Mainstream, VOL LIII No 45 New Delhi October 31, 2015
Dangerous Rise of the Rightwing Forces
Wednesday 4 November 2015
The political landscape of the country is changing at a fast and furious pace. ‘Intolerance’, ‘illiberal’, ‘communal bigotry’, ‘fringe elements’—all these have become hackneyed words and phrases. What we are witnessing today right before our eyes is the taking over of the Indian state by the Rightwing fascist forces with the connivance and complicity of those very people who have sworn themselves to defend it. From the targeting and physical elimination of free-thinkers and rationalists, from saffronising educational institutions and cultural and research bodies to organised hooliganism to prevent any function which has anything to with Pakistani writers, singers or sports bodies, from organising raids on any place where people are believed to be storing or eating beef, to raiding State Houses in the Capital, the society is witnessing total disorganisation and chaos. Fanning comm-unalism seems to have become the new Directive Principle of State Policy.
The Delhi Police’s forcible entry into the Kerala House in Delhi at the instigation of the so-called Hindu Sena to seize beef is not only totally illegal because neither the Constitution nor any law on the statue book gives the police of any State to dictate what people must or must not eat. The police raid is also a direct attack on the federal spirit which informs the Constitution. If the police start taking direction from private ‘Senas’, the law and order system will just disintegrate. Such Senas cannot be banned because the biggest of them which flaunts the label of a ‘Swayamsevak Sangh’ or a body of volunteers is the ideological mentor of the party in power. It is this body which has spawned so many other organisations, all of which are outwardly independent bodies but under the ideological domination and direction of their parent body. Everybody stands in awe of the RSS.
The Bihar Legislative Assembly elections will have to be viewed against this background. It is the first direct confrontation since last year’s Lok Sabha elections between the forces of secularism and democracy and the forces of communal fascism. That is why the outcome of the Bihar polls has assumed such paramount and crucial importance to the entire country. A defeat (which seems very unlikely at the moment) of the secular forces in Bihar will quicken the process of Hindu Talibanisation of India.
These forces lay dormant during the Indira regime. Her totally wrong decision to impose Emergency in 1975, allowed these forces to gain strength by organising themselves under the leadership of Jaya Prakash Narayan in the move-ment against the Emergency. Indira was aware of the conspiracies being hatched by forces—at home and abroad—to eliminate her. By a strange coincidence of history, the day a CIA-executed coup d’etat ousted Salvador Allende of Chile from power in 1973 (he shot himself before being captured), Cuban President Fidel Castro was in Delhi on a short stop-over on way to Vietnam. He first got the news and broke it to Indira Gandhi. Castro later wrote that Indira calmly told him: ‘’What they have done to Allende they also wish to do it to me. Here, there are people who, linked to the same external forces that acted in Chile, would like to eliminate me.’’ This episode is worth recalling today when Indo-American bonhomie is reaching new heights under the present dispensation.
The Left, which should have taken the initiative in mobilising public opinion and organising street protests, is more busy speculating how many seats it is likely to get in Bihar (where objectively the Left forces are helping the BJP by dividing the anti-BJP votes to howsoever small an extent). The Left has chosen to confine itself to issuing occasional press statements or giving TV interviews. By contrast, the Congress has taken up the fight against the BJP-RSS spiritedly. In Bihar, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi is making sharp and pointed political attacks on Narendra Modi in each public meeting he is holding. One wished the Left had taken the wise decision of wholeheartedly suppor-ting the Mahagathbandhan instead of splitting the anti-BJP votes.
The world has changed considerably in the last hundred years or so. In 1936, it was possible to raise an International Brigade to fight in defence of the Second Spanish Republic against the fascist forces of General Franco. The International Brigade lost the battle but what is important is that it gave a battle to the fascists. In today’s India there does not appear to be any organised force that can take up the challenge of the fascist forces which are trying to bring the Indian state under their full control and destroy the Secular Socialist Democratic Republic of India as we have known it since 1950. Will they succeed? That is the central question before the electorate of Bihar. On their response depends the fate of the Indian Republic and the survival of all the values that we have cherished and nurtured since the days of our freedom struggle.
October 27 B.D.G.