What political philosophy Subhash desired or would have pursued is a matter of conjecture. The moot question that the IB documents pose is as to why the family of Subhash was kept under surveillance for two decades after independence, and most deploringly, why was the surveillance report being shared with the British intelligence agency, the MI5.

The Muslim has many issues with the Congress. What has become of him in the 60 years of Congress rule, he was able to see in the mirror of the Sachar Committee Report in 2006. Why, he asks, does he hear the same slogan, riot after riot? (“Mussalman ke do sthan. Qabristan ya Pakistan.”)

Is it because the Congress allowed the misapprehension to persist that the Muslim divided the country and then stayed on? If that were the case why have Seshadri, Lohia, Maulana Azad and scores of others taken the Congress to task as the Guilty Men of India’s Partition? Of course, the BJP shouts the morbid slogan, but it is the Congress which created conditions over the past 66 years for that slogan to carry.

When Patel suggested to Golwalkar that the RSS should join the Congress, the RSS supremo was quick with his response. The two should work separately and “converge”. When, pray, would they “converge”? When Hindu Rashtra has been achieved?

The first Home Secretary of UP, Rajeshwar Dayal, has in his autobiography, A Life of Our Times, this story about Golwalkar and Congress stalwart, Govind Ballabh Pant, UP’s longest serving Chief Minister and Union Home Minister from 1955 to 61.

When communal tension in UP was high, Dayal carried incontrovertible evidence to Pant about Golwalkar’s plans to create a “communal holocaust in western UP”. Pant was convinced of the plot but he would not permit them to arrest the RSS chief. In fact Golwalkar was allowed to escape, having been duly tipped off.

As I mentioned at the outset, the attack on Syria, should it happen, will be the umpteenth US-led military action against a Muslim country since the collapse of the Soviet Union. I mention the Soviet Union repeatedly because unprecedented military might in the possession of a nation in decline is a dangerous new global reality. New Delhi’s silence in such situations may be commended by those who place a value on cunning and craft. But cunning and craft towards what end?

I like to imagine neither Jawaharlal Nehru nor Atal Behari Vajpayee would have remained silent if there any risk to Damascus, the world’s oldest, continuous habitation and the great civilization of which it is the capital.