New Delhi — In a well-attended meeting of right wing users of Twitter and Facebook in India, referred to as patriotic tweeples (acronym PT, portmanteau of ‘Twitter’ and ‘people’) by Subramanian Swamy, and amid applause and standing ovations at the Constitution Club’s Speaker Hall Annexe, New Delhi, the BJP leader today reasoned how all missions dear to Hindutva supporters were possible to be accomplished under the Narendra Modi regime.
“Seculars used to divide Hindus and unite minorities. We did the opposite; we united Hindus and divided the minorities,” Swamy said, explaining how the BJP won the recent Lok Sabha elections handsomely and adding, “We appealed to all minorities who thought of India as their ancestral land to join our mission.” Most Hindus cutting across caste lines and some Muslims voted for the BJP, Swamy said.
He stressed that Indian Muslims were not an international community unlike what the ulema wanted them to believe, but were essentially Indians: “Just like I am a Hindustani first and then a Hindu,” he said.
Muslim leaders believe he supports the cause of Israel because that country is anti-Muslim, Swamy said. “I support Israel because it is in national interest. They share with us anti-terrorist intelligence,” Swamy said.
“I oppose the LTTE though the Tamil tigers are all Hindus,” Swamy said. As a (Union) minister, he had dismissed the DMK Government in Tamil Nadu and decimated the terrorist organisation’s network in the State, he said.
The firebrand leader claimed that India’s relations with Sri Lanka had improved since Modi assumed office. Insisting that a stable and peaceful Sri Lanka was in India’s interest, Swamy gave the example of arrest of Arun Selvarajan, the Sri Lankan spy of LTTE who was also working for Pakistan, which was possible because of intelligence shared by Sri Lanka, which it was reluctant to do during the UPA era.
Emphasising Indian ethos and unity, Swamy said all Indians “shared the same DNA (pattern)”. “There is no Aryan-Dravidian divide,” he said, rubbishing Marxist historians’ pet theory.
“A Dalit and a Brahmin have the same DNA; Indian Hindus and Muslims have the same DNA,” Swamy said.
Mocking at the divisive politics practised by Raj Thackeray, Swamy claimed he had got hold of the Maharashtra Navanirman Sena leader’s hair through the barber of the latter, which he put through a DNA test. He said he had also paid a taxi driver from Uttar Pradesh Rs 100 to get a strand of his hair, which he put through the same test. “They have the same DNA,” he said.
In the middle of his speech, Swamy dealt with the worrying status of women in the country. He invoked Hindu beliefs to quip that in Brahma’s empire, the important ‘ministries’ of defence, finance and education were respectively entrusted with Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati while the only ministry that went to a male god was information and broadcasting that went to Narada. With this analogy, he expressed concern over so many cases of attacks on women and rape. He said it was not Indian culture to treat women like that.
Dwelling on economics, he said how scientists at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research had successfully experimented with crop yield and were producing seven times what our farmers were able to produce. Insisting that this technique must reach the farmers, Swamy exclaimed how prosperous India, where agriculture was possible 12 months a year, could become if its farmers produced three crops a year instead of one, and with seven times the present production.
India can be a superpower in 10 years, overtake China in 15 years and the US in 30 years if the Modi Government’s economic plan and strategy works, Swamy said.
With an urge to extract the demographic dividend from the country where the population is mostly young, Swamy appealed to the state to offer loans to children for primary education and lamented the fact that education loans were given only to seekers of higher education.
Back to a favourite issue of the Hindutva band, and yet on the subject of economics, he reminded Prime Minister Modi of the latter’s speech in Gujarat last year and requested him to stop subsidising beef export. He said foreign breeds of cows had a higher yield of milk only because they were cared for. He said if the Indian cow was looked after well, he could come to attend the next PT meet swimming in milk!
On other issues of Hindutva — the speakers in the programme insisted repeatedly that the term “Hindu” signified a civilisation, irrespective of foreign influences, and was not a religion — he assured the audience that both Prime Minister Modi and Union Transportation & Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari had told him the Rama Setu (aka Adam’s Bridge) would stay untouched after he won the court case related to it.
On the issue of the Ram temple promised by the Sangh Parivar on the disputed land in Ayodhya, he made an insinuation to the effect that Mughal invader Babar was fond of a teenager called Babri, and the mosque demolished in December 1992 was actually named after that homosexual partner of the king. He said Muslims would be embarrassed to know this history and stop insisting on rebuilding that mosque.
