Imran Khan: Delusion or stupidity?

September 1, 2019

Rohit Dhankar

New York Times published an article supposed to be written by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on 30th August 2019, with a long title “Imran Khan: The World Can’t Ignore Kashmir. We Are All in Danger”. The title says all that Mr. Khan wanted to say in the article. I have a few comments to make on this article.

First, Mr. Khan should hire better ghost writers. His current ghost writers do not do their homework properly. They rely on Indian liberals too much for their quotes and analysis and it is too transparent. This is not to blame Indian liberals; they live in a democracy and have all the right to criticise functioning of their political parties and the government; even the state and the nation. But their criticism is well known by now and all India and the world know the merits and demerits of their stand by now. So, by aping them Mr. Khan sounds stale and second hand.

Second, Mr. Khan’s argument that the new India is dangerous to the world is based on Modi being an RSS swayam-sevak in the past, and quotations from writings of Golwalkar. Before coming to Golwalkar’s actual quote we should not that the Indian state and government are not run according to Golwalkar’s books but by the Constitution of India which gives equal rights to all its citizens irrespective of their gender, caste, religion and creed. As Prime Minister of India Mr. Modi has sworn to uphold that constitution and has said more than once that the only book we have to run the country is our constitution. Therefore, what Golwalkar might have written does not define India. Let’s see what Mr. Modi (as Prime Minister of India, I am saying nothing about him as an individual here) has sworn to. The oath of the Prime Minister of India is:

“I, A.B., do swear in the name of God (or solemnly affirm) that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, that I will faithfully and conscientiously discharge my duties as a Minister for the Union and that I will do right to all manner of people in accordance with the Constitution and the law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.” The allegiance here is solely to the constitution of India which is created and adopted by Indians democratically. An atheist can become PM of India and in taking oath need not mention God. The way the God is mentioned it is for the personal commitment of the oath taker, could be the God of any religion, and even that is not necessary.

Compare what Mr. Khan as the Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan has sworn to:

“(In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.)

I,____________, do solemnly swear that I am a Muslim and believe in the Unity and Oneness of Almighty Allah, the Books of Allah, the Holy Quran being the last of them, the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the last of the Prophets and that there can be no Prophet after him, the Day of Judgement, and all the requirements and teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah.

… …

That I will strive to preserve the Islamic Ideology which is the basis for the creation of Pakistan:

… …”.

Mr. Khan who wants to pass on his Islamic country as a democracy is sworn in the name of Allah, Prophet and Quran. No theocratic state can ever be a democracy, neither can it ever grant freedom of expression and equal rights to all its citizens. This oath can be taken only by a Muslim and upholding Islam is the primary duty here, not equal rights of all citigens.

 The preamble of Constitution of Pakistan makes it amply clear. Have a look:

  1. “Whereas sovereignty over the entire Universe belongs to Almighty Allah alone, and the authority to be exercised by the people of Pakistan within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust; …” Sovereignty is of Allah, thus his will shall be flowed. And that is expressed through the last Prophet Mohammad in Quran and Hadith.
  2. “Wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam, shall be fully observed;” Principles of democracy freedom etc. will be as per Islam, therefore, you cannot express doubt that that extremely reputative book called Quran which threatens humans almost in every line is given by merciful Allah. You can not say that the idea of God is a creation of human mind and no such thing actually exists. This would be blaspheme, and you will get capital punishment.
  3. “Wherein the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah;”
  4. “Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities freely to profess and practise their religions and develop their cultures; … …”. This freedom of the minorities will be within the Islamic low. Meaning Ahamadias can not call their place of worship a Mosque. Minorities can be converted to Islam but a Muslim can not be converted to any other religion. The minority girls can be kidnapped and can be forcibly converted. Muslims can say that their religion is the only true religion and all other religions are false, and their followers will go to hell. But a Christian or a Hindu has no such right, s/he will be hanged for blaspheme.
  5. “Wherein shall be guaranteed fundamental rights, including equality of status, of opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality;” Subject to law and the Law is Islamic. Therefore, a woman gets only half the property compared to her brother as share in his father’s property. She can be divorced by her husband but she herself has no such right. This is equality as per Islam.
  6. “Wherein adequate provision shall be made to safeguard the legitimate interests of minorities and backward and depressed classes; … …”. Legitimacy will be decided by Islam law, which we have hinted at above.
  7. “Conscious of our responsibility before Almighty Allah and men; … …”
  8. “Faithful to the declaration made by the Founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, that Pakistan would be a democratic State based on Islamic principles of social justice; … …”. ‘Democratic state’ based on Islam? Can democracy be based on any theology?

This man whose nation itself is founded on discriminatory ideology and on Islamic supremacy has the temerity of lamenting in front of the world about some bigoted Hindus who want India to become a Hindu Rashtra, and are rejected by majority of Hindus themselves? We, Indians have the strength to defeat them and can be genuinely concerned about it. But what moral ground the Prime Minister of a Muslim Supremacist country has to cry foul on this? Isn’t he making a joke of himself?

He laments that India blames his bigoted Islamic country for terror and trying to get them black listed by intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force. But why shouldn’t India do that when terrorists are continuously being funded by his country and according to his own admission there are 40,000 terrorists roaming freely in his beloved Islamic country?

He shows concern for the Kashmiris but forgets that it is his Islamist country’s doctrine to use terror against India in Kashmir and putting Kashmiris at risk. The restrictions in Kashmir today are actually to save peaceful Kashmiri’s from Islamists, who want to create an Islamic state in Kashmir.

