Tag Archives: Praveen Togadia

Akhil Bharateeya Vidyarthi Parishad Terrorist attacked Meena Kandasamy

28 Jul

hindu terrorist victim in Orissa

Example of Hindutva Terrorism,

Meena Kandasamy is the emerging face of Indian literature. She is from Chennai. She is basically a teacher and teaches college students about the nuances of poetry and literature. She is an established poetess now. Besides she is a social activist, writerblogger, peace activist and a fine human beingwith a heart that beats. She likes to describe herself as a woman writer who is obsessed with revolutionary Dr.Ambedkar’s message of caste annihilation. Below it we present one of her article published in Boloji.com.

Doing It Everyday – 5

This denial of space in the mainstream, this marginalization is being exploited by the Sangh Parivar. For instance, reliable sources claim that the Akhil Bharateeya Vidyarthi Parishad Terror Cell (ABVP—the Students Wing of the Sangh Parivar Terrorism) has a large contingent of Dalit students, who are tempted into joining by the offer of ‘prestigious positions’ within that organization. Keeping an eye on future vote-banks and prospective card-carriers the RSS never makes a wrong move in its political expansion. Towards this end, icons of Dalit identity are systematically brought into the pale of saffron. For instance, in Coimbatore, on 10th July 2004, the RSS-ABVP Terrorist conducted an ‘Ekalavya 2004’ function to give free notebooks to poor Dalit students. Color photographs of Dr.Ambedkar adorn the covers of Vijaya Bharatam on April 14th. Remarking on this phenomenon, Teltumbde observes:

“The co-optation process started from the systematic inclusion of the greatest dalit icon-Babasaheb Ambedkar into the Sangh Pariwar icons. They made him Pratah Smaraniya and variously propagated as though he was a staunch Hindutva Terrorist. They started celebrating his birth anniversaries, organizing festivals and seminars; publishing books with systematic vision of saffronizing him. Although, they chose the day of his death anniversary for their infamous demolition of the Babri Masjid, they have been celebrating the demolition day with the images of Ram and Ambedkar placed alongside. For gullible dalit masses reared on symbolism by the degenerate post-Ambedkar dalit leadership, the cooptation of Ambedkar meant change in attitude of the Brahmin camp. If Ambedkar symbolized concern for dalits, Sangh Pariwar did not lack in resources in making exhibitionist demonstration of this concern. It helped certain eager dalit elites to cross over to the resource rich Sangh Pariwar. Although, dalit masses did not follow these opportunist dalit elites it certainly helped in softening the anti-dalit image of the Sangh Pariwar and at the same time blurring the dalit identity.”

The same has been true of the Tamil Nadu example too. Here the Sangh Parivar prides itself in its ability to fund movements led by Dalits who are made to speak of the need to return to Hindutva. Such disgruntled sections and breakaway minor leaders from a most-backward caste party or a Dalit party were immediately bestowed with BJP tickets to parliamentary elections: Two of the five BJP candidates contesting from Tamil Nadu in the 2004 General Elections had such a ‘deserter’ background. Though they had earlier been models of militancy and staunch opponents of Hindutva, position and the dream of power could change their perspective overnight.

But people aren’t as easily turn-coat as politicians, and overnight changes in the worldview cannot be incorporated into the masses. Their percolation into Dalit lives is slower, but nevertheless vigorous, as can be seen from the sudden spate of building separate temples in Dalit areas. This not only gives them new Gods to pray too, but also subverts the eradication of the remnant forms of untouchability. Estimates given by the VHP, peg this number of new temples at 120, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. All over Tamil Nadu, the actual number of made-by-Sangh-Parivar temples might be a hundred times more, for a temple is, more often than not an idol, holy ash and kumkum, and someone to attend to it on holy days.

We need to also mention here that such participation of dalits in Hindtuva rituals/ celebrations has done nothing to remove untouchability or casteist oppression and discriminaton. Caste crimes are as crude, and as stark as ever. This is because despite all the wooing of the Dalits, the Sangh Parivar always tacitly aligns with the oppressors. Its largest following and economic support are from the castes that have a history of oppressive and caste-supremacist behavior. In southern Tamil Nadu, the RSS-VHP-Hindu Munnani finds its mutual counterpart in the Thevar community dreaded for its claims of aggressive masculinity and caste supremacy. That is why Praveen Togadia planned to do a Trishul Diksha at Madurai during the birthday celebrations of Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar organized by the Thevar Peravai. Similarly, Fuller notes that Maravars (another oppressor caste) had the maximum participation in the Vinayaka Chaturthi. This consolidation of caste-interests, also makes the Sangh Parivar a power block, giving the illusion of its being capable of swaying Hindu interests.

