By Kamlesh Tripathi
In the annals of Indian history compiled by historians who pledged their prolonged allegiance to Congress. RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) was always projected as an untouchable organization along with its off-shoots. One of which was even held responsible for the gruesome murder of Mahatma Gandhi—father of the nation. That is Nathu Ram Godse. And collectively they all are blamed for fueling communal disharmony in the country. So much so. That very recently, Congress leader and Rajya Sabha M.P. Ghulam Nabi Azad mindlessly compared RSS with ISIS. But, be that as it may. It may not be out of context to say. That Indian history was wrongly written on several pages by these historians. Reason being: Because it was biased, and cunningly against the RSS and not at all in sync with what was happening in the neighbourhood of newly born India. It did not even deal with the regional demography and its likely effect on India. So quite frankly it was devoid of prospective anticipation, of how the troublesome neighbourhood of India is likely to be after a bunch of few decades.
I always feel. Any historical perspective should always be dipped at leisure in the demographic paste of the past the present and the anticipated gush of future. Much before it is presented to the world. To have an unbiased view. But unfortunately out here. It was not presented in that manner. Therefore, RSS & Co remained a villain of all times. RSS, was formed on 27th September 1925 on the day of Vijay-Dashmi, and would be celebrating its centenary in less than a decade. Thus, it has come a long way since then. It was banned during the British Raj and thereafter thrice in the post independence era. More for political reasons. But RSS couldn’t care less. As recently it has decided to graduate into trousers replacing those vintage shorts in an attempt to jerk off some of its ancient looks. But will it also change its inveterate mindset? Is something we need to wait and watch, but I’m sure. It’ll surely try and bolster its global image across the world.
For Congress and other left-of-center pseudo-secular parties. RSS remains that untouchable ball of fire that will only disintegrate the country. But then the moot question is, who brought about the painful disintegration of India in 1947? For RSS was just about twenty-two years old then. When Congress was about fifty two and definitely more matured and resourceful. Moreover, Congress continues to plot. That typical, slippery and conniving kind of a mindset for a very long period of time now. That is, support the Muslim minority, but get the Sikhs massacred in riots, and still label yourself as secular. This is what Congress did in 1984 Sikh riots. So, can one call Congress a secular Party?
As of now RSS bashing is vital and important for pseudo-secular parties. To survive and trade on vote bank politics. And, it will continue to be so as long as they can fool the Muslim minority of the country. That RSS is a threat to them. But with the continued peaceful co-existence of both RSS and the Muslims. The fear and misunderstanding falsely crafted by these parties, will only subside as per the law of time.
The mission statement of RSS says it was formed:
‘For the welfare of entire mankind, Bharath must stand before the world as a self-confident, resurgent and mighty nation. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has resolved to fulfill this age-old national mission by forging the present-day scattered Hindu Society into an organized and invincible force both on the plane of Adhyaatma and on the plane of material life. Verily this is the one real practical world mission – if ever there was one.
The mission of reorganizing the Hindu society. On the lines of its unique national genius, which the Sangh has taken up is not only a great process of true national regeneration of Bharat. But also the inevitable precondition to realize the dream of world unity and human welfare. Our one supreme goal is to bring to life the all-round glory and greatness of our Hindu Rashtra.
In order to take our nation to the pinnacle of glory, the first and foremost prerequisite is the invincible organized life of the people without which even the highest national prosperity will crumble to dust in no time.
Expressed in the simplest terms, the ideal of the Sangh is to carry the nation to the pinnacle of glory through organizing the entire society and ensuring the protection of Hindu Dharma.’
While some may find the mission statement to be bearable. Some others may find it as incendiary, but that’s up to them. But to me it appears. It delves more in uniting, the otherwise fragile Hindus and their ethos. Hitherto divided so much by caste, class, language and even state. In fact both the British Raj and Congress instead of bridging the gap. Tried their best to widen it. This is what RSS wants to rectify. So it should not be misunderstood as aggression, or a lurking danger against any minority community as often projected by pseudo-secular parties and the media. Hindus were never receptive to unite under any single temple or deity. Like the Muslims do under the name of ‘Allah.’ So in some ways RSS tried to act only as a counter balance in the demographic space of India, and I doubt if it will ever go ballistic first, and that too like ISIS.
Political parties can’t be relied upon for protection of a particular religion or faith completely. As they first nurture their own selfish needs. Where, their first priority is always their vote bank. Congress today doesn’t know where to look at. Ever since other pro Muslim parties have sprung up. Because of which their own Muslim vote bank has shrunk (In Lok Sabha only 44 seats) and for the majority they never ever bothered. Most Muslims and Christians, even when they lean on left wing parties. Still cannot afford to stay away from their mosques and churches. That issues diktats about whom to vote. Which is not the case with Hindu temples. Political parties confine you to geographical boundaries and nations whereas mosques and churches make you global but that is not the case with Hindu temples.
