Dr. Subramania Swamy’s Realism

published on September 22, 2013

In a heated debate/discussion on NDTV the topic was ‘Muzzafarnagar: Riot of a political kind’ hosted by Vikram Chandra (Sept. 21, 2013). The expected personalities were there : Gaurav Bhatia from the Samajwadi Party, Kamal Farouqi from the same party, S. Bhaduria from the BSP, sociologist Ashish Nandy, journalist Aarti Jerath, Rita Bahuguna Joshi from the Congress and Dr. Subramania Swamy of the BJP.

In the cacophony of arguments Dr. Swamy was the only speaker who tried to present a realistic analysis of what is to come, if the riot situation of Muzzafarnagar is not understood in its proper context.

To Rita Bahuguna’s saccharine sweet statement (with an eye on the Muslim vote bank) that Muslims have always voted for Hindu leaders, Dr. Swamy asked a realistic question : would a Hindu leader in Kashmir get the Muslim vote? After Kamal Farouqi’s sweet talk about how Muslims and Hindus have always lived side by side (which the young audience applauded ) Dr. Swamy turned to the same audience and asked how many of them would call for a Uniform Civil Code. The majority of hands went up to answer in the affirmative.That was encouraging. But he won’t agree, said Dr. Swamy pointedly, looking at Farooqi. There was silence from that worthy. Nor would Jerath or the others, one may add, call for a Uniform Civil Code, despite their so called ‘secularism.’

Needless to say, the Samajwadi Party and the BSP spent time accusing each other and the BJP of fomenting trouble in Uttar Pradesh, specifically Muzafarnagar. On the odd occasion that Aarti Jerath got an opportunity above the din she manged a few swipes at the BJP (revealing her intense dislike of the BJP) and sociologist Dr. Ashish Nandy seemed to suggest that identity politics would continue in India for a long time to come, a pessimistic view of the fragmented body politic.

In the midst of these accusations and counter accusations and pessimism, Dr. Swamy underlined what was an obvious fact : should the Hindus of India unite as a voting bloc the current malaise would end.

One knows from history that the syncretic culture of India was owing primarily to the Hindu ethos which tolerated a wide variety of religious practices and ethnicities. While the Hindu rajahs ruled and practised their private religious beliefs, the population was free to engage in their own religious practices. It was after the barbarian invasions that this changed and the subject population of the country was either forcibly converted or killed off or were expected to live as second class citizens paying the jiziya tax.

In his concluding remark Dr. Swamy was clear that India was an ancient civilisation which presently had lost its identity and the significant task (obviously he was addressing the young audience, not his fellow debaters) for Hindus was to recover that identity. Fair enough.

It is a pity that the Hindu viewpoint is not allowed full expression in these television debates. And yet, the recovery of its Hindu identity would be a significant step forward, rather than a regression, as the secularites fear. This fear is partly owing to their ignorance of their Hindu past and partly owing to their ideological confusion , a confusion generated by Macaulayism and the contemporary global discourse on modernisation. It is also from a sense of complacency. Add to the mix the weepy platitudes of an A. Ghosh, the writer. The man was literally in tears in an interview with Sagarika Ghosh of CNNIBN.

He bleated about the fact that this new Hinduism (his sinister inuendo could not be missed) was not what he had known in his childhood and growing up years.
It would be interesting to know what he meant by ‘his’ Hinduism. Probably not much.

Dr. Swamy was exactly right not only in countering some of the rubbish that passed for political analysis but in addressing the audience at important moments in the program.

(The writer is a Political Philospher who taught at a Canadian university)

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