THEMES

Hate Speech
March 30, 2015
Hate Speech
Praveen Togadia : A Serial Offender
Acharya Dharmendra's Brand of Hate Speech, Lalita Ramdas in Communalism Combat
At a ‘dharma sabha’ in Alibag near Mumbai, one VHP leader, Acharya Dharmendra, substitutes for another – Praveen Togadia, jailed in Rajasthan for peddling hate and distributing trishuls — only to preach vicious hatred against Muslims. And the police, under a ‘secular Congress’ government, does nothing



BY LALITA RAMDAS

On April 16 2003, Praveen Togadia was billed to be the star speaker at a ‘Viraat Dharma Sabha’ to be held on the premises of an English language school in Roha, the adjacent block to Alibag. Our little district town was full of saffron banners carrying the announcement. We thought we might drive down to listen and educate ourselves.

In the event, Togadia was arrested for making inflammatory speeches and distribution of trishuls in Rajasthan just a few days prior to his arrival in our district. However, inquiries revealed that the Roha ‘Dharma Sabha’ was to be held nonetheless, and would be addressed by Swami Dharmendra. So we decided that two colleagues would attend the event and bring us the feed–back. What follows below is based on an eye–witness account, together with the detailed report in a leading regional newspaper.

First, the setting. A huge stage set up in the grounds of the Raathee College in Roha. The backdrop was a huge picture of the projected Ram Mandir at Ayodhya in the centre. It was flanked by a larger–than–life size poster painting of the encounter between Shivaji and Afzal Khan in all its gory detail with steel claws, daggers and blood on one side and on the other, an equally large poster of Lord Ram.

Smaller colour posters of the Shivaji–Afzal encounter were distributed free to all those who attended. The message was clear and unambiguous, enough to send shivers down the spine and fill the minds of all right thinking Indians with understandable fear and foreboding at this blatant mockery of the Constitution of India.

Group singing and recordings of bhajans and slokas in Marathi and Hindi, covering a repertoire of the favourites of Shivaji, Satya Sai Baba, and others dedicated to a number of deities including Devi, Shankar, Ganpati and Ram Lalla, kept the audience entertained. From all accounts this was the only remotely ‘religious’ touch in the entire evening! The volume of the sound system was turned up to maximum and drowned out all else for about 45 minutes or so as the crowd filled up and waited for the guest of honour, Acharya Dharmendra, to arrive.

The audience comprised primarily young men (estimates vary from about 1,500 to 2,000), with a sprinkling of saffron sari-clad young women volunteers who were showing people to their seats, making announcements etc. According to our source, "they appeared to be jobless young males between the ages of 15–25 who were probably ‘trucked’ in from a number of outlying villages," Many were clearly from the cadres of the organisations of the sangh parivar – especially the VHP.

The arrival of every special invitee was heralded by the playing of the traditional dhol and setting off of fireworks, which were at their loudest at the arrival of Acharya Dharmendra who was substituting for Togadia. Most of the special guests on the dais were representatives of the regional VHP, RSS or Shiv Sena.

In the main, the Acharya and his colleagues made a series of virulent speeches where the primary message, in sum and substance, was that the holy duty of Hindu youth (in fact of Hindus as a whole) was to kill and finish off the Muslims, the "offspring of the traitor Afzal Khan" who were scattered across the Konkan region and elsewhere across the country. The audience was also told to work with one aim in mind, which "was also Shivaji’s main aim": to establish a Hindu Rashtra.

The speakers who preceded the Acharya set the scene as it were by repetitive reaffirmation of some basic trends. It was educative to be walked through the main arguments which were carefully worked out and intended to provoke and to provide grist to narrow chauvinist feelings. I am sharing these below in summary form:
  •  Elaborate and eloquent arguments outlining why ‘our Hindu culture’, was superior, was under attack and needed to be defended.
  •  How manavta (humanity) could be established worldwide only when a Hindu Rashtra was established in India.
  •  Muslims who breed like rabbits have never accepted family planning. If this pattern continued, their population would soon overtake that of the Hindus — hence Hindus needed self–defence.
  •  The government at the centre comprises a bunch of thieves and napunsaks (impotents); it shamelessly continues to appease Muslims.
  •  Until now, we Hindus had been moderate in our demands, claiming only three sites for temple building — Ayodhya, Mathura and Varanasi — while the actual numbers destroyed by the Muslims is over 30,000! However, our patience is now exhausted and we will soon be making demands for all 30,000 masjids to be destroyed and temples restored or rebuilt.
  •  All jehadis are Muslims and vice versa; so they must be destroyed just as Shivaji did with Afzal Khan (pointing to the backdrop of the stage).

