SEARCH

Opinion » Comment

Updated: January 29, 2013 01:37 IST

Two-nation theory all over again

Vidya Subrahmaniam
Comment (34)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
TOO SKITTISH? While the Home Minister should have substantiated his accusations, reactions have been equally over the top, the trigger being an extremist element’s comment. BJP members stage a protest at Jantar Mantar against Mr. Shinde’s remarks. Photo: PTI
TOO SKITTISH? While the Home Minister should have substantiated his accusations, reactions have been equally over the top, the trigger being an extremist element’s comment. BJP members stage a protest at Jantar Mantar against Mr. Shinde’s remarks. Photo: PTI

Sushil Kumar Shinde spoke irresponsibly of ‘Hindu’ terrorism. But it is equally absurd to see the remarks as ‘playing into’ Pakistan’s hands

On his prime-time show on Times Now, Arnab Goswami was in red-hot rage: this time over Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s statement that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ran terror camps. To quote Mr. Shinde : “… their training camps are promoting Hindu terrorism.”

It has become a habit with Mr. Shinde to shoot from the hip and then look bewildered at the commotion he has caused. In the middle of the student exodus back to the north-east, when passions desperately needed cooling, he offered to run more trains to take the frightened crowds home rather than reasoning with them to stay back. More recently Mr. Shinde made the astonishing claim that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had been kept out of the loop on Ajmal Kasab’s secret execution.

Mr. Shinde undoubtedly misspoke on “Hindu” terrorism and “Hindu” training camps at the Congress’s Jaipur conclave. He should have known that at party meets government takes a back seat to organisation. And even if he typically mixed up the two roles, he should have substantiated his accusations and explained why he was indulging the BJP if it ran terror camps. And he most certainly should not have used “Hindu” in place of the ideological construct of Hindutva. And yet the reactions to the Home Minister’s gaffe have been equally over the top, with Mr. Goswami leading the pack of breast-beaters hyperventilating over “India playing into Pakistan’s hands.” The trigger was provided by Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed who obviously saw it as a ‘gotcha!’ moment: “World should take notice and declare India a state that is supporting terror on its soil after its HM Shinde candidly confessed.”

Pakistan’s statement

Several questions arise: Is India going to get all defensive and skittish each time an extremist from across the border deliberately makes a provocative comment? Why do we need to respond to Hafiz Saeed when official Pakistan has reacted far more responsibly? Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Moazzam Khan said: “We being a responsible country do not want to get into speculative mode.” Mr. Khan avoided direct accusations even on the Samjhauta Express blasts where Indian investigators have moved from blaming Pakistan to Hindutva groups: “Pakistan has repeatedly said that we want a thorough investigation (into Samjhauta) and want the investigation to be shared with Pakistan, and whosoever are the perpetrators or culprits should be punished in accordance with the law.” Can anyone quarrel with this perfectly reasonable response?

More importantly, consider the full implications of pushing the line that admitting to Hindutva terror means scoring a self-goal vis-à-vis Pakistan. Should investigators on the trail of right-wing terror groups stop midcourse because the results might help Pakistan? Will Pakistan decide how we deal with our internal problems?

If the answer is yes, then, henceforth India must decide that all terrorists must necessarily be Muslim even if the evidence throws up Hindutva connections as it has indeed done in a host of blast cases, from Malegaon to Mecca Masjid to Samjhauta Express. India must resort to this dishonesty in order that we don’t find ourselves squirming under Pakistan’s accusing gaze. This is absurd logic and leads to the alarming conclusion that Pakistan will not object if the Indian terrorists are Muslim. And why so? Because Indian Muslims are Pakistani by belief and behaviour! Isn’t it a point to ponder that the “playing into Pak hands” objection is never raised when an Indian Muslim organisation is under the scanner for home-grown terror? What is this if not the two-nation theory all over again?

The BJP said as much when it reacted to Mr. Shinde’s statement thus: “It is a downright insult of India’s spiritual, cultural and civilisational heritage…” In other words, if a Hindutva link is found to terror, then the nation is insulted. But obviously not when innocent Muslims are picked up, tortured and incarcerated — as they have been in all the cases mentioned.

