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May 27, 2017

India: Do not blame Nehru for today’s communalism | Apoorvanand (27 May 2017)

scroll.in - 27 May 2017

Nehru was ‘authentically Indian’ and secular. Do not blame him for today’s communalism

His critics say India’s first prime minister made his countrymen feel guilty about their religiosity. They are wrong

by Apoorvanand

Today is Jawaharlal Nehru’s death anniversary and what better way to remember him than talk about the accusations levelled against him after his death.

One of the major crimes he is said to have committed was rob Indians of their sense of the sacred. His critics say he created a void in the individual and collective life of his countrymen by producing a sense of guilt about their religiosity. It is a different matter that religiosity is often confused with the sacred. We are told that one of the misfortunes that befell India with the demise of Mohandas Gandhi was the loss of sacredness. With an irreligious Nehru firmly in control of the destiny of India, it was a long, harsh white night of secularism that kept us in a state of perpetual wakefulness. Communalism, in this telling, is a disorder arising out of this unnatural state of secularism forced upon us by Nehru.

At the same time and by the same critics, Nehru is accused of not being Indian enough, of being western in outlook and attitude, an intruder of sorts. Here, too, he is contrasted with Gandhi, who is said to be authentically Indian. It is as if merely being Indian endows people with a sense of the sacred – or as if the West lacks it completely. Even if we do not engage with this superficiality, it is necessary to remember that many sources of Gandh’s philosophy were western and his idea of service was particularly informed by his encounter with Christianity. Gandhi’s creativity had a lot to do with his openness to the experiences of other religions. In this, he resembled Ram Krishna Paramhansa, who was so confident he went to other religions without even being conscious of his own.

Writing about Paramhansa, Nehru pointed out that those who often scoffed at this man of no learning soon “bowed their heads before this man of God and ceased to scoff and ‘remained to pray’”. Once in Paramhansa’s company, Nehru noted, many gave up their other vocations. Swami Vivekanand, of course, was the greatest among them.

Nehru called himself, not so modestly, “a man of earth” but insisted that “even a man of earth can admire and perhaps be influenced by a man of God”. The working of the mind of a “man of God” cannot be judged by ordinary people, it can only be understood intuitively. His own relationship with Gandhi had an element of irrationality, for in many crucial matters they had fundamental differences.

What connected Nehru and Gandhi was their common faith in the intelligence of the common masses of India. Gandhi forced the Congress to open its doors to the unlettered peasant masses and Nehru had his political training in the villages of Uttar Pradesh. He told journalist RK Karanjia in an interview that the masses “have a certain quality and character, a basic cultural tradition which makes them function”.
Rustic wisdom

Nehru’s admiration for the wisdom of the peasant masses was real. He wrote, “It was extraordinary to notice how the peasantry were full of this old culture and tradition. In course of conversation, they would refer to some old story or quote a line from Tulsi Das. There is something in an old culture after all, which gives poise and distinction to life.”

Writing to Indira Gandhi, his daughter, about his visit to Mathura, he narrated a conversation between some Congressmen and a peasant.

“Early one morning, some of our party went to a neighbouring well for a bath…They use a big leather bucket called a mot. When the first bucket came up our people wanted to start bathing. But the peasant asked them to wait as the first lot of water was dedicated to Kanhaiyaji (what a sweet name this is). He said that he liked pouring out the first five motfulls to Kanhaiyaji and other favourite divinities, but in any event the first should not even be touched. Our people told them that they were certainly not going to interfere with this old custom. They were Congressmen and between the Congress and the peasants there was sumati. Yes, said the peasant, and immediately quoted a famous line from Tulsi Das, ‘jahan sumati tahan sampati nana’ – where there is goodwill and cooperation, there is an abundance and variety of wealth.”

What drew Nehru close to the Indian peasantry was this spiritual wisdom combined with a firm earthiness. Nehru formed his concept of the sacred based on his interaction with the masses and, of course, the chief peasant Mahatma Gandhi, about whom he wrote:

“He is the quintessence of the conscious and unconscious will of those millions…A man of keenest intellect, of fine feeling and good taste, wide vision; very human, and yet essentially the ascetic who has suppressed his passions and emotions, sublimated them and directed them in spiritual channels.”

“Gandhiji’s conception of democracy is definitely a metaphysical one. It has nothing to with numbers or majority or representation in the ordinary sense. It is based on service and sacrifice, and it uses moral pressure.”

