[Reader-list] Of Gods and Demons:Jinns and Sanghs/Jinnah and the Sangh

Rakesh grade at vsnl.com
Wed Jun 22 23:39:27 IST 2005



Rakesh Shukla


Like well executed ballet moves, the Sangh parivar and its members have been adept at the task of taking forward their core Hindutva philosophy. Vajpayee the moderate - Advani the hawk; Advani the moderate- Modi the hawk; Modi the moderate - Togadia the hawk and so on in an endless charade. And of course leading a rath yatra sparking off communal tensions and blood baths along the route culminating in the demolition of Babri Masjid and then discovering that it is the "saddest day" in ones' life is am sure a humbling experience and good for the soul. Ditto the tear or two in Vajpayee's eyes, depending on the audience, re the post-Godhra massacres. All these have effectively served the purpose of lending a wider acceptability to a fringe Nazi-party like ideology with its' nominated Sarsanghachalaks and "virile but celibate" sons of Bharatmata embodied in the Pracharaks.


This time around the Jinnah controversy has set things awry. 'Traitor', 'Exhortations to go back to Pakistan', 'Resolutions asking Advani to take Sanyas from politics' are no part of some well orchestrated choreography. The virulent response provoked in the 'parivar' merits closer examination. Crucial to the agenda of fascist and communal ideologies is the successful demonising and 'othering' of a section, a community, a people.


Nazi propaganda portraying Jews as seducers and rapists of Aryan girls sounds remarkably similar to stories, that Muslims took "our" women and have "violated" at least 100 women in the village, which were used to mobilize mobs of 25-30000 for attacks on the minority community in the Gujarat violence. In Gujarat, long before any killings began, women's bodies were used to successfully polarize the two communities. 


The existence of Babri Masjid built by Babar the Cruel, himself, as a phallic symbol which colonises Mother India and emasculates the virile sons who failed to protect her was forcefully played upon to spread hate and venom during the Ranjanmabhoomi rath yatra. Starting the Yatra from Somnath invoking the plunder of  the temple, which looting and destruction had nothing to do with Indian Muslims and ending it at Babri Masjid was a masterful exercise in invoking past-trauma as if it happened now leading to intensifying of emotions and justifiable anger against "them". The culmination in the demolition of the Masjid restored Hindu male virility and symbolic Hindu feminine purity. 


Goebbels a master of this genre successfully demonised Jews as the cause of all ills from unemployment to polluting racial purity, debauching, sapping the energy, breaking the strength and humiliating mother Germany. In a similar vein white supremacist racist discourse constructs the black male as essentially beast-like and therefore easy to kill without compunction which one may feel in the case of a fellow human being.


The conflation of Muslim rulers like Taimur, Changez Khan, Babar from the past invading 'Mother India' and violating 'pure' Hindu girls and women in the past with contemporary stories of Muslim men abducting, raping and mutilating our 'mothers and sisters' leads to the successful demonising of Muslims into the 'Other'and instigation of violence against them. Infact, Gujarati dailies on 28th February 2002 carried  headlines like "Helpless women struggling to escape the grip of Saitans (Devils)".  Rapes and sexual violence against Muslim girls and women seems to get transformed into an act to save the 'honour' of your own mothers and sisters, simultaneously emasculating the rapacious Muslim males and 'dishonouring' the entire community.


The successful implanting of beliefs which have little basis in facts like 'Hindus are being persecuted in their own country', 'Hindus will soon be in a minority in their own country', 'Muslims have 4 wives and 64 children' require a high degree of demonisation.

of the community. Just as it is necessary for the Sangh to have heroes and honour "the victory over the 800 year old oppressive rule of the Muslims under the virile leadership of Shivaji", it is imperative to have a pantheon of demons. Just as Hindu motherhood is to be glorified, Muslim women are to be projected as baby-producing factories out to make the 'population bomb' or as 'luring' Hindu men into the community through conversions. Integral to demonisation is the denial of any virtue in the persona. 


Unlike Ravana, who could be permitted certain virtues like that of being learned, the process of demonisation requires  a total 'othering' and transformation into a beast-like creature with no human attributes or positive qualities. The connivance of the administration, the chief minister, the prime minister in the 2002 Gujarat massacres and the victory of the BJP in the subsequent assembly elections makes it clear that the fears of a minority of not getting equal treatment and being overrun by the majority community, which played a crucial role in partition and in shaping Jinnah's attitudes, cannot be said to be entirely unfounded. 


Advanis's reference to Jinnah as a 'great man' and as having visualised Pakistan as a secular state hits at and undercuts at the core of the process of the 'othering' of a community whose patriotism is to be always held to be suspect and which at best can enjoy a second-class status in a Hindu nation. Demons like Babar, Changez Khan, Aurangzeb, Behram Khan, Jinnah are crucial to the spewing of venom and prejudice against the 'Enemy Other'. 


Rakesh Shukla

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