Irfan Habib is right: RSS is another ISIS
Both hate pluralism and believe in the creation of a state where the law of religion is supreme.
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(A disclosure first: Irfan Habib taught me at Aligarh Muslim University during extra classes that we used to seek from him even though he had retired much before we had joined AMU's Centre for Advanced Studies in History.)
RSS has always been condemned by the non-partisan people, and Irfan Habib happens to be one of them. But outrage in Modi's India is also selective, against certain people in select matters.
Historian Romila Thapar has been equally vocal against growing intolerance, but it was Irfan Habib's name that trended on Twitter the entire day.
The Padma Bhushan awardee and Marxist historian rightly equated the RSS with ISIS with respect to the two outfits' ideological orientation. While Islamic State is a reality, RSS plans to convert India into a Hindu Rashtra. Where is the difference? Both hate pluralism and believe in the creation of a puritan state where the law of religion is supreme, much like the papal state of the medieval period.
No doubt that, in its narrative, ISIS is the most violent form of Islam. But the RSS worships firearms. Why would any peace-loving organisation on earth worship "firearms"? There have been instances of violence where RSS activists have been allegedly involved. Who killed Mahatma Gandhi is no matter of guesswork.
Professor Habib has showed intellectual honesty and fearlessness, which he is known for even at the AMU campus, where he is not much loved, for he has always taken a stand against religious extremism of any kind - be it Hindu or Muslim. He has rightly criticised the extremist organisation.
India is a thriving democracy, which works as a deterrent for extremist organisations. In the entire Middle East, where there were dictatorial regimes, one can see how peace was decimated from the land where the religion of peace once prospered.
In order to make sense of his comment, professor Habib's entire speech should be taken into account, not just a word or sentence that one can use for hate-mongering against him.