RELIGIOUS extremism is never far from religious fundamentalism. For the question that has hardly any explanation today, the distance is practically nil. From religious extremism to the point of communal hatred, there is no distance to traverse. Thoughts of racial pride in its rude and primitive manner play the guiding role behind all the manifestations of religious fundamentalism. Once it is moved into action, it is almost impossible to fathom the ramifications. They become unpredictable. It can lead to ruthless communal violence or widespread diplomatic controversies. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (‘RSS’)-Bharatiya Janta Party (‘BJP’) leadership is trying hard to cover up this role of their ideology that unleashed the ongoing political cyclone in India and abroad.
Stalwarts in the government and the ruling party want to paint it as a little slip of tongue by some “fringe elements” in their party. The reasons for their anxiety to present it in such a manner is known to everybody. The official spokespersons or heads of media cells are becoming fringe elements within just a split second! Disciplinary action taken on them is much speedier than that! Even after this ‘strict and stringent’ action, they continue to justify their condemnable positions!
For argument’s sake, if someone subscribes to their ‘fringe element theory’, certain crucial questions remain: From where did those fringe elements get this courage to make irresponsible and deplorable statements? From where do they gather the voice to do it? How can they mobilize such a massive support base even after the disciplinary action taken against them?
The Parivar social media handlers are celebrating them as heroes of their pride! RSS-BJP cannot wash their hands as simply as that. For argument’s sake, if someone subscribes to their ‘fringe element theory’, certain crucial questions remain: From where did those fringe elements get this courage to make irresponsible and deplorable statements? From where do they gather the voice to do it? How can they mobilize such a massive support base even after the disciplinary action taken against them? The answers to these questions would reveal the reality behind these episodes. They will tell one that Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal are not exceptions, but the rules!
Not ‘fringe elements’, but representative of the core ideology
The Union Government and Indian missions abroad are engaged in an overtime job to come out of the crisis triggered by the “fringe elements” in the BJP. The ruling party might have understood that governance of a great country like India is a much bigger task than their narrow perception. They may be masters in manufacturing slogans like “sabka sath sabka vikas sabka viswas“. But they have thoroughly failed to translate them into practice.
The country is paying heavily internally and externally for those failures. Inside the country, the sufferings of the people are mounted due to the government’s socio-economic policy. Instead of solving this problem, RSS-BJP tried to flare up communal tension in order to divert the people’s attention from the real issues of life. Religious fundamentalism and the politics of hatred are their tools for ‘divide and rule’. Their leaders and cadres are exclusively trained in the school of racial pride for this purpose. The suspended spokespersons are the product of the same school in which the top leadership of the government and the ruling party are moulded. With varied skills and different tones, they all try to implement the action plan of Hindutva, the Indian version of Hitlerite fascism.
Islamophobia has become an essential ingredient to their theory and practice in contemporary times. It finds its expressions from intellectual debates to media rooms, and finally erupts into communal clashes. They are least bothered about the deep injuries they make on the secular foundations of India. To spit communal venom of hatred is quite easy for them. To supplement their game plan of majoritarianism, the Islamic extremism also plays its role in varied measures. From whichever side they come, it is always the people that are made to pay the price. It is not only inside the country, but abroad too that they have to face the ordeals consequent to the statements made by the BJP.
The attempts of the government to have strong ties with the outside world are almost always met with adversities due to the words and deeds of communal fanatic forces. The dividing line between religious faith and religious extremism needs to be strengthened globally. The forces of exploitation are keen everywhere to divide the people and their resistance to corporate loot. In religious extremism, they have found a viable instrument to serve this purpose. Any incident of religious nature is easily flared up to any level with unforeseen casualties. Politics and diplomacy of today have to be vigilant of this reality.
The suspended spokespersons are the product of the same school in which the top leadership of the government and the ruling party are moulded. With varied skills and different tones, they all try to implement the action plan of Hindutva, the Indian version of Hitlerite fascism.
It was two days back that the U.S. agency for religious matters had expressed its displeasure on the vulnerable conditions of minorities in India. Now the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has come out strongly against the statement uttered by the spokesperson of the ruling party in India. Several countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council have summoned heads of Indian missions to register their anguish in the matter. In some countries, calls have been aired for the boycott of Indian goods. With most of these countries, India has long lasting economic, social and political relations. Our trade relations with these countries are vital for India’s economic growth.
At such a crucial moment, no responsible political party can let loose the “fringe elements” in their fold to make irresponsible statements on sensitive issues. But under the BJP rule, it keeps happening at short intervals. The name of the fringe elements may vary, and subjects may be different. But the venom is the same. They emanate from the same source, which is Hindutva ideology of racial pride. That ideology, the other day, prompted the Union Ministry of Culture to engage in studies of racial purity of Indians covering thousands of years. The same ideology led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid, wounding the secular streams that built up the identity of India. That ideology is searching for idols beneath every mosque in the country today. That ideology and its politics of hatred has mired the image of India across the world. It is this very ideology, propagating the myth of racial pride, which the hooligans and the fringe elements are getting drunk with. Can the government think of distancing itself from that ideology of destructive hatred? (IPA Service)