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Exploding the Myth of “Hindutva Terror”

There is a new kid on the block. (S)he is called “Hindutva Terror” (aka “Hindu Terror”).  Chances are you have heard the word before; Chances are you have got annoyed, perhaps just a little bit angry and moved on. Chances are you have never paused to think who – and what – is this “Hindutva Terror”? Until a few days ago, I was in the group of people who – when they heard the word – would get a little annoyed, perhaps a little angry and then move on.

Then last week, alert reader (and a good friend) Anupam pointed me in the direction of this cover story in “Outlook” on “Hindutva Terror”. In my hurried & brief response on the blog, I wrote:

The article is grandly titled “Hindu Terror” but does not explain how these acts were motivated by “Hindu” beliefs or “Hindu” traditions. There are also a few references to “Hindutva” but no attempt is made to explain the term “Hindutva” or what it means according to the authors…

I also promised him and Sanjay a detailed response soon. Earlier today morning, as I re-read the “Outlook” cover story, I realised why “news” necessarily has to be “sensational” – because that is what sells.  But this post is about putting things in perspective, not about sensationalising them.

*** CAUTION: Long Post ***

Lets get back to the Outlook story. While the article was neither the first on this topic (nor will it be the last), it was “bolder” than most; more interestingly, it ended with a cryptic sentence (emphasis added):

Only when the CBI puts all the pieces together will the entire Hindutva terror picture emerge, if at all.

The by-line of the 2000-word long report, co-authored by Smruti Koppikar, Debarshi Dasgupta and Snigdha Hasan was “Hindu terror is a reality, yet India refuses to utter its name”.

It came on the back of an article by Praveen Swami on “The Rise Of Hindutva Terrorism” (also in Outlook) published in May. It is probably a good idea to look at the latter first. Praveen Swami’s report was based on the arrest of Devendra Gupta, a “pracharak” of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) along with his “political associates” Vishnu Prasad and Chandrashekhar Patidar on suspicion of planning the attack at Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.

Up until that point, the blasts in Mecca Masjid (followed by the attack in Ajmer) were generally thought to be the work of Islamists. Praveen Swami had himself mentioned this possibility in his earlier reports on the blasts (emphasis added):

Thursday’s bombing of the saint’s shrine at Ajmer — the third in a series of attacks on Muslim religious institutions after the 2006 bombing of a Sufi shrine in Malegaon and this summer’s strike at the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad — have been characterised as attempts to provoke a pan-India communal war. But the bombings also reflect another less-understood project: the war of Islamist neoconservatives against the syncretic traditions and beliefs that characterise popular Islam in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Most media reports of the time – relying on various  “sources” – mentioned how the attacks appeared to be linked and how they seem to have been executed by the same group. Most of the suspicion was directed at HuJI- Bangladesh.

The arrest of Devendra Gupta in Rajasthan was therefore “news” in more senses than one. Praveen used that arrest to focus attention on what he called “little-understood threat of Hindu-nationalist or Hindutva terrorism.

Sadly, in the 2500 words that followed, he neither defined nor explained what he meant by “Hindutva terrorism”. What we got instead was speculation…and a lot of not-always-relevant history. As an example (of speculation):

…former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh announced that he had evidence of the involvement of members of the Bajrang Dal, an affiliate of the RSS, in acts of terrorism. For reasons that are unclear, though, this evidence was not used to prosecute members of the organisation or any other suspects.

The one name that crops up in all these reports is Abhinav Bharat. A lot has been written about Abhinav Bharat as also its “links” with RSS. Yet no firm evidence has been offered to date regarding this assertion or the “links”; neither do any of the charge-sheets make this claim (to the best of my knowledge). Tellingly, none of the reports explain why an organisation with “links” to RSS would conspire to kill the top leadership of the Sangh.

Further, it remains unclear whether the arrested were acting on behalf of Abhinav Bharat (or indeed RSS) or independently of them. Swami’s report itself mentions the dissensions within Abhinav Bharat:

In June 2007, Purohit allegedly suggested that the time had come to target Muslims through terrorist attacks — a plea others in Abhinav Bharat rejected. But, evidence gathered by the Police suggests, many within the group were determined to press ahead…

And while Praveen Swami writes in some detail about Lt Col Purohit’s “plans to bring about a Hindutva state”, he does not say whether these were endorsed by the Abhinav Bharat leadership, or the RSS or another “Hindutva outfit” or indeed by any formal group or organisation. Back in February though, he had suggested the possibility of these individuals acting autonomously (emphasis added):

Matters are complicated by the fact that some of the operations attributed to Abhinav Bharat may not have had much to do with the group — even though its leading luminaries claimed responsibility for the attacks.

No wonder “despite the formidable mass of evidence it gathered, the Maharashtra investigation ran into a wall”. And while the arrests in Rajasthan are significant, they may not have much of an impact. As Swami says himself “(the arrests) may have removed a few bricks” from the “wall” but thats about it.

