Hindutva’s Politics of Denial

Unless Hindu fundamentalism is addressed, India will continue on its path toward ethno-democracy

01 September 2010
After two RSS cadres were arrested following the Malegaon case, Hindu fundamentalism is firmly back on the agenda of public debate.
Saurabh Das/AP Photo
After two RSS cadres were arrested following the Malegaon case, Hindu fundamentalism is firmly back on the agenda of public debate.
Saurabh Das/AP Photo

ALMOST TWO YEARS after Hemant Karkare closed the Malegaon case, the CBI has arrested two RSS cadres, suggesting that members of the Sangh Parivar were involved in terrorist activities. There is now enough evidence to implicate Hindu nationalists in violent actions resulting in the death of innocent Indian citizens.

The reactions to these developments in the public sphere have been extremely interesting. Unsurprisingly, the BJP has come out in defence of the accused. What is surprising, is that a political party which is supposed to follow the rules of (the world’s largest) democracy is allowed to take the side of people the police suspect of being criminals.

My curiosity has been piqued further by reactions to Outlook’s cover story about ‘Hindu terrorism’ a few weeks ago. Already, hundreds of comments have been posted, indicating the mindset of certain sections of the Indian middle class. A large majority of these posts reflect a deliberate politics of denial: for their authors, none of the facts emerging from police investigations are convincing enough because Hindus, in their minds, cannot be terrorists. One commentor assumes bluntly that “hatred doesn’t form part of the Hindu way of life.” When Nathuram Godse killed Mahatma Gandhi, was he motivated by exclusively positive feelings? There was probably some hatred in this follower of VD Savarkar, whose portrait now hangs on the wall of the Lok Sabha.

Christophe Jaffrelot  is a Contributing Editor at The Caravan. He has authored several books including The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics and Sangh Parivar.

Keywords: Mumbai Muslims Lok Sabha Christophe Jaffrelot Sikhs BJP Gujarat Outlook Partition RSS Sangh Parivar Hindu terrorism Nathuram Godse Mahatma Gandhi VD Savarkar Mecca Masjid Ajmer Dargah Indian Mujahideen Hindus Sabarmati Express CBI FIR Hemant Karkare Baghalpur Ayodhya
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