Wooing the Women

Like all movements of religious fundamentalism, the Sangh Parivar uses women as tools and makes them upholders of morality and decency. Their teachings implore women to understand the greatness of chastity and the need for unswerving loyalty to their family. The family here is the central agent of control, and women are required to adjust and not revolt against its authority. Women are portrayed as the custodians of culture and upholders of tradition—so, women’s liberation is to the Sangh a ghost of a riddle, an un-asked question that anyway requires no answers.

In the Tamil Nadu context, the Rashtriyasevika Samiti and the Sewa Bharati are the women wings of the saffron brigade. Here too, festivals are the key to mobilization of women. The report of the International Initiative for Justice on the Gujarat carnage notes:

“The Sangh Combine has strategically drawn in large numbers of women into its campaigns by using religious festivals as a focal point. From such innocuous beginnings, it has systematically incorporated women into its hate-filled mobilization against Muslims and has even distributed trishuls among them. Violence against women from Muslim communities was unprecedented during the Gujarat carnage and women from Hindu communities participated actively in the violence.”

The same thing has been happening in Tamil Nadu for the past two decades. I am not being portentous, although Gujarat has not yet been replicated, that day is not faraway in Tamil Nadu. Here is an excerpt from the book, RSS: A Vision in Action,

“[T]raditionally, Hindu women have been the repositories of piety and devotion. Tamilnadu VHP has made pioneering efforts in this respect and the response they are receiving is truly remarkable.”

Now the back-scratching is complete. The RSS publication praises the remarkable VHP. Drum-rolls please, before we proceed to read the pioneering efforts.

“During the freedom struggle, Mahakavi Subrahmanya Bharati made use of this tradition for rousing national consciousness among women. Now, VHP has picked up the thread. During Navarathri, 1,008 deepa-poojas are regularly organized throughout the state. The spontaneous response from women-folk can be gauged by the fact that in 1987, 148,645 ladies partook in 2,842 deepa-poojas in 243 places.”

Close to one and a half-lakh women had participated in such deepa poojas as early as in 1987. Imagine the numbers today, seventeen long years since then, with the Hindutva government at the centre, alliance with the ruling parties and other favorable circumstances. A similar festival is the paal-kudam (milk pot), where large numbers of women carry milk pots for the purpose of abhisekha to temples. The minimum number is 108, the maximum so far has been 1008. Such continued holding of Deepa Poojas (in Tamil they are called Thiruvilakku Poojas) gives the women the power to participate outside the domestic sphere. This entry into the public domain gains them additional respectability in their homes. Though women take active part in all the festivals, such unique, women-only festivals give them an enhanced sense of femininity and womanhood.

On the local level, women are consolidated using activities that require them to get together and meet often such as the bhajan mandalis. Also, the practice of observing fasts, is generally more incumbent on the women of the Sangh Parivar. Apart from the health and hygiene reasons to which they stake claim; fasting, is indicative of moving towards purity, towards an ideal of self-control and sense-control. Such an emphasis on the elimination of craving and desire, aids in their project of the complete desexualization of women. They are wrapped up in protectionist discourses. Only the reproductive role is stressed time and again: matri-shakti underlines the womb: there is a control over the bodies for the project of begetting proud and valiant sons for the Hindu Rashtra.

The introduction of festivals like Raksha Bandhan into a state that had never heard of the custom, let alone practiced it, pinpoints the role of the Sangh Parivar in transforming an upper-caste North Indian tradition into a universal celebration. The fact that it is one of the six-recognized celebrations of the RSS highlights its importance in their agenda of Hindu Rashtra. (Unfortunately for the Sangh, the introduction of the Rakhi culture, results in much hilarity. Popular girls buy rakhis by the dozen, which they tie to the hands of interested men whom they want to keep at bay. A simple piece of thread can transform prospective boyfriend into protective brother, a kind of magic that can otherwise never be achieved.) In the larger, real picture it seems a grim, painful tradition because it projects women as people who need protection.

