This is an old article, but relevant today. I was asked a lot of questions at the JIDS Dialogue at the Bethesda Synagogue. One of them was women being liberated in India with the abrogation of article 370 - Nope, that is not the case. Take a look at the following article with quotes from Manu Smriti.
Both under Muslim Sharia and Hindu ManuSmriti, women remain oppressed. We want neither.
Courtesy of Counter-Currents.
Should A Hindutvadi Become The Prime Minister Of India?
By Shamsul Islam
26 June 2012
An open letter to RSS Sarsanghchalak, Shri Mohan Bhagwat on why a Hindutvadi should not be the Prime Minister of India
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Sarsanghchalak, Shri Mohan Bhagwat ji,
I was not surprised to read your comments in newspapers that it was not necessary to be a secular person to occupy the office of Prime Minister in a Democratic-Secular India. As per the press reports, you wondered why a Hinduwadi could not become PM of India.[i] I am sure you understand better than me that being a Hinduwadi is not the same as professing Hindu religion. Our national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhash Chander Bose, Rammanohar Lohia, Rajguru, Sukhdev and many-many more were Hindu by faith but not Hinduwadi.
In fact, Mahatma Gandhi, a great practitioner of Hind religion, was brutally assassinated for not being a Hinduwadi by a gang having allegiance to Hindu Mahasabha and RSS. Surely, by Hinduwadi you mean a believer in Hindutva, a kind of political Hinduism, outlined by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar ji in his book Hindutva[ii] and later developed by RSS ideologues like M. S. Golwalkar. You will agree with me that RSS, under your command currently, has been a prominent flag-bearer of Hindutva since its inception in 1925.
I feel before arriving at the conclusion that there is no harm in allowing person/s who believes in Hindutva to become PM of India we will have to understand what Hindutva is. You will agree with me that we need to understand whether Hindutva is compatible with the principles of Democracy, Justice, Egalitarianism &Secularism. In this connection, please, allow me to scrutinize some of the original documents and sources which legitimately belong to the RSS or its brother organizations like Hindu Mahasabha. If you find that I am dishonest in referring to these or misrepresenting facts, you will be at liberty to initiate defamation process against me.
DOES HINDUTVA STAND FOR A TWO-NATION THEORY?
Bhagwat ji! I would like to refresh your memory that both the originator of Hindutva, V. D. Savarkar ji and its flag-bearer, RSS earlier and under your command too had and have unequivocal faith in in Two-nation theory; that Hindus and Muslims are two different nations. While Muslim League under the leadership of Mohammed Ali Jinnah resolved to have a separate homeland for Muslims of India in the form of Pakistan in 1940, Savarkar propagated as early as 1937 that Hindus and Muslims were two different nations. While delivering presidential address to the 19th Hindu Mahasabha session at Ahmedabad Savarkar ji unequivocally declared,
“As it is, there are two antagonistic nations living side by side in India, several infantile politicians commit the serious mistake in supposing that India is already welded into a harmonious nation, or that it could be welded thus for the mere wish to do so. These were well meaning but unthinking friends take their dreams for realities. That is why they are impatient of communal tangles and attribute them to communal organizations. But the solid fact is that the so-called communal questions are but a legacy handed down to us by centuries of cultural, religious and national antagonism between the Hindus and Moslems...Let us bravely face unpleasant facts as they are. India cannot be assumed today to be a unitarian and homogenous nation, but on the contrary there are two nations in the main: the Hindus and the Moslems, in India.”[iii]
Sir! Has it not been the cardinal principle of your organization also? The RSS following into the foot-steps of Savarkar ji, always rejected the idea that Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians together constituted a nation. Your English organ, Organizer, on the very eve of Independence, (August 14, 1947) editorially (titled Whither) underlined its belief in Two-Nation theory once again in the following words:
“Let us no longer allow ourselves to be influenced by false notions of nationhood. Much of the mental confusion and the present and future troubles can be removed by the ready recognition of the simple fact that in Hindusthan only the Hindus form the nation and the national structure must be built on that safe and sound foundation…the nation itself must be built up of Hindus, on Hindu traditions, culture, ideas and aspirations.”
Bhagwat ji! Please, help our country to understand how the believers in Hindutva are different from pre-partition Muslim Leaguers who once played prominent role in dismembering India.
DOES HINUTVA RESPECT NATIONAL FLAG AND DEMOCRACY?
