Ram Puniyani


(Book Reviewed: Godse’s Children- Hindutva Terror in India, Pharos Media, Delhi, Pages 400, Rs 360, Pb)


Terrorist violence has been one of the major problems of recent times. This phenomenon came to popular notice more so after the 9/11 attack on WTC, which was followed by, apart from other things, popularization of the terms ‘Islamic Terror’, ‘Jehdi terror’.


The popular perception associating Terrorism with Islam and Muslims dominated the ‘social common sense’ and acts of terror got associated with Islam and Muslims. It is in this context that when two Bajrang dal workers died while making bombs in Nanded, Maharashtra, the Maharashtra ATS, did not pursue the investigation to its logical conclusion to unravel the whole truth. It is in this light that when most of the acts of terror took place around Parbhani, Jalna, Aurangabad, Ajmer, Mecca Masjid, Malegaon, and Samjhauta Express blast, that authorities rushed to investigate those acts on the lines that ‘all terrorists are Muslims’, many a innocent Muslim youth were arrested and some of them released much later for the lack of proper evidence, whatsoever, by which time the lives of most of them were ruined.


It was Hemant Karkare, who meticulously investigated the Malegaon blast and, much against the intimidation from the likes of Narendra Modi and Bal Thackeray, put forward the truth of involvement of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Swami Dayanand Pandey, Lt Col Purohit and other groups associated with RSS ideology. With further perusal of the issue gradually the role of Hindutva groups Sanatan Sanstha, Abhinav Bharat and even some members of RSS started coming to light, in cases of blasts which occurred in front of mosques when congregation was just over, or in Samjhauta express blast.


This is the backdrop in which one welcomes the meticulous and well articulated contribution by Subhash Gatade. Gatade has been consistently writing against the sectarian politics of Hindutva forces-RSS combine. This book was contemplated in this context, when the Hindutva elements were exploding bombs here and there and the investigation authorities were looking the other way around. The result was that the likes of sadhvi, swamis and their associates, were merrily getting away without getting any punishment. This comprehensive volume is very strong on investigation of different episodes of act of terror, covering most of the blasts done by Hindutva elements, the major being the span of blasts from Nanded blasts 2006 to the confessions of Swami Aseemanand. Each of these acts has been presented and the immaculate evidence of the involvement of RSS affiliates and those inspired by the RSS ideology of Hindu Nation is laid bare in an incontestable way. After the reading of even the few chapters of the book, one realizes how misplaced has been the investigation in these cases, how distorted has been the social common sense of people and the authorities in these matters.


To add to the strength of the book, we have an apt introduction by Dr. Shamsul Islam, who himself is an authority on RSS. This is an important part of the book and outlines the ideology of RSS, its agenda of Hindu nation, its clever ways of instigating violence and how its structure has been kept fluid enough to keep it insulated from the impact of its members who indulge in violence. The book demands in a forthright manner from RSS, the list of members who were asked to leave or have left due to their involvement in acts of terror.


The RSS chief had stated that RSS does not indulge in violence; and those of its members who were indulging in it have already left or have been told to leave. One knows that starting from Nathuram Godse to Swami Assemanand, were the part of RSS as an organization and as vehicles of its agenda and work. It came to be claimed that they have ‘left’ RSS. This is a shrewd and clever arrangement and the book lays bare this methodology of the RSS which controls innumerable organizations to actualize its agenda. The confusion between the terms Hinduism and Hindutva has been elaborated competently. Gatade does well to discuss the definition of the complex term, ‘terrorism’ and also incorporates the state terrorism in his exposition. The latter is generally ignored in the discourse of terrorism as such.


What emerges from this book is that the saffron terror, Hindutva terror, has twin foundations. One, it is a sort of response; a revenge to many acts of terror by the groups identified as Muslim groups, and two this terror trail has been brought up to pursue the agenda of Hindu nation to target the Muslim minorities. These acts, with their anti-Muslim focus are to achieve Hindu rashtra according to their plan. The author brings to fore the influence of RSS ideology in army, the role of Bhosla Military School, virtually controlled by RSS, and the role of some army officers in facilitating the acts of terror by these groups. Lt. Col Purohit, the accused in Malegaon blast, who also supplied RDX from army stores to the Hindutva terror groups, is one such officer, and he may tip of the iceberg. This has a very frightening prospect for our democracy.


The book debunks the popular perceptions which links Islam and Muslims to acts of terror and makes it clear that acts of terror are politically motivated actions with different agendas. The fascination of RSS with the fascist methods being pursued by Israel and the role of Mossad in particular is the high point of the book. Our investigation agencies need to take a cue from this and put their investigations on more professional lines.


The book takes a broad overview of Hindutva politics also and the role of media and the international connections of Hindutva politics are also presented in detail. What is missing is a time line of Hidnutva terror. Such a time line would have made it easy from the reader to see the whole picture in perspective. An Introduction by the author, putting the book in proper context and summarizing the main arguments of the book would have been a valuable addition to this otherwise most timely and revealing contribution from this journalist-activist.


This work is a serious attempt to piece together the statements of the RSS functionaries and the news items in some of the periodicals to come to the conclusions. It is a comprehensive presentation, filling the gaps in popular knowledge about the real causes of terror attacks in India. Pharos Media, the publishers need to be complemented for publishing this second book on the topic, the first one being “Who killed Karkare?” by S. M. Mushrif, which again was an eye opener. Godse’s Children, an apt name for the book, is a must for all those who seek truth in contemporary times, particularly when truth is being suppressed deliberately in pursuit of sectarian agendas. This compendium will go a long way.

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