Lazy arguments of the eminent-columnists in the mainstream media
All the mainstream media columnists aired their opinion on, whether Shri Pranab Mukherjee’s decision of giving a speech in the Nagpur RSS- Sikhsha Varg was appropriate or otherwise. Their tired assumptions on the RSS-ideology and functioning were sickening. Once again, they projected trite arguments on the RSS’ ideology.
First and foremost, it would be good to analyze the thought process of an eminent columnist of the progressive bandwagon Shri Aakar Patel. Incidentally, he is also the Amnesty International India’s- Head. Shri Aakar Patel wrote a column titled, “Why Pranab should meet RSS, and give them a lesson in Hinduness”. As is he won’t, even in this column, he showed his tilted views. Aakar Patel (in his column) writes, “Hindutva is a resentful ideology. Its three primary political demands are all negative: Ram Janmabhoomi (Muslims must give up their mosque), Uniform Civil Code (Muslims must give up their personal law) and the reversal of Article 370 (Muslims must give up their constitutional autonomy in Kashmir). Hindutva has nothing positive to offer Hindus… even after taking a full majority it’s all about things like cattle slaughter and making Muslims change their diet.” How can the above ideological issues be wedge-issues for Aakar Patel? When are all the citizens equal under the egalitarian concept of our Indian Constitution, why there should be a lop-sided benefit to certain sections?
If viewed objectively one by one: Ayodhya-temple building issue has been a long pending one of almost a century old. It has its roots in the pre-Independence era. It has been tactically delayed by the Courts. The Supreme Court is treating it merely as a title/land-dispute. It is a known fact that the law of the land does not go by people’s emotions. For Hindus, Lord Ram is an epic figure and Ramayana, an epic story. This epiphany is in the Indian culture. No amount of secular columnists’ talk brings masses back from the mystic realm of seeing a temple at Ayodhya. Denying the Hindu-right to build a temple to their cultural icon, is in itself, exposes our sham- secularism, which is purported ad nauseum as equality to all religions in India.
The M.P of MIM Shri Asaddudin Owasi says he would abide by the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya-temple dispute knowing fully-well that it (the dispute) would be settled as a title-suit, not as a sentimental place for Hindus to build the temple. He has no qualms when a secular country offers shariah! Shariah that was promised and granted to the Muslim community in 1937 by the British rulers (earlier in most parts of India, Muslims practiced Hindu customary law). It was not scrapped through the partition of the country had happened on communal lines. Not only Sharia, permissions for prayers, minority educational institutions, minority commission, personal law boards to resolve disputes regarding the religious law are all the privileges granted. The Constitution of India granted them these privileges to bring the minorities to the mainstream.
These columnists- apologists of the left and the Congress never write on benefits granted to the minorities. They also would not mention much on the amendment to the Constitution in the case of Shah Bano- judgment. Selective amnesia? Only in the case of Ayodhya-temple, for them, no concession, only the rule of law should prevail.
Union form Civil Code (UCC) is enshrined in the Directive principles of the Constitution of India under Article-44. It’s not the RSS – Eureka Code. The founding fathers of the Indian Constitution envisioned the UCC for all the citizens in the Indian territory to have the same rights and claims on certain secular matters. It is unimaginative of the stature of the Amnesty International India’s -Head to negate the Indian Constitutional Directive! The RSS is emphasizing on the need for Uniform Civil Code to get a semblance in the Indian society.
Time and again the Supreme Court has warned the Central Government of the day to take steps in that direction to have the code in place at the earliest. The apprehension that it goes against any personal law is misplaced. Differences could be dissolved while drafting through discussion. Hindus were codified long ago in the 1950s and are still following their personal practices of rituals in marriages and other ceremonies in their homes. The law has no hold on what people follow as an age-old practice by way of religion in their lives. Uniform Civil Code applies to marriage (not on how it should be performed), divorce, maintenance and inheritance etc which are all civil acts.