Sir, it may not be out of context to know your attitude towards National Flag which represents a Democratic-Secular India. It is important to know it from the head of organizations which swears by Hindutva. I would like to draw your attention to the following statement which appeared in the English organ Organizer, again on the eve of Independence:
“The people who have come to power by the kick of fate may give in our hands the Tricolour but it never [sic] be respected and owned by Hindus. The word three is in itself an evil, and a flag having three colours will certainly produce a very bad psychological effect and is injurious to a country.” [iv]
Can those who denigrate the National Flag in such foul language be allowed to rule this country?
Sarsanghchalak ji! Lay persons like me need to know from practitioners of Hindutva like you what you think of Democracy. I would like to draw your attention to a statement made by second Sarsanghchalak of the RSS and its most prominent ideologue till date, M. S. Golwalkar. As per the RSS archives Golwalkar ji while addressing a group of 1350 top level cadres of the RSS in 1940 declared:
“RSS inspired by one flag, one leader and one ideology is lighting the flame of Hindutva in each and every corner of this great land.”[v]
Learned Bhagwat ji! This slogan of one flag, one leader and one ideology was also the battle cry of Fascist and Nazi parties of Europe in the first half of 20th century. What they did to democracy is well-known to this world. Can those who believe in such totalitarian designs be allowed to rule our country?
DOES HINDUTVA STAND FOR CASTEISM?
Sarsanghchalak ji! You will agree with me that RSS and its brother organizations who want to have a Hindutva rule in India hated the Constitution of India which was drafted under the guidance of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. When the Constituent Assembly of India had finalized the Constitution of India RSS was not happy. Its organ, Organizer in an editorial on November 30, 1949, complained:
“But in our constitution there is no mention of the unique constitutional development in ancient Bharat. Manu’s Laws were written long before Lycurgus of Sparta or Solon of Persia. To this day his laws as enunciated in the Manusmriti excite the admiration of the world and elicit spontaneous obedience and conformity. But to our constitutional pundits that means nothing.”
Bhagwat ji! It may not be a secret to you that Savarkar ji remained a great protagonist of Casteism and worshipper of Manusmriti throughout his life. The institutions of Casteism and Untouchability were the outcome of Manu’s thought about which Savarkar said the following:
“Manusmriti is that scripture which is most worshipable after Vedas for our Hindu Nation and which from ancient times has become the basis of our culture-customs, thought and practice. This book for centuries has codified the spiritual and divine march of our nation. Even today the rules which are followed by crores of Hindus in their lives and practice are based on Manusmriti. Today Manusmriti is Hindu Law.”[vi]
Sir! What kind of civilization the RSS under your command and under Hindutva ideology wants to build by enforcing the laws of Manu, can be known by having a glimpse of the laws prescribed by Manu for the Dalits/Untouchables and women. Some of these dehumanizing and degenerate laws, which are presented here, are self-explanatory.
LAWS OF MANU CONCERNING DALITS/UNTOUCHABLES.
(1) For the sake of the prosperity of the worlds (the divine one) caused the Brahmana, the Kshatriya, the Vaisya, and the Sudra to proceed from his mouth, his arm, his thighs and his feet.
(2) One occupation only the lord prescribed to the Sudras, to serve meekly even these (other) three castes.
(3) Once-born man (a Sudra), who insults a twice-born man with gross invective, shall have his tongue cut out; for he is of low origin.
(4) If he mentions the names and castes (gati) of the (twice-born) with contumely, an iron nail, ten fingers long, shall be thrust red-hot into his mouth.
(5) If he arrogantly teaches Brahmanas their duty, the king shall cause hot oil to be poured into his mouth and into his ears.
(6) With whatever limb a man of a low caste does hurt to (a man of the three) highest (castes), even that limb shall be cut off; that is the teaching of Manu.
(7) He who raises his hand or a stick, shall have his hand cut off; he who in anger kicks with his foot, shall have his foot cut off.
(8) A low-caste man who tries to place himself on the same seat with a man of a high caste, shall be branded on his hip and be banished, or (the king) shall cause his buttock to be gashed.
(9) Let him never slay a Brahmana, though he have committed all (possible) crimes; let him banish such an (offender), leaving all his property (to him) and (his body) unhurt.