Continued below…

Outlook Cover Story

What Swami lacks by way of firm evidence though, he more than makes up by way of detail. So you have paragraphs after paragraphs devoted to members of Abhinav Bharat, their lives (and deaths) and sneaky statements in-between passing off as “facts”. To wit:

…the controversial Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, which operates a Hindu-proselytisation programme targeting adivasis (tribals) in southern Gujarat…”.

No references, no facts, no evidence. Just one innocuous sentence that is sneaked in. You might have missed the highlighted bit in the article if you had blinked. Thus having set the stage, Praveen moves on to a discussion of “What lessons ought India to be learning from the story of the Hindutva terror network?

Still no clarity on what exactly is this “Hindutva terror network”? Is this a few disgruntled members of Abhinav Bharat, with some people from Bajrang Dal thrown in? or is this something more sinister that goes deep through Hindu social organisations and political groups such as the RSS, Bajrang Dal, Vanvasi Parishad, and numerous other associations and institutions? No clarity on that.

Praveen then cleverly shifts the focus from the policies (and politics) of the past 60 years to find the roots of “Hindutva terror” – in Bal Gangadhar Tilak!

Influenced by the dramatic impact of terrorism in imperial Russia, the Hindu nationalist leader, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, became increasingly drawn to violence as a tool to achieve Indian independence. A year after the searing 1905 revolution, which compelled Czar Alexander II to grant basic civil rights, Tilak exhorted his followers: “The days of prayer have gone… Look to the examples of Ireland, Japan and Russia and follow their methods.

But how different is this statement of Tilak from the one made by Mahatma Gandhi?

To bring about such a state of things we should have the ability to defend ourselves, that is, the ability to bear arms and to use them…If we want to learn the use of arms with the greatest possible despatch, it is our duty to enlist ourselves in the army.”[ link and also here ]

How easy – and perfectly natural – would it be to add Tilak’s opening line to the above remarks by Gandhi?

The days of prayer have gone… To bring about such a state of things we should have the ability to defend ourselves, that is, the ability to bear arms and to use them..

But I digress. Back to the article. After a brief mention of a “number of mysteries (that) remain to be resolved”, Swami says, “The arrests over the past weeks notwithstanding, the threat remains real — and must be snuffed out.

What threat? From whom? From Abhinav Bharat? From RSS? From Bajrang Dal? Or from Hindus acting on their own – without any sanction (either from any group or associaton or institution) and without any legitimacy (which part of the “Sanatan” tradition advocates killing of innocents?).

Praveen prefers to remain mute on this matter. Instead he mentions more names and more groups:

Last year, in June, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti operatives were held for the bombing of the Gadkari Rangayatan theatre in Thane (Maharashtra)…Members of the Goa-based Sanatan Sanstha, affiliated to Hindu Janajagruti, were held for staging a bombing in Panani.

Earlier, Bajrang Dal-linked Rajiv Mishra and Bhupinder Singh were killed in a bomb-making accident in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh (UP).

But were these people acting as part of a grand scheme of things? Sanctioned and blessed by a supra-organisational authority or were these autonomous acts of terror? No answers to such questions. Partly because they do not make “news”…and possibly because we do not know – yet.

More worrying than the lack of details and unanswered questions though are the insinuations and attempts at subtle persuasion. E.g. here is Swami writing earlier in the year about the German Bakery Blast (emphasis added):

Last week’s bombing of the German Bakery in Pune has brought the ugly story of Abhinav Bharat — the Hindutva terrorist group Purohit helped found — back from the obscurity to which it was consigned by the Mumbai carnage, which took place just days after the trial in Nashik began.

In private, Hindus sympathetic to the ultra-right have been saying the bombings demonstrate the moral legitimacy of Purohit and his Hindutva terror project.

He does not say just how? and which Hindus? And then almost lets the cat out of the bag – perhaps unwittingly:

Few investigators believe that the organisations — or other Hindutva cells — mounted the operation.

In which case Praveen, is it not a bit disingenuous to talk of “Hindutva Terror” as if it is some superbly organised and coordinated movement to destabilise India?

Some of you would remember that he subsequently changed his view on the Pune blasts and pointed the finger at Indian Mujahideen. But the “damage” was probably done by then. After all public memory is notoriously short and first impressions do count.

Back to the more recent “Outlook” cover-story. As I mentioned earlier, the article’s byline was:  “Hindu terror is a reality, yet India refuses to utter its name”. Strangely, within the first few lines, the gears shift. The reference moves from “Hindu terror” to “radical Hindu nationalist groups

…the trail finally led to Gupta and pointed to radical Hindu nationalist groups instead. Says Rajasthan Anti-Terrorist Squad chief Kapil Garg: “We have arrested some people of that religion (Hinduism) and we’re dead sure we’re on the right track.

In Hyderabad too, the CBI team believes it is on the right track, finally, in the Mecca Masjid bomb blasts case. Four men belonging to radical Hindu groups were arrested

Significantly none of these “radical Hindu nationalist” groups have been charged in any of the attacks (to the best of my knowledge) . So again, were these attacks carried out autonomously or were they sanctioned by those at the top and with their full knowledge?  And if it is the former, is it fair – or accurate – to labels these acts as “Hindutva terror” or “Saffron terror”?

