“No Hindu Rashtra”: Nayantara Sahgal

The following statement from Nayantara Sahgal was read out at the programme “Hastakshep: Jantantrik Aur Sanskritik Bahulata Ke Paksh Mein” in Gandhi Bhavan, Lucknow, December 28, 2016:

The dangers we face today come from the fact that this Government is destroying the meaning of India, and step by step, stealthily and openly, is converting our secular democratic republic into a Hindu rashtra. It started with the takeover of our premier institutions, the dismissal of their directors and their replacement by RSS mouthpieces. It has continued with the rewriting of history and the destruction of scientific temper by substituting mythology, fantasy and sheer nonsense for history and science. Suddenly Sardar Patel and Ambedkar have been adopted as RSS icons. Nehru meanwhile is being wiped out of history.

The Hindutva mindset does not allow dissent. Its believers have murdered those who do not think like them: writers, truck drivers transporting cattle, and a helpless blacksmith. These murders have come to light and the criminals still roam free. Activists who are working for the victims of the Gujarat riots and other Hindutva atrocities are being persecuted. Art, literature, cinema, and common sense are under threat. And amidst the cow paranoia, human life has no value.

War hysteria is being spread, aided by TV channels, many of which are now owned by corporate houses. Those who do not join the bloodthirsty mob are called “anti-national”.

Are we going to submit to this fascist behaviour and be told what to think, what to write, what to eat, and how to worship? The answer is NO. The Hindi poet Manglesh Dabral said recently that the Dalits, Adivasis and women’s movements are refusing to submit to the Hindutva tide. We must follow their courageous examples.

Our cultural diversity is in danger. Our freedom of expression is in danger. Secularism is in danger. Hinduism itself is in danger, mocked and distorted by Hindutva. Let us make it clear: No Hindu Rashtra. Let that be our war cry.