Soon after the Congress led UPA formed government at the Centre in May 2004, predictions were made that it would fall by September and the BJP led NDA would again come to power. However, it did not happen so. UPA'smain partners, joined hands for the sake of power. Its main partners, the Congress, the Muslim League and the Communist parties, had a common ideological cord of annihilating Hindutva, its support bases and paving the way for Pan-Islamic forces. Had it not been so, the first act of the Congress government of Independent India would have been to ban the two organisations, being the chief Indian architects of India'sPartition plan. Instead, they were nursed through dubious means. Now they are helping the Congress to implement its pro-Muslim agenda with a vengeance.
We may recall that the first act of Mahatma Gandhi led Congress in 1920 was a headlong plunge into the ?Khilafat agitation?, meant to restore the pelf and power of the deposed Sultan of Turkey as head of the Muslim world. It was purely a religio-political matter of the Pan-Islamist Ulemas. Gandhi'sofficial biographer, D.G. Tendulkar, states in his monumental work, Mahatma, Vol. I : ?Around Gandhi new forces were gathering. The Ulemas felt that the Muslim divines of India whose collective power and influence had been shattered after the revolt of 1857 should again come together. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad entered the field??
Brushing aside the topmost grievances, namely, the massacre of Jallianwala Bagh (Amritsar) and the Rowlatt Act, curtailing civil liberty, Gandhi announced on March 10, 1920: ?The Khilafat has now become the question of questions?. In a subsequent meeting on March 19, advising the Hindus, the Christians and the Sikhs to observe complete non-violence, Gandhi added: ?But, Muslims have special Quranic obligations? They therefore, reserve to themselves the right, in the event of failure of non-cooperation-cum-non-violence, in order to enforce justice, to resort to all such methods as may be enjoined by the Islamic scriptures. I venture heartily to associate myself with this resolution?? (Mahatma, Vol. I, 1988 edn., pp. 283-285)
The Khilafat agitation was intended to forge the Hindu-Muslim unity and to get ?Swaraj?, but the result was radicalisation of the Muslims and utter confusion among the Hindus. In his ?History of Freedom Movement in India?, Vol. III, the official historian Dr. Tara Chand, states that the Muslim politics came under the domination of their religious leaders (Ulemas) and the Congress became an instrument of Gandhi'swill for the next 25 years. Disgusted with Gandhi'sextreme pro-Muslim policy, Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya, Lala Lajpat Rai, Swami Shraddhanand and some others left the Congress. In this situation, Dr. Hedgewar founded the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1925.
Though formed in 1906, the Muslim League's(Muslim) vote share in the provinces centred around 24 per cent up to 1937. The larger part was shared by non-League and non-Congress organisations, like the Krishak Praja Party (Bengal) and the Unionist Party (Punjab). In the Central Assembly, however, the League had 25 out of 30 Muslim seats. The Congress, known as a Hindu party, got over 80 per cent of un-reserved Hindu votes and a good number of Muslim votes.
World War II broke out in 1939. The Congress refused to cooperate with the British and resigned from all its provincial governments. The Muslim League promised all support and thus occupied the space vacated by the Congress. It passed Pakistan resolution in 1940. The allurement of a separate sovereign Muslim State and the fear of Hindu raj, as propagated by the Muslim League, brought almost all Muslims in League'scamp. All Pirs and Ulemas, except a few, worked for it. Conversely, the fear of division of their motherland and prospect of ?Ramrajya? united the Hindus under the Congress umbrella. In the Central and Provincial Assembly elections of 1945-46, the Muslim League won all the 30 reserved Muslim seats of the Central Assembly. The Congress too won all the 57 non-reserved (Hindu) seats because of consolidation of the Hindu votes. It got 91.3 per cent of the votes cast. Significantly, the Hindu Mahasabha had withdrawn most of its candidates in favour of Congress candidates. The vote count of the Muslim League was 86.6 per cent of the votes cast in Muslim constituencies, (V.P. Menon's Transfer of Power in India).
It should now be clear that in spite of their numerous caste, class and language differences, the Hindus too pooled their votes to save the unity of their motherland and their Hindu identity. They were ditched by their own Hindu leaders, their own Congress. They had no idea of the Congress? hidden agenda of establishing Muslim hegemony throughout the Indian sub-continent. It was revealed to Dr. Rajendra Prasad by Jawaharlal Nehru in his letter dated August 7, 1947, in response to Prasad's proposition that honouring the overwhelming public sentiments, Independent India'sfirst act should be to ban cow-slaughter.
Nehru replied: ?You know how strong an advocate of cow protection Bapu is. Nevertheless, so far as I am aware, he is opposed to any compulsory stoppage of cow slaughter. His chief reason, I believe, is that we must not function as a Hindu State; but as a composite State in which Hindus, no doubt, predominate.?, (Nehru'sSelected Works, 2nd series, Vol. 3, pp. 189-192). The Muslim and the Christian hegemony was surreptitiously secured in the Constitution through Articles 25 to 30 and numerous administrative orders during the past 60 years. So much so that the Hindus have virtually landed into an Aurangzeb like regime in which they have to pay jazia, though indirectly. It is also because the Hindu leaders lacked foresight and failed to make the Hindu India a Hindu State soon after the Partition.
The above facts should dispel the widely held view that the Hindus cannot make a vote bank. The fact is that they can also fight like any other martial race. For a proof, let any one see the accounts of four direct wars between India and Pakistan. What Hindus lack is a right type of leadership and a well defined goal. The Hindu religious leaders talk of Vasudhaiva-kutumbakam, i.e., the whole world is a family, but refuse to sit along with their co-religionist of another Hindu sect. Instead of preaching Hindu dharma, they propagate their own individual cults. Even at the present critical juncture, they refuse to come together, act together and find ways and means to rejuvenate Hindu society to tide over the present crisis.
The situation today is much worse than it was in 1940s. Anti-Hindu forces have become stronger whereas Hindus are rudderless and more divided than anytime before. Hindu leaders have lost their credibility. Hence, Hindus need greater efforts, greater resources, greater mobilization, and greater sacrifice. Religious leaders have a special responsibility to eradicate caste, sect, and sex prejudices at every level from cities to remote villages and from palaces to thatched huts. Only they can effectively counter divisive attempts of anti-Hindu outfits. Those dealing in politics and social service must work to make Hindus a really strong nation and India a true Hindu State. Only a Hindu State can ensure a true secular polity in which people of all faiths can live with equal honour as they did in the Vijayanagar empire under the Hindu rulers in the South, Shivaji'skingdom in Maharashtra and Maharaja Ranjit Singh'sin the Punjab.
(The writer can be contacted at [email protected])