• Aslam Abdullah

Why do Hindu Nationalists Hate Islam and Muslims?



Hatred against Islam and Muslims among a section of Hindus under militant Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) has crossed all limits in India. In almost all aspects of life, Muslims and their lifestyles have become the target of contempt and wrath. Hijab is under attack, and the call to the prayers in a mosque is subject to objection. The boycott of small vendors with Muslim names is typical, and their entry in many areas is restricted.

Men with beards and caps and women with veils are targets of regular insults, and the burning of Muslim homes and businesses is part of a pattern overtaking the states run by the RSS political wing, the BJP. As a result, India is becoming like a rogue state with no safety for men, women, and children belonging to the Muslim and Christian communities.

Who are the hate mongers? Why do they hate Islam and Muslims, and what do hatemongers want to achieve from their bigoted acrimony?

The hate mongers include Hindus who believe in the establishment of a Hindu Rashtra and consider the presence of Muslims as a source of continuous pollution of the land that, in their view, deities gave to them. Further, they assert that Hindus have the sole monopoly of India that in its original geography included Pakistan, Afghanistan, Burma, and Bangladesh.

In their views, Islam is a foreign religion, and Muslims invaded the land and introduced a way of life that challenged the Hindu caste system and customs, instigating millions to switch their loyalties from Hindu deities to one supreme God. The caste system divides the society into four varnas or categories determined by birth. On top of the hierarchy are Brahmans. They occupy the highest position because they are from the head of the creator. The lowest are untouchables known as Dalits. In between are castes specializing in war and business.

Brahmin are 5 percent of the population, Rajputs are 4 percent, Vaishyas are 2 percent, Dalits and tribals make 23 percent, others including Marathas, Jats, Kayasthas are 6 percent.

Muslims are 15 percent, Christians, 2.5%, Sikhs, two percent, and Buddhists and Jains are less than one percent each.

Hindu nationalists believe that Islam wooed Dalits to its fold for its egalitarian values and challenged the supremacy of Brahmans. Much of the conversions, they insist, were forcible. They also argue that the creation of Pakistan in 1947 as a separate country for Muslims makes India a state for Hindus only. They fear that Islam may extend its influence on tribals and Dalits who still live in abject poverty and humiliation. It is this fear that makes them hostile to Islam and Muslims.

A demographic shift in favor of Islam poses an existential threat to them.

The Hindu nationalists view them as an extension of the Aryan race and believe they have maintained their purity by practicing a strict caste system. But, on the other hand, the twice-born or the so-called upper castes, predominantly Brahman, consider them the purest of the pure. Their militant organization, RSS, consists of Brahman leaders.

The RSS upper caste leaders have used the Dalits and tribals as pawns against Muslims in this context. They use the resources of other twice-born castes to incite Dalits and tribals to combat Muslims. Many people recruited to demolish the Babri Masjid came from castes generally viewed lower by the twice-born.

The RSS teaches and systematically propagates hatred at grassroots levels. In 1925, a medical doctor named Keshav Baliram Hedgewar founded it in the Western Indian city of Nagpur. Its purpose is to propagate the ideology of Hindutva and to provide "new physical strength" to Hindus as defined by upper castes.

The RSS believes in an India led by upper castes exclusive for Hindus, with non-Hindus living as second-class citizens. When it came to non-Hindu religions, the view of Golwalkar, who supported Hitler's creation of a supreme race by suppression of minorities, was that of extreme intolerance. He wrote

The non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either adopt Hindu culture or languages. They must learn and respect and reverence the Hindu religion and entertain no idea but glorify the Hindu race and culture. They should wholly subordinate to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less preferential treatment—not even citizens' rights."

RSS does not have any formal membership. Instead, Hindu men and boys join the nearest shakha, the basic unit. It is estimated to have had 5 to 6.0 million members.

The Sarsanghchalak is the head of the RSS organization; it is a nominated position by the predecessor.

Sarkaryawah is equivalent to the general secretary, and the elected members of the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha select him.

It has four Sah-Sarkayavah or Joint general secretaries.

Pracharak are active, the full-time missionaries who spread the doctrine. RSS has about 4000 pracharaks.

Karyakartas are the active functionaries. A karyakarta undergoes four levels of ideological and physical training in camps.

Mukhya-Shikshak is the Head-teacher and chief of a Shakha.

Karyawah is the Executive of a Shakha.

Gatanayak is the Group leader.

Swayamsevak is a volunteer.

The number of Shakhas (branches) is about 60,000. Most of them are in the Hindi-speaking region.

The shakhas conduct various activities for its volunteers, such as physical fitness through yoga, exercises, and games, and activities that encourage Hindutva and anti-Islam and Christian teachings.

Organizations that follow the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's ideology refer to themselves as members of the Sangh Parivar. Some of them are:

  • Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), literally, Indian People's Party.

  • Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, literally, Indian Farmers' Association.

  • Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, literally, Indian Labor Association.

  • Seva Bharti, an organization for the service of the needy.

  • Rashtra Sevika Samiti, literally, National Volunteer Association for Women.

  • Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, literally, All India Students' Forum.

  • Shiksha Bharati.

  • Vishwa Hindu Parishad, World Hindu Council.

  • Bharatiya Yuva Seva Sangh (BYSS), Youth Awakening Front.

  • Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, literally, Hindu Volunteer Association – overseas wing.

  • Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, Nativist Awakening Front.

  • Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Nursery.

  • Vidya Bharati, Educational Institutes.

  • Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram (Ashram for the Tribal Welfare), Organizations for the improvement of tribals; and Friends of Tribals Society.

  • Muslim Rashtriya Manch (Muslim National Forum), Organization for the improvement of Muslims.

  • Bajrang Dal, Army of Hanuman.

  • Anusuchit Jati-Jamati Arakshan Bachao Parishad, Organization for the improvement of Dalits.

  • Laghu Udyog Bharati, the extensive network of small industries.

  • Bharatiya Vichara Kendra, Think Tank

  • Vishwa Samvad Kendra, Communication Wing, spread all over India for media-related work, having a team of IT professionals (samvada.org)

  • Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, National Sikh Association, a sociocultural organization with the aim to spread the knowledge of Gurbani to the Indian society.

  • Vivekananda Kendra promoted Swami Vivekananda's ideas with Vivekananda International Foundation in New Delhi as a public policy think tank with six study centers.

The RSS holds a firm grip on many Hindus and spreads the hatred at the grassroots in an organized manner. Its supporters in Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and Americans provide extensive financial support. These supporters promote hatred worldwide, and their main targets are Muslims and Christian missionaries.

The hatred has roots in the Hindutva vision of history and religion. The poison emitted in the 1920s by upper caste leaders in the name of Hindutva has spread worldwide, threatening peace and stability.

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