As Offtsumped wrote in “Cookbook on dealing with Orwellian Media Tactics” (back in 2008), here is why the application of these phrases is patently wrong.

  • Reason #1 – To date there is not even a shred of evidence to conclude that there is a conspiracy to commit acts of Terror by any organization let alone one that swears by Hindutva
  • Reason #2 -Even if we were to indulge the theory floated in the media, to date there is no factual basis to establish that those who have committed these acts of Terror have sought moral sanction from Hindu Dharma

It is critical to make this important distinction.

  • There is a variety of Terrorism that swears by tenets of Islam and goes to great length to quote from the Quran and Hadiths to seek moral sanction for its actions
  • It does not exclusively target one community and is generally secular in its choice of victims

To date we have not been presented with any claims of responsibility by anyone by claiming moral sanction from any tenets of Dharma or any remotely hindu oriented doctrine of ancient or modern origin.

Let me add some more points to those raised by Offstumped above. Where are the texts and manuals of “Hindutva Terror”? Or are these just in the mind of the alleged perpetrators? And what about the public statements by RSS about its members and individuals who have been accused of involvement in these acts?

As it was becoming evident that (Sunil) Joshi (main accused in Ajmer and Hyderabad blasts) was going down an aggressive path, the RSS publicly distanced itself from him. [ link ]

Have these been noticed – and reported?

One report did carry the other view-point. In Rediff, Krishnakumar wrote:

(Deepak Joshi, BJP legislator) shies away from dubbing the phenomenon as Hindu terrorism.

“It is not organised to begin with,” he says, “And it does not have the sanction or approval of an organisation like the RSS.”

But the article had other subliminal messages that were subconsciously imposed:

The Malwa region is predominantly tribal. Indore…does not have much of an Adivasi presence. But Dhar is 75 percent Adivasi, Jhabua is nearly 100 percent Adivasi. Balwani, Khargon and Khandwa are 50 percent Adivasi.

The Hindus form the second biggest community

Notice anything funny? The last time I visited Malwa, the Adivasis in the region did not identify themselves as Christians or Muslims…so why this mischievous sentence?  In the meantime, new labels continue to be invented. In the words of Hon Home Minister Sh Chidambaram:

We don’t call it Hindu terror… The groups seem to subscribe to an extreme fundamentalist Hindu philosophy.

Of course neither Sh Chidambaram nor the reporters bothered to explain what exactly is this “fundamentalist Hindu philosophy“. Until I read this, I had always thought of fundamentals of Hindu philosophy in the great tradition of Vendata. Sh Chidamabram probably has other ideas.

Some of the news-reports on this topic are so thin on substance that they read like press releases. E.g.

All these arrests are an indication that investigators are slowly shifting their focus to the once neglected ‘Hindu terror’ groups and are waking up to the potent threat of ‘Hindutva terrorism’. Even though evidence of such groups existing has been there since 2002, investigative agencies have always turned a blind-eye towards them. Timely action on part of investigators could have helped saved many lives and prevent certain blasts.

Interestingly (and somewhat tellingly), none of these reports or their authors make any attempt to explain their understanding of “Hindutva. And so there is no way for us to judge ourselves whether these acts are a manifestation of something called “Hindutva terror” or whether these are “terror attacks by Hindus”? Nuance is already a casualty in mainstream media.

Significantly, the “Outlook” report mentions another label for Abhinav Bharat:

The 4,528-page chargesheet filed in the Malegaon case calls Abhinav Bharat an “organised crime syndicate”

I repeat, “organised crime syndicate” – not a political group, not an RSS affiliate. Although this Rediff report appears to contradict even that assertion:

A special court in Mumbai on Friday dropped the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) invoked against Sadhvi Pragya Singh, Lt Col S P Purohit and nine other accused in 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case, saying none of them is part of an organised crime syndicate.

Even more troubling than the labels themselves is the fact that till date, not one of the accused has been convicted – and I am not just talking of “Hindu radicals” but also of  “Islamist* terror suspects”.

Is our criminal investigation apparatus really so inefficient that it has been unable to apprehend and convict even one terrorist in the last several years (the last conviction – if you leave aside Kasab’s case – was in the Parliament attack case from 2001).

Does it really take 10 years to complete an investigation? Or are these delays because of political pressures and with an eye on electoral equations? Is the bogey of Hindutva terror being raised with an eye on vote-banks? Is there more to it than what we are led to believe?

But the most important question that these arrests (and the attacks) raise is the one that on one dares speak about: Why do Hindus – who numerically constitute the majority in India and whose fundamental beliefs rest on tolerance and compassion for all beings – feel compelled to indulge in acts of terrorism?

This is a volatile question  – one that MSM will never ask – or will pretend that it is not important. But if Hindus are convicted in these attacks – then the question has to be asked – and need to be discussed if such attacks are to be pre-empted and avoided. Why does a Hindu in Hindu-majority India feel drawn to violent means to address his/her grievances? Why does the Hindu feel besieged in India?

