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Hindutva and Dalits ......Ram Puniyani

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  • shaji john
    ===[indiathinkersnet]===== Hindutva and Dalits Ram Puniyani Post Gujarat riots, many moves have been made by the Hindutva organizations vis a vis dalits. The
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 31, 2003
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       Hindutva and Dalits

      Ram Puniyani

      Post Gujarat riots, many moves have been made by the
      Hindutva organizations vis a vis dalits. The latest
      one being a threatening letter by Vishwa Hindu
      Parishad addressed to dalit organizations in Gujarat
      to adopt Hindutva. This letter published by VHP, from
      Paldi, Ahmadabad, states that, "Let the Ambedkarite
      Harijans who oppose the Hindutva ideology understand.
      We will not let them mix with even the soil of
      Hindustan; today time is in our hands. Hindutva is the
      ideology of true Hindus (and) it never accepts the
      Harijans who are the off springs of the untouchable

      The Ambedkarite Harijans, Bhangis, tribals and the
      untouchable Shudra
      castes who believe in (respect) Ambedkar do not have
      any right to give
      speeches or criticize the Hindutva ideology in
      Hindustan, ...Now Hindutva has become aware and it is
      time to teach these Ambedkarites, untouchable Harijans
      a lesson. Not even the miyans (Muslims) can come to
      their aid now." (Extract from the letter received by
      Banaskantha Dalit Sanghthan)

      This is a sort of open threat to Dalilts to toe the
      VHP line and to politically subordinate to Sangh
      Parivar (SP). One has witnessed in the recent Gujarat
      carnage that number of Dalits and Adiviasis were used
      as foot soldiers of Hindutva to undertake the
      anti-Minority violence. Also it was BJP ally Mayawati
      who came to campaign for Narendra Modi. What are the
      portents of this new move on the part of VHP, a
      component of Sangh Parivar and a progeny of RSS? As
      such Dalit leadership is totally fragmented in Gujarat
      and the assertion of Dalit aspirations has been
      totally weak. Gujarat has witnessed massive anti-Dalit
      riots around the issue of reservations (1980 and
      1985). After these riots the politics of S P changed
      the track and manipulated and unleashed the Dalits
      against the Muslim minorities. The Hindutvaisation of
      Dalits has been a very complex process. It broadly has
      aimed to bring the `Unity' of all the Hindus without
      disturbing the caste equations, social hierarchies. To
      achieve this these has gone on several processes.

      On one hand there has been an urge to move upwards on
      the part of section of dalits who have partly
      benefited from the process of development,
      reservations etc. This layer has been looking for the
      channels of upward mobility, Sanskritisation, and
      Hidnutva has provided them this in abundance. This has
      come at cultural level by providing newer community
      symbols, which have been popularized and accepted by
      the section of Dalits. At another level Asaram Bapu,
      Pandurang Shashrti and company have been spreading the
      neutral sounding sermons, but in depth they do hide
      the refined version of Manu Smiriti. This has been one
      of the major platforms, which has won over sections of
      Dalits to the Hindutva. Another factor has been the
      floating of Samajik Samrasata Manch, (Social
      Assimilation Platform) which aims to bring together
      all the Hindus, sidetracking the challenges of the
      caste system. Projecting the unity of Hindu society as
      it is, meaning that the present inequalities are all
      right and they are not to be questioned. This added on
      to the availability of thousands of dalits who have
      lost jobs due to closure of textile mills has provided
      Hindutva with a vast army of Dalits whom it could use
      as the one's to be the executioners of the anti-Muslim
      pogrom witnessed in Gujarat.

      So why this new threat to the Dalit organizations.
      This letter has been received by many an
      organizations, particularly those holding out against
      the Hindutva onslaught. The message is clear and loud.
      In the stage so far Hindutva has been able to
      assimilate large sections under its ideology and
      tutelage. How come some are still holding back from
      getting assimilated? The `success' of Moditva
      (blatantly aggressive Hindutva) has emboldened them to
      lead an assault on the sections, which have not been
      assimilated. In this type of scenario, which exists in
      Gujarat where Hindutva organizations have a free hand.
      The attempt is to combine all the strategies, to lure
      them by inducements, and to indoctrinate them through
      the Asarams Bapus and Pandurang Shastris. And now to
      threaten them as a last resort.

