Book Review: Godse’s Children by Subhash Gatade: Hindutva Terror in India

November 7, 2011 by  
Filed under National, newsletter-world, Persecution

Book Review: Godse’s Children: Hindutva Terror in IndiaNew Delhi, November 4, 2011: In December 2010, when Swami Aseemanand, a ‘former’ RSS pracharak and key functionary of the Sangh backed Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, admitted before a metropolitan magistrate to have planned terror attacks on Ajmer Sharif, Mecca Masjid, Malegaon and the Samjhauta Express; it came as the official seal of the Hindutva terror network in India.

In his confession, recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) before Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Dabas at Tis Hazari court, Delhi on December 18, Aseemanand confessed that he, and other Hindutva activists, were involved in bombings at Muslim religious places because they wanted to answer every Islamist terror act with “a bomb for bomb’’ policy. “I told everybody that bomb ka jawab bomb se dena chahiye (we should reply to bomb blasts with similar bomb blasts)”, reads his 42-page confession.

Aseemanand categorically named (in his confession) the senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar, the murdered RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and senior RSS pracharaks Sandeep Dange and Ramji Kalsangra, among others, as being key conspirators in the terror blasts.What is to be noted here is that, this was not a ‘confession’ that the police forces are known for—the forced kind of confessions, which is not admissible in the court. Rather it was a voluntary one, in the wake of a Hirday Parivatran or change of heart and made before the magistrate under section 164 of the Cr PC, which is also considered as evidence.

However, the question arises, should we take this as an exception or an ‘individual’ act of terror,as often argued by the Sangh leaders? Would it be proper to believe that the Parivar people were unaware of their fellow activists’ actions, given the hierarchal and disciplined nature of the Parivar? The book Godse’s Children: Hindutva Terror in India by Subhash Gatade, ably answers these questions.

Subhash Gatade, as many of us would know, is one of the foremost independent journalists and long-time activist of human rights and social justice. He has been writing constantly and consistently about Hindutva politics, terror and issues of repression and exclusion. Over a period of more than two decades, he has followed many cases and written on them extensively.

In his two books released, he deals with the above subject at great length and reveals important facts about the Hindutva forces, its allies, network, politics and agendas—both short and long term. While the first book, “Godse’s Children: Hindutva Terror in India” focuses on the terrorist activities of the Sangh and its allies, the second book, “The Saffron Condition: Politics of Repression and Exclusion in Neo-Liberal India” essentially deals with the policies and politics of Hindutva outfits. The writer, in these two important works also outlines the various processes adopted by these forces in persuasion of their long term agenda—establishment of a Hindu Rashtra.

In Godse’s Children, tracing the historical background and ideological foundation, the writer points out, “Commission after commissions have blamed RSS and its affiliated organizations for their participation in different riots, across the length and breadth of the country…but that was different from the confession—about organizing terror acts—before a judicial magistrate by one amongst them.” (p.32)

Analyzing the RSS chief’s claim, Terrorism and Hindus are oxymorons, Subhash Gatade says, “The thesis of the “oxymoron” has shades of the concept of the Supreme Hindu race emanating from it.” He further writes, “In fact, it can also be interpreted as an indirect admission that whereas Hindus and terrorism are incompatible with each other, terrorism easily gels with non-Hindu religions and communities. Definitely, this is a very dangerous statement to make, not only because it is not based on facts but because it also tries to denigrate every other community and religion, and also because it tries to terrorize them. It can, thus, be seen as a poor attempt to deflect attention from the umpteen crimes committed by Hindu fanatics. ” (p.71)

On Hindutvisation of Military forces, while discussing the case of Col. Purohit, the author notes, “Involvement of military personnel in such activities can happen in multiple ways: i.ideological; ii. direct participation; iii. in the role of facilitator. While people like Purohit could be categorised as “direct participants” in such activities, it can be easily guessed that there might be many more of his ilk who may not have played any direct role in such activities, but would have acted as facilitators and ideological input givers to the project.” (p. 135)

To substantiate his claim, the writer quotes the former Naval Chief, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, who says, “There’s a clear majoritarian view in the military. The RSS has always had an agenda to infiltrate the armed forces, the intelligence services and the bureaucracy.” (p. 136)

The writer in this book proficiently documents hundreds of cases of Hindutva terror carried out in different parts of India and concludes, “…if the political leadership, intelligence agencies and the police were interested, it would have been possible to avoid many innocent deaths at the hands of self –proclaimed pioneers of Hindu Rashtra trying their best to turn the dreams of Sawarkar,Hedegawar and Golwakar in to reality.” (p. 187)

While dealing with the Global dimensions of Hindutva forces, Gatade point out that, “…for quite some time, Hindutva extremists in Nepal have maintained close relations with extremist forces on the Indian side of the border. This relationship had blossomed during the colonial period in India itself, when one found elements belonging to the RSS or Hindu Mahasabha frequenting Nepal or using its example to demonstrate their “model state”.

As “For the Sangh Parivar, Nepal happened to be the only state in the world where the “one nation, one people, one culture” weltanschauung of Hindu rasthra was already in place.”(p.251) In this section, the author also deals with the role of the Israeli Intelligence agency, Mossad.

Towards the end of the book, while concluding, the author seeks our urgent attention and action as he demands, “A lot depends upon the way the secular forces react to the on-going investigations. Whether they would focus themselves on the role of the State only, and confine themselves to issuing statements and appearing in talk shows only, or they are ready to take up the gauntlet thrown by the challenges of Hindutva Terror in a more militant and creative way that would be the deciding factor”. (p. 318)

After reading the book one would find it to be a gross under-estimation, in fact criminal negligence, if one thought these to be individual acts and the first terrorist activity planned and carried out by the Sangh and its ilk. Because the politics of hate and terror were never absent from the Sangh Parivar’s systems.

“The tag of terrorism”, as rightly pointed out by Dr. Shamshul Islam, who is an authority on Hindutva politics in India, “is not something new”. The history of the anti-national and terrorist activities of the RSS is very long and can be traced to its roots. It is because of its activities that the RSS and its network have been repeatedly censured by umpteen numbers of commissions of inquiry for its complicity in communal violence and terrorist activities.

The first of these incidents can be traced way back to June 1934, when the first attempt to kill Mahatma Gandhi was made by Hindutva fanatics in Pune. It is also an established fact that the first terrorist act in independent India, the killing of Mahtama Gandhi was carried out by none other than a ‘former’ pracharak of RSS, Nathu Ram Godse.

– mahtab alam

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