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Mainstream, VOL LIII No 34 August 15, 2015

The Most Urgent Task Today

Saturday 15 August 2015, by SC

Editorial

As we approach our sixtyninth Independence Day, to be observed in five days time, the situation in the domestic sphere has turned from bad to worse.

The last fifteen months have been witness to the manner in which the Narendra Modi dispensation has upheld the banner of majoritarian communalism thereby seeking to irreparably damage the ideal of secular democracy that constitutes the foundation of independent India’s nationhood as exemplified by the country’s Constitution. The spate of communal riots in UP, most notably in Muzaffarnagar, provided eloquent testimony to the motivation of the Sangh Parivar to turn Muslims into aliens. The subsequent communal violence in Haryana’s Ballabhgarh is further evidence of the same motivation on the part of those who have unfurled the flag of Hindutva majoritarianism (misconstrued as ‘nationalism’).

The government at the Centre is presently bereft of any coherent policy with regard to our northwestern neighbour, Pakistan. Vocal sections of the strategic community, backed by influential segments of the media, have fallen prey to jingoism vis-a-vis Islamabad where too the military establishment and ISI are blinded by hatred towards India. Thus the security environment in South Asia is recording a sharp deterioration.

We have at the moment in power a myopic leadership which never had any link or connection with the freedom struggle the flames of which tempered a Gandhi, a Nehru and a Subhas into men of steel worthy of emulation.

Rather, the Lalitgate and Vyapam scams only reveal the depths to which our politicians have sunk today in their quest for power and pelf. The ongoing deadlock in Parliament is a direct consequence of the ruling dispensation’s adamant refusal to pay heed to the Opposition’s legitimate demands.

And true to its proclivities the Modi Government is displaying streaks of authoritarianism as mirrored in the show-cause notices served by the authorities on three TV news channels for having allegedly shown disrespect to the judiciary and President by airing certain content on the day the 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon was executed. This is being aptly assailed by human rights bodies, Opposition parties, journalists’ organisations (like the Editors Guild of India) as a frontal assault on freedom of the press.

As the political situation worsens with extraordinary rapidity, it is becoming increasingly transparent that if the BJP/RSS’ advance is to be halted and the country saved from the depredations of the Sangh Parivar, there is an imperative need for the secular democratic forces of all hues across the country to unite and defeat the regressive forces now controlling the levers of power in governance at the Centre.

That is the most urgent task on our sixtyninth Independence Day. If we are able to successfully carry out that task with all our strength, that will be the best homage we can offer to the countless martyrs who had laid down their precious lives to free the country from foreign yoke. For, the nation’s independence, unity, secularism and democracy are all at stake at this critical juncture.

August 10 S.C.