On 26th August 2019 The Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai, along with one Indo-Israel Friendship Association, is organising a public discussion on “Leaders’ Idea of Nations in the Context of Zionism and Hindutva” at the Convocation Hall of University of Mumbai. The poster of the event displays images of Theodor Herzl and V.D. Savarkar. This is only an expression of the ongoing relationship between Zionists and Hindutvawadis.
There is a misconception that “Zionist” is a synonym for Jew. One can not be a Zionist without being a Jew, and one can not be a Jew without being a Zionist. There are people who still think that Zionism is just Jewish self-determination, and not a reactionary colonial ideology.
But this is not true!
One can be a Zionist without being a Jew or without being pro-Jew. A Zionist can be anti-Semitic.
Adolf Eichmann loved Zionism and even said, “Were I a Jew, I will be a fanatical Zionist.” But Eichmann hated Jews. That’s how he eventually became the architect of the Holocaust. But to him being a Zionist and the architect of Holocaust were not contradictory. To him, Jews living among and with Germans was a problem. So he wanted to solve this problem by exterminating Jews from Germany.
Eichmann’s pre-World War II views were quite in line with two prominent figures in the history of Zionism. The first was Theodor Herzl. Herzl was the founder of Zionism and the visionary who conceived the State of Israel.
But as a cosmopolitan European Jew, Herzl knew he was in a minority. There were millions of other Jews in Central and Eastern Europe who were very much not like him: not cosmopolitan, not well-educated, not secular, not well-connected, not comfortable. These Jews were a problem: they were poor, they stuck out like a sore thumb in their native lands, they didn’t speak the language, they observed strange, primitive customs. Worst of all, they provoked hatred and anti-Semitism due to their alien strangeness: “The unfortunate Jews are now carrying the seeds of anti-Semitism into England; they have already introduced it into America.”
So Herzl, after originally espousing mass conversion to Christianity as the solution to this problem, later turned to establishing a Jewish State as a way to solve the European Jewish problem: “Send all the refuse from Europe’s teeming shores to the Middle East.”
Also influenced by rising European nationalism, Herzl dreamed that Jews could take control of their own destiny in their own land. But not in Europe! Because Jews were alien to Europe and Europeans had shown themselves unwilling to absorb Jews. To Herzl, these eastern European Jews were refuse that must be cleaned up in order to permit Europe to enjoy its respective national homogeneities (French, English, German, etc.). Herzl remarked, “We, the Jews, not only have denigrated and are located at the end of the path, we spoiled the blood of all the peoples of Europe…Jews are descended from a mixture of waste of all races.”
With the demagogic politicians (Demagogic politicians are those who try to win people’s support by appealing to their emotions than using reasonable arguments) of his own and more recent times, Herzl shared both contempt for the Jews and affinity with them.
Vladimir Jabotinsky, the founder of the Revisionist Party which today is the Likud party, said, “Zionism is a colonization adventure, and therefore it stands or falls by the question of armed force.” He further said, “The Jewish people are a very nasty people. Its neighbours hate it and they’re right.”
It is very evident that some of the founders of the State of Israel either hated Jews or saw them as a fundamentally alien presence in Western civilization that must be eliminated from Europe (by creating the State of Israel in the Middle East) or by exterminating Jews altogether (as done by Hitler and Eichmann).
The creation of the State of Israel is the Zionist project. It is an idea of Zionism, which is a colonial idea. This can be seen in Herzl approaching England to help create the State of Israel.
Herzl approached Britain because, he said, it was the “first to recognise the need for colonial expansion.” According to him, “the idea of Zionism, which is a colonial idea, should be easily and quickly understood in England.”
Arthur Balfour, the colonial father of the modern State of Israel, is a Zionist. Like Eichmann and Herzl, for Balfour Zionism solved a problem. He hated Jews. He believed, like much of the then British aristocracy, that Jews were alien to Western Christian civilization. They could never be integrated into it properly. Thus, the best solution was to remove them from the shores of England and transport them to Palestine where they could flourish on their own.
The project of creating the State of Israel served two purposes: it removed Jews from among Europeans in Europe, and it permitted Jews to achieve their own separate national identity.