This was the question my friend Sanjay indirectly asked on the blog, “In keeping with the spirit of this blog and especially of Satyameva Jayate, it would be worthwhile to investigate the raison d’etre and claims of organizations like Abhinav Bharat”.  In September 2008, I wrote the following in response (pl see comment #4) to a discussion on conversions:

A “Hindu” in India today feels besieged…he feels he is slowly being encircled…that his voice is not being heard and his concerns are not shared…

This perplexes him as he has always believed this is his motherland, his “natural” home, the birthplace of his faith…and yet, he feels unsafe in large parts of Bharat-bhumi…in Maharashtra (if he is from UP/Bihar), in Assam (likewise), in Kashmir, in Orissa…

He feels not only his life and personal safety but also his belief system is being attacked – slowly but systematically…

He feels exasperated that he has to preface every grievance that he may have by stressing his “secular” credentials – lest he be mistook for a “Hindutva-wadi”…He feels embarrassed to mention his faith in public discourse…and constantly feels that he is being forced on the backfoot…

At some point, this feeling gives way to anger – spontaneous, unplanned and unpredictable…and we all wonder where and how did this happen…

This is what you saw in Kandhamal…and in Jammu…unforeseen reaction of people who feel that their back is against the wall…

Is their logic to this? Probably not…but is the feeling real? It does appear to be…

This comment was echoed a month later by “reason” on Offstumped’s post (referred to above):

The Hindu feels threatened in India: There are several talking points – the speed at which this Melagaon blast was cracked compared to the absolute inaction following repeated blasts all across India, the very real sense of outrage Hindus felt at being repeatedly targeted, and the ignominy of secularists always at a rush to create justifications for those bombings – one editor wrote a piece in a foreign journal following the 2005 Mumbai train bombings to say that the bombs targeted upper class coaches that ‘Gujaratis’ travel in.

And a month later (Nov ’08), Radha Rajan concluded her article on ‘Hindu terrorism’ – see the writing on the wall with these words:

…fears of Hindu nationalism have brought this nation to the brink of self-destruction wreaked by jihad and the evangelical church, aided and abetted by India’s secular anti-Hindu polity. Sadhvi Pragya, Sameer Kulkarni, Maj. Upadhyay, Lt. Col. Purohit signal the determined rise of Hindu nationalism.

Hindu terrorism? Call it what you will – but see the writing on the wall. The war shall continue.

More recently, an astute observer of Indian politics echoed similar feelings (paraphrased to protect privacy):

…should (the Hindu) watch without reacting the terrorism against Hindus..and the erosion of their rights..(e.g.) the Sachar Report which underpins a whole ministry and its strategies? Are we going to  defend the Hindus by Ahimsa and means of non-violence? Are the rules different for different religions?

In Kerala, young Muslim men are being trained to become jihadis (ref the recent chopping of the hand of the Prof). With the full connivance of Congress and CPM, the banned groups have resurrected with new names. Things are worrying ..perhaps there are others who are silently watching ..but some of us feel compelled to act..If self-defence is considered terrorism, what would you call offensive and unprovoked terrorism?  Terrorism breeds terrorism. Will our stance be to show the other cheek if slapped on one? Are be becoming gutless and silent people who simply suffer? Patriotism cannot be silent and submissive.

It is not just people who are being killed, humiliated, abused and denied right to peaceful existences – but all the traditions, the parampara, the religious icons…(even) the territorial boundaries are being debased and compromised. How does one react to this? Allow ourselves to become the sacrificial goats?  How does one react when pushed to a corner?

Think about it…Think hard about this…because if this feeling of outrage, this sense of denial, this sense of being under siege is real…and becomes widespread, the future looks grim

A leadership that has failed us on multiple counts will not be able to face this tsunami of deeply-felt rage and frustration…and things might rapidly – and violently spin out of control. And if we stay mute, we will be silent accomplices to this act of destruction…As I wrote before, “This is the time when inaction is not an option and indifference will be suicidal.”  It is time to speak up..and take a stance.

Comments and thoughts welcome, as always.

P.S. As for Abhinav Bharat, I would simply repeat the conclusion from B Raman’s article, “Anti-Muslim Reprisal Terrorism?

Do these arrests strengthen the case for a ban on the Bajrang Dal or any other organisation to which they might have belonged? Or do they at least call for a characterisation of such orgainsations – even if they be of Hindus – as terrorist organisations? To characterise an organisation as a terrorist organisation and to take legal action against it – and not merely against its members – two types of evidence are required. Firstly, that its constitution or manifesto advocates the resort to violence amounting to terrorism for achieving its objective. Secondly, that it has been involved in repeated acts of  pre-meditated violence which amount to terrorism. One has to wait and see whether such evidence surfaces during the investigation.

