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22. Praful Bidwai on the sexual deprivation of RSS pracharaks
That these NGOs and peace and human rights activists are anti-Hindu and anti-Nation in their intent has been demonstrated so far. They have striven hard to fragment Hindu society and Hindu consciousness but thanks to RSS work with Hindu society in the remotest corners of this nation, the opposite is happening; Hindus are being welded together in a shared Hindu consciousness. This is driving the NGO and peace and human rights industry into frenzy. In sharp contrast to the awards conferred by the IMC-USA on Indians residing in the US for long-distance, short-duration advocacy-activism in India, the RSS works overtime in villages and bastis , among the people , transforming their lives, keeping families and society together and revolutionising social attitudes without causing social disruption, with patience and with respect for the sanctity of social structures. Arundhati Roy understands perfectly how the RSS works among the people and describes the angst of these foreign-funded, anti-Hindu advocacy activists:
However, being poor is not the same as being weak. The strength of the poor is not indoors in office buildings and courtrooms. It´s outdoors, in the fields, the mountains, the river valleys, the city streets and university campuses of this country. That´s where negotiations must be held. That´s where the battle must be waged.
Right now those spaces have been ceded to the Hindu Right. Whatever anyone might think of their politics, it cannot be denied that they´re out there, working extremely hard. As the state abrogates its responsibilities and withdraws funds from health, education and essential public services, the foot soldiers of the Sangh Parivar have moved in. Alongside their tens of thousands of shakhas disseminating deadly propaganda, they run schools, hospitals, clinics, ambulance services, disaster management cells. They understand powerlessness. They also understand that people, and particularly powerless people, have needs and desires that are not only practical humdrum day to day needs, but emotional, spiritual, recreational. They have fashioned a hideous crucible into which the anger, the frustration, the indignity of daily life, and dreams of a different future can be decanted and directed to deadly purpose. (Arundhati Roy at the Aligarh Muslim University)
As Arundhati Roy discovered, the RSS, with its unique formula for nation-building through social transformation, is the only power which can neutralise and even render ineffective the NGOs and activists who destroy and fragment communities and families. The RSS has emerged as the only organised Hindu force with the capacity to resist and even thwart efforts to fragment Hindu society and dismember this nation. The RSS, in short, is the nation´s immune system and so frightening is the truth of RSS power and resilience that Roy and her ilk employ the familiar tactic of ridiculing that which they cannot confront in war. This is what Praful Bidwai has to say of the RSS:
The Gujarat violence witnessed the highest level of development of a peculiarly Indian variety of fascism or, if you prefer, neo-fascism, concentrated in a comprehensively communalised state.
Decoding Bidwai´s ´comprehensively communalised state´- we must understand firstly that ´communal´ in the lexicon of these activists means only Hindu consciousness . Muslim consciousness is ´secular´ if you are a non-Muslim and ´sense of alienation ´ if you are a Muslim . And ´comprehensively communalised´ means Gujarati Hindus in all walks of life, state government employees, professionals, police, judiciary and the ordinary Hindu are all, without exception, conscious that they are Hindus.
The rampaging mobs in Gujarat were inspired by this very idea — much in the way that the precursors to the Nazis were motivated when ´avenging´ Germany´s terrible ´humiliation´ in the First World War — a blow to the ´honour´ and pride of the ´German Race´ — through periodic pogroms against the Jews and sensational acts of violence, as well as through nurturing the cult of authority, which ultimately produced the God-like image of the Fuehrer.
Now this is very clever - Bidwai packs a lie in a historical truth so that his lie is also passed off as truth. The rampaging mobs were not inspired by Hitler nor were they fighting for ´honour´ or ´pride´. The enraged Hindus of Gujarat were retaliating, avenging, reacting (call it what you will) to the burning alive of Hindu pilgrims returning to Gujarat from Ayodhya. Bidwai deliberately does not mention either that killing or those who were killed - the majority of whom were women and children. By hiding the truth of the killing in Godhra and by hiding the truth that the majority of those killed were Hindu women and children, by equating the wounded Hindus of Gujarat to Hitler, Bidwai has unabashedly pursued not just an anti-BJP but an anti-Hindu agenda.
It is relevant to ask why the authoritarian personality appeals to so many BJP supporters, why Narendra Modi became the party´s principal crowd-puller during the election campaign. A tentative answer to the question might lie in the culture of repression that exists in society at so many levels — in the family, in social institutions such as schools, in personal and professional relationships, and especially in attitudes to sexuality.
All Hindus and non-Hindus who support the BJP and vote for it in state and national elections, all those who assemble to hear Narendra Modi speak are sexually repressed. Conclusion: Only sexually repressed Hindus vote for the BJP.
A number of surveys tell us that a majority of Indians are sexually inhibited and repressed. They do not know much about sex or eroticism, and talk even less about it in public. The subject of sex is taboo, just as kissing was for long in our commercial films. Often, sex is only discussed in hushed tones and furtively in dark, shady clinics like ´Hero Pharmacy´ which promise happy ´married life´ — read, machismo overflowing with testosterone — to frustrated, anguished young men who have terrible insecurities about premature ejaculation and insurmountable guilt about masturbation. There is a generalised climate of forced asceticism in many parts of India. This is related to growing gendered violence, harassment of women, bride-burning, and outright rape. Gender discrimination begins early. Different-sex teenagers do not interact and play together except on pain of parental disapproval. They are taught to be chaste, ´pure´ and celibate.
