Disintegrating the Hindu society
By Dr. T. H. Chowdary
“Indian army wary of Role in Gujjar Stir” – thus runs a [Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad, of 28.05.2008] news report attributed to senior Indian army circles in New Delhi. Gujjars in Rajasthan have been agitating under leadership of a Col Kirori Singh Bhainsla (Rtd) for inclusion in the Scheduled Tribe category. They want to move down from the backward category [BC] into the Scheduled Tribe [ST] category. Meenas, another Hindu community who are already in the ST category are fiercely opposing the inclusion of Gujjars in the scheduled tribes category as it would diminish their part of the cake of ST reservations. Fifteen Districts of Rajasthan and some districts in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and the national capital territory of Delhi experienced Rasta and Rail Rokos and such agitations which turned violent. Police are deployed and army units are standing by. If this were a single incident in the whole of India, then there may not be much concern. Gujjars like Jats, join the armed forces in large numbers. There are 30,000 of them in the armed forces. They are preferred recruits among those who offer to join the army. The armed forces being required to stand by and if necessary to handle the agitators are worried. Their units contain Gujjars and Gujjar soldiers will have to shoot down Gujjars; what if they refuse? That is the worry. When our armed forces were used to flush out the heavily armed militants holed up in the Golden temple in Amritsar, the consequence was heart-wrenching. Sikh soldiers and officers had to shoot down Sikh militants. Some Sikh soldiers deserted; some resigned and some Officers got so outraged that some of them became leaders of Sikh militants of the Khalistan [Sovereign Sikh State] movement in Punjab.
We have in our Armed Forces some regional and even predominantly caste regiments like the Mahars and the Goorkhas. If the Mahars in Maharashtra are engaged in a civil agitation, then using the armed forces which contain Mahar units will be problematic. Like wise if there is a violent Dravidian movement in Tamilnadu say, against Hindi or winding down reservations, then the use of our Armed Forces which contain many Tamilians, may be problematic.
The spirit of nationalism and that India is ‘one nation’ is fast collapsing among our people. There are caste-wise formations. Political leaders regional as well as national, are patronizing such formations. Different castes are wanting to be declared backward and more backward; so backward that they should be included in scheduled tribe category. Some forward castes like Kapus for example in Andhra Pradesh are wanting to be included in the backward classes category; those castes who are already listed as backward are opposing the inclusion. Among the scheduled castes in Andhra Pradesh there are 54 sub-castes. As a lion’s share of the reservations, is going to one caste, Mala, who have mostly converted to Christianity but continue to declare themselves as scheduled caste-Hindus. The far more numerous sub-caste madigas have been carrying agitation, including fast undo death, for classification of the scheduled castes according to sub-castes allocating reservations to the sub-castes in proportion to their population. Government of India had to appoint the Js Usha Mehra Committee to study this classification (Vargikaran) demand. Its report appears to recommend classification of the SCs; this report was denounced by the Malas. They are engaged in counter-movements.
The Indian Armed Forces recruit soldiers purely by merit. The utmost that they are conscious of proper representation is that they cast their net over at least 10% of every states’ population for consideration of recruitment. Only the fit among these nets are selected. This is the only concession that the armed forces make for seeing that the people from all the states are included in the services. But now politics in the states is getting more and more centered around caste groups. While Dr B R Ambedkar led movements for annihilation of caste, politicians are invigorating caste consciousness and solidarity through movements for inclusion of almost every caste in BC, OBC, and ST categories and for “packages” of crores for relieving backwardness and caste-specific financial corporations to advance loans. These movements are some times becoming so violent as to require deployment of armed forces.