Additional Readings:

Muslim Anger Vs Hindu Anger by B Raman

Praveen Swami lets the cat out of the bag by Offstumped

The Hunt for the elusive un-Hindu terrorist by Offstumped

‘It’s counter-Islamic terrorism, not Hindu terror’ (Ram Madhav in conversation with Sheela Bhatt, Rediff)

UPDATE: Apologies but this link appears to be broken| क्षमा करें परन्तु यह लिंक इस समय उपलब्ध नहीं है | पाठकगण श्री अमिताभ त्रिपाठी द्वारा किया गया इस लेख का हिंदी अनुवाद इस लिंक पर पढ़ सकते हैं:  “हिन्दू आतंकवाद के मिथक का पर्दाफाश” http://bit.ly/a718qu धन्यवाद अमिताभ!

Please continue to share your view and thoughts on this thread which I opened to reduce comment overload: Exploding the Myth of “Hindutva Terror” – Part 2

July 19th, 2010 Posted by | Current Affairs, Debates & Discussions, Distortions, Misrepresentation about Hinduism, Indian Media, Politics and Governance in India, Terrorism in India | 178 comments


  1. Sid: The law of the land, the Constitution should be supreme and override all other practices whether religious or otherwise. If any religious practice and custom is in direct conflict with the constitution and the law of the land the latter should prevail for have we not decided that our country is secular ? As far as the government is concerned there should be no religion, no caste, no race and no region. The difference which merits recognition should be gender, haves and have nots (and also taking into consideration of the marginalisation a section of people of hundreds of years special privileges for such people (SCs/STs) too). But the puny little power hungry short-sighted worms that infect our polity have made a mockery of secularism. The infection has become worse now and in our country secularism is on the death row as for some secularism has come to mean about promoting and appeasing minority communities and abusing the majority community. Hence Hindu/Saffron terror.

    Comment by KSV SUBRAMANIAN | July 22, 2010

  2. The fascist Hitler loving and monarchist Congress Party is the root of all the evil that plagues secular India. These folks refused to fight Hitler when he was off on his killing spree, with the result that Indian children today do not learn about the Nazis lest Congress have to defend their decision. And many of us are old enough to recall Indira’s emergency with its complete control over the media and Sanjay’s stormtroopers, many of whom like that murderer Kamal Nath are in government today.

    RSS better be ready with an organisational plan because Congress is liable to impose another Emergency any time now (the threat was reported in Pioneer). The saving grace is that since RSS has run the Central government and is in power in many states, this time around the armed forces have a real choice as to whether to go along or switch allegiance when push comes to shove.

    Comment by Amit | July 22, 2010

  3. Is this not an act to terrorize the hindu community, not in Pakistan, but in India:



    None of the so called secular media reported this for who cares for hindu sentiments.

    Comment by KSV SUBRAMANIAN | July 23, 2010

  4. During/after infancy once the mother stops feeding breast milk it is the cow who provides us the nourishing milk. and that milk is meant for its own calf which she shares with the humans. Does it require any Ph.D to understand that cow is our mother?

    Are the Hindus not supposed to react? Is it only the muslim or christian sentiments that ought not be hurt? And when the protests against such barbarism are held, they are shown in bad light. Hindus are expected to peacefully retaliate when their mother is being killed(unfortunately, only they seem to be recognising cow as mother,).

    Even after thousands of years of cultural mingling with the native civilization of India, the abrahamic faiths have not acquired the brains to see that Cow is our mother and is supposed to be served.

    For our politicians, only Hindu fundamentalism is real and Muslim/christian fundamentalism is imaginary.

    Comment by Madhusudan | July 23, 2010

  5. 79. Anand Jain said:

    @Malvika – Pl get your statistics right on the media as the majority is owned by Indians. Any talk of planting news stories to malign Hindus only is a misnomer.

    Anand Jain,you clearly haven’t been update with news. After all the hype, hoopla and trail by media the Shankaracharya case is collasping spectacularly. Do see any coverage beyod the fine print in mainstream
    media. The usual screaming banshees of NDTV, IBN and etc are strangely silent. What they have done is nothing but character assasination. They were busy airing ‘confessions of Shankaracharya’at one time and now they are quiet.

    “The case of the murder of Kanchipuram Shankararaman in which the Kanchi math seers Jayendra Saraswathi and Vijayendra Saraswathi are the main accused took a new turn after the lone approver, the contractor Ravi Subramaniam, deposed in the Puducherry district and sessions court yesterday that he had given false statements earlier under duress”

    ” It was only a few months back that the wife of Shankararaman, Padma and daughter, Mitreyi, also turned hostile in the case overturning their earlier statement that there were strange visitors to their house asking for Shankararaman on the day of the murder.”

    So, with such overwhelming evidence of media scullduggery why should any one trust media?

    Comment by Malavika | July 23, 2010

  6. *** COMMENT DELETED ***

    *** NOTE by MODERATOR ***
    JC: No personal attacks please. Thanks

    Comment by JC Moola | July 24, 2010

  7. As Shri V.S. Achuthanandan, Chief Minister of Kerala, the Muslim outfit which is in limelight recently for chopping off the hand of a Professor, wants to turn Kerala into a muslim majority state.

    Our fate seem to be sealed. Like the Pandits we may be living in tents after 20 years God only knows where ? Who is responsible ?????? Not us the much maligned hindus, is n’t it?