Another important purpose that was in the mind of the founders of the State of Israel and of the European countries and the US was that the State of Israel would become a “beacon of the West” or the “bastion of the Occident” in the Middle East to checkmate the Arab and the Muslim nations (i.e. the enemies of the West) there. With this colonial mindset, the Zionist founders of the State of Israel and the West created the State of Israel. They instilled the “western racist mindset” in the Jews who settled in Palestine. The settler-Jews started seeing themselves as the harbingers of civilization and the indigenous Arabs as the primitive communities that must be evicted or eliminated (if necessary), just as in the Europe Europeans saw Jews as the underclass and wanted to remove Jews from among themselves either by eviction or by extermination. The settler-Jews became the enlightened or civilized colonizers, and the native Arabs became the underclass in Palestine.
This is the mindset of the present day Jewish nationalists in Israel. Judaism for these Jews is not a spiritual value, it is a physical manifestation of power in the world. These Jews understand that not all Jews are their “brothers/sisters”. For them, some Jews are weak, very “womanly” and not “manly”, too liberal, too humane, too universalist, who are a waste or refuse.
The western racist and colonial mindset of Jews made them to find new allies in Christian Zionists, African dictators, European neo-Nazis. Zionism or Nationalism, as these Jews define, is less a movement dedicated to common good of all those living in Israel and to ethics and morality, but more a movement dedicated to the self-interests of the Israeli Zionist political leaders, NRI Zionist Jews and their Israeli and Western Zionist patrons!
One of the misconceptions about “Hindutva” is: “Hindutva” is a synonym for “Hinduism”. One can not be a “Hindu” without being a “Hindutvawadi”, and one can not be a “Hindutvawadi” without being a “Hindu”. People in India and outside think that “Hindutva” is Hindu self-determination, and not a reactionary “elite upper caste Hindu ideology”.
However the truth is, not all Hindus are “Hindutvawadis”. There are many Hindus in India and outside who do not subscribe to the Hindutva project of “nation”.
On the other hand, one can be a “Hindutvawadi” without being a “Hindu” or without being pro-Hindu. During the “Humanity Against Terror” charity concert in Edison, New Jersey, US, in October 2016 to show support for Donald Trump and raise funds for Kashmiri pundits as well as Hindu refugees from Bangladesh, organised by the Republican Hindu Coalition formed in 2015 by Indian businessmen in the US, including the Chicago-based businessman and founding chairman Shalabh Kumar (who pledged to donate one million dollars for Trump’s presidential campaign), to promote the interests of Hindu Americans with Republican policymakers, Trump said, “We love Hindus (notice, NOT INDIANS).” Trump’s apparent embrace of Hindu-Americans makes sense. Trump, who is islamophobic, is popular with India’s Hindu nationalist bloc, which is virulently Islamophobic.
Though Trump said that he loves Hindus, his policies on immigration prove contrary to his statement. Trump has tightened restrictions on people working in the US on an H-1B visa, a move that works against Indian-Americans (including Hindus), who have been the overwhelming beneficiaries of that system. Two-thirds of Indian-Americans agree with the statement: “Undocumented or illegal immigrants should have an opportunity to eventually become US citizens.”
Trump’s love for Hindus was not visible when a 32-year old Hindu immigrant, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, was shot dead in Kansas by a man shouting racial slurs. Trump broke his silence on this incident only after six days, condemning the attack in a joint session of Congress. His strong stand against immigration forced Trump to be silent about the attack on the Hindu immigrant.
To Trump, just like Eichmann, being a lover of Hindus and against immigration are not contradictory. To him, Indians, including Hindus, and scores of other ethnic communities, living in the US are a problem. So he wants to solve that by tightening immigration policies.
On the other hand, the promoters of the Hindutva project of “nation” share both affinity and contempt for Hindus. This is evident in RSS/BJP’s attitude towards the SCs and STs.
A. RSS/BJP Claim SCs and STs as “Hindus”
The reluctant outreach of the Hindutva organisations to SCs and STs informs their dilemma about their relationship with the latter. They include them as “Hindus” in order to prevent them from embracing normatively egalitarian religions such as Islam and Christianity, so that their number will not dwindle. By this time, the colonial exercise of enumeration on religious grounds had produced a census mentality in which a community’s numerical strength had become synonymous with its power. So the Hindutva brigade can not afford to forgo SCs and STs for the sake of statistics.
B. RSS/BJP’s Antipathy towards SCs and STs
1. Reservation Policy
Since SCs and STs own neither land nor other resources, nor are they educated enough to look for government and non-government jobs, the only recourse that is left open for them is social mobility through reservation.
