When the Indian National Congress (INC) started off in the late 1800’s as an elite club of landowners and entrepreneurs its elite naturally went for “narampantha” (“soft path”) of pleasing the ruler to get crumbs as anti-narampantha would jeopardize their wealth/status by confrontation and retaliation by state. However it soon realized that unless it got the “common” “chota log” (literally “small people” used in a semi-derisive way to disparage the “lower status”) Hindu on its side, it would not have enough numbers to appear worth negotiating with.
But this meant a dilemma – how to keep the societal hierarchy of control over the “lowers” and prevent them from being “uppity” when realizing the power of their numbers in political mobilization. That problem was brilliantly solved by Gandhi’s almost-collaborative-with-Brits removal of Hindu-sadhus/babas who had been in the forefront of popular dissent/resistance against the Brit state, but which was also a threat to backers of Gandhi – as such movements showed the potential of decentralized, beyond-elite-control-from-above, Hindu “lower” mobilization, and which within colonial frame also threatened the economic gains that elite had maintained under new rulers. Simultaneously Gandhi and his coterie formulated the very first steps of Islam appeasement and recognition of both Ulemaic claim of sole control over Muslims and communal/separate “award” (as early as 1915/16).
The Ulema showed their strategic depth in recognizing the opportunity provided by the Hindu elite under Gandhian reformulation by setting one part of their own to act in collaboration with Gandhians ostensibly over Khilafat, but in doing so they could keep the pressure on INC not to go against core Islamic interests, especially where Islamic infra for future expansion was concerned. A part of this gain would also be in self-restriction and self-censorship by INC on any subtext of Hindu mobilization. Thus by selectively joining INC issues, the Muslim leadership secured INC restriction of “Hindu mobilization”, while protecting Islamic expansionist agenda and infra. Hindu elite in INC also recognized, that by playing along with Muslim leadership helped their own agenda of preventing Hindu mobilization which would empower the “lower”s.
Over time this meant that even if INC rode to power on Hindu mobilization it ultimately increasingly became a protector of Islamic interests for by its success in “eliminating” the “Hindu” side of mobilization, it could claim the “There is no alternative” factor later on, and Hindus became trapped in a vicious cycle of having to vote for a force that had betrayed every aspect of Hindu aspiration and even used “Hindu” infra/resources to help anti-Hindu forces and religions to expand at the cost of the Hindu. Its crucial not to allow the same process to repeat. The voices dubbed “fringe/extreme” simply because they talk of some purely Hindu aspiration and their aspirations pose an obstacle to imperialist expansionist and often predatory plans of totalitarian religions must not be allowed to be sidelined or ostracized, just because Hindu mobilization is helping political realignments.
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