Taking some liberties with the archaeological findings of the disputed land in Ayodhya, Swamy said the Babri Masjid was built on a demolished temple [the findings suggest a series of temple constructions were done at the site by Hindu kings of different eras, and the plot also had a Muslim graveyard; Mughal general Mir Baqi probably built the mosque over the ruins of those temples or of a graveyard rather than over a demolished temple]. However, Swamy described the demolition of Babri Masjid as an act of a “mob”.
Reminding the Muslims of Allama Iqbal who had adorned Lord Rama as “Imam-e-Hind”, Swamy urged the community to let Hindus build a Ram temple on the spot.
He promised to Muslims that he would ensure a good mosque was built on the opposite bank of River Sarayu. Citing his conversation with the Prince of Saudi Arabia, Swamy was amazed to note that the Babri Masjid had turned it into such a big issue in India when mosques are demolished as and when civic reasons demand so in Saudi Arabia. He also said Pervez Musharraf, as the then head of state of Pakistan, had ordered some mosque demolitions.
Swamy gave a special example of a mosque where Prophet Mohammed was believed to have offered salah. He said when some Arabs objected to its proposed demolition, the kingdom ruled that celebrating the place as special amounted to idolatry, and those coming in the way of law would be liable for punishment for idolatry as per the Shari’ah. He said that Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud had proposed to him that he could issue a fatwa of no objection to Babri demolition if it helped. Swamy said he didn’t need the fatwa; he would rather build the temple in consultation with Muslims.
On Article 370, Swamy said revoking it was just a matter of a presidential notification. “It can be done tomorrow,” he said.
Depicting Muslim Personal Law as a curse for women, Swamy emphasised the need for Uniform Civil Code and shared with the audience how some Muslim women in Kerala had approached him demanding that Hindu succession laws be applied to them. He said he was fighting a case in the State on their behalf and “I will win it”.
Saying that doing justice to half the population was possible only if every man had only one wife, Swamy explained how in Australia a cleric demanding polygamy was disowned by the rest of the ulema of that country as a mad man in the face of stern Australian law.
Swamy ended his speech with the announcement of foundation of the Patriotic Social Media Foundation that would hold similar meetings regularly.
A conductor of the programme delivering the vote of thanks asked the audience if they wished to confer on Swamy, who was “never afraid of speaking his mind”, the title of “Sher-e-Hind”. The proposal was received with a standing ovation.
Swamy spoke towards the end of the day-long programme. In the first session, Prof R Vaidyanathan dealt with the world economy. The academic explained how G7’s share in percentage of the world GDP on purchasing power parity was on the decline and how the corresponding figures of emerging economies were constantly rising. Giving the example of diamond business based in Antwerp, he explained how the market that was once dominated by Jews was now dominated by Gujaratis. He also gave an example of a ‘small’ businessman from a suburb of Coimbatore whom he met in a flight from Paris, whose firms had a turnover of more than Rs 1,200 crore. Prof Vaidyanathan urged the government to build financial institutions to support small-scale industries.
Prof Vaidyanathan said there was no need to lose sleep over the arrival of FDIs and FIIs as “about 80%” of India’s businesses were launched on personal savings. He thanked the housewives for India’s culture of savings, a field in which the country is among the leaders of the world.
Speaking just before Swamy, Prof MD Nalapat suggested India took the governments in Damascus and Baghdad into confidence and launched a military attack on the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). He wants the government to develop special relations with Shi’ah and Sufi countries. He refused to make any anti-Muslim statement in the face of repeated push by a questioner from the audience. “70% of ISI agents in India are not Muslims, they belong to other faiths,” the professor said in response to one of the questions.
The earliest speaker was head of BJP’s IT cell Arvind Gupta. He said his team started working on the plan to use the social media big-time since the party’s electoral debacle in 2009. He named several alternative media campaigners from the audience and thanked them for their contribution. Appreciating Modi’s penchant for advanced thinking, Gupta said when they approached him with the proposal to make “Mission 272” a buzzword, he asked why the tally should just be 272. It was Modi’s idea to add the plus (+) to the term, Gupta said.
Exposing the mainstream media, Gupta expressed dismay at the kind of coverage the BJP had been getting while in opposition. He said when the party would organise rallies attended by lakhs of people, the media would report just a few thousands had attended them. He thanked profusely the pro-BJP campaigners on social media who would constantly point out on Twitter and Facebook how flawed the media’s ‘facts’ and ‘figures’ were.
Several social media users were invited to speak from the stage. The issues they covered ranged from recovery of smuggled heritage objects like idols from temples to foray from spiritual practices to activism on Twitter and Facebook.
This correspondent had the opportunity to meet scores of social media activists in person, whom he had so far only seen in their display pictures on the social networking sites.