Communalism

Destroying Hinduism from Within

Hindus should stop worrying about Muslims and start worrying about themselves, their children, their youth. They need to worry about the attempts being made to criminalise their minds and hearts

Hindu Yuva Vahini activists at the gate of Bisara Village where Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched by a mob after allegedly having beef, in Dadri on September 28. Credit: PTI Photo by Kamal Singh

Hindu Yuva Vahini activists at the gate of Bisara Village where Mohammed Akhlaq was lynched by a mob after allegedly having beef, in Dadri on September 28. Credit: PTI Photo by Kamal Singh

Hindus need to worry. The Hindus of Dadri, Atali, Trilokpuri, Bawana, Muzaffanagar, Ranchi… the list is getting longer and longer. To make it even more precise, one should probably phrase it like this: Hindus everywhere in the world need to worry, especially after the mass violence in Dadri.

The usual argument against incidents like Dadri is that such violence would give legitimacy to those inciting the Muslim masses to take up terrorism – which would endanger the internal security of India.

In my view, Hindus need not worry about whether this latest instance of violence will fuel anger in Muslim hearts and drive them towards extremism.

When visiting the victims in Atali, who were Muslims, of course, one of us sanctimoniously warned them against yielding to the temptation of terrorism. It sounded obscenely jarring in the deathly silence of that room, crowded by young and old Muslim men, most of whom never raised their heads during the entire conversation.

This is the best argument we seem to have with us, while talking to other Hindus: do not allow such violence for it will invite retribution.

Hindus, in fact, should stop worrying about Muslim terrorism or communalism. It is high time they started worrying about themselves, their children, their youth. They need to worry about the attempts being made to criminalise their minds and hearts. They are being led into a trap from which it would be difficult to rescue them.

Hindus need to think about the pact some of their co-religionists have made with evil. If unchecked, this evil will  enter their hearts and make them complicit in crimes against humanity.

Who did the killing?

What I am saying is very simple to understand. In Dadri, a man was killed. How many Hindus participated in this mass violence? If you believe the villagers, none. So, how was Mohammed Akhlaq killed? The villagers are angry that their children are being arrested as they were not guilty. Who were the killers then?

A few months earlier, there was Atali: Muslim houses were burned, looted. Who did this? The Hindus of the village feign ignorance. They shrug their shoulders.

In incidents prior to Dadri or Atali , for example in Muzaffarnagar, Muslims were killed, Muslim women raped. Who did it? The entire Jat, nay, Hindu community there, led by older women – usually the repositories of traditional Indian compassion – angrily denied the involvement of their youth in the crimes.

In Gujarat in 2002 we heard Hindus telling us it was the Muslims themselves who burned their houses for compensation. The same argument was repeated in Dhule.

Back in 1984: more than 3000 Sikhs were killed in Delhi alone. How many Hindus would it have taken to kill 3000 Sikhs? And how many more to ensure – with their silence, their apathy, their sabotaging of investigations – that those who did the killing were able to get away with the crime?

The list of crimes against Muslims, Sikhs and other minorities gets longer and longer. What does it really mean? That we have murderers, rapists, looters among ourselves, who have become husbands, fathers, teachers, doctors, even our leaders.

It is this mass criminalisation that should worry Hindus. They are clasping the hands of evil and it is devouring them.

Sadhvi Prachi in Bisara village where Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched by a mob for allegedly having beef, in Dadri on Wednesday. Credit: PTI Photo by Kamal Sing(

The Hindu preacher Sadhvi Prachi, known for her anti-Muslim invective, in Bisara village where Mohammed Akhlaq was lynched by a mob for allegedly having beef, in Dadri on Wednesday. Credit: PTI Photo by Kamal Sing(

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has been successful in its campaign: it is not only making the common Hindu masses complicit in the crimes planned by its affiliates but by giving them a false sense of agency, it is seeking to criminalise them completely.

Godse’s act of killing of Gandhi alienated the RSS from the masses. Over the years, it changed its way of functioning. By involving Hindu masses in pogroms, it forced them to become party to the crime. And all actions need not be on a large scale.

The seriality of violence

Jairus Banaji has explained it well: Indian communal organisations are different from the European fascists they once admired. In India, violence against minorities has adopted a kind of seriality. The genocidal tendency is kept alive through regular attacks on Muslims and other minorities. So, even when there are one or two deaths, as in the case of the burning of Graham Staines and his sons or the killing of Mohammad Akhlaq, they are expressions of this genocidal impulse. The larger Hindu masses, not present on the scene, are encouraged by the sangh parivar’s propaganda to participate in these crimes by legitimising them or minimising their gravity.