Ascetism is practiced by Hindus, including within families, as a way of life. Observing several vratas, choosing to eat frugally, consciously choosing not to lead an ostentatious way of life, are all aspects of Hindu ascetism and practiced by all Hindus in some manner or other. Our Hindu gurus, acharyas and sanyasis, our mothers, our fathers and grandfathers and grandmothers are also the embodiment of ascetism. So, if Bidwai is right, ascetism and all Hindus who practice it are sexually repressed and are potential perpetrators of ´gendered violence, harassment of women, bride burning and outright rape´.
Boys are told masturbation leads to loss of virility and mental and spiritual power too. It is a sin. Girls are drilled into disguising and suppressing their sensuality, and projecting false ´modesty´. The family tightly controls women´s mobility and sexuality. There can be little sexual freedom when the family´s objective is to turn women into baby-producing (and- rearing) factories.
Freud and Wilhelm Reich, and at another level, Michel Foucault, have extraordinary insights to offer on the relationship between sexuality and society. For the Indian case, we must draw upon psychologists such as Sudhir Kakar, author of numerous books on sexuality, and now a fellow of Harvard. He argues that the transition did not happen suddenly. ´Both the ascetic and the erotic have always coexisted in our culture and in our people´s psyche. The one or the other comes up in different periods . From the 4 th to the 1 0 th centuries , the erotic dominated. For the last 200 years, the ascetic has ruled.´ This was itself the consequence of interplay between the puritanical attitudes of the upper castes, especially Brahmins, and the Victorian morality of the conquering British. Says Kakar, ´the two became powerful, if unconscious, allies of each other in imposing stringent sexual mores and eroding people´s freedoms.´ The most fanatical representatives of these taboo- driven attitudes today are India´s arch-conservatives — the Hindu Taliban.
First it was Hitler, now it is the Taliban. A logical mind would say the Brahmins of India are the Hindu Taliban. These are descriptions intended to evoke an image - truth of the comparison be damned, and the image is intended to pit non- Brahmins against Brahmins. Like Arundhati Roy, Bidwai writes for effect and writes to destroy the Hindu social fibre.
Many Indian males have acute sexual anxieties, and are unable to relate to women as equals. ´Psychoanalysts have an explanation,´ says Madhu Sarin, a philosopher who trained as an analyst for 11 years in the US and India. ´The Indian boy´s intimate relationship with the mother is abruptly terminated at the age of five or six. This causes a traumatic loss. His instinctive reaction is to identify with the lost object. Unlike in the West, where the young boy fears the father´s envy and develops the ´castration anxiety´ described by Freud, the Indian boy allies with the father against the mother, rather than as a competitive rival, in order to shore up his sense of masculinity. He sacrifices his libidinal urges towards women.´ According to Sarin, this decisively affects many men´s long- term sexual attitudes, leaving them with deep-seated and enduring inhibitions towards women who are either idealised or feared and, therefore, dominated. Many men cannot balance the intimate and aggressive components of their sexuality. All this makes for terribly repressed personalities. It is temping for repressed men to gravitate towards an authority figure and vent their frustration through ritual violence — burning, killing, looting, of the kind witnessed in post-Godhra Gujarat. Such aggressive traits tend to get especially concentrated and amplified in all-male groups such as the Hindu Taliban, who pursue shady agendas, and who mortally fear openness and accountability. The Hindu Taliban pracharak, forced to be ascetic, austere and celibate, is among the most repressed of Indian males — and particularly prone to violence.
Now it is Bidwai´s turn to play clever tricks with words and their meanings, a la Arundhati Roy. Bidwai is equating ´authority figure´ with ´authoritarianism´. Fathers, mothers, teachers, gurus, the boss at work, the editor, the President, judges in a court, the temple deity are all ´authority figures´. But if we read Bidwai without denuding his duplicitous intent, we will accept his authority = authoritarianism formula and arrive at the conclusion that all Hindus who accept the authority of individuals and institutions as necessary ´ordering principles´ are ´terribly repressed personalities ´ subjugated by authoritarianism. By writing such puerile stuff Bidwai hopes to persuade the uncritical intellectual Hindu into doing the opposite. The opposite is to spit at all authority in order to proclaim we do not suffer from repressed personalities. Breaking laws and a libertarian attitude to sex proves we are not repressed, and anarchy is the most cherished objective of life. There are not many RSS pracharaks around. At best they may number in the several hundreds. Not very difficult to check police records in that case. How many violence-prone ´Taliban pracharaks´ does Bidwai know of? If a pracharak is ´violence prone´, he must be a repeated offender. If this is not an excellent case of libel and slander, I don´t know what is. But then these anti-Hindu activists have earned their bread, butter and caviar only by peddling such fast- selling, anti-Hindu drivel.
Such reactionary ideas are among the main inspirations of the Hindu-fascist movement now unfolding before us. Central to it is a culture of authoritarianism — in society, in the family, in sexual relations. We cannot win the battle against Hindutva unless we also fight repression and authoritarianism (http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl1926/stories/20030103005211400.htm). And that is what Bidwai, Roy and Co. are doing. While this group may still prefer normal, private lives (at least they are not on record as having taken pride in being homosexuals or lesbians or that they sleep around as proof of fighting ´repression and authoritarianism´), they are instigating young boys and girls in Hindu society to experiment with sexual libertarianism and ´alternate sexuality´ with the singular intent of shaking the foundations of Hindu society - marriage and family.