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar understood the devastating consequences of exclusion of SCs and STs in areas of education, employment and power. So he demanded for the rights to representation in proportion to their population in educational institutions, public services and legislative bodies. One of the consequences of such demand was the incorporation of the provision of reservation in educational institutions, jobs and legislatures as articulated in the Article 330 of the Constitution of India.
Crimes committed often against SCs and STs reiterate the fact that their rights are more often violated. Since the upper caste people are the law-makers, enforcers of law, and the ones who occupy the seats of justice, rights are continually denied to the SCs and STs.
For the above reason, Prevention of Atrocities (SC/ST) Act of 1989 and Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955 (amended in 1976) are introduced.
Although RSS/BJP consider SCs and STs as “Hindus”, they covertly and overtly oppose the reservations for SCs and STs. Many upper caste people, often RSS/BJP supporters, are hostile to quotas, because they believe that reservation takes away their seats in educational institutions and their job opportunities.
Since coming to power RSS/BJP government has focused on making reservation policy for SCs and STs ineffective. From privatisation to bringing Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) reservation and selling government companies to bringing the lateral entry scheme are attempts by RSS/BJP to deny SCs and STs their share. Most of the jobs in India are already private or in unorganised sector where reservation policy is not applicable.
From denying reservation for SCs and STs to diluting SC/ST Act, RSS/BJP has never hidden its agenda.
Through policies that are detrimental to SCs and STs, RSS/BJP government is fortifying the graded caste inequalities promoted by the caste system.
Caste is an important determinant of social, economic, corporate and political power in contemporary India. The influence of caste on corporate boards and its network is staggeringly against SCs and STs.
A recent study examines the caste diversity of corporate board structures in India based on a sample of top 1,000 companies listed in the Indian stock exchanges for 2010. The average board size of the top 1,000 companies in India was found to be nine members; nearly 88% of them were insiders and 12% were independent directors. The distribution of board members according to caste shows that nearly 93% were forward caste members; 46% Vaishya and 44% Brahmin. The OBCs and SCs/STs have a meagre 3.8% and 3.5% respectively.
Caste-wise Distribution of Indian Corporate Board Member (2010):
Caste Numbers % to Total
a. Forward caste 8,387 – 92.6 %
i. Brahmin 4,037 -44.6 %
ii. Vaishyas 4,167 -46.0 %
iii. Kshatriya 43 -0.5 %
iv. Others 137 – 1.5 %
b. Other Backward Classes 346 -3.8 %
c. SC/ST 319- 3.5 %
d. Total (a to c) 9,052 – 100.0
The empirical results show that caste diversity is non-existent in the Indian corporate sector, and the Indian corporate board is dominated by forward castes and lacks diversity. Indian corporate boards consist of members based on caste affiliation rather than on other considerations (like merit or experience). It is difficult to fathom the argument that lack of merit is the cause for under-representation.
As long as the task of judging the merit of SCs and STs is in the hands of the upper caste Hindus, there is very little chance of their being declared “merit worthy”.
Although there is a law against the practice of untouchability, the practice continues. A study in 2006 by a Human Rights organisation has brought out the existence of more than 124 forms of visible and invisible untouchability practices in the social, economic and political life of SCs and STs.
Ambedkar links the origin of untouchability to beef-eating. In his 1948 work The Untouchables: Who Were They and Why They Became Untouchables?, Ambedkar contends, “What is the cause of the nausea which the Hindus have against beef-eating? Were the Hindus always opposed to beef-eating? If not, why did they develop such a nausea against it? Were the Untouchables given to beef-eating from the very start? Why did they not give up beef-eating when it was abandoned by the Hindus? Were the Untouchables always Untouchables? If there was a time when the Untouchables were not Untouchables even though they ate beef why should beef-eating give rise to Untouchability at a later-stage? If the Hindus were eating beef, when did they give it up? If Untouchability is a reflex of the nausea of the Hindus against beef-eating, how long after the Hindus had given up beef-eating did Untouchability come into being?”
Based on an analysis of various religious texts, the father of Indian Constitution argued that Brahmins, who once had no compunctions against slaughter of animals, including cows, and were the greatest beef-eaters themselves, not only gave up beef-eating but also started worshipping the cow as a deliberate strategy. “The clue to the worship of the cow is to be found in the struggle between Buddhism and Brahmanism and the means adopted by Brahmanism to establish its supremacy over Buddhism.”