Gandhi was a puzzle to the British and to people like him too, Nehru wrote, adding:

“But India still seems to understand, or at least appreciate, the prophetic-religious type of man, talking of sin and salvation and non-violence. Indian mythology is full of stories of great ascetics, who by the rigour of their sacrifices and self-imposed penance, built up a ‘mountain of merit’ which threatened the dominion of some of the lesser gods and upset the established order. These myths have often come to my mind when I have watched the amazing energy and inner power of Gandhiji, coming out of some inexhaustible reservoir.”

No ordinary alliance

People have found it difficult to understand this unlikely alliance. Maybe alliance is too mundane a word to describe the bonding between Nehru and Gandhi as it was, to use Nehru’s words, certainly not of the “world’s ordinary coinage”. It was political but much more a spiritual connect.

One can say that by accepting Gandhi’s leadership and deciding to follow him despite their differences, Nehru was only obeying his instincts that even his scientific reasoning could not fathom. He was aware of the limits of rationality and was sceptical of the claims of scientific truth. For him, it was important to transcend one’s limits, go beyond one’s self. It was not for nothing that after Gandhi, it was Buddha who influenced him the most.

Nehru was ambivalent towards Buddha. Is he passive and pessimistic? Is his path an escape from the struggles of life? But when he watched him as shaped by loving hands “in carven stone and marble and bronze,” he seemed to “symbolise the whole spirit of Indian thought”.

“Seated on lotus flower, calm and impassive, above passion and desire, beyond the storm and strife of this world, so far away he seems out of reach, unattainable. Yet again, we look and behind those still, unmoving features there is passion and an emotion, strange and powerful than the passions and emotions we have known.”

Nehru was fascinated by Buddha, Gandhi and Paramhansa as they are capable of going beyond themselves and their age. Anthony Parel is right to observe that when Nehru dreamt of an integrated human being, what he was suggesting was that “the yearning that drives humanity forward is the yearning for transcendence coupled with the natural desire for material well-being – not the drive for violence and class struggle”.

Nehruvians may quarrel with Parel’s use of the “dharma and moksha” frame for Nehru, but they will agree his vision traversed more than material attainments. Nehru thought highly of his people: that they were capable of transcending their temporal self. One can only hope he is not proved wrong by them.

Apoorvanand is a professor of Hindi at the University of Delhi.

India: Nehru against Nehruvians | Rajeev Bhargava

On Religion and Secularism

by Rajeev Bhargava
In EPW, Vol. 52, Issue No. 8, 25 Feb, 2017


- See more at: http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/8/perspectives/nehru-against-nehruvians.html

India: RSS Controlled Garbh Vigyan Sanskar in pursuit for “Master Race”

(Peoples Voice on May 26, 2017)

