From Nehruvian consensus to Hindutva politics: Decoding the Muslim question in India

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From Nehruvian consensus to Hindutva politics: Decoding the Muslim question in India
© Provided by Firstpost From Nehruvian consensus to Hindutva politics: Decoding the Muslim question in India

For Ambedkar, Muslim intentions were clear. They wanted to reduce Hindus from a majority in India to a minority in real terms while at the same time cutting into the political rights of the [other] minorities.

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— ‘Creating a New Medina’, by Venkat Dhulipala

This pressing reality of Indian politics continues to polarise and attract diverse opinions. Since Independence, for the most part, Indian politics has revolved around Nehruvian secularism. More than secularism, it was the Nehruvian consensus. This consensus, in many ways, became the character of Indian politics. This was the governing principle of the state apparatus to some extent. This added to the pain of the Indian public as the truncated explanation of the Muslim problem made sure that no sincere scrutiny of the past and present could take place.

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Hindu equilibrium of absolutely exorcising nothing, as mentioned by VS Naipaul, made the Hindu mind give the Nehruvian consensus a proper chance to succeed. But as this programme unfolded, we saw that the Nehruvian approach lost its luster as reality kept on asking the old, unsolvable, and enigmatic question. Sometimes it came up with the debate of whether or not to sing ‘Vande Mataram’, while at some other times it came up as Hindu-Muslim riots. After the advent of social media, all these things have become a daily affair now.

Having failed with the experiment of the Nehruvian consensus, we are now in the time of Hindutva politics. From having a soft-spoken Manmohan Singh at the helm to having Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, and Yogi Adityanath in power, the politics of this nation has submerged itself in the whirlpool of Hindutva and is trying to find answers to all the elemental realities of past, present, and future. It is up to the ideology to give solutions. India awaits its solution as Indians are not obsessed with the Nehruvian consensus anymore.

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One, therefore, has to muster some courage to at least initiate the discussion around this controversial topic. Hindutva, as an ideology, has its own longevity and depth. From my experience around Sangh and also politics (as a political consultant), I have a certain surety of Hindutva being the focal core of Indian politics for at least a few decades to come. Therefore, the time is ripe for Hindutva to venture into the creative domain and try to answer the pressing problems of today.

The enigma: The Muslim question in India needs forward-looking and constructive solutions. The basic tenets of the solution can have the following three parts:

1.     Unravelling the truth

2.     Defining the non-negotiables

3.     Strong Hindu state

Unravelling the truth

Imagine denying society the right to know the truth. This may sound horrendous but the truth is that due to the Nehruvian consensus we somehow wanted to put everything under the carpet. When generations lose touch with the truth, denial becomes the new reality. It is only then that the truth is crushed by every means. To crush it becomes the religious motto of the masses. To be just is to first accept the truth without any truncation.

The first logical step will, therefore, entail bringing out the truth as it is. Accepting the good, bad, or ugly needs courage. Being undeterred to seek truth needs conviction. Compromising truth will therefore mean compromising character, courage, and conviction. Denial of truth will only deny justice.

Unequivocal exposition of Islamic invasion is the need of the hour. This is not as important for Hindus, as it is for Muslims. To transform or not transform is up to the community, but to tell the truth as it is without instigating hatred should be the duty of our state and institutions. But to deny them the chance of knowing the harsh realities makes way for no reconciliation but only ensures radicalisation. To appease is to radicalise. Come what may, we must keep the torch of truth burning. The feedback or backlash from any community or caste should not be made a scapegoat to deny the truth.

Defining the non-negotiables

Deendayal Upadhyaya propounded, “It is essential that we think about ‘Our National Identity’ without which there is no meaning of ‘Independence’.” Surely, every nation and its identity are defined through certain values and principles. They become the guiding principle. This can only be achieved by defining the non-negotiables. What is it that is so dear to us that we believe should never be compromised, no matter what?

Let’s take this forward with an example: The concept of God in everyone pervades almost every Indian thought process. The shloka, ‘Ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti’ (There is only one truth and learned persons call it by many names), very much synthesises the core Indian thought. Seeing divinity in every being and accepting that truth can be realised via different means. Every Indian cherishes this thought process and leaders proclaim it with pride on every international platform.

Mere lip service on any international platform is not enough, rather leaders should come up with constructive architecture to preserve, protect and propagate this very idea in every Indian. History has been a witness that the distinction between believers and non-believers has resulted in not just bloodshed but in fact, changing the whole political landscape of countries and continents. Both these thought processes, i.e seeing divinity in all and clear distinction between believers and non-believers, cannot and must not go together. It will tarnish the purity and perfection of the Indian thought process.

It is, therefore, prudent to define this as non-negotiable which will in turn result in disbanding the operation of all institutions professing and propagating the foreign thought that divides and undermines people on the basis of their belief system. This will result in strengthening the Indian thought process which is in a way much more dynamic and inclusive at the same time.

We cannot leave the Indian thoughts in quotations alone, rather we must work to build an ecosystem where it directs the principles of every institution. We, therefore, need to define such non-negotiables.

Strong Hindu state

The culmination of the last two points directs us to the larger idea of the Hindu state. A Hindu state is not a theological construct. Drawing parallels between different religions and therefore the state based on it will be a fudged analysis of the matter. The basic premise of the religion is different and hence the idea of the state will definitely be different for each.

It is only the Hindu state that will be guided by the idea of ‘Ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti’. Like secularism, it won’t distance itself from seeking truth just because it believes it to be something esoteric; rather, it will always engage and accept positively the idea of different paths leading to truth. This is the highest form of human acceptance. It is only possible if the state is dictated by the idea prescribed by the culture of this land.

Another reason why we need a state is to act as a deterrent against the thugs who try to wipe out any non-negotiable idea of Bharat. If the state fails to intervene and stand by the truth, the deterioration leads to the creation of vigilante groups which will again burden the state. The only permanent solution is a state which is guided by Hindu thoughts or Bharatiya thoughts.

This is not the end by any means, but a definite and proactive start. The guiding principles of society and state should not remain divorced for long. The merger guiding principles of both society and state is long overdue.

The writer works as Research Associate and Manager, Career Advancement at Rashtram School of Public Leadership, Rishihood University. Views expressed are personal.

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