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I resent what Hindutva is doing to Hinduism: Nayantara Sahgal

"As a Hindu, I resent what Hindutva is doing to Hinduism. They are distorting and destroying it"

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Hindutva is a brand of fundamentalism and the Hindu right wing is distorting what Hinduism stands for, says renowned author Nayantara Sahgal who was among one of the first writers to return her Sahitya Akademi award to protest against intolerance in the country.

She also claimed the situation in the country is worse than the Emergency era, but said figures like Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar offer hope.

Speaking to IANS on the sidelines of the first edition of the Dehradun Literature Festival here, Sahgal, niece of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, lamented that the Hindu right seemed to be becoming like terror outfit IS and said it was “time for a debate on the tendency of Hindutva to become like IS, to cut off people’s heads”.

We need a debate on why Hindutva is becoming like the IS. The Hindu right wing is talking in the same criminal language as IS. As a Hindu, I resent what Hindutva is doing to Hinduism. They are distorting and destroying it,” she said.

Terming as “bogus” the debate on nationalism, she accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government of trying to instill fear on people’s mind with “silly” issues like chanting of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.

“The debate on nationalism is irrelevant now. Nationalism was needed at a time when the country was fighting to become a nation under British Raj. Then the Hindu right and Muslim right supported British to lay the path to Partition,” she said.

Accusing Hindu rightwing groups of fostering trouble in the NIT Kashmir campus, Sahgal said that the effort began at the time of Syama Prasad Mookerjee, founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS).

There has been an attempt by Hindu right wing to create trouble between Jammu and Kashmir to bring in the Hindu element from the time of Syama Prasad Mookerjee and it’s still going on,” she said, charging the BJP with wanting to destroy secularism in Kashmir.

“Kashmir was the only secular place in India where there was no riots even during the Partition. It used to be the centre of a great religious culture,” she said.

The author also took exception to the BJP’s effort to appropriate historic figures like B.R. Ambedkar and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, saying that the party discovered the great leaders after so many years. “It’s better late than never,”she added.

Sahgal, known for her outspoken views, also held that the present situation in the country is much worse than Emergency.

“It’s an undeclared emergency now. Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi goes abroad and says great things. But here, they are crushing dissent and force us into obedience,” she said.

However, Sahgal felt that young people like Kanhaiya Kumar are a beacon of hope for the country. “The Dalit issue has come to the fore now because of the students movement which started in the Hyderabad university. Kanhaiya Kumar aptly said that the issue of caste, communalism, poverty and other issues is to be fought,” she said.

Lauding Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s call for a grand alliance to fight the BJP, she said that all like-minded parties should come together to save the idea of India.

“I think the time has come for a great coalition like Nitish Kumar said. There has to be a combination of all parties who don’t support the ‘Hindu rashtra’ business. It’s slowly happening,” she said adding that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has undergone a change and gives hope for his party.

“Rahul seems to have changed and spoke well in parliament recently. I think Rahul has stepped forward and it is a good move,” she said.(IANS)

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  • P. B. Josh

    We resent what you and your elk has done to Secularism.

  • AVISHEK TALUKDAR

    “Kashmir was the only secular place in India” where in 1941, Kashmir pandits constituted 15% of Valley’s population, which today is not even 0.5%. Secular local Muslims along with militants carried out massacres’ of Kashmiri Pandits also known as Ethical cleansing. Overnight 350,000 KP became refugees in their own land.

    Scores of people are dying in the streets of India everyday in the hands of Islamic terrorist, but the biggest threat to the country is from Hindusim & Hindutva. Rather for Nayantara Sahgal it`s worse than ISIS.

    If hypocrites like Kanhaiya Kumar are beacons of hope for the country, then maybe god even cannot save this country.

  • Guest

    Looks like idiocy is a necessary part of the Nehru lineage, it’s not just RG, it’s her too. Kanhaiya, RG, Nitish Kumar a beacon of hope.Huh!

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  • P. B. Josh

    We resent what you and your elk has done to Secularism.

