Similarities between Wahhabism and Sangh
Apparently comparing the Sangh to Wahhabism may upset you as it is a comparison of a small model to a larger model but it is at the level of ideology, not on performance. If you assess it minutely, then you will understand, but for that, you will have to come out of your prejudices.
You go straight to the point that ‘Wahhabism is equal to terrorism’ but Wahhabism is an ideology, and terrorists may be of this ideology but they themselves are not the whole ideology. You can understand this with an example in a simple way.
Saudi Arabia promotes Wahhabism all over the world. The Crown Prince of that Arabia is Muhammad bin Salman and when he comes to India, the hero of your firebrand Hindutva welcomes him in a grand style. Do you even think for a second that how our Hindu icon is embracing him?
Obviously, you must have seen it as its outer face, that the heads of the two nations are meeting and talking… while as the inner face the two fundamentalist advocates of uniformity were meeting with each other. This is the similarity.
For the spread of ideology, this outer-inner face theory is necessary. When Islam was spread, the outer face was put forward that was accepting each integrating culture with a warm heart. It was the stage of up-gradation and when it was completed, then they started a campaign to go back to the era of fourteen hundred years back by resetting the system.
The Sangh is still going through the initial phase of this up-gradation. It participates in riots in 1984 against Sikhs as well as against Muslims in 2000, but it also has wings like ‘Rashtriya Muslim Manch’ and ‘Rashtriya Sikh Sangat’. It will make Modi Prime minister and Yogi a chief minister those are considered as the hero of right-wing people on the basis of Muslim hatred and will also claim that Muslims are also our brothers.
Right now it is flexible in the outer face, but when it will get hold of all the states, all constitutional, non-constitutional institutions along with the centre, then perhaps there will be no freedom to insult Rama in the south, nor to deny the deities of north India, nor the tribal groups will be allowed to worship their gods. Tribes, Lingayat, Periyars, Ambedkarwadi will be their special target (there may be special provision for heretics) and then they will also give two options to either become like us or become ‘Gauri Lankesh’. They might give two options to the heretics or limit them to the only option in the name of centuries-old revenge… that is death.
Up-gradation and resetting
The only difference between the two ideologies is that the up-gradation of Islam has been completed and it is in the reset mode in the form of Wahhabism, while the up-gradation of the Sangh has just begun.
You talk about the similarity between the Sangh and Wahhabism and any Hindu who has a soft corner for the Sangh will immediately argue against it with multiple examples that the Sangh is a cultural organization that accepts all the beliefs and gives freedom to follow what you believe. He will immediately deny the person or gang who has taken any violent action to be a part of it. If you will connect Wahhabism with terrorism, the person who has a soft corner for Wahhabism will immediately explain the same Quranic verses and Hadiths from a liberal and humanitarian perspective on which these terrorist organizations form their foundation… and he will also reject them from Islam immediately.
These two are sailing in the same boat, who deny the inner face of these ideologies in the fascination of their outer face, simply because they have a soft corner for them. However, unlike Muslims, a large section of this right-wing ideology also openly accepts this inner face and justifies it by calling it a reaction to action.
But the victims of the reaction are not actually responsible for that action, rather they are the initiators of the reaction of that reaction in some way. However, this chain of action and reaction drag the society towards that direction where no one’s life remains safe. Many Islamic countries are living examples of this and if we do not show a comprehensive understanding in this regard, then we will be the next in this sequence.
Now let us see how the current era of terrorism got mixed with this global ideology that gives new dimensions to bigotry. Because after the initial phase, it has now included political interest and greed for power once again… You cannot give Al-Shabaab of East Africa, Boko Haram of West Africa or Jamaat-e-Islami of Bangladesh a different identity than this.
Apart from these, organisations like Taliban, Al Qaeda, Sipah-e Sahaba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Al Khidmat Foundation, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, IS are also the bearers of the same ideology those are constantly playing bloody games. It cannot be denied that in its background you will also find those capitalist powers those not only encourage every such possible struggle with Muslims at its one end but also provide money and weapons to fulfil their political or economic interests. The root of the alliance between America and Al Saud is that this radical Islamic ideology serves many of its political and economic interests.