LAWS OF MANU CONCERNING WOMEN
1. Day and night woman must be kept in dependence by the males (of) their (families), and, if they attach themselves to sensual enjoyments, they must be kept under one’s control.
2. Her father protects (her) in childhood, her husband protects (her) in youth, and her sons protect (her) in old age; a woman is never fit for independence.
3. Women must particularly be guarded against evil inclinations, however trifling (they may appear); for, if they are not guarded, they will bring sorrow on two families.
4. Considering that the highest duty of all castes, even weak husbands (must) strive to guard their wives.
5. No man can completely guard women by force; but they can be guarded by the employment of the (following) expedients:
6. Let the (husband) employ his (wife) in the collection and expenditure of his wealth, in keeping (everything) clean, in (the fulfillment of) religious duties, in the preparation of his food, and in looking after the household utensils.
7. Women, confined in the house under trustworthy and obedient servants, are not (well) guarded; but those who of their own accord keep guard over themselves, are well guarded.
8. Women do not care for beauty, nor is their attention fixed on age; (thinking), ‘(It is enough that) he is a man,’ they give themselves to the handsome and to the ugly.
9. Through their passion for men, through their mutable temper, through their natural heartlessness, they become disloyal towards their husbands, however carefully they may be guarded in this (world).
10. (When creating them) Manu allotted to women (a love of their) bed, (of their) seat and (of) ornament, impure desires, wrath, dishonesty, malice, and bad conduct.
11. For women no (sacramental) rite (is performed) with sacred texts, thus the law is settled; women (whoare) destitute of strength and destitute of (the knowledge of) Vedic texts, (are as impure as) falsehood (itself), that is a fixed rule.
I would like to remind you that a copy of Manusmriti was burnt as a protest in the presence of Dr. BR Ambedkar during historic Mahad agitation in December, 1927.
Sir! You will agree with me that Golwalkar ji was the most prominent theorist of the RSS and he like Savarkar ji, believed that Casteism was a natural integral part of Hinduism. In fact, Golwalkar went to the extent of declaring that Casteism was synonymous with the Hindu nation. According to him, the Hindu people are none else but
The Virat Purusha, the Almighty manifesting himself […] [according to purusha sukta] sun and moon are his eyes, the stars and the skies are created from his nabhi [navel] and Brahmin is the head, Kshatriya the hands, Vaishya the thighs and Shudra the feet. This means that the people who have this fourfold arrangement, i.e., the Hindu People, is [sic] our God. This supreme vision of Godhead is the very core of our concept of ‘nation’ and has permeated our thinking and given rise to various unique concepts of our cultural heritage.[vii]
Sarsanghchalak ji! The truth is that Hindutva is nothing but an ideology which stands for totalitarianism, Casteism and injustice. I would conclude with the words of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar who said:
“If Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will, no doubt, be the greatest calamity for this country…it is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. On that account it is incompatible with democracy. Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost.”[viii]
Bhagwat ji! Reality is that Hindutva is not dangerous for minorities only but also for vast majority of Hindus, specially, Dalits and women.
I would be eagerly looking forward to receive your kind response to issues raised in this letter.
[i] See the Indian Express, New Delhi & The Hindu, New Delhi dated 21-06-2012
[ii] Savarkar, V. D., Hindutva (Delhi: Bharti Sahitya Sadan, 1989) First edition 1939.
[iii] Savarkar cited in V. D. Savarkar, Samagra Savarkar Wangmaya: Hindu Rashtra Darshan, vol. 6, Maharashtra Prantik Hindusabha, Poona, 1963, p. 296.
[iv] Organizer, August 14, 1947.
[v] Golwalkar, M. S., Shri guruji Samagar Darshan (Collected works of Golwalkar in Hindi), Vol. I (Nagpur: Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, nd), p. 11.
[vi] Savarkar, V. D., ‘Women in Manusmriti’ in Savarkar Samagar, Vol. 4 [Collection of Savarkar’s Writings in Hindi] (New Delhi: Prabhat), 416.
[vii] Golwalkar, M. S., We or Our Nationhood Defined, (Nagpur:Bharat Publications, 1939), p.36.
[viii] Ambedkar, B. R., Pakistan or the Partition of India: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings & Speeches, vol. 8 (Bombay: Govt. of Maharashtra, 1990, reprint of 1946 edition). P. 358
Shamsul Islam is Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Satyawati College, University of Delhi.