politics—it is cultural. Praveen Togadia, the VHP political leader, cajoled the participating sadhus at Dharma Sansad to politicize their discharge of religious services to the lay population: “get disciples to pledge to vote as Hindus” (Togadia 2005). Hindutva focuses on an awakening of the culture. In order to put into practice their desire for political mobilization for the larger purpose of defending and securing the Hinduness of Indian culture, Hindu nationalism demands an awakening of culture and those who share the culture. While the Hindu nationalists reserve their venom for the numerous enemies of Hindu society, especially the Muslims, their lament and frustration are often directed against the unawakened Hindu cultural self. The focus of the VHP is very much on defending Hindus against the alien influences of Islam, Christianity, Westernization, communism, and secularism. In the West, where the VHP is active in the diaspora, the focus is on giving an affirmative sense of coherent identity and recognition to Hindus, though the subtext of antipathy of what is seen as alien influences remain. For the VHP, Hindus have been lulled into sleep as a collective body through centuries of enslavement and foreign rule engendering a sense of inferiority and through active conspiracies of Muslims and Christians in connivance with the corruption of secular democracy. And therefore, the Hindu nationalists’ main task is to awaken the Hindu society that is proud of its culture and willing to act as a body politic. As Jagadish Nand roared during the Dharma Sansad, “Agar hum khare ho jayein, musalman bhi thande ho jayenge, atankwad

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bhi khatma ho jayega” (“If we stand, Muslims will cower in fear and terrorism will be over”) (Nand 2005). A disciplining of culture is demanded. A sadhu at the Dharma Sansad, Hans Das of Hardwar’s Jagannath Math, encouraged his fellow sadhus to use festivals selectively to mobilize Hindus: “Use Shri Ram Mahotsava during Ram Navami to distribute saffron flags to ordinary Hindu families, take pledge from them to vote as Hindu vote bank and create Hindu Rashtra; mobilize all Hindus including the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled tribes and emphasize all Hindus are one; rejuvenate akharas [gyms] to tackle the conspiracy of making Hindu youths lazy and addicted; and create temples as centres of social and religious consciousness” (Das H. 2005). Political mobilization is achieved through a single-minded devotion to a homogenized and historicized Hindu culture. The reality of the fissiparous, complicated, and contradictory character of “Hindu” as well as “culture” is seen as an obstacle to overcome. Discipline the activists, discipline the society, and discipline the Hindu culture itself in order to make it amenable as a mobilizable resource. And this purging or ignoring of “inconvenient” plurality of Hindu culture is indulged in zealously. Transforming culture and making it subservient to the goal of political mobilization for a Hindu nation thus becomes acceptable (see also Bhatt 2004; Bilimoria 1996; Bock 1997). Disciplining requires the censoring and purging of culture’s plurality and transforming the culture itself. Since what can pass off as Hindu culture is extremely diverse and plural, Hindu nationalists seek to transform it to make it more manageable. A contradiction between the idea of culture as affirmative, unifying, holistic, above politics, and demanding policing and the actual practice of instrumentalist and selective appropriation of culture for political mobilization is an important dynamic within Hindu nationalism. Hindutva organizations tend to present themselves as organic expressions of an ancient culture even though a close look reveals the creative ways in which they transform fuzzy religious and cultural practices (see Katju 2003 on VHP and culture). Gyananda, at the Dharma Sansad, introduced the resolution to declare the Gita as a national scripture

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because “it is compact, has great depth, has a wide appeal, was recognized as superior by Emerson, Carlyle and even Warren Hastings, and emphasizes duty at a time when everyone talks of rights; Gita is good even for chandalas [outcastes] as they can achieve behavioural equality” (Gyananda 2005). Kalash, an auspicious pot of water, is a common presence in Hindu religious-culture and part of many private and public rituals. In a short booklet on symbols of Hindu culture published by the Rashtra Sevika Samiti, Symbols of Bhartiya Sanskriti, Hindu and Indian (Bharatiya) are seen as one and the same. The Hindu nationalist subtext becomes clear when the discussion on Kalash ends with the statement, “The Kalash of the temple gives us a message that we have to live a purposeful life by filling it with patriotism, self-respect and sanctity” (Symbols n.d.: 21, emphasis added). That patriotism is necessarily about confining one’s locus of passion and affection to a specific bounded community, something that has no religious validity in Hinduism, is conveniently ignored by Hindutva. If the Hindu nationalist vision ever becomes successful, there will be a clarity, a lack of ambiguity, a Hindu culture devoid of any “alien” influence, and slightly less than a billion Hindus marching to the same tune. Even if this requires going against aspects of Hindu religion, so be it. Transformation of culture is an essential part of making it amenable to then being used as a resource for political mobilization, which in turn is justified in the name of the higher goal of defending the already existing Hindu culture. So, to protect culture, we need politics; to make politics work, we use culture; to use culture for politics, we must discipline and transform culture. Thus, in the name of defending Hindu culture, Hindu nationalists discipline and transform it, with the ultimate aim of awakening/creating a Hindu body politic. Awakening the Body Politic Awareness is the first step in fighting the war for Hindutva. For the “strength of the Muslim world lies in the non-Muslims’

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ignorance of the Islamic scriptures and doctrines” (Sen 2001: 2). Consciousness raising, the shaping of common sense, interventions in culture, transformation of religion, masculinization of nationalism, and other strategies to counter the putative dangers faced by the Hindus are all aimed at the construction of a Hindu nation. The fashioning of this Hindu body politic along Hindutva lines is presented as an awakening of the already existing Hindu nation. As scholarly writings have argued, this is how the discourse of modern nationalism functions—by historicizing the present through a selective use of the stories of the past. The autobiography of the RSS, the key Hindutva organization, goes like this—Keshav Baliram Hedgewar founded the RSS in 1925 after assessing the decline of Hindu unity despite the “intrinsic strength of Hindu philosophy [of oneness].” He realized the need to create a force in the society to re-awaken the Hindus. As Bhiku Ramchandra, a senior RSS official says, for Hedgewar it was necessary “to instill in the mind of every Hindu the awareness that Hindu Society with all its faults and virtues was HIS SOCIETY and his progress was inseparable from the Society’s progress. In order to create this awareness, he set about the task of creating an organization of selfless workers dedicated solely to extending this philosophy to all spheres of national life” (Dada Idate 1997: 2). Thus, from the very beginning the role of Hindutva organizations was to organize. It was held that for various reasons including the experience of foreign rule and the continuing conspiracies of minorities, the otherwise great Hindu nation had fallen into ignorance and disunity. The role of the RSS, and subsequently its affiliate bodies, was to organize Hindus politically. The constant emphasis in Hindutva writings is on unity and “organized strength.” Unlike the mainstream Indian nationalism that adopts the ideology of “unity in diversity,” Hindutva sees diversity as a danger and valorizes unity. “VHP is incessantly working toward awakening the Hindu society, hitherto divided into several groups under the slogan of Unity in Diversity, into a fraternal bond with a feeling that all are different parts of a single Hindu body” (Togadia in VHP 2003).

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The VHP and other Hindu nationalist outfits are following the framework originally set by the RSS. In Hegdewar’s opinion, “An organisation is bound emotionally and cemented by discipline, a sense of belonging and commitment to social welfare. It is like a rock, solid and strong, because its particles are strongly coalesced. It is not easy to break it even with hammer” (Bajpai and Barthawal 2001: 4). RSS and other Hindu nationalist bodies set out to organize and mobilize Hindus in accordance with their vision. The fact that they have not yet managed to secure support from majority of the Hindus does not imply that they are rethinking their vision. Hindutva leaders and activists often talk about strategies to create a “Hindu vote bank.” Hindu nationalists modify and adapt their strategies depending on the situation but their vision of a politicized and organized community of Hindus—the Hindu nation—remains static. “The primary task of Vishwa Hindu Parishad is to remove the divisions on accounts of state, language, sect, caste, hierarchy, place or region, and create a society that is harmonious, strong and firm, one whose development is not a hurdle in the welfare and peace of the rest of the world” (Togadia in VHP 2003: 6). Plurality and contradictions, historically and socially the essential features of Hindu religion and culture, are thus the main obstacles for Hindutva. Hindu nationalists, while paying lip service to tolerance and harmony, have only one aim—to create a corporate Hindu national identity that papers over all the internal fissures by focusing on the dangers posed by Muslims and other minorities. The field of democratic politics is denigrated as essentially corrupt; hence, large sections of the Hindu nationalist movement, especially the RSS, define themselves as apolitical. At the same time, Hindu nationalism is essentially a political movement that seeks to organize Hindu society under its banner; and in this democratic politics, it is seen as an inescapable evil/ally. While the state is criticized as pseudo-secular and the generic politician is branded as corrupt, state institutions of police and military are hailed as potential allies. The capture of the state—the phallus par excellence—remains an unspoken but clearly evident goal of Hindu nationalists. Praveen

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Togadia warned religious men gathered for a public event in Hardwar in December 2005 against disillusionment with politics, “disenchantment with politics will not help because without Raja [political ruler], dharma will perish” (Togadia 2005). Violence Violence becomes an integral part of the porno-nationalist asexualized masculinizing project that is Hindu nationalism. Violence against inimical Others, especially the Muslims, is justified and occasionally demanded as an unavoidable reaction. As Chandra argues, stereotypes enable many Hindus, “in the face of their undisputed implication in savage violence, to feel varying degrees of guilt and yet to transfer it on to the ever obliging Muslim aggressor” (1996: 89). My Hindutva respondents often repeated the saying, “Bhay bin hot na preet” (“there is no love without fear”). They argued that Muslims only understand the language of violence. Suraj Pratap Singh, a Hindu nationalist leader, in a public speech narrated a story of a man with four sons who were a lawyer, a doctor, a policeman, and a judge. When someone slaps the father, the sons deliberate and discuss but take no action. The father laments; he wishes he had an illiterate son who would take action and avenge him. Singh cajoles the Hindu men to show their masculinity and to the accompaniment of loud claps, declares, “If your blood does not boil now, when will it boil? Slap those who humiliate you, there is no need to discuss” (Singh 2005). The Hindu nationalist violence is justified as reducing violence. Thus, for the Hindu nationalists, all violence perpetrated by them is legitimate reaction to originary provocation and/or violence by the religious minorities. Responding to the charges and well-documented attacks by Hindu zealots on Christian missionaries, a Hindutva pamphlet argues: There is no programme of any Hindu organisations to attack missionaries, either singly or on a concerted basis. It is not part of the Hindu cultural values to indulge in violence. At the same

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time, Hindus have to protect themselves, at the physical and civilisational levels. If the Christian missionaries are creating harm to them, then the Hindus have every right to defend themselves. All legal methods will be first employed. If the missionaries persist in their efforts of creating tensions, then some sort of reaction will always take place. (HVK 1999: 24)

As I elaborated in the previous chapters, the will to organize Hindus politically is seen as a response to the threats posed by minorities. Hindutva claims to desire peace, but it is a peace that comes from a concentration of power and authority in religious culture–based politicized and militarized communities. For the Sangh, To be weak is a great sin. If no society is weak, this world will be peaceful . . . [RSS] would put an end to the unjust and aggressive tendencies of others. So far, our weakness has encouraged others to tyrannize us. To ensure that nobody has the courage to attack us, we want to make this organisation strong. This organisation will act as a prophylactic to prevent the epidemic of aggression. If other societies do not attack us, our strength will pose no threat to them . . . Thus, the aim of the Sangh is to make an effective organisation of Hindus (i.e. all those who consider Bharat as their motherland, fatherland and sacred land) for the protection of its Dharma, society and culture. This will help us salvage our self-confidence, and looking at our prowess, the vicious nature of the aggressors will weaken and they shall never dare to attack us again. (in Bajpai and Barthawal 2001: 4–5)

Thus, the militarized and masculinized Hindus, led by Hindu nationalist organizations such as the RSS, are seen as an inevitable and unavoidable reaction to the dangerous forces of foreign religionists. Hindutva is not only for protection of the Hindus but also for providing a sense of confidence and pride. The affirmation of the Hindu Self is predicated upon the denigration and demonization of the Muslim-Christian-Communist-Secular Other. As a VHP tract clarifies the role for its youth wing, the

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Bajrang Dal, has pledged to create “a proud and masculinebravery-filled society” (“swabhimanwa paurush yukta samaj” (VHP 2003: 46). It is not sufficient for the Hindu nationalists, the vanguard, to be masculinist-nationalist. They are to transform the entire Hindu society in their image. Until that transformation is complete, their project will continue.

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Query Form Book Title:

Anand

Chapter No:

Chapter 5 Queries and / or remarks

Query No.

Query / remark

Response

No Queries.

