By Hasan Akram:
I recently attended an event on April 16, 2016, that was organised by the Jamia Collective as part of the fortnightly lecture series being conducted under the banner ‘Guftugu’. We were there to discuss Ram Puniyani’s new book ‘Indian Nationalism Vs Hindu Nationalism’. Jamia collective is a recently initiated platform of intellectuals and young activists to promote diversity, pluralism, and constitutional values and it actively engages with the residents of the Jamia area.
“‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ is the translated version of Vande Mataram. Bharat Mata is an idol of Durgama. That is why every Indian cannot chant this slogan,” said Om Thanvi, former chief editor of Jansatta. He continued, “Mahatma Gandhi never chanted the slogan. He used to write Vande Matram in his letters which was replaced by ‘Bapu ka ashirwad’ later on.” He was speaking at the group discussion organised at Syedain Manzil Lawn in Jamia Nagar on Saturday, accompanied by Professor Ram Puniyani, Shail Mayaram and Sadiqur Rehman Qidwai.
Professor Ram Puniyani said, “Muslim League and Hindu Mahasabha did not contribute much to the freedom movement.” He denied the existence of the concept of nationalism in the pre-colonial period in the country. “Mahatma Gandhi developed Indian nationalism while Muslim League and Hindu Mahasabha taught the lessons of hatred and division to the belonging (sic) groups.”
Ram Puniyani’s book ‘Indian Nationalism Vs Hindu Nationalism’ was released during this session. He was awarded Indira Gandhi National Integration Award in 2007 for his activism and contributions towards restoring communal harmony in India. Shail Mayaram added that that the politics of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) is not based on real Hindu fundamentals. According to Marayam, “RSS don’t want to spread the old Hindu tradition. Rather, their Hinduism is a political version of it.” Shail Mayaram has previously done research on the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
Note: Jamia Collective does not belong to Jamia University.