Russian Nationalism through the eyes of an Indian nationalist – V
by Radha Rajan on 02 Dec 2018 3 Comments

Faustian INC and Faustian Congress politician

 

The Hindu Faustian deal was first struck by Hindus with the colonial government soon after the inception of the Indian National Congress. Allan Octavian Hume with great foresight invited affluent and influential Hindus and Parsees into his parlour and successfully sold them the lemon of an idea called the Indian National Congress. Hume and Wedderburn launched the INC with wholly colonial intent and traipsing merrily behind the duo to launch it were Dadabhai Naoroji, Dinshaw Mehta, Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee, Surendranath Banerjee, Manmohan Ghose and Mahadev Govind Ranade.

 

The INC was created to bring in all politically ambitious Hindus with English education under one roof (the better to see you my dear); the Parsees were roped in to dilute the Hindu identity of the INC covertly and without aggression. The British were treading lightly and cautiously in 1885 but they were treading in the direction of their choice and leading the Hindus by their noses in the same direction. The heavy boots would come out of the closet in 1909.

Having created the INC as counter-measure to neutralize the angry nationalism triggered by the war of 1857, Imperial London and the British Indian government however could not stop the entry into the INC of Tamil, Bengali, Punjabi and Marathi Hindu nationalists who were determined to use it as a vehicle to harness the people militantly to end colonial rule. Tilak, Aurobindo, Lajpat Rai, VO Chidambaram Pillai and Subramania Bharati, among others, began to give the INC a Hindu face and gave their freedom movement a Hindu idiom.


The tussle between being a party with a Hindu face and being a de-Hinduised secular party in spite of a preponderance of Hindus within the INC came out into the open with the Partition of Bengal. The INC split in December 1907 at the Surat Congress into the Nationalists and the Moderates not merely because of sharp differences about the methods to be employed in dealing with the colonial government, between politics of mendicancy as Aurobindo put it and demand for complete political freedom, but at a more fundamental level because of differences over the self-identity of the INC itself and its objectives as a political party.


One year before the INC would split in Surat, issues of self-identity and the raison d’etre of the INC simmered to the surface over the question of who should be elected President of the Congress; and Aurobindo put his finger unerringly on the bone of contention - the Hindu identity.

The Hindu identity

 

The ‘Indian Mirror’, which is now the chief ally of the Government among the Congress organs in Bengal, has chosen, naturally enough, to fall foul of Mr. Tilak. Our contemporary it appears has heard that some people propose to put forward Mr. Tilak’s name as President of the next Congress, and it hastens to point out how extremely distasteful the idea is to all thoughtful and enlightened men, that is to say, to all whose views agree with the Mirrior’s. Mr. Tilak, we learn, has seriously offended our contemporary by giving honour to Mr. Bhopatkar [2] on his release from jail; his speeches on the occasion of the Shivaji festival [3] were displeasing to the thoughtful and enlightened men who congregate in the office of the ‘Indian Mirror’; and to sum up the whole matter, he is a man of extreme views and without “tact”. Ergo, he is no fit man for the presidential chair of the Congress.


It is interesting to learn from this unimpeachable authority, what are the qualifications which the moderate and loyalist mind demands in a President of the “National” Congress....

-         It is not the one man whom the whole Hindu community in western India delights to honour, from Peshawar to Kolhapur and from Bombay to our own borders;

-         It is one who will not talk about Shivaji and Bhavani - only about Mahatmas.

 

With the exception of the fast-dwindling minority of Anglophiles, the whole of India has learned to honour the name of the great Maratha leader and patriot. His social and religious views may not agree with those of the “enlightened”, but we have yet to learn that the Congress platform is sacred to advanced social reformers, that the profession of the Hindu religion is a bar to leadership in its ranks. (Aurobindo, Bande Mataram, August, 1906)


Just as contentious as the Hindu identity of the INC was the purpose and objective of the Congress party as a political vehicle; and Aurobindo was ruthless in his expose of the Faustian Hindus in the INC.

 

We published yesterday the letter of Babu Ananda Chandra Roy of Dacca in which he invites East Bengal to welcome Mr. Hare [4] and establish with the Shillong Government the ordinary relations of kow-towing and petitioning... What Babu Ananda Chandra proposes under the cover of lawyer-like arguments and illegal sophistry is no less than to betray his country.

The whole of Bengal has registered a solemn vow that let Viceroys do what they will and Secretaries of State say what they will, the united Bengali nation refuses and will for ever refuse to acknowledge the Partition. Taxes we may pay, laws we may obey, but beyond that we have no farther relations with the government of Shillong.

 

And why are we to commit this inglorious act of political suicide? In the first place, because Mr. Hare is such a nice gentleman and therefore the “grounds and causes” we had for avoiding that bad bold man Sir Bampfylde [5] no longer exist. The Partition exists in full force and the “grounds and causes” exist therefore unabated and unimpaired. The “leadership” which regulates grave political issues according to the personal character and amiability of the ruler for the time being, is a leadership for which India has no longer any use. [6]

 

Other of Ananda Babu’s reasons for submission are that it will enable himself and his friends to enter the Legislative Council of the new province, to act as Honorary Magistrates and visitors of Lunatic Asylums and to get the circulars for the preference of Mahomedans in appointment modified or abrogated. The fossils of the old days of selfish submission are incorrigible. We should have thought otherwise - that to advance such contemptible reasons for acquiescing in the mutilation of one’s country would have been regarded as an act of inconceivable shamelessness. (Aurobindo, Bande Mataram, August 25, 1906)


The Faustian Indian National Congress

 

