Whose India, Tagore’s or Golwalkar’s?

tagore golwalker

India is presently going through a struggle between the ideologies of these two ideologues and one is not sure which one will ultimately prevail!

Three years back one wrote an article titled, “Tagore’s or Golwalkar’s India?” The massive campaign of the Hindutva parties to usher in Hindu Rashtra posed a question as to which India will prevail, the spiritual India dreamt by Tagore or the fanatically extremist religious India proposed by Golwalkar in his book, “Our Nationhood Defined” and “Bunch of Thoughts”. In view of the mayhem of the past four years, the question has once again become very relevant especially in view of the forthcoming Parliament election.

Tagore’s lines from Gitanjali which won him a noble prize for literature give his concept of India which he had dreamt of. “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; Where words come out from the depth of truth; Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection; Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit; Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action—Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake”.A land of freedom and equality! Tagore represented a contrast to fanatic Hindutva idealists. To them he says, “Leave this chanting and singing and telling of beads! Whom dost thou worship in this lonely dark corner of a temple with doors all shut? Open thine eyes and see thy God is not before thee! He is there where the tiller is tilling the hard ground and where the path maker is breaking stones. He is with them in sun and in shower, and his garment is covered with dust.”

In fact, Iqbal known as the poet of the east had similar feelings. He had dreamt of India to be the best place in the world and its people were the nightingales for whom it was a garden! Unfortunately, his dream turned sour due to the communal elements and he had to support the Jinnah’s concept of a separate country for the Muslims!

The one person who made all these dream visions fail is Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, also known as Shri Guruji. Golwalkar was the supreme leader of the RashtriyaSwayamsevakSangh. Narendra Modi has written a biographical profile of Golwalkar in his book, “Jyotipunj”. He considers Golwalkar to be one of his inspirations. RSS kept itself aloof from the anti-British Indian Independence Movement. Golwalkar writes in his book, “Anti-Britishism” was equated with patriotism and nationalism. This reactionary view has had disastrous effects upon the entire course of the freedom struggle, its leaders and the common people”. According to Rajeshwar Dayal, the Chief Secretary of the United Provinces in 1947-48, Golwalkar had planned to carry out a Pogrom of Muslims. Golwalkar in his book writes about non-Hindus : “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.” RSS is now giving practical shape to these ideas of Golwalkar through their nominee. Instead of realizing the dream of a progressive, secular and democratic country, they are taking India to Vedic times in a totally retrograde mode. India of Tagore’s dreams and vision appeared to be disappearing fast during last three years or so and it was being replaced systematically by Gowalkar’s Pogrom of a fascist and regressive India of the savage times.

However, the India of Tagore’s dreams seems to have resurged once again and the recent state elections have shown that there is a possibility that the sublime thoughts expressed by him in Geetanjali may ultimately prevail. There has been resurgence among the progressive and secular people of the country. However, everything depends upon all the progressive and secular forces joining together to defeat the retrograde communalist forces. Will it happen or will it not be allowed to happen by the forces beyond the borders of the sub-continent? That is the million dollar question! The alternative is unthinkable as it would mean disintegration of the country or an Armageddon destroying the entire sub-continent and even South Asia with its effects going far beyond!

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


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