The Rise of the Hindu Right
By Mubasshir Mushtaq
At what point in history did the word 'Sadhvi' enter the Muslim lexicon? Did the word 'Sadhvi' enter the Muslim psyche with the arrest of Pragya Singh Thakur, Malegaon bomb blast accused? The answer is a firm no. Pragya Singh Thakur is merely an offshoot; continuation of a contagious disease called communalism planted into the body politic of India with the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. The legacy of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur can be traced back to the Sadhvi Rithambara who had famously said, "Ek dhakka aur do, Babri Masjid tor do" [Give one more push, bring down Babri Masjid].
We do not have any proof to suggest that Sadhvi Pragya is a descendent of Sadhvi Rithambara but they share a common ideology of hatred against Muslims with varying degrees of execution. The former believes in the physical virus of violence while the latter believes in the verbal virus of violence. Sadhvi Rithambara is more dangerous than Sadhvi Pragya because her methodology is to cultivate hate within the confines of law of the land. She is a hate-monger in the disguise of a woman preacher who had once said, "Muslims are like a lemon squirted into the cream of India. They turn it sour. We have to remove the lemon, cut it up into little pieces, squeeze out the pips and throw them away."
This poisonous potion of hate sums up the ideology of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal, the Shiv Sena, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and all the associated organisations of right-wing political family, loosely referred as the Sangh Parivar.
The BJP was born from the womb of Sangh Praivar and therefore a legitimate child of the Hindutva brigade. When the BJP came to power at Centre in 1999, there was a palpable sense of jubilation in the Parivar camp. For it was the time to 'right' a "historical wrong"; to construct Ram Temple in Ayodhya. To capitalize on Hindu sentiments Sadhvi Rithambara was touring America in 2002. She was at the Ganesh Temple in New York to raise funds for her new project – homes and shelters for Hindu orphans and widows.
She delivered a fiery speech peppered with poison. She said, "The efforts to build a temple for Lord Ram at the Babri Masjid site had given Indians a sense of pride… People questioned the Ram Janam Bhoomi movement but I told them if the youth of India stood up for the cause, even Muslims will start to say Long Live Lord Ram [Yahan to meeyan log bhi bolenge, Jai Shree Ram]."
What a project for Hindu orphans and widows has got to do with Ram Janam Bhoomi?
A comparatively calm and docile South India has begun to understand and include words like 'terrorism', 'communalism' and 'hate' in its day today vocabulary. That brings us to an interesting metaphor: When there is any trouble in the body, it is the whole body that feels the pain. Pramod Mutalik symbolizes and shares the pain of Sadhvi Pragya. Mutalik may have become a Muslim household name with his provocative statement, "Malegaon is a Jhalak. More is possible if every woman picks up bombs", but he was in the news much before Sadhvi Pragya. In the second half of 2008, the same Mutalik, a vendor of anarchy, had said in a press conference held in Bangalore press club that Hindu suicide squads are ready "to take on Islamic terrorists."
This news item remained on the fringe and nobody bothered to pick it up since Mutalik posed a threat only to the Indian Muslims. He became a despicable object only when his men attacked 'Hindu' women in a pub in Mangalore.
Sadhvi Rithambara, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Pramod Mutalik once belonged to BJP whose unofficial doctrine is based on the hate culture. It is altogether a different matter that when the hate crosses the permissible limit, BJP tries to distance itself from its ardent supporters.
Kalyan Singh, once the poster boy of BJP, has suddenly become an imposter for the BJP. Kalyan Singh is the same politician whose right-wing ability to check on Yadavs was once a prized possession of the BJP. Mulayam Singh's new-found love with Kalyan Singh is a well-planned political strategy to kill two-birds with one arrow. Mulayam Singh may have a mulayam corner for Kalyan Singh but Muslims will not become victims of his velvet-politics. It was under the watchful eyes of Kalyan Singh that Babri Masjid was demolished. The then UP Governor Satyanarayan Reddy had written a letter to the then PM Narsimha Rao on December 1, 1992 urging that the "general law and order situation, especially on the communal front, is satisfactory." Both BJP-ruled UP and Congress-ruled Centre slept over this suggestion.
Kalyan Singh was guilty of connivance while Narsimha Rao was guilty of inaction; he preferred to sleep that fateful afternoon when Babri Masjid was being brought down. A question worth-asking: Is there any difference between an open enemy and unfaithful friend?
If right-wing politics of BJP demolished Babri Masjid, the middle path politics of Congress gave us the world's longest running Liberhan commission. The commission would hopefully file the report by March end. Muslims will not give an award to Justice Liberhan for revealing the name of the culprits because they already know the names!
India is taking a right-wing turn once again. Sadhvi Rithambara, Sadhvi Pragya, Pramod Mutalik Kalyan Singh and Narendra Modi are the L.K. Advanis of the decade hell-bent on pressing the Hitler nerve.
Can India be saved from indignant Indians?