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6

The Awakened Hindu India— Ayodhya and Gujarat

T

he destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992, and the anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002 are two spectacular events that have been etched into the memory of Hindu nationalists as symbols of the awakened Hindu nation. These are held out as the prime illustrations of the Hindu nationalist awakening. The events are sources of pride because they represent concrete proof that Hindus can “react” against the danger posed by minorities and secularists and “act” as a political community under the guidance of organized Hindutva. The 6th of December has been celebrated every year since 1992 as the “Shaurya Diwas” (“Valor Day”) by Hindutva activists. I observed the celebrations on 6 December in 2005 in Ayodhya, the first year since 1992 when the anniversary coincided with a prominent local Hindu festival—“Ram Sita Vivah” (“Marriage of Ram and Sita”). Rather than charting the history and politics of dispute over the Babri Mosque–Ram Janmabhumi (Ram birthplace), I will focus on the celebration of the mosque’s destruction and what it says about Hindutva’s politics of awakening. The second event that I briefly comment upon here is Gujarat 2002—the large-scale anti-Muslim riots following the burning of Hindutva activists in a train in the town of Godhra. Rather than going into an explanation of why these events occurred, the chapter focuses on the significance these have acquired within the Hindutva imaginary as symbols

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of the awakened Hindu nation. That the awakening cannibalizes upon the victimized Muslim bodies is represented as a legitimate response to the threatening Muslim Other. What is also significant in both the sites of investigation is the role of the state—I argue that while the representations are crucial in normalizing, justifying, and legitimizing violence against Muslims, the actual widespread violence cannot be understood without recognizing the complicity of the state. Ayodhya The Ram Janmabhumi movement—the movement to build a grand temple for Lord Ram at his supposed birthplace in Ayodhya by destroying the preexisting Babri Mosque—has acquired an epic significance in the Hindu nationalist imagination. Ayodhya stands out as the best illustration of an awakened Hindu nation—after centuries of suppression, struggle, sacrifice, patience, duplicity of secularist politicians, and rigidity of Muslims, the otherwise peaceful Hindu society lashed out against historical injustice, spontaneously destroyed the symbol of humiliation (the Babri Mosque), and liberated Ram’s birthplace for the construction of a grand temple honoring him. As Pandey reminds us, “The conflict over the Babari Masjid in Ayodhya is part of a larger Hindu drive to reclaim the national culture from its enemies—Muslims, but also secularists and westernizers” (Pandey 2006: 68). The destruction of Babri Mosque on 6 December 1992 marks a watershed for Hindu nationalists. A close analysis of the discourse of Ram Janmabhumi liberation shows how a poetics of fear is intermeshed with a politics of awakening of the Hindu body politic. In this, the minority Muslims have no option but to accept their subjugation or face further violence from the awakened Hindu nation. While the Hindu nation is given agency as an actor in liberating the birthplace of Ram, no individual Hindus are recognized as responsible for the actual destruction of the structure in place (the Babri Mosque). Ayodhya thus signifies a collective grief (at the presence of the Babri Mosque on a site believed to be Ram’s birthplace) and a collective triumph (as the destruction of the mosque) shared by the awakening Hindu nation.

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Events The complete destruction of the Babri Mosque on 6 December 6 1992 was a culmination of years of campaigning that began in 1984 under the leadership of the VHP and included several countrywide and regional rathyatras, yajnas, electoral political machinations, judicial and governmental (non)interventions, and communal polarization. While much of the country and the world saw the bringing down of the mosque as a crisis of Indian secularism and as an attack on pluralism, it was a joyous moment of victory for Hindu nationalists and their sympathizers. It was the moment of liberation that now awaits a formal coronation in the form of building a grand temple in the near future. As leaders and activists of the VHP, the BJP, and other bodies remind people repeatedly, it is not the question of structure per se but the concern for the dignity of Hindu people in their “own holyland/homeland,” and is a “movement to ‘redeem the honour and self-esteem of crores of Hindus of a free India’” (Singh 1993: 40). “For the Hindus, a temple at the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi is not an issue of mere bricks and mortar. It is an issue of our cultural resurgence and identity, where Shri Rama, as maryada purushottam, has a prime place of importance. The movement is an expression of the collective consciousness of the Hindu ethos . . .” (VHP n.d.). As can be expected, there are very different narratives about the disputed and destroyed structure of the Babri Mosque (often referred to as Ram Janmabhumi/Babri Mosque). Most professional historians question the certainty of Hindutva. Some accept the reality of the mosque and question the cynical use of faith and belief by the VHP and other Hindutva forces to represent the site of the mosque as the original birthplace of the mythical figure of Ram; others recognize that a number of mosques were built over the ruins of preexisting temples or used materials from old temples, and even though the site is disputed, one cannot rewrite history by destroying all monuments. In preindependence India, Ayodhya was a small nondescript town with no big significance for practising Hindus. Occasional clashes between various groups (Shias, Sunnis, Hindus) and court cases meant that both Hindus and Muslims were allowed

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to worship on the same site next to each other. In 1949, a statue of Ram was placed surreptitiously inside the mosque. Though the then Prime Minister Nehru asked for its removal, the local politicians and officials dithered and using the court case as an excuse sealed the site preventing anyone from worshipping there. In the 1980s, as a result of the VHP-led Ram Janmabhumi movement, a court judgment on opening the lock for Hindu worship, the Congress government’s cynical attempt to appeal to Hindu majoritarianism by allowing the ceremony for bricklaying (shilanyas) for a future temple, and the rise of a national political party (BJP) that made the temple its primary electoral plank, the situation escalated and culminated in the physical obliteration of the mosque in 1992. Since then, Hindu worshippers were allowed in the makeshift temple around the statue illegally installed at the original site of the mosque. In October 2010, a province-level court (Allahabad High Court) passed a judgment, criticized by many as a further erosion of secularism, dividing the disputed land between the Hindus and Muslims while recognizing the Hindutva argument that the main site (where the Babri Mosque used to stand) is the birthplace of Ram. The Supreme Court of India will now have the final say on this. Scholars have analyzed the Ram Janmabhumi movement and its destruction of the Babri Mosque extensively. For instance, in the specific act of vandalism, Raychaudhuri sees signs of fascism as Hindutva is “a movement of aggressive nationalism with strong anti-intellectual or non-intellectual overtones” (Raychaudhuri 2000: 268, see also Ahmad 2003). Both Panikkar (1993) and Thakur (1993) remind us of the facilitative role played by the increasingly deinstitutionalized Congress and the ambivalence of its secularism. According to Thakur, “The political exploitation of a Hindu sense of grievance was thus the proximate cause of the Ayodhya tragedy. But the ultimate cause was the creeping malaise afflicting India’s constitutional democracy” (Thakur 1993: 658). Muralidharan (1990) analyzes Hindu nationalism’s efforts to maintain Hindu hegemony as a response to the political assertion of low-caste Hindus, while Chibber and Misra (1993) identify the social basis of the movement. Other scholars see the transformation of Ayodhya

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into a site for resurgence of religiosity and communal violence as a product of the breakdown of traditional social and cultural ties crossing religious boundaries; emergence of a modern, ossified, elitist version of religion as a political ideology; and a politicized middle class (Nandy et al. 1995: 23). Bock (1997) reminds us that the use of religious symbols in communal conflicts make the latter more lethal. Van Der Veer through his detailed research on Ayodhya argues that the sentiments “aroused by the movement are not ‘primordial,’ but that they are fragmented and depend on developments in the political arena” (Van Der Veer 1987: 284) and provides an investigation of the ways religious practices are intertwined with historical circumstances and political-economic manipulations in Ayodhya (Van Der Veer 1989). While scholars rightly explain the temple movement in terms of political transformation taking place in India at the time and highlight its political nature, the Hindutva self-understanding is very different. For Hindutva, politics is what the secularists/Congress/ Muslims indulge in—the Ram Janmabhumi movement is one of national awakening and thus above politics. BJP’s White Paper states: “The Ayodhya movement also clears the confusion as to what is nationalism and what constitutes the ideal basis for interreligious harmony. It asserts that it is not the spiritually bankrupt Western concept of secularism, but the assimilative Hindu cultural nationhood that is the basis for religious harmony.” (BJP 1993) In this chapter, let me analyze how Ayodhya is an illustration of the Hindu nationalist politics of fear and anxiety, one where awakening of the Hindu body politics necessarily involves an attack on symbols associated with Muslims and/or secularism. The Hindutva narrative today as presented by the RSS, the BJP, the VHP, and others is straightforward and unidimensional (see in Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas 2001) and goes along the following lines. According to Hindu beliefs, Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya and there was a grand temple to commemorate that (Chowgule n.d.). Ram Vilas Vedanti, during an interview with me in 2005, gives a precise number—the temple was built by Lord Ram’s father 18,160,662 years ago (Personal Interview 2005h). As Babur came to India and established the Mughal

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empire, his commander Mir Baqi built the Babri Mosque in 1528 deliberately over a preexisting temple because this was meant to humiliate the Hindus. Hindus never gave up their struggle, and the agitation since 1984 is only a recent modern episode in the long-running war between Hindus and Muslims over the site. While the destruction of the mosque on 6 December 1992 was crucial, it is the entire movement of Ram Janmabhumi—the political movement, infused with religious imageries, to replace the existing structure (a task that is completed) with a grand temple for Ram (a task that is remaining)—that reflects the awakened Hindu nation. The movement’s pinnacle was a singular act of violence—the physical dismembering of the existing mosque. For the Hindu nationalist activists I spoke to, this act of destruction perceived as striking a blow to the obstinate Muslims and arrogant secularists is the best example of what an awakened Hindu nation is. BJP’s White Paper reminds us: Thus, the BJP is convinced that the quest for a Temple for Sri Rama at Ayodhya, at the very place where the Maryada Purushotam is believed to have been born, is the expression of a brooding national conscience that had been held in check since the partition of India by pseudo-secular leaders and parties, that it is a symbol of the greatest national introspection and cultural resurgence of the present century. The peoples participation in the Ayodhya movement and its reach cutting across all barriers of caste, religion, language and region showed and emphasised its national and political thrust.” (BJP 1993)

Denial The affirmation of the Hindu nation through the Ram Janmabhumi temple movement is based on a politics of denial. A denial of the very politics of the movement, a denial of responsibility for any action, and a denial of the very presence of the visible architecture of the mosque. For Hindutva there was no mosque but at most a mosque-like structure. So the dispute over a physically present Babri Mosque transformed into the Babri Masjid–Ram Janmabhumi dispute, and since

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the obliteration of the mosque in 1992 is referred to as the Ram Janmabhumi dispute—the Hindutva appropriation of the discursive site of Ram Janmabhumi is almost complete. The figure of Ram is transformed as the main symbol of an awakened Hindu nation, his putative birthplace is sought to be liberated from Muslim and secular control, and victory is to be celebrated by constructing a grand temple at the exact spot where for centuries there was the Babri Mosque. The head of the Ram Janmabhumi movement, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das explained to me, “Listen young man, there was never a mosque; Ram temple is as integral to Hindus as Mecca and Medina is to the Muslims” (Personal Interview 2005e). In the Hindutva narrative, not only was a mosque never there, but Ram Lalla (the infant Lord Ram) was always present at his birthplace. A number of my respondents in Ayodhya and elsewhere told me stories of how when Babur’s official Mir Baqi went to destroy the idol, the idol disappeared, and hence the sacrality of the birthplace was maintained. According to a VHP figure Vedanti, “Mir Baqi failed to locate the idol of Ram Lalla (it was there but the Muslims could not see it) and while he built the mosque-like structure, no namaz was offered and in 1949 Ram Lalla reappeared at midnight” (Personal Interview 2005h). The miraculous appearance, disappearance, and reappearance of the physical idol of Ram are an integral part of Hindutva historical telling. This absolves individual humans and political actors from any responsibility as they are represented as mere recipients of god’s play. As Pandey points out, “A sense of eternal (and united) Hindu activism and sacrifice, of numbers (which testify again to Hindu strength), and of a divine play or order (once again revealing the power of the Hindu) actuates this right-wing reconstruction of the past” (Pandey 2006: 77). Hindutva leaders, especially in the recent decades, deny the very existence of the architecturally present mosque (they call it “dhancha,” a structure) while affirming the continued existence of a Ram temple even when structurally there was no temple. When asked about the demolition of the mosque, Rajendra Singh, an RSS veteran leader, said, “It was not a mosque at all.

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It was a functioning temple” (Singh 1993: 5). The interesting question is that if the Babri Mosque was not a mosque and if the site always had a sacred presence of Ram, what was the point of the movement to build a temple. If it was a functioning temple within a mosque-like physical structure, why destroy that to build another temple? The very act of consciously destroying a preexisting structure (the Babri Mosque) in the name of building a grand temple for Ram (the Ram Janmabhumi temple) reveals that contrary to the Hindtuva denial of the Babri structure being a mosque, it was nothing but a mosque. A similar politics of denial also goes in when it comes to taking responsibility for the bringing down of the mosque. For instance, next to the disputed site in Ayodhya, shops sell a number of trinkets, VCDs, and music cassettes mostly celebrating the Ram Janmabhumi movement and its violence. A short movie, whose Video VCD I picked up in 2005, is called Kar Seva (Santoshi n.d.). It has the following slogan on its cover: “Bhakto ka seene pe goliyan khaana, mandir ke khatir khoon bahaana, dekho Ram ke sache bhakton, 6 Dissambar bhool na jaana” (“The devotees who braved bullets in their chest, who sacrificed blood for the cause of the temple; True followers of Rama remember, never forget 6 December”). It gives a reified history of the movement. It tells the viewers that the demolition of the mosque in 1992 was due to the enthusiasm of the few and the emotional surge of the Hindu samaj (society), and the state and the political leaders could do nothing to stop this. The state had the option of either massacring the gathered Hindu crowd or letting the events take their own course. The Hindu mob, rather than Hindutva leaders, are the ones who brought down the mosque. Thus, the leaders and activists belonging to different Hindu nationalist organizations who were involved in the temple movement and the destruction of Babri mosque are absolved of all responsibilities. Not surprising, for crowds “are regarded as sovereign entities in that they may be dispersed and controlled by the police as crowds, but individuals are never held accountable for violence or destruction in the course of crowd action” (in Hansen 2005: 127–28; on the role of crowds, see also Brass 1997; Hansen 2008; Tambiah 1996).

