By triggering a debate on its op-ed page last week, The Hindu, possibly unintentionally, lifted the scab from an old wound for many of us.
The debate, initiated by Vidya Subramaniam’s column on October 8, 2013, had its locus elsewhere: the RSS’ growing stranglehold on the BJP. Her point was that the RSS’s relationship with the BJP violates a commitment the RSS made to India’s first Home Minister, Sardar Patel, before it was unbanned on July 11, 1949. Remember, the RSS had been banned four days after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination on January 30, 1948. But S Gurumurthy of the RSS, in the course of establishing his rebuttal, wanders into the attitudes of senior Congress leaders towards the RSS. The Congress Working Committee, as is well known, was divided on this issue as it was on the country’s partition. Congress has historically fudged these issues.
Gurumurthy clinches the fact that the RSS violated no agreement, by quoting then Home Minister of Bombay, Morarji Desai, a Patel acolyte. In a written statement to the Bombay Legislative Assembly on September 14, 1949, Desai admitted that the ban on the RSS was lifted “unconditionally”.
[quote]Returning from Muzaffarnagar after last month’s ethnic cleansing, I heard the same anti-Muslim slogans I had heard during the Gujarat riots in 1969[/quote]
When, returning from Muzaffarnagar after last month’s orchestrated, piecemeal ethnic cleansing, I heard exactly the anti-Muslim slogans I had heard during the Gujarat riots in 1969, it did hurt. On that occasion, Badshah Khan, the Frontier Gandhi, put down anchor in that city for nearly a month because he could not believe what he saw – 512 killed in what Justice Jaganmohan Reddy called “largely one sided riots”. Handbills calling for a “religious war” were distributed “to the rioters by the RSS and the Jana Sangh”. Congressmen joined the chorus that “Muslims were anti-national”. Yes, in 1969.
I had a ringside seat with Badshah Khan that year. The Statesman had loaned my services to function as the Frontier Gandhi’s press adviser. This was at Jayaprakash Narayan’s behest. Since Indira Gandhi had split the Congress, Badshah Khan’s utterances were being carefully weighed by both sides. Was he favouring Indira Congress or the Syndicate Congress?
The issue of which way Badshah Khan would tilt was settled by the horrible communal situation in Ahmedabad. He was pained at Chief Minister Hitendra Desai’s alleged communal bias during the riots. And he saw the Chief Minister a political descendent of the Patel line. At this stage Badshah Khan had more or less accepted Ram Manohar Lohia’s list of the Guilty Men of India’s Partition. These “Guilty Men” were, in his book, not terribly averse to association with the RSS as Gurumurthy makes quite clear.
Gurumurthy quotes Patel’s speech in Lucknow in which he chastises his “powerful” colleagues in the Congress who wished to “crush” the “patriotic RSS”. The “powerful” Congressmen being referred to must be those led by Jawaharlal Nehru. Did this galaxy include Maulana Azad, President of the Congress from 1939 to 1946? I doubt it. His prestige has since taken such a beating by sheer neglect that historian Ram Chandra Guha does not even mention him among Makers of Modern India. He considers Hamid Dalwai more worthy of mention.
The Maulana was “powerful” so long the real wielders of power in the Congress allowed him to. Nehru, for instance. But once they had made up their minds that they were full square behind the AICC resolution of June 14, 1947 endorsing India’s partition, Maulana Azad was an obstacle. There could have been no more weak and isolated leaders as Maulana Azad and Badshah Khan.
When Patel suggested to Golwalkar that the RSS should join the Congress, the RSS supremo was quick with his response. The two should work separately and “converge”. When, pray, would they “converge”? When Hindu Rashtra has been achieved?
The first Home Secretary of UP, Rajeshwar Dayal, has in his autobiography, A Life of Our Times, this story about Golwalkar and Congress stalwart, Govind Ballabh Pant, UP’s longest serving Chief Minister and Union Home Minister from 1955 to 1961.
When communal tension in UP was high, Dayal carried incontrovertible evidence to Pant about Golwalkar’s plans to create a “communal holocaust in western UP”. Pant was convinced of the plot but he would not permit them to arrest the RSS chief. In fact Golwalkar was allowed to escape, having been duly tipped off.
“Came January 30, 1948 when Gandhi, the Supreme Apostle of Peace, fell to a bullet fired by an RSS fanatic.” Dayal concludes: “the tragic episode left me sick at heart”.
Interesting read. But I am surprised, well not so much, that a writer of your caliber would use “ethnic cleansing” for the recent Muzaffarnagar riot. If you haven’t bothered to find out, Muslim extremists were happy to participate in it. They were more than wiling to attack the mahapanchayat after Friday prayers. Why did the administration allow both these events is an open question. It was a carefully calibrated political riot, all eyes on securing vote banks. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Saeed, why not write about something of general interests. Leave the politics of Congress and BJP/RSS aside. We know where you stand.
Write about interesting personalities you´ve met or about the city of your birth (Lucknow) and the good old days or any others subject.
Hypocrisy of so called “Muslim Secular” writers like Naqvi is obvious to ordinary Indians now.
1) Ignore the continuous, day to day provocations by Muslims.
2) Whenever, a section of Indians respond, use distorted, irrelevant history to denounce the response.
The game is up for such writers.
Mr. Saeed Naqvi ignores what is happening to Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan, where the discrimination against the religious minorities is legally sanctioned. In 1947, there were 8 million (about 25% of the population) Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan. Today there are only about 2 million (less than 1% of the population) Hindus in Pakistan had 3 choices: leave, convert or die. On the contrary, the Indian Constitution grants equal rights to every citizen of India. The population of Muslims in India has increased from 35 million to about 175 million. How many Indian Muslims have sought refuge in Pakistan in last 50 years?
The 1969 Gujarat riots were not largely one sided. Out of 660 killed 230 of them were Hindus. The statement ‘ taking a heavy toll of human lives belonging to both of the ommunities’. The real death toll is 15000-25000. Both communities suffered heavily.