The NIA charge sheets

If Mr. Shinde felt the need to take on the Hindutva parivar, he could have stuck to the charge sheets filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The NIA, which has so far filed two charge sheets in the Samjhauta Express case — one on June 20, 2011 and the second on August 9, 2012 — did not once use the word “Hindu.” But the ideological orientation of the accused was clear enough: Their collective motive was attributed to “Jihadi/terrorist attacks” on the temples of Akshardham (Gujarat), Raghunath (Jammu) and Sankat Mochan (Varanasi). And they were charged with bearing “deep vengeance against not only the Jehadi terrorists but unfortunately against an entire minority community.” The second charge sheet spoke of the accused getting “training in a jungle near Bagli, District Dewas, Madhya Pradesh.”

As citizens, we can question the charge sheets, and argue that they could turn out to be fabrications, as they have in some of the Jehadi cases. But at least the Minister would have been stating what is on record — both on the ideological direction of the accused and on the training camps.

Similarly the BJP should have forced Mr. Shinde to provide evidence that the party ran training camps. But it had no business taking the moral high ground on terrorism. The party never objected to Muslims being randomly picked up. It said with relish that “all terrorists are Muslim.” Today the party’s hypocritical new line is that terror has no religion.

vidya.s@thehindu.co.in

More In: Comment | Opinion

What Vidya like the HM fails to understand is that none of the so called Hindutva Terrorists have been chargesheeted (leave alone convicted) on the charge? For argument sage, even if these people are convicted, there is nothing to prove that they took to this course out of Hindutva or ideology (and hence Hindutva Terror is a misnomer) but because of personal revenge.

Whereas there have been several terrorists who took to terror activities in the name of Islam (Jihad) and hence it is fit to call them Islamic Terrorists.

Again, what is the proof that they have been trained by RSS/BJP? Without proof some person will talk non sense and Vidya wants everybody to keep quiet or threaten of the two nation theory.

Ridiculous to say the least.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Jan 30, 2013 at 14:03 IST

Is it that hard to criticize Mr. Shinde's statement without looking like a contortionist trying not to appear supporting BJP. Worse is the sugar coating of Mr. Shinde statements. "Misspoke" doesn't quite describe what Mr. Shinde the Home Minister said about BJP.
I am curious how getting trained in jungle translates to terror camps?
I am curious to see if there are citations regarding the claim that BJP called all terrorist as Muslims. Is it a BJP party member saying that or the BJP party saying it. I suspect it is the former. If that is then logic, then would it mean that Congress party relishes in addressing OBL with a "ji"?

from:  Hemant
Posted on: Jan 29, 2013 at 09:07 IST

A long due realization is pointed out in this article. The idea of nationalism of saffron organizations is non-inclusive and spreads hatred directly or indirectly. Also it is a truth that organizations related or linked to the RSS have been implicated in possessing illegal arms, training etc. In all of the communal riots, the leaders of such organizations have been implicated in criminal acts. It can be generally argued that for the BJP the common target are minorities. Isn't it a very dangerous situation, one of the largest political party in India has its biggest agenda directed against some communities. The two nation theory is already in practice in some regions of India where minority populated areas are called as small Pakistan. Where are we going as a nation. At a time when we should be moving forward, we are thinking a century back. Hate is not good for any community or nation. We have the example of Germany to take lesson from.

from:  John
Posted on: Jan 29, 2013 at 05:21 IST

Being in such a responsible position, Mr.Shinde should be wary of his
words.

from:  Vijay Kumar DM
Posted on: Jan 29, 2013 at 02:26 IST

This is another thought provoking analysis by Vidya. I congratulate the Hindu for producing balanced writings from Praveen Swami about the LOC incident and now this article. In an interview,Mani Shankar Iyer said "India cannot be always right and Pakistan, always wrong, on every issue". Vidya rightly asks the question whether one terror is better than another. No question, Shinde has stirred up controversy but perhaps it has produced some introspection that is desirable. Hindutva is totally irrelevant to India and India must show to the world that we can and will rise above such bias.

from:  sridhar
Posted on: Jan 29, 2013 at 00:01 IST

If Mr. Shinde and concerned Govt is/are so spuriously secular, Then
there is no question. Is talking about one religion make some one
Communal!!!!!, then Mr. Shinde no doubt you too have become one of them.

