On August 5, 2019 the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in New Delhi announced the revocation of Article 370, a provision in the Indian constitution that governs the relationship of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir with India. Simultaneously, the home minister, Amit Shah, also announced in Parliament that the government planned to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its statehood, creating instead two "union territories" (one in the Buddhist region of Ladakh and another in the regions of Jammu and Kashmir, which have Hindu and Muslim majorities, respectively). Both the lower and upper houses of the Indian Parliament passed the legislation enacting these changes the following day. To truly understand what this means one has to look out the bigger picture on the canvas - the outlines of which were drawn out in 1925. Revocation of Article 370 is one small part of this bigger picture. Much more of it remains to be filled in.
Dr K. B. Hedgewar founded the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1925. His main aim was to organise Hindu community for its cultural and spiritual regeneration and to make it a tool in getting the country free from foreign domination followed by a truly Hindu state. Hedgewar insisted on the term 'rashtriya' (national) for his exclusively 'Hindu' organisation, for he wanted to re-assert the identity of Hindu with 'rashtriya'. Hedgewar created a female wing of the organization in 1936.
Around the same time, Nazi party under the leadership of Adolf Hitler was gaining ground in Germany. RSS drew much of its inspiration from the Nazi party and embraced much of its philosophy, symbol (Swastika), rites and practices and even drew a commonality in lineage with Hindu and German both being Aryan and 'a superior race'. It took Nazism just two decades (1925 to 1945) to rise and fall.
Its end was dreadful with Germany divided into two parts and its once proud people subjected to misery and humiliation. The whole Nazi phenomenon, culminating in the Second World War, is the most interesting part of recent history. It serves as a living example to prove that cruelty against fellow human beings does not pay off and all leaders and nations who adopted such a policy had to pay a heavy price for it.
In this regard, the best seller of the time "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany" by William L. Shirer is a brilliant book which chronicles the rise and fall of Nazi Germany from the birth of Adolf Hitler in 1889 to the end of World War II in 1945. "Mein Kampf (My Struggle or My Fight)" is a 1925 autobiographical manifesto by Nazi party leader Adolf Hitler. The work describes the process by which Hitler became anti-Semitic and outlines his political ideology and future plans for Germany. Volume II of Mein Kampf was published in 1926.
The two best sellers provide a brilliant insight into how rational thinking and rational people from all segments of society such as politicians, executives, business elites, media, judiciary are systematically taken over by forces of hatred and evil and where lies starts to look upon as truth. People are jolted out of this syndrome after the damage has been done and after paying a very heavy price for being sucked into this phenomenon.
History is repeating itself not in Europe but in Asia.
(To be continued)
(The writer is the former President of Overseas Investors Chambers of Commerce and Industry)