Veteran VHP leader and one of the faces of the Ram mandir movement of the 1990s, Ashok Singhal blames SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for the politics of Muslim appeasement in Uttar Pradesh. And unlike many others in the saffron brigade, he has high hopes for Narendra Modi. In fact, Singhal’s hoping the BJP spearhead will lead a revival of the Hindu nationalist movement in the country. He talks to Panini Anand. Excerpts:
Your call for a chaurasi kosi yatra flopped, there wasn’t even much support on the ground....
This was a simple and small yatra. It’s not that we don’t have support; why are you ignoring the hundreds of protests in the last few days? We have the capacity to do bigger actions than the 1990s movement and we will do it as and when needed.
The BJP and RSS too didn’t support you, neither in Parliament nor on the roads.
You’ve got it wrong. There was an uproar in the House. However, we are not dependent on the support of any political party. Recently, some 425 MPs expressed their support for the Ram mandir to us, what do you have to say about that?
How did the yatra get derailed?
Mulayam and his son, Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav, had agreed to the yatra. Suddenly, after Azam Khan’s insulting statements, the state government took a U-turn. I think Mulayam misunderstood matters or it might be a deliberate attempt not to understand.
You are accusing Mulayam of banning it to appease the Muslims?
His sudden U-turn after Azam’s statement proves it. He thinks he can consolidate Muslim votes in his favour but Muslims always go by the candidate, not the party, while trying to defeat Hindu-minded candidates.
What about the timing of the yatra, isn’t this communal polarisation benefiting both VHP and SP?
It’s not just Mulayam, even a foreigner like Sonia Gandhi now wants to insult Hindus. We will not allow this to happen. After the 1990s, the time has come for another Hindu uprising. Those who oppose it will be vanquished. People like Azam Khan, who insults our saints and religion, will get asylum only in Pakistan.
Coming back to the Ram mandir movement, do you think the BJP took advantage of it?
Those who will support our movement will get fame, the anti-mandir elements will get infamy. Why should we go with any political party, we don’t need to gain from political movements. In fact, they indeed can gain from us.
You think the rise of Modi will help you?
Even God wants him to lead. The strong reaction from Gujarat’s Hindus in 2002 after Godhra was like the recent cloudburst in Kedar valley...it could not be contained by anyone. One should also look at Modi’s background, hard work and leadership. Ram ki mahashakti hai Modi.
But he didn’t say a word about the yatra. And he hasn’t promised a Ram mandir in Ayodhya.
He is a member of a political party. His party and party president have already made statements against the brutal attack on Hindu saints and the restrictions on the yatra. In the coming years, the country will see a stronger Hindu movement which will ensure that political parties are forced to pass a resolution for the Ram mandir.
But even some very senior leaders of the VHP don’t like him.
There are some individuals who don’t like him. But it doesn’t mean that this is an issue at the organisational level.
Will any political party ever have the political will to come up with a positive resolution on Ram mandir?
The present Hindu wave is not for political reasons or for elections. That said, I am definitely sure that this time Ram bhakts are going to decide the political picture of this country. Those who ignore the mandir issue do so at their own risk, they will not see the corridors of power. The people want a clear mandate. I am sure the election results will surprise many.
So Modi has a direct line to god now. Outlook gives undue space to has-beens like Ashok Singhal (Even God wants him to lead, Sep 9). Even the local priests in Ayodhya are cursing him and his ilk for poisoning the air. Singhal and his VHP should do these yatras in the US and UK, where they get all their endless funds from.
Kishore Dasmunshi, Calcutta
Ayodhya movement leader Sadhu Sant Das and even the local trading community of the town denounced the VHP’s 84-kosi parikrama yatra, even then people like Singhal can’t read the pulse of the land.
C. Chandrasekharan, Madurai
When a nation behaves like a herd of sheep, following without thinking, it's only natural that the wolves thrive.
Singhal says keeping god in a tent is an insult to him. He should have more faith in his god.