He is telling the world that India has said that no-first use nuclear doctrine may be revised if need be. But he is the one who first threatened India by painting a scenario of nuclear war in his own parliament. No responsible person has threatened nuclear war in India, but half a dozen of his ministers have threatened India of nuclear war.

Finally, let’s come to Golwalkar’s quote. “To keep up the purity of the nation and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of Semitic races – the Jews. National pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.” The quote says “National pride”, Golwalkar as per the copy of the book I have says “Race pride”. But that is a minor, perhaps, inadvertent mistake; also, I am not sure as some other addition may have said “national pride”.

I said above that Mr. Khan should change his ghost writers. This exact quote is used by Mr. Sitaram Yechuri in Rajya Sabha and published in the Hindu ( And I am not blaming Yechuri here, like some misguided people blame Rahul Gandhi for giving ammunition to Pakistan. We have our own free debates and if Pakistan can do nothing better than aping us, that is their problem. WE can not curb our freedom of debate and expression simply because Pakistan will quote us.

However, Mr. Golwalkar is not exactly preaching ‘purging’ India of Muslims in this quote in spite of the last phrase “a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by”. He is trying to buttress his definition of “Nation” taking examples of UK, Germany, Russia and Czechoslovakia. Though his views on the nation are completely bigoted, do not define Indian nation (which is basically a constitutional nation, granting equality to all) and are not in consonance with Hindu history and thinking. Golwalkar says “Those only are nationalist patriots, who, with the aspiration to glorify the Hindu race and Nation next to their heart, are prompted into activity and strive to achieve that goal. All others are either traitors and enemies to the National cause, or, to take a charitable view, idiots.” By this definition I am an enemy or an idiot, how ever I do consider myself a patriot and even a nationalist in a non-aggressive manner. India does not accept Golwalkar’s views.

Golwalkar’s views on how Muslims and others should live in India though grants them freedom of their religion but certainly declares them second class citizens. “From this standpoint, sanctioned by the experience of shrewd old nations [he counts UK, Germany, France, etc. in them], the foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e., of the Hindu nation and must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment -not even citizen’s rights.” Notice how similar it sounds to Constitution of Pakistan, where everything is governed by Quran and Hadith. We reject Golwalkar and Modi rules under secular Indian constitution; however, Mr. Khan’s Islamic nation follows Golwalkar to the dot, if you replace “Hinduism” with “Islam”. So, Mr. Khan, if honest can have absolutely no problems with Golwalkar.

If Mr. Khan wants further proof of similar thinking in founding ideologists of Pakistan he should look at the writings of many Muslim league leaders and speeches of Zinnah himself. I will say content by quoting the only one ideological founder here. Sir Syed Ahamad Khan, as highly respected by Mr. Khan as Golwalkar by Mr. Modi, says: “Now, suppose that all the English and the whole English army were to leave India, taking with them all their cannon and their splendid Weapons and everything, then who would be the rulers of India? Is it possible that under these circumstances two nations – the Mohammedans and the Hindus – could sit on the same throne and remain equal in

power? Most certainly not. It is necessary that one of them should conquer the other and thrust it down. To hope that both could remain equal is to desire the impossible and the inconceivable.” This is the two-nation theory that created Pakistan. He further says: “Can you tell me of any case in the world’s history in which any foreign nation after conquering another and establishing its empire over it has given representative government to the conquered people? Such a thing has never taken place. It is necessary for those who have conquered us to maintain their Empire on a strong basis … The English have conquered India and all of us along with it. And just as we [the Muslims] made the country [India] obedient and our slave, so the English have done with us.” Conquering and making obedient slave is even justified here.

India rejected this ideology, be that from Sir Syed or from Golwalkar; and that rejection happened right after the partition fuelled by the same ideology. That speaks volumes of sanity and democratic commitment of Indians.  Pakistan, on the other hand, is created precisely on this ideology and its present-day constitution accepts it.

One wonders whether Mr. Khan’s lamentation should be seen as delusional or stupid?


As a tail piece, just as a little curiocity, some thing interesting for leftists in Golwalkar, which they themselves will hardly quote. Golwalkar argues that the concept of national necessarily has 5 common factors: geography, race, culture, religion and language. While discussing Russia (USSR of those days) he comes up with something interesting regarding religion, worth quoting in full here. “In Russia now we have the new religion known as Socialism-and the new culture, that of the workers, evolved out of their materialistic religion. Readers, we think, will not disagree with us regarding the culture—the materialistic culture of Russia; they may, however, feel surprised at our statement that Socialism is modern Russia’s religion. But there is nothing to be surprised at. To most, religion means a set of opinions to be dogmatically followed, for the good of the individual and of the society and for the attainment of God. Here we have a religion which does not believe in God. It is a Godless religion but a religion none the less. For the Russians, their prophet is Karl Marx and his opinions are their Testament. Even in other parts of the world there have been Godless religions in the past. The Russian religion is the modern form of those ancient ones. The socialists are veritably the descendants of Virochana and Charwak.” In this Golwalkar is not alone. The last chapter in R.C. Zaehner edited ‘Concise Encyclopaedia of Living Faiths’ is Material Dialecticism.

One wonders whether this explains why USSR, China and other leftists stated thought it necessary to kill all who disagreed with them? Whether this explains why leftists do not allow others freedom of expression when they are in power?


