Understanding the Hindutva movement better
The Hindutva movement in its myriad forms in the recent era has been around for at least 95 years now. Understanding this is a challenge to a lot many today given its total reluctance to embrace short term benefits while looking for permanent solutions. A lot us ponder on how further will this movement extend and some of us eventually throw up our hands into giving up on getting involved due to the unperceived results and slow crystallization of its workings. Well, even with all these downsides, the movement thrives and is growing. It is an eternal process and will hence at least outlive all of us reading this!
A few pointers from my end on what I think is necessary to understand this better. Of course, my own thoughts are evolving, so feel free to disbelieve them as you like.
Recent attacks on Hindus
The recent attacks mounted on us – regular Islamic aggression in the form of threat videos, unending cases of Love Jihad, Hauz Khas temple destruction, a Shankaracharya forced to perform Chaaturmaas on the street, destruction of the Nava Brindavana in Hampi etc. are not things that surprise us. Until now, Hindus have sulked and ignored and moved on. We all know that this isn’t the first nor will they be the last. But the organizations working for Hindu unification have always believed these are symptoms of a malaise. If we need a permanent cure, we need to start at a much more fundamental level of consolidation. Unification at the level of each and every Hindu and their refinement (Vyakti Nirmaan). Of course, the current attacks also need to be handled in every appropriate way. But there is something deeper here.
Societal transformation through elected governments?
I am not at all justifying some of the horrible actions that have taken place in the context of these incidents, but its simple – we aren’t strong enough as a lobbying power to push that policeman, politician, administration etc. to react in the most obvious manner when Hindus are attacked. Isn’t this the missing Vyakti Nirmaan ideal? This includes the Government itself as it is drawn from the same ecosystem. So the basic assumption of expecting the Government to ensure all societal transformations is just not possible. It is an ideal which we all hope becomes true.
We just cannot outrage on Twitter and expect the Government to turn these issues around for us just because we voted for them. This feeling of “our” government working for “us” needs to be done away with. At least the current government will appease none and will work for “all”. Yeah, I get the argument that a Mamata Banerjee or the Congress itself were better since they catered to their “core” votebank. but didn’t the BJP fight the very same thing to come to power? Now doing the same for Hindus will only fuel more separatist and identity based politics. We are not the trivialized argument of the counterparts of other vote bank parties. We are here only for this Nation and everyone in it.
Yes, the Government needs to be working harder and should do ideally much more than it is right now, but they also need to work on other issues affecting us and our children – Terrorism, Jobs, Infra etc. Please don’t try to prove to me that enough isn’t being done even in these areas. It may or may not be true and I am more than satisfied compared to the past 70 years. 🙂
Twitter outrage – Short term
Being on twitter is very necessary and is not to be undermined at all and fits one of the many sides of this ever changing dimension of Hindu identity and views. It is the most influential medium today tackling a whole mindset out there. But an online presence also needs a corresponding physical presence on the ground. The Communists today exist only on paper for a reason. They wrote reams of articles which none read and outraged by writing books and participated in conferences around the world. But isn’t it clear that they have lost their touch with ground realities and don’t make sense at all?
Outrage is necessary but again the medium is very important. It’s very unusual to find RSS or allied organizations fighting publicly over disagreements. Are we not family? Then no washing dirty linen in public or Twitter is a natural consequence. Dissing the people working for you in any capacity is not the quality of a mature kaaryakarta. Well, honestly BJP deserve every bit of the outrage on Twitter today and I am not here to justify their actions at all. I only differ in the way we express it. But at the end of the day, they are us. Don’t take everyone’s word for it, but believe the people who gave up their personal lives for this from the RSS or allied orgs. They have no returns, only rebuke from you and me, but still the movement survives. A lot of what BJP does is reprehensible (Goa, Karnataka, Jharkhand, etc.) but they are our best chance at this moment to fight for our survival with enemies at the gates.
