Opinion | Normalising Islamist terror, the Salman Khurshid way

Salman Khurshid’s statement equating RSS with Boko Haram and ISIS is a sordid attempt to normalise horrendous crimes of Islamist terror groups.

File image of Salman Khurshid. Reuters

A scholar, a former diplomat and a senior member of erstwhile Congress governments, Salman Khurshid lets his mask slip once in a while and makes some incomprehensible statements. It seems like Jekyll and Hyde syndrome. If I am not wrong, he told us that his “mother-like leader Sonia Gandhi” cried for the terrorists killed during the Batla House encounter. An encounter that saw an unsung senior police officer too killed under his own government.

I do not recall him condemning Boko Haram killing young children, specifically girls and women, for getting educated. I also do not recall him condemning ISIS and its offshoots for a wanton spree of terror across the globe. He might have, like many enlightened Muslims, claimed that they were not true Muslims, which is neither here nor there. Because, none of the Islamic ‘scholars’ or seculars parroting these lines, that “they are not true Muslims”, have proven that terror groups like Boko Haram and ISIS and scores of such Stone Age Islamist groups have quoted The Book wrongly. Because they haven’t! Obviously, such Jekyll and Hyde leaders are afraid of Islamists and their vote-banks controlled by maulvis living in the 7th century and wanting to push the entire world to that age.

The latest infantile attempt by Salman Khurshid of equating RSS with Boko Haram and ISIS comes as no surprise. This statement is not an attempt to brush RSS in dark colours. Those attempts since 1947 have failed as the changing face of Bharat and Hindu society clearly shows. This is a sordid attempt to normalise horrendous crimes of these and scores of such terror groups that play victimhood cards in every nation that host their people and perpetrate violence. By equating RSS with people who kill others for getting educated, those whose only crime is that they don’t belong to the ‘only’ true religion, those who do not belong to the ‘only’ true sect of that ‘true’ religion, or those who refuse to convert to their religion or who wish to live a life not modelled on the 7th century Arabia. This is an attempt to whitewash those who brutalise women as war booty (‘maal-e-ganimat’), who openly auction them in today’s war-torn Islamic regions. Khurshid would have us believe that thousands of those killed by Boko Haram and ISIS and its ilk died of their own accord, pulling the triggers of AK-47 on themselves!

I would invite Khurshid to give evidence of RSS swayamsevaks or their leaders gunning down people for any of the ‘crimes’ similar to mentioned above. Let him show RSS inducting people to train them to go out of India and work for other extremist organisations to kill and rape. He must come up with concrete evidence. The former diplomat, foreign minister and ‘erudite’ senior Congress leader should show the cases of RSS opposing education to women, threatening believers of other religions to come within the Hindu or Sanatan fold, or coercing others to certain religious practices dictated by it.

Let him show, as claimed by his equally vicious senior colleagues, that RSS inspired thousands of schools to teach terror and hate for other religions. Many of his own co-religionists study and come on top in board exams from these very schools. His own co-religionists even teach in those schools. Let Khurshid show any Sewa project of RSS where there is discrimination against non-Hindus. He cannot. But throwing mud is easy, as RSS generally doesn’t retaliate and waste time and energy on such malicious characters.

Now, let me just mention a few reasons briefly, why RSS cannot be equated with any Islamist organisation. RSS firmly believes in Hindutva or Hinduness that is the essence of Hindu dharma. What is the essence of Hindu dharma? Genuine pluralism — respect all views. Ekam sat, vipra bahudha vadanti is not a cliché; it is part of the psyche of every Hindu or Sanatani. A Hindu believes in ‘Not only my way, but your way too’. Let Khurshid show such a republican approach in his religion. One sura or ayat will not disprove this. Let one of his scholars or Boko Haram or ISIS say, “All religions are equal.”

Pluralism of Hindus does not mean that any religion or belief system can treat Hindu society in a shabby manner and abuse it. Sustained fight back against all the invaders for centuries and keeping alive its faith when other civilisations collapsed under Islamic invasion shows the strength of this society.

Hindutva respects women as equals. Go back to its scriptures. Hindus have no doubt that women have a soul or not, or if they are equal to men. Hindu scriptures don’t discount a woman’s evidence as of half of a man. Hindu dharma enjoins not to attack children or women or brutalise them in or after a war, unlike his friends whom he is trying to whitewash and normalise. Hindu organisations do not stop women from being Rishikas, scholars or priests.

In fact, RSS and inspired organisations have done silent work to train SCs/STs and women to train as priests for years. RSS-inspired schools not only educate women, RSS-inspired organisations have more women than all the ‘progressive, secular’ social organisations put together.

Hinduness of this Bharatiya society enjoys the diversity and sees inherent unity in all human beings, all living beings and nature. It does not impose uniformity to bring peace. Dr BR Ambedkar had noted, “Islam is a close corporation and the distinction that it makes between Muslims and non-Muslims is a very real, very positive and very alienating distinction. The brotherhood of Islam is not the universal brotherhood of man. It is the brotherhood of Muslims for Muslims only. There is a fraternity, but its benefit is confined to those within that corporation. For those who are outside the corporation, there is nothing but contempt and enmity.”

Our mother earth has taught us to see the supreme being in its splendour in diversity. RSS doesn’t want a deathly uniformity. But that’s not the case with Islamist terror outfits like Boko Haram and ISIS that dictate you to follow a particular religion and a particular sect within that religion to enjoy life or be left alive. More people may have died within Islamic society fighting each other than the numbers killed by these terrorists outside their region during the 20th and 21st centuries. I am not even going back to violence let loose by competing Islamism and Christianism in their prime. Even as I write this, his co-religionists are killing each other in Afghanistan, Yemen, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and so on.

My advice to people like Khurshid is not to reduce themselves to the IQ of their leader(s). You are supporting extremist elements within Muslim society by making such statements. You are isolating and insulting saner elements within Muslim society. Bharat has changed, it is better for you and your like-minded organisations to change your distorted worldview if you wish to stay relevant.

The writer is a well-known author and columnist. He has written six books on RSS and has also done PhD on RSS. The views expressed are personal.​

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