BJP’s communal agenda: a quick examination

May 25, 2014

Rohit Dhankar

From the manifesto:

Ram Mandir

BJP in its manifesto (page 41) declares “BJP reiterates its stand to explore all possibilities within the framework of the constitution to facilitate the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.” (Emphasis added)

This is a pledge for “exploring” possibilities and “within the constitutional framework”, and not a commitment. And still it is communal in nature and goes against secularism. The issue is that the state has got nothing to do with the construction of temples or mosques. A political party when mentions this in its election manifesto is trying to garner votes in the name of religion and a government when tries to explore possibilities for construction of a temple is favouring a particular religion.

This is a divisive issue in Indian politics, BJP has used it before and still keeps using it.

Ram Setu

On the same page BJP declares “Ram Setu is a part of our cultural heritage and also of strategic importance due to its vast thorium deposits. These facts will be taken into consideration while taking any decision on ‘Sethu-Samudram Channel’ project.” (Emphasis added)

There is no evidence of what is called Ram Setu being a creation of humans. All evidence shows it is a natural formation. The connection with Rama and his Lanka Vijay is purely mythological, as most probably Ram himself is. Again, this is a communal agenda in favour of one religion (Hinduism). Arguments in connection with Ram Mandir apply here as well.


The BJP says “River Ganga is a symbol of faith in India, and has a special place in the Indian psyche. It is Mukti dayini. …Pure water of the Ganga are thus essential for the spiritual as well as physical wellbeing of India.”

Cleaning Ganga is a laudable project. No one can fight with that. But it is laudable for economic and environmental reason. Connecting it with faith, mukti and spirituality in a manifesto is a communal move. The way Modi has talked of Ganga mata in the campaign and has participated in the Ganga Aarti after electoral victory certainly is a communal move to send signals to a certain section of Hindu community.

Cow and its Progeny

The manifesto declares that “Necessary legal framework will be created to protect and promote cow and its progeny.” All reasons given in the manifesto are economic. But the history of BJP and its handling of cow protection makes it plain that it is the “holy cow” that is being protected, not the useful animal that is important in the agricultural activities, for its milk, for its hide and for its meat. It is a not-so-cleverly disguised communal agenda.

Uniform Civil Code

BJP’s declared stand: “Article 44 of the constitution of India lists Uniform Civil Code as one of the Directive Principles of state policy. BJP believes that there cannot be gender equality till such time India adopts a Uniform Civil Code, which protects the rights of all women, and the BJP reiterates its stand to draft a Uniform Civil Code, drawing upon the best traditions and harmonizing them with the modern times.”

This is often attacked by liberals and so-called secularists and seen as something against Muslims. It seems to me that it is a good step and there is nothing communal about it. Having the same code for all citizens of a country is a laudable aim.

Civil codes of communities and religions which go against the rights of a democratic citizen will have to give way. Democracy is not a federation of religions; it is premised on the autonomy of individual in her personal life and setting one’s own life goals. Taking this right away from citizens in the name of religion or communitarian ethics abandons the very principle on with democracy rests.

Article 370

BJP’s stand on article 370 is seen as a communal move against Kashmiri Muslims. What BJP says is “BJP reiterates its stand on the Article 370, and will discuss this with all stakeholders and remains committed to the abrogation of this article.”

This is a complex affair. What exactly are the provisions of the said article is a matter of some exploration for me. The article refers back to other articles and without a study of all the references what exact impact it has on the state and its relationship with the rest of the country if not clear; that is: to me, as it is now.

However, it is clear from reading of the article 370 itself that it (i) gives a special status to J & K; (ii) it is considered temporary; (iii) can be abrogated though a specified constitutional process. Regarding the abrogation the article itself states: “(3) Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this article, the President may, by public notification, declare that this article shall cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications and from such date as he may specify: Provided that the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly of the State referred to in clause (2) shall be necessary before the President issues such a notification.”

So where is the problem if BJP is trying to discuss with all stake holders and attempting to abrogate the article? Why should it be considered objectionable and communal in a democracy? In my view BJP is on the right track on this issue.

Natural home for persecuted Hindus from other countries

The manifesto states “India shall remain a natural home for persecuted Hindus and they shall be welcome to seek refuge here.”

As it stand it clearly privileges Hindus and that is not secular, is clearly communal in this sense.

Pranav Goswami asked Modi in one of his interviews why only “persecuted Hindus” not persecuted Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims? Modi obfuscated on the question and said that his party uses the term “Hindu” as the Supreme Court defined it, ‘a way of life, and not as a religion’. Thus, according to him all ‘Indian origin” people who went or were taken to other countries and are being persecuted there now can come back and India will remain their natural home. If BJP modifies it in this sense, it ceases to privileged Hindus and becomes a secular principle of Indian state.

Then Modi further clarified that it does not apply to Muslims from Pakistan and Bangladesh; however, Hindus from these two countries are welcome. He did not clarify if Christians, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists from these counties can also find India their natural home if they are persecuted? If BJP accepts this position then I believe it could be justified. Pakistan was created in the name of Islam and Muslims who remained there at the time of partition or went there at that time consciously forfeited their Indian citizenship and their claim to it. I see no reason to extend this privilege to them now. He also said that at the time of partitions there were 31% Hindus in Bangladesh, but now there are about 7%; this indicated persecution. If his data are correct (I am not sure of that) and there is no other explanation, it points to persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh. Persecution of Hindus, Sikhs and Christians in Pakistan is no secret.