    Comment by KSV SUBRAMANIAN | July 24, 2010

  8. http://www.indianliberals.org/

    Please check this out. Not sure of the blog and the author but if the author is talking about this blog then this is a perfect example of twisting the facts.

    This post was about the label created by media “Hindutva Terror”, author has conveniently changed it to Hindu Extremism. This, of course, applies only if the blog mentioned is this blog.


    Comment by Anupam | July 26, 2010

  9. Thanks Anupam…Interesting.

    Comment by B Shantanu | July 26, 2010

  10. Subramanian (#151),
    Sorry for the delay in response.
    The law of the land, the Constitution should be supreme and override all other practices whether religious or otherwise.
    The real question is what should the constitution say in such a case. You have assumed that a constitution is already built. I am asking you to suggest what should be the content of the constitution with regard to the point raised.
    As far as the government is concerned there should be no religion, no caste, no race and no region. – I am afraid that is a very simplistic view point. How does a secular constitution define a religion – a set of philosophies or a set of guidelines on how to live a life or a set of rituals? Let me restate the problem in this context: In each of these cases, what happens if a philosophical consideration or a guideline or a rituals belonging to a certain “religion” as defined in the accepted constitution calls for exclusivism in administrative or political sphere? Would the suppression of such a call be considered an attack on the right of the practitioners of the religion? Where does the boundary of the religion end and consideration of a constitution begin? If a constitution defines a religion and expect all philosophies, rituals and guidelines in all religions to fit the same mould, would it not be the infringement of rights of followers of various religions?
    The difference which merits recognition should be gender, haves and have nots (and also taking into consideration of the marginalisation a section of people of hundreds of years special privileges for such people (SCs/STs) too). But the puny little power hungry short-sighted worms that infect our polity have made a mockery of secularism. The infection has become worse now and in our country secularism is on the death row as for some secularism has come to mean about promoting and appeasing minority communities and abusing the majority community. Hence Hindu/Saffron terror.
    I am not bothered to make a distinction between well-implemented secularism and dishonest secularism (with an appology to English speakers). I am questioning the secular paradigm itself. What you said in the above section merits a separate discussion. But let us stick to the current one.

    Comment by Sid | July 27, 2010

  11. I noticed the innuendos, half truths and blatant lies in the blog indianliberals.org. However I have no intention of increasing his web traffic. So, I am posting my comment here.

    blog claimed:

    “But then where evidence is available, as in the case of Purohit (who is now being court marshaled for his involvement in the Samjhauta attack),”

    False. This is an outright lie.
    Truth is there were reports in sections of the the media that “Purohit may face court marshall”. The same report also mentioned that there was no evidence that he ‘sourced explosives’. Go figure.

    Comment by Malavika | July 27, 2010

  12. Hindu terrorism doesn’t exist, but do we want one?

    by Rajeev Srinivasan

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the state can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.”
    “Like the military-industrial complex in the US,there is a media-state nexus in India, whereby the mass media unquestioningly regurgitates the state’s perspective.”


    Comment by Malavika | July 27, 2010

  13. =>
    As far as the government is concerned there should be no religion, no caste, no race and no region.

    Could you explain this point a bit more? How do we get rid of a religion when it is the ethos of a country/society? Right from “satyameva jayate” to Ashok Chakra to the symbol for PVC has religion as its source, and all of these are our National symbols endorsed by the state/government. Would/Should we get rid of all such religious symbols under your version of secularism?

    Comment by Kaffir | July 27, 2010

  14. @Kaffir. It is not getting rid of religion, but separation of religion from the affairs of the state. Satyameva Jayate, Ashoka Chakra, PVC or for that matter any other symbols do not in any way come into conflict with secularism per se. These symbols do belong to our country, our heritage our culture but cannot be attributed any religious connotations. Have we not accepted the Red Cross symbol too without in any way changing it the way some other countries did.

    Why we should explore meanings beyond an ordinary person’s understanding about secularism. It is not negation of religion nor of our culture or heritage. It is neither tolerance of any religion (but in reality certain self-styled Godfathers and other secular parties just tolerate or so to say just put up with hindus and hinduism). Treatment of the adherents belonging to all religious denominations equally whether belonging to majority or minority without in any way giving special treatment or favour to anyone.

    In India a perverse type of secularism is practiced wherein even the religious freedom of the majority community is trampled upon by usurping even their places of worship by the State. While a certain minority religion is provided subsidy for pilgrimage, exorbitant charges are levied for the services rendered like Sabarimala pilgrimage.

    Why we should have separate laws not Uniform Civil Code ? It is because of the appeasement policy practiced by the powers that be. The citizens are not treated equally.

    My understanding of secularism may be wrong. If at all it becomes a disadvantage for my belief, my religion, my culture I am still for a secular dispensation where every one of our citizens is treated equally. But I am in a nightmarish world where the first claim on our resources is for persons belonging to a particular religion.

    Comment by KSV SUBRAMANIAN | July 27, 2010

  15. A blog on one of the much targeted ‘mainstream media’ that commentators on this forum might agree with. I guess TOI has now decided not to “sell this country” anymore?


