Mainstream, VOL LIII, No 17, April 18, 2015
National Task and Left Politics
Friday 17 April 2015, by
While PM Narendra Modi is abroad visiting France, Germany and Canada trying to woo foreign investors and engaging in deals like the one on purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft he has struck in France (thereby detracting from his “Make in India” initiative), the so-called ‘fringe elements’ of the Sangh Parivar (who actually consitute the core of the saffron brigade) continue to harp on their divisive agenda thus reinforcing religious intolerance and endangering social cohesion.
First came the statement of Bhaiyyaji Joshi, the RSS General Secretary, at a function in the Capital yesterday to release special issues of the Sangh’s mouthpieces Organiser (English) and Panchjanya (Hindi) on Ambedkar. He is reported to have said: “Bharat Ratna had been awarded to someone like Mother Teresa ten years before B.R. Ambedkar. It’s a cause for worry.” One should not forget that such a statement has come close on the heels of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s observation that Mother Teresa served the poor with an intention to convert them; this had invited protests from wide sections of public opinion.
Yesterday also found BJP MP Yogi Adityanath stoking a new controversy. Addressing a crowd at Haridwar, he averred: “Non-Hindus should be prohi-bited from visiting Har ki Pauri. This is necessary both from the point of view of religion and the security of the ghat.” As is well known, Har ki Pauri is a popular tourist spot in Haridwar.
Adityanath’s view evoked strong reaction among Congressmen. In the words of one of them, Uttarakhand Congress unit President Kishore Upadhyay, “We will confirm whether or not the BJP MP said so. If it is true, then steps will be taken to ban the entry of such people into Haridwar.”
And four days ago, on Sunday (April 12) Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut demanded that the Muslim comm-unity be disenfranchised to put an and to vote-bank politics. This he conveyed in a signed article in the Sena organ, Saamna, fuelling largescale protests. Apart from political adversaries of the Shiv Sena even common people came out in the social media decrying Raut’s views. One of them asked pertinently: “Does the Sena MP know that the (new) Chief Election Commissioner is a Muslim?” In the face of such sharp criticism even the Sena’s senior partner in the Maharashtra Government, the BJP, was compelled to reject Raut’s opinion. Eventually Raut himself was forced to issue a rejoinder. He told reporters in Aurangabad: “I did not say Muslims should be deprived of their voting rights. The media wanted some news for the day and they misrepresented my views.”
The fact is that divisive and fissiparous forces within the BJP or in alliance with it have mounted a concerted offensive which shows no sign of abating. In the wake of such attacks all secular democrats should close their ranks and fight such moves. But that has not happened.
The CPI could have taken such a step at its Party Congress at Puducherry but that did not take place. The fact is that it has lost all faith in independent thinking which was its forte in the sixties and seventies, and is now looking up to only the CPI-M for guidance. (The latter too is unable to project any coherent outlook suited to the present situation.) It has meekly repeated its call for reunification of the CPs, but the CPI-M in its Visakhapatnam Congress is not even prepared to consider the proposal. At best it can think in terms of Left unity, it has declared.
True, both the parties have highlighted the danger from the communal forces now in power. The CPI-M General Secretary’s attack on the Modi Government, describing it as the “joint enterprise of the BJP-RSS”, was quite sharp. But as yet there is no sign of any effort on the part of the Left parties to forge joint movements in cooperation with all other secular democratic parties, including the Congress, against the BJP-RSS plan to demolish the “secular democratic foundations” of the Constitution (words used by Prakash Karat). Taking a slightly different line, Polit-Bureau member Sitaram Yechury has told The Hindu:
On some issues there may be an agreement... on which we will go together. But a broader coalition of any nature cannot be sustainable unless there is an agreement on all the issues concerned. On secularism, yes; on question of people’s rights, yes.
But then when has there been agreement between the Congress and Left on all issues concerned? However, in the past such disagreements did not come in the way of building united actions against the nefarious design to destory the basic ‘idea of India’.
Seems like we are in for a long haul. And perhaps a repetition of what happened in Germany in the 1930s. Nevertheless, the leaders of the two major Left parties are convinced that fascism has not yet arrived!
Blissful ignorance cannot be the substitute for any concrete policy-perspective. Whatever the theoreti-cians and arm-chair Marxists may say, the Indian version of fascism has already seized power at the Centre. It’s only a matter of time before it bares its real fangs.
Mark our words: it cannot be dislodged without the combined struggle of all concerned. That is the national task. Nothing is more vital today than carrying out that task to the best of our ability in the interests of democracy, secularism and toiling humanity.
April 15 S.C.