Therefore, BJP’s stand that (i) it will welcome all Indian origin people (replace “Hindu” in current version with “Indian origin”) if they are persecuted in their countries and seek asylum, (ii) they will welcome all Indian origin people but Muslims from Pakistan and Bangladesh, if they are persecuted. This makes sense to me. Point two above is considered very controversial and Indian intellectuals consider it non-secular and communal; I personally believe they are wrong and do not have good arguments to support their opinion.

But as the pledge in the manifesto stands today it is only for Hindus and therefore is not secular and is communal in nature.

From Modi’s campaign and speeches and acts

Bangladeshi’s will have to go

Modi declared in Assam and Bengal that Bangladeshi ‘infiltrators’ have to go back.

The Hindu on 9th May 14 published a condemnation of these remarks sent by SEHMAT and sighed by the who’s-who of Indian intelligentsia. They state “We the undersigned, are deeply disturbed by the reported remarks of the Prime Ministerial candidate of the NDA at an election rally in West Bengal that “infiltrators” from Bangladesh, belonging to a particular religious community, must be sent back. Apart from the sheer inhumanity of the remark, we fear that in a country in which every citizen does not possess documentary proof of citizenship, such a move would simply cause a general victimization of persons belonging to that particular religious community.”

Their reasons for condemnation seem to be three: (i) it is inhuman to send back people coming from other countries to seek livelihood, (ii) every Indian citizen does not possess proper identification papers and therefore such move will victimize Muslims, and (iii) that Indians are seeking to stay in various countries and we oppose political and other formations in those countries who want to send illegal immigrates back to India.

I find it very difficult to accept the argument that anyone seeking livelihood can enter a country of his/her choice without papers and illegally; and gains the right to live in that country by sheer force of his/her illegal entry. If it would not have come from such august body of intellectuals I would have called it plain silly. But authority itself is no argument and I know no justification for such a stand. If I accept this then I have to accept that Indians who enter other countries illegally have no right to stay there and the people of those counties are right when they want to send them back. We must accept this.

That leaves us with the point (ii) in the paragraph above. That every Indian citizen does not possess proper identification papers and therefore such move will victimise Muslims. This is difficult to deny given the present political and social climate of the country. But we must note two things; (1) this is a practical difficulty in implementation of the move and not an objection directly based on any ethical principle, and (2) acceptance of this practical problem as ‘unsolvable’ puts India in a very vulnerable position. This acceptance means that Muslims from Bangladesh can keep on coming in India and they will just remain here, as it is difficult to identify them. I wonder how the intellectuals can be so insensitive to the majority worry that this stand has changed demography of many border regions of the country. The suspicion of the majority community that some (not all) Muslims and some politicians make this identification difficult and arrange documents like ration cards etc. for some Bangladeshis can hardly be called unfounded. This is actually happening, and by denying such things intellectuals and opinion makers simply push people towards BJP mind-set.

Therefore, acceptance of the problem as unsolvable cannot be a permanent solution. We must find fool-proof methods of identifying infiltrator Bangladeshis and should not make the difficulty in identifying them a plea for letting them live in India. The so-called secular intellectuals are plain wrong here and lose their credibility by taking such positions.

Vishwanath darshan and Ganga Aarati after electoral victory

I have argued in one of my initial blog posts that an individual can be a deeply religious person and can discharge his duties as a judge, politician, bureaucrat or police officer without prejudice, upholding the state policy of secularism. So Modi if goes to thank Vishwanath or offer aarati to Ganga as an individual, it should be no concern of a citizen.

But Modi did not go there an individual. He went there as a Prime Ministerial candidate of a political formation and the political formation supported his visit by making arrangements and so on. If a Prime Minister of a country uses party or state resources and his visibility as a political leader to emphases rituals of any particular religion it is difficult to pass that act as his personal matter and having nothing to do with the secular nature of the state. In this sense Modi did not behave as a secular leader and is unlikely to do so in future.

The religious bias in BJP as per this analysis is clear; and as citizens we have to be vigilant about how it plays out in future. One hopes that the pressure of active citizenship will force BJP and Modi to shun these biases. But that could happen only if the intelligentsia and opinion makers themselves shed their biases against some and in favour of some other religious communities; so far their record has been really bad. Actually, hardly better than BJP but in the opposite direction. Hope they will see the light now as the BJP victory is at the least partly a result of their biased analysis.


‘मोदी और हिटलर’ या ‘मोदी और इंदिरा गांधी’?

April 27, 2014

रोहित धनकर

मोदी देश के लिये शुभ नहीं है. उसके प्रधान मंत्री बनने से बहुत नुकशान होने वाला है. इस से बहुत लोग सहमत हैं. और यह आशंका मुझे सही लागती है. पर वे नुकशान किस किस्म के होंगे और किस हद तक होंगे इस पर बहुत स्पष्टता नहीं है.