In any progressive-democratic-secular country in the world, these are all bound by the same law. This UCC may not agree for polygamy that is practiced according to Sharia. Could it be the excuse/objection? Polygamy goes against public morality. No progressive country allows that. There are people who argue, though Hindu law is codified, some men do not stick to one-wife. But the law, which is in place, works as a deterrent. The afflicted woman can go to court for a recourse. Similarly, in the case of Muslim women, the law (if it is in place) becomes handy to them. The name of the Code itself implies the meaning -CIVIL. So, it is a uniformly applied CIVIL code, not a criminal one.
In India to touch tiniest or puniest, Muslim law raises the eyebrows of the secularists and the mullah-Maulvi-duo. For instance, instant triple talaq is not practiced anywhere in Islamic nations (other than the one and only exception of Saudi Arabia), yet the mullahs and maulvis made such a hullabaloo to remove it. Coming to Art-370, it is an open secret that this privilege was granted to the state of Jammu & Kashmir only because the valley is dominated by Muslims. If all the Indian governments in their wisdom want it to be continued perennially, so be it. But one cannot hide the fact. There is nothing wrong in stating the whys and wherefores of the fact behind the imposition of the Act-370 for J&K.
These eminent columnists of mainstream always hide how Pandit Nehru stopped the armed forces, just at the nick of the time, when they were about seize the whole of Kashmir valley. Still, the PoK is a disputed territory only because of the Pandits’ erroneous act of withdrawing the troops. China occupied Kashmir (CoP)- the Siachen glacier-part of it is again because of our first Prime-Minister’s misstep. When news and opinion given in the mainstream media are selective, why blame the social media? These eminent columnists never pay attention to the comments made by the readers. They are high-handed. The tall talk of open-mindedness is for the readers, not for the writers. The eminent columnists are eminent when they are forth-right and show the two sides of the coin with no prejudice. When it comes to majority culture and religion, these columnists earlier denounced both. Now they are mouthing shibboleths of what is Hinduness. Now they accepted that “inclusiveness” and “flexibility” are a part of Hindu culture which is true.
Any culture or any organism survives because of its innate strength of flexibility and adoptability. Cultures of less flexible- imperial Rome, ancient Greece and pharaonic Egypt could not, is evident. Going by the logic of inclusive Hinduness of Aakar Patel, India should not have been partitioned. So, what had caused the partition? The wedge or divisiveness i.e the idea of vivisection was not a Hindu-idea. Jinnah and a section of Muslims asked for it. So, Pakistan formed.
The RSS, pained by the partition, never wants a repetition of the kind. So, it is inculcating nationalist feelings in the people of the country. The positive things that the BJP- led by PM Narendra Modi- offered to Hindus, are questioned by Shri Aakar Patel. The PM, when compared to the earlier Congress governments, has offered things galore. Never in the history of Independent India, a Prime Minister worshipped in a Hindu-temple with Hindu rituals. Shri Narendra Modi, soon after becoming the Prime Minister of India, worshipped in the renowned Viswanath temple of Varanasi, his constituency. None of the Congress PM’s ever did this act (of worshipping) in their craze to appear secular.
Next, he brought Yoga-the Indian heritage to the forefront. He strived hard for the declaration of Yoga-day on 21st of June every year by the United Nations. He enthused Non-Resident Indians by addressing them to whichever country he went. This way he established connectivity of all Indians all over the world. He show-cased river Ganga and her cultural importance by taking dignitaries of world and by attending the daily evening ritual of aarati. He helped the poor with his programmes of free-cylinders, rural-electrification, health care. Above all Swachh-Bharat is a kind of Mathru Archana. Rahul Gandhi, in fact, took a cue from PM Modi in visiting temples which he had not done so publicly so many times before 2014 i.e; in his previous -avatar. He is also trying to please expat Indians of late by copying the PM Modi’ s vision. Earlier, it never occurred to him. So, there are some visible signs of national pride after the Modi -government has come to power.
I am Indira Garimella living in Hyderabad. I hold a Master’s Degree and M. Phil (in English) with M.Ed. I worked as PGT in English in Government run Residential Schools. I have been associated with Pragna Bharati, Hyderabad (an RSS backed NGO) for the past 25 years. I was one of the office-bearers in the Organisation from 1994 to 2004 i.e. I was the in-charge of Publications during that period. I have been a keen observer of National Politics and also write letters and articles to the English and Telugu newspapers from time to time.