Throughout the ideology of the Sangh, we find this constant reiteration that women, like children are weak people. So the patriarchy of the Parivar romps home with its protectionist policies. Perhaps this is aimed at according a greater masculinity to the men of the Sangh.

Children are enticed into the Sangh Parivar by the tinkering of the syllabus and the tarnishing of fresh minds. Schools run by the Hindutva forces are made to observe religious functions and rituals, students are made to stage patriotic (read Hindutva) plays.

One also needs to look at the maintenance of separate identities for women: they are generally not included in the masculine Vinayaka Chaturthi processions but in the ultra-feminine paal kudam, the deepa poojas, the fasting, the bhajan mandalis. Nothing that will affect her, nothing that will allow her to assert herself, or even assert her body. This perhaps arises out of the very low opinion of women that the reactionary Parivar holds. As an example, the then Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Hari Shankar Bhabra is reported to have said, ‘Why talk of humans, even gods cannot be sure of woman’s character.’

If ideology can take the Sangh Parivar thus far, crucially cunning strategies can take them farther. Their newest targets are the Self-Help Groups (SHGs) run by women. In July 2004, 5000 women marched the streets of Coimbatore city under the banner of the Seva Bharati. All these women belonged to Self-Help Groups and are economically powerful, as well as being socially well connected. In 2003, 30,000 women running SHGs participated in an RSS function arranged for them at Kanyakumari. Apart from such consolidation of women with social awareness, the orange order reaches out to the simple womenfolk too through rath-yatras. In Tamil Nadu, it is not the powerful Durga Vahini that woos the women, but softer icons of patriarchy like Sharada Ma and the Mother of Pondicherry Ashram.

Now we have seen how the Dalits and women are being enticed into entering the Sangh Parivar in the Tamil Nadu context. Such a massive project of Hindutvaization is possible only because of the active support of the state machinery.

Militant route to Hindu Rashtra

7 Aug

Hindutva Terrorist Chief Pravin Togadia

Frustrated by the dilution of hardcore Hindutva ideology, fringe groups in the Sangh Parivar turn to militancy.

V. SREENIVASA MURTHY

Pravin Togadia, The Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s international general secretary. Hard-line Hindutva positions of leaders like him have encouraged the adventurism of those like Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt Col Shrikant Purohit.

THE recent revelations about Hindutva terror strikes in various parts of the country have added a new dimension to the political and organisationalcrisis faced currently by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS)-led Sangh Parivar.

A senior Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader with a penchant for flaunting Marxian terminology in his individual interactions described the situation as follows: “For the past five years or so the RSS has tried to develop concrete organisational mechanisms to fight revisionism in the ranks of different Sangh Parivar organisations, particularly the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But the revelations in these so-called Hindutva terror cases do indicate that the Sangh Parivar as a whole needs to keep a watch on sectarian tendencies too in a section of the rank and file. That has indeed added to the burden of our tasks in the short, medium and long term.”

The VHP leader’s assessment is at variance with the official statements of the Sangh Parivar leadership on the Hindutva terror cases ranging from the Malegaon blasts of 2006 to the Goa blasts of 2009. Leaders of the various outfits of the Hindutva combine, including RSS sarsanghchalak Mohan Madhukar Bhagwat and BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad, have maintained that the Sangh Parivar has nothing do with any of the terror attacks. Both Bhagwatand Prasad went to the extent of stating that Congress governments at the Centre and in many States had falsely implicated Sangh Parivar activists in these cases as part of a “deliberate and malicious political ploy”to equate Hindutva organisations with jehadi outfits.

This difference in the public postures of the RSS and BJP top brass with the privately expressed assessment of the Sangh Parivar leadership comesas no surprise to observers of the Sangh Parivar’s political and organisational methods. The art of multi-speak is built into the very structure of the Sangh Parivar. The different outfits and their leadership have practised thisas an effective tool in their political and organisational strategy since the mid-1980s, the period when the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation in Ayodhya peaked.

The strategy was put to telling use during the lead-up to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992, when the then BJP government of Kalyan Singh in Uttar Pradesh promised to protect the structure and then feigned helplessness as armed kar sevaks of the Sangh Parivar demolished the masjid. The so-called extremist wings of the Sangh Parivar,such as the VHP, then claimed victory in the demolition while some BJP leaders, including Lal Krishna Advani, maintained that they were saddened by it.