The question arises as to whether casteism will also infect our armed forces and therefore subvert their loyalty to the nation. Our armed forces are trained, drilled and psychologically indoctrinated to think of themselves as one nation, as one people and to be prepared to die in defence of the state and nation. But if units of the armed forces are often used to suppress casteist and communal agitations, will their loyalty to the nation get subverted and undermined by caste and religious solidarity? We have already seen this in regard to Sikhs. Now are we going to see this again in connection with agitation of Gujjars and later on, some other castes in some other state? This must be the greatest worry to every patriotic Indian. Unfortunately almost all our politicians are showing degenerated minds. It appears that the BJP had promised to Rajasthan’s Gujjars during the 2003 elections to the Legislative Assembly that if returned to power, they would include Gujjars in the scheduled tribe category. The Congress in Andhra Pradesh had been promising to Kapus that if they support the Congress, the Congress government would include Kapus in the B C Category. These unscrupulous promises to gain power are what are destroying the Hindu society. The Hindu society is already subject to onslaught by three fundamentalist forces –Christian and Islamic religious fundamentalisms are engaged in conversion and conquest respectively; Communists’ political theology is in league with forces that want to obliterate Hinduism. As if these three very well funded transnational onslaughts are not enough, now greedy dynasty-building politicians from among Hindus are a accentuating caste divisions to destroy whatever remains as a Hindu community; as the Indian nation.
In Chhattisgarh, the ‘local’ Hindi-speaking people prevented two hundred Telugu-speaking people from Andhra Pradesh from appearing in the recruitment examination conducted by a Central Government corporation saying that they are non-locals. Biharis appearing for recruitment in South Central Railways in Hubli [Karnataka] and Secunderabad, (A P) were obstructed by the local people. In Assam there has been raging agitation against non-Assamese working there to the extent that Hindi and Bengali-speaking people are being killed.
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, in his last speech as the President of India, lamented that there is a “deficit of leaders with noble minds”. This deficit was being built up since several decades. Indira Gandhi unabashedly subverted Indian laws and Constitution for personal and Dynastic power. We had evidence of that during the fascist Emergency imposed in 1975-‘77. Since then, politics have become competitive populism; appeasing to language, regional, caste and religious groupings. Earlier, it was only Muslims who were separatist but now Christians are also separatists [eg. Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram] and both these are supported by some brands of communist parties and ‘seculars’.
Kulapati K M Munshiji in his small book, ‘Warnings of History’, and Rajaji in his several writings warned the nation of what precisely is happening now. Munshiji spoke of three essentials for a people to consider themselves as a nation: Common memory of heroes and their achievements, will to unity and habitual urge to collective action. During our movement for freedom, great leaders were promoting all these three ideas. They were educating people in our common nationhood. Rajajji sensed the creeping degeneration in the Congress, especially under Jawaharlal Nehru’s brand of populist socialism. Dr B R Ambedkar in his several studies pointed out that unlike Muslims and Christians who are distinct communities and who act in the name of their community, Hindus are not one community but that they are something like a federation of thousands of castes having only cultural unity. If that cultural unity is fostered and caste gets sublimated and insignificant by education which gives mobility across professions, our nationhood gets stronger to overcome divisiveness due to caste, language and region. Unfortunately, politicians deficient in noble mind are invoking and invigourating saste consciousness for electoral gains. The consequence is the emergence of many antagonisms within who are called Hindus. Dr B R Ambedkar very boldly pointed to the unfitness of the Congress to rule the country. In a letter to Sushri Sharada, his future wife, soon after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, he wrote:
“Mr Gandhi had become a positive danger to his country. He had choked all the thoughts. He was holding together the Congress which is a combination of all the bad and self-seeking elements in society who agreed on no social or moral principle governing the life of society except the one of praising and flattering Mr Gandhi. Such a body is unfit to govern the country”.
We have he same mindset namely, sycophancy among followers of not only the Congress Party but also those of the casteist, regional, proprietary parties all over India. In his speech in the Constituent Assembly on the occasion of adoption of the Constitution, Dr B R Ambedkar said that if political parties and leaders place, communal, regional, linguistic, caste and religious interests above that of the nation, then we will lose Independence, this time for ever unlike in the past.
That the highest in the Indian armed forces are getting concerned about caste loyalties that might prevail in the soldiers in the context of caste-based agitations like Gujjars is ominous. Dr B R Ambedkar only thought of not having Muslims in an united India’s army as their use against a Muslim country’s war on India was opposed by the Khilafatists and later, by the Muslim League. Sri V P Menon, [who was Secretary of the States Minority of the GoI] in his book, ”Integration of Indian States” recorded the facts of Muslim soldiers in the army of the Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir turning traitors and killing their Hindu brother-soldiers and en-mass joining the Pakistan’s raiders. If our political leaders do not take note of the anguished thoughts of the senior echelons of our armed forces, casteism will destroy even the Armed Forces as a national unit. Will our politicians heed and learn from history?
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