In Europe, centuries of anti-semitism created ghettos to which the Jews were confined. In India, many Hindus do not accept Muslims as their neighbours. As a friend says, when Muslims from other parts of India come to Delhi, it is not Delhi which welcomes them but Okhla, where Muslims are in a majority, which gives them shelter.

Hindus are gradually turning into a community which believes in its superiority over other religious communities. An intellectual cover has also been provided to this process by claiming that since Hinduism is not a religion flowing from a central text, it is more open and catholic than Semitic religions. The so called naturalness of Hinduism makes it impossible to be introspective.

The caste question has been dealt with in a very opportunistic manner. It was not surprising when dalit leaders refused to speak to their constituents when they were attacking Muslims. For empowerment in parliamentary politics, the dalit tag is useful. But the same section easily turns into ‘Hindus’ once Muslims or Christians are presented to them as adversaries.

Through this process of making new Hindus and by inuring the Hindu masses to genocidal violence, the RSS has made them vulnerable to the politics of hate.

There is no Gandhi now to challenge them or arouse their ethical sense. Even secular parties have become scared of Hindus. No one is talking to them. We do not have a leader or an institution to warn the Hindus of the evil that will eat them from within once it enters their bodies.

A community which only demands from others and never thinks about penance – with no sense of remorse for what has been done to others, which is in a permanent state of denial – is in danger of losing its soul.

Rather than worrying about radicalisation of Muslim youth and religious conversions, this is what Hindus need to worry about – saving their humanity, before it is too late.

Apoorvanand teaches at Delhi University

  • Zaki Ghulam

    Powerful points, deeply thoughtful. Criminals are seeking to hijack Hinduism, just as had been done in the case of Islam by the “jihadists”…For all conscientious “believers” -in all of our religions, including Hinduism and Islam- the ‘soul’ of their faith is at stake now.

    • Ridiculous Article

      Truly put. Agree with your points.

  • Kiran Krishna

    everthing you said in this article fits more for muslims. The countless terror attacks all over the world proves that.

    • kautilya_in

      I imagine the reaction if the recent Jhabua blasts that killed 100 were caused by a Muslim.

    • http://www.bhagwad.com/blog/ Bhagwad Jal Park

      This article is specific to India. Forget about the rest of the world.

    • Captain Sundrum

      Kiranji, this article is about you, it is written for you. By your comment you have demonstrated why such an article had to be written in the first place.

  • inderjeet

    ohh.. it has become now routine affair during the regime of BJP led government. Last time, when AB Vajpayee was in rule, right wing people set a christian priest, Staines, along with his children, on fire somewhere in Orissa. although, dara singh was awarded life imprisonment, RSS and other related orgs attempted to give it a colour of mistaken attack carried by Singh.

  • blackhawk

    // Hindus are gradually turning into a community which believes in its superiority over other religious communities.

    thought-provoking.

    just curious … did such a thing ever happen in our past? in a different form?

  • venky123

    U know what ur article the message will never change the opinion of so called Hindus u are wanting them to change!
    When u accuse only one party when both Hindus and Muslims are equally guilty u are seen as anti-Hindu..so hence ur articles will be reinforcing only those ppl who actually share ur views!
    It doesn’t make a job of ‘eduxating the uneducated’ purely because of bias !

  • Anil Maheshwari

    Hinduism is a way of life not a religion. Hinduism is rather a societal structure with vastly differing philosophies. It is not a religion of books like Abrahamic religions. It is one of the oldest religions in the world while the recent religions – one about 1400 years old and another about 2000 years old are fundamentalists in their approaches. About 300 Hindus were killed in the infamous Gujarat riots in 2002 when the state ashamedly remained a passive spectator. And these Hindus were killed by policemen. But the liberals, deprived of the state’s patronage in the present regime, would not mention this fact as they are out to prop up the ogre of the Hindu communalism just to keep the Muslims hostage of fear. Any incident of violence is condemnable. But Dadri, Muzaffarnagar and Atali merely are among the ugly incidents, happening in this country for centuries but the orchastrated outcry is the result of pathological and daibolic hatred for Modi. Even the persons with dubious past such as Sudhindra Kulkarni and LK Advani find supporters among the left/liberal. The liberals perhaps fail to realise that their systematic campaign is becoming counterproductive and the apprehension lurks large that the Hindu Communalism (the communalism of the majority) community may raise its ugly head on the pattern of 1984 when Hindus voted en masse for the Congress as revenge to the gruesome murder of Mrs. Indira Gandhi. Despite their best efforts, the RSS and the Sangh Parivar never succeeded in stocking the bug of communalism to such an alarming extent that the fissures in the social fabric are further broadened.

    • yousuf

      that’s what wrong history you are getting from RSS patrika shame on you, go and read your religious books that will make you a better human being.

    • TARIQ DURRANI

      Very right . . . Society as a whole has to integrate.

