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Mainstream, VOL LIII No 46 New Delhi November 7, 2015

BJP at Bay

Tuesday 10 November 2015

POLITICAL NOTEBOOK

The BJP at bay on the intolerance issue is desperately trying to deny that it (and the Sangh Parivar) is fanning intolerance in every sphere of society. But ironically it finds that every time it tries to do so only confirms and reinforces the public perception that it is, indeed, creating an atmosphere of intolerance as a matter of its political policy and its larger political agenda. Take, for example, the latest sample: a district-level Karnataka BJP leader publicly threatens to ‘behead’ the State’s Chief Minister if the latter dares to eat beef and ‘play football with his severed head’. And what reaction does it create in the State leadership? The BJP State spokesperson simply dismisses it by saying: “Why don’t you ask him? If a district leader has said something, what can we do?” So the BJP leadership is not responsible for what their district leaders say! What unique party discipline! To give another example, the RSS mouthpiece dubs the Jawaharlal Nehru University as a “huge anti-national block which has the aim of disintegrating India”.

But let us not miss the tree for the fruit. People known as ‘fringe elements’ are the products of the RSS which claims to be a cultural organisation engaged in character-building. By the fruits, one can easily judge what type of ‘culture’ it promotes and propagates. Even Narendra Modi himself started as a pracharak of the RSS. He is also cast in the same mould. If it is ‘culture’ then it is an antithesis of the culture that India has preserved, cherished and held dear through the millennia. It is a total negation of the values India has nurtured and absorbed—the ethos that is synonymous with Indian civilisation, the ethos that has found a place and been enshrined in our Constitution.

In fact the RSS does not accept the reality of India being a plural country, a plural society, a plural polity. The RSS negates the entire history of India and insists on calling it a HinduRashtra which it never was and never will be. Hatred for what it calls religions of ‘non-Bharatiya origin’ like Islam and Christianity is ingrained in its nature. So, RSS boss Mohan Bhagwat calls for a “reformulation of the population policy” to check “demographic imbalance” caused by the “higher growth” of Muslim and Christian populations because of “infiltration and conversion” while the truth is that over the decades the population of all religious communities has increased, not Muslims alone. What his myopic eyes do not visualise is that any attempt to make this myth a reality will destroy and break up India.

As long as the democratic fabric of the country is not destroyed and supplanted by a Right-wing Hindu fascist state, the mistake made by the electorate in one election can always be rectified in the next. The BJP knows it. That is why it is in such a tearing hurry to impose its total control on the Indian state in the next three-and-a-half years. The duty now devolves on the people of India to defeat these forces and ensure that India remains a secular and democratic Republic wedded to genuine pluralism.

November 4 B.D.G.