by Ram Puniyani

The RSS agenda of Hindu Rashtra draws heavily on the superiority of Aryan race and greatness of Brahmanical values. The ideology constructed by this organisation tells us that Aryans are the superior race. The whole foundation of the concept of Hindu nation as the teacher-leader of the World derives from twin and inseparable notions of the racial theory, promoted by British and Brahmanism, clothed in the language of Hinduism. This came to fore once again when the spokesmen of Garbh Vigyan Sanskar (Uterus Science Culture), an offshoot of Arogya Bharati (health wing) of RSS, committed to creating Uttam santati, (Best Progeny) based on ancient Indian knowledge of Ayurveda outlined their plans. The claim is that by following the proper instructions as put together by this outfit; one can get the children, which are tall and fair, despite their parents not being so.
RSS has many wings one of them being Arogya Bharati (health wing). It has devised meticulous plans for the couples to have a ‘perfectly customised child’. This is what has been reported in the media recently. As per the process devised by this outfit there is a period of three months of ‘shuddhikaran’ or purification for the parents. This means that the timing of intercourse is decided by the positions of the ‘planetary configurations’ and a period of abstinence once the baby is conceived. This is to be followed by series of procedures and regulations in the matters of diet in particular.
These days lot of illogical understanding is easily passing the muster of popular perception in the name of traditional knowledge. The extent of this is the belief that ancient India had advanced plastic surgery techniques, and great leaps in aviation science, including Pushpak Viman (Aeroplane), the truth is that modern medical science has broken lot of mysteries of the sconce of child bearing, growth and rearing. The conception of child does not depend on the planetary configurations but on the meeting of sperm with ovum, on and around the day of ovulation of the female. The Hindutva ideology is bent to promote the faith-based knowledge systems, undermining the immaculate researchers and gains of modern science. Even earlier Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, in the previous NDA regime had introduced changes in the educational curriculum by introducing Paurohitya (Priest craft) and Karmakand (Ritualism). One of the components of this was Putra Kameshti Yagna (ritual to get male child), the performance of which should lead to the birth of a male child. As per current knowledge, the sex of the baby is determined by the male’s Y or X chromosome meeting the ovum and not by any other influence which these rituals are supposed to influence.
The health of the baby and its rearing has many components, which included proper dietary supplements, regular exercises of the mother and good nutrition and rearing of the child as she comes up in the society. The growth of body, physical and intellectual is a long process of rearing where the proper nutrition, games and intellectual stimuli, are the foundation of the health of the child. In contrast here in this scheme of things the planets, supernatural powers are projected as the main players along with the recommended diet.
RSS ideology has been inspired a lot from German Fascism not just in the matters of concept of nationalism but also in the projection of Aryan superiority. Being the World leaders-teachers as well is core part of this ideology. So a superior race is necessary in this ideology. Germany tried this in the form of eugenics. That experiment was a disaster. Nazis had the program called “Lebensborn” (“Spring of Life”), which aimed to create an Aryan master race. For this breeding of children of pure Aryan race, some 8,000 children were born in Germany and around 12,000 in Norway as part of “Lebensborn” under the direct supervision Nazi theoretician and leader, Heinrich Himmler. This encouraged women of “pure blood” to bear fair-tall Aryan children. The result was that most of such bred children did not grow on expected lines. This horrendous scheme was central part of the inhuman racial policy. This policy on one hand aimed at producing pure Aryan children and on the other hand wanted to eliminate non-Aryans like Jews, 6 million of them were killed and the forced sterilisation of people with hereditary diseases. This policy was harsh to non dominant people and to people with different ability. Needless to say that even the theory of race is totally discredited today and what we know is that we are all mixed up people with origin of Human race located in South Africa.
It is in this light that the statement of Tarun Vijay, (We have been living with dark skinned people) is to be seen. This reveals RSS understanding of white superior Aryans living with black South Indians. As such major RSS ideologue M.S. Golwalkar had already prescribed for a better race when he wrote, “now let us see the experiments our ancestors made in this sphere. In an effort to better the human species through cross-breeding the Namboodri Brahmanas [sic] of the North were settled in Kerala and a rule was laid down that the eldest son of a Namboodri family could marry only the daughter of Vaishya, Kshatriya or Shudra communities of Kerala. Another still more courageous rule was that the first off-spring of a married woman of any class must be fathered by a Namboodri Brahman and then she could beget children by her husband.” (Quoted in RSS journal Organiser, 2nd January 1962)
The spokesmen of this program tell us that they have begun their work from Gujarat, where nearly 450 babies have been born on these lines and now they intend to spread their branches in different states by 2020 as their work is already in progress in different states. What’s in store for us is very clear from this plan of health division of Hindutva fountain head. We need to harp only on rational scientific strategies in our health planning.

May 26, 2017

How national narratives have obscured the history of India’s most controversial king (Excerpt from Audrey Truschke's Blog)

Stanford University Press Blog -

Modern Politics in Premodern History

How national narratives have obscured the history of India’s most controversial king.
Emperor Aurangzeb on horseback
This portrait of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb mounted on a horse, and ready for battle, was originally produced circa 1660.
In 1700, the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was arguably the richest, most powerful man in the world. He ruled for nearly fifty years, from 1658 until 1707, over a vast empire in South Asia that boasted a population exceeding the entirety of contemporary Europe. Today, he has been forgotten in the West.
The Mughal Empire in 1707
The Mughal Empire at Aurangzeb’s death in 1707. Reproduced with permission from Juggernaut Books.
In modern-day India, however, Aurangzeb is alive in public debates, national politics, and people’s imaginations. From Mumbai to Delhi to Hyderabad, Indians debate his legacy and, overwhelmingly, condemn him as the cruelest king in Indian history. The list of charges against Aurangzeb is severe and, if they were all true, shocking. Aurangzeb, a Muslim, is widely thought to have destroyed thousands of Hindu temples, forced millions of Indians to convert to Islam, and enacted a genocide of Hindus. As I am reminded daily on Twitter, many Indians sincerely believe that Aurangzeb was Hitler and ISIS rolled into one with a single objective: To eradicate Hindus and Hinduism.
My narrative of Aurangzeb in Aurangzeb: The Life and Legacy of India’s Most Controversial King—based on extensive research and relying on primary source documents—does not match his current reputation. Accordingly, much of the response to Aurangzeb in India, published in February 2017 under the title Aurangzeb: The Man and The Myth, has been fierce. I am the target of daily, sometimes hourly, hate speech on social media. I am regularly attacked on the basis of my gender, nationality, race, and perceived religion. I have even faced (so far, limited) calls to ban Aurangzeb and even to ban me from India. In this blog post, I explore the roots of the controversy over Aurangzeb, my role therein as a historian, and the harsh realities of producing historical analysis in a world where many privilege politically expedient falsehoods. [. . .].