In other words, Ambedkar lays the blame for untouchability on the ancestors of today’s proponents of Hindutva ideology and relates it to cow protection, an agenda that RSS/BJP take seriously.
In the “new India” the Brahminical supremacy is violently enforced through groups of vigilantes known as gau-rakshaks. This has denied both affordable protein food and vocation for many SCs.
C. K.M. Munshi – A Representative of RSS/BJP
The attitude of RSS/BJP towards SCs and STs has been exemplified by K.M. Munshi.
K.M. Munshi, an ardent Brahmin leader (later in August 1964, Munshi chaired the meeting for the founding of the Hindu nationalist organization “Vishwa Hindu Parishad” at Sandipini Ashram), proposed an amendment to the Report prepared by the Advisory Committee on Minorities that was submitted to the Constituent Assembly in August 1947: “To (a) delete Scheduled Castes from the list of the minorities, (b) include the following addition, “I-A: The section of the Hindu Community referred to as Scheduled Castes as defined 1 of the Government of India Act 1935, shall have the same rights and benefits, which are herein provided for minorities specified in the Schedule to para 1.”” The inner motive for the amendment is best expressed by the words of Munshi himself. He said, “Any safeguard as a minority, so far as the Schedule Castes are concerned, will possibly prevent their complete absorption in the Hindu fold.” He stated, “Harijans are part and parcel of the Hindu community. Safeguards are given to them till they are completely absorbed in the community.”
When Munshi claims that “Harijans are part and parcel of the Hindu community”, why is he again saying that “Safeguards are given to them till they are completely absorbed into the community”? Are the SCs “Hindus” in reality? If they are “Hindus”, then what is the necessity for them to be “completely absorbed into the (Hindu) community”?
The above seem to be contradictory statements: “Harijans” are Hindus, but at the same time they are not completely absorbed into the Hindu community! Why are SCs not “completely absorbed into the (Hindu) community”?
Being a lawyer, by saying that “Harijans are part and parcel of the Hindu community”, he gives “Harijans” an illusion that they are “Hindus”. By this he does not want to forgo such cheap, free, obedient and ever loyal work force. If the “Harijans” move out of the Hindu community, then the entire edifice of the upper caste power structure will crumble.
So, Munshi is saying, in a way, to SCs: “You continue to be obedient and loyal workforce for us.”
Secondly, Munshi also acknowledges that the Harijans are not “completely part of the Hindu community.” Anyone with some knowledge of the Hindu scriptures will know that SCs are not recognised as a part of the chaturvarna or the four-fold division of castes and are in fact “out caste”, technically known in the Hindu scriptures as “Antyajya”.
So the dilemma that is explicit in Munshi’s amendment and later statements is representative of that of RSS/BJP. Caste system is an essential feature of Hindutva project of “nation”, and without caste that project will collapse.
RSS/BJP are the strong advocates of caste system and graded caste inequality. This is evident in the leadership of the RSS.
From 1925 to 2019 (i.e. 94 years), there has not been a single lower caste RSS Sarsanghchalak (Head). The position of sarsanghchalak is decided through nomination by predecessor. Until as of August 2019, RSS leadership has always been held by an upper caste, primarily Brahmin. The individuals who have held the post of sarsanghchalak in RSS are:
- K.B. Hedgewar (1925-1930 and 1931-1940) – Brahmin
- Laxman Vaman Paranjpe (1930-1931) – Brahmin
- M.S. Golwalkar (1940-1973) – Brahmin
- Madhukar Dattatraya Deoras (1973-1993) – Brahmin
- Rajendra Singh (1993-2000) – Upper Caste (First non-Brahmin and First non-Maharashtrian)
- K.S. Sudarshan (2000-2009) – Brahmin
- Mohan Bhagwat (2009-Present) – Brahmin
This status quo is more likely to be maintained in the RSS.
D. The Idea of “Nation” of Hindutvawadis
With caste-based social structure, Manusmriti as the law-book and the upper caste leadership in the “Hindu Rashtra”, the SCs being outside the pale of caste system can not expect to find a place in the political, economic, educational, religious and social arrangements of the “Hindu Rashtra”, and equal human dignity, human value and human rights.
1. Caste System
Caste system will be strictly implemented in the “Hindu Rashtra”. That means, graded caste inequality will be a norm or characteristic of the “Hindu Rashtra”.
