Hindutva terror: unravelling the Truth
Terrorist violence has been one of the major problems of recent times. This phenomenon came to popular notice more so after the 9/11 attack on WTC, which was followed by, apart from other things, popularization of the terms ‘Islamic Terror’ and ‘Jehdi terror’. The popular perception associating Terrorism with Islam and Muslims dominated the ‘social common sense’ and acts of terror got associated with Islam and Muslims. It is in this context that when two Bajrang Dal workers died while fabricating bombs in Nanded, Maharashtra, the Maharashtra ATS did not pursue the investigation to its logical conclusion to unravel the whole truth. It is in this light that when most of the acts of terror took place around Parbhani, Jalna, Aurangabad, Ajmer, Mecca Masjid, Malegaon, and Samjhauta Express, that authorities rushed to investigate those crimes on the lines that ‘all terrorists are Muslims’, many an innocent Muslim youth were arrested and some of them released years later for the lack of evidence whatsoever, by which time the lives and careers of most of them were ruined.
It was Hemant Karkare who meticulously investigated the Malegaon blast and, much against the intimidation from the likes of Narendra Modi and Bal Thackeray, put forward the truth of the involvement of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Swami Dayanand Pandey, Lt Col Purohit and other persons and groups associated with the RSS ideology. With further perusal of the issue, gradually the role of Hindutva groups like Sanatan Sanstha, Abhinav Bharat and even some members of RSS started coming to light in cases of blasts which occurred in front of mosques when congregation was just over, or in Samjhauta Express which was carrying only Indian and Pakistani Muslims.
This is the backdrop in which one welcomes the meticulous and well-articulated contribution by Subhash Gatade. Gatade has been consistently writing against the sectarian politics of Hindutva forces-RSS combine. This book was contemplated in this context when the Hindutva elements were exploding bombs here and there and the investigative authorities were looking the other way round. The result was that the likes of Sadhvi,
Swamis and their associates, were merrily getting away without any punishment. This comprehensive volume is very strong on investigation of different episodes of acts of terror, covering most of the blasts done by Hindutva elements, the major being the span of blasts from Nanded 2006 to the confessions of Swami Aseemanand. Each of these acts has been presented and the immaculate evidence of the involvement of RSS affiliates and those inspired by the RSS ideology of Hindu Nation is laid bare in an incontestable way. After reading even a few chapters of the book, one realizes how misplaced has been the investigation in these cases, how distorted has been the social common sense of people and the authorities in these matters.
To add to the strength of the book, we have an apt introduction by Dr. Shamsul Islam, who himself is an authority on RSS. This is an important part of the book and outlines the ideology of RSS, its agenda of Hindu nation, its clever ways of instigating violence and how its structure has been kept fluid enough to keep it insulated from the impact of its members who indulge in violence.
The book demands in a forthright manner from the RSS the list of members who, according to its own confession, were asked to leave or have left due to their involvement in acts of terror. The RSS chief had stated that RSS does not indulge in violence; and that those of its members who were indulging in it have already left or have been told to leave. One knows that starting from Nathuram Godse to Swami Assemanand, these people were part of the RSS as an organization and as vehicles of its agenda and work. It came to be claimed later that they have “left” the RSS. This is a shrewd and clever arrangement and the book lays bare this methodology of the RSS which controls innumerable organizations to execute its agenda. The confusion between the terms Hinduism and Hindutva has been elaborated competently. Gatade does well to discuss the definition of the complex term, ‘terrorism’ and also incorporates the state terrorism in his exposition. The latter is generally ignored in the discourse of terrorism as such.
What emerges from this book is that the saffron terror, Hindutva terror, has twin foundations. One, it is a sort of response, a revenge to many acts of terror by groups identified as Muslim groups, and two, this terror trail has been brought up to pursue the agenda of Hindu nation to target the Muslim minority. These acts, with their anti-Muslim focus are to achieve Hindu rashtra according to their plan. The author brings to fore the influence of RSS ideology in the army, the role of Bhonsla Military School, virtually controlled by RSS, and the role of some army officers in facilitating the acts of terror by these groups. Lt. Col. Purohit, the accused in Malegaon blast 2008, who supplied RDX from army stores to the Hindutva terror groups, is one such officer, and he may be tip of the iceberg. This has a very frightening prospect for our democracy.
The book debunks the popular perceptions which link Islam and Muslims to acts of terror and makes it clear that acts of terror are politically motivated actions with different agendas. The fascination of the RSS with fascist methods being pursued by Israel and the role of Mossad in particular is the high point of the book. Our investigation agencies need to take a cue from this and put their investigation on more professional lines.
The book takes a broad overview of Hindutva politics. The role of the media and the international connections of Hindutva politics are also discussed in detail. What is missing is a time-line of the Hidnutva terror. Such a time-line would have made it easy for the reader to see the whole picture in perspective. An Introduction by the author, putting the book in proper context and summarizing the main arguments of the book would have been a valuable addition to this otherwise most timely and revealing contribution from this journalist-activist.
This work is a serious attempt to piece together the statements of the RSS functionaries and the news items in some of the periodicals to come to the conclusions. It is a comprehensive presentation, filling the gaps in popular knowledge about the real causes of terror attacks in India. Pharos Media, the publishers, need to be complemented for publishing this second book on the topic; the first one being “Who killed Karkare?” by S. M. Mushrif, which again was an eye-opener. “Godse’s Children”, an apt name for the book, is a must for all those who seek truth in contemporary times, particularly when truth is being suppressed deliberately in pursuit of sectarian agendas. This compendium will go a long way to shape the popular opinion in a correct direction.