FULL TEXT AT: http://stanfordpress.typepad.com/blog/2017/05/modern-politics-in-premodern-history.html

India: How RSS plans to take over West Bengal (Snigdhendu Bhattacharya and Dipanjan Sinha in HT)

Hindustan Times

How RSS plans to take over West Bengal: Social media campaign to new members

Capitalising on West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s perceived Muslim appeasement, the RSS is running an aggressive drive that is working for them.

May 26, 2017
 

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

RSS workers, with swords in their hands, make a show of strength in Malda city of West Bengal. (Samir Jana/HT Photo)

In Malda, a Muslim-majority district in West Bengal, a rally of swords and trishuls, saffron bandanas and shouts of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ marked Ram Navami. There hadn’t been anything like it in living memory.
“Our organisation has got a boost in the Hindu-dominated parts of Malda over the past couple of years, though we’re still facing difficulty getting started in the Muslim-dominated areas,” says Tarun Kumar Pandit, spokesperson for the north Bengal chapter of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
He’s standing in a school ground run by the RSS-affiliated Vidya Bharati where 115 RSS workers from across north Bengal have gathered for a 20-day camp, complete with discussions on nation-building and field exercise in khaki shorts, with lathis in hand.
The 20-day-camp for south Bengal, held in Howrah district, had a record number of 325 attendees.
Among the participants in Malda was a local Class 11 student who said he joined because he was ‘alarmed’ by ‘increasing Muslim aggression’.
He was referring to an incident where a mob set the Kaliachak police station on fire in January 2016.
Investigations later revealed that the ‘riot’ had been a backlash by a group of criminal poppy cultivators. But the truth came too late for some. The Kaliachak incident got portrayed, even beyond the borders of Malda, as a ‘communal riot’.
Where did that version of events come from? Primarily the small but highly effective social media cells of the saffron brigade.
The tone of their posts is dictated from further up in the power pyramid.
The RSS’s general secretary for south Bengal led the way in this case, Jishnu Basu, with an open letter to journalists that questioned the mainstream media’s ‘silence on the incident’ and claimed a neighbouring Hindu village was attacked.
“One incident after another, in the districts of Malda, Murshidabad, Burdwan, Nadia, North and South 24-Parganas, over the past few years, are indicating impending peril. Isn’t West Bengal turning into West Bangladesh?” the letter went on to state.
These campaigns have turned into polarising points beyond Malda. But why start with Malda to begin with?
The saffron camp’s focus on Malda (51.27% Muslims) and Uttar Dinajpur (49.92% Muslims) — the only two Muslim-majority districts in north Bengal — is part of a carefully thought-out strategy.
“Not only are Hindus slightly fewer in number than Muslims, and hence feel insecure, these two districts are also among worst-affected by infiltration from Bangladesh. They offer us the best chances for creating a breakthrough in north Bengal,” an RSS pracharak said, requesting anonymity.
Cause and effect
Capitalising on what they call chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s ‘overt Muslim appeasement’ (monthly government stipends for imams and muezzin, for instance), the Hindutva brigade is running an aggressive campaign on communal lines. It seems to be working.
“The threat from Muslim aggression is real. Mamata Banerjee has turned West Bengal into a breeding ground of Muslim fundamentalists and has made the Hindus second-class citizens,” says Sayantan Dutta, a first year student of Visva Bharati University in Birbhum, who recently joined Bajrang Dal and participated in a massive Ram Navami rally in Suri town.
There are hundreds like Dutta who have joined Hindutva outfits over the past couple of years, responding to social media campaigns highlighting the plight of Hindus in West Bengal.
“The media keeps mum when riots take place. We would not have known anything about riots in Kaliachak, Deganga, Dhulagori and Kanchrapara had there not been the social media,” Bibek Goswami, 28, a primary school teacher hailing from Baruipur in South 24-Parganas district, told HT. He joined the RSS a year ago.
SANGH’S EXPANSION IN WEST BENGAL
  • The Sangh Parivar (literally, family of organisations) is the term for the group of parties and associations that are either part of or draw upon the founding ideology of the right-wing Hindu body, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)
  • In West Bengal, the Bharatiya Janata Party has gone from being a marginal force in 2011 to a strong challenger to current chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress
  • Erosion in the Left and Congress support bases are helping the BJP get non-Trinamool Congress voters into their fold
  • One of the means of expanding their base is organising large religious processions. The Ganesh festival, not traditionally celebrated in the state, is now a big deal too, says political analyst Subroto Moitra.
“Muslims are being given majority share from the reservation quota for the OBCs. It will be too late if Hindus do not unite now,” says Swarajit Guha, 31, who joined the Bajrang Dal four years ago and now heads its Malda chapter.
Be it Malda, Hooghly, Howrah or Birbhum, it is mostly young boys in their teens and twenties joining the saffron camp.
“For a long time, the destructive Naxalite ideology and Left ideology in general drew the students and youths of Bengal in their hundreds and thousands. But now they are coming to us, after realising that only the Sangh can lead meaningful and constructive social changes,” says Biplab Roy, spokesperson for the RSS in south Bengal.
The Sangh Parivar or family of orgnisations is the term used for the group of parties and associations that are either part of the RSS or draw upon the founding ideology of the right-wing Hindu body.
According to Roy, about a thousand are joining the RSS in south Bengal every month. “A majority of them are students and engineers, doctors, IT employees and management teachers,” he says.

