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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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Image: Wikimedia commons

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)

  • 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

India: Sugar Mills, Distilleries under The Scanner of Special Task Force of UP Police for Links with Hooch Syndicates

Industrial alcohol allegedly used in hooch is distilled ethanol

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India, Sugar Mills, Distilleries
A few sugar mills and distilleries have come under the scanner of the Special Task Force of the UP police. Pixabay

As more than a hundred people died in ‘poisonous hooch’ tragedies in Uttar Pradesh during the past one year, a few sugar mills and distilleries have come under the scanner of the Special Task Force of the UP police. Working round the clock to bust ‘killer syndicates’ supplying cheap industrial alcohol to bootleggers and gangs involved in manufacturing of illicit liquor, STF has seized more than 10,000 litres of rectified spirit in raids across the state in the past one month.

Industrial alcohol allegedly used in hooch is distilled ethanol and is usually used in manufacturing of paints, fragrance, printing ink and coating. As it is cheaper, the liquor syndicates get it smuggled from distilled ethanol manufacturing units. On June 16, STF seized 5,750 litres of rectified spirit (high concentration alcohol) from the possession of a big time crime syndicate active in Lucknow and Kanpur.

The STF rounded up the kingpin, Suraj Lal Yadav, along with six other members of the gang. During interrogation it was discovered that Yadav was well-connected with some distilleries in Haryana. Large quantities of industrial alcohol was smuggled out of Haryana and pushed into hooch manufacturing dens in UP.

Concerned about frequents deaths in UP due to consumption of poisonous hooch, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath launched a statewide crackdown on illicit liquor manufacturing gangs after 21 people died in a hooch tragedy in Barabanki two months ago. The STF, considered the state’s premiere crime busting agency, subsequently geared up to intercept scores of tankers and private vehicles being pushed into UP from Delhi and Haryana.

India, Sugar Mills, Distilleries
A few sugar mills and distilleries have come under the scanner of the Special Task Force of the UP police. Pixabay

“The syndicate involved in smuggling of rectified spirit has spread its tentacles in the state. Even murders have taken place in disputes relating to the smuggling. But our raiding parties are determined to bust the gangs. Innumerable cases have been registered by us in the past one-and-a-half years,” said Amitabh Yash, Inspector General(IG) of STF.

Even though the STF, after rounding up the accused handed over the investigation of the case to the district police, the agency is said to have the most precise data on organised crime in North India.

“We seldom investigate the cases as it involves prolonged court work, so our main aim is focused on cracking heinous crimes, particularly organised by crime syndicates. At the moment, gangs involved in illicit trade of hooch are our target,” said Amitabh Yash, known for his skills in dealing with underworld operations and syndicate crimes. When asked whether a few officials of the excise department and a couple of distilleries could be linked with smugglers of rectified spirit, the IG said a report was given in this connection to the government.

While high excise duty makes liquor expensive, hooch, on the other hand, is available for less than Rs 20 per bottle. At places the rates are less than even Rs 10 per liter. A report, in connection with the Saharanpur hooch tragedy in February 2019 which took the lives of over 50 people, reveals that the quantity of rectified spirit mixed in the drink was so high that it had the effect of poison.

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The report says that rectified spirit was smuggled by criminal gangs which were hand-in-glove with local authorities.

“The gangs have links in distilleries and chemical factories from where industrial alcohol is smuggled out at a very cheap price. It is later re-packed in drums and transported to hideouts of manufacturers (of illicit liquor),” said a source in the police.

With widespread sale of hooch across UP, CM Yogi Adityanath has instructed DGP O.P. Singh to take stringent measures against the culprits and ensure that police secures conviction of those accused who are put on trial in cases of hooch smuggling or hooch-related deaths. (IANS)