Is BJP accountable? Yes and No
Visibility to what’s actually happening inside BJP itself is restricted to most of us, but yes, feedback shall be given through the right channels, If we don’t have access to these elected folks, let us get into the party and begin working actively. If we think its a dirty world and wouldn’t want to get involved please don’t, but allow the people who got in with some noble ideas to make mistakes and help them succeed. The filthy rich businessman, realtor,rapist, corrupt, turncoat, movie star… who got into politics is not yours to trust but the folks who emerged from the RSS etc. are surely yours.
If getting the ignoble charlatans into BJP is a necessary evil, leave it to the people managing it. They will do it the way they want so let us stop micromanagement. It isn’t the first time, right? Again, judging CMs etc. may be justified but holding them responsible for every individual incident will not solve anything. If they aren’t working according to our priorities, that’s fine.
How much are we working on the ground, what is our priority? Mocking at TINA or just being dismissive doesn’t again help so let us understand how democracy works with its constraints. Imagine the kind of confusion that sets in within a fence sitter who will just move away from all of these and just stop participating. We are responsible for that too for causing them that confusion by showcasing a divided house. Bringing them back into our fold – not easy.
If we want to provide feedback or be heard, connect locally or wherever we have developed a network and contribute to strengthening the system. Disappointments – Yes, Snubs – Yes, Returns – None. Will all the people who want to make a quick buck allow you to change it – Nope. But we are here to seek nothing and give our everything, right? Time to detach ourselves from the results and go on.
The Hindutva movement didn’t just grow by demanding more accountability. In fact, if we understand this movement well, we will not be affected by the usual ups and downs in electoral politics everyday. Didn’t the RSS grow well enough all along when Congress was in power? It was by the ground level kaaryakartas and pracharaks who believed in the ideal and devoted a lot of time, effort, money etc. in building this vast network. Isn’t this the shoulder upon which we are all shooting on today – be it Twitter or any other medium? Isn’t this new found assertiveness of the Hindu a consequence of these tireless efforts?
I think we owe a lot to these common folk who gave away a lot of their own careers, comfort and family life. They may have not been very intellectual to write an article or outrage on Twitter or talk in English but they certainly were dedicated. These people aren’t part of your study circle to expect intellectual companionship but are people drawn from all realms of society. Low income jobs, almost no exposure, big families to support but great commitment. Isn’t that enough? Being wedded to an ideology by dedicating time for such slow, agonizing, non-exciting Sadhanaa – hallmark of an ideal kaaryakarta.
Jnana or Bhakti alone may be insufficient, but if you have Shraddhaa, then the other two can be acquired over time and you can achieve all you want. Time to get a deeper understanding of this Shraddha towards the ideal we have set out to achieve.
It is time not to just get frustrated by the happenings and injustices to Hindu society but calmly strategize and work towards crystallizing the strength we have gained. Yet again, permanent solutions and not short term patches are required. Slow, evolutionary but crystallized gains. So let us support people who are both doers and thinkers and elevate them in the networks by providing them the right support, even if you disagree fundamentally.
Are we accountable? Yes…
Let us not expect Modi or Shah to answer or have them mention individual incidents just to bolster perception or morale, but it is now time to do our bit to strengthen locally on the ground irrespective of others. If connecting locally isn’t your forte, contribute wherever possible. Creating a narrative that they aren’t committed to Hindutva is the last thing we need at this time. Are we ready to give up one tenth of what they gave up for this movement? Never forget we started at zero with the whole system against us (Read Dr. Hedgewar). Today is it only a minuscule force trying to foster ill-will among us.
If things don’t go well, let us take up the responsibility and do not expect RSS and VHP volunteers to work on our behalf. They are normal people with the same or even more problems than us reading this piece. Ground realities come in to play once we are involved in the field of work.
Remember, we are here from almost a 100 years in modern times battling things very similar to these or worse than what is happening today. So let us not think we are the first to outrage or the most outraged. There were people before us and more will follow in this movement, but it is only we for now who can ensure this goes out better than how we received it.
Lastly, do no diss me for writing this piece as a BJP apologist as I am one of you and we are ONE family. Of course we have issues, time to get together and contribute by throwing out our inflated egos and arrogance, if any! 🙂
Nachiketa is an IT professional based in Bengaluru.