Acharya Dharmendra basically focussed on the theme of Hindutva and its importance;
  • If Muslims want to continue to live here, they can only do so provided they all become Hindus.
  • However, we should actually finish them off — In this land of Shivaji, we should all follow Shivaji’s example and ‘finish off’ all the descendants of Afzal Khan just as Shivaji did. "Hamein Mussalmaanon ko khatam karna hain, hum maar daalenge."
  • He openly and viciously ran down and condemned Gandhi, Nehru, Indira and Sonia Gandhi in foul language — claimed that it was Gandhi who was responsible for the break up of India and the partition and creation of Pakistan.
  • Used foul and derogatory language while referring to Muslims – words like ‘jehadi kasai’ (terrorist butchers).
  • Claimed that ever since Independence, too many Muslims had been given positions of importance in public life which had brought no benefits; only terrorist acts, Godhra, and other such actions around the country.
  • Lambasted Gehlot for arresting Togadia in Rajasthan and accused him of wanting to please the ‘doll from across the seven seas’ (read Sonia Gandhi).
  • Referring to the distribution of trishuls as a perfectly legitimate and harmless activity, he asked how the weapon of Lord Shiva could be compared to the AK 47s that are carried by all jehadis and terrorists.
  • He said there was no other logic but that of India becoming a Hindu Rashtra, just as there was an ‘Arab Rashtra’, an ‘Afghan Rashtra’ etc.
  • He claimed that our sarkar (government) had no manhood left, was unable to take any strong action against Pakistan or Muslims, whereas they should all have become like ‘Mahishasura’ and dealt with them accordingly. Several references were made to the Shahbano case, the actions of AR Antulay, former Maharashtra chief minister who allegedly encouraged the smuggling and landing of RDX on the Konkan coast.
  • He also emphasised to the cheering audience that India’s poverty was due entirely to the fact that the government continued to spend the sum of Rs. 22,000 on every Haj pilgrim. If this was stopped our economic problems would improve!
  • Most dangerous of all, he kept repeating that Gujarat would be repeated all over the country.

When our boys left the venue, at about 8.30 p.m., the Acharya who had apparently filled in quite competently for the absent star was still talking, and was frequently applauded by his youthful audience as he got more and more carried away! The local Raigad press reported all this prominently on the front page, ensuring that the meeting received wide publicity.

Some serious questions arise: Such sabhas cost money: where is the money coming from? Why is the government and district administration giving permission for such sabhas to be held in this state when they are clearly intended to inflame passions and ignite strong emotions against Muslims.

Given that two opposition ruled states have already set a precedent and taken firm steps against any attempts to hold either trishul dikshas or deliver inflammatory speeches, it is high time that Maharashtra did likewise.

Finally, shouldn’t the ministry of home at the centre be taking note and initiating suitable action against a movement which is against the very spirit and letter of the Constitution of India?

What actions should we citizens take to counter the slow but sure progress of fascism? Surely 1939 is still close enough in our collective memory? 
Togadia A Serial Offender: SC Upholds Ban on Entry in 2004
Against the Law



Several sections in the Indian Penal Code (153, 295, 298 and 505) are specifically intended to control the spreading of "disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will" between different religious (or other social) groups through hate speech and writing. 

In the past, such hate–mongering preceded incidents of communal violence but in recent years, especially post 1986, hate propaganda has become a matter of ‘routine’ public discourse.
This can happen only because neither the political executive nor the police sees any need to act in accordance with their Constitutional obligation. Unfortunately, the judiciary, too, has failed to act suo motu against these blatant offences. However, in recent months, the MP and Rajasthan police have arrested VHP leaders Acharya Dharmendra and Praveen Togadia respectively for hate preaching and trishul distribution.

