A Note on Hindu Rashtra
By Shiv Visvanathan
On 13 November 2002, Mr. Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat was awarded the third Milosevic prize. The India Abroad Group reported the award as a unique event as it was the first time that a genocide award had been given to a democratically elected regime. The citation which spelt out the historic details of the achievement also congratulated him for the clarity and precision with which he had developed and pursued the concept of Hindu Rashtra. Mr. Modi in characteristic style played down his achievements, confessing he was only a pracharak, implicating others in the organization. Modi's speech which was greeted with cries of 'Chota Sardar' was also disrupted by a Human Rights group which circulated a small note. Very much like 5 points made for examination questions. We reprint excerpts below for wider discussion.
The idea of Hindu Rashtra is a semitic notion. It tries to create a notion of Hinduism on lines of semitic religions like Christianity and Islam. Depressed with the cowdung mentality of Hinduism where anything goes, the clarity of Hindu Rashtra seeks to put an end to its toleration for confusion and competing ideas. The idea of Hindu Rashtra believes that the only good Hindu is a semiticized Hindu. Psychiatrically it is marked by what a French psychologist Dion Michelet dubbed as 'Church envy' or 'Madrasa deprivation'-the need or felt deprivation for a strong centre and the presence of one book that characterizes Christianity and Islam. Hindu Rashtra represents what has been dubbed in another context as the monoculture of the mind. Only it backs an official clarity of what a Hindu is with political organization and technological will to achieve it. If Hindu Rashtra began as a subject or subaltern notion, it is now a hegemonic idea. It's understanding must be sought not in nationalist texts but in its reinventions in party propaganda, fundamentalist groups. Let it also be emphasized that the term Hindu Rashtra is India's official contribution to 'Cultural Studies' replacing the effete idea of Unity in Diversity. As a leading NRI remarked: "Hindus are no longer the Al Gores of the world".
2) The term Hindu Rashtra is a schizophrenic minoritarian notion as it pits Hindutva against the plurality of Hinduism and also the aridity of the nation-state against civilizational ideas. The world Hindu Rashtra is a colonialist construct as it internalises colonial ideas of martial and masculinist superiority. RSS activists received bangles wherever the level of atrocity and violence was corresponding low. Hindu Rashtra is also a play on time as it fights past battles under present circumstances. See particularly its CD Rom 'How to Defeat the Moghuls Now'.
3) Hindu Rashtra is a Genocidal Notion. As the citation remarked it is the promise and potential of Modi that the committee found endearing. The citation added sonorously that Modi had still not achieved the genocidal effect of Stalin (12 million), Hitler (7 million), Pol Pot (3 million). But the citation remarked that Modi was given the award for local events with global possibilities. Sociological studies of Gujarat violence calibrate it as partition+3. Unravelling this, it means that it adds to the quality of violence in a new way. If partition is the benchmark, the Sikh Riots represents partition+1, Bombay partition+2, Gujarat partition+3. The citation commended in particular Modi's attempt to transform a riot into an act of low intensity warfare. The Modi effect fulfilled five aspects of the genocidal paradigm. It invented or introduced new forms of violence. It spread violence to new areas. It celebrated the breakdown of institutional structures especially the police. It worked systematically on the destruction of the ecological/occupational base of a people. It also reflected a complete lack of guilt on the part of perpetrators, many of whom celebrated the return of the killer instinct to the only sport we have been proficient in.
4) The Hindu Rashtra-whatever Tilak, Gokhale and Golwarlkar might have thought of it-in its updated form suffers more from the impact of American fundamentalism and the Israeli effect. In fact, if the RSS has a role model it is more Sharon. If they could do to Muslims, what Sharon has done to Arafat, Gujarat would be even higher on the Pol Pot scale. The Hindu Rashtra as a notion is pro-information but anti-culture. Its use registers, invades privacy to burn down Muslim firms registered under Hindu names. It believes in openness in this sense but it is deeply hostile to cultural difference. Finally, in its current form, it is anti-business, and anti-global in tendency. It destroys a climate for investment but Modi will discover his Krupps and his Farbens. Maybe even a few Japanese or French investors.
5) Finally, Hindu Rashtra is a reinvented concept. It has nothing to do with its original creators. It is a creation of electoral politics. In fact, it establishes once again, the link between electoral politics and genocide. The African lesson repeated in Nigeria and Rwanda now takes root in India.
We must finally conclude by reiterating that Modi is right about being modest. The current violence is only a pilot plant. It will soon be upscaled when Gujarat will become a Monocultural Hindu Rashtra. By then Modi should receive the Pol Pot Award for humanitarianism. Nominations end on 7th December 2005. All forms to be in triplicate.