Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Sumanta Banerjee - Confronting the Sangh Parivar - Passive and Active Resistance (EPW Nov 21,2015)

The defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Bihar polls certainly reassures the Indian people in general that the Sangh Parivar is not all that omnipotent and invincible, and reinvigorates the spirit of the secular political parties in particular to mount a united national offensive against the Narendra Modi government. But this should not make us underestimate the capacity of the parivar to continue with its malicious designs through its various networks which range from the administrative agencies and  academic institutions that it still controls through the ruling BJP at the centre, to the hoodlums of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Bajrang Dal and other similar outfit ts whom it employs to terrorise the minorities and stifl e any dissent. Besides, the euphoria over the Bihar poll results should not blind us to the fact that the Modi government at the centre continues to enjoy the mandate for ruling for  another four years—unless there is some unpredictable development that may lead to a mid-term poll.

This period can provide the Sangh Parivar enough opportunities to put its house in order (by organisational reshuffl ing), recover its lost ground (by a few cosmetic changes in its public image to woo back the disenchanted middle classes, as well as the hesitant industrial investors), and yet continue to pursue its primary agenda of setting up a Hindu Rashtra through both covert and overt means of encouraging and exploiting public grievances along religious lines. The secular political leaders who are envisaging a national united alternative to the BJP should deny the parivar the opportunity of such exploitation of public sentiments, by taking care of their constituencies. 

Much will depend on how the new government in Bihar under the Janata Dal (United)–Rashtriya Janata Dal–Congress coalition operates during the next four years. If it can set up a model of governance that is free of allegations of corruption and nepotism (with which unfortunately some of their leaders are tainted), ensures safety for religious minorities, Dalits and other underprivileged classes, and delivers the goods that it promised to the poor, that model can be propagated as an alternative to the BJP in the national election campaign in 2019.

Sangh Parivar’s Long-term Strategy
But while envisaging that alternative, we have to investigate also the strategy and tactics of those whom we are confronting. The members of the Sangh Parivar who are running the present government at the centre are ideologically committed to the creation of a theocratic state. It is intended to be a Hindu counterpart of Zionist Israel, the Sunni Sheikh dynasty-ruled Saudi Arabia, and the Shia Khomeini regime of Iran— where society will be ruled by orthodox religious diktats imposed by an oligarchy of politicians and clergy; majoritarian religion-based customs and rituals that divide communities living in a common space will be reinforced; religious minorities will be reduced to second class citizens; and liberal democratic voices of dissent will be suppressed.

The Sangh Parivar is already on the path of creating such a society in India today by the twin tactics of (i) invading the sociocultural sphere through moral policing (for example, imposing styles of dressing, banning eating habits and inter-religious marriages, attacking dissenters and rationalists) in the name of defending its moral ideal which is d escribed variously as “Swadeshi” and “Hindu” (interchangeable terms in its political vocabulary); and (ii) terrorising the religