November  2001 
Cover Story

Other Boxes

The laboratory of Hindutva


Ø  40 lakh ‘trishuls’ distributed nationwide by the Bajrang Dal in the past few months.
— Rajasthan CM, Ashok Gehlot, at a public rally in Jaipur, November 19, 2001

Ø These ‘trishuls’ are in fact sharp 6-8 inch long Rampuri knives that can be used to kill.
— Rajasthan police

Ø ‘Trishul’ distribution and other arms training camps by the BD and VHP also reported from Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
— State police

Ø  Jalabhisheks conducted by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad where by its own admission, it seeks to approach ‘every Hindu home in 10,000 villages countrywide’. This running in parallel with the BD’s ‘Trishul Diksha Samarohs’ suggest a sinister repeat of the bloody countrywide mobilisation through the Ramshila poojans in the 80s and Advani’s rath yatra in the early 90s.


l There is a serious bid in Rajasthan to engineer Dalit–Muslim and Muslim–tribal conflicts.

l Shrines or dargahs that are symbols of syncretic worship and defy notions of a monolithic Hinduism or Islam are being systematically targeted.

l After the attacks and destruction, in the vocabulary of the administration, the aggressors and most of the local media, dargahs become ‘poojasthals’ overnight.

l Attempts at polarizing the community market space in kasbahs and villages, through coercive tactics — enforced bandhs and strikes, extended closure of markets and cessation of economic activity — are used to pressurise police and administration into releasing those arrested for criminal acts or to prevent arrests and punitive actions altogether.

l Long years of Jan Sangh/BJP rule in the 60s and then under Bhairon Singh Shekhawat in the early and mid-90s have heavily communalised the state’s administration and police.

l Senior IAS and IPS officials openly visit the BJP leader and former CM, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, and the latter flaunts this aggressively


q To crush the spirit of religious minorities and reduce them to a fearful, desolate, desperate and resentful state; a de facto status of second class citizens.

q To strain, test and negatively influence, the secular, principled and neutral visions and actions of the police and administration.


‘Dargahs main targets in Bhilwara’

Bhanwar Meghvanshi
Dalit activist and PUCL member

Bhilwara has become the testing ground for communal forces like the VHP, the RSS and BJP, especially in the last 3–4 months when there have been over half a dozen serious incidents. Believe me, the story does not end here. Their next target is at Kareda, where there is a monument to the Sufi Saint, Sahlena Sarkar Baba who is very dear to people of all religions — Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians. The fact is that only 30% of worshippers here are Muslims whereas over 70% are Hindus; this is not acceptable to communal forces. How can they accept Hindu devotees having faith in a Muslim Baba? We have been telling the administration to protect the shrine adequately. This dargah, like others in Rajasthan, was targeted and burnt down earlier also.

At present the most ominous development in Bhilwara is the systematic distribution of the fatal weapon called ‘trishul’ under the Trishul Diksha Samarohs. This programme took place in Kotda. At present, it is under way at Asind. Hiraram Gujjar, the man directly implicated in the Asind dargah destruction is personally conducting the programme, going from house–to-house, village-to-village, distributing ‘trishuls’.

These ‘trishuls’ have been distributed in very large numbers. Is this not a serious thing? Dargahs are the main targets of communal forces here. These incidents are systematic the technique use by the forces is chillingly similar-the same group that was responsible for the attack at Jahazpur also carried them out at Bhilwara.

There is also a systematic attempt to communalise the Gujjar community and the legacy that Rajesh Pilot left behind is being manipulated for this. Behind all this is the aggressive bid for leadership among Gujjars. Earlier Gujjars never called themselves Hindu; they were simply Gujjars. You would not find Gujjars at RSS shakhas previously. But now you see them in the RSS and even the Bajrang Dal. The Hindutvakaran of the Gujjar is on.

As disturbing, and this is something we have just learned, is that in some parts the Muslim League is preparing to retaliate and is distributing ‘Sulemani talwars’. You can imagine the frightening prospects for peace, with the administration silently watching as ‘trishuls’ and talwars are being freely distributed by organisations even when section 144 is in force! 


‘Rule of law must prevail’

Sriprakash Sharma
Senior journalist and coordinator, Sampradayik Sadbhav Manch, Rajasthan

On November 18, the Rajasthan chief minister, Ashok Gehlot, has declared at a Congress rally that 40 lakh ‘trishuls’ that are trishul only in name have been distributed by the Bajrang Dal countrywide. Despite his open statements and his government’s concern, the distribution of trishuls and training camps continue uninterrupted in Rajasthan.

This CM means business; he is trying to be proactive and to pre-empt the situation. However, nine years of BJP rule under Bhairon Singh Shekhawat have thoroughly communalised the administration and the police.

One thing that the administration must do is to consistently reject the demand always made by the communal parties that the local panchayat be summoned to resolve issues after violence has broken out. This is because inevitably, by the time the panchayat meeting is convened, fair and independent–minded people have already been browbeaten into silence and there is no fair representation of views.

The administration and the police must do their duty — the rule of law must prevail.

Despite the cynical and systematic attempts to inject communal poison in the kasbahs and villages of Rajasthan, I do not believe that people, ordinary people, are at all really moved by or drawn into the mass mobilization. This is positive.

Two recent developments have also sent down very positive messages. One is regular interaction between civil society groups and the CM and his administration. The other is the emergence of the Sampradayik Sadbhav Manch.


[ Subscribe | Contact Us | Archives | Khoj | Aman ]
[ Letter to editor  ]
Copyrights © 2001, Sabrang Communications & Publishing Pvt. Ltd.