The ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu has wholeheartedly endorsed the distinction Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has made between “Hindu” and “Hindutva” while ideologically combating the BJP.
The DMK mouthpiece, the Murasoli newspaper, has quoted extensively in its December 15 editorial from Rahul’s speeches last week in Jaipur and Amethi to laud his categorical rejection of “hate, anger and violence” that Hindutva implies and his embracing of the “Hindu view of life” that espouses love and respect for all religions.
The ringing approval from the ally has come at a time apprehensions have been expressed in certain quarters that Rahul could be falling into a “trap” on “religious binaries” that the BJP could benefit from while trying to divert attention from the Narendra Modi government’s failures and to communalise the pre-poll atmosphere in crucial states.
At the Congress’s “Maha Rally” in Jaipur, Rahul had said in no uncertain terms that the ideological battle waged by the secular and progressive forces rested on two concepts — Hindu and Hindutvavadi. The two meant entirely different things, Murasoli noted while quoting Rahul. The Congress leader had elaborated on the theory during a march in former pocket borough Amethi on Saturday.
Making a philosophical distinction, Rahul had said that Mahatma Gandhi was a Hindu, but Nathuram Godse was a Hindutvavadi.
“Gandhiji’s autobiography is titled My Experiments with Truth. He spent his whole life in understanding the
truth, and in the end a ‘Hindutvavadi’ shot him in the chest, because a Hindutvavadi spends his entire life in search of power (satta). The latter does not care about truth and his path is not ‘Satyagraha’ as that of Gandhi’s, but Satta-graha,” Rahul Gandhi had said.
Amid criticisms in some quarters that Rahul Gandhi should avoid this ‘binary religious trap’, which could be the best diversion the ruling
BJP dispensation could be looking for, the DMK has termed the Congress leader’s bold remarks at Jaipur as drawing attention to the “misuse of religion for political ends by some parties” and that this should set the people thinking.
In an Editorial in the DMK’s official organ, ‘Murasoli’ (Dec 15, 2021), the ruling Dravidian party in Tamil Nadu, quoting extensively from Rahul Gandhi’s Jaipur rally speech,
“Who is a Hindu? One who embraces all, who is not afraid of anyone and one who respects all faiths is a Hindu,” the ‘Murasoli’ editorial said, quoting at length from Rahul Gandhi’s speech at Jaipur. There is a world of difference between ‘Hindu’ and ‘Hindutvavadi’. The ‘Hindu’ does not intimidate or threaten anyone. Does any Hindu text call for hating Muslims, Sikhs and others (faiths) ? I have read several ‘Upanishads’ and none of them speak such language,” the DMK organ underscored in defense of Rahul.
The DMK organ further argued that “religions and various religious faiths have been existing for ages.”
But using religion as an instrument and using a particular religion-centric view to target and hurt the sentiments of adherents of other religions, is being done by some with a ‘motivated political agenda’. It is to this fundamental difference that Rahul Gandhi flagging the debate points to, said the ‘Murasoli’ Editorial.
The DMK’s organ said it should also be borne in mind that just as not all Hindus in the country are with the BJP, similarly BJP is not the sole representative of the Hindus.
“To criticize the Union BJP government’s policies and programmes is a political stand that opposition parties take. But that does not make them anti-national. To construe political critics of the BJP as anti-national and unpatriotic and to dub them as anti-Hindus is the height of absurdity,” the DMK said, adding, it is contrary to norms of democratic politics.
Coming down on communally oriented politics for short-term political gains to capture power, the DMK organ ‘Murasoli’ said, such forces tending to sow the seeds of ‘archaic, outmoded feudalistic mindset’ to achieve their purpose, is not good for the country. “From distorting history to seeking to strengthen regressive right-wing ideologies, their acts smack of communalism and warrants a strong opposition to such tendencies,” the DMK said.
Referring to the recent CBSE tenth standard English question paper containing outrageously misogynic views about women, the DMK organ said this is the latest example of “ how communalism sows the seeds of conservatism”.
Any form of assault, conceptual and otherwise, whether against women or any section of society, against linguistic and religious minorities, besides Dalits and Tribals, that seek to undermine India’s linguistic, cultural and religious pluralism, cannot be allowed, the DMK said. Rahul Gandhi flagging the ‘Hinduva Vs Hindutvavaadi’ debate is to remind us of these interrelated issues, ‘Murasoli’ added.
In fact, in the last six months since the DMK came back to power on May 7, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has been treading the proverbial middle path. While being uncompromising in its critique of communal policies in protecting Tamil Nadu’s federal, linguistic, ethnic and cultural interests, the DMK also cordially dialogues with the Centre on administrative grounds, like seeking more Covid vaccines to rapidly vaccinate the state population, pressing for GST dues and flood relief.