By Sushil Kutty
Comparing whether Rahul Gandhi got his Hindu and Hindutva right or did Yoga guru Baba Ramdev laugh too soon at Rahul’s distinction is an exercise in futility. Neither can claim expertise in semantics, let alone in Hindu and in Hindutva. But leave aside all that and it will dawn on most everybody that there is a churning taking place.
The Hinduisation—whether of the ‘Hindu’ or that of the ‘Hindutva’ variety — picked up momentum, especially in the Hindu-Hindutva paradigm, only in recent years, in the last eight years, to be precise. But now, there is little illusion that almost all political parties are bending to the Hindu tuner in their electoral and promotional campaigns.
Ironically, it is the Congress which is in the lead in giving new meaning to the ‘Hindu.’ The otherwise “party of Muslims” is under no illusions—the grand old party has understood that survival in the maelstrom requires some deft alterations and strategic directional change.
The Congress has caught up to the BJP, or is at least on its way to bridging the gap. That it has chosen Hindu to Hindutva is not because ‘Hindu’ has a solid ring to it, but because Hindutva is already taken and because lynching has been linked to Hindutva. On any day, being accused of cow lynching is worse than being called out for Muslim appeasement.
And now even that is not there. The so-called Muslim appeasement is not even there in Congress-ruled states like Punjab, Chhattisgarh—and Rajasthan. If anything, there is Hindu-appeasement!
The Congress would not want to be linked to any form of Hindu appeasement, not yet, but it is happening and soon it would be too late to turn back. The Hindu appeasement that is taking place these days is the sort practiced by the ‘Hindu-BJP’. Come to think of it, there is no hankering for Muslim votes in the BJP camp.
Assam Chief Minister Hemanta Biswa Sarma said it at a conclave of a private television channel. He never believed that Muslims would vote for him and/or his party BJP. “When I know Muslims will not vote for the BJP, then why should I appease the Muslim vote-bank?” The rightwing hailed Biswa for his forthrightness.
They hadn’t come across somebody like Biswa Sarma, who has no time for political niceties or correctness. He and two others like him—Yogi Adityanath and Tripura’s Biplab—with the addition of another in the form of Karnataka’s Bommai, are said to be the “future of the BJP”, whatever that means. The MO of these three (four?) is, for want of a better term, “Hindutva appeasement.”
Like it or hate it, but mark it, “Hindu/Hindutva appeasement” will be coming soon if it is not already here. Political parties will go down on their knees to pay homage and obeisance to “Hindutva/Hindu”. The Hindu is now voting from his belief, increasingly aware that his vote will make the difference, decide victory and defeat.
And Hindu consolidation is a happening thing. Every political party has been caught in the Hindu appeasement vortex. The BJP has been at it for decades. First with talk of ‘kamandal’ followed by the demolition of the Babri Masjid, and then by pitting the case for the Ram Mandir in the people’s court.
Now that Ayodhya has been accomplished, there can only be more of Hindutva and Hindu rejuvenation. More Kashis will happen. Mathura will follow, and so on and so forth, till all of Uttar Pradesh has been dug up. Other political parties will follow in the BJP and Congress’s wake.
Soon, a time will come, not too far in the future, when political parties will have not only gold-diggers in their ranks, but also “Hindu temple-diggers” to dig up the remains of the ruins of temple towns of ancient and Medieval eras. A find here or there of a broken bust of a Hindu god or two will be worth their weight in votes.
It is not for nothing that the Congress is the party which got a subcontinent independence. No other political party could have fashioned a victory such as that. And now, when they say the Congress is fading and declining, the Congress is the political party that is pushing the envelope with “Hindu Vs. Hindutva.” Before the sun sets on 2024, there will be Hindu/Hindutva appeasement in some or the other form. More unbelievable temples will rise from the scorched earth. (IPA Service)