Hindutva’s Second Coming : Democracy as Majoritarianism

subhash gatade’s book hindutva’s second coming
subhash gatade’s book hindutva’s second coming

We can never forget that everything that Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal,’ and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did was ‘illegal.’ It was ‘illegal’ to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany, but I am sure that if I lived in Germany during that time I would have comforted my Jewish brothers even though it was illegal… we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.

Martin Luther King, Jr

What is the signature of democracy?

It is the
understanding that minority voices will be allowed to flourish and they will
not be bulldozed.

At the apparent level majoritarianism – rule by the majority – sounds very similar to democracy but it essentially stands democracy on its head. For real democracy to thrive, it is essential that ideas and principles of secularism are at its core. The idea that there will be a clear separation between state and religion and there won’t be any discrimination on the basis of religion has to be its guiding principle.

Majoritarianism clearly defeats democracy in an idea as well as practice.

democracy’s metamorphosis into majoritarianism is a real danger, under rule of
capital – especially its present phase of neoliberalism – another lurking
danger is its evolution into what can be called as plutocracy – government by
the rich.

As India enters the race for elections to the 17th Lok Sabha, these are the two broad questions which are staring in everyone’s mind, whether the same dynamic – which has made the last five years as unique in Independent India’s history – will continue or we will witness a rupture.

It is a
disturbing scenario when the biggest democracy in the world seems to have taken
a ‘[Q]uantum Jump In Wrong Direction Since 2014’ (Amartya Sen) – prompting even
the normally reticient community of scientists to ask people to reject the
politics which ‘.[d]ivides us, creates fears, and marginalises a large fraction
of our society’ and remind them that “[D]iversity is our democracy’s greatest
strength; discrimination and non-inclusivity strike at its very foundation.’

there would be further normalisation of majoritianism or ordinary people’s
desire to live a more inclusive, egalitarian life and in a less toxic world would
ultimately triumph the designs of the hatemongers and secondly, whether free
run being given to the crony capitalists and moneybags would be over and ideas
of redistribution would make a comeback with vengeance.

What has added a new dimension to this dynamic is the existence of a ‘self proclaimed cultural organisation’ called RSS – whose principles, ideology and activities contravene the very basis of Constitution – which is de facto ruling the country. It is an organisation whose principles “[d]epicting Indian nationalism in terms of the faith of the religious majority – have serious negative social and political implications for sections of the citizen-body and are in violation of the Constitution.” (caravan daily)

It was
exactly 42 years back that Indian people defeated the attempts to throttle the
democratic experiment by their united struggle, whether they would be we able
to have an encore when more secretive, sinister and communal forces are on
ascent who are also popular among a significant section of people.

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The central
concern of the collection of essays (some of them published earlier and revised
for this collection) presented here is this normalisation of majoritarianism
which is taking place here. A situation where representation of the biggest
religious minority in the outgoing Parliament had been at its lowest since
independence and where it is being slowly invisiblised even from public

Section I
tries to situate these developments in India in South Asian context and search
for any commonality in the experiences of people and also looks at the societal
roots for this fascination of hate filled ideologies and leaders.

Section II
deals with the ‘pioneers of the Hindutva Supremacist movement and the new icons
they want to present for a ‘New India’ which is supposedly taking shape under
their wings. Section III tries to offer tentative suggestions to fight the
menace which is trying to overwhelm the Indian republic.

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The book is
dedicated to the memory of the legendary Indonesian author Pramoedya Ananta Tur
(February 20, 1925 – April 30, 2006) who survived persecution, imprisonment and
censorship, whose writings have inspired generations of Indonesian People,

What was
remarkable that Pramoedya, a leftist, was jailed not only during the anti-colonial
struggle but had to undergo a long phase of detention which started in
mid-sixties when Indonesia witnessed a CIA sponsored military coup – which
witnessed killings of lakhs of people. He was released from imprisonment in
1979, but remained under house arrest in Jakarta until 1992.

tetralogy of novels – for which he is best known – ‘Buru Quartet’ was written
during the tormenting period of detention only. “Is it possible,” Pramoedya
asked later, “to take from a man his right to speak to himself?”

Glory to his memory !

(Preface of Subhash Gatade’s Book Hindutva’s Second Coming )

Section I

1. India:
The Road Less Travelled by

2. Time to
Militarise Hindus, Hinduise the Nation

3. South
Asia: Forward March of Majoritarianism

4. Dear

Section II

5. Veer of a
different Kind

6. Can the
Real Shyamaprasad Mukherjee Ever Stand Up?

7. Godse: In
Love with the Assasin

8. Deendayal
Upadhyay: BJP’s “Gandhi”

9. Many
Silences of Mr Mohan Bhagwat

Section III

Hindutva’s Second Coming

Appendix IV

Ambedkar and Challenge of Majoritarianism