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The film (Santoshi n.d.) has shots of policemen worshipping Ram’s idol, thus revealing their complicity, and is filled with Bollywood-style songs. Interestingly, as with Gujarat, coercive forces of the state—the police—are often seen on the side of the Hindu society. A young boy took me around for a tour of Ayodhya pointing out various places where “sacrifices” were made (a lane is called Shahid Marg/Martyr Lane) by brave Hindus for years before culminating in 6 December. His elder brothers were with Bajrang Dal, and his father belonged to the VHP. He told me stories of how police were seen as enemies of Hindus in 1990 and 1991 when the state government prevented the Hindu mobs, but were then praised as allies in 1992 when the state government was under the BJP rule. Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men were heard saying, “Sharir becha hai; Dharma nahin” (“We have mortgaged our body to the Government, not our faith,” in Malkani 1993: 9; on police complicity, see also Patwardhan 1994). During my research visit in December 2005, the policemen I met and interacted with at the disputed site and other establishments mostly shared the Hindutva worldview. For instance, on 6 December 2005 I had a conversation with a policeman who gave his name as Tiwari. He explained the history of the place to me: “There was always a temple here, the history of Islam in India has been that of bloodshed with 7 lakh Hindus sacrificed, the 1992 destruction occurred only because after allowing the worship, the government dragged its feet, the police didn’t see anything wrong with the destruction, all evidence after 1992 point to an ancient temple, ‘those terrorists’ are out there to destroy the Ram Temple; if they succeed they will wipe out Hindus from throughout the world” (Personal Interview 2005i). Policemen saw themselves as belonging to the Hindu community rather than as neutral state officials. Thus, the destruction of the existing structure of the Babri Mosque by the kar sevaks in 1992 is ascribed by Hindutva to the spontaneous emotional outburst of nationalist consciousness by the hitherto trampled and suppressed Hindus. It is seen as a “volcanic eruption.” The emphasis is put on the sheer diversity of Hindus from different regions, castes, and social groups who

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came to offer their service for the Ram Janmabhumi (see, for example, Karseva 1991). “The Hindus are very slow to act, but when they do rise, even the Himalayas must start trembling” (Dubashi 1992: 3). Hindu nationalism’s destructive politics as exemplified by Ayodhya thus reflects an underlying current that the faithful Hindus need to react to the “challenge of other [religious minority] people’s activism” (Bayly 1993: 12). Kalyan Singh, the then BJP chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and thus in charge of the law and order in Ayodhya, ascribed the destruction to the act of God, as the “Bal-Lila of Ram Lalla [Play of young Ram]” (Malkani 1993: 4). No specific organization or leader was seen as responsible for the destruction—it was the generic Hindu nation that had spoken with one voice: “Kasam Ram ki khaate hain, mandir wahin banayenge” (“We swear in the name of Ram, we will build the temple there”). As the BJP’s White Paper of 1993 points out, the demolition of the disputed structure was an uncontrolled and, in fact, uncontrollable upsurge of a spontaneous nature, which was provoked only by the callousness of the government in dealing with the Ayodhya issue without understanding its sensitive nature (BJP 1993; on a critique of White Paper, see Srivastava 1994). A BJP leader muses that the actual vandalism was committed by the Congress government—backed intelligence operatives (Malkani 2002: 164–167) while an RSS leader opines that “circumstances suddenly demolished the structure” (Singh 1993: 72). The emphasis now is to avoid any scrutiny and accept the act of violence as a product of the Hindu awakening: “Although unexpected and never planned by the organisers of kar seva, nevertheless it resulted in the removal of the disputed structure—that blot of foreign slavery on that holy spot” (RSS leader Rajendra Singh in 1994, in Hartung et al. 2003: 13). Celebration of the National Resurgence The 6th of December has been celebrated every year since 1992 as Shaurya Diwas by the Hindutva activists. Many speakers during the celebration witnessed by me in 2005 saw it as the true independence day. As the foreword of the BJP’s White Paper makes it

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clear, the Babri mosque had a wider significance: “It was purely and simply a symbol not of devotion and of religion but of conquest. Correspondingly, quite apart from its being an obstacle, preventing Hindus from worshipping the birthplace of their idol, Sri Rama, it was for the country the symbol of its subjugation.” (BJP 1993). Therefore, the destruction was a kind of liberation. Awasthi, the RSS leader in charge of Ayodhya said that since Babri was a provocation—“jaise pitaa mar kar tang diya gaya ho” (“as if father were killed and hanged”)—the physical destruction of 1992 was welcomed for it was as if “kalaa tikaa mit gaya” (“the black spot has been erased”) (Personal Interview 2005d). All publications, speeches, and statements of various branches of Hindu nationalism celebrate the destruction of the mosque as the sign of national awakening, as an inevitable consequence of history where Hindus are finally emancipating themselves after centuries of servitude. As Raychaudhuri points out in his analysis, for Hindutva the “destruction of a mosque is not a cause for shame but instead a tremendous morale booster for the Hindu psyche, in effect an act of liberation” (2000: 262). The “liberation” of the Ram Janmabhumi and the awakening of the Hindu nation are seen as mutually dependent. The Rama Janmabhoomi Movement seeks the release of the Hindu psyche, which has remained strangulated for centuries. The country witnessed the educated and sophisticated Hindus fighting shy in proudly proclaiming themselves as Hindus. Nothing can be more humiliating for any race or community. The temple movement is essentially the awakening of the selfesteem, self-respect, the removal of a continuing ocular demonstration of Hindu humiliation and validation of pride in being a Hindu. The basic ethos of the Shri Rama Janmabhoomi movement is to restore the honour of the Hindu Samaj (society) and Hindu culture. It is not just an issue of bricks and mortar. (Singh 1993: 18–19)

Given that the god (Lord Ram in this case) himself is seen on the side of Hindus, Hindu nationalist leaders remind their followers of the duty to be karmayogi (a rightful actioner). Suresh Das (2005a), a sadhu of Digambar Akhara stirred up the public

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during a festival commemorating 6 December in Ayodhya by chanting: “Baba sapna pura karenge, mandir ka nirman karenge” (“Lord will fulfill our dreams and build the temple”). A VCD (Santoshi n.d.) dedicated to all those Ram bhaktas (followers of Ram) who gave up their lives for the construction of the Ram Temple repeats slogans including “jis hindu ka khoon na khole, woh khoon nahin paani ha” (“a Hindu whose blood does not boil, has no blood but water”) and “jo ram ke kam na aaye, woh bekar jawani hai” (“youth that does not come of use to Ram is a useless one”). The slogans such as these (see VHP 2003) are meant to rouse the people. As I argued in the previous chapters, Hindutva is a discourse of masculinist nationalism and nationalizing masculinity. Sen and Wagner quote a respondent to their research on the Ayodhya movement: “If the temple is not made . . . then Hindus are not worthy enough to stay in this country . . . wear bangles, wear saris, live like a woman and ask their Hindu women to marry Muslim men” (in Sen and Wagner 2005: 2.13). Exhortations to the kar sevaks throughout the movement were “replete with appeals to masculine virility, national pride, racial redemption, contempt for law and civility” (Ahmad 2003: 5). There was only one way in which Hindutva men could prove their patriotism, their masculinity; it was by being uncompromising, by mobilizing, by vandalizing. In a more detailed study, Udayakumar argues, “Having been brainwashed by the rhetoric of ‘heroic heritage’ of the past and the ‘pathetic situation’ of the present, the ‘Hindu’ youth are made to feel intensely the need for shunning ‘impotence’ and ‘weakness.’ They are presented with a clear enemy and a visible symbol to destroy and establish their ‘strength and glory,’ and regain their ‘pride and hegemony’” (Udayakumar 1997: 17). During my conversations with young male activists in Ayodhya and Hardwar, it was evident that the destruction of the Babri Mosque was seen as the ultimate manly act by the Hindus (the word that came up again and again was “mardangi,” virility/masculinity). History is used and misused to add weight to the Hindutva arguments. “It is religious intensity, linked with politicized communal feelings, that has made the Ayodhya situation so compelling. The way militant Hindus have structured the narrative of

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Ayodhya’s sacred history and bent the epic universe to their definition of Indian national identity is a striking example of how vulnerable the past is to passions of the moment” (Miller 1991: 790). In this narrativization of history, the meaning of Hindu is posed as self-evidently opposed to Muslim and as coterminus with Indian. By fusing a story of historical trauma (resulting from Muslim-Mughal rule) with the continuing presence of an actual mosque, which Hindutva claimed to be built over a sacred Hindu site, Hindutva constructed a Hindu identity that was inevitably antagonistic to Muslims. One can see this antagonism in Elst’s description of the movement: “The NorthIndian town of Ayodhya became world famous in 1989–1992 when Hindus and Muslims clashed over a mosque structure used by the Hindus as a temple but claimed by the Muslims as the Babri Masjid” (2002, chapter 9). Elst, a pro-Hindutva rightwing ideologue turns the story on its head as he naturalizes the Hindutva claims. Even as ideologues like him talk of HinduMuslim clash, the bulk of Ayodhya movement-related violence was committed by Hindu nationalists. The victimization of Muslims and the overwhelming violence inflicted upon them is ignored. Muslims can never be deserving victims in the Hindu nationalist imagination. In VHP’s history-telling, the Hindu community, like the temple, is “already fully constituted from the start,” and the “loss of territory, site, self-respect occurs only when the Hindu community/nation, or its rulers, turn away from the Ram Janmabhumi, that is, from religion” (Pandey 1995: 386–387). Modern Hindutva is thus legitimized by giving it a history. Continuous resistance and struggle is repeated in most articles and resources available from ayodhya.com and hinduunity.org. For example, look at the following tale from a Hindutva tract: The Temple at Bhagwan Ram’s birthplace was destroyed in 1528 CE and the Babri structure was built in its place. The objective was a political one to provide an ocular reminder to the Hindus that Islam ruled over their holy land. Thus it was a monument of Hindu slavery. The struggle to repossess the birthplace of Bhagwan Ram has been going on for the last 478 years. It is a

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program for upholding the dignity and showing devotion to Bhagwan Ram. Lakhs of Hindu lives have been sacrificed in this struggle. (HVK n.d.)

Ram is celebrated as both a sacred mythological figure (hence beyond reproach and questioning) and a historical one (only then can a birthplace be fixed to a specific geographical site). The Ram Janmabhumi movement uses various manifestations of Ram to catalyze specific aspects of politics. For instance, the Bajrang Dal was created after 1984 (Bajrang Bali is Hanuman, the faithful companion of Ram) to act as a defender force. The Ayodhya Temple is about Ram lalla (baby Ram). Yet, the most common picture of Ram that mushroomed during the movement was the one with a well-defined body (see Kapur 1993). While Ram is respected as a god and an ideal king, the use of his stories are not always asexual. For instance, a sadhu (Vaishnav Das 2005), during Hardwar Dharma Sansad, made the following statement about Ram’s marriage to Sita after he won the challenge against all other suitors: “Swayamvara [ceremony where the bride chooses her suitors] of Janaki [Sita] was like a modern beauty contest, imagine if all 10,000 men had met the challenge posed by Sita’s father, what would have happened to a woman shared by 10,000 men.” Given that this statement was preceded by a denunciation of “witches” (dayan) like Sonia Gandhi and Mayawati, the two most powerful female secular politicians in India, and was greeted by laughter and chuckle from the audience of sadhus and activists, the attitude of Hindutva leaders toward women becomes obvious. Vaishnav Das hastened to then add that Ram was great because he put an end to this uncivilized practice of a woman having more than one suitor. Apart from the specific context of Ram Janmabhumi (that there was a mosque over a site claimed by some to be the exact birthplace of a Hindu God), it is also important to note that the epic Ramayana (of which Ram is a figure) with its tale of morality and good and evil, does lend itself to an easy retelling that is about antagonism. As Pollock points out in his detailed study, “I believe the text offers unique imaginative instruments—in fact, two linked instruments—whereby, on the one hand, a

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divine political order can be conceptualized, narrated, and historically grounded, and, on the other, a fully demonized Other can be categorized, counterposed, and condemned” (1993: 264). The Babri Mosque was conjured up as the humiliating symbol of demonic Muslim rule, which the Hindu nation had to liberate with the blessing of the divine forces. Reflecting upon various political developments in India in the 1980s, including insurgencies in Punjab, Kashmir, and Assam, a pro-Hindutva intellectual Bajaj justifies the Ram Temple movement as an inevitable reaction of the beleaguered Hindu majority. He argues that at times of attacks on national integrity and secessionist movements by minorities, nations “revert to their roots,” to their civilizational moorings to redefine themselves and reassess the way. The people of India thus sought refuge in Srirama. They tried to find solace in Him. Through Him they tried to rediscover the essence of being Indian<undo> and recapture the lost spirit of Indian-ness. And, they tried to reawaken their determination as a nation by dedicating themselves to the building of a great temple to Srirama at His birthplace in Ayodhya. In the effort to build the temple, they were in fact trying to rebuild themselves. (Bajaj 1993: 37)

Rajendra Singh of the RSS denied there was any politics involved in the Ayodhya movement. “There is a veiled and not-so-veiled suggestion that we are out to create a Hindu vote bank by building a Ram temple . . . Nothing could be farther from truth. We are not against any community . . . It would be absurd to suggest that political power is what those of us in RSS have in mind. Ours is a movement for national consciousness . . .” (Singh 1993: 16). Not only does this claim fly in the face of the BJP, which has been fighting elections by making the Ram Temple its main plank, but it also betrays a limited understanding of politics. The RSS may or may not be concerned about day-to-day electoral politics, but it clearly seeks to shift the content to nationalist politics in India away from secularism. The political message of the Ram Janmabhumi movement is unmistakable. It is not only about building a specific temple.