यह तो तय है कि मोदी के आने से भारत को हिन्दु राष्ट्र के रूप मेन देखने वालों को बल मिलेगा. वे ज्यादतियां करने कि कोशिश करेंगे. मुसलामानों में असुरक्षा कि भवना बढेगी और उस से मुस्लिम कट्टरवाद को बढ़ावा मिलेगा. तो एक तरफ़ हिन्दु कट्टरवाद और दूसरी तरफ़ मुस्लिम कट्टरवाद दोनो बढ़ेंगे. पर क्या यह इस हद तक जाएगा कि देश में बहुत दंगे होने लगें? दोनों तरह का आतंकवाद बढने लगे? देश कोइ मशीन तो है नहीं कि मोदी ने दिल्ली मेन बटन दबया और वह पहले से तय रस्ते पर चल दिया. यहाँ सरकार के अलावा और भी लोग हैं, हिन्दु और मुसलमान कट्टरता के पुजारियों के अलावा और भि लोग हैं. क्या उन कि प्रतिक्रिया कुछ काम करेगी? सरकारों को भी देश में शांति और सहयोग चाहिए. क्या मोदी कि सरकार (यदि वह बनी तो) भी बढ़ते कट्टरवाद को कम से कम नियंत्रण में रखने के लिये कोशिश करेगी? क्या अन्तरराष्ट्रीय छवि का दबाव सारकार को साही रस्ते पर लाने में मदद करेगा? बीजेपी की सरकार बनी भी तो वह दूसरों की मदद से बनेगी, तो क्या उसके सहयोगी बीजेपी को कट्टरवाद के रास्ते पर चलने देंगे? ये सब सवाल अभी उनुत्तरित हैं. हम नहीं जानते वास्तव में परीणाम क्या होंगे. पर आशंका है.

दूसरी आशंका गरीब आदमी की अनदेखी और व्यापारिक घरानों को विकास के नाम पर बढ़ावा देने की है. वास्तव में हमारे पास विकास का कोइ बहुत साफ़ और समझा हुअ नमुना है नहीं। इस वक्त भारत की कोई भी पार्टी व्यापारिक (मैं इस में उद्योगपतियों को शामिल मान रह हूं ) घरानों को रोक नहीं सकेगी. इस के लिए आर्थिक उन्नति और समाजिक-राजनैतिक विकास का एक सन्तुलित मोडल चाहिए. कोई भी पार्टी अभी यह समझदारी नहीं दिखा रही है। पर मोदी के आने से हालात और बिगाड़ेंगे इस में बहुत कम शक है. भ्रस्टाचार का बढ़ना ईसी समस्या का हिस्सा है. मोदी के आने से भ्रस्टाचार का रंग तो बदल सकता है पर उसके कम होने की संभावना इसवक्त नही लगती।

तीसरी आशंका विरोधी विचारों की अभिव्यक्ति पर बहुत कड़ी रोक लगने और विरोधीयों को ताकत के बल पर दबाने की है. इस में सरकारी तंत्र का उपयोग, गुंडो के उत्पीड़न और हत्याएं, और भी कई तरीके काम में आ सकते हैं. सरकारी तंत्र का उपयोग मोदी विरोध का मुंह बन्द करने के लिये जरूर करेगा. इस से आगे कुछ होगा कि नहीं इसवक्त कहना मुश्किल है। इतना तो साफ़ है की हिन्दुकट्टरवाद अभिव्यक्ति कि स्वतन्त्रता का विरोधि है। इसी तरह इस्लामिक कट्टरवाद भी अभिव्यक्ति की स्वतंत्रता का उस से भी बड़ा विरोधी है। मोदी इसमें राजनैतिक अभिव्यक्ति को भी जोङ देगा। अतः बोलने वालों की खैर नहीं। ना आप राजनीती में मोदी विरोधी बात कह पाएंगे ना ही धार्मिक मूर्खताएं पर कोई टिप्पणि कर पायेँगे।

पर आम तौर पर मोदी का विरोध करने वाले उस की तुलना हिटलर से करते हैं। और उसमें जो सब से बड़ी चीज षामिल है वह धार्मिक आधार पर विरोधी माने जाने वालों और राजनैतिक विरोधीयों का सफाया, नियोजित योजना बैद्ध तरीके से। अर्थात मुसलामानों पर वैसी ज्यादतियां जैसी जरमनी में यहूदियो पर हुई थी। हिटलर की ज्यादतियां नस्ल के आधार पर थीं, मोदी के बारे में दर है धर्म के आधार पर करने का।

यह आशंका सुन पढ़ कर इन दिनों एक सवाल मेरे मन मे बार बार आता है: क्या अतिशयोक्ति मूल तर्क को कमजोर करती है?

इस बात को थोड़ा ठहर कर समझने कि ज़रूरत है। मैं एक वास्तविक उदहारण देता हूँ। बात कोई पच्चीस वर्ष पुरानी है। एक गाम में एक परिवार ने बिना मिटर के बीजली कि लाइन लगा रखी थी। वे लोग कुछ बल्ब और एक दो पंखें उस से चलाते थे। यही आम तौर पर गाँव का बिजलि उपकरणो के उपयोग का स्तर था। उस परिवार के एक राजनैतिक विरोधी ने बिजली विभाग को लिखित शिकायत भेजी। और उसमें कहा की ये लोग हर कमरे मेँ एक ऐरकंडीसनर चलाते हैं, दो रेफ्रीजरेटर हैं, टेलिवीजन है, और इसी तरह कि कई और चीजें लिखदी। अब समस्या यह थी की नातो इन चीजोँ का उस गाँव के आस पास चलन था नाही आरोपी परिवार की मालि हालत यह सब खरीदने की थी। गाओं में लोगों की माली हालात उस वक्त छुपी नहीं रहती थी। तो बिजली विभाग वाले भी आरोपी परिवार कि माली हालत जानते थे। वे इस लिखित शिकायत पर हंसे और उसे रद्दी की टोकरी में फ़ेंक दिया।

