India, Original Articles

Zealotry, Terrorism and the Denial

The startling ‘confessions’ made by an meek elderly Bengali man, Naba Kumar Sarkar, popularly known as Swami Assemanand in front of a Delhi metropolitan magistrate has the potential to destroy India’s largest nationalist and religious organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The RSS, an umbrella body that controls a multitude of Hindu Nationalist Organizations together make up the ‘Sangh Parivar’ that claims to represent and protect Hindu ideals in the country. The Sangh, infamous for its hardliner Hindu ideology, has traditionally leaned towards right wing politics. This is precisely why; the admission by Swami Assemanand, head of the RSS-affiliated Van Vasi Kalyan Ashram at Shabri Dham and a close confidante of Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi may have irreparable ramifications for the RSS and by extension its chief protégé, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Swami Assemanand ties the RSS to a web of anti nationalist activities ranging from terrorism to communalistic fanaticism, suggesting that the RSS is suspect of the role its senior members or Pracharaks (including himself) have played in planning and executing a series of gruesome terror attacks all over the country.

As various intelligence agencies put the pieces of the byzantine puzzle together, Swami Assemanand’s admission of guilt corroborates with the other pieces of evidence, terror groups inspired by hardliner Hindutva ideology exist.

The existence of a deeper rut and rage amongst the Hindu extremists about lack of action against growing Islamic terrorism was first visible with the arrest of Sadhvi Pragya and Lt Col Purohit, both RSS members accused in the Malegaon Bomb Blast in Maharashtra. Until then, terrorism was always equated with Islam and each terrorist attack saw the rounding up and subsequent torture of Muslim lads for their ‘alleged’ role in the attack. To a xenophobic Indian, it never mattered if the agencies and the police carried out a thorough investigation before accusing Muslims of terrorism. The arrests of  the RSS members will change the public perception of the Muslim-terrorist.

Hindutva Terror is about the cavernous prejudice that seeks to incite communal disharmony by executing acts of terrorism to derail any hope of peace between the two religions. The RSS and the BJP are obviously (and unsurprisingly) not taking the revelations well. They are denying all charges of terrorists within their ranks by blaming the Congress and the UPA government of deliberately breaking the story to get some heat off the scams and frauds. However, their denial does not change the fact that the threat of Hindutva terrorism is real. By fighting under the guise of a victimised group of infuriated individuals ready to retaliate in the same measure as their Islamic extremist counterparts the RSS and its affiliates, do not realize they are putting the national security at stake. Moreover, by denying that extremist Hindutva terror exists, the BJP is doing exactly what Pakistan has been doing all the while, and look how that turned out for our neighbour.

Of the fourteen Hindus arrested or absconding over the last two years for various terror attacks across the country, nine were members of the RSS. Even then, the RSS and the BJP do not believe any of its members could be involved in terrorist activities. Instead, they are busy questioning and impugning the source of the news. They do not realize that the appellation that Hindus can be terrorists is not so hard to imagine if we understand that there lays no difference between extremists from different religions. It will not be the first time the Sangh will put its hardliner ideology above the wellbeing of the masses. And, it will not be the first time they will regret it in the long run. For, as the Sangh will find out at its own expense, zealotry does not account for rationalism.