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It is directly connected to Hindutva’s vision for an India where Muslim minorities accept the terms of integration offered by the Hindu extremists. Elst, with his quotes appearing on several Web sites, echoes the polemic of several Hindutva leaders when he says the temple movement offers “an invitation to the Muslim Indians to reintegrate themselves into the society and the culture from which their ancestors were cut off by fanatical rulers and their thought police, the theologians. It is thus an exercise in national integration” (Elst 1991). A Hindutva writer blames Muslims for obstinacy and refusing to give up the mosque: “A historic opportunity for genuine and long-term Hindu-Muslim understanding, offered by repeated and passionate pleas by Hindu organizations for the Ramjanmabhoomi site in Ayodhya, has been thrown away” (Jain 1992). The polemic is that the present-day Muslims should “return” at the very least three holy sites where temples and mosques exist in the same place or side by side—Ayodhya, Mathura, and Varanasi. Prashant Bhaiya, a young RSS man in Hardwar recited his poem to me: “Mathura kaashi ab bhi baaki hai, yeh to pehli angrai hai; samay bankuri Raghava ke, tumko sau baar badhai hai” (“Mathura and Kashi are still left, this is just a start; O followers of Raghava, heartiest congratulations to you”). Discussing this with the activists in Nagpur and Ayodhya, I got a clear sense that they do not expect the “reasonable” demand from the VHP to be accepted by Muslims and even if they were proven wrong, they will not trust the Muslims. The following quote from the VHP makes clear a link between the liberation of the Ram Janmabhumi and a discourse of the Muslim location within Hindu India: “[The VHP] has sincerely felt that India’s experiment in secularism will succeed only when the present generation of Indian Muslims disassociate themselves from the medieval ideology of religious exclusivism, expansionism and iconoclasism, pursued by foreign invaders like Babur or by intolerant rulers like Aurangzeb and glorification of such acts of vandalism in the name of religion.” (VHP 1999). Though Hindu nationalists claim that Ayodhya is not antiMuslim: “The Ram Janmabhoomi movement is not designed

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to open old wounds but to heal them. These wounds are those that have been inflicted on the Hindus” (Chowgule 1997: 3)—it is clear from their statements and actions that the movement is antagonistic to Muslims. As Panikkar points out, Ayodhya became “a site for constructing Hindu solidarity and avenging the Muslim wrong” (Panikkar 1993: 67). For instance, a VHP booklet, while discussing the Ram Janmabhumi movement as a national awakening, ends up exposing its own Islamobhobia in its conclusion: “This struggle, in short, is the one between those who consider themselves as Babar’s progeny and those who feel proud of calling themselves the descendants of Sri Rama. It is clear therefore that the present achievement is one more victorious step in the culmination of the relentless struggle by the Hindu Nation against the Islamic aggression of 1000 years” (The Saga n.d.: 27). As I mentioned before, “Babur ki aulad” (Babur’s children) is a pejorative description of Indian Muslims. A sadhu spoke bluntly to me: “If Ram temple is not built, Muslims will be bolstered and in no time another Pakistan will be created” (Das, N. 2005). These leave no room for doubt that an antiMuslim agenda is integral to this movement that occasionally claims to be about “liberation” of certain religious sites. In the Hindutva’s imagination, Hindus are always at the edge—the edge of patience, tolerance, and acceptance. The Hindus have been long suppressed in their home by foreign religionists and traitors, but their patience has a limit. The actions of the VHP, Bajrang Dal, and others are naturalized as resulting from the impatience of the hitherto suppressed Hindu majority. Hindutva represents its own violence as a spontaneous outburst of the hitherto pacified Hindu nation. “The liberation of the Shri Rama Janma Bhumi is a question of prestige and dignity for the entire Hindu samaj. Hindu society has been insulted in this matter for long and it will not tolerate it any longer” (Sri Rama Janma Bhumi Mukti Yajna samiti’s statement in September 1987, cited in Hartung et al., 2003: 116). Hindu nationalist intolerance thus masks itself as an inevitable manifestation of the Hindu nation lashing out after centuries of humiliation by Muslims and others. The Babri Mosque’s destruction was portrayed as a product of Hindu impatience.

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Rajendra Singh, a senior RSS leader, argued that 6 December was a watershed, for the “Hindu has decided not to take everything lying down. If justice is not meted out to him, he will react” and this is the “real import of the Ayodhya incidents” (Singh 1993: 17). Since 1992, as the court cases drag on and the political class recognizes the limits of tying electoral politics too closely to a temple movement, the VHP and its sadhus repeatedly warn of Hindu patience running out. Not surprising then that the massacre of several hundreds of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 was seen as a direct result of killing scores of Hindutva activists associated with the Ram Janmabhumi movement. In 2005 Hardwar Dharma Sansad, Krishnacharya Maharaj, in a public speech, was goading the temple movement to radicalize further. Referring to the earlier killing of the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984, he joked to a receptive applauding audience, “Bahut dekha hai striyon ko solah shringar karte, pehli bar dekha ek stri ko solah goli khaate” (“I have often seen women decking themselves but saw a woman being decorated with 16 bullets for the first time”). And then he promised to cajole other religious men to distribute through their mandirs and maths, VHP literature about the dangers posed by Muslims and about the rejuvenation of Ram Janmabhumi movement (Krishnacharya Maharaj 2005). Ayodhya is not a movement in itself; it is interconnected with Hindu nationalism (often oscillating between moderate and militant approaches toward Ram Janmabhumi depending on the political context; see Jaffrelot 1999) and its politics of fear and intolerance. During a discussion during the Dharma Sansad on 14 December 2005 in Hardwar, the VHP, in one of the resolutions, reaffirmed its commitment to liberating the land and even assures Hindus worldwide that not only will they build a temple, but they will prevent any mosque from being built in the precinct or anywhere else in the Ayodhya region: “The community of religious figures (sant samaj) gives assurance to the Hindus worldwide they will categorically not allow the building of any mosque as an alternative to the destroyed structure either within the Shri Ramjanmabhoomi precinct or

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Ayodhya’s cultural boundaries, even if they will require more sacrifices.” Hindutva has a moral certainty about its mission to militarize Hinduism and Hinduize India and the recovery of “self-esteem” through the destruction of the Babri Mosque has played a crucial role in it. Thus, the temple movement has a significance beyond the specific demands. It is Hindu nationalism in practice. As Christensen reminds us, “As the drive to build the Ram temple at Ayodhya was inextricably linked to the VHP’s action plan for cultural rejuvenation of the Hindu nation, the scheme must be viewed not only as a powerful means of mapping and reclaiming sacred Hindu spaces, but as a cultural symbol buttressing a conception of Hindu identity deeply embedded in Hindu nationalist ideology” (Christensen 2003: 175). It is an illustration of what a Hindu nation will look like—deindividualized, intolerant, antisecular, anti-Muslim, men and women driven by a religious fervor to transform India’s body politic. Let me now make some observations about a specific ethnographic site—the event Shaurya Diwas celebrated by Hindu nationalists on 6 December to commemorate the bringing down of the Babri Mosque. My experience is from 2005. The local RSS leader reminded me that “Shaurya Diwas is another episode in the long history of war between Hindus and Muslims; even during the Muslim rule, Hindu resistance continued. The destruction of the Babri Mosque was a result of this history, [because of] anger of Hindu samaj, a result of boiling blood, an expression of valour, and a landmark since it showed the strength of Hindu samaj” (Personal Interview 2005d). The event included chants and a number of sadhus making short speeches in the Kar Sewak Puram, a well-guarded establishment in Ayodhya. The slogans included “Bacchaa bacchaa Ram kaa, janmabhoomi ke kaam ka” (“Each and every child belongs to Rama and is useful for the Janmabhoomi”) and “Mar jayenge, mit jayenge, mandir wahin banayenge” (“We will die, we will be erased, but we shall build the temple at that very place”). Religious leaders criticized what they called the antinational temperament of minorities, duplicity of secularists,

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and passivity of Hindus in general. Mahant Nritya Gopal Das explained to the media people that 6 December is more than a Shaurya Diwas, in fact, it is the the true “Swatantra Diwas” (Independence Day). The speakers mocked those Muslims and their supporters who commemorate the day as that of mourning. For example, a speaker criticized those who treat the day as “Gam Diwas” (Mourning Day) and argued, “It should be obvious to you who is marking this day of mourning, their mourning will now never end. If they want to mourn, they should leave India” (Das, Kanhaiya 2005). While he did not name the Muslims, it was obvious to everyone that he was referring to them. A sadhu, Ram Swarup Das, made numerous references to the recent earthquake in Kashmir that had killed tens of thousands of Muslims as a “divine punishment” and shouted to a loud cheer: “Aur bhi bhayanak bhookampa aayega, agar kala diwas manayega, agan mandir main sammilit nahin ho to, aur bhi bada bhokampa aayega” (“An even more dangerous quake will come, if you mark the mourning day, if you do not join the temple movement, an even bigger quake will come”) (Das, Ram Swarup 2005). Ram Vilas Vedanti, a VHP leader I encountered a number of times in Ayodhya and Hardwar during my research, did not mince his words: “Katle aam karna chahiye, kali patti bandhne walon ke hathon ko tod do” (“We should massacre, the hands of those who tie the black band must be broken”) (Vedanti 2005). While Nritya Gopal Das asked his followers to respect all security personnel, Kanhaiya Das cajoled Hindus to avenge “four lakh Hindu souls” who had died fighting the Muslims and assured them that the army men will not fire at the agitating Hindus because their mothers would be Ram worshippers too. Kanhaiya Das warned Muslims against any opposition to the Ram temple in Ayodhya (“Agar koi mulla ya kathmulla virodh karega, kabra pehle banayenge!” “If any muslim leader or quasileader opposes, we will dig his grave first”). And he reserved his choicest abuse for Congress politician Sonia Gandhi by comparing her to vamps from ancient legends. “Bhabhi ban kar raho nahin to tera bhi naak kaan Shurpanakha ki tarah kat kar Italy bhej doonga” (“Live like a sister-in-law, otherwise like

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Shurpanakha, I will cut your nose and ears and send you off to Italy”) (Das, Kanhaiya 2005). Amrish of the Bajrang Dal declared that since the Babri Mosque was a symbol of servitude (“paradheenta ka prateek”), building of a grand temple for Ram is inevitable: “If some people support, they will be taken along; if some are neutral, they will be put aside; if some are opposed, we will trample on their chest” (Amrish Ji 2005). Mahant Sharad Kishori (of VHP) reminded his audience that the struggle is more than one for a temple, it is a fight for the nation: “Ram mandir is fine, but Rashtra mandir [‘National Temple’] is the higher goal” (Kishori 2005). And Suresh Das of Digambar Akhara called for a struggle not only for India as it exists today, but for regaining an undivided India: “We need to struggle for Akhanda Bharat (Undivided India) by incorporating Pakistan and only then can we defeat Islam and Terrorism” (Das 2005a). Thus, we see Hindu nationalists launching and indulging in the temple movement not only to defend a specific religious right to worship, but, more importantly, to promote a vision of Hindu nation. A vision that demands the Hindu population to rise up against the dangers posed by minorities and work as a single corporate body of a Hindu nation under the aegis of Hindutva parties. Visiting a Site of Communal Violence: Gujarat 2002 The anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002 was masked as “inevitable” and “understandable” acts to secure the Hindu Self. The (meta)discourse of security offered the forces of Hindutva a tool to legitimize violence as nonviolence, killers as defenders, rape as understandable lust, and death as non-death. I do not go into details of the violence and explanations of it here (see An Independent 2002; Cohn 2003; “Genocide Gujarat” 2002; Lessons 2003; Mander 2002; Report 2003; Vardarajan 2003). What I propose is one of the ways in which we can make sense of the complicity of a significant number of Hindus in this violence, borrowing the analysis from various reports mentioned above. It is a politics of fear along the lines discussed