सवाल यह है कि क्या शिकायत करने वाले की अतिशयोक्ति ने उस की शिकायत को अविश्वनीय बन दिया? यदि शिकायत में अतिशयोक्ति नहीं होती तो क्या जॉंच और इस अनिमियतता को रोकने की संभवना अधिक थी? (यहाँ हमें बाकी चीजों को बराबर मानना होगा, इस विशलेषण में भ्रसटाचार, रिश्वत आदि को लाने से हम अतिशयोक्ति का प्रभाव नहीं समझ पाएंगे ) मुझे लगता है की अतिशयोक्ति विश्वश्नीयता को घटती है और हम जिसका विरोध करना चाहते हैं उसी कि मदद करते है। मेरा यह भी मानना है की अतिशयोक्तियों मोदी को आज वह जहाँ है वहां पहुंचने में बहुत मदद की है।

अतः, मेरा मानना है की:
१. मोदी देश के लिये नुकशान दयाक है।
२. लोकतंत्र और धर्म-निरपेक्षता में विश्वास रखने वाले नागरिकों को उसे प्रधान मंत्री बनने से रोकने की कोशिश करनी चाहिये।
३. उसे रोकने के लिये उसके कारनामोँ को बिना अतिशयोक्ति के और निष्पक्ष विष्लेशण के साथ नागरिकों के सामने लाना चाहिए।
४. अतिशयोक्ति (जैसी हिटलर बनने कि संभवना) मोदी की ही मदद करेगी।

अब मोदी की कार्यशैली को देखेंगे तो आप पाएंगे कि वह पार्टी नहीं व्यक्तिवाद को केन्द्र में राखता है। अपने विर्धियों को नेस्तनाबूद करता है या इसकी कोशिश करता है। पार्टी पर पूरा कब्ज़ा करने की कोशिश करता है। स्वभाव से अधिनायकवादी है। भारतीय जनता पार्टी को अपनी व्यक्तिगत जागीर लगभग बना ही ली है। यह सब अपने प्रति स्वामीभक्ती ऱखने वालोँ की फौज ख़ड़ी करके किया है। और मोदी हिन्दू कट्टरवाद का समर्थक है, यह जग जाहिर है।

थोड़ा ध्यान देन तो पाएंगे कि आखिरी बात (हिन्दू कट्टरवादिता) को छोड़ दें तो ये सारे इंदिरा गांधी के गुण हैं। वह किसी धर्म के पक्ष विपक्ष में नहीं थीं. पर पूरी अधिनायकवादी थी। भारत को और कॉंग्रेस्स को अपनी जागीर समझती थी। कॉंग्रेस्स तो अब भी गांधी परिवार की जागीर ही है। यह उपलब्धि इंदिरा गांधी ने ही हाशिल कीथी। इंदिरा गांधी ने आपातकाल लगा कर भारत की जनता को दबाने कि कोशिश की और उसके नतीजे भी भुक्ते. मोदी यदि ऐसी कोशिश करेगा तो उसे भी नतीजे भुगतने होंगे। अतः मुझे तो मोदी हिटलर के बजाय इंदिरा गांधी के अधिक नज़दीक़ लगता है।

पर एक बड़ा फर्क है: मोदी धार्मिक कट्टरवादी है। तो एक धार्मिक कट्टरवादी जब पार्टि और देख़ को कब्जे में लेना चाहेगा तो क्या होगा? क्या मोदी इंदिरा गांधी से अधिक दमनकारी होगा राजनीतिक विरोधियों के लिये? क्या वह धार्मिक दमन की नीती अपनायेगा ? क्या उसकी धार्मिक दमन की नीती देश में चल पायेगी? इन सवालों पर विचार करने की जरूरत है। अतिशयोक्ति और भय से संचालित हुए बिना।


Between the devil and the deep sea: what a choice?

April 16, 2014

Rohit Dhankar

Few days back I was in my village in rural Rajasthan. Four youngsters of our family and one cousin gheraod me and pelted me with questions regarding whom to vote for. The youngsters were highly educated—a engineer, working as assistant Bank Manager, a dentist waiting to setup practice, an MBA struggling businessman – and all supporters of Modi. The 40+ years old cousin working in the gulf is also a Modi supporter. I could not convince them that Modi is a bad omen for the country, mainly because I could not provide them with an alternative.

I said that I will vote for no one, which seriously damaged my reputation among them as having a strong commitment to democracy. They charged me with not being a responsible citizen of democratic India.

This set me thinking. I don’t understand development and economics very well. So my considerations turned to wellbeing of India as a democracy. In a very quick analysis I decided to think over ‘in my mind’ about BJP, Congress and AAP on the basis of three cardinal values of democracy in India: equality, secularism and freedom. I did not consider justice because it seems to me that consideration of justice will refer back to equality and in a short piece I can afford to limit myself to equality. I also ignored ‘fraternity’ or concern for others’ wellbeing because it will make me repeat what I say on secularism and equality. This being tentative thinking I can afford to temporarily leave it out.

The following is the result of my tentative personal thinking. May not be very rigorous and all encompassing, it is more at the level of musings.


I am taking BJP under Narendra Modi first because all serves predict them to be the single biggest party.