Hindus, though, intelligent, were never a marshal race. Rather for over four hundred years they have been gullible and subservient. Be it under the rule of the Mughal Sultanate or the British Raj. They were always naive and never united under one religious banner. They also had big individual egos. Therefore were always exploited individually by their opponents. Their temples never united them. On the contrary their day-to-day living only separated them by caste wars. As compared to Islam and Christianity where mosques and churches were heard and acted upon. Temples had practically no say in arriving at important milestones decisions of Hindus. Except for milestone rituals. So no temple could have brought Hindus together. And that is where RSS came into picture to hold the hands of Hindus and fill the gap. But the idea was not to launch an onslaught on any other religion. Earlier Sikhism was formed as a marshal force and religion to protect Hindus from the onslaught of Afghan and Mughal invasions.
If we compare the world demographics and religions across various countries and colonies. We will find there are 161 countries where Christianity is in a majority; 49 where Muslims are in a majority. In 7 countries unaffiliated religions rule the roost; 3 countries where Hindus are in a majority; 7 where Buddhists are in a majority; 3 countries where Folk Religion guides the majority and 1 where Jews are in a majority. Whereas, Christianity is more predominant in other continents such as Europe, America, Australia, New Zealand just to name a few. Islam and Hinduism on the other hand largely dominate Asia and the Middle East, and that to neck-to-neck. As compared to Muslim adherents of 1.12 billion in the region. Hindus number around 1.03 billion. I’m placing these vital statistics on the table. As that will only expose the tilt of the heft and the crucible required to balance the heft.
66% of the world’s Muslims reside in Asia and the Middle East. They are 27% of the total population of Asia and the Middle East. With around 1.12 billion adherents and thus the heart of Muslim civilization on earth. And it is noticeable. They share space with over a billion Hindus in the same region. But there is always a tug-of-war between the two on strength and mettle.
If we further zero in on South Asia. That includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. We will find 48 crore Muslims stay in South Asia which is about 28% of the world’s Muslim population and 30% of the population of South Asia and in comparison there are around 102 crore Hindus residing in South Asia. Which is around 98% of the total Hindu population of the world and around 64% of the total population of South Asia. And with a little over 95% of world’s Hindus living in India alone, a mind game of sorts is always on the prowl. Where RSS plays the card of Hindu saviour, and where Congress and other pseudo-secular parties are considered minority protectors.
RSS came into wider relevance and recognition ever since terrorism escalated in J&K. Where Kashmiri Pandits had to flee the valley and the Congress government in the centre did nothing effective about it. It also raised its voice whenever Hindu minorities were crushed in Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries. Even the illegal entry of Bangladeshis into Assam was overlooked if not encouraged by the Congress government. That changed the demographic pattern of Assam. Thus, one can say. It was also because of the Congress that RSS started gaining traction in India. Today the antenna of RSS goes even beyond the borders of India and stands as a peaceful Hindu insignia. Whether you like it or not.
But times have changed. Besides trousers RSS should also think of broad banding their base. To get in their fold dalits and minorities. And India needs to realise. As long as you have vote bank politics, organisations like RSS will come up to take the cause of the neglected.
By Kamlesh Tripathi
Donald Trump was being willfully scandalous. When he recently said that the U.S. should shut its doors on all Muslims, as his verbal assault. To the equally outrageous gunning down of civilians in California by a couple, owning allegiance to ISIS. Was it a campaign stunt to pacify the public mood, or just a stray ambient outburst one can’t say. But any which way Trump shot himself in the foot with this off the cuff remark. A person of Trump’s stature who happens to be a billionaire and an aspirant for the Republican nomination surely overlooked the demographic sketch of his own country. Whether by sheer ignorance or design he alone knows but by doing so he labeled Muslims in general as the derogatory stereotype.
On the other hand ‘Uncle Sam’ poses itself as the big daddy of the world. Showing deep concern for everyone in the planet. Simultaneously, it even keeps track of the maze of weaponry better than anyone else in the world. It also preaches terrorism to be a curse, yet remains one of the largest suppliers of arms in the world. With these analogies one can safely say. Donald Trump exactly knew what he wanted to say. It it was not just an, off the cuff remark. So, it may not be out of context to contend. He orated what the Republicans had in mind?
If we for a moment run through the world’s demography. We will find, out of a total world population of 7.26 billion people; 2.40 billion (33.06%) are Christians; 1.70 billion (23.41%) are Muslims; 1.13 billion (15.56%) belong to the unaffiliated religions (The religiously unaffiliated include atheists, agnostics and people who do not identify with any particular religion); 1.08 billion (14.87%) are Hindus; 0.49 billion (6.75%) are Buddhists; 0.40 billion (5.50%) practice the Folk Religion (The precise definition of folk religion varies among scholars. Sometimes also termed popular belief, it consists of ethnic or regional religious customs under the umbrella of a religion, but outside of official doctrine and practices); 0.06 billion (0.83%) belong to the other religions and 0.01 billion (0.01%) are Jews.
