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VHP finds its Prithviraj the Second

New Delhi, May 24: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad today hailed Narendra Modi’s ascent to power at the Centre as a “resurrection of Hindu rule” that it claimed had ended in 1192 when Muhammad Ghori defeated Prithviraj Chauhan in the Second Battle of Tarain.

The outfit’s patriarch, Ashok Singhal, said he saw the election result as India gaining “independence”.

“A cataclysmic change has occurred. Khoya hua raj vapas aa gaya (A lost sovereignty has returned). It’s the return of the rule under Prithviraj,” Singhal told reporters.

Chauhan is portrayed as the last Hindu king to sit on the throne of Delhi.

“We lost our right to rule then and now it has come back. The return of this glorious era has vindicated the sacrifice that so many martyrs made for India’s Independence,” Singhal said.

“August 15, 1947, is not Independence Day. Yes, India fought a freedom struggle under Gandhi’s leadership.”

Singhal claimed the idea of “secularism” had been interpreted in divergent ways in India. He seemed to be approving of the way the concept was understood — in his opinion — by Congress stalwarts such as the Mahatma, Madan Mohan Malviya, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Vinoba Bhave and Vallabhbhai Patel.

After Independence, he claimed, the Congress interpreted “secularism” in a “perverse” way, so that “one thousand years of our sanskriti (tradition) was forced to surrender to the forces of... minority appeasement”.

“There were two schools of thought regarding secularism within the Congress. For one school, secularism meant upholding the pride of Hindutva,” Singhal claimed.

“Secularism, as understood by Malviya and Gandhi, was influenced by Hindutva. They held programmes to propagate the practice of Hindutva with self-respect. They were not ashamed to call themselves Hindus.”

Singhal, who is also a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue, held up Patel as an example of “Hindutva ka abhimaan (pride at being Hindu)”.

He claimed that after Independence, Patel had taken it on himself to rebuild the Somnath temple in Gujarat that Mahmood of Ghazni had destroyed.

“There was no protest from anyone,” he added.

Singhal glorified Patel as the Congress’s “badshah (monarch)” and claimed that Patel had “single-handedly” ensured Purshottam Das Tandon’s anointment as Congress president, foiling Jawaharlal Nehru’s “designs” to appoint J.B. Kripalani to the post.

Tandon, known as a votary of “soft Hindutva”, was not favoured by Nehru. “After Patel’s death, people like Tandon were sidelined,” Singhal alleged.

He argued that Modi’s victory meant the “return of Sardar Patel’s convictions on secularism and of the restoration of Hindutva”.

“Hindutva is not a narrow concept as some believe. We have a large heart; we gave space to people from other lands to live and pursue their faiths — the Syrian Christians, the Parsees, the Jews,” he said.