Their history

Torch bearers of Janasangha and Hindu Mahasabha, and guided (controlled, some say) by RSS. This trio certainly is divisive and wants Hindus to dominate Indian politics, and every aspect of national life. They are particularly inimical to Muslims. They have been giving calls of “Bharateeya karan” and then in the name of opposing appeasement been attacking Muslims. Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajarang Dal are certainly fundamentalist organisations and creations of the RSS.

Equality of status and opportunity

The whole Sangha Parivar wants India to run on Hindu ethos and want others to accept their secondary status as far as ‘foundational’, ‘cultural’ ethos of India go. However, as citizens they are ambivalent and willy-nilly accept equal status and rights for all.

But their ‘equality’ has several problems. They are against all affirmative action that goes in favour of status quo where higher caste Hindus dominate the scene. They are not really concerned about righting the historical wrong visited on Dalits for centuries. Deep down they seem to be governed by caste stereotypes and want everyone to accept the supremacy of brahminical values where kshatriyas have a status equal to Brahmins but the rest have to be ‘sankritised’.

Women are not ‘equal’ in their equality; they need to be safeguarded, guided, controlled, if need be by force. They may not say all this in words, but they certainly show it in their deeds. The Bharatiya Nari still seems to be their preferred ideal, though they do not say that openly and often.

I personally do not think they really want to dominate Muslims in stark terms. But they want to Hinduise their ethos, they want them to have their punyabhoomi in India, which is historically impossible. They suspect Muslims’ loyalty to the country; and are actually scared of them. They have deep down animosity for Muslims, and often blame what they call eight hundred years of “Muslim rule” for many of the ills in Hinduism.


No they are not secular by any stretch of imagination. Secularism has to do with the attitude of the state to religions. The BJP and Sangha Parivar certainly wants Hindu ethos to dominate every sphere of life. So they cannot be secular in the ‘equal distance from all religions’ sense of the term. Their manifesto proves that without a shred of doubt. Ram mandir, Ram Setu, Ganga as spiritual lifeline, and cow as a holy animal nail it.

I have mentioned their attitude to Islam and Muslims above and that certainly is not secular. Their imagination of India is an upper caste Hindu imagination.

Freedom of speech and expression

They are departing from Hindu ethos in this respect. It seems to me that the Hindus traditionally have been tolerant to expression of ideas they did not agree with. But only tolerant. Hindus – upper caste – have never considered others as good as themselves; the other often was ‘mlachchhya’. But speaking against orthodoxy from within as well as from without was tolerated. This perhaps came from the idea that ‘the truth is one but wise-ones express it in many ways’. BJP and Sangha are now becoming more and more intolerant to that. One cannot any longer speak against their dharma, gods and even leaders. Actually, in this respect they are eroding traditional Hindu ethos.

Therefore, BJP under Modi certainly does not fare well in the light of values like equality, secularism and freedom of expression; and one cannot vote for them.


As BJP has declared itself under Modi, Congress has been an unambiguous fiefdom of the Nehru-Gandhi family. So one has to consider it that way.

Their history

The Congress of today is a continuation in some ways and is very different in some others from the Congress that fought and won the freedom struggle for India. But since 1920 congress has been under dictatorship of people at the helm. Its ethos was not of open discussion and democratic decision making. Gandhi completely destroyed that and then handed it over to Nehru. Nehru had an historic opportunity to work for dismantling the feudal and totalitarian character of the party. He did build institutions and infuse democratic decision making in the nation, but was always very careful about his own power and did not believe that others can be as good democrats as he considered himself. The Congress remained a dictatorship under him. After Nehru and a brief struggle of power it completely went into Indira Gandhi’s hands; who destroyed all democratic institutions and became a virtual dictator. Since then it is nothing more than a family fiefdom populated by power hungry, dishonest sycophants.

Equality of status and opportunity

Certainly not. The Gandhis are ‘more equal than others’. Even a nincompoop born in Gandhi family is considered as natural leader by all spineless Congressis. This is the height of hypocrisy when congress leaders like Rahul and Sonia Gandhi talk of power sharing and not being concentrated in a few hands. One wonders how they can make such proclamations! The only explanation seems to be that they think people are really stupid. Congress is a feudal party with mindless loyalty (Manmohan Singh being the paragon) as its strength. They seem to genuinely believe that the Gandhi family has some sort of divine right. This dynastic politics has a good understanding of mentality of Indian masses, who are actually feudal in thinking.

Congress is the reason why we have so many political dynasties today. They showed the way, and made it acceptable under a democratic constitution. Their ‘equality’ is very nuanced. Gandhis are the ‘most equal’, and that cannot be questioned; as we know even Priyanka Gandhi is a more important leader than their biggest political stalwarts. Other political dynasties (be they Sindhias, Yadava, or what ever) are ‘more equal’ than the commoners without a dynasty to flaunt. The commoners are ‘equal’ among themselves of course; but: one, they all are to be ‘ruled’, and two, their respective value (equality?) depends upon how they can be used at any given time for consolidating the power for Gandhis. Gandhis are the masters, rest are the subjects.

Their proclamations for benefit of dalits, Muslims and tribals are directed at keeping the flock together, and not for any love for equality.

I am surprised that people fail to notice that Modi as the mascot of BJP is modelled on the Congress. Congress does not proclaim a Prime Ministerial candidate, its Prime Ministerial candidate has always been known to all, since Nehru era. When was there any doubt that a scion of Nehru-Gandhi family, chosen by the family itself, will be the prime minister? They did not need to declare it. BJP learnt that this clarity gives dividends, so they adopted it from Congress. The BJP could not perform the trick of ‘declaring without declaring’; so they had to openly declare.


