Lack of secular alternative, as also unemployment main reasons behind rising Hindutva forces in Kerala: Dr Shamsul Islam

October 23, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Dr Shamsul IslamNew Delhi, October, 21 2012: Delhi University lecturer in Political Sciences and author of several books, Dr Shamsul Islam is a humble man in real life. He has tirelessly worked on identity politics and is a vocal critic of right wing forces.

M. Reyaz of TCN spoke to the academician on ‘saffronising’ mission of Hindutva forces in Kerala, polarisation of society at large, and prospects for ‘Muslim led parties.’

Dr Islam believes that with ‘With Congress missing and no other secular alternatives’ Hindutva forces have gained ground. He also explains that rising unemployment in the face of flawed ‘neo-liberal’ policies have further helped such organisations in their recruitment drive.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q. In last couple of years we see South India increasingly becoming the new laboratories of right-wing Hindutva politics. Can you elaborate on that?A. RSS kind of philosophy or RSS kind of ideology was always active in those areas. You should not be surprised to learn that Coimbatore is one of the first places where RSS became active amongst North-Indian Hindu entrepreneurs.

Moreover, in South India, Brahmanism as a philosophy suffered immensely, at the hands of the Dalit resurgent. The first resurgence of Dalit politics was in Tamil Nadu that is Justice Party. They felt that their primacy has been challenged and so they became active there.

But now they are getting cadres because of failure of the Congress. With Congress missing and no other secular alternatives, what other options Hindu youth have…no secular alternative.

Then neo-liberal policies, destroying people’s jobs, small enterprises, and increasing unemployment (is another important reason) are giving oxygen.

Then of course, Congress using Hindu vote politics and RSS gets benefit of that (like in North India).

Q. And the question of credibility…But remember, they have always been there, but when do they get credibility, when the alternative politics becomes weak, and Congress as an upholder of those values of secularism and justices ignores (meaning leaves) its way, they become very powerful.

Q. We see signs of Kerala, in particular, seeing spate of rising Hindu extremism, are you afraid that Kerala might end up being another laboratory for ethnic conflict.I think, India has become matured enough after Gujarat (2002), they cannot play those kinds of games, though they will try and they will have many more methods to get legitimacy, like hygiene campaigns by ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad).

So I don’t think they will go for genocide… But that’s not the issue, the issue is that an organisation which calls the national tri-colour a bad omen, an organisation that believes that Indian Constitution created by Ambedkar, Nehru and others should be abrogated and Manusmriti should be propagated as the basis for Constitution…that believes in two-nation theory, is able to go around as a nationalist force.

Q. You say such organisations or tendencies always existed, so why do you think it’s now gaining strength?That’s what I am trying to tell you that these ideas were always there, but were not mainstream ideas, because other forces were there who stood for secularism, they are weakening. Specially surrender by the Congress, it playing into the hands of the Hindu organisations and then to counter-balance Muslim organisations, that is creating very unfortunate situation.

Q. Do you fore see any prospects for RSS in Kerala?RSS saying that they are the representatives of the Hindus in Kerala, I would like to remind what Golwalkar (Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, second Sarsanghchalak of RSS) said about the Keralite Hindus, that they are of low breeds and in order to improve their breed we exported Namoodri Brahmans from north.

In an address at School of Social Sciences of Gujarat University on December 17, 1960 he said: “In an effort to better the human species through cross-breeding the Namoodri Brahmans of the North were settled in Kerala and as a rule it was laid down that the eldest son of Namoodri family could marry only the daughter of Vaishya, Kshatriya or Shudra communities of Kerala. Another still more courageous rule was that the first off-spring of a married woman of any class must be fathered by a Namoodri Brahman and then she could beget children by her husband.”

Q. Well, then why do you still think that the ‘right minded’ people are not highlighting these facts?Maybe because they do not know, they believe that RSS is a cultural organisation. RSS, in reality, is a fascist organisation that believes in two nation theory, like Muslim League.

Q. So would you say that RSS does not have much prospects in Kerala?It may rise, but much depends on the attitude of the state. RSS flourishes with the help of the state. They get state support, they get police support…

Q. But, Kerala also has a sizeable Christian population, so any attempt of saffronising society, would be appear antagonistic to them as well?Yes because of these factors (they have refrained) otherwise they would have converted Kerala, maybe worse than Karnataka or Gujarat long time back.

That is why Hindus, Muslims and Christians need to together fight it. If you attack one another, ultimately Hindutva cause is served.

Q. But it’s not just Hindu politics. Over the years, we also see the polarization of the society, and you also have rise of many so called ‘Muslim’ parties.That will rise because RSS is becoming strong, and that fuels the reaction. In Muslim communities too (like all communities) there has always been trait of fundamentalism, we cannot deny that. But the greatest roadblock to Muslim fundamentalism or Islamic fundamentalism is that state is against that, and they will be immediately branded as ‘terrorists.’

But some of Muslim fundamentalist organisations will be co-opted by Congress or BJP (or such parties). But an independent one, which is working for Muslims – but of course taking Muslim as separate nation or identity – that kind of organisation is immediately branded as terrorist. So it is very difficult for them to survive.

Q. But don’t you think that rather than promoting Hindu or Muslim parties, secular parties –whether Congress or the Left – should be strengthened as rise of so called Muslim parties would consequently lead to polarization of Hindu votes as well?But as I explained, the reaction is in reverse that is ground for breeding that kind of Muslim organisation is ripening because of rise of Hindu extremism.

But we also need to differentiate between parties led by believers of some religion and parties having agenda of some particular religion. For instance, there may be parties led by Muslim or Hindu, who have agenda for both Muslim or Hindus (or all other communities), of justice, equality, etc.

For me, those parties that believe in two nations theory, that is Hindu and Muslims are separate and that all Hindus should be converted to Islam, or all Muslims should leave (India) like RSS are dangerous.

Q. What prospects do you see for new ‘Muslim’ parties, like Welfare Party of India, Popular Front of India, etc.?I think those who survive on only Muslims communities’ ambition and agendas, they cannot survive. But if their agenda is broader enough to include all, I don’t think of them as Muslim fundamental parties and I don’t find anything wrong in that.

Q. But do they hold some prospects in coming elections or can they become voices of the marginalised?See Ambedkar, in his book Pakistan or the partition of India, clearly wrote only those parties will survive, and should survive, who represent the Dalit Hindus and Dalit Muslims, downtrodden Hindus and downtrodden Muslims.

– tcn

Enter Google AdSense Code Here

Comments are closed.