Political analyst Amal Mukhopadhyay, however, feels Hindutva is not the sole appeal for the people joining sangh. “Many are coming to them thinking it is only BJP, by virtue of being in power at the Centre, which can take on the Trinamool head-on,” he says.
‘Hindus must unite now. A RSS camp in Malda trains members in self-defence. (Snigdhendu Bhattacharya/ HT Photo)
Inside the web
In 2013, the RSS’s south Bengal chapter introduced weekly sessions called “IT milan’, exclusively for swayamsevaks in the IT sector.
These sessions, complete with surya namashkar, yoga for back pain, and discussions on current affairs, helped them strengthen their base and begin to broad-base their social media initiatives.
“Donald Trump’s victory, despite the US media’s unethically biased campaign against him, has marked the fall of the mainstream media. We dominate the discourse on social media,” says Tapan Ghosh, who was a senior RSS pracharak until breaking away to form his own outfit, the far-right Hindu Samhati, accusing the RSS of ‘lacking aggression’. Formed in 2008, the outfit has spread to 12 of the state’s 20 districts.
“We have dedicated teams that create contents for social media but every volunteer diligently circulates those using social media,” said Sourish Mukherjee, VHP’s media in-charge for Bengal.
Hindu Samhati, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Jagran Manch have social media teams comprising 10-15 people at the state level for generating content. RSS has such teams at the district level as well, but credit volunteers with their online success.
“The onus of circulating content through Facebook, WhatsApp and Tweeter lies on every volunteer,” said Sourish Mukherjee, VHP’s media in-charge for Bengal.
“We are ahead of the Left in social media campaign because of our dedication. We follow what we preach, while the Left practices hypocrisy,” Amanish Iyer, RSS’s joint secretary for Hooghly district, told HT.
Their opponents agree that saffron camp has managed to change the discourse. “The Hindutva brigade is using Twitter to troll seculars and liberals, WhatsApp to spread fake news and Facebook to organise people and dominate social discourse,” says Kasturi Basu, cultural activist and co-founder of People’s Media, an initiative to counter fake news online.
According to blogger Ipsita Pal Bhowmik, “We have entered the post-truth era. There is a flood of fake social media profiles and news. Photos of broken Hindu idols passed off as scene from West Bengal turns out to be of Bangladesh. Photo showing Pakistani flag in Kolkata was morphed. Photos from old riots in other parts of the country were circulated as a riot taking place in Bengal right that moment.”
How it unfolded
The BJP in Bengal began making early gains in 2013-14, mostly in areas dominated by Hindi-speaking people and infiltration-prone areas bordering Bangladesh.
Trends of the 2016 Assembly polls and the by-elections and civic polls held since, however, reveals the saffron camp’s growing influence in refugee colonies dominated by Hindus who migrated from Bangladesh over the past few decades.
“I grew up hearing from my grandfather how Muslims in Bangladesh forced Hindus to sell off property at throwaway prices and migrate to India. We cannot afford to allow Muslims that space here as well,” said Chiranjit Das, a college student who lives in the refugee colony belt of Kapasdanga in Hooghly town. He joined the RSS six months ago.
Meanwhile, the state unit of the BJP has also undergone a transformation. As long as Rahul Sinha was the state BJP president, BJP and RSS were operating almost independent of each other. Senior RSS pracharak Dilip Ghosh’s elevation to BJP state unit chief in 2015 has helped change that. He has helped ensure that every district unit of the BJP is guided by RSS leaders.
“Corruption and bad governance are fleeting issues. The only permanent issue (in Bengal) is the security of the Hindus and we have our focus set on our core agenda,” says Dilip Ghosh, BJP president , West Bengal
In Hooghly, for instance, RSS district chief Dipanjan Guha stepped aside to take charge of the district BJP unit.
Speaking to HT, Dilip Ghosh made their agenda clear. “Corruption and bad governance are fleeting issues. The only permanent issue is the security of the Hindus and we have our focus set on our core agenda,” he said.
The tactic seems to have paid rich dividends. While the RSS had 580 shakhas in West Bengal in 2011, they now have more than 1,500. Most of this growth has been in the districts of Kolkata, the North and South 24 Parganas, Hooghly, Howrah, Birbhum and West and East Midnapore.
In Hooghly, for instance, the number of daily shakhas has doubled, going from 25 in 2014 to 50 in 2017.
Politically, the activities of every Hindutva outfit will benefit BJP. The party hopes to consolidate majority Hindu votes by sharpening the polarisation. They would continue slamming Trinamool leaders over their alleged involvement in Saradha and Narada scams ahead of the panchayat elections due next year, but without losing the focus on Hindutva.
BJP has evidently sensed a kill. During a visit to its state office in north Kolkata on in the evening on May 4, this correspondent found only a couple of people who look after the office. The scene was quite in contrast to the pre-2015 picture when one would always find some of the leaders or workers.
“Leaders are spending more time of the field and less in the office,” said a middle-aged man who looks after the office.