They do not seem to have any overt animosity to any particular religious group. But their politics is far from being secular, it always has been sectarian and casteist. They are the most adept at playing religious communities against each other. Actually, to my mind, if the congress did not play the politics of religion, BJP would have been a dismal failure. Congress policies and hypocrisy have nurtured the BJP and Sangh parivar. Congress has been historically adept at using religion for political gains. Gandhi’s use of Muslim sentiment against abolition of Caliphate is the biggest example of non-secular religious politics. And it came from a man who preached sanctity of means nd ends both! In the Khilafat movement both Hindus and Muslims were cheated. The failure of Khilafat movement in its proclaimed objectives (swarajya and reinstating the Caliphate) created a backlash. The Muslims saw Gandhi’s (the original one) withdrawal of the movement as a betrayal, not only by Gandhi himself but by Hindus in large. The RSS came into being in the aftermath of this failure.

Congress’s stand on Shah Bano case, opening the doors of Babri Masjid, and numerous other issues can hardly be called secular, they are example of sectarian politics. They were designed to appease one community at one time and another at another time, and, therefore, playing communities against each other. This certainly is not secularism.

People fail to notice that today Congress is talking of communal and divisive language more than BJP, though to proclaim that they are the guardians of unity and minorities. The real point in their talk is creating distrust and fear. BJP is talking development. Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and all of Congress is talking actually communalism, and its fear. BJP can afford not to talk of Hindutva for a while, because it has established its credentials of Hindu communalism where it matters, among middle class Hindu population, they need not always talk about it. Now they can afford to talk development. This has forced Congress to come in the open.

Freedom of speech and expression

Congress has never came out as a protector of citizens’ right to free speech. India was the first country to ban Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, their record of protecting Taslima Nasreen has been dismal. In the case of Danish cartoons of Muhammad was even worse. They are also very touchy about the Gandhi family, no adverse comment on any family member is tolerated.

Therefore, as far as the issue of these three values go, one cannot vote for Congress either.


Kejriwal is the undisputed leader, nay icon, of AAP.

Well, they have been in the arena for a very short time. One does not really have enough information on their position on equality, secularism and freedom of speech. They seem to be similar to the Congress on secularism, if one goes by Kejriwal’s overtures to Muslim clerics. But their position on equality and freedom of speech is not clear.

They, however, seem to have other problems that are even more scary than the BJP and Congress. In a multicultural democracy procedural norms are absolutely essential to function properly. Ideas on justice, equality, freedom of speech, moral values, behaviour with others, boundaries of legal action, etc. all are understood in multiple ways. Many of these concepts are essentially contested; meaning that their interpretations will always remain open and a clear single accepted definition will never be available. In such a scenario, if you want to live together with harmony setting procedural norms for public behaviour is the only way. Yes, procedural norms can be manipulated, can be unjust, principles can be adhered to ‘in letter’ and be ‘violated in spirit’. And in such situations one needs to oppose the people who are violating the principles. But even that has to be done within the procedural norms. AAP in general and Kejriwal in particular does not accept that.

So what do they want to replace procedural norms with? Their own self-righteousness. They have to be accepted as just, true and absolutely reliable messiahs. This is not democracy. They are actually a ‘CULT’ with Kejriwal the originator and head.

In reality Kejriwal—in spite of his aam aadmi penchant—is behaving like a very ‘khaas aadmi’. Whatever he says is right, he does not need arguments, evidence or any other justification. His word is enough. That makes him a bold and honest person in eyes of many. But he turns out to be a joker and a self-centred egoist in many others’ eyes. I belong to the second group. I don’t consider him bold at all. Boldness involves risk taking. He has nothing to lose, so no risk.

People like Yogendra yadav and Medha Patkar have a huge reputation as upholders of democratic rights and thinking people. But they have already started looking like jokers in that AAP cap.

One can hardly contemplate voting for AAP then.


I have heard (have not read) that there will be an option of “None Of The Above” (NOTA) in the voting machines. I will go for that. It seems to me, tentatively, that if a large number of people vote for NOTA, then the message will be conveyed to all that the public is not stupid, they are thinking and something in the minds of ordinary silent Indians is brewing. This might get an expression in the coming years. Till then we have to keep our fingers crossed for the country and live with bated breath.


Congress is making a lot of noise that Modi will turn the country into a fascist one. Many Indian intellectuals are making the same point. This exaggerated paranoia is helping Modi. It cannot happen in India, at least I believe that. It cannot happen not because Indians are any more democratic people etc. or for the want of BJP and Modi. But because of the range of diversity and acceptance of multiplicity of values in India. The Gandhi family on the helms could not turn India into a monarchy, Modi cannot turn it into a fascist one. One is crediting them with too much of power when claims that the country can be turned into a fascist Hindu rashtra or a monarchy. There are several reasons to believe that it will not happen, but I cannot go into them here. Let us remember that unbelievable exaggeration obscures the genuine problems, and arguments become unacceptable. We will do much better if we keep arguments in a sane intellectual space. Then they will influence people’s thinking; fantastic claims fell on deaf years.

Modi coming to power will harm India. It will further damage equality, secularism and freedom; but he will not be able to destroy them. Congress coming to power will also further damage them, but again cannot totally destroy them. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, even if I sound superstitious.