K.P. Patel, Jefferson, US
"Hindutva extremists are exploiting Swami Vivekananda's name to surreptitiously gain credibility and respectability in the US. "
Evidently these guys are not reading Outlook. Had they read, they would have known Vivekananda was a Hindu Supremacist and naturally extremists would exploit the Supremacist.
Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions dissociates from VHP-A event
VHP-A stands exposed for peddling divisive ideologies while appropriating Swami Vivekananda.
Washington DC, Friday, September 13, 2013
Coalition Against Genocide (CAG), a broad alliance dedicated to justice and accountability for the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 and to combating extremist ideologies that were its genesis, today welcomed the statement issued by Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions (CPWR) dissociating itself from the "World Without Borders" event organized by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHP-A) to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda .
In an official statement of withdrawal issued today, CPWR stated it was not aware that the event involved "organizations promoting controversial political positions ". "While we do honor and promote the ideals of Swami Vivekananda, we respectfully withdraw our name from any co-hosting or co-sponsorship of the "World Without Borders" event and any connection to this event or its other co-sponsors," the statement added.
The mission statement of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions declares that it was "created to cultivate harmony among the world's religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world ." VHP-A is the US affiliate of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP-World Hindu Council), which is the socio-cultural wing of a network of extreme right-wing organizations in India that adhere to the ideology of Hindutva (which is different from the religion of Hinduism).
The VHP has been rightly characterized as "extremist" in the U.S. State Department's annual International Religious Freedom Reports, and has been cited in almost every International Religious Freedom annual report since 2001 for its violations of religious freedom against minorities .
The network of Hindutva supremacist organizations, with whom VHP-A has substantial links, have been the primary instigators of the vast majority of sectarian sconflicts and hate-based violence in India. They were responsible for the assassination of Gandhi (1948), the demolition of the famed Babri mosque that led to over 2,000 deaths all over India (1992), the gruesome mass murder of 2,000 Muslim minorities in Gujarat in 2002 for which the chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi has been banned from entering the United States and the European Union, and for fuelling hundreds of sectarian pogroms, including the ethnic cleansing of Christians in Kandhamal in the state of Odisha in 2007.
"Hindutva extremists are exploiting Swami Vivekananda's name to surreptitiously gain credibility and respectability in the US. On the one hand the VHP is fanning the flames of currently raging sectarian violence in Muzaffarnagar in India through virulent anti-minority propaganda and on the other its followers in the US are trying to project Hindu supremacist ideology of Hindutva as pluralistic," said Dr. Shaik Ubaid, a spokesperson for CAG.
"This incident exemplifies attempts by Hindutva organizations to legitimize their virulent politics by appropriating the legacies of important historical personalities such as Swami Vivekananda," said Dr. Raja Swamy, also a CAG spokesperson . "These have gone largely unnoticed and unchallenged until now mostly due to the general lack of understanding on the part of US institutions of the divisive and violent agenda of Hindutva groups in India," Dr. Swamy added.
Congi clowns are biggest communals in India. They have divided our country on the basis of religion and caste. Why we have haj subsidy and no hindu pilgrimage subsidy. Why muslim appeasement started by mahtama gandhi is at the root of destrution of India. Why expulsion of hindu pundits is acceptable from kashmir, why murder sikhs at the hands of congi goons is acceptable, why name of god is not acceptable. Muslim appeasement is congi policy to gather votes. This has been detrimental for the muslims as well as walking on crutches for 67 years has made crippled them and have failed to join the mainstream. India has been a loser and are worse off in 67 years. Now whole nation has to be fed to buy votes.
Singhal will now com, out, if not already, to defend Asharam. More need not be added. The newspapers and TV channels are bringing out all his secrets.
Defending such men have become pillars of Hindusim Ashoke Singhals have been defending.
Yet another attempt by communal VHP veteran to fool the god fearing voters to vote for Namo. Dabholkar gave his life to fight against superstition in the name of God; high time for the Indian Govt. to enact a stringent law to prosecute anyone who brings in the name of God to attract votes for any candidate, and the Election Commission must bar any candidate not distancing himself from such scam.
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