  • kautilya_in

    Well intentioned article, but as we know “Vinashkale viprit buddhi”. Almost nobody is going to pay heed to the impending dangers.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Ryan_(BioShock) Charlatan Hunter

    Stop worrying about your religion. Focus on education, poverty eradication, health and other issues. If Hindus live a better life as Hindus, it will inspire others to be like them. Violent bigoted behaviour will do no good to them or their reputation.

    • anandashtekar

      They are more worried about their religion than the humanity. Hindus in general claim their religion is the path leading to spiritual experience achieving mukti. How that is achieved by mass violence?

  • sujayrao2012@gmail.com

    Please read my papers to find out what Hindutva is all about
    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sujay_Rao_Mandavilli/contributions
    Sujay Rao Mandavilli

  • Dr. M.A. Haque

    Prof Apoorvanand has raised a crucial point. But I doubt that it will make any impact.

    • asfar

      they think they are powerful and police are with them so they don’t worry about any sane advice

  • user33234

    I completely agree with you bro – this selective outrage and highlighting of the media is making many Hindus to take note of the situation and are turning more to right wing.

  • Ashok Singh

    There are a large section of the extreme right wing organizations who mistakenly call themselves “Hindu” organizations thus claiming the right to speak for Hindus. This is ridiculous. There are many among them who would do what Hitler did with the Jews. First start persecuting them with violence, murder and theft and then wholesale extermination if they still insisted on staying on. Please note that many stayed on in India because of choice and many because they had no choice. It is upto the majority to create conditions that are socially and economically amenable to prosperity for all. This does not mean reservation but making education and health available to all. Unfortunately, the current Govt which started on a great note of Development now appears to have a whole series of insidious agenda which will tear apart the fabric of the country. If those who think this is the right thing to do believe that the country will prosper they only have to read history to see that persecuting minorities only leads to lack of law and order as more and more people get criminalised. With so many different religions and philosophies we cannot prosper as a ‘Hindu’ state. I also smell the extremism in so many of the comments given here. Let the vocal minority (so called spokespersons) not outshout the majority. Let us not create a Great Leap Backward as Mao Tse Tung mistakenly did and created the conditions to kill 45 million Chinese – intelligentsia.

  • Dr. M.A. Haque

    I am surprised. Do you mean that few poor Muslim families living between hundreds of Hindu families, which are also prosperous and politically powerful, could have started the trouble to be attacked by the mob?

  • Rajkumar Mutnal Bangalore

    Hello prove the complicity of Graham Staines’ associates in the murder of Swami Lakshmananda?

  • Rajkumar Mutnal Bangalore

    Hello Kapil, prove the complicity of Graham Staines’ associates in the murder of Swami Lakshmananda?

  • Sandeep Godkhindi

    I would agree with the author on all the points he has made but he has made one point that I will not agree with but oppose it. It is about the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots. It was not the handy-work of RSS or any Hindutva groups but that of Congress Party cadres who went on a rampage.

    • Captain Sundrum

      But is the author saying 1984 riots were the handiwork of the RSS? He is not, is he? But he is asking who the killers were if not ‘Hindus’ and whether ordinary Hindus at the time believed those killers did something dastardly and needed to be arrested and punished. Sadly, they didn’t. That is why as Hindus we should worry about our own moral compass and not that of Muslims and Christians and Sikhs

      • Sandeep Godkhindi

        He is not saying it but by talking about that incident and two para later showing picture of Sadhvi Prachi and then starting the paragraph with “The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has been successful in its campaign…” there is not much left to say or deny.

        Sikh were butchered in 1984 an someone was responsible but not only Hindu’s. it was the Congress party cadre plus hired goons. So lumping it on too the RSS is not fair. They may have committed many crimes but not this one and you can prosecute them for the crimes they have committed.

  • Captain Sundrum

    Amrik – You are the reason this article has been written. Oh, the irony!

  • Captain Sundrum

    Kapil, if 1984 was not a Hindu-Sikh issue, why did the Congress win the votes of Hindus in Delhi and North India after organising the horrid pogrom of Sikhs? In fact, even RSS was silent about killing of Sikhs and they also demonized ordinary Sikhs in Punjab because of Khalistan movement.

    • Sandeep Godkhindi

      Congress won because of a Sympathy wave. You are right even RSS was silent about killing Sikh but it was not the one who launched the pogrom. I was a witness, (a 11th standard student) the mob that came about were not all Hindu’s. Remember Rajiv Gandhi’s famous words “when a large tree falls small plants are bound to be destroyed”!

      A similar episode was averted by President Venkatraman when he advised the government to get the Army out in major cities after Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by Sri-Lankan Tamil militants. President Venkatraman feared the same pogrom could be carried out against the Tamils in Delhi and in that case all South Indians (the proverbial Madrasi) would face the brunt.