Islam therefore, is the second largest faith on earth with around 1.7 billion adherents, and not just a docile race that Trump’s U.S can think of doing without. But currently it is quite definitely under duress, going through some trying times because of Islamic fundamentalism, that is at its worst. As it perpetrates holocausts in the form of terrorism. Because of which, average Muslims are losing their sheen and are not apparently welcomed in some of the most developed and powerful countries and continents of the world such as the U.S., Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand to name a few, for no fault of theirs. But by ranting about Muslims Donald Trump has not only added salt to their wounds but has also hoodwinked the American public in general. For, you can shut your doors on Muslims only when its flooding, but not when its merely seeping.
If we analyze most religions vis-à-vis countries and colonies. We will find there are: 161 countries where Christianity is in a majority; 49 where Muslims are in a majority; 7 countries where unaffiliated religions rule the roost; 3 countries where Hindus are in a majority; 7 where Buddhists are in a majority; 3 countries where folk religion is in a majority and 1 where the Jews are in a majority.
The data above only tells us that the World Muslim Population by percentage (Pew Research Center, 2014), constitutes the world’s second largest religious group. And if we dig in a little more on the Muslim population across the world we will find.
Concentration of Muslim population
66% of the world’s Muslims reside in Asia and the Middle East. They are 27% of the total population of Asia and Middle East with around 1.12 billion adherents, and thus the heart of Muslim civilization on earth. And it is notable they share space with over a billion Hindus in the same region. Balance 34% of the Muslim population is spread across other continents and countries such as Africa, Europe, North America, South America, Australia & New Zealand, Melanesia, Caribbean, Micronesia, Mexico & Central America and Polynesia.
Africa is home to 26% of the world’s Muslim population and 43% of Africa’s population is Muslim. So not surprisingly, Asia, Middle East and Africa together notch up 92% of the world’s Muslim population. And only a paltry 8% is left for the powerful and affluent countries and continents to share. Out of that let us glance at Europe and America.
Europe has a total of 2.56 % of the world’s Muslim population and 5.85% of Europe’s population is Muslim. If we take Australia and New Zealand, 0.03% of the world’s Muslim population lives there which is 2.2% of their population. South America is home to just around 6.7 lac Muslims which is around 0.04% of the world Muslim population and 0.17% of their own population.
But coming back specifically to Donald Trump; North America is home to only around 35.08 lac Muslims which is only 0.2% of the world’s Muslim population and only 1.02% of their total population. Coming to the U.S. in particular, it is home to only 0.16% of world’s Muslim population, which is only 0.9% of their own population. So the point is, whether Trump says it or not. The Muslim population unlike Asia, Middle East and Africa has traditionally been extremely low in the U.S. and whether it was restricted by design or was never a favourite habitat of the Muslims in particular is a different question altogether.
A Breibart News review of the State Department and Homeland Security data reveals. United States, admits more than a quarter of a million Muslim migrants each year. To this President Obama intends to add another 10,000 Syrian migrants. In 2013 alone 1,17,423 migrants from Muslim majority countries were permanently resettled, within the United States. Additionally in 2013 the US voluntarily admitted an extra 1,22,921 temporary migrants from Muslim countries, as foreign students and foreign workers as well as 39,932 refugees from other Muslim countries.
Even though every year the U.S. admits a number of Muslim migrants. Larger in size than the entire population of Des Moines, Oowa, Lincoln, Nebraska or Dayton or Ohio. Yet it still remains a miniscule and therefore it is not flooding but seeping, where closing of doors doesn’t help.
The lethal point therefore is that US cannot do without the best of brains whether they come from Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Unaffiliated, Buddhist, Folk Religion, Jews or any other religion; And Trump’s US will have to realize, that you can’t continue to be the big daddy of the world by closing doors on faiths just because of a few rotten apples.
Yesterday, on the eve of Christmas I was told our office is not closed. As majority are non Christians who don’t celebrate Christmas. So we need to work on Christmas. A similar thing happened on Eid where again our office remained open. And, on both the days, I left in the morning only to return in the evening. Barely squeezing in time for a few text messages of ‘good wishes’ on the occasion to my Christian and Muslim friends, leave aside celebrating with them. I found this approach of certain establishment’s quite non-secular. But I was even more surprised when none of the so called secular parties of India came forward to address this non-secular issue. And, contrary to this on Holi and Diwali, the two major Hindu festivals, when our office remained closed no Christian or Muslim could come to work even if he wanted to. And with the same hypothesis this too was non-secular.
India should celebrate and grieve together. Unless we reach out to minorities in their thick and thin, and the minorities reach us in the breath, a sound weaving of minds will never happen, as everyone will celebrate their festivals only as a community and we won’t have too many national festivals.
After all; all our Gods reside in this very country and they all have Indian passports; and it is only for some non-secular establishments to realize this vintage fact.