    Comment by Ashish Deodhar | July 27, 2010

  16. @Ashish (#165)
    Could not help but comment. This is a blog. Exactly when you would get the idea that blogs are owned by individuals not the organizations?

    This particular blog is owned by Sri Tarun Vijay. He is a nationalist and works for an organization that is closely allied with BJP/RSS combination. Why is his blog hosted by TOI or what message TOI is trying to send by hosting his blog? Pick up TOI print version, do you see any of his article anywhere? The answer is big NO. Why do the web version has the article then? Because a considerable section of TOI visitors flock to his blog, TOI likes to use that traffic, nothing more. As much as I like to read Tarun Vijay, I would rather go to his blog directly than driving traffic to TOI site.

    Comment by Sid | July 28, 2010

  17. Subramaniyan (#164),
    I am still waiting on that question.
    I saw your response to Kaffir. Following points caught my eye:

    Why we should explore meanings beyond an ordinary person’s understanding about secularism. – We need to. The term ordinary has no significance in definition of the words like democracy or secularism. Because there are people who would like to swear by it, we must know what we are talking about when we are demanding that it is so sacred that is must be placed above questioning.

    Why we should have separate laws not Uniform Civil Code ? – Even Britain has allowed some form of Sharia court in parts of their country. Would you call them practitioner of perverse secularism ?

    I am seriously interested to continue this discussion even when I do not have a lot of time to do that. If any high priest of secularism can continue the debate I would be glad (i.e. besides calling me a hypocrite or right-winger).

    Comment by Sid | July 28, 2010

  18. Sid said:

    “Because a considerable section of TOI visitors flock to his blog, TOI likes to use that traffic, nothing more. As much as I like to read Tarun Vijay, I would rather go to his blog directly than driving traffic to TOI site.”

    Similarly Outlook also has ‘web only articles’ which are not printed in the print version for obvious reasons you mentioned. There is no reason to increase their web traffic, instead it helps to partonize and advertize blogs like this and increase their visibility. Suppose this blog has 1.5 lakh unique visitors very month(no harm in hoping!) instead of 1500 it can no longer be ignored.

    ELM can no longer indulge in its usual mischief and Hindu baiting.

    Comment by Malavika | July 28, 2010

  19. @ Malvika: “Suppose this blog has 1.5 lakh unique visitors very month

    Thanks…Not there yet…but hope to..someday soon! :-)

    P.S. I might open a second thread on this to avoid comment overload.

    Comment by B Shantanu | July 28, 2010

  20. Dear All: Pl limit comments on this thread to the use/abuse of the term “Hindutva Terror”. For the rest, either use the “Search” boxes at the top and bottom of the page to find the relevant thread or try the “Categories” drop-down menu in the right-hand side-bar.

    For a general discussion on Hindutva, Islam etc, pl visit this thread:
    Join the discussion on Islam, Hindutva, Dr Zakir Naik – Part II


    I have moved KSV Subramanian and Kamaraj’s comments to the above post.

    Pl note that I am travelling with limited internet connectivity for the next few days and may be delayed in moderating and/or responding to comments. Thank you for your patience, understanding and support.

    Comment by B Shantanu | July 30, 2010

  21. Just to add some discussion here:


    Note the last para:
    Attacking Hindu terror works fine for us. But taking on Muslim extremism is a very sensitive issue and so we should be careful. Achuthanandan is sounding like the Bajrang Dal and the central party is backing him,” said a senior CPM MP.

    Comment by Sid | August 1, 2010

  22. Pl read Sh B Raman Arrests of Some Hindus as Terrorists: Curiouser and Curiouser which concludes:

    …Thus, according to American investigators the LET and Al Qaeda were responsible for the Samjauta Express blast and the HUJI for the Mecca Masjid blast.If the American investigators, who have better sources in Pakistan, are correct, how can our investigators claim that some arrested Hindus were responsible for these incidents?

    Justice and fairplay demand a thorough investigation into the two different versions that have emerged from Indian and American investigators. While the American investigators have blamed the LET, Al Qaeda and the HUJI, Indian investigators have blamed the Abhinav Bharat. Both cannot be correct.

    Comment by B Shantanu | August 7, 2010

  23. @Ashish Deodhar

    According to your interpretation, media is not biased. Any bias that a person sees is misplaced. And you also assert that this is done by the ‘Hindu Rightists’.

    Just show you that this perception is shared by outside neutral observers, I am quoting from a book that is written by an American Journalist, who has done extensive research on indigenous cultures around the world. The book’s name is “ORISSA in the CROSSFIRE: Kandhamal Burning” and the author is Brannon Parker.

    Do you remember the Kandhmal riots? I hope you do. That is one incident that inflicted great damage on the image of many Hindu organizations. The media just could not stop itself from reporting the torture that had been inflicted by Tribals and these organizations on the native Christians. But, sadly,the truth lay elsewhere. But that truth was never told by the media. What more proof is required by any person on the complicity of media with ruling power and also with missionaries? This is reported by an outsider, not some Hindu suffering from [i]paranoid cum persecution complex[/i]!