Hindi article: Dalits embracing Islam: Buddhism to escape caste atrocities


जातिगत अत्याचारों से बचने के लिए दलित अपना रहे हैं बौद्ध धर्म और इस्लाम -राम पुनियानी भारतीय समाज में जाति हमेशा से एक महत्वपूर्ण कारक रही है। अतीत से लेकर वर्तमान तक, राजनीति में जाति की भूमिका हमेशा से रही है। जाति व्यवस्था के उदय और उसके प्रचलन के बारे में कई अलग-अलग दावे और व्याख्याएं की जाती रही हैं। अंबेडकर का मानना था कि जाति की जड़ें, हिन्दू पवित्र ग्रंथों में हैं। परंतु हिन्दुत्व की विचारधारा के पैरोकारों का कहना है कि हिन्दू समाज में सभी जातियां समान थीं। मुस्लिम आक्रांता, हिन्दुओं को मुसलमान बनाना चाहते थे और जो लोग धर्मपरिवर्तन करने के लिए तैयार नहीं थे वे दूरदराज़ के स्थानों पर भाग गए और यहीं से जातिगत असमानता की शुरूआत हुई। यह व्याख्या घटनाओं की सही विवेचना नहीं है और ऊँची जातियों की सोच को प्रतिबिंबित करती है। जो लोग कहते हैं कि मुस्लिम आक्रांताओं द्वारा ज़बरदस्ती धर्मपरिवर्तन करवाने की कोशिश के कारण जाति व्यवस्था जन्मी, उनके दावों का खंडन करने के लिए ‘मनुस्मृति’ पर्याप्त है, जो दूसरी सदी ईस्वी में रची गई थी और जिसमें जातिगत पदक्रम का विस्तार से वर्णन किया गया है। मनुस्मृति जब लिखी गई थी, तब इस्लाम दुनिया में था ही नहीं और ना ही मुस्लिम व्यापारी भारत के मलाबार तट पर पहुंचे थे। मुस्लिम शासकों के आक्रमण तो तब सदियों दूर थे। इस बेसिरपैर की व्याख्या के विपरीत, स्वामी विवेकानंद हमें बताते हैं कि दलितों द्वारा इस्लाम में धर्मपरिवर्तन, मुख्यतः जातिगत उत्पीड़न के चलते हुआ। औपनिवेशिक काल में भारत के अर्ध-आधुनिकीकरण की प्रक्रिया शुरू हुई परंतु इसके बाद भी जाति व्यवस्था बनी रही। आज, स्वाधीनता के 70 साल, और भारतीय संविधान, जो सभी नागरिकों को समानता का अधिकार देता है, के लागू होने के 67 साल बाद भी, जाति व्यवस्था जिंदा है। गोरखनाथ मठ के भगवाधारी आदित्यनाथ योगी के उत्तरप्रदेश का मुख्यमंत्री बनने के बाद एक बार फिर यह साबित हो गया है कि जातिप्रथा हमारे समाज में आज भी उतनी ही मज़बूत है जितनी पहले थी। योगी आदित्यनाथ के मुख्यमंत्री बनने के बाद से उत्तरप्रदेश में दलितों पर अत्याचार की घटनाओं में बेतहाशा वृद्धि हुई है। सहारनपुर में हुई हिंसा इसका एक उदाहरण है। कुछ रपटों के अनुसार, पश्चिमी उत्तरप्रदेश के कुछ गांवों के 108 दलित परिवारों ने योगी आदित्यनाथ के मुख्यमंत्री बनने के बाद से दलितों पर अत्याचार की घटनाएं बढ़ने पर अपना विरोध प्रदर्शन करने के लिए बौद्ध धर्म अंगीकार कर लिहै। सहारनुपर के कुछ गांवों में, ठाकुरों और दलितों के बीच हिंसक झड़पें हुईं। ठाकुरों ने अंबेडकर की मूर्ति नहीं लगने दी और दलितों ने राजपूत शासक राणाप्रताप की जयंती मनाने के लिए एक जुलूस को निकलने नहीं दिया क्योंकि उसके लिए विधिवत अनुमति नहीं ली गई थी। दलितों का कहना है कि आदित्यनाथ की सरकार, केवल ठाकुरों की सरकार है। सहारनपुर के निकट मुरादाबाद के लगभग 50 दलित परिवारों ने यह धमकी दी है कि अगर आदित्यनाथ, भगवा ब्रिगेड द्वारा दलितों पर किए जा रहे हमलों को नहीं रोकते तो वे हिन्दू धर्म त्याग देंगे। इस आशय की खबर ‘द टाईम्स ऑफ इंडिया’ के 22 मई, 2017 के अंक में छपी है। दलितों के हितों की रक्षा के लिए भीमसेना नाम का एक संगठन गठित हो गया है। सहारनपुर का प्रशासन कहता है कि भीमसेना, हिंसा कर रही है, जबकि दलितों का दावा है कि यह सेना उनकी रक्षक है। उनका यह भी आरोप है कि प्रशासन, ऊँची जातियों के पक्ष में झुका हुआ है और असली दोशियों को पकड़ने की बजाए, भीमसेना पर निशाना साध रहा है। हिन्दुओं के स्वनियुक्त रक्षकों के समूहों की संख्या में तेज़ी से वृद्धि हो रही है। इस पृष्ठभूमि में, भीमसेना को दलित, आशा की एक किरण के रूप में देख रहे हैं। उनका कहना है कि योगी सरकार