Kashmir Only Secular Place in India: Sahgal, ‘Right Wing Fostered NIT Row’

KL NEWS NETWORK

SRINAGAR

Nayantara Sahgal
Nayantara Sahgal

Hindutva is a brand of fundamentalism and the Hindu right wing is distorting what Hinduism stands for, said renowned author Nayantara Sahgal who was among one of the first writers to return her Sahitya Akademi award to protest against intolerance in India.

She also claimed the situation in mainland India is worse than the Emergency era, but said figures like Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar offer hope.

Speaking to a news gathering agency on the side lines of the first edition of the Dehradun Literature Festival in Dehradun, Sahgal, niece of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, lamented that the Hindu right seemed to be becoming like terror outfit IS and said it was “time for a debate on the tendency of Hindutva to become like IS, to cut off people’s heads”.

“We need a debate on why Hindutva is becoming like the IS. The Hindu right wing is talking in the same criminal language as IS. As a Hindu, I resent what Hindutva is doing to Hinduism. They are distorting and destroying it,” she said.

Terming as “bogus” the debate on nationalism, she accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government of trying to instil fear on people’s mind with “silly” issues like chanting of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.

“The debate on nationalism is irrelevant now. Nationalism was needed at a time when the country was fighting to become a nation under British Raj. Then the Hindu right and Muslim right supported British to lay the path to Partition,” she said.

Accusing Hindu right wing groups of fostering trouble in the NIT Kashmir campus, Sahgal said that the effort began at the time of Syama Prasad Mookerjee, founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS).

“There has been an attempt by Hindu right wing to create trouble between Jammu and Kashmir to bring in the Hindu element from the time of Syama Prasad Mookerjee and it’s still going on,” she said, charging the BJP with wanting to destroy secularism in Kashmir.

“Kashmir was the only secular place in India where there was no riots even during the Partition. It used to be the centre of a great religious culture,” she said.

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