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Manipur violence and RSS’s views on minorities

For Hindutva ideologues, the existence of Christians, like Muslims, is a threat to the Hindu nation. In Manipur, the Kukis are in a minority and most of them are Christians
Last Updated : 25 July 2023, 17:24 IST
Last Updated : 25 July 2023, 17:24 IST

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The crisis in Manipur has been seen by many as a law-and-order problem, where an incompetent Chief Minister has failed to contain the violence. It is also being argued that once the crisis slipped out of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s hands, it decided to use it for political gains and pursue the communal and polarising game. The argument has some merit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi maintained silence on the issue for more than two months, and when he did speak (after the video of sexual violence went viral) he spoke for just 36 seconds. Even in that statement Modi equated Manipur with the sexual violence in two Congress-ruled states, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. By any stretch of imagination this comparison was absurd.

Was Modi in the dark? Really?

It is hard to believe that until the video of sexual violence went viral Modi did not know about the gravity of the situation in Manipur. If this is true, one must admit that India is in the wrong hands.

That Modi is a hands-on Prime Minister is a well known fact, and no intelligence official would keep him in the dark about such information, which has grave consequences and direct bearing on India’s national security. Union Home Minister Amit Shah stayed in Manipur for three days, held meetings with several groups and officials, and would have been appraised of the ground situation. He, in turn, would have updated Modi as well.

If the Union government was hesitant to sack its own state government, there is a provision in the Constitution to suspend the assembly, put the state administration under the President’s rule, and revive the assembly once the situation in the state normalises. But the Centre is yet to exercise this option.

The much-maligned Chief Minister N Biren Singh continues despite many BJP MLAs having reposed distrust in his leadership and a few openly saying that he was hand in glove with the perpetrators of violence. It has also been alleged that the crisis is of Singh’s making and he is pursuing majoritarian politics to consolidate his hold over Manipur’s politics, and since the Union government is aware of the electoral future, it is reluctant to remove him.

These allegations lead to the inference that Modi is a weak Prime Minister, and is not as powerful and decisive as projected by the media; it breaks the perception that Modi is popular across India, Manipur included.

Problematic thoughts

I believe that neither is Prime Minister Narendra Modi weak nor was he unaware of the gravity of the crisis in Manipur. If so, what explains this inaction from the government’s side? The answer to that lies in the thought process and guiding principles of the BJP and its nerve centre, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Bunch of Thoughts by RSS’s second chief M S Golwalkar will help give a perspective.

Though the RSS has taken a tactical stand by distancing itself from the book, saying it no longer represents its ideological opinion on many subjects, the reality is that the ideas in Golwalkar’s book is being vigorously pursued on the ground since 2014, and the minorities are bearing the brunt.

Golwalkar’s book is divided into four parts. Part two is the most significant one, which defines nationalism and outlines the contours of the Hindu Rashtra. Once it describes what constitutes a Hindu Rashtra, it juxtaposes it with minorities and secularism. In the next chapter, it deals with the ‘internal threats’ and identifies ‘three enemies’: the Muslims, the Christians, and the Communists. These three groups are seen as India’s enemies, and it is detailed how and why these groups are threats to national security.

RSS’s view of the other

The RSS defines history in religious terms. For it the last 1,000 years have been a struggle, first between the Hindus and the Muslims, and later the Hindus and the Christians. According to it, once the British left the subcontinent, the agenda to Christianise India continued. In its opinion, Christian missionaries are still active and foreign money in abundance is being pumped into India for that purpose. India’s North-East region and the tribal belt, in its understanding, are targeted by such groups. The RSS has deputed thousands of their volunteers to counter them. For the RSS, it is a war to reclaim the Hindu land by Hindu organisations. Manipur is no exception.

Golwalkar writes, “Many leading Christian missionaries have been declared unequivocally that their one single aim is to make the country a province of the Kingdom of Christ.” (Page - 189, Bunch of Thoughts). Golwalkar passes the verdict that “Such is the role of Christian gentlemen in our land, out to demolish not only the religious and social fabric of our life but also to establish political domination in various pockets and if possible all over the land”. In his opinion the rulers of India are either too naive not to understand their design or too week to confront them or to pacify them make compromises. The creation of Nagaland, Golwalkar writes, was such a compromise, “The creation in Assam of Nagaland is a glaring example in point.”

There is no denying the fact that like Muslims, Christians are also treated by the Hindutva ideologues as the ‘other’ whose existence is a threat to the Hindu nation. V D Savarkar has argued that since the Christians and the Muslims have their holy lands outside India, their loyalty to the nation is suspect. Golwalkar has suggested that such minorities should not have civil and legal rights. Deen Dayal Upadhyay, another Right-wing ideologue, believes that these groups must prove their loyalty to India.

Wrong intensions

In Manipur, the Kukis are in a minority and most of them are Christians. The government led by N Biren Singh is dominated by the Meitei community that commands 53 per cent of the population, and most of them are Hindus. The Singh government has been accused of calling Kukis outsiders and waging a war against the State under the pretext of narco-terrorism. But it does not answer why hundreds of churches have been demolished. An alert Chief Minister would have anticipated the fallout of the High Court order much in advance, and things would not have come to such a pass.

If the idea is not to control the situation but to ‘reclaim the lost land’ under the hallucination of a false consciousness, then of course death and destruction are weapons to correct the ‘wrongs of history’.

(Ashutosh is Editor, Satyahindi, and author of Hindu Rashtra.)

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author's own. They do not necessarily reflect the views of DH.

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Published 25 July 2023, 06:16 IST

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