The Article is very good criticism of our HM on absurd statement.

from:  Santosh
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 23:57 IST

If right wing finds no fault in using 'ISLAMIC TERRORISM'. Then why this sudden
outrage over 'HINDU TERRORISM'. There wasn't any need for such hue & cry, it only
notifies the criminalisation of men with such identity and has nothing to do with
religion.

from:  Javed Suri
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 23:15 IST

The article has been written as if the author feels that she knows the arcane reality & is somehow more enlightened than anyone else. However, good writing skills don't necessarily translate into deep insight. The analysis seems flawed & it seems that this article has been written just for the sake of writing. Didn't expect such a poor quality piece from the newspaper.

from:  Vinay S
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 21:54 IST

Vidya,

Before speaking about the rationale behind Pakistan's statements, go and ask
Hemraj's mother if there is rationale in her son being beheaded. If there were
rationale in Pakistan's stands, Kargil would not have happened, the perpetrators of
Mumbai attacks would have been sentenced to death, all of Kashmir would have been
a part of India. Actions speak more than words.

BJP may have said "all terrorists are muslims", but they certainly never said "all
muslims are terrorists". If you check statistics across the world, maximum acts of
terrorism have been perpetrated by muslims. When the entire world says that this is
so,you cannot say that BJP is taking an unearned moral high ground by saying that.
They are merely stating what is known. Chk your facts.

Lastly do you even know about Hindutva is, to speak about it derogatorily. Hindutva
is not a religion, it's the most secular of ideas and most inclusive. Hindu had
published about 15-20 years ago what Hindutva is about. Read it

from:  Kiran UAE
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 21:54 IST

Mr Shinde who was promoted for failure (he presided over the largest blackout in Indian history as Power Minister just prior to being named the Home Minister) ought to resign over irresponsible communal comments designed to set the tone for 2014. If failure is what it takes to make it to the Home Ministry there are many other Congress candidates who would do as admirable a job.

from:  Samir Mody
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 19:31 IST

The Britishers were accused of following the divide and rule policy.
Might be there were two divisions then. Now under successive INC backed
governments the divisions are by the dozens. What else can this moronic
govt.do? General elections are looming large on the horizon.

from:  P.S.ARUNACHALAM
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 19:11 IST

Writer played down the HM's folly and congress tactics of vote bank politics. In the end, She put the blame on BJP. This is secularism at worst. Congress did the minority appeasement. Result was partition. again for vote bank, congress is playing with fire.

from:  citizen
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 19:07 IST

dear Hindu,
first of all the judgement is still not out on the so-called hindu involvement in any terror activities. And the police has still not find any substantial proof against RSS despite congress's repeated attempts to cast it as a terrorist organisation.
Secondly, Mr. Shinde should remember that he is firstly the home minister of the country and secondly a congressman and his statements(without any proof) can be used against India's fight against terrorism. if he as substantial proof against RSS, he should bring it in open and ban the RSS/BJP. But as expected if he does not have any proof and just gave the statement to get some accolades from the pseudo-seculars inside and outside of his party like the writer of this article, then he should morally resign.
Also, i cant understand the writer's hell bent attitude on stating that it was not anti-national to accuse the elected opposition party of terror links by the home minister. hope you people do some sensible journalism.

from:  Mohit
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 18:26 IST

At a time when almost all quarters of political arena including the Congress is either rejecting the claim or distancing themselves, the writer wants to pick up an old rhetoric from the past and blunt the criticism of the Home Minister. While the writer feels it is justified to call BJP hypocratic, she comfortably or deliberately refuses to accept the hypocratic agenda of Vote bank/minority appeasement politics persued by the ruling party.

from:  Anand Subramanian
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 18:08 IST

Its time for reformation and introspection,India cannot afford any
type of terrorist activity on her soil,so if Mr Shinde has disclosed
something related to national security we should not be apologetic
about it.There is a need to curb all types of terrorism whether
Saffron,Green or Blue.Hindustan is the biggest democracy in the
world,we cannot remain oblivious to a threat which could erode our
moorings and set stage for disintegration of the Union. The Hinduvta
supporters should rather have an introspection and find out why
extremist behavior does not have any space in a civilized country like
ours.
Finally every body must answer one simple question,what kind of India
are we leaving for our next generations?