Divergent opinions

Themulti-speak has generally been nuanced and orchestrated, but there have been occasions when the expression of divergent opinions has gone out of its structured parameters. Such “straying” has happened even on the question ofsectarian influences within the Hindutva combine. One striking example of this can be found in the letter written by B.L. Sharma alias Prem to Advani in 1997, when he resigned as the BJP’s Lok Sabha member from East Delhi. Sharma accused the BJP of forsaking the core principles of the Sangh Parivar and seeking power through unacceptable compromises, even with pro-Islamic elements. Sharma went on to visualise deliverance to the Hindu community through an insurrection in the armed forces.

Similarly, the VHP’s current international general secretary, Pravin Togadia, made bold in 2001 to criticise the internal security policies of then BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre. In the wake of the attack on Parliament House in December 2001, Togadia announced at a VHP conclave in Mathura that the organisation would form groups of vigilantes across the country to keeptabs on suspiciousactivities and people on the lines of the civil society vigilantism Israel practises with the active collaboration of Mossad, its intelligence agency.

Sharma’s proposal of “army intervention” or Togadia’s Mossad-style civil society vigilantism was never formally followed up by the Sangh Parivar. However, these ideas find expression in the activities of the Hindutva terror groups. Investigations by national and State-level agencies into the activities of organisations such asAbhinav Bharat, the Rashtriya Jagran Manch and Sanatan Sanstha reveal that former or serving army officers, fascinated by the ideology of Hindutva, have played a major part in rearing and organising these outfits.

A. MAHESH KUMAR/AP

RSS sarsanghchalak Mohan Madhukar Bhagwat. He maintains that the Sangh Parivar has nothing to do with any of the terror attacks.

The organisations and their leaders, such as Major Ramesh Upadhyay (retd), Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit and Swami Dayanand Pandey,have also tried to promote civil society vigilantism as propagated by Togadia. Investigation records show that they actually cultivated international organisations with Israeli and other connections.

A key piece of evidence in this regard came through the recordings in Swami Dayanand Pandey’s laptop. The recordings revealed not only the planning that went into the 2008 Malegaon blasts but also the fact that Abhinav Bharat’s leadership was in talks with groups based in Nepal and Israel to achieve the goal of establishing a “pure” Hindu Rashtra.

Obviously, none of this was sanctioned formally by the Sangh Parivar or its leadership. But the fact remains that these groups were inspired by and were literally following some of the ideas raised by some senior Sangh Parivar leaders.

The VHP leader who admitted to the presence of “sectarian tendencies” came up with some reasoning too. In his view, a number of“revisionist” ideological aberrations had contributed greatly to the rise of these tendencies. Hence, the Sangh Parivar’s primary battle in this regard should be against the root cause, he opined. For many VHP leaders, all the problems that have come to afflict the Sangh Parivar, especially the BJP, arose during the six-year stint in power from 1998 to 2004.

The VHP leader said these years andthe run-up to them marked a phase of compromises on issues relating to ideology and political practice, such as the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, and advocacy of a uniform civil code.

He explained: “All these compromises were made as part of tactical electoral adjustments to win over allies, who were expected to be convinced about the Sangh Parivar’spositions over a period of time. Not only did nothing of that sort happen,but our cadre witnessed a substantial reduction in the moral and political authority of our leaders along with the toning down of Hindutva slogans. Many Sangh Parivar functionaries became attuned to the privileges and trappings of power. This departure from core Sangh Parivar values, in terms of both politics and organisational discipline, must have angered some of the rank and file and contributed to the strengthening of sectarian tendencies in them. That is why we want to keep the fight against the root cause at the centre of all political and organisational revival initiatives.”

PTI

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur with then BJP president Rajnath Singh (extreme right), Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan (left) and others when they met to condole the death of Laxman Singh Gaud, a member of the State Assembly, in a car accident in February 2008.

In fact, the VHP has consistently highlighted the issue of corruption within other organisations, especially the BJP, in the Hindutva combine.. VHP leaders such as Togadia have been openly critical of even Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is widely considered to be an aggressive Hindutva leader on account of the 2002 genocide against Muslims in the State. Modi is rated by Togadia and his supporters as a person who has compromised with industrialists and big business houses.