के शासन में आने के बाद से आरएसएस और उसके अनुषांगिक संगठन अपना असली रंग दिखा रहे हैं और इसलिए उनके पास इसके सिवाए कोई विकल्प नहीं है कि वे ब्राह्मणवादी हिन्दू धर्म को त्याग दें। ब्राह्मणवादी हिन्दू धर्म ही संघ परिवार की हिन्दुत्व की विचारधारा का आधार है। अभी हाल (22 मई, 2017) में दिल्ली के जंतरमंतर पर बड़ी संख्या में दलित, उनके विरूद्ध किए जा रहे अत्याचारों का विरोध करने के लिए प्रदर्शन कर रहे हैं। दलितों के प्रश्न पर आरएसएस हमेशा से एक बड़ी दुविधा में फंसा रहा है। एक ओर वह उनके वोट चाहता है तो दूसरी ओर वह यह भी जानता है कि अगर उसने दलितों को समान दर्जा देने की बात कही, तो आरएसएस-हिन्दुत्व राजनीति के मूल समर्थक जो ऊँची जातियों के हैं, उससे दूर छिटक जाएंगे। इस समस्या से निपटने के लिए आरएसएस, सोशल इंजीनियरिंग व सांस्कृतिक अभियानों के ज़रिए दलितों को अपने साथ लेने का प्रयास कर रहा है। उसने सामाजिक समरसता मंचों की स्थापना की है और नीची जातियों के लोगों के साथ भोजन करने के कार्यक्रम शुरू किए हैं। एक दूसरे स्तर पर वह दलित नेताओं जैसे रामविलास पासवान, रामदास अठावले व उदित राज इत्यादि को सत्ता की लोलीपोप पकड़ाकर अपनी ओर आकर्षित कर रहा है। आरएसएस की कोशिश यह भी है कि इतिहास को तोड़-मरोड़ कर इस रूप में प्रस्तुत किया जाए कि दलित, मुसलमानों के हमलों से हिन्दुओं की रक्षा करने वाले लोग थे। इस तरह की सांस्कृतिक जोड़तोड़, हिन्दू राष्ट्रवाद के सिद्धांतों का महत्वपूर्ण हिस्सा है। पिछले तीन वर्षों में दलितों के प्रति दुर्भाव और पूर्वाग्रह कई अलग-अलग तरीकों से प्रकट हुआ है। आईआईटी, मद्रास में अंबेडकर-पेरियार स्टडी सर्किल पर प्रतिबंध लगाया गया। हैदराबाद केन्द्रीय विश्वविद्यालय के प्रशासन की दलित-विरोधी नीतियों के कारण, वहां के शोधार्थी रोहित वेम्युला की संस्थागत हत्या हुई। गुजरात के ऊना में पवित्र गाय की रक्षा के नाम पर दलितों को बर्बर ढंग से पीटा गया। दरअसल, हिन्दू राष्ट्रवाद की राजनीति, जाति व्यवस्था से दमित वर्गों के लक्ष्य से एकदम विपरीत दिशा की ओर ले जाने वाली है। हमें याद रखना चाहिए कि सामाजिक न्याय के महानतम पैरोकारों में से एक अंबेडकर ने मनुस्मृति को सार्वजनिक रूप से जलाया था। परंतु इसी मनुस्मृति का आरएसएस के चिंतकों जैसे एमएस गोलवलकर ने महिमामंडन किया। गोलवलकर जैसे लोगों ने तो भारतीय संविधान तक का इस आधार पर विरोध किया कि जब हमारे पास मनुस्मृति के रूप में पहले से ही एक ‘अद्भुत’ संविधान मौजूद है तो हमें नए संविधान की ज़रूरत ही क्या है? जहां अंबेडकर कहते थे कि गीता, मनुस्मृति का संक्षिप्त संस्करण है वहीं मोदी सरकार गीता का प्रचार-प्रसार करने में जुटी हुई है। हिन्दू राष्ट्रवाद, भारत के एक काल्पनिक इतिहास का निर्माण करना चाहता है, जिसमें हिन्दू धर्मग्रंथों के मूल्यों का बोलबाला था। वह वैदिक युग के मूल्यों को पुनर्जीवित करना चाहता है, जिनका एक प्रजातांत्रिक समाज में कोई स्थान नहीं हो सकता। हिन्दू धर्म की कई अन्य धाराएं भी हैं जिन्हें संयुक्त रूप से श्रमण परंपराएं कहा जाता है। ये परंपराएं ऊँचनीच को खारिज करती हैं। परंतु हिन्दू धर्म के ब्राह्मणवादी संस्करण ने इन परंपराओं को हाशिए पर ढकेल दिया है। पिछली लगभग एक सदी से ब्राह्मणवादी मूल ही हिन्दू राष्ट्रवाद का आधार बने हुए हैं। जंतरमंतर में चल रहा जबरदस्त विरोध प्रदर्शन इस बात की ओर संकेत करता है कि आरएसएस द्वारा हिन्दू धर्म के मूलतः समानता का धर्म होने की भ्रांति उत्पन्न करने का प्रयास सफल नहीं होगा। इससे हमें यह याद आता है कि अंबेडकर को अंततः धर्म द्वारा वैध ठहराई गई जाति व्यवस्था से बचने के लिए हिन्दू धर्म का ही त्याग करना पड़ा था। आज भी दलित यही करने में अपनी मुक्ति देखते हैं। (अंग्रेजी से हिन्दी रूपांतरण अमरीश हरदेनिया) Mail Delivery Subsystem

