I hate this intolerant body of mine. It doesn’t allow me to take out my brain and rinse it thoroughly. If not that, at least I should have the right to unlearn all the history that our books have taught us all these years. At the risk of being called unlettered, I would want to unlearn history for a while and start learning with a fresh mind. And the great Historian from Aligarh, Irfan Habib Saab only confirms my wish to unlearn history.
Irfan Habib feels the RSS is almost similar to ISIS. This makes me scared. Very scared. What have we learned all these years in schools, colleges and universities? How much of it is real history and how much of it is historical fiction based on political, religious and ideological biases? When I was in college – not one run by the VHP or RSS, but a Christian Missionary college, our history professor would engage us in debates and discussions. He (not a supporter of BJP) was the first to point out the names of a few celebrated historians who had actually written ‘soft history’ to please the Congress government. Now all these years later, these fears are confirmed.
There's much to question on RSS ideology. But comparing with ISIS is ridiculous. In fact, this is just how liberal case is trivialised, lost
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) November 1, 2015
If Irfan Habib believes there is no difference between the RSS and ISIS it is time for him to give up writing history.
— Tavleen Singh (@tavleen_singh) November 2, 2015
Joining the ‘right to dissent’ brigade that essentially see red the moment you ask them about selective outrage, historian Irfan Habib Saab has expressed his concerns about ‘growing intolerance’. But one would have to sit and wonder. On which side is the intolerance growing? Is it on Mr. Habib’s side? Is it because the ‘August group’ that dictated, wrote and were celebrated all these years now are hearing voices completely unknown to them? Voices that might challenge and criticize what Mr. Habib and his league of historians have made us read over the years?
Irfan Habib feels under RSS ‘India is becoming a mirror image of Pakistan’. Either Mr. Habib has no idea about Pakistan or he is clueless about India. Or maybe he is just clueless about everything that he is talking about. Why else would anyone in their right mind compare RSS to ISIS?
The RSS probably is conservative and doesn’t try to hide its Hindutva flavour. They could at the maximum be called old timers, even orthodox. I don’t agree with RSS at most times and have also pointed it out to friends who have been part of the organisation. But surprise, surprise. Unlike ISIS, they did not think of beheading me. Instead, they paid for that coffee I drank while debating about their organization and at the most said I need to read more on their history. And this happened in ‘Modi’s’ supposedly intolerant India. And Mr. Habib says RSS is just another version of the ISIS?
Last Vijaya Dashami when Mohan Bhagwat went Live on DD National I had dialled someone who ideologically is inclined to the RSS and had given him a piece of my mind. We are still friends. And Mr. Habib says RSS is ISIS?
Maybe Mr. Habib has forgotten what ISIS has done. Wasn’t this IS the same bunch of barbarians that took Yazidi women as sex slaves or even raped then publicly? Weren’t they the same marauders that behead foreign journalist and citizens in Iraq and Syria? Maybe Irfan Habib and people who are endorsing his views need to be reminded of the blood and gore. It is sad that people who claim to be our conscience and intellectual backbone do not research or romance facts.
Earlier this year a UN report stated that ISIS has executed as many as 74 children, no not for crimes but for things like refusal to fast. Two of these crucified bodies were put on display, for people to remember. Even children who are mentally unstable have been used as sex slaves and suicide bombers. They have been tortured and burnt alive. Executions just needed excuses. “Many of the charges against those executed are recorded as blasphemy and spying, but others include sorcery, sodomy, practicing as a Shia Muslim,” the report states.
Child rape and virginity surgeries have been constant reminders of what the ISIS has done. Women have been passed around like pieces of meat. Stripped of dignity and a will to live, they have been made sex slaves and one wonders how many will see a right to live. People have been driven out of their homes and countries and are grappling in camps in Europe. Has such an exodus happened in India of which the RSS could be blamed for? Have Indians started seeking asylum elsewhere?
One doesn’t need a literary event and a microphone to point out what ISIS is. Just a little bit of open minded research helps. If that doesn’t, the likes of Mr. Habib can look for scholarly articles or foreign universities or News pieces on foreign channels that talk of human rights violation wherever ISIS has established their ‘Caliphate’.
Now just last year, Ram Madhav who had served as the national spokesperson of the RSS from 2003-2014, had pointed out that even though they did not endorse homosexuality, it is debatable whether it is a crime. The ISIS, on the other hand, throws people from rooftops. A book on the Gujarat riot, for example, gives instances when a Muslim woman who worked in a dispensary owned by an RSS man was saved by him from an angry mob.
Prof Irfan Habib this is too much. Comparing RSS to the monsters of ISIS? Time for u to retire.
And plz withdraw your statement & apologise
— atiya zaidi (@atiyaz) November 1, 2015
Irfan Habib also forgets that Jawaharlal Nehru, then and now ideologically opposite to the RSS, had actually invited the RSS to take part in the republic day parade. This was done as a token of appreciation for their work as volunteers during Sino- India war of 1962. These men now being called ISIS had even donated blood during the War of Bangladesh Liberation. ISIS, on the other hand, is more interested in shedding blood. One can fiercely disagree with RSS, call them derogatory names – Khaki Chaddis being one. But likening them with ISIS reeks of ideological intolerance. Is it because the idea of Marxists, Leninists and Nehruvians was that of a totalitarian ideology? Is it because they just do not want to hear any other view? Well, Mr. Habib’s outburst leads us to this dangerous truth.
And this time the ‘liberals’ are also disagreeing with Mr. Habib. Such is the situation that their hatred could even make people that criticize the RSS their fans.