The Hindu Rashtra And Kashmir!


(With the unprecedented victory of BJP in the U.P. elections giving rise to militant Hindutva proclaiming India to be a Hindu Rashtra, the relationship of Kashmir to India loses the very basic premise of accession!)

After the recent phenomenal success in the U.P. elections, the RSS is going full steam ahead to give practical shape to Golwalkar’s dream of turning India into a Hindu Rashtra. Even there is talk of holding the Parliament elections in 2018 itself to cash on the Hindutva wave generated during the U.P. elections. Slaughter houses and meat shops have been closed. Many Muslims are running away from some of the localities. The way seems clear for ushering in a real Hindu Rashtra within a few years. In keeping with Golwalkar’s edict, there is no place for non-Hindus in the India of the future. Muslims and other minorities would have to live as second class citizens. Golwalkar writes in hisbook, “We, or Our Nationhood Defined”, “The non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either adopt Hindu culture and language, must learn and respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but of those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture … In a word they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment—not even citizens’ rights.” This thought is now taking practical shape. So far there is no substantial resistance to halt the process of Hinduisation! The worst thing to happen is that even the judiciary including the country’s apex court has been forced to mount the Hindutva Bandwagon! The typical example is the highest court instead of itself giving a verdict aboutthe dispute on the site of the mosque, asking the two communities to settle it by mediation!

Kashmiris are supposed to have supported the action regarding the accession of the State by the erstwhile Dogra Maharaja to the Union of India, in very unusual circumstances, through their undisputed leader of that time specifically on the basis of India being a democratic and secular country compared to Muslim Pakistan created on the basis of religion. They are supposed to have rejected the two nation theory advocated by Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Pakistan was declared to be an Islamic Republic, a home for the Muslims of united India! The creation of a separate country for Muslims was probably because of the apprehension that the Hindus in undivided India would persecute the Muslim minority. Till the recent takeover of the Indian Government by BJP with Narinder Modi as the Prime Minister, India was proclaimed to be a Secular and a Democratic Republic by various political parties including Congress which came to rule over it. Even BJP as part of NDA did not openly try to change that character. It is a different matter as to how secular and democratic it has been! However, in spite of much discrimination in practice, the nomenclature of Secular and Democratic Republic of India was continued. But now not only the character of the Republic but its very nomenclature is proposed to be changed by declaring it as a Hindu Rashtra, a home for Hindus only!

If India does really become a Hindu Rashtra, will it not automatically negate the very basis of accession of the State to the Union of India? A Muslim majority State has absolutely no basis to be part of a Republic based on Hindu religion. The first thing that strikes one is whether Mohammad Ali Jinnah was, after all, right in demanding a separate country for Muslims? Had he foreseen the ultimate goal of the Hindu majority of India in spite of its secular, progressive and democratic leadership at the time of its independence? Kashmir which is a Muslim majority state, does not profess an extremist religious ideology. Over the ages, it has been the most tolerant society. In fact, the religious tinge to its struggle has been caused by the extremist Hindutva elements in India. It is a reaction and a protest against overt and covert Hindutva from the secular and progressive Kashmir which has been a home for Muslims, Hindus and even Buddhists in the past. It has always been proclaimed to be the “Valley of Saints”. Throughout its history, Sufis and Rishis have been the most important and symbolic attribute of its character. Earlier, Kashmiri youth have been protesting with green flags and even Pakistani flags to irritate and frustrate Indian authoritiesbut now they have a reason to demonstrate and protect their Muslim character to prevent the Hindutva onslaught. Even the so called mainstream parties in Kashmir which have been persuading people to be part of India have become uncomfortable by the tearing of the fig leaf of secularism. They have now been forced to acknowledge the Hindutva onslaught on Kashmiri Muslims through RSS!

Unfortunately, the resistance against this onslaught from the secular and progressive sections of the society has been very feeble and mostly limited to some progressive educational institutions. During the worst period of the partition mayhem, Mahatma Gandhi had seen the only ray of light in Kashmir. One wonders what would have been his reaction if he was alive today. May be he himself would have asked Kashmiris to part ways with Golwalkar’s India!

Mohammad Ashraf,  I.A.S. (Retired), Former Director General Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir

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