The social status of a caste is determined by the Hindu scriptures and has little to do with whether a member of a particular caste holds a job or does not hold a job or the nature of job he/she holds, or his/her economic status. Neither a rich SC/ST nor an educated SC/ST is acceptable to the upper caste Hindu as worth of sharing his/her table. SCs and STs are doomed to being outside the pale to be ever considered an equal with the upper caste in “Hindu Rashtra”. Children of SCs and STs will continue to suffer prejudice in schools, colleges and at work places.
The caste discrimination will continue to be maintained through endogamy, a sense of caste prestige, and social distance.
Practically, SCs and STs will be forced to serve the upper castes. That means, going back to the “caste vocations” and “caste equations”! Those at the top of the caste ladder will again enjoy the fruit of the sweat and blood of the SCs and STs.
Caste-based reservation in India started in 2nd century BC. In Manusmriti, the law-book of “Hindutvawadis”, all laws are based on caste and no merit is ever considered. It divides people into upper and lower castes, and “out caste” on the basis of their birth and not on the basis of merit. Wealth, political power, spiritual leadership, education, ownership of land, trade and all lucrative aspects are reserved for the upper castes.
This will undermine democracy and change the nature of the polity, where a large segment of people will be denied equal human dignity, equal human value and equal human rights. They will be denied equal opportunities for education, employment and political power. Thus, SCs and STs will be deprived from reaching their potential in the “Hindu Rashtra”.
The deception and the lie of the proponents of “Hindu Rashtra” will be exposed, when these questions are asked: Who are main proponents of “Hindu Rashtra”? To which caste do they belong to?
The proponents of “Hindu Rashtra” are the strong believers and observers of the caste system. Their strong belief in the caste system is reflected in the caste status of the top leadership. That means, the establishment of “Hindu Rashtra” does not benefit all Hindus, leave alone minority communities such as Muslims and Christians. It benefits only those who are at the top of the caste ladder and class ladder. Their rallying cry for the establishment of “Hindu Rashtra” is to secure or gain power for those at the top of the caste ladder and the class ladder.
This is exposed by their opposition to reservations to SCs and STs, who are considered by them as “Hindus”.
- The Reservation Policy does not benefit those who are at the top of the caste hierarchy;
- Through Reservation Policy SCs and STs (though Hindus), who are at the bottom of (in fact outside) the caste system, may reach equal positions, and at times higher positions, in employment, education, economy with those at the top of the caste hierarchy. This will, to a certain extent, undermine caste system.
At the same time, by implementing the anti-conversion law throughout India, the proponents of “Hindu Rashtra” will stop SCs and STs from embracing normatively egalitarian religions such as Islam and Christianity. Thus, SCs and STs will be kept within Hindu-fold to serve the upper caste!
Therefore, the Hindutva project of “Hindu Rashtra” is by the Upper caste, of the upper caste and for the upper caste!
Since majority of opposition political parties follow caste and class systems, they do not have a counter message. Only those political parties and common people who do not follow the discriminatory systems of caste and class can come up with a counter message and expose the deception and lie of the proponents of “Hindu Rashtra”.
Ajit. D., Han Donker, Ravi Saxena, “Corporate Boards in India: Blocked by Caste?” Economic & Political Weekly, Vol xlvii, No. 31, 11th August 2012.
Richard Silverstein, “Loving Israel, Hating Jews.”
Rikha Sharma Rani, “Why Trump Celebrated a Hindu Religious Holiday.” Politico Magazine, 31st October 2017. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/10/31/trump-indian-americans-gop-215771
Sakshi Human Rights watch – Special Report, Hyderabad, India, 2006.
Surendra Kumar, “Debunking Myths About India’s Reservation Policy.” Dailyo, 17th May 2017. http://www.dailyo.in/politics/caste-system-reservation-quota-ambedkar-merit-dalits/story/1/17238.html
Vikas Pathak, “Hindutva and the Dalit Question.” The Hindu, 9th December 2015. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-bjps-coopting-of-ambedkar/article7962369.ece
“Israel Consulate in Mumbai Organises Event on Hindutva and Zionism.” Sabrangindia, 23rd August 2019. https://sabrangindia.in/article/israel-consulate-mumbai-organises-event-hindutva-and-zionis
“Forms of Untouchability and Discrimination on SCs and STs.”
Kamalakar Duvvuru teaches the New Testament with an objective of promoting peace, justice, unity and love. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org