Census and RSS

Ram Puniyani

Are Adivasis Hindus? Forthcoming Census and RSS campaign

Currently massive protests are going on against NPR, NCR and CAA. At the same time we are going to begin the process of decadal census in 2021. Already RSS is active in promoting NPR, NCR and CAA. At the same time RSS wants that Adivasis should register themselves as Hindus rather than ticking the column of ‘Others’. As per their spokesperson in the 2011 census many Adivasis groups ticked that column because of which the population of Hindus came down to by 0.7 percent point to come down to 79.8 %. This has sent signals to this Hindu nationalist organization and is planning to ensures that Adivasis tick the column of Hindus in this census. As such RSS has a very clever attitude in defining the term Hindu. The first formulation was by Savakakar who said that all those who regard the land east of Indus as their Holy land and Father land are Hindus. This left out Muslims and Christians, and brought all others in the ambit of Hindu fold. From the decade of 1980s due to electoral compulsions they have been trying to articulate that all those who are living in India are Hindus. Murli Manohar Joshi stated that Muslims are Ahmadiya Hindus and Christians are Christi Hindus. Recently there was a controversy when they restated that Sikhs are not a separate religion but are a sect of Hinduism. Many Sikh organizations stood up to say that Sikhism is a religion by itself and recalled the book of Kahan Singh Nabha, “Hum Hindu Nahin” As far as Adivasis are concerned in contrast to what is being planned by Hindu nationalist RSS, many Adivasis groups have been meeting from last couple of years to demand just the contrary. As per them there should be a column where they can tick their identity of Adivasis.  There are active campaigns among Adivasis groups to uphold their Adivasi identity in Census. As per them in the first census which was conducted in Independent India, the column, Aborigines, was there, which was later removed forcing them to club themselves with other religions. After…