We reproduce below several speeches and statements to show the poison being spread among others by these ‘acharyas’ to spread hated against Muslims and other religious minorities. We urge all who retain faith in the Indian Constitution to join this national campaign against hate–preachers by registering FIRs wherever and whenever such offences take place to force the State to discharge its Constitutional obligation.
(See CC, April 2003 for guidelines).


BY TEESTA SETALVAD

(Reproduced below is an English translation of the VHP international general secretary, Dr. Praveen Togadia’s entire speech at a meeting of the Rashtriya Vichar Manch on March 16, 2003 in Mumbai. No action has yet been taken by the government of Maharashtra on this speech).

Sauravbhai (in his in troduction) said that I have been black listed. Today, the right to black
list is with me. Secular ists have been black listed. We are not being black listed, those who are being black listed are those, who, by falsely espousing secularism had so far has reduced us to second class status. Virenbhai also, while taking about other issues (in his book), has referred to the incident on Dec 6, 1992.

In the true sense, this incident for the first time after independence, was the start of cultural liberation and freedom. And, 10 years later, the aandhi (storm) of Hindutva that had received a setback soon after, is once again on the ascendancy. I can see that this storm will reach its ultimate destination. And will only stop after cultural reconciliation has been achieved and reached. Virenbhai — in writing such a book at such a time — has achieved the remarkable feet of giving intellectual spurt and support to this growing storm. Our history of at least 5,000 years is before us.

People ask me what will be the plight of minorities in Hindu Rashtra. I say, do you ever go to England and ask what is the plight of the Hindu minority there? Or do you go and ask Germans what will be the plight of the French there. Or have you gone to Japan and asked the Japanese what is the plight of Chinese in a Japanese State? But people ask these questions. Or have you asked Muslims why Mecca is not a secular place? Muslims don’t even have the courage to speak there now, the way people are being burnt and killed. There are few who can speak about this and those are real men like Sauravbhai who live their commitment and speak out, too.

The region of Europe is very strange. I am talking about the Vatican. People of Europe, you who had raised the flag of secularism, did you ever ask why the Vatican is not secular? If these questions — why Mecca is not secular, why the Vatican is not secular — cannot and are not asked even; if in Mecca the primacy of Islam remains and if in the Vatican the primacy of Christianity remains, then listen and listen carefully, in the land of Ram, Krishna and Buddha the primacy of Hindus will remain.

Every one asks me, in your Hindu rashtra what will the fate of the minorities be? When during Karan Thaper’s programme, Nirjaji Chaudhary asked me this question, I felt very happy not because she asked the question, but because of the certainty that I and I alone will make Hindu rashtra a reality. Thousands of years of our history are known to us. In 5,000 glorious years what injustice have we done to anybody in the name of faith? Show me one example.

Once the attacks and the assaults of Islam started, there were no limit to the atrocities we suffered. Rivers, not streams, of Hindu blood started flowing. Our temples were destroyed and crushed. Yet we showed a tolerant attitude.

One Shivaji Maharaj as his fort at Raigad symbolises, rose in protest by trampling on the chest of Auranzeb. The second major Hindu resistance trampling on the chest of Muslims was the attack by the Samarajaya of the Vijaynagar empire against Islamic invasions. And the third time in our history when we resisted was under the militant inspiration of Guru Gobind Singh by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

These three dynastic resistances were undoubtedly achieved by trampling on Muslims chests but, tell me, did any of these glorious victors ask for beards to be shaved, or caps to be given up?

Show me one example where a mosque was broken down or a Muslim killed? Don’t then ask me what will happen to minorities in a Hindu rashtra; ask what will happen in Imam Bukhari’s kind of evil reign.

In the world today, there are 52 Muslim countries. Imam Bukhari and Shahabuddin, please show me if in the past 50 years there has been even one non–Muslim head of government there. We, in the pure land of Shivaji’s birth and rule, made Abdul Rehman Antulay a chief minister. We made Abdul Gafoor chief minister in Bihar. And this, when Muslims are barely 15 per cent of the population.