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in the previous chapters that dehumanizes minorities, instils a sense of anxiety among Hindus, and allows Hindutva to legitimize their actions as a product of awakening of the hitherto overly patient Hindu nation. During February 2002 the VHP was carrying on with its agitation over the building of a grand temple in Ayodhya. After an altercation, one coach of the Sabarmati Express, a train returning from Ayodhya and carrying many Hindu kar sevaks (activists), was burned at the Godhra station in Gujarat on 26 February killing 58 people. What followed for the next couple of months was massive communal violence in which most of the victims were Muslims. Though Hindutva forces painted this overwhelmingly anti-Muslim violence, in which hundreds were killed, as a reaction to Godhra, documented evidence points to four crucial features of this violence that challenge the “riots-as-post-Godhra-reaction” thesis. First, there was active state complicity—through police inaction (see Human Rights Watch 2002); frequent police participation in anti-Muslim violence; hate speeches by members of the state government and the ruling BJP; active participation of local and state leaders in fomenting violence; and availability of lists of Muslim establishments (data privy to the government) to the Hindu mobs. Second, there was a conscious and well-orchestrated preplanning for communal violence through activities of various Hindutva organizations. Third, organizations such as the VHP used the train incident as an excuse to “teach Muslims a lesson” through vicious uses of brutality. Fourth, the ruling party, the BJP, used this to buttress its political position—a strategy that succeeded with the BJP coming to power with a greater majority in a snap election. In a few months’ time, the violence subsided, but the hatred and its legacy remain as the struggle for rebuilding lives and securing justice continues. Following the actual violence, over years Hindu nationalists and their supporters have sought to trivialize the incident, blaming it on the “wicked, conspiratorial terroristic mentality” of Muslims (VSK 2002: 1), adopting a victimization paradigm where the Hindus and the Hindutva leaders are the victims of secularist smear campaigns, and legitimizing it as a spontaneous reaction for

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which no one (except the Muslims) is responsible. For instance, in a collection of the Hindutva sympathizers, Bhosle argues that “without tinder, sparks are useless” and justifies anti-Muslim violence, “the devout Hindus have already compromised by asking for just 3 sites from among thousands. It is now up to the parent [secularist and leftist media] to cajole or threaten the spoilt child [Muslim leadership] and teach him how to share with his sibling. Otherwise, further pampering = added estrangement = more riots. QED” (Bhosle 2003: 27). What makes the spectacle of anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat 2002 extraordinary is its banality and its “participative” nature. Class, gender, age, or caste were not a barrier either for the willing participants or for the unwilling victims. Not surprisingly, the RSS then passed a resolution in March 2002: “The reaction of this murderous incident [the Godhra train incident] in Gujarat was natural and spontaneous. The entire Hindu society cutting across all divisions of party, caste and social status reacted. It is unfortunate that a number of people died in the violence that erupted” (in Rao 2003: 63). It is interesting to note that the killing of scores of Hindutva activists is condemned as “murderous” while the massacre of hundreds of Muslims is regretted as unfortunate after justifying it as “natural and spontaneous.” It is not sufficient to explain this phenomenon in instrumental terms alone. While interests did play an important role (for instance, looting, grabbing of land, occupying houses, settling scores), it was not the sole determining factor. For the majority who did not benefit in instrumental terms but still accepted Hindutva versions of the violence and voted with their feet by reelecting the BJP in the Assembly polls, it was the imagined subjectivity of the victims (dangerous, fanatic, violent, and hence to be blamed for provoking Hindus) that was the important factor. It is these dehumanized representations of the Other as a danger that offer us a good handle to understand the normalization of abnormal violence and the construction of a secure Hindu identity through the humiliation and extermination of other identities. Elst in his introduction to a collection of pro-Hindutva articles blames the violence on the

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“nexus between India’s vanguard secularists and anti-Indian forces in Washington and Islamabad” and reminds us that there “are limits to the Hindu capacity for tolerance” (Elst 2003). Another Hindutva ideologue reminds his readers: “The main problem is the appeasement of Muslims by the government and it can only lead to a vicious cycle of violence and counter violence” and “If you desire to see the end of this, then the deplorable partisan attitude of saying that the Muslim blood is blood and the Hindu blood is water must end” (Saurabh Shah in Vishva Samvad Kendra 2002: 15). The approving statements of a Hindu man (a non-participant middle-class professional man), quoted by Cohn (2003), reflect a sentiment that was widespread during the riots in Gujarat in 2002: “Muslim boys, even married ones, try to have friendships with Hindu girls. I tell you, most Muslim guys are very good looking, and Hindu girls are very innocent—once they give you their heart, it’s easily broken . . . I personally feel they’re spoiling the lives of these Hindu girls. Our blood gets hot. We can’t stand them . . . It’s time that the Hindus fight violence with violence.” The need to secure the Hindu female body against the danger of the putative Muslim was therefore seen as one of the rationales for violence against Muslims (for a detailed treatment, see Report 2003). Aseem Shukla writes of his experience during the riots and says how after Godhra, because of headlines and news reports, “impotent rage” was building on the streets of Gujarat (Shukla 2003: 55; emphasis in original). Gujarat 2002 was a lesson in masculinization showing, through the defeat and humiliation of Muslim men, who the “real men” are. The slogan “Jis Hinduon ka khoon na khola, woh Hindu nahin, woh hijra hain” (“Those Hindus whose blood does not boil, are not Hindus, they are eunuchs”) chanted by the student wing of the BJP at a premier university in Delhi during a post-Godhra procession (see Sarkar, T. 2002) illustrates this obsession with manhood. Various displays of violent sexuality emphasized Hindu manhood as the violent protector of Hindus and sought to highlight the impotency of “the Muslim” in the face of an awakened Hindu nation. The

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reaction of Pravin Togadia, a leader of the VHP, in the aftermath of Godhra is significant: “Hindu Society will avenge the Godhra killings. Muslims should accept the fact that Hindus are not wearing bangles. We will respond vigorously to all such incidents” (An Independent 2002). Pamphlets exhorting Hindu men not to feel guilty about raping Muslim women; regional Gujarati newspapers sensationalizing false stories about Hindu girls being raped; Hindutva ideologues hammering on about the historic rape of the Hindu women and the nation at the hands of Muslims; distribution of bangles (an ornamental marker of femininity) to Hindu men who did not participate; punishing (through killing, boycott, and hate campaigns) of Hindu men and women who were seen as helping Muslims—all these show that the macabre display of “tolerance,” “passion,” and “reaction” (these were the self-serving terms used by various proponents of Hindutva to characterize the anti-Muslim violence) was anything but spontaneous (for detailed reports, see “Genocide Gujarat” 2002). It shows the construction of a particular form of masculinity through acts of violence, a masculinity that declares itself as the protector of the security of Hindu bodies as well as the Hindu body politic. When asked about sexual violence and rape during the riots, the defense minister of India at the time, George Fernandez , part of the BJP-led alliance government, retorted: “There is nothing new in the mayhem let loose in Gujarat . . . A pregnant woman’s stomach being slit, a daughter being raped in front of a mother aren’t a new thing” (Concerned Citizens Tribunal 2002). On the other hand, Keshavram Kashiram Shastri, 96-year-old chairman of the Gujarat unit of the VHP, explained this in terms of “Lust and anger are blind,” “Our boys were charged,” and the rioters being “well-bred Hindu boys” (Rediff 2002). A majority of the people in the affected areas of Gujarat did not participate directly in the violence. However, neither was there any massive protest against the violence. Many nongovernmental organizations and citizens groups did not speak out in strong terms condemning the violence. “All sides should calm down” is seen as implying that no one is

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responsible. The silent majority’s inaction in Gujarat 2002 was an action loaded in favor of those perpetrating antiMuslim violence. The BJP state leadership, which was clearly identified as complicit with the Gujarat-2002 killing machinery, was confident of gaining electorally after the riot, and the fact that this confidence paid off is an indictment of the silent majority. The BJP chief minister of the state, accused for his complicity and instigation of violence, was rewarded with electoral victories. “Hats off to the asli mard [real man]” praised a fan on his Web site (in Bunsha 2002). This electoral victory in the State Assembly elections of December 2002, the best performance ever by the BJP on its own in any state in India until then, challenged most factors that are seen as important in the electoral democracy in India (e.g., the antiincumbency factor, the lack of development, and the strength of the opposition) and showed that violence against Muslims paid off. This cannot be explained by the instrumental interests of the Hindu majority alone but by the lack of compassion for the Muslim victims. There was a curious reversal of responsibility as many Hindus blamed Muslims for the violence and saw themselves as the victims whose security was threatened by “the Muslim.” The attitude of my Hindutva respondents during the 2005– 2006 fieldwork toward anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002 ranged from “unfortunate but well-deserved” to unmitigated celebration. Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, the head of Ram Janmabhumi Trust, brushed off stories of gang rape by saying: “You are educated, you should surely know that rape is committed only by a man over a woman and gang rape is not possible . . . since the reports mention gang rapes, they are surely fabricated . . . When 100–220 people went to burn Muslim houses, how would they all rape women?” Slightly frustrated with my repeated questions about Gujarat 2002, he said with a finality: “Gujarat was a reaction—if someone kills your loved ones, you will of course retaliate, ‘isme galti kya hai?’ (What is wrong with this?’)”; for Nritya Gopal Das, as for most other leaders and activists I spoke to, the state was innocent, uninvolved, and helpless against the tide of Hindu awakening.

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On the other hand, young activists and some Hindutva sympathizers were more frank. “We are proud that we killed at least 25,000 Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. If Muslims respond, fine, we will teach them a lesson again,” bragged a VHP activist in front of an approving crowd in Hardwar (Personal Interview 2005a). SS, a policeman in the town of Ayodhya, rationalized the well-documented reports of sexual violence against Muslims with this comment: “If rape did occur in Gujarat, so what, it is what they [the Muslims] did in the past, they did it to the Kashmiri [Hindu] women. Gujarat kanda [incident] in fact reduced rape by warning Muslims that the Hindus will respond in kind” (Personal Interview 2005b). While activists are more open in their celebration of violence, leaders would focus on explaining, justifying, legitimizing, and thus encouraging violence. Togadia is clear in his statement: “When the secularists selectively condemn the Gujarat violence, it seems that without Sita haran (Sita’s abduction) the Lanka dahan (Lanka’s burning) is imagined. So if you have to criticize the Gujarat carnage, you must also condemn the Kashmir killings as well as the Godhra massacre” (in The Milli Gazette n.d.). Togadia is not making a case for a balanced scrutiny of all killings, but merely representing Hindutva violence as a reaction to the dangers posed by the minorities and their secularist allies. Ram Vilas Vedanti justified anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat as an inevitable reaction (“pratikriya”) and argued that “agar Godhra kanda galat hai, to Gujarat kanda sahi hai” (“If Godhra incident is wrong, then Gujarat incident is correct”) and rubbished any suggestion of sexual violence by stating categorically, “Hindus do not rape women, Muslims do” (Personal Interview 2005h). SS, a policeman guarding a VHP leader, explained why anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat should be a matter of pride—Western education has spoilt many Hindus, he has witnessed through his assignment how sadhus and the VHP have instilled a new pride among young men, it is mostly Hindus who die in communal riots, and finally, it is refreshing to see Hindus killing more Muslims and proving that they are not emasculated (Personal Interview 2005b). Clearly for

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Hindutva leaders, activists, and sympathizers, anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat 2002 was an episode in the masculinistnationalist awakening of the Hindus. Violence against actual minorities was celebrated as nationalist awakening of the majoritarian community imagined as under siege from hostile forces of foreign (and minority) religionists and their secularist supporters.

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Query Form Book Title:

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7

Politics of Fear

H

indu nationalist politics of imagination geared around the dangerous Other and an awakened Self facilitates a number of processes. It allows political mobilization in the name of cultural defense, promotes a majoritarian nationalism in the name of challenging â&#x20AC;&#x153;pseudo-secularism,â&#x20AC;? justifies antiminority-violence, promotes homosocial bonding, provides a vision of India as a Hindu nation purged of minorities, and legitimizes themselves perpetually in the name of defense of the Hindu nation (because the reality is that India is not a Hindu nation). Mobilizing Desire, Desiring Mobilization How does a sharing of tacit knowledge about the Other translate into political organization? Can a nationalist movement be built upon desire alone? The answers to these questions can never be simple for they will depend on the shifting and contesting dynamics within different contexts. As Mines reminds us, how people appropriate the national for their own placemaking in the local (Mines 2002) is context dependent. In their research on the Shiva Sena in Maharastra, Katzenstein, Mehta, and Thakkar argue: The discourse of religious nationalism derives its power in part from a transposition of language, ideology, and rhetoric that heightens the politics of identity. But the power of discourse

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also depends crucially on the capacity or incapacity of organizations to make any particular set of competing discursive claims “stick.” In the case of Shiv Sena, Hindutva, and Maharashtra, this has everything to do with the Sena’s organizational wizardry and coercive practices and with the weakened institutional structures in the state of Maharashtra. (1997: 372)

In this book, I have confined myself to identifying and analyzing the overarching frames of representations that are central to Hindu nationalism. Using the examples of the destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya in 1992 and the anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002, I illustrated how the framings translate into certain types of Hindu nationalist political actions. Nationalism has typically sprung from masculinized memory, masculinized humiliation, and masculinized hope (Enloe 1989: 44). Hindu nationalism illustrates this clearly. It fantasizes potency (of a Hindu collective), yet it fears impotency. Nationalism, for Hindutva, is a politicocultural project to create, awaken, and strengthen a masculinist-nationalist body (see also Bacchetta 2004; Banerjee 2005; Gupta 2001; Jayawardena and De Alwis 1998). I analyzed Hindu nationalism by conceptualizing it as a porno-nationalism. Hindu nationalism, as a narcissistic ideology, has at its core a sexualized conception of sometimes the Self and often the Other; and at the level of nationalized corporeal bodies too, sexual desire and “perversions” play a crucial role (see Kabbani 1986; Lewis 1996; McClintock 1995; Said 1978; and Stoler 2002, 1995 on imperialism, nationalism, and sexuality). Jokes, slogans, gossip, and conversations of young male activists laced with sexual themes are ethnographically relevant. Such a porno-nationalist imagination of the hypersexualized Muslim Other convinces the Hindu nationalist Self of its moral superiority but at the same time instils an anxiety about the threatening masculine Other. Hindu nationalism, despite claiming to represent the majority Hindu community, has at its core a deep masculinist anxiety that it claims, will be solved through a masculinist, often bordering on militarized, awakening. In the case of Hindu nationalists, the porno-nationalist imagination of the hypersexualized Muslim Other and anxious

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Hindu masculinity facilitates, rather than directly causes, sociocultural mobilization and political organization. That is, the imagination does not directly lead to political action; in this context, prejudices against Muslim minorities do not translate into automatic violence against them. Political action, including political violence, is a multifaceted phenomenon and imaginative practices are one of the many contributing dynamics. The anxiety generated by the threatening images of the inimical Other is tapped by the Hindu nationalists to socioculturally mobilize supporters. Popular cultural resources and social practices, such as religious festivals, pilgrimages, songs, cheap CDs and VCDs, epics, and so on, are utilized to expand the support base for the Hindu nationalist movement. Homosocial bonding is clearly the biggest strength of the Hindu nationalist movement, probably more so than any other social/political movement in India. The Sanghâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s practice of encouraging regular shakhas (branch) in different parts of India, combining games, prayers, exercises, and discussions, facilitate bonding like no other political movement. The porno-nationalist imagination of the Other, the claim to be the only protector of the vulnerable Hindu Self, and the attractiveness of being part of a selfidentified masculine nationalist project have all proven effective means for mobilizing young Hindu boys and men, especially in small towns where there are limited alternatives. However, this sociocultural mobilization of Hindu nationalism has not easily translated into political organization; hence, despite the widespread activities of the Hindu nationalist movement, politically they face a strong challenge from other centrist, caste-based, regionalist, and leftist forces. Even when the BJP, a Hindu nationalist party, came to power in the federal government, it did so by shunning some of the policy ideas that made it Hindu nationalist (see Adeney and Saez 2005). Political compulsion to secure support from various regional and centrist parties forced it to tone down its Hindu nationalist rhetoric and reach out to the minorities. My fieldwork suggests that the limited political gains of Hindu nationalists in the elections so far do not reflect the more deep-rooted and widespread sociocultural networks of Hindutva organizations.

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A medium-ranked Hindu nationalist activist who said he was Mishra from Delhi opined that “muthi bhar musalman ke nak mein bhi aapna kel dal sakte hain” (“we can easily control a handful of Muslims if only we organize”; Personal Interview 2005c). All that is needed is a small group of committed and organized Hindutva activists who shake up the wider Hindu population. They will have to purge the Hindu body politic of its putative emasculation. For instance, note the following description of the Bajrang Dal: The Bajrang Dal has been proven as a security ring of Hindu Society. Whenever there is an attack on Hindu Society, Faith and Religion, the workers of Bajrang Dal come forward to its rescue. The Hindu Society and the Faith have been kicked and insulted by various forces for the last fourteen hundred years. Demolitions of more than 3,000 temples, fraudulent or forceful conversion of crores of Hindus were the main tactics of these forces. The Bajrang Dal endeavours to put up resistance by democratic means against these unholy forces. (Hinduunity.org n.d.)

The Productive Discourse of Security Security is a central concept in the theory and praxis of not only international relations but local, interlocal, as well as translocal relations. In positivist literature on security, it is assumed to possess an ontological and epistemological certainty where the sources of insecurity as well as the referent of security are givens. In line with the literature of critical international relations (see Campbell 1998; Krause and Williams 1997; Lipschutz 1995; Weldes et al. 1999), I conceptualize security as a productive discourse that produces insecurities to be operated upon and also defines the identity of the object to be secured. This challenges the dominant conceptual grammar of security that treats insecurities as unavoidable facts while focusing attention onto the acquisition of security by given entities. It foregrounds the processes through which something or someone (the Other) is discursively produced as a source of insecurity against which the Self needs to be secured. Thus, discourses of insecurity are about

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“representations of danger” (Campbell 1998). Insecurities, in this view, are social constructions rather than givens—threats do not just exist out there, but have to be created. All insecurities are culturally produced in the sense that they are produced in and out of “the context within which people give meanings to their actions and experiences and make sense of their lives” (Tomlinson, in Weldes et al. 1999: 1). Insecurities and the objects that suffer from insecurities are mutually constituted. That is, in contrast to the received view, which treats objects of security and insecurity themselves as pre-given and natural and as separate things, I treat them as mutually constituted cultural and social constructions and thus, products of processes of identity construction of Self-Other. The argument that security is about representations of danger and social construction of the Self and the Other does not imply that there are no “real” effects. What it means is that there is nothing inherent in any act, or being, or object that makes it a source of insecurity and danger. Security is linked closely with identity politics. How we define ourselves depends on how we represent others. This representation is thus integrally linked with how we “secure” ourselves against the Other. Representations of the Other as a source of danger to the security of the Self in conventional understandings of security are accompanied by an abstraction, dehumanization, depersonalization, and stereotyping of the Other. The Other gets reduced to being a danger and hence an object that is fit for surveillance, control, policing, and possibly extermination (cf. Foucault 1977, 1988). This logic of the discourse of security dictates that the security of the Self facilitate and even demand the use of policing and violence against the Other. Hindu nationalism can be conceptualized as a discourse of security, yet it feeds insecurity into society. As pointed out earlier, according to Hindutva, the minority Others, in alliance with secularists and communists, are waging a war against the Hindus. The stereotyped Muslim figure is represented as a danger to Hindu security at different levels—individual Hindu (especially female) bodies, Hindu neighborhoods, Hindu India, as well as the entire world. These representations of minorities as a danger

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to the security of the Hindu body politic facilitate the politics of hate against Muslims in India. In the face of such hostile foreign religionists, Hindutva prescribes a multipronged approach—a propaganda warfare to “reveal” (in practice, manufacture) the conspiracy of minorities and their secular allies to fool Hindus into believing that there is no danger; sociocultural mobilization of Hindus so that they are proud of their unified Hindutva identity; political organization of Hindus to ensure that they form a vote bank; capturing the state to reflect the Hindutva interests; and using violence against minorities in the name of securing the Hindu body politic. The aim is to create a potent Hindu nation. Challenges of Democracy It is tempting to view Hindu nationalism primarily as a political movement and, therefore, lament or celebrate (depending on one’s views) its limited influence on Indian democracy. The fact that Hindu nationalists have never won more than a minority share of Hindu votes or that Hindutva-based parties such as the BJP have had to moderate their views for reasons of governance does not imply a serious setback for Hindu nationalism. The idea of Hindutva remains unsullied for many of its subscribers. The BJP’s defeat is perceived with the same old lens—an unholy alliance of minorities and opportunist secularists (led by a foreign-born woman, Sonia Gandhi); unawakened and divided Hindus; and a Hindutva party that has gone against its principles. Varun Gandhi’s incendiary speech in 2009 or Narendra Modi’s hate speeches in 2002 may have contributed to the BJP’s problems and losses, but it certainly brought a thumping victory in the targeted locales. Such politics of hate clearly worked for Narendra Modi’s party in Gujarat and Varun Gandhi in Pilibhit constituency. Like other religious fundamentalisms, Hindutva has a bigger goal of socio-politico-cultural transformation. Setbacks in elections are seen as peripheral to the long-term vision of a Hindu Rashtra—after all, in a narrative of a continuous war of hostile religious groups for more than a millennium, a decade of setbacks is not a big deal.

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Hindutva as a social and cultural project remains active and thriving. RSS’s shakha activities continue uninterrupted; Hindutva ideologues adapt their ideas to suit the tastes of Non Resident Indians (e.g., linking Hindutva’s cause with that of Zionists or toning down the Swadeshi agenda) and urban middle classes (e.g., through Online Shakha); the VHP adopts the Internet for its agenda; and the Bajrang Dal utilizes new technologies for spreading intolerance. Hindu nationalism is here to stay in the Indian landscape. While acting as a defender of faith and culture, Hindutva in practice intervenes in both, and seeks to transform them from fluid, diverse, highly contested entities to ones that can be mobilized for Hindu nationalist purposes. More research is needed on the myriad ways in which Hindutva scavenges upon existing religious and cultural practices, shapes the commonsense of a wider Hindu population, transforms what it means to be a “Hindu,” and selectively appropriates ideas of secularism, democracy, rights, equality, and security for its own long-term agenda of establishing a Hindu India. The disjuncture between the imagined militarized Hindu nation and the actual fact of a rich plurality of Hindu society turns the rage of Hindutva against the Hindus themselves. The Hindu nation becomes a rarefied ideal, which only the Sangh Parivar and its sympathizers are capable of appreciating. Other Hindus, under the spell of anti-Hindu ideas of secularism, communism, “Macaulayism,” Westernization, women’s emancipation, and even democracy, are criticized for being ignorant. Hindu nationalists speak of secularism and democratic rights (see also Hansen 1999 and Ludden 1996) with a forked tongue. They reject the mainstream version of secularism as appeasement of minorities and as pseudo-secularism. They argue that a genuine democracy should recognize the primacy of the Hindu majority and give no special protection or rights for the minorities. But the same Hindu nationalists will also reject secularism as alien (only Hindu sanatana dharma is “true secularism”), claim that the celebration of the diversity of Indian culture is a conspiracy to erase the essential oneness of India as expressed in sanatana dharma, promote Hinduization of public life, appeal to Islamophobic Western ideologues to

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support their case, criticize state measures to promote equality (such as the right of daughters to have a share in paternal property) and progressive social and environmental movements as anti-family, and express intolerance of dissident views by beating up artists, writers, and activists. Hindutva’s relationship with politics is one of a convenient split. The dominant self-image is of an apolitical cultural nationalism that despises the “dirty” realm of politics and is primarily interested in a regeneration of Hindu society, protection of Hindu religion and culture, and establishing of a Hindu Rashtra in India. For instance, in a resolution passed by the VHP, which is the primary Hindutva organization that politicizes the Hindu religion, at the Akhila Bharatha Mutt-Mandir Conference (All India Mutt-Mandir Conference) held on 12 and 13 November 2005 in Hyderabad (the VHP uses the name Bhagyanagar to de-Islamize the place) a call was made for keeping temples and monasteries out of secular government control; the conference resolved that the temple’s management should not acquire an “overt or covert hue” (Akhila Bharatha 2005). The RSS’s vision of a Hindu nation is presented as primordial and beyond the vagaries of everyday politics, “Whether some people accept and recognise it or not due to their ignorance, Hindu Rashtra exists, it has been existing for ages and it shall continue to exist for ever. Thus Hindu Rashtra is not a political concept but a cultural and emotional one, eternally asserting itself ” (Rao in Seshadri et al. 1990). Politics is usually presented as a regrettable necessity, which Hindu nationalists have to indulge in to protect dharma, samaj, sanskriti and sabhyata. This seeming split of the political and the cultural domain allows the RSS to selectively embrace or distance itself from other members of the Parivar and adopt a sanctimonious role of being “above politics.” If there is an outcry over the Bajrang Dal’s hooliganism, the RSS would claim that it has nothing to do with them. At the same time, the distinction between the RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal, and so on is highly blurred and the personnel shift between these. “The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh works only for organising the society and man-making

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and individuals (Swayam sevaks) fired by that very passion take the message of the Sangh to various areas of national life, make people from those areas their associates, and work together for realising the ultimate goal of national prosperity. The sole objective is to make the nation most glorious of all and a world leader” (Bajpai and Barthawal 2001: 28). Democracy is not only about majority rule and minority rights, but also a political culture that allows for expressions of dissent without fear. Hindu nationalism has limited tolerance of dissent, resents minority rights, and only focuses on majority rule. But its understanding of the principle of majority rule goes against the very principle of liberal democracy—democratic majority is a political majority (the composition of which changes all the time) and not an identity-based majority. By investing the numerical Hindu majority with a political agency, Hindu nationalism seeks to make Indian democracy illiberal and authoritarian. The only “rights” that Hindutva struggles for are those of Hindu nationalists to stamp their mark on the society, culture, and politics of India. Otherwise, “rights talk” (where individuals make a claim against the collective, or religious or sexual minorities demand a recognition of their difference, or hitherto oppressed groups struggle for justice) is viewed as promoting individualism and tensions within an otherwise pristine, family-based Hindu/Indian society. Hindu nationalism’s politics of fear and imagination implies that it is a serious attack on the ideas and practices of secularism, unity in diversity, and democracy in India. A Hindu nationalist India may become a militarily stronger country, but it certainly will not be the country Indians had fought for during the anticolonial struggle. The Hindutva’s project of Hindu India militates not only against religious minorities and dissenters, but seeks to create a new ahistorical and deracinated India where secular democracy becomes an empty signifier.

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Query Form Book Title:

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Appendix I

Islam X-Rayed Prepared by A Board of Experts on Islam Published by: Rashtra Chetna Prakashan & Charitable Trust (Ahmedabad, Gujarat)

Introduction Islam is only a 1400 year old religion. But within such a short period it has spread over most of the parts of the world and today this religion has around 135 billion followers [sic]. Unlike other religions, Islam has not undergone any theological reform or evolution since Islam is intrinsically anti-reformation. Viewed from the historical perspective, Islam portrays itself as a vigorously confrontationist doctrine—confrontationist both, on theological as well as material premises. . . .

Purpose of this literature This literature is not a textbook on Islamic theology, but in a true sense, is a training manual with a specific purpose. A very famous “Kafir” scholar of Islamic theology once remarked that, “The strength of Allah lies in the non-Muslims’ ignorance of the contents of Islamic theology which shapes the Psyche of the Islamic world.” Nothing can be truer than that, and that explains the purpose of this training manual. The main purpose of this training manual is to create a group of non-Muslim experts on Islamic theology in order to expose

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Islam to the non-Muslim masses and demolish the myth of “religion of peace” as Islam as generally misportrayed by the secularist agents of Islam. Now a question is likely to arise that why we Hindus should take the trouble of exposing Islam. The answer is that the non-Muslim world must know the root and the mechanism of Islamic terrorism; then only we shall be able to formulate a counter-strategy to fight Islamic terrorism. We are often told that Muslims are peace-loving people and only the terrorists are misinterpreting Islam, but if we study Islamic theology, we shall know for certain that there is nothing called peaceloving Muslim or terrorist Muslim, rather whoever believes in the Quran and Hadiths are either real terrorists or potential terrorists and all those people who believe in Islam cherish a single desire in their hearts: destruction of all non-Muslims and Islamizing the whole world. Understanding this is important in two accounts. First, if we understand that terrorism is intrinsic to Islamic religion, we will be able to make aware the so far unaware non-Muslims regarding the same and build up resistance to Islamic terror and take pre-emptive measures to eradicate it. Secondly, when we understand Islam properly, we shall be able to counter and neutralize those secularists who preach in favor and expose them in public. To be precise, to eradicate a certain threat to our existence, we must first have the proper threatperception and without understanding as well as exposing Islam to the non-Muslim masses, we cannot make the masses aware of what danger Islam poses for their very existence. This “Training Manual” is divided into three broad parts, each of which is again sub-divided into several Chapters. The first part deals with the “theological Exposition of Islam.” The second part deals with how secularists and the Muslim intellectuals try to defend their theory that “Islam is a religion of peace.” So, in this part, a thorough guideline is provided as to how we should counter and demolish each of their arguments in favor of Islam. The third part deals with the “Strategy of creating awareness among the non-Muslims regarding the Islamic danger.” Along with this “Training Manual,” our activists are advised to go through the Quran and certain books on Islamic theology and history, which are listed. It must be zealously remembered and followed for all times that this “Training Manual” is not meant for the general public. It is specifically for the people who have resolved to shoulder the job of exposing Islam as a mission of life. Each copy of this Training Manual has a separate code-number. The activist to whom a copy of this “Training Manual” is allotted must

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not part with his copy. Lending the copy to another person, whoever he may be, for even a very short period or photocopying the same is strictly prohibited and any such act shall be considered a serious breach of organizational discipline for which the concerned activist shall be held liable and answerable. The reader must go through this “Training Manual” with utmost sincerity and thoroughness and must achieve a complete grip over this subject before taking it to the public. In each and every session/debate on this particular subject, activists are instructed to carry a copy of the Quran for ready reference and demonstration.

Bharat Mata Ki Jai ... Part—1 Chapter 1 The Key-words of Islam To understand and expose Islam, one must study and analyze it in the light of the “Quran” and the “Hadiths” as well as the history of the development of Islam during the lifetime of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam . . . Chapter 2 Allah Allah is the only god of Islam. . . . So whatever the secularists say about “Islamic tolerance of their religions” and Gandhian delirium of “Ishwar Allah tere naam” are nothing but a hoax and a ploy to mislead the Hindus . . . Exercise: [i] Prove that Allah is the only god to be worshipped and the Gods of other religions are to be condemned . . . [ii] Prove that only believing in Allah is not enough, and to be a true Muslim one has to condemn and destroy other religions also . . . Chapter 3 Islam ...

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Exercise: ... [iii] Show how Islam is incompatible with other religions. [iv] Show how Islam is detrimental to peace . . . [vi] Show that to be a true Muslim one has to reject and condemn and try to finish all other religions. Hint: Sura 109; 3/19, 85; 48/28. 61/9, 8/29, 72/14, 15; 2/165 . . . Chapter 4 Kafir ... 3/28: Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Whose death that hath no connection with Allah unless (it be) that ye but guard ourselves against them, taking (as it were) security. Allah biddeth you beware (only) of Himself. Unto Allah is the journeying (Md. Pickthal). This ayat is extremely important for understanding the behaviourpattern of the Muslims living in a non-Muslim country. The above ayat says that a Muslim should not make friends with the nonMuslims and such is permissible only when the Muslims feel that antagonizing the non-Muslims will risk their security. In India as well as other countries where the Muslims are the minority, we see that sometimes they behave in a friendly manner with the non-Muslims and take part in the social and political activities with the non-Muslim majority community. For example we have Muslims in all the political parties in India who are, in a concerted manner, furthering the cause of Islam, taking advantage of the secularist myopia of our countrymen. In general, whenever a Muslim pretends to be friendly with the non-Muslims, these the non-Muslims take as a sincere gesture and ignore their threat from the Muslims. The Muslims take advantage of our ignorance and consolidate their strength. The Muslims sometimes make friends with the non-Muslims to use them for their own purpose and when the purpose is served or the Muslim gets an upperhand, the real Islam in them comes out (30–31) . . . 33/59 O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognised and not annoyed. Allah is ever forgiving, merciful (Md. Pickthal). In this ayat, Allah is asking the Muslim women to put on “Burqa” as an identification mark so that the Muslim males can recognize

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them as Muslim women and do not molest them. So Allah provides immunity from molestation to the Muslim women only . . . Further this ayat shows that Allah does not hold molestation as an offence in general and if a Muslim molests a non-Muslim woman that is not Allah’s lookout . . . This verse not only shows the partisan attitude of Allah but also gives the Muslim males a permanent license to molest the non-Muslim women. ... Chapter 7 ZAKAT How all the Muslims sponsor terrorism The main objective of this instant chapter is to show how all the Muslims of the world consciously support and sponsor terrorism . . . (The obligatory nature of zakat, the limitation of compassion and Islamic charity only for the Muslims, and the prescription of jihad as a higher form of service than zakat, ensures that most of zakat goes for militant Islamic objectives). So it can be quite comfortably inferred that all the Muslims around the world pay “Zakat” willingly and knowing fully well that such money is going to be used for terrorism as per their religious scripture. So, in other words, it is the common Muslims who consciously fund the Islamic terrorists as a religious duty and service to Allah . . . So it is not only some Islamic charity and financial organizations, but the whole Muslim world is responsible for financing Islamic terrorism against the non-Muslims. Chapter 8 Shahada ... (Establishes that only Muslims can be shahid and that too by getting killed in a battle against the non-Muslims—Jihad and therefore Bhagat Singh cannot be called Shahid). We must remember that calling all the worthy sons of Bharat Mata by the adjective of Shahid is the worst possible insult to their sacred souls and immortal inspirations. Calling them Shahid amounts to reducing them to the level of a sectarian, narrow-minded religious fanatic and a mindless sub-human who believed that by killing, raping and converting other people to Islam, they can go to paradise and sip grape-juice sitting on the lap of virgins with high bosom.

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Part—2 Chapter 9 How to Handle a Secularist/Muslim Intellectual in a Public Debate: To learn how to handle the secularists and the Muslim intellectuals, we must first know how they behave in public debates. First they will say whatever they have to say. Then when your turn comes, they will keep interrupting you and keep talking over you (example: Sitaram Yechury). When they are cornered, they will skip the issue. When they are incapable of answering a particular question, they will say that they don’t feel that question/issue to be relevant (example: Sahabuddin). Antidotes for the Secularist Bugs: (1) When you are in a public debate with the secularist/Muslim intellectuals, do not be polite to them, because they will not be polite to you. We have the chronic disease (‘Prithwiraj Chauhan syndrome’) of showing unnecessary courtesy and kindness to our adversaries. Just keep one thing in mind: Our aim is not to strike a personal friendship with the secularists of [or?] the Muslims, which is next to impossible. Our aim is to expose them. Simply act with toughness. (2) The secularists will try to irritate you, but you should keep your cool. You should try to make the secularist/Muslim a laughing stalk [sic] in front of the public around. This will irritate him to your advantage. (3) When in a debate, interact with the crowd. For example, when you are showing a paper-cutting or the Quran in course of a debate, hold it up towards the people and not to the secularists. When you quote something or read out ayats of the Quran or any related thing, face the public as if you are reading out to them and not towards your opponent. (4) Whenever a secularist or a Muslim intellectual says something for which he/she does not show any reference, you can conveniently say that he/she is telling lies. This will further irritate him. (5) If during your speech or reply, the secularist/Muslim intellectual tries to interrupt you or disturb you to the slightest extent, tell him/her immediately (loudly and sternly enough so that the people around can understand) that his/her behavior is not civilized and he/she should behave properly. In spite of that, if he/she continues to interrupt you, just keep speaking and speak louder. And when the turn of the secularist comes,

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you also disturb him/her in the similar manner. Remember one thing: We are at propaganda war with the secularists/Muslim intellectuals, and the only ethic of every war is victory. Always be ready with some questions which you think the secularists cannot answer and at the very first opportunity, throw the questions to (specifically) the crowd and then demand the answer from your opponent. The secularist/Muslim will try to bypass those questions saying that these are irrelevant but you immediately assert that these are absolutely relevant and the secularist/Muslim is not answering it just because they are not intellectually honest and capable of answering the same. In case they give a wrong answer, you immediately give your answer (to the crowd) and say that he/she is lying. Example: Common civil code, polygamy by the Muslims. Also ask them whether they have read Quran. They will say yes, then you immediately ask which translation, which publication. You quote ayats from the Quran and ask them what they feel about it (example: 3/151; 8/12; 9/5; 5/14, 51; 3/85; 4/48 etc.). You can also ask them other issues; like they are so obsessed with the Muslim refugee camps in Gujarat, but they never mentioned the Hindu refugee camps there. Also raise the issue of Kashmiri Hindu refugees. In any debate, always be in an attacking mood and never be apologetic for anything whatsoever. Put as many embarrassing questions as possible to the secularist/Muslim. Whenever you go for a debate with the secularists/Muslims, always be ready with the basic materials you want to rely on and carry the same along with you and display the same to the public. This will create tremendous positive impact on the audience. There is another bad habit we have to shake off. Whenever the secularists call us â&#x20AC;&#x153;communal,â&#x20AC;? we become defensive and try to establish that we are not communal, rather they are pseudosecularists. This defence-mechanism in our arguments give the secularists an upper-hand. We need not and should not take trouble to prove who are real secularists and who are pseudosecularists. Our objective should be to make the secularists objects of public condemnation and ridicule.

So, whenever they call us communal, you assert that you are communal because you are concerned about the security and interest of the Hindu community. The Christians and the Muslims openly

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assert their communal issues and claims. The Christian leaders were extremely vocal and assertive about their communal issues, i.e., right to convert, murder of Graham Stains. The Muslims leaders do it regarding “Babri.” They loud [sic] the plight of the Muslim refugees at Gujarat. And the secularists also join them in these campaigns. So, the Hindus should not feel shaky if the secularists call us “communal” when we raise issues of Hindu interests. Rather we should attack them in every public debate regarding their double-standards. Instead of calling the secularists pseudo-secularists, we should directly and publicly accuse them as “agents of the Muslims.” Chapter 10 Secularist Arguments and the Counter Arguments ... Our primary objective is to spread awareness about the real nature of Islam among the non-Muslim masses. So our whole effort and energy are desired to be channeled to expose Islam to the non-Muslim masses. It will be wiser not to waste much energy in convincing the Secularists about the real nature or [of?] Islam, since these people are either politically motivated or simply bribed by the Islamic forces for supporting their causes. So we should not waste our time in private discussion with the secularists . . . (6) The secularist may say that some people are misinterpreting Islam. Immediately ask him among all religions why only Islam is so vulnerable to misinterpretation? Then face the audience and tell them that there are 140 billion Muslims [sic] in the world. If only 1% of them, i.e., 1 crore 40 lakhs of Muslims misinterpret Islam. Now only 18 misinterpreters of Islam destroyed the WTC, then what havoc these 1 crore 40 lakhs of misinterpreters of Islam can do? Again the total military strength of all the non-Muslim nations taken together is less than 1 crore 40 lakhs . . . Part—3 Chapter 11 The Methodology for Campaign When you plan to expose Islam, you must prepare yourself thoroughly . . . (Read previous parts, including theology, observations on Islam made by Aurobindo, Vivekananda and Ambedkar, keep a copy of Quran, and do more research).

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You will find repetitions of important ayats and some topics in different Chapters but don’t be impatient with that. We have kept the repetitions purposefully to help you to memorize the important topics. Also remember that the Quran is full of repetitions and you will have to encounter similar ayats in all possible angles. Now first discuss the matter with your co-workers and practice [sic] how to deliver speech in public and place your theories in any debate or discussion. Learning some key Arabic words and Muslim customs shall be extremely helpful. Equip yourself Always carry a copy of The Quran, thoroughly underlined and indexed properly (for your own reference). Always carry the quotations of the great Indians which are given in Appendix. And never forget to carry your self-defence equipment. How to choose audience? Your audience may be a single person or a group. Do not preach this to anybody who is below 14 years of age, unless you are an expert to deal with the minors because that may be counter-productive. Do not waste your time to convince a Communist, a Muslim or any other known antiHindu person. Remember our goal is to create awareness among the vast population of Hindus who have no knowledge of Islamic theology though they are aware of the atrocities committed by the Muslims. So, instead of wasting your time to convince these professional secularists or anti-Hindu persons, your objective should be to expose them as liars and turn the public opinion against these people. So instead of engaging in personal debates with a secularist or a Muslim or a Communist, we must place them in a crowd of impartial people and handle them and expose them through logic in front of the general public. First you spread awareness among the people who are pro-Hindu but do not have much knowledge of Islam. By doing this you should be able to form your own group for campaign in this particular subject. Now when you have formed such group of persons; then speak before the mass whom you think somewhat indifferent in that particular issue. In such debate when you are speaking, the members of your group should remain as audience but should play the role of a “supporting, encouraging and approving crowd.” This makes a tremendous psychological effect on the audience. When the common people see that there are people already endorsing the view of the

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speaker, they tend to get easily convinced and unanimous with the speaker. This is the way mass psychology works. Finally, when you spread the message among a somewhat sizable portion of the common masses and you have achieved somewhat social approval of what you are preaching, then concentrate on the secularists/Communists/Muslims. Solitary audience Before you choose a person to teach Islam, know the circumstance, whether it is in a bus or a train, a house or a lonely street or park. Try to understand if that person is Hindu or Christian or Muslim or Communist. Avoid Muslims and Communists if they do not start talking about Islam. Instead of starting a discussion about Islam yourself, create a context/mood so that the person is provoked to make some comments on Islam or Muslims. If you are traveling with a friend, start discussing some current news involving the Muslims; may it be some riot, war against terrorism, some terrorist activity anywhere, anything regarding Pakistan, Bangladesh or anything that may provoke the co-passenger(s) or people around them to make any comment. If anybody makes such comments, do not jump to your point. Let him talk for a whole [while?] and passively agree with him (if not too objectionable) to win his confidence. Then gradually draw him into a solid discussion about Islam. But always let that person express his/her ideas first and you try to understand his/her understanding and political views also. If he praises Islam, then ask him whether he has read Quran. If he typically says he has read, then ask him which translation of the Quran he has read. Then directly quote 9/5, 4/24, 8/12 etc. and ask his opinion. If he tries to defend the Quran, then apply the methods which we have elaborated in Partâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;2 to break his defences. If he is stubborn, then do not waste your time on him; but if there are other people around who, you find, are taking interest in your conversation, then you continue to quote the most explicit and dangerous ayats of the Quran so that they can hear you. There must be many people around who will listen to you with great interest, but are not bold enough to appreciate you. If the people are silent but attentive, you know that your lecture is not going into vain. If anyone challenges you then show him the underlined Quran. If anyone calls you communalist, then ask him whether he thinks Swami Vivekananda, Amdebdkar or Sri Aurobindo were communal. Then quote these people. This will shut your opponent up. If the audience

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is receptive and appreciating, then gradually intensify your lecture. Tell people at the first opportunity that Islam is getting exposed throughout the world, more particularly in the U.S. and Europe. Always carry some low-priced booklets on Islam so that you can sell them to anyone who is interested. That booklet will help to convince him further. Talking to a group While talking to a single person, many people often start participating and a discussion group may be formed automatically. In such case you should assess the mood of the people around. Often you will be invited to discuss Islam to a group. In that case, first you should enquire about the identity (religious and ideological) of that particular group. Then assess the age-group. educational level and languagepreference of that group. Do not say whether Islam is good or bad. Rather you tell them what are the injunctions of the Quran and what are the implications of such injunctions on us. Always carry your copy of the Quran and other materials and show it to the people and read out from there. Then quote what some great men commented about Islam, Remember, no matter how well you speak people will be ultimately convinced by quotes of these great men. Let the people form their own opinion. Do not say Islam is bad, rather say all the bad things which are there in the Quran and do not forget to tell your audience that Quran is a mandatory code of conduct for all Muslims and it is absolutely unchangeable. Do not give a unilateral lecture, invite response from your audience, encourage interactions. You do not suggest the remedies to the Islamic problem, rather let your audience suggest it. If people ask you about the remedy, you tell them first we should understand the root of the problem and make others understand the same, then the remedy will automatically evolve. You can also ask your audience what should be the remedy they think. Another thing you should build up in the course of your speech: i.e. you have to build up a threat-perception in the minds of the people regarding â&#x20AC;&#x153;Jihad.â&#x20AC;? That is to be done by citing examples of Islamic excesses from recent as well as historical incidents. The rule of Thumb: do not say Islam is good, bad or ugly. Only state clearly (from Quran) what Islam says about the people of other religions and what is the effect of Islam on the non-Muslims. Leave the judgement on the people who are intelligent enough. Always carry with you small and cheap booklets which contain somewhat a gist of

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the theological exposition of Islam and ayats from the Quran for sale and/or distribution. If a person is interested, he will take a copy and through him some more people can get to read the same literatures [sic]. When talking of Islam, always demonstrate the Quran whenever you quote an ayat. How to encounter a pro-Muslim dalit? Do not talk directly on Islam. Talk about BabasaheebAmbedkar. Let him first commit that he respects Ambedkarji and has absolute faith in him. When he says yes, show him what BabasaheebAmbedkar has said regarding Islam and the Muslims. That will be a sufficient medicine. In this regard one book is extremely useful—“Pakistan or the partition of India” by Ambedkarji. You are advised to possess a copy of this book. However, the quotations of Ambedkarji are given here in Appendix II How to encounter a Communist? Ask a Communist (always before the general public) whether he is atheist. If he claims to be atheist then remind him according to their own definition Kafir means atheist. So he (all communists) is the most endangered species so far as “Jihad against the Kafirs” are concerned. Then ask him why the “muslim umma” of the world fought for destroying the Communist regime in Afghanistan in the Soviet era? How to encounter a secularist? Simply tell him (always in front of the public): “Well, he is so fond of the Muslims, but when a riot will break up, will they identify him and spare him? Will they remember that he betrayed his own community and allied with them or they will simply slit his throat and rape his wife and daughter for the fault of being Hindus?” Ask him whether he remembers what exactly happened to Raja Jaichand who was exactly as secular and pro-Muslim like him. (Remember that though the secularist fellow sitting opposite you is the focus of the these questions, you should throw these questions in such a manner [as] if you are asking the same to the public. Interact with the crowd always to expose and heckle a secularist. Then tell the crowd that wherever and whenever the Muslims grabbed the state-power, they could manage to do it even though they were in a minority in that country. They never need to grab, become

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majority to grab the state-power. Then with help from a group of majority community to grab the power and after grabbing the power, immediately slaughter their secularist allies. Again cite the example of Jaichand. How to encounter a Muslim? Always avoid arguing with the Muslims because it will be absolutely unproductive and utter wastage of time. You should do so only if there is a Hindu audience around you and you can expose the Muslim before them. To have a public debate with a Muslim, you must take aid specifically from the Chapter on Jihad and Kafir. Ask the Muslim (and also your audience) why all the terrorists are claiming to be inspired by the Quran? If he says that the terrorists are misinterpreting the Quran; you ask him why among all the religious scriptures, only the Quran is being so often misinterpreted? Ask him if the Muslim terrorists are doing anything un-Islamic then why the Muslim leaders are not declaring them as anti-Muslim and holding a price over their head? Ask the Muslim why he is reluctant to implement the criminal sharia laws of amputating hands for theft, etc.? Why he only sticks to Jihad and polygamy as the sole Islamic law? . . . If you encounter a Muslim woman, ask her, what she will get in heaven while her husband will get 72 houries and 28 boys? How to encounter the people who say all religions are equally bad? To encounter this you need a special training of comparative religion: But in brief, you can ask him where in the Hindu religion it is ordained to kill all non-believers as ordained in the Quran. How to encounter the people who say “Don’t bother about religion?” Ask him, as India is divided on religious basis, two kinds of law are there in country how you can leave religion aside? Use the guideline given in “True Face of Islam.” How to encounter the people who say “know your religion, don’t criticize others’ religion?” You will encounter many such people among the Hindutvawadis. These people always discouraged discussion about Islam, even in the Hindu organizations. Handle them carefully and vigorously. Tell them, “Yes, we know our religions, but still why we could not prevent 1000 years of slavery? So it indicates that only knowing my religion is not enough. You must know the philosophy of your

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rivals and who and why some people want to kill us, loot us, rape us?” Simply ask him the reasons why a vast majority of Hindus were enslaved under a handful of foreign invaders. How to encounter the people who say all Muslims do not believe in Terrorism? See the detailed guideline given in “True Face of Islam.” How to convince family and relative? In fact this is your main job and challenge that you will not leave family members and relatives “unconvinced about the terrorist nature of Islam.” Until and unless you can convince the family members, you cannot function as a preacher properly. So concentrate on this. You will get ample time and scope for this. You have to find your own way, especially if your spouse is a pro-Muslim person. In family always behave in a matured way so that you can establish credibility and assure them that you will not do anything that can jeopardize the security and economic interest of the family. Always be watchful about your servants, in case they are agents of anti-Hindu forces having too many outside contacts. Always make sure that all your employees are true Hindus. Remember that danger usually comes from unloyal or anti Hindu employees. What you will do if somebody becomes angry and aggressive towards you. On the first hand, you should scan the people around to avoid such circumstances. If the aggressive person is Hindu, then tell him, “look, you and me both are Hindus, but you can not tolerate my option, how could you expect that there will be unity among Hindus and Muslims, while you as a Hindu, even can not tolerate a Hindu?” Also say “What I am saying was told by Risi Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda and Baba Saheb Ambedkar, who was the author of our constitution. First deal with them.” If the person is a Muslim, tell him. “You can kill me, but that will not solve your problem, hundreds of thousands of non-Muslims have already read the Quran, how many people you can kill? If you consider yourself a true Muslim, then start a movement to demand Islamic criminal laws, let me see you courage them come to me.” See the guideline in “True face of Islam.” ...

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Query Form Book Title:

Anand

Chapter No:

Appendix Queries and / or remarks

Query No.

Query / remark

Response

No Queries.

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References

“3 Muslims Gang-Rape Minor Hindu Girls in Surat, Capture in Mobile Phone” (2009). Islamic Terrorism in India: Know Islam, Know Terror; No Islam, No Terror. Available online, http://islamicterrorism. wordpress.com/2009/06/15/3-muslims-abduct-rape-film-minorhindu-girl-in-surat/ (accessed 20 July 2009). A Board of Experts on Islam (n.d.) Islam X-Rayed. Ahmedabad: Rashtra Chetna Prakashan. A Swayamsevak (2000). The Story of the Sangh. New Delhi: Suruchi Prakashan. Abhayankar, Susheel (Compiler) (2001). Hum Aisa Vyavahar Kare (We Should Behave Thus). Nagpur: Sevika Prakashan. Adeney, Katharine, and Lawrence Saez (eds.) (2005). Coalition Politics and Hindu Nationalism. London: Routledge. Agarwal, Purushottam (1995). “Savarkar, Surat and Draupadi: Legitimising Rape as a Political Weapon,” in Tanika Sarkar and Urvashi Butalia (eds.), Women and Right-Wing Movements: Indian Experiences. London: Zed, 29–57. ——— (2003). On Communalism and Globalization: Offensives of the Far Right. New Delhi: Three Essays. Akhila Bharatha Mutt-Mandir Conference Resolutions (2005). 12 and 13 November, Bhagyanagar (Hyderabad). Alter, Joseph S. (1994). “Somatic Nationalism: Indian Wrestling and Militant Hinduism,” Modern Asian Studies 28, 3: 557–588. AmrishJi (2005). Public Speech during Shaurya Diwas, 6 December, Ayodhya, India. An Independent Fact Finding Mission (2002). “Gujarat Carnage 2002: A Report to the Nation.” Available online, http://www.sacw.net/ Gujarat2002/GujCarnage.html (15 February 2011). Anonymous (n.d.) Badhti Hui Muslim Jansankhya Se Hindutva Wa Desh Par Sankat (Dangers to Hindutva and the Country from the Growing Muslim Population). Delhi: VHP Office.

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Profile for Dibyesh Anand

Dibyesh Anand's Hindu nationalism book  

Hindu Nationalism in India and the Politics of Fear, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011 (proof-read version)

Dibyesh Anand's Hindu nationalism book  

Hindu Nationalism in India and the Politics of Fear, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011 (proof-read version)

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