www.sacw.net | 16 September 2005

Madhya Pradesh: Lengthening Trident Shadows

Trishul Diksha in Jabalpur

by Ram Puniyani

[Published earlier in Issues in Secular Politics - September 2005]

In a public function held in Jabalpur, M.P. (Sept.
2005) five thousand trishuls were distributed under
the leadership Mr. Pravin Togadia of Vishwa Hindu
Parishad. The function was organized by Bajarang Dal,
an affiliate of RSS. In the meeting a pledge was
administered, which stated that all will be done to
bring in the Hindu Rashtra.

The previous Congress government had put a ban on
trishul diksha and with the BJP Government coming to
power the ban has been lifted. Many a places Mr.
Togadia's entry has been banned so far as his speeches
heat up the atmosphere of communal hatred. Trishul
Diksha has been devised by VHP as a mechanism to use
religious cultural symbols for political mobilization
of Hindutva. During the period of Rath Yatra the use
of stickers like 'Garv se Kaho Hum Hindu hain' and the
one of Lord Ram with an aggressive posture were used
with effect not only to mobilize Hindus but also to
intimidate the minorities.

The Hindu right has been cleverly using the symbols
and imageries to polarize the communities and one
recalls its culmination in the post rath yatra
communal violence, demolition of Babri Msajid and
horrific riots in Mumbai, Surat and Bhopal. The use of
symbols with religious resemblance has been the
strength of RSS progeny. Just to recall few more in
this direction, one has been the popularization of
Vinayaka idols and Ganapati festival in South, the
other being Hanuman and Shabri festivals in the
Adivasi areas. Most of these act to give the cultural
channels especially to Dalits and adivasis to co-opt
them into Hindutva fold. The choice of Hanuman and
Shabri for adivasis gives a very precise message of
their place in the Hindu fold.

It is being said that Trishul is a part of Hindu
religious tradition. Interestingly one never heard of
Trishul Diksha earlier. It is a political innovation
by VHP. Earlier Trishul has been a symbol associated
with Lord Shiva, it was not meant for use in social
gatherings. It was mostly used while traveling to
pilgrimage sites and also by the sadhus. Its role is
not similar to that of Kripan, which is amongst the
five basic ingredients of Sikhism. The Trishul
designed by VHP and used for mass distribution is a
disguised knife with sharp edges which have more of
destructive potential.

Madhya Pradesh has been having BJP Government off and
on. It also has a deep and powerful network of RSS
shakhas, Bajrang dal offices and Vanvasi Kalyan
Ashrams, the latter spread in the adivasi areas. It is
here in Jhabua that attempt was made to give a
communal color to the rape and murder of a young girl
by a miscreant in the campus of a Christian school. It
was in Jhabua region again that the intimidation of
Missionaries has been intense on various pretexts. The
main grudge has been the activities of missionaries in
the remote places. In one of the trips to Jhabau
region, where the alleged conversions are going on,
the writer of these lines was made to realize the real
motive behind the attacks on Missionaries. One of the
Principals of the missionary schools told an
interesting episode. His school is located in a
township where, as is usually the case, many RSS
supporters also send their children for studying, as a
matter of choice. Same RSS supporters allege that the
missionaries are doing the conversion work through
their schools in remote area. The Principal told that
one such parent of a child invited him for a dinner.
In the after dinner talk he appreciated the
Principal's work in educating the children. But he
also pointed out that the schools in cities and town
places are OK but why should the missionaries open the
schools in the remote places to educate those
'animals', meaning adivasis! The real reason for
opposing these activities happens to be to oppose this
empowerment of adivasis through education, which is
not much to the liking of the Hindutva forces.

The coming to power of BJP Government in MP has opened
the gates for intrusion of Hindutva in its full
aggressive mode. This Govt. first with Uma Bharati as
the CM brought in Cows and Sants in the physical
vicinity of the rulers. Cow based economy was
envisaged as a panacea for the economic ills of the
state. With Bharati's Tiranga Yatra and her
resignation, which came as a big respite for BJP, as
any way Bharati had become a good deal of
embarrassment for the party. Later Babulal Gaur
stepped in. For various reasons, to win over the
patron ship of RSS, to keep his seat safe from
Bharati, Gaur treaded the safe path of handing over
the policy making department to RSS, which now is
determined to convert MP into another laboratory of
Hindutva, a la Gujarat. First the Government went on
to ensure that Vande Matram is brought in, in offices
and schools. The activities of Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram
have been stepped up in the Adivasi areas. With this
tirshul diksha the intensity of the communal
polarization will go up tremendously. The issue is not
just the insecurity of minorities; the issue is of
violation of the basic norms of democratic society,
law and order. The mass distribution of knives,
disguised as religious symbols, will step up the
violent psychology and intensify the polarization of

It is precisely here that prior to election the
Bhojashala-Maula Masjid issue was brought up for
electoral purposes. The anti Christian violence
unleashed in Jhabua-Meghnangar region had paid
dividends and BJP got good deal of electoral
advantage. While the BJP government is ruling, the RSS
affiliates have got a free hand to intensify their
Hindutva agenda. MP has traveled a far way during last
year and a half.

The intense violence in Gujarat was preceded by a
period of BJP rule in Gujarat where the VHP, Vanavasi
Kalyan Ashram had a free run. The issue of conversion
and terrorism was manipulated to doctor the social
psychology, and the emotional distances between the
communities. The culmination of this into the violence
and later ghettoisation, this has become a 'model'
pattern of Hindutva politics. What begins as innocuous
sounding phenomenon gradually takes the direction of
dividing communities along religious lines. It is
conceded that BJP led NDA government at the center did
provided the cover to the local BJP government in its
communalization of society but even before the full
fledged pogrom was launched by Modi and company the
religious divide in the state was extreme. The
communal violence played the role of driving the
permanent wedge in the same. Despite the claims to
contrary the society in Gujarat is getting vertically
split with emotional ghettoisation preceding the
physical ghettoisation. The process in MP is going on
in the similar lines and this trishul diksha is yet
another step in the ongoing process. Hope the central
government wakes up in time to put brakes on this
divisive process being permitted by Babulal Gaur

Go to the South Asia Citizens Web | Return to Communalism Repository