A youth gets caught in the trap for two reasons. Either he himself has been a victim of such atrocities those are found in abundance in Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, Syria or Kashmir. As an Indian, you may find it difficult to digest about Kashmir, but this is the truth… or he is a person who struggles with poverty, unemployment, starvation and gets a salary to fight like this.
When both such people come in contact with them, they are brainwashed saying that their fight is ‘jihad’ in which even death is martyrdom from the perspective of Islam. You will enter into Jannat after death and killing the kafirs is not a crime… The verses that the alims here explain in other ways are applied to those youths in their own style and from a pure Islamic point of view, only those interpretations are right. They get the desired results as the person becomes ready to fire indiscriminately on the streets, becomes a suicide bomber, agrees to run a truck over the crowd.
Obviously, there can be many reasons for terrorism, but where the fight of other communities against oppressiveness or exploitation is never given a religious identity, the fight of Muslims, irrespective of the cause, is always connected with the religion because it has a global appeal… because it has the scope of getting support and cooperation of like-minded immediately.
This way or that… however, it is a fight to colour the whole world in the Wahhabi ideology. It acknowledges oneness and what is outside it is worthless. This ideology is a direct attack on the diverse inclusive culture that we have been accustomed to see. The beauty of a garden is only when there are flowers of every variety in it… If there is only one variety then it no longer remains a garden, it becomes like a farm. Wahhabism is an ideology that transforms the garden of Islam into a farm.
How can you fight bigotry
Now the question is how to fight it… If we talk only in the context of India then the right-wing ideology of reaction to action to fight this is more problem creating. In Godhra, if some of the fanatic Muslims will burn the rail coach, the angry Hindus of Gujarat will kill more than two thousand Muslims in response who were not guilty of the incident. Then, the kith and kin of the victims of this massacre, will take up weapons and form an ‘Indian Mujahideen’. Outside the country, the merchants of death are ready with money and weapons to grab such angry youth.
And then they will explode bombs… You will react again, and this series will continue… In this way, a state of anarchy will remain. In such a situation, hardcore Hindus compare it with Rohingya. The Rohingya belong to Myanmar where no one is interested but India is a superpower and many countries are interested in it… If there will be opportunities to destabilize it, then big countries will be interested in it. If the situation worsens here, it will become difficult to handle. Violence in the name of reaction cannot be a solution to fight this ideology.
For this, not only governmental but also social efforts will have to be made. Some steps should be initiated by the government and some by the people and institutions that have knowledge of all this… The goal should be freedom from the bigotry that pushes a person to take up arms in some weak moments. There is definitely a big section of hardcore Indian Muslims, but they are still not inclined towards this so-called ‘jihad’ at all… and efforts should be made to prevent this happen in future.
Even mentioning ‘jihad’ should be banned, no matter how lenient its interpretation as ‘jihad al-nafs’ is. Religious institutions should be monitored by the government. Madrasas should be made the centre of modern education and religious education should be introduced only when the child becomes a little mature. The influence of religious teachings from childhood pushes the child closer to Saudi Arabia than to India.
At the social level, the beauty of diversity over uniformity should be explained in majlis, meetings, events, etc. The importance and acceptance of inclusive culture should be emphasised… and this is not a difficult task. Education alone is not enough for Muslim youth but they should also be encouraged to develop an understanding of how to coordinate with other cultures and that they need to be tolerant to such an extent that nothing is beyond criticism. Neither God nor his prophets and nor religious books.
Move away from the model of Ibn Taymiyya, Abd al Wahhab, Maulana Maududi and insist on accepting all the firqas found in India in the name of Islam along with their culture, customs, traditions, etc. as part of Islam… instead of declaring them kafir, mushrik, munafiq, Khariji, Rafzi, etc., then this fanaticism will be reduced itself. People need to understand that they are Indians, not Saudi Arabian and they need to look like Indians and not Arabic.
And this measure is only effective in India because the Muslims here are different from the Muslims of the rest of the world in many ways… It is difficult to suggest any remedy for the rest of the world. Either they will fight with each other like Pakistan, Afghanistan, or will be destroyed like Syria, Iraq by falling prey to the selfishness of America, Russia, Britain, Israel etc. because… it is the real Islam.