from:  sardar singh
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 16:24 IST

Being in the ruling government of cabinet rank, its noncommendable, giving such comments especially when the country is at the verse of bilateral relationship crisis with pakistan, on part of Home Minister. pakistan has got nothing to do with the internal affairs of India, further the political parties should not excacerbate the situation giving cue to the comments made by persons( Hafeez sayeed) who has no right to comment on matters of India's internal affairs, neither on other countries for that matter.

from:  Shiva Kumar Adama
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 15:18 IST

Ms Vidya is writing nonsense, I am sorry to say. Hindus can be terrorists and can be investigated, but that does not make it Hindu terror, as Shinde said. He also said that BJP and RSS are running terrorist camps,without any proof. Does this mean by the same logic that terrorism by Muslims, including in Kashmir, is Muslim terrorism? What does Ms. Vidya call the Kashmiri terrorists who have thrown Kashmiri Hindus out of Kashmir and usurped their properties? Will she use the term Muslim terrorism for them , if religion can be brought into terrorism, as Shinde has mischievously done as Home Minister. The Government could point out hardly 10 Hindus amongst hundreds of alleged terrorists in India!The danger is that Shinde is making a ground for banning BJP, which is a serious matter.In that case, Ms. Vidya, will you write that the Congress party must be banned first, since it had and still has more than 10 alleged terrorists who killed Sikhs in 1984.

from:  R. Krishan
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 14:16 IST

HM Shinde seems to indulge in smearing the largest opposition party
which represents a good portion of the public support - "a case of call
a dog a bad name and hang it" based on the actions of a few. Let him
make the same remark about other parties equally placed and let us watch
the furore of the "secularists". It was an uncalled for remark aimed at
mischief.

from:  K.Chandrasekharan
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 13:49 IST

This is a mindblowing article -- it cannot get more accurate and spot-on than this. The objective of the TV anchor seems not to criticize Mr.Shinde's statement as such but instead to take opportunity to create an environment where nobody will be talking about Hindutva extremists.

from:  Yashwanth P
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 13:39 IST

The GOI is incapable of closing down terrorist training camps across the border but what about those training camps conducted by "hindu terrorist Organizations" like RSS/ BJP within the country as stated by the Honorable Home Minister and seconded by the Home Secretary. Reminds me of the old western movie" the good, bad and the ugly" in which the villain is shot by another actor luxuriating in a bath tub with the cryptic comment,"if you want to shoot , shoot ,dont talk" The Home Minister was of course trying to play to the galleries by his loose comments, which were promptly negated/ reinforced alternately by the several Congress spokespersons, depending on whether they were on TV or in public!

from:  sthe mohan
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 13:15 IST

look at what nasar has written...thats the issue. all the major attacks
were caused by whom?. yes, there seems to be some retribution attacks
which have to be investigated...but that doesnt mean most of the
activities were committed by other groups.

from:  Ramu
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 12:51 IST

The article presents a different perspective on the recent events which should be appreciated, however ,as has been the case with many The Hindu articles lately, they are somehow always trying to protray BJP as a culprit.
An article on something that an irresponsible Home Minister, who is a congress person said , is manipulated to end with an acerbic statement about the BJP (Today the party’s hypocritical new line is that terror has no religion.)

from:  Raghav
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 12:16 IST

I have no issue with Mr. Shinde identifying Hindu terrorism network in India as a threat to national security. And although as an elected Government leader he has responsibility for communicating all known facts about this sensitive issue. I am more concerned about hysterical reaction, the cover up, and deflection of the bright light of truth aimed at this evil conspiracy amongst our very midst, whether it is perpetrated by militant Hindu or other organizations.

As a national society based on rule of law, whose values are based on the highest truths defined in our ancient scriptures, there is no room for hatred, violence or ill will against anybody. Our society is not based on hatred, violence or falsehoods; let others corner that market. We should not have any part of such misguided and evil designs that are verily, slippery paths to hell.