In Jammu and Kashmir, where Hindus are 30 per cent of the population, has there been one non–Muslim head of the government in the last 50 years? Why should we bear the brunt of these questions on secularism? Have we got sole property rights and responsibilities towards secularism? Mahatma Gandhi had and he is gone now. We are not his heirs, we are the heirs of Shivaji Maharaj. And are proud of it. And if you want secularism, you, Imam Bukhari, don’t ask this question to Praveen Togadia. Ask it there, in Mecca, and ask why temples of Lord Ram cannot be built there.

If the existence of the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya is the greatest symbol of your secularism, for me the best symbol of secularism is a grand temple to Lord Ram in Mecca. Will you get it built? And if a Ram Mandir cannot be built in Mecca, how can any mosque stand erect on the soil of Bharat? But we do not do this, we not believe in creating disputes. But that should not be mistaken for impotency. You broke 30,000 of our temples. And yet you go on discussing, was there a temple below the mosque or not? Yes or no, we broke it and then your tears starting flowing.

Imagine when my Somnath was broken what sort of tears must have flowed from my ancestors’ eyes. When every corner of Bharat, temples were broken how my ancestors must have wept. Should 85 crores of people have to worry how 15 crores think and feel, have I taken a contract for their protection? Or should not the 15 crores worry about what would happen if all 85 crores would become Praveen Togadia?

I will give you an example of this subjugation in way of thinking. I was returning from Bhopal and a prominent minister traveling in the same train asked me during our half-hour long discussion: "It is all very well what you say. But what will you do with 15 crore Muslims?" "Are you a Thakur?" I thundered at him and he got scared. "Being a Thakur you ask what to do with these 15 crore of people?" Or should not those 15 crores think about the feelings of 85 crore Indians. This perverted and subjugated way of thinking is so deep–rooted after 1,000 years of oppression. Even if we were in danger of being murdered, we may not have the courage to speak. This is what this subjugation has done to us.

Show me one country in the world where the minority can attack the majority. Can a masjid be ever broken in Pakistan? Or, can a church be broken in England? Would anyone have the guts to set fire to a train in Pakistan? Would any Muslim living in England have the courage to set fire to a train on the London subway? Show me one country in the world where the minority can attack the majority.

But it happens in Bharat. I have sorrow for the people burnt alive like this in Bharat. But I have greater sorrow wondering how come, in a population of 85 crore Hindus, how did 12 crores ever get the courage to launch attacks on 85 crores?

I will give you an example. A doctor from Gujarat, Dr Vanikar, who studied in England, used to tell me this story about what he shared with other medical students from England. When he used to tell them that Hindus were being persecuted in India they would refuse to believe it. Because in England it simply cannot happen that Hindus or Muslims could ever attack the English. So they were incredulous, "In a country where you are the majority, how can you be attacked by the minority. It is not possible". But this is the state of affairs in Bharat.

And our secular friends? What is their secularism? Ask them whether they regard or worship the Shankaracharya? No, no, that is communal. Ask them about Imam Bukhari and they will ask you to prostrate before him. Ask them if they go to the temple, and they say, "communal, communal". Ask them whether they go to a mosque or to Bandra (Mount Mary), they say that is OK.

You tell them about madrassas which teach fundamentalism and jihad, they say this must be taught. Tell them that what is being taught there is medieval practice, jihad to murder Hindus, they say it must be taught. Ask them whether they worship the cow, they say "communal, communal." And you ask them whether they should worship the donkey instead and they say, yes, because the donkey is secular!

This secular jamaat thinks it is extra intelligent. How did this secularism business start? In 300 AD, Helina, the mother of the Roman emperor Constantine, accepted Christianity and Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire. After Christianity became the official religion, the pre-Christian temples were broken down and in 388 AD the last Roman Emperor, made Christianity the state religion.

After it became a state religion, all–non Christian temples were destroyed; from 388 AD to the sixteenth century the Church and the king together exploited the people; the king used to take the religious text on behalf of the Church and give them to the people; the Church used to invest glory in the king.

Four per cent of the property of France is with the Church today, even today the greatest holder of economic power and wealth all over the world is the Church. In the sixteenth century, the Reformation and Renaissance took place in Europe; Christianity was against science and this led to it. And Europe got liberated from Christianity and accepted pre-Christian, Arab, Greek and Roman culture within Europe. Through Greek and Roman culture, science flourished and it was in this context and climate of the Reformation and the Renaissance that the demand for secularism was born.