Bangladesh: The govt surrenders to demands Muslim fundamentalists of Hefajat and removes the statue of the Greek Goddess of Justice Themis at the Supeme Court

The Daily Star May 26, 2017

Statue of Greek goddess on SC premises removed

The Supreme Court authorities took down the statue of the Greek Goddess of Justice Themis on the SC premises early today amid protests.

The statue was taken away around 4:30am, five hours after some five to seven workers began hammering at the base of the statue, our staff reporter reports.
After removal of the statue, Sculptor Mrinal Haque told The Daily Star, “It could not be known immediately where it has been kept”.
READ MORE: Sculpture at SC: Such statue shouldn't be here: PM
Mrinal who along with four to five workers were overseeing the removal work said, “I don’t know where the statue was kept though the authorities told me it might be reinstalled near the apex court’s annex building”.
Some five to seven workers began hammering at the base of the statue around 11:30pm yesterday.
READ MORE: Writ seeks removal of Greek goddess from SC premises
Protesting the incident, some 100 youths, under the banner of Bikkhubdo Nagorik (aggrieved citizens), gathered near the SC premises and blocked the road around 2:00am. They were chanting slogans like -- “Joy Bangla, why surrender to Hefajat?”
There was a pick-up parked nearby. Journalists were not allowed inside the premises.
Contacted, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said the chief justice (SK Sinha) had a meeting with the incumbent and former presidents and general secretaries of the Supreme Court Bar Association, including eminent jurist Dr Kamal Hossain.
At the meeting, the chief justice sought their opinion about removing the statue.
“They opined that it should be removed to avert any untoward situation,” he told The Daily Star, adding that the statue might be relocated to a place near the Supreme Court Museum, which is also on the SC premises.