      Hindutva had a complex relationship with Dalit
      question. With the rise of Dalit consciousness in the
      elementary form in the middle of 19th century the
      reaction came in the form of vague articulation of
      Hindutva, which expressed itself in Shuddhi campaign
      and also in the programs parties like Punjab Hindu
      Sabha. The upper caste reaction to Dalit's coming to
      social space, education and industry was to be opposed
      it in a subtle way. This opposition was manifested in
      the attacks on Mahtma Jotiba Phule who led this
      process. The same stream of Landlord-Clergy was also
      opposed to the emerging politics of Indian National
      Congress and the accompanying values of Liberty,
      Equality and Fraternity. During early part of
      Twentieth century the anti-Landlord-Brahmin movement
      picked up a great deal along with the social and
      political changes, which aimed to change the status of
      Dalits. This period saw the consolidation of the of
      upper caste revivalist ideology in the form of Hindu
      Mahasabha and later RSS. Both these organizations kept
      the clear goal of Hindu Rashtra. Their major agenda
      was to ensure that caste equations don't change; the
      hegemony of Landlord- Brahmin persists.

      The challenge for these organizations was to preserve
      the status quo while using the language, which is
      modern and sounding to be of equality. We are same
      because we are Hindus! We are Hindus so lets not talk
      of our internal matters, caste etc. lets fight against
      the external enemy Muslims and Christians! So during
      this period on one hand one sees the rise of Ambedkar
      and burning of Manu Smriti, on the other hand we
      witness the rise of Hindutva as a clear ideology. We
      see the coming up of the concept of Hindu Rashtra as
      the goal of Hindus as the alternative to the freedom
      movement, which was movement for free democratic
      India. The language and projection of Hindutva sound
      as if it has deep anti-Muslim and Anti Christian
      overtones. In a way these are incidental and these are
      there to hide the deeper project of maintaining
      hegemony of Brahminical values in the new garb. So
      Ambedkar is not opposed directly, some of his agenda
      against untouchability is also accepted but his deeper
      goal of democracy, which is the only system, which can
      be libratory to Dalits and women, is countered in the
      language of Hindutva and Hindu Rashtra.

      The third major consolidation of this politics of
      Hindutva occurs in the wake of Mandal commission
      implementation in 1990. While the upper caste
      crystallization around Ram Temple and other
      religiosity based Yatra continues the Mandal
      commission threatens the status quo in a serious way.
      It is at this time that ongoing processes of
      crystallization of upper caste-Brahminical values of
      caste and gender hierarchy get more fillips to assert
      themselves as a severe threat to Indian constitution.
      Mr. Vajpayee of BJP formulated the raison de tre of
      Ram temple movement by saying that `they brought in
      Mandal so we had to resort to Kamandal (religiosity).
      The rest is too well known to be recounted. The use of
      religion in politics, Babri demolition, Mumbai riots
      etc. resulted in rise of BJP in electoral arena as the
      big player in the political field. Gujarat has come as
      a big lesson to us all. The declining fortunes of BJP
      could be reversed by this party resorting to the
      rivers of blood in the form of state sponsored anti
      Muslim carnage. All this has given big space to the
      politics of Hindutva, which is now aiming to
      manipulate the society from the top. This manipulation
      is at cultural, social and political level.

      The incident like this letter to recalcitrant Dalit
      organisations is an attempt to browbeat the Dalits
      into submission. Sangh Parivar cannot afford to let
      the intra Hindu identities be the fly in the ointment
      of Hindu Rashtra. While on one hand it is merrily
      getting social and political certification from its
      alliance with Dalit leadership like
      Mayawati-Kanshiram, the odd ones' opposing this
      politics and the Hindutva hegemony have to be shown
      occasional stick if necessary. If not in Modi's
      Gujarat where else can they use intimidation to the
      Dalits, or for that matter to other layer of society.

      (Writer works for EKTA, Committee for Communal Amity,

      (The articles of this bulletin are posted on the following URLs
      ,http://www.nilacharal.com/news/view/ipdex.html, and on

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