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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 19 New Delhi April 30, 2016

Bharat Mata ki Jai

Saturday 30 April 2016

by P.C. Jain

It has been a special characteristic of the BJP that it has been surviving and seeking power through the catch phrases or slogans on which they become fetish and aggressive from time to time. At one time it was protection of cow (Gau-mata), at a later stage it was Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. Now it is Bharat Mata ki Jai. Nationalism and patriotism of their concept are being thrust upon the people and those who do not agree with their interpretation are dubbed as anti-national and unpatriotic.

In ancient Hindu or Aryan culture forces of nature, including epidemics, were personified in various gods and goddesses and they were held in awe and worshipped. Moreover, there are hundreds and thousands of Matas in the Hindu religion and are worshipped in temples spread across the country. Durga, Kali, Bhawani, Saraswati, Lakshmi are the main goddesses. In the same vein the country as a nation has been personified as the Bharat Mata. If followers of Islam do not subscribe to this cult of the Hindu religion they cannot be branded as anti-national and unpatriotic. Apart from Muslims, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Parsees, Sikhs and atheists also do not subscribe to this particular Hindu view. It is similar to not agreeing to call the cow as Gau-mata.

It is also not certain whether a country or a nation should be symbolic as a male or female. It is interesting that the icon of the Bhagwa Parivar, V.D. Savarkar, called the country as “Pitribhu” and “Punyabhu”. In no other country of the world, the nation, country or state is called the mother. In the erstwhile Soviet Union, the state was called the “Fatherland” in the constituent states, now it is all over. Moreover, the mother denotes that our society is matriarchal whereas our society is patriarchal with the exception of certain tribes in Kerala. It is also of importance that India has a pluralistic society consisting of different races, languages, religion and culture but they constitute a nation as all of them desire to live as one political entity.

This type of motivated campaigning with official backing produces hot-headed maniacs like Baba Ramdev who declared that had it been permissible under the law he would have chopped off the heads of hundreds and thousands of people who refused to chant

Bharat Mata ki Jai.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the Maharaj of the Art of Living Movement, has also declared that those who do not chant Bharat Mata ki Jai should leave this country. Maharashtra Chief Minister Fadnavis too has spoken in the same language.

The RSS and other saffron outfits enjoy immunity. They can say anything—RSS General Secretary Bhayyaji Joshi could dare to raise his finger on the national anthem. He clearly indicated his preference for Bande Mataram as the national anthem in place of Jana Gana Mana Adhinanayaka Jaya Hey. He had also the audacity to say that the Bhagwa flag has the same place as the tricolour and should be equally respected. According to him, the Bhagwa flag represents the cultural unity as a nation. Sometimes back the RSS Pramukh, Mohan Bhagwat, had said that reservation should be done away with. Later on when there was an uproar against this and for fear of losing Dalit votes they backed out of it. Had these words been uttered by any other person outside the privileged and charmed circle of the saffron brigade he or she would have been immediately declared as anti-national. Prime Minister Modi and his team have not spoken a single word against these utterances. This shows their acquiescence and complicity. Is it not inciting people to resort to violence and communal conflagration?

As a matter of fact such slogans and catch phrases are being raised to divert the attention of the people from the utter failures of the Narendra Modi’s Government on social and economic fronts. His promise to create two crore jobs has not materialised. Unemployment has hit a new six-year low. Real income has registered a downward trend in view of the escalating inflation. The benefits of falling crude oil prices have not been passed on to the consumers. The Aam Aadmi has not been given any tax relief whereas bountiful concessions have been given to the corporate sector. In spite of rhetorics in the Budget 2016-17 a concession of Rs 1060 crores in direct taxes has been given and in the case of indirect taxation the burden has been increased by Rs 20,670 crores. Service Tax has proliferated. More freedom and scope have been provided to direct foreign investment and big business has been awarded huge concessions. A six-month moratorium has been given to big business to declare their black money. The Finance Minister announced that 100 per cent foreign direct investment will be allowed in the food sector. Next will be other sectors.

The picture on the agriculture front too is gloomy. Agricultural production has come down by one per cent. The peasants’ frustration is resulting in increasing number of suicides. There is a downslide in the prices of agricultural produce and this is leading to their gnawing impove-rishment. Drought is causing a calamitous situation.

Manufacturing is also not in good health. The prices of capital goods are becoming uneco-nomical. Recession is eating into the vitals of industry. No capital goods industry has been planned or projected since Modi has come to power.

In spite of a plethora foreign tours and the huge money wasted on them, the situation in the field of foreign policy is far from being satisfactory. Efforts to woo Nepal have failed. Similar is the case of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, China and Pakistan. Relations with them are not very friendly. Modi’s initiative to negotiate with Pakistan on the Pathankot terror attack has failed. Even Bhutan is getting nearer to China. Though we have given up our independent foreign policy and have joined the American bandwagon, America is helping Pakistan in all possible ways including the supply of sophisticated military hardware.

In 2014 during the election campaign, Narendra Modi promised to root out corruption for which the Congress was accused but on the other hand this is increasing day in and day out. Modi’s electoral promise was that he would launch a frontal attack on the black money menance and would put Rs 15 lakhs in the pocket of every Indian. Amit Shah said that it was only an election “zumla”. Does this hold good for other electoral promises as well? Rs 3.60 lakh crores have been taken as loan from the nationalised banks by businessmen and industrial tycoons and they are not returning the same to the banks. This is called non-performing assets. Out of it Rs 95,000 crores have been given between April 15 and December 2015. What is Modiji doing about it? Then came the Panama Papers which listed several industrialists, businessmen, politicians and artists. Here also no tangible steps have been taken to bring the culprits to book. Brijesh Upadhaya, National General Secretary of Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh observed that “all economic policies favour business by and large”.

Though Modiji has been talking with foreign governments and seeking their cooperation to fight terrorism, ulterances and actions of his followers in the country are creating social insecurity, conflicts and bitterness. Opposition party leaders are being harassed and retribution and intolerance are the hall-marks of the policy of the neo-fascists in power. The Sangh Parivar goons have been let loose to terrorise all those who dissent. The number of RSS shakhas trebled from 10,000 in 1977 to almost 30,000 in 1994. The number will be much more now. In the BJP governments in States and administration in institutes, including universities, both employees and students are being encouraged to join these shakhas. Let the Left take lessons from it.

Instead of Bharat Mata ki Jai why not only have Jai Hind which was adopted by the Azad Hind Fauj under the leadership of Subhash Chandra Bose and was well accepted by almost all irrespective of caste, creed and race? It was highly inspiring and connotes supreme and sublime nationalism and patriotism.

The author is an Associate Professor (Retired), Department of Political Science, Bundelkhand College, Jhansi.