What was the demand? There were two. Church was a mono–culture. The Church wanted to impose their beliefs on the whole of humanity by force and the sword also. These secularists said that there should be pluralism. They also said that this pluralism is only possible if the Church and State were separated. So on the soil of Europe, what were secularists fighting against, the mono–culturist Church. Why were they fighting? To establish pluralism in society.

These blind worshippers, followers of Europe, why they are blind followers I’ll tell you. They dress like Europeans, they eat like Europeans and it seems, if they dream at night, their dreams too would in English! These blind followers, blindly imported secularism here and Jawaharlal Nehru provided the leadership to this. He saw that in Europe such people were battling the Church. So what was similar to the Church here? It was the Hindu faith.

Arre, Hindu faith, Hindu dharma is by nature pluralist. No one has to teach us pluralism. We have 1,000 different ways of worshipping, we have 18 languages, 1,633 dialects, over 750 deities. No where in the world can you see or find such living, breathing pluralism.

But they started battling us. And who joined them in this battle? Those who were using them. The jihadis. Therefore, jihadis and secularists got together. This is Indian Secularism.

That is why the other name of Indian secularism is jihadis. This is Indian secularism. One gets inspiration from the Quran, the other gets inspiration from Europe. One breaks our temples while the other does the job of protecting those who break our temples. And, therefore, I firmly believe that if this country has to achieve genuine freedom, the secular madrassa in Delhi… You’ll ask, do secularists have madrassa?, I’ll say yes, the secular madrassa’s name is Jawaharlal Nehru University. Lock it up, close it down.

Gopinath Mundeji, (BJP leader and former Maharashtra chief minister seated on the dias) if you get power, this must happen. Then the true battle will start. These secularists have made life a living hell for us. In Ansal plaza, terrorists come and the police shoot them down for our protection. One secularist whose name is Kuldip Nayar tells us that they were innocent. A question came to my mind, then. I did not know that they were innocent, you did not know they were innocent, how could Kuldip Nayar know they were innocent. Are we sure that there was no match fixing between them and Kuldip Nayar?

When our security forces kill terrorists, they abuse the security forces in the name of human rights. In this country there are human rights for dogs, for donkeys, for cats, for Muslims, but no human rights for Hindus. We have no right to live, no human right to live. My mother traveling in a local train in Mumbai, she has no rights to return safely, alive. These people have in the past 50 years turned Bharat desh into a kabrastan (graveyard). And you are defending these people? We need to fight the last battle with them.

Only two kinds of people will remain here: one kind who respect and admire the culture of Bharat, who are willing to die for their country; the other kind who live here but have no respect or admiration for Bharat. They may have faith in the kabrastan, they may have faith in Europistan.

For your sake, for the sake of future generations, we are not willing to tolerate the death and destruction of Bharatiya faith and culture. They tell us that at the place of birth of Lord Ram we cannot have a temple… (break in the cassette)…

The innocent faces of victims of terrorism on television tells its own story. My good friends from America, you who are secular, I want to present a model of secularism, a symbol of secularism for you in America. Will you tolerate a masjid in honour of Bin Laden built at the site of the destroyed World Trade Centre? Will ever America allow this? If a masjid in Bin Laden’s name cannot be built in America, how can a masjid in Babur’s name stand on the place which is the birth place of Lord Ram?

But they want such a masjid to keep standing. Oh, Narasimha Raoji, you could not save the Babri Masjid. If we do not want it to be saved, how can you save it? On December 6, 1992, I was also in Ayodhya with the Ramsevaks from Gujarat. I watched TV that evening and saw Narasimha Rao in tears. He was promising Muslims that he would rebuild the Babri Masjid at the same spot.

Oh, my Muslim brothers, remember Narasimha Rao could not save Babri Masjid. He promised to rebuild it. Has he done it? No, he has not. Narasimha Rao could not do it. Sonia Gandhi is your beloved. If she were to promise rebuilding of the masjid, will she do it? What is Mulayam Singh to you? Is he promising this to you? Oh, Muslims, name one leader to me who can promise this to you? Is anyone promising this?