  • AVISHEK TALUKDAR

    “Kashmir was the only secular place in India” where in 1941, Kashmir pandits constituted 15% of Valley’s population, which today is not even 0.5%. Secular local Muslims along with militants carried out massacres’ of Kashmiri Pandits also known as Ethical cleansing. Overnight 350,000 KP became refugees in their own land.

    Scores of people are dying in the streets of India everyday in the hands of Islamic terrorist, but the biggest threat to the country is from Hindusim & Hindutva. Rather for Nayantara Sahgal it`s worse than ISIS.

    If hypocrites like Kanhaiya Kumar are beacons of hope for the country, then maybe god even cannot save this country.

  • Guest

    Looks like idiocy is a necessary part of the Nehru lineage, it’s not just RG, it’s her too. Kanhaiya, RG, Nitish Kumar a beacon of hope.Huh!

Next Story

World’s Anti-Corruption Day

The U.S. Statement Department said in its Friday statement that it pledges "to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide."

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Anti-Corruption
Bulgarian anti-corruption protesters march during a demonstration in downtown Sofia, VOA

Corruption costs the world economy $2.6 trillion each year, according to the United Nations, which is marking International Anti-Corruption Day on Sunday.

“Corruption is a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societies. No country, region or community is immune,” the United Nations said.

The cost of $2.6 trillion represents more than 5 percent of global GDP.

The world body said that $1 trillion of the money stolen annually through corruption is in the form of bribes.

Patricia Moreira, the managing director of Transparency International, told VOA that about a quarter of the world’s population has paid a bribe when trying to access a public service over the past year, according to data from the Global Corruption Barometer.

Moreira said it is important to have such a day as International Anti-Corruption Day because it provides “a really tremendous opportunity to focus attention precisely on the challenge that is posed by corruption around the world.”

Journalist, Anti-Corruption
An activist places candles and flowers on the Great Siege monument, after rebuilding a makeshift memorial to assassinated anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, in Valletta, Malta. VOA

Anti-corruption commitments

To mark the day, the United States called on all countries to implement their international anti-corruption commitments including through the U.N. Convention against Corruption.

In a statement Friday, the U.S. State Department said that corruption facilitates crime and terrorism, as well as undermines economic growth, the rule of law and democracy.

“Ultimately, it endangers our national security. That is why, as we look ahead to International Anticorruption Day on Dec. 9, we pledge to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide,” the statement said.

Moreira said that data about worldwide corruption can make the phenomena understandable but still not necessarily “close to our lives.” For that, we need to hear everyday stories about people impacted by corruption and understand that it “is about our daily lives,” she added.

She said those most impacted by corruption are “the most vulnerable people — so it’s usually women, it’s usually poor people, the most marginalized people in the world.”

Anti-Corruption
Anna Hazare raised his voice against corruption and went ahead with his hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Wikimedia Commons

The United Nations Development Program notes that in developing countries, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance.

What can be done to fight corruption?

The United Nations designated Dec. 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day in 2003, coinciding with the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption by the U.N. General Assembly.

The purpose of the day is to raise awareness about corruption and put pressure on governments to take action against it.

Tackling the issue

Moreira said to fight corruption effectively it must be tackled from different angles. For example, she said that while it is important to have the right legislation in place to curb corruption, governments must also have mechanisms to enforce that legislation. She said those who engage in corruption must be held accountable.

“Fighting corruption is about providing people with a more sustainable world, with a world where social justice is something more of our reality than what it has been until today,” she said.

Anti-Corruption
It is important to have the right legislation in place to curb corruption

Moreira said change must come from a joint effort from governments, public institutions, the private sector and civil society.

The U.S. Statement Department said in its Friday statement that it pledges “to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide.”

It noted that the United States, through the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development, helps partner nations “build transparent, accountable institutions and strengthen criminal justice systems that hold the corrupt accountable.”

Also Read: British Parliament Access Internal Facebook Data Scandal Papers: Report

Moreira said that it is important for the world to see that there are results to the fight against corruption.

“Then we are showing the world with specific examples that we can fight against corruption, [that] yes there are results. And if we work together, then it is something not just that we would wish for, but actually something that can be translated into specific results and changes to the world,” she said. (VOA)