      • swamirajah

        There are some other “secular misdeeds” which if posted will never get reported. It is a vibrant democracy with a difference.

  • Captain Sundrum

    And Kapil, the whole world knows Swami Lakhmananda was murdered by Maoist terrorists and not by Christian preachers.

    • Kapil Kant Kaul

      Who funded and armed the Maoists? What exactly was their problem with the swami ?

  • i too got same message

    no community should get violent or fundamental but seeing the current politics which ahs been shaped by people like you and the nasty politicians and the poisonous media that each one of the groups think their definition of SECULAR and Equality is right and the other is wrong… communialism needs to be addressed by way of dialogue but he whole language is disturbing and nasty. RSS doesnot represent hindus as a community. it is just a group of nasty people clubbed together, its just like neo-wahabis today are denouncing ISIS. so make your understanding first clear about it. every group has different voices and RSS or VHP is not the voice of all Hindus. majority doesnot even support it except for the politicians and the unemployed youth and oldies. this new buzzword of HIndu terrorism is just a sponsored project of some groups. had it been the case hindus would have done same as christians and muslims in different parts of the world had done. so my request to intellectual community is to write fair and responsible rather than adding oil to the broadening communal divide.

  • akhan

    You are missing the whole point Prof. Apoorvanand is making… Stop worrying about Muslims, think about the soul of Hinduism tainted by the mass murderers thriving in its sanctuary. For a moment, let Muslims deal with their issues, as a Hindu contemplate where Hinduism is going

    • Piyush

      legitimizing selectivity and hypocrisy. that’s his point

  • Sithanthi Alfred

    Haha How many BJP leaders harp on Godhra?The answer is ‘none’ or hardly and WHY?The masterminds of Godhra are todays leaders in BJP.

  • forsanity

    Hindus who feel offended when a mirror is shown to us need to remember one thing. The reason groups like ISIS came about and continues to thrive is because the well-intentioned Muslims did not do anything about it when they started raising their propaganda. Let us Hindus not fall into the same trap. Think of it as that is where we should show our superiority if you think Hinduism is better than other religions. Learn from what is going on elsewhere and stamp this communalism and radicalism before it engulfs all of us. That is what this article is trying to say. If we just sit around mocking others for their stupidity, we will continue to remain stupid. Better wake up!

  • Ruru

    If you let the dog loose it will bite… That’s what Organized Religion is… They were just waiting for a chance…

    Now I understand… The complete disappearance of the Religion of Buddha from the Land of it’s birth is one of the greatest puzzles of history….Disappearance of Buddhism from a Country once it was the Primary Religion in a Short span of Time..

  • Absolute Zero

    Prof. Apoorvanand.. Agreed that we should watch ourselves from implosion.
    Also agreed that we should concentrate more on spiritual development than on
    ritualistic slavery, in the true spirit that is our way of life. We also
    understand that life is sacrosanct and that we all are a part of the same
    supreme energy and that ours is not the only way to attain moksha. In our
    humble opinion, this inherently ‘secular’ and ‘plural’ thought process defines what
    we are. We do not know of any other way-of-life that affords this freedom of thought.
    Therefore, in all humility, there is a greater need to protect this ‘thought
    process’, this advanced manifestation of ‘free mind’. In plain and simple
    words, if you want pluralism in India, then Hinduism has to remain its ‘way-of-life’.
    It is time the preachers and practitioners of other ‘mine-is- the-only-way-of-life’
    realized this truth too. You say Hinduism is in danger of losing its soul? Wrong..
    it is India who is in danger of losing its soul; because, India is turning its
    back on Hinduism. Do contemplate before you reject this thought.

  • swamirajah

    A challenge to this writer. Let him take up a case study, visit the town in Vellore District, Tamilnadu and report the truth in detail about the violences happened some three to four months back where a mob of nearly thousand participated in the arson over a “love affair”.Will he highlight the plight of the victims and the policemen and policewomen affected and who never received any sympathy from any political parties except the BJP leaders of that and whose national leaders also remain silent along with this writer.

  • swamirajah

    It is free advice to selected groups as usual. The absence of any mention about the killing of a youth took place in Karnataka some two weeks back is missing.

  • hoverOver

    Once again, the article is about how Hinduism is getting destroyed from the inside, why drag Muslims into it? Hard to understand for your thick skull, huh!
    Unless, in your opinion Hinduism today cannot exist in isolation and needs the “other enemy” to survive.
    I disagree with you 100%, but you are entitled to your opinion. I’ll just wait outside the door, while you settle the argument in your home.

  • Piyush

    “The “Whataboutism” does not help”
    whether it helps or not, it is fair in this case. Hindu pakistan is your wild imagination disassociated with reality.

  • Piyush

    he said associates of graham staines.At least , read the comment before replying