Has India transformed into a true Hindu nation? Know what Justice Katju is saying

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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This was inevitable

Has India transformed into a true Hindu nation?

Justice Markandey Katju

Yesterday, 22nd January, a large part of India was saffronised ( saffron is the sacred religious colour among Hindus )..

From a legal and Constitutional secular country, India has been transformed into a defacto Hindu nation, with minorities living as second-rate citizens, with constant fear of atrocities and oppression ( Hindus are 80% of India's population ).

How did this happen? This will be sought to be explained in this article.

For long Indians boasted of their country being secular, even after the Partition of India in 1947 on the basis of the two-nation theory ( that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations ), and despite the newly created Pakistan declaring itself an Islamic state. Now all this has changed.

Ever since the right-wing Hindu nationalist party, the BJP ( whose leaders come from the rabidly anti-Muslim and anti-Christian organisation, the RSS ), came to power in 2014, there was a steady trend of saffronisation of the country, with atrocities and discrimination on minorities, particularly Muslims, and saffronisation of state institutions.

This trend reached its culmination on 22nd January this year, with the 'pran pratishtha' ceremony of the Hindu god Ram in a newly built Ram temple in the town of Ayodhya in UP, performed by the Prime Minister Modi among a gathering of invitees ( many leaders of political parties of the Opposition, e.g. the Congress, refused to attend despite being invited, saying it was a political stunt organised with an eye on the forthcoming parliamentary elections, which are due in a few months in India ).

Hindus are idol worshippers. They believe that when an idol of a god is made, it remains just a piece of stone until life is instilled into it by a certain ceremony called the 'pran pratishtha'.

Ram is a prominent god among Hindus, and a Ram Janmabhoomi agitation was launched by the BJP many years ago when it was in the opposition ( the Congress was then in power ). Those involved in the agitation alleged that over the site of the birthplace of Lord Ram in Ayodhya there stood a Hindu temple for centuries, but it was demolished in the 16th century and the Babri mosque was built by Muslim invaders on the site. They demanded construction of a Ram temple on the same site, which obviously implied demolition of the Babri mosque.

The result of this agitation was the demolition of the mosque on 6th December 1992 by a huge mob of fanatic Hindus, and much later in 2019 the Indian Supreme Court, by a flawed verdict, allowed Hindu organisations, backed by the BJP, to build a Ram temple on the site.

Thereafter huge funds and the state machinery were utilised in construction of a huge Ram temple in Ayodhya, in which the Prime Minister did the pran pratishtha ceremony of the Ram statue yesterday, All Indian TV channels showed the event prominently.

Only those receiving invitations were allowed to attend, but the Prime Minister asked all Indians to celebrate the event wherever they were located. Government offices, educational institutions etc were closed for the day, and it was declared a public holiday by the central and many state governments.

I live in a flat in Noida, which is a township adjacent to Delhi, across the river Jamuna. When I got up in the morning yesterday I heard loudspeakers chanting 'Bol Shri Ram', singing of bhajans, and blowing of shankh (conch shells ) which is done in Hindu religious ceremonies )..

Later in the day I had to go to Delhi for some work. While travelling on my car I saw saffron coloured flags everywhere. There were cars, three wheelers, people on scooters and on foot with bhagwa ( saffron ) flags, and many processions of saffron clad people shouting 'Jai Shri Ram'. The railings on the sidewalks were covered in saffron cloth, and there were huge hoardings with Lord Ram's portraits on them.

At night I saw and heard fireworks, as if it were diwali.

The same must have happened over much of India.

The truth is that now the secularism enshrined in the Constitutions has been torn to shreds, and India has really become a Hindu nation, in which minorities must live as second-class citizens and suffer the consequences.

I submit this was inevitable once the then Congress party leaders Gandhi, Nehru, Patel etc accepted Partition in 1947 on the basis of the bogus two nation theory.

Jinnah, the leader of the Muslim League, was no doubt pressing for Partition ever since the Lahore Resolution of the League in 1940.

But it was the Congress leaders' eventual agreement and capitulation on the issue which resulted in the diabolical partition. Hence they are equally, if not more, to blame than Jinnah, and I regard them as criminals, as they were complicit in the greatest tragedy of India in its long history.

Once India was divided on the basis of the bogus two-nation theory, and an Islamic state Pakistan was created, it logically followed that sooner or later India would become a Hindu state.

For many decades after Independence in 1947 the pretence and facade of being secular was maintained ( with an eye on the large Muslim vote bank, particularly in north India ), but this could not go on indefinitely, and the pigeons have now come home to roost.

The real issues of India are abolition of its massive poverty, unemployment, appalling level of child malnutrition, skyrocketing prices of food and other essential commodities, almost total lack of proper healthcare and good education for the masses, etc.

But what is being depicted as the real issues are building temples, cow protection, and putting Muslims in their place.

And the most important issue today is building Hindu temples after demolishing the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, the Shahi masjid in Mathura, and thousands of other mosques which were allegedly built after demolishing Hindu temples.

India is going backwards instead of forwards.

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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