My allegiance is not to Hindus or Muslims but it is to God, whose truth shall set us all free. Narrow is the path of truth and heaven.

from:  shirish kokatay
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 09:33 IST

Finally the truth has tumbled out.But Congress cannot take credit for this.They have always played truant.They neither stopped the riots nor punished the perpetrators.It was Rajiv Gandhi who opened the gates of Babri Masjid that had been closed 30 years back. Shinde took this bold stand on his own I am sure.

from:  Nasar
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 09:15 IST

Mr Shinde and his Congress colleagues should not forget that what he has
done is wrong. If he/party does not apologise to the Nation they lose
faith of people by the hour.
He need not feel ashamed to say 'SORRY' to the countrymen. Forget the
opposition parties. It is the Nation and its people which is making the
demand. Congress will only gain out of this.
If the apology does not come it only would show the weakness of whomever
concerned.

from:  B S Mani
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 09:09 IST

The writer cannot establish the western idea of two-nation theory with regard to India and Pakistan by her lopsided and shallow article. She needs more thinking and deep study from a wider perspectve to establish the merit of this theory.

from:  BPGUPTA
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 07:43 IST

Well all men are sinners. Gandhi ji was a man and so was Osama and so is Hafez
Saeed. So by Congress logic and the logic argued in this story, there is no difference
among them.

from:  Rajiv
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 06:48 IST

Sir,

That Mr. Shinde referred to "Hindu/Saffron" terror is the lesser of the problems with his statement.

The real issue is that he made the astonishing claim that RSS/BJP are running terrorist training camps! Now this is a straightforward and simple statement. Either it is true or it isn't. If it is true, the Government should ban the RSS forthwith. If it isn't true, Shinde should retract his statement and apologize.

from:  Prashanth
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 06:40 IST

No doubt Vidya Subramaniam has written a very objective analysis about HM's comments. But as happens in every such analysis of such events a hint of contrived balancing act cannot escape notice. Please do not jump to conclusions that I am a religious or hindutva sympathiser.

from:  K Venkatachalam
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 06:40 IST

All political parties need to hold classes for its members on how to
speak, what to speak and when to speak. Speaker who do not know how to
tone the contents of the speech should not be given membership for
political parties . There are very few speakers in political parties
who know how to use words with out being offensive .The Congress party
and the BJP used to have good speakers but now most of them have
turned rhetoric churning regional religious sentiments. They forget
that India is a secular country and it is the right of all to live
peacefully within the country .Let us not weaken the secular fabric
of India

from:  Bobjee kurien
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 05:42 IST

Shinde's foot is in his mouth yet again!

from:  Santy
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 05:25 IST

The Congress is the party which is still reaping the fruits out of two
nation theory resulted into the break-up of the country. It is
beneficial to them to carry on. If the Home Minister knows the camps, he
should order for their wipe-out. Why is he not taking action?

from:  Vinod Kumar Gulati
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 04:47 IST

what do vidhya want to convey thru this article i dont understand ...!
anyways there is no religion for terrorism ... infact both hindu
bhagawath gita's "dharma yudda" and kuran's "jehaad" are not practiced in
the way it is told in holy books so terrorism is not linked to religion
. The issue is as few terrorists belonging to one community say it as "
jehaad" and misinterpret in the way they like and act accordingly that
community is blamed .

from:  satish reddy
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 02:26 IST

I believe it was Cong govt which arrested innocent muslim youth n
could not prove anything against them. Y blame the right wing for it.
Also US indicted LeT for Samjhauta blasts and put sanctions on LeT
even got UN 2 sanction them. And if any of the arrested hindus r
proved terrorists hand dem. Y r trials not happenin. Kasab gets
Biryani, Abu Jundal gets fancy food for Ramzan, Madani gets treatment
but Sandhvi Pragya does not get bail 4 treatment? Y d bias? Bcz she is
a right wing person. If she is proven guilty hang her. I wont object
to tht but y prolong delay of trials

from:  Vivek
Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 at 01:49 IST
Show all comments
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
The Hindu presents the all-new Young World


O
P
E
N

close

Recent Article in Comment

A map and a compass for climate talks

India needs both a principled approach and a strategic vision to take its negotiating position forward »