As India regresses on democratic markers, previously disavowed Hindutva leaders are finding new legitimacy. M. S. Golwalkar, the second Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is one such person.
Madhavrao Sadashivrao Golwalkar, a Hindu nationalist, believed that India should be a Hindu country and minorities should have the rights of second class citizens as long as they accepted Hindu rule and explicitly considered Muslims, Christians and communists to be enemies. While the RSS and the BJP have pushed for this agenda, the democratic nature of Free India had prevented explicit endorsement of his views.
Golwalkar was among the early Hindu Nationalists and promoted a particularly xenophobic brand of Hindu Nationalism that seeked to delegitimize minority religions and rejected the idea of peaceful coexistence with other religions, Islam in particular. He justified the caste system and basically promoted a view of India as a country where only Hindus were the legitimate citizens and even among them, the caste system organized them and gave them purpose. He is said to have advised Hindus to fight Muslims, Christians and communists among themselves rather than fighting the British colonial rule.
Under the mentorship of Hedgewar, Golwalkar became a sarkaryavah and then sanghchalak in the RSS. He carried forward the work of Hedgewar and was influential in establishing the international influence of the RSS and the eventual creation of the BJP. His admiration for the Nazi Germany and the Holocaust and the desire to treat Muslims in India in a similar manner continues to inspire the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and dozens of its affiliated organizations.
Under the leadership of the Current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party government has been taking subtle, but explicit steps toward this agenda. Leaders of the RSS as well as the BJP have been promoting targeting of minorities without consequence. leaders of lynch mobs against Muslims have been conspicuously rewarded with government appointments or awards by organizations affiliated with the RSS and BJP.
Last year, the Citizenship Amendment Act offered Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from neighbouring countries. Ostensibly, the Citizenship Amendment Act, discriminatory as it was, applied to non-Indians seeking to become Indians. In reality, when combined with the simultaneous National Register of Citizenship, it would have the power to render Muslim residents of India, who could not prove citizenship to stringent criteria, stateless. Including Muslims who have been born in India, whose ancestors have lived in India for as far back as they can trace and who may have never been outside India. It would leave them vulnerable to being rounded up and sent to detention centers for deportation.
When the Ministry of Culture recognizes M. S. Golwalkar as a great thinker, it is speaking of the man arrested for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi along with Vasantrao Damodar Savarkar, who were not sentenced only because witnesses against them disappeared during the trial. It is speaking of the man who admired Adolf Hitler and praised theNazi Germany for the Holocaust:
To keep up the purity of the nation and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of Semitic races – the Jews. National pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.M. S. Golwalkar
M. Solwalkar also endorsed the caste system and saw it as a duties assigned to men and saw it as the organization of society as per Manu as written the Manusmriti. These thoughts, that the Indian Ministry of Culture admires are also reflected in the violations of human rights in the news emerging from the country.
An official government handle recognizing and legitimizing Golwalkar as worthy of respect is yet another ominous indication of impending departure from democracy. Such signals have long been used to indicate what is acceptable to the state, to the supporters of Hindutva.
It is high time the citizens of India as well as the world recognized that the government of India has gone rogue and is no longer congruent with the Constitution of India. It has made official statements as well as actions that violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which it is a signatory.