Advani's Hindutva Doctrine and Indian Muslims

It's sad that many parties claiming to be secular are propping up BJP rule in India for some short-term gains.

BY: Shakeel Shaheen


Continued from page 1

Vajpayee says construction of a Ram Temple at Ayodhya is in keeping with the "national sentiment." The three statements--by Mr. Thackeray, Mr. Singhal and Mr. Vajpayee--send a chill down one's spine. Where are these leaders of the Hindutva leading India? Can India remain a secular democratic country under them? It is sad that many parties claiming to be secular are propping up BJP rule in India for some short term gains.

Advani said that there was no major threat of religious extremism in his country. Then someone asked a question. Asked if Hindutva would be an issue in elections polls in several states this year, Advani said the emphasis would be on security and development. But he added that if other parties accused his right-wing Hindu Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) of being communal, then the BJP would not shy away from reopening the debate on the issue.

"If the BJP is sought to be attacked on the grounds that it is anti-secular, it's communal, then the debate will come around to what is secular." Advani emphasised that India was secular because it was predominantly Hindu.

"It is Hindutva that has entrenched secularism in this country." The minister said that the country was partitioned on the basis of religion, but while its arch rival and neighbour Pakistan became an Islamic state, India chose to remain secular.

In his new year's speech, Vajpayee indirectly attacked the right-wing Hindu organizations, affiliated to the BJP, for being ``narrow, rigid and extremist.'' The debate on Hinduism came to the fore during last month's elections in the riot-hit state of Gujarat.

The BJP returned to power in Gujarat after an overwhelming victory credited largely to a campaign based on Hindutva. But critics said that the BJP had capitalized on months of rioting. Muslims were the main victims of the ensuing widespread violence that left up to 2,000 dead. Buoyed by its victory in Gujarat, the BJP has said it will take its hardline message to voters in upcoming polls in several other states.

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