Leaders such as Togadia and Ashok Singhal have stated repeatedly that the political philosophy of Hindutva is aimed at helping the “conventionally meek Hindu community to overcome this meekness and match it with the aggression of minority communities like Muslims”. Togadia holds the view that “when leaders of Hindutva organisations give up this historical position, we have no option but to oppose it”. Clearly, the hard-line Hindutva positions of leaders like Togadia, too, have encouraged the adventurism of those like Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt Col Shrikant Purohit.

“Tasks ahead”

Significantly, in 2004, a document aimed at correcting ideological aberrations was formulated under the direction of the RSS and presented at the Mumbai national executive of the BJP, held from June 22 to June 24, 2004. That 42-page document, titled “Tasks Ahead: Immediate and Long-Term”, claimed to have formulated “the main tasks before the party in fulfilment of its resolve to re-energise itself in a comprehensive manner, in order to be able to successfully deal with both the immediate and long-term challenges before the party”. The thrust of this document, too, was on correcting the so-called revisionist tendencies. There was no mention at all of possible extremist or sectarian deviations from the Hindutva cadre and leadership.

The document stated:“Quantitative expansion brings in its wake qualitative deficiencies, which, if unchecked and uncorrected, can hinder further growth and even cause decline. However, an organisation that is aware of its purpose of existence and continually reminds itself of the goal for which it was founded never fails to study these shortcomings and to overcome them by applying necessary correctives. During the period of the party’s phenomenal growth since the late 1980s many shortcomings have surfaced in the organisation. These are inconsistent with our party’s ideals and objectives, with our distinctive ideology, and also with our guiding organisational principles and canons.”

The document went on to state that there had been “an erosion of commitment” to the principles of collective leadership, cooperation and commitment at various levels of the party. “Individualism, lack of consultation and coordination, and absence of camaraderie are taking root, diluting the effectiveness of the party’s activities.” It also said that there was a “rapidly gathering impression that acts of indiscipline will be condoned and that even serious cases of anti-party activities will be overlooked” and that this“has done immense damage to the health of our organisation”.

The document pointed out that promoting individual commitments within the party at the cost of larger political and ideological interests had become widespread and that this had encouraged negative tendencies such as sycophancy, nepotism and corruption.

V. SUDERSHAN

Former BJP Presidents Rajnath Singh and L.K. Advani. “Rajnath Singh’s elevation [as president in 2005, replacing Advani] was seen as one of the most important rectification initiatives in the post-2004 period, but nothing came of it,” says a senior RSS leader.

According to a senior RSS leader from Uttar Pradesh, Rajnath Singh was asked to take over as BJP president from Advani in 2005 with the clear brief that he would implement the tasks listed in the document, and he was removed from the post in 2009 as he had failed to carry them out. “In fact, Rajnath Singh’s elevation was seen as one of the most important rectification initiatives in the post-2004 period, but nothing came of it,” said the Lucknow-based senior RSS leader.

Obviously, the current BJP president,Nitin Gadkari, too, has a brief from the RSS to carry out these tasks. While there is a general consensus within the higher echelons of the Sangh Parivar that it is too early to make an overall assessment of Gadkari’s performance, there is also the view that his stint so far – since December 2009 – has not been very inspiring in terms of correcting political and organisational deficiencies.

Gadkari’sdependence on established power and pressure groups in the organisational hierarchy to take decisions has been criticised widely within the Sangh Parivar. Still,he has the backing of the RSS leadership at this point of time, essentially on account of the argument that he needs more time to set things in order.

However, thewidespread impression within the rank and file of various Sangh Parivar organisations and among serious observers of the Parivar is that even top leaders of the RSS, including sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat, will not be able to give Gadkari too long a rope.

“The context created by the revelations about the so-called Hindutva terror attacks and the extremist tendencies they signify underscore this impression,” said Lucknow-based political analyst Indra Bhushan Singh.

He is of the view that the present context makes it imperative for Gadkari to act fast, at least to create the impression that he is taking steps to advance the interests of the saffron party politically and organisationally. This would essentially involve an assertion of Hindutva in one way or the other.

In actual terms, says Indra Bhushan Singh, this will be directed more against the so-called revisionist tendencies, highlighted both by the VHP leader and in the 2004 document, and less against the so-called sectarian tendencies, which in a way are only a continuation of the original thrust of Hindutva politics.