A Tome Of Contradictions!
The book takes one to the rollercoaster ride of politics brewing in the corridor of Delhi. Although what the book, authored by Vijay Sanghvi, documents appears to be blinkered, despite author’s ‘painstaking’ efforts and ‘long-standing’ experience. The book basically focuses on varied religions and community-based polity that, according to the author, tears the fabric of a democratic nation like India. But how far the author has been successful, judge yourself.
The writer emphasises that there has been, especially in the last few years, an awakening among the Dalits, as they are no more willing to tolerate the ostracisation enforced upon them by a section, the caste Hindu population. So, the author maintains, Dalits have begun to shift to entities that offer them at least a promise of social equality and human dignity–hence conversion to Islam and Christianity. But the author easily forgets or overlooks the fact that these people are living a second-class life in their new religion of choice—Christianity.
Further, the author is rigid in his approach against anything Hindu—whether it be the protagonists of Hindu cause or Hindu organisation. He says that the second chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, MS Golwalkar drew heavily from German theorists–not from British or French writers—to define his concept of a nation. So much so, the book says that Golwalkar had no hesitation in admitting that he was also inspired by Hitler in his belief that race was the foundation of a nation. However, the author refutes his own words when at another place he says that the protagonists of the Hindu Rashtra cannot be compared in any way to the magnitude of Hitler and his “Final Solution”.
Furthermore, the author charges the Hindu protagonists with the intolerant attitude against the minority community. He avers that these exponents of Hindu cause are unable to accept the fact that the minority communities settled in India for over 700 years are as much the citizens of India as they are. Because, the book insists, they need a clear and visible enemy for their own ethno religious mobilisation to achieve their dream. The author completely ignores the fact that a majority of these protagonists championed the idea of respecting all religion of the world. In fact, the RSS propounded the principle of Sarvadharma Samabhava, i.e. all religions are equal. Again the author does not talk about the true proponents of hate-propaganda against minorities, i.e. the so-called secularists who carry out their campaigns against the majority religion—Hinduism—for their vote-bank considerations.
Flipping through a few leaves I discover that the author holds the Rajiv regime responsible for Congress’ blinkered politics of appeasement. He says that the broad all India character of the Congress, nurtured since the Nehru days, was gone and the party began to acquire a sectarian shade. Here I wonder whether the author is playing like Nehru’s lackey, as it is no secret that the Congress played politics of appeasement even from Nehru’s days.
Vijay Sanghvi writes that the whole process is a tug of war where two big national parties are waging war for their own vested interests. I fail to decipher the unhygienic elements involved in the game. On the contrary, I wholly support the very idea of politics being pitched in any format, it’s a war and everything is fair in love and war.
Finally, the book emphasises that India can be a progressive nation and move ahead when we discard our age-old system of Swadeshi model! The novel holds a grip on numerous sections and segments of society. It encompasses the whole of Indian heritage, rise of Hindu nationalism and the battle within. These, all given in chapters, narrate the tale laying its focus on certain facts. The writer looks back on how Jan Sangh came into being and also the emergence of Vishwa Hindu Parishad. The book is full of incongruity and leaves a bitter and pungent taste in those mouths who champions the cause of a sovereign nation.
By Ashok Kumar