Speaking in his usual dog-whistle mode, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reinforced Haridwar’s hideous message ‘Dharam Sansad’. Those expressing disappointment at the failure of BJP leaders and Union ministers – let alone the Prime Minister and Home Secretary – to condemn the genocidal appeals against Muslims launched by the speakers must understand that ‘there is no substantial difference between them.
After the Prime Minister’s recent speech, we should not be surprised at his silence; one is rather better placed to understand the coherence of the ideology of Modi and Yati Narsinghanand. There should no longer be a problem in understanding the relationship between Dharam Sansad and BJP politics.
By addressing the Lakhpat Gurdwara in Kutch on December 25 via a video link, Prime Minister Modi said that the dangers that the Sikh gurus warned against are present in the same form today. Modi added, âGuru Tegh Bahadur’s sacrifice and his heroic acts against Aurangzeb have taught us how the country should fight terrorism and religious extremism.
Aware of the fact that he was addressing a Sikh audience, Modi repeatedly referred to the atrocities of the Mughal and Muslim rulers and the struggle of the Sikh gurus against them: sacrificed their lives for the countryâ¦ â
Prior to that, the unruly majority crowd whose job it is to disrupt the prayers of Muslims and Christians on Fridays and Sundays attempted to shame the Sikhs who had offered Muslims in Gurgaon a place of prayer inside their gurudwaras in using the same argument. How could they facilitate prayer for Muslims when Guru Teg Bahadur was martyred by Aurangzeb? For a long time, the RSS glorified the Sikhs as the warriors, or rather bodyguards, who saved Hinduism. When Sikhs or Muslims do not carry the vicarious rage of medieval India and remain friends today, why does Modi or the RSS want Sikhs to be enemies of Muslims?
According to press reports of the speechModi referred to the Sikh gurus as opponents of various Muslim rulers. He praised the gurus because, according to him, they gave their lives fighting these rulers. They were doing this for the country. Guru Gobind Singh also fought the Hindu kings, who saw the khalsa as a threat to the caste system. But Modi makes no mention of it.
âThe valor of Guru Tegh Bahadur and his sacrifice against Aurangzeb teaches us how the country fights against terror and religious fanaticism,â he said. “The dangers the gurus warned us against remain the same today, so we must be careful and keep the country safe.”
Modi’s message was that what the Sikh gurus did must be done even today because this danger still exists today. But where does this danger come from? Who to fight with?
For years, Modi and the BJP have been spreading this message in different ways. During the anti-CAA protest in December 2019, Modi said the protesters could be recognized by their clothes. His audience easily decoded his message. This was around the time when Muslim protesters were being attacked in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka Delhi and elsewhere. The police were either the perpetrators or supported those who did. This was very well expressed in the slogans of “Delhi police lath chalao, hum tumhare saath hain â and “Modiji lath chalao, hum tumhare saath hain” (Delhi Police, use your lathis, we are with you).
What Modi said in a not so subtle but clever way on December 25th was said in ‘Dharma Sansad’ without any cover. The theme of the event in Haridwar was âThe Future of Sanatan in Islamic India: Problems and Solutionsâ. Isn’t India supposed to be as much Islamic, or Christian, or Sikh as Hindu?
Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh rulers ruled over different parts of India at different times. Can these regions and their times be called Jain, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh India? Even if we accept the argument of calling the Mughal period âIslamicâ, it ended centuries ago. What Islamic India was it then talking about during the event? The ahistoric exercise aimed to intimidate the Hindus – to scare them that India will become Islamic and to ask them to prepare, buy weapons, train their children to use weapons so that Muslims can be killed .
Religious gurus present at the event made it clear that only genocide of Muslims can prevent India from becoming an Islamic nation. On the other hand, Modi, in Kutch and Kashi earlier this month, warned Hindus and Sikhs about the danger of Aurangzeb, Ahmed Shah Abdali, Nadir Shah, Syed Salar Massoud. After taking their names, he says the same threats exist in India today. He asks people to follow what Shivaji, Suhail Dev, Guru Tegh Bahadur or Banda Bahadur have done.
Modi encodes violence in the widely known explicitly anti-Muslim symbols and images of the Hindu revival. He talks about the historical Muslim aggressor and then about those who should be identified by their clothing. He mentions Miyan Musharraf and Ramzan. His listeners respond as expected. In this sense, Modi maintained a perfect balance between Vajpayee’s poetic dog whistles and Narsinghanand’s blatant call to arms without even mentioning the targets by name.
âBabur or Aurangzeb are long gone, but their children are staying here. They present the same danger as Babur or Aurangzeb ‘. This is what we have been hearing for four decades. The Indian people understand the meaning of the sons of Babar and also that of the symbolism of Aurangzeb in the speech of the Prime Minister. During the Babri Masjid demolition movement, we heard the songs of “Babar Ki Auladon koâ¦ â. This movement was to take care of Babar’s children. What changed? As long as they, the sons of Babur, are not eliminated, the threat of Babur and Aurangzeb taking over India remains alive.
We must make it clear in our heads that there is nothing organic or spontaneous about the events organized to call for genocide; it stems from a great deal of organization, planning and state impunity.
We have to understand that there is a complete sentence that Modi speaks part of, the empty space in front is filled with Adityanath and the task of finishing it is left to Yati Narasimhananda, Prabodhanand and the rest of the religious gurus. This completed sentence is an explanation of the ideology of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. That is, Muslims and Christians are the contaminants in the pure flow of the Ganges in India and the Ganges must be cleansed. Its flow must be kept uninterrupted and pure.
While people like Yati are not possessed by the RSS, it should be remembered that from Nathuram Godse to Rambhakt Gopal, the âparivarâ never possessed his soldiers. It is an integral part of their modus operandi which operates with a clear separation for the world to show. He never owns the violence he commits.
It has been clearly established that now Muslims cannot escape saying that they are not Babar’s children. Even if they condemn Babar and Aurangzeb, they will not be trusted. The Qur’an itself is considered to be the root of violence and terror. Whoever believes in it is a terrorist and anti-India and whoever wants to survive must abandon the Quran. Purification (reconversion) will be the key to keeping yourself alive, just like Wasim Rizvi. Whoever does not want to, will have to be eliminated.
The dangers posed by these calls for the massacre of Muslims cannot be fought without ousting the Bharatiya Janata Party from power and boycotting the RSS. You can’t clean the mud by wiping it over and over again unless you shut off the source from which the poison is coming out. It must be done through strong and difficult conversations with Hindu society. The poison is spreading daily in our society through the Shakhas, Saraswati Shishu Mandirs, Ekal Vidyalayas, Bajrang Dal, VHP and BJP. It is also a religious question, not just a political one. Hindus must decide whether they want the BJP to define their religion or whether they want to reclaim it from the dominant pre-defining characteristic imposed on them – which is hatred and violence against Muslims and Christians.
In 2020, Narsinghanand’s Dharam Sansad preceded the pogrom in northeast Delhi. This may be the last chance we have to prevent genocidal hate speech pogroms from becoming a regular feature of India today. The men and women who participated in Dharam Sansad in Haridwar and their bosses should be held accountable. This country must save itself from this poison.
NÃ©el Madhav is a freelance journalist, currently based in Khagaria, Bihar. He tweets as @NeelMadhav_.
Apoorvanand teaches Hindi at the University of Delhi.