    Oh yes, I here are the original words of the author-

    Coincidently, a mere two weeks before my arrival in India the tribes of Orissa had gone on the warpath. According to media reports, countless Christian churches were being burnt and worst of all Christians were allegedly being hunted down and killed. The violence had erupted after an 82 year old Hindu Monk dedicated to the
    upliftment of Orissa’s tribespeople had been assassinated in a most brutal manner. The day chosen for his assassination was also seen as an intentional provocation. The day was Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna; a holiday celebtrated across India. The location of the assassination also caused great anguish to the tribes people. A group of somewhere between 18 to 36 armed men had descended upon a local girls school, lobbing grenades and firing machine guns into the air. The headmistress of the school was gunned down as she attempted to shield the life of her mentor, the 82 year old monk and founder of the school, Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati. A visiting parent
    along with two junior monks were also viciously slaughtered as the young students fled for their lives.
    Orissa was stunned by the violence and the entire State went into mourning.
    Hindus throughout the world were outraged. Yet worst was to come. As a stunned people began to confront the fact that the authorities had failed to protect its citizens, the media began a campaign of calumny. Ignoring the brutal assassination of a beloved
    spiritual leader as the root of the crisis the media began to depict the response to the massacre as the story. Report after report flooded the world media depicting the outraged tribal response as the actions of blood-thirsty criminals and marketers of hate.
    Ignoring the hundreds of years of anguish and the long simmering disputes between the local Kandha tribes people and the Christian converted Pana, the media and political left created an artificial template lambasting the Hindus as the sole perpetrators of the
    It was in the midst of this crisis that I arrived in Orissa to investigate the circumstances surrounding the violence. I arrived in Bhuvaneshwar, the capital of Orissa, on September 15, 2008. The monsoon season was in full swing. The worst floods in nearly 70 years washed over the land. The state highway was washed out several
    times and thousands of people were left homeless. Amazingly life went on as usual with very little interruption. I had a couple miraculous escapes as we drove around Orissa crossing bridges only hours before they were swamped by the swollen rivers of the region.
    During my 5 weeks in Orissa I met with many people on all sides of the issue.
    Most people were forthright and clear about the issues plaguing the people. Many of the people, in fact, most of the people I met with had excellent solutions to the problems at hand. However the violence and disparity experienced by the people of Orissa and India at large has created a kind of chaos and instability. Thus India moves from one
    crisis to the other. The greatest obstacle in the way of India’s progress is the state of denial that is endemic to country. Without understanding the true foundation of the problem it is almost impossible to provide any solution. The truth is most often buried
    and manipulated by vested interests. Any effort to reveal the truth is highlighted as a ‘communal’ or ‘prejudiced’ effort. Victims are ignored and culprits are emboldened as the various political players entrench themselves in the suffering of the people. India’s
    people are categorized and cataloged and thus divided against themselves by language, religion, ethnicity, caste and clan. Government benefits are given out and fought over.
    Many take advantage of government largesse based upon their greed as the truly needy are left on the way side. India’s tribal people have been left far behind as some of India’s non-tribal citizens expertly and criminally manipulate the system. In this way tribal lands and rights are being accessed by non-tribals to the disadvantage of the
    tribals. Long embittered, India’s tribes are only now attempting to regain lost ground.
    Their struggle has been a long one and is ongoing.
    In this report I have attempted to present the facts as they happened.”[/quote]

    The book is available as a free download on lulu.com, the links is given below-


    The author above talks about ‘India’s state of denial’. I think till the time our people are suffering from this mental state, it is difficult to find a solution.

    Comment by GyanP | August 7, 2010

  24. The case of so-called Hindu terror gets curiouser and curiouser. The TOI reports –

    “Contrary to Centre’s growing estimate that alleged Hindu extremists carried out the May 2007 Mecca Mosque blast in Hyderabad, the United States and the United Nations have held the Pakistan-based Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami (HuJI) responsible for it. ”


    “The world body has also listed a number of terror attacks which were carried out by HuJI. Besides the Mecca Masjid blast, these include the twin explosions in Hyderabad in August 2007 and suicide bombing of the US Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, in March 2006 among others.”

    the link is here-


    Comment by GyanP | August 8, 2010

  25. @Gyanp

    #174 that justifies the title of the post. Of course, media will not cover this with same vigor. Will outlook render an apology for jumping the gun.

    Comment by Anupam | August 8, 2010

  26. @Anupam (#175),
    Will outlook render an apology for jumping the gun.
    Why would they offer any apology? A lot of people still buy outlook and a lot of people who do not like outlook still drive traffic to their websites. What would change if a few “internet Hindus” feel offended?

    Comment by Sid | August 8, 2010

  27. @Sid,
    well said..by the way ..I recently found out that Sagarika Ghose invented the term Internet Hindus and she feels they hound her..:)

    Comment by Anupam | August 9, 2010

  28. Dear All: To avoid comment overload on this thread, I am opening a second thread on this topic here.

    Please continue the discussion on the new thread…This thread will continue to remain on the blog.

    Comment by Moderator | August 9, 2010

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