Muslims, you are orphans, you are alone. You are being given the illusion that people are with you. The kind of abuse we had to suffer after Gujarat, both the BJP and the VHP. I issued a challenge to Sonia Gandhi publicly. There have been riots before also in Gujarat. I challenged Sonia Gandhi, saying that there must be one Congress worker at least in every village in Gujarat. Name a single village where during communal violence a Congress person has saved the life of Muslims.

In Karnavati (the sangh parivar’s preferred name for Ahmedabad), there must be at least 10,000 Congress workers. Ahsan Jaffri was phoning all Congress workers desperately. How many Congress workers came to protect him? Not even one. Oh, Muslim brothers, if the Congress can give me the name of even five villages in Gujarat where Congress workers saved Muslims or protected Muslims, I will give you the name of hundred villages where Congress workers have worked under the bhagwa jhandha (saffron flag) of the VHP.

Who will come to protect you? Babur and Ghazni? If Ghazni comes, we will crush him beneath our feet. Now on this dharti (country), the politics of reconciliation embodied in Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru no longer survives. We dictate the politics in this land now. This is the land of the pure Ganga and Jamuna.

And you place bombs here and there? You know as a Hindu, when a Hindu dies, he is cremated by the flames of agni. If I can perform the last rites for my father as a Hindu son, if I step into the battle field in defense of Hindu dharma, to save Hindu dharma, I can set fire to this entire dharti. Sometimes they say that Vivekanand’s vision of Hinduism was great. I also believe that because I admire him. But Praveen Togadia’s Hinduism is not true Hinduism.

Arre Bhai, who are you to decide this? In Bharat, Hindus are not made to read the Ramayana. I am a cancer surgeon and yet I can give discourse on the Bhagwad (Gita). There is a story of Nar and Narayan and rakshas who did so much penance that the gods are pleased. This is our tradition. Arre bhai, during the Mahabharat, did God ask Arjun not to fight, did God talk to Arjun about Ahimsa? What had Krishna Bhagwan said? Fight. Not only that. You know people are not too happy when I speak only a little. So I will elaborate.

Remember Bhagwan Krishna. He told Arjun to kill Karna. This is what Kyshtriya blood is made up of. Karna was killed. Did anyone tell Krishna, that he had followed a path of adharma? Do you know how we even killed Bheeshma using tricks, how we killed Duryodhana, pounding him with a mace. I remember all that with a my proud Hindu heart. This is my proud Hindu heritage. And for the victory of the Hindu faith, if we have to fight from behind the trees that protected Lord Ram, we will do it. I can give you many examples from the Mahabharat. I have deeply studied Hindu texts for the last 10 or 12 years. I firmly believe that if we do not look at the threat posed to us seriously, a hundred years later, our coming generations will not know the heritage of Krishna and Ram.

I want to ask my Muslim brothers if they want us to accept the legacy and rule of Bin Laden. If the Bin Laden formula works and the Shariat tradition makes this country into an Islamic rashtra what will happen? I have read the Quran and Hadith. If this happens and the majority of our country becomes Muslims, what will happen to us?

Imagine that a Bin Laden emerges. What will happen to us? To our women? "Accept Islam, or we will cut you up." And Hindu women will be distributed among them. There is a real danger of this happening. So, to protect our further generations from this fate, we have step into the battle field with a do or die attitude (Hum kafan bandh ke nikle hain).

We have stepped out for the victory of Hindus. This work needs support and solidarity. We need to organize ourselves. The next elections are coming. When the Pope had come here what did he say? The first thousand years of Christianity brought Christianity to Europe; the next thousand years took it to Africa; and the coming thousand years will bring it to Asia. They have plans for the next thousand years.

We are also thinking of the future. We are not going to lose our precious blood for the post of chief minister or prime minister. We are fighting for a Hindu Awakening and the victory, the final victory, of Hindu Awakening. To sully this with everyday politics is to lower our aim. Our aim is far mightier. Eventually, we are bound by life to this body. You know about LIC, the premium we pay for this life. I am the epitome of LIC-F (life insurance for the future). That is why, on behalf of the generations to be born hundred years later, on behalf of LIC-F, I am making a appeal to you all to devote your mind, body, soul and faith for this ultimate struggle. 

(The above is a video recording of Praveen Togadia’s entire speech in Hindi, transcribed by Teesta Setalvad).