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Madhuri Madhok | SGL | New Delhi | Feb 22, 2020:: Professor Bal Raj Madhok, whose birth centenary is on 25 February 2020, is remembered today as the original icon and ideologue of Hindutva for his unflinching commitment to the Hindu cause.
At the same time, being a student of history and international politics and observer of the Indian political scene, his realistic assessment of India’s defence and foreign policy needs made him an advocate of a close alliance with Israel and the United States, the two countries he called India’s natural friends. This was reflected in the manifesto which Prof Madhok wrote for the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, which he co-founded with Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee in October 1951.
He was the first Parliamentarian to raise the issue of Ram Janmabhoomi at Ayodhya. Participating in a debate on “emotional integration” in the Second Lok Sabha on 1 September 1961, he appealed to Muslims to restore the temples at Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura to Hindus and assured them of allocating separate land for erecting mosques nearby.
Prof Madhok was, however, deeply pained at the lack of historical sense and political consciousness among Hindus. He considered political Hindutva to be the real Hindutva. He said: “Cultural Hindutva is too wide, vivid and vibrant. What we need is political Hinduism with a strong political message that India is essentially a Hindu nation and Hindus must have their interests safeguarded. Those who divided the country and yet stayed back should only get equal treatment and not more than equal treatment. This consciousness, the political consciousness of being a Hindu in the only Hindu land in the world, is more important.”
This realisation first dawned upon him when he studied the Muslim problem in its historical perspective for his essay, “Communal Problem: Its Causes and Solution” in response to a call given by the Indian Liberal League. The essay, which bagged the first prize, was published in book form under the title India on the Cross-roads, at Lahore in 1946.
“In essence the problem is of incomplete Indianisation of Indian Islam, of the weakness of the nationalist forces as against the reactionary and anti-national elements.” He said: “Any weak-kneed policy or half-hearted measures will not solve the problem. They may aggravate it. The country must have the determination and strength to take the right road and brush aside any hurdles in her way.”
While nationalism succeeded in unifying countries like Italy and Germany, in India, Muslim separatism based on Millat and Kufr, Dar-ul-Islam and Dar-ul-Harab and jihad led to Partition. Therefore, in Hindu Rashtra: A Study in Indian Nationalism (1955), Prof Madhok defined nationalism as the “consciousness of being a nation, the existence of a supreme group sentiment, which demands loyalty of the individual when it comes in clash with his loyalties to other groups—social, political, economic or religious—to which he may belong… It is the Hinduness or Hindutva of a man which makes him a national of India.”
“Hinduism”, he wrote, “is not a very happy expression because it creates confusion in the people’s mind about the word Hindu. It creates the impression of it being a creed or religion, a particular dogma and form of worship, which it is not. It comprehends within itself all forms of worship prevalent in India which do not interfere with the worshipper’s loyalty to India, her culture and tradition, history and great men.”
“The word Hindu is the national geographical name of the people of India derived from her great river Sindhu. It is the exact Persian and Sanskrit equivalent of the Greek word Indian which is derived from the Indus, the Greek name for the Sindhu. It is nowhere found in ancient Indian literature in the narrow sense of a religious community”, he added.
While speaking at a symposium organised by the “Forum of National Affairs” at New Delhi’s Constitution Club in September 1969, Prof Madhok reiterated the need for Indianisation in the context of Ahmedabad riots in which the Jagannath Temple was desecrated by a mob raising hue and cry against arson in Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. “Indianisation”, he said, “demanded equal respect for all forms and places of worship and placing country’s interests above the interests of the religion, caste or linguistic group to which one may belong.”
Enunciating the idea of India in Indianisation (1970), he said: “The first requisite for understanding the concept of Indianisation is to be clear as to what is India. A clear comprehension of India as a land with a distinct character of its own is enough to clear up many of the doubts, misunderstanding and misinterpretations of Indianisation.”
Describing Indianness he wrote: “It is not the birth in India but the Indianness of a man which makes him an Indian…This Indianness of a man is not determined by one’s colour, caste, language, way of worship or political party. It is determined by the mental attitude towards India and all that is distinctive about her as a nation. This is reflected in one’s behaviour and conduct, both individual and collective, which in turn is determined by one’s thoughts, motivations and attachments, both intellectual and emotional. People like Mrs. Annie Besant, Sister Nivedita and Mr. Stokes became better Indians and did more for India in our own times than most of those born in India did, even though they had been born and nurtured outside India. On the other hand, men like Mr. Jinnah, Liaqat Ali Khan and Kasim Rizvi though born and brought up in India turned out to be India’s worst enemies.”
Partition, he said, resulted from the mixing of religion and politics by the Muslim League in keeping with the Islamic tradition. It wanted the whole of India to become an Islamic State. Since that was not possible, it preferred to have a theocratic Islamic State within the natural boundaries of united India. Had truncated India been made a secular State in the best tradition of Hindu polity, the question of mixing religion and politics would not have arisen.
“A Hindu State has never been a theocratic State. Secularism is inherent in the Vedic concept: ‘God is one, wise men call him by many names’. It implies that He can be reached by many paths and there can be no monopoly of truth. That is why when Islamic theocracy was running riot in large parts of India, Shivaji had set up a truly secular Hindu State,” Prof Madhok wrote in his magnum opus, Rationale of Hindu State (1982).
“Those who are really serious about delinking religion from politics must first take steps to make India a truly secular State. India does not fulfill the basic conditions of a secular State that are: no discrimination between citizens on the basis of religion, uniform laws for all citizens and equality before the law. Thus, religion and politics is being mixed in truncated India with the encouragement and connivance of the so-called ‘secularists’,” he wrote.
Author Maduri Madhok is the daughter Prof Balraj Madhok. Dr. Madhuri Madhok is a veteran journalist and media academic. She has been associated as Assistant Professor, Journalism and Mass Communication, Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi. She has been a visiting faculty at the University of Delhi and a media counsellor of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
Courtesy: The Sunday Guardian Live.
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