Jyotirmaya Sharma‘s column in Mail Today:
The debate about `Hindu terror’ requires, firstly, a serious rectification and amendment. Just as there is nothing called `Muslim terror’ or `Islamic terror’, there is also nothing that corresponds to `Hindu terror’. The events of Ajmer, Malegaon and Hyderabad that have been linked to individuals with affiliations to what we know as the sangh parivar are sangh parivar terrorists or Hindutva terrorists. Therefore, the phenomenon that we associate with individuals, who happen to be Hindus, indulging in acts of terror is Hindutva terror or sangh parivar terror. Having stated this, Hindutva terror is a greater threat than any form of terror facing the country. The threat from the al-Qaida or the Lashkar is easily identifiable, it is external and these organizations fashion themselves as jihadi outfits. There is no camouflage or pretence about their goals, aims and methods. In sharp contrast, the legitimacy for Hindutva terror comes not merely from members that are formally part of the sangh parivar, but from a cross-section of Hindus in Indian society, but primarily Hindus from the ever expanding middle class.
From the nineteenth century onwards, Hindu nationalists have argued that retaliatory violence is a legitimate form of dealing with the `enemy’. In doing so, they argued that in order to protect dharma, which was conveniently translated as religion, Hindus needed to resort to violence when required. The question of the legitimacy of resorting to violence was always arbitrary. Reverting to models in the mythological past, where the antagonism between devas and asuras inevitably led to the violent vanquishing of the asuras, Hindu nationalists `democratized’ the right to label their adversaries as asuras and abrogated the right to vanquish these foes to themselves. Retaliatory violence was seen as the true embodiment of manhood or manliness and the ideal of the kshatriya was celebrated as exemplifying this principle. The writings of Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, V.D. Savarkar and the ideologues of the Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS are replete with arguments about the inevitability and the sanctity of violence in the overall project of Hindu nationalism. From the nineteenth century onwards, revolutionary terrorism had a sanction under the guise of fighting the colonial rule and secret societies were organized in order to impart training in use of arms and in guerrilla warfare to its members. Continue reading ‘Hindutva terror’