The telegram from our correspondent in Mymensingh, which we publish in another column, is extremely significant. It is now an open secret throughout the country that the Swadeshi movement has developed two distinct parties in the country. One of these desires to use Boycott as a political weapon merely in order to force on the annulment of the Partition (of Bengal) and there finish; its quarrel with the bureaucracy is a passing quarrel and it is ready to be again hand in glove with the government as soon its turn is served; it still desires to sit on the Legislative Councils, figure on the Municipalities, and carry on politics by meetings and petitions. [7]

 

The other party will be satisfied with nothing less than absolute control over our own affairs and is not willing to help the government to put off the inevitable day when that demand must be conceded; it is therefore opposed to any co-operation with the government, or to the adoption of a suppliant attitude in our relations to the government; it desires Boycott as a necessary part of our economic self-development and by no means to be relinquished even if the Partition be rescinded. Here are definite issues which have to be fought out until some definite settlement is reached. (Aurobindo, Bande Mataram, September 1906)


For all that he saw quite clearly the process of de-Hinduising the INC, Aurobindo, because he abdicated his political responsibility to the Hindu nation in 1909, never evolved from being a forthright Hindu political commentator to becoming a Hindu political theorist. Aurobindo and Tilak knew this was a nation of Hindus but there is a conceptual difference between being a nation of Hindus and a Hindu nation; tragically this difference was not articulated by Aurobindo and Tilak in their political writings. Had this distinction been understood, they would have known that nothing short of Hindu state power can protect Hindus and the Hindu nation and Hedgewar and Patel would have realized therefore that nothing short of a violent Hindu uprising could have stopped the Muslims and the Muslim League in their tracks.


The definite issues - Hindu identity of the INC and complete political freedom entailing end of alien rule and the British leaving India versus an intentionally de-Hinduised INC with Empire loyalists who did not desire political freedom but only participation in government - were never fought out between the two factions of the INC “until some definite settlement” was reached, as was hoped by Aurobindo. London and the British government in India knew the potentially dangerous implications of the growing Hindu identity of the INC and knew that the split in the INC in 1907 into Nationalists and Moderates did not bode well for their long-term plans in India.

 

Between December 1907 when the INC split in Surat and 1909, the British government trampled upon Hindu nationalists and Hindu nationalism. London did not machinate to get one of its own civil servants to create the INC to stand by and watch Hindu nationalists hijack their machine to use it as a vehicle for political freedom. Tilak, Aurobindo and Savarkar were imprisoned or deported out of the country and the British government left the field free for the Empire-loyalist faction led by Dadabhai Naoroji, Gokhale and later Gandhi to emerge as the sole voice of the people of India and more importantly, the only body with which the British government was prepared to do business.

 

Tragically for the Hindu nation, besides known empire loyalists like Naoroji, Gokhale and Gandhi, countless important Hindus, towering intellectuals all of them, failed the Hindu nation at her most critical moment on one or more grounds -

-        They failed to articulate in their speech and writing that this was a Hindu nation

-         They saw British rule as an insult to this civilization but failed to articulate the danger posed by Muslims to the Hindu nation

-         They allowed the British government to use brutal force in dealing with Tilak, Aurobindo and Savarkar, without protest; they failed to defend these great Hindus not only in court but even in their speech and writing

-         Not one of them spoke publicly against Gandhi for tying the mill-stone of Hindu-Muslim unity around the Hindu neck

-         Not one of them tried to dislodge Gandhi from the INC and from the political arena

-         Not one of them attempted to mobilize the Hindus in a forceful show of strength to check the Muslim League and its demand for vivisection of the Hindu bhumi

-         Not one of them had the courage to speak out against Gandhi as he led the INC and later the so-called freedom movement towards vivisection and ultimately to Hindu political disempowerment

-         Not one of them stopped Gandhi from anointing Nehru as his political heir and not one of them spoke publicly against it

 

Should one point out that from ancient times declining courage has been considered the beginning of the end?

 

Notes

1.      Not just with communist regimes, the US government for all its pious and self-righteous pronouncements on democracy has supported non-democratic, even despotic and brutal regimes for trade, commerce and profit; Jihadi governments of Pakistan and the Taliban being the latest examples of American immorality and duplicity.

2.     L.B. Bhopatkar, President Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha and later Savarkar’s lawyer during the trial.

3.     Tilak spoke about Vande Mataram and how had Shivaji been alive it would have been his war cry too.

4.     Lancelot Hare, Lieutenant Governor, East Bengal and Assam, 1906-1911.

5.     Sir Joseph Bampfylde Fuller, first Lieutenant Governor of East Bengal and Assam after Partition of Bengal in 1905, notorious for having instigated the Muslims of East Bengal against the Swadeshi movement and against Bengali nationalists opposing Partition.

6.     But this is exactly how Gandhi led the Natal Indian Congress in South Africa and later the INC in India. Every grave political issue was regulated on the basis of Gandhi’s personal opinion of high government officials in London and in India, his personal likes and dislikes, his whims and fetishes. This has been detailed in the writer’s book Eclipse of the Hindu Nation: Gandhi and his Freedom Struggle.

7.     This section of Empire loyalists, led by Dadabhai Naoroji, Surendranath Banerjee and Gopalkrishna Gokhale, after the split in the INC in 1907, would call itself ‘Moderates’. They wanted greater participation in governance and not complete political freedom. Gandhi would inherit the mantle of leadership from Gokhale and following faithfully in the footsteps of his leader he would lead the INC to vivisection in 1947

 

(Concluded)

The author is a political thinker and author three books: NGOs, Activists and Foreign Funds (Ed. with Dr. Krishen Kak); Eclipse of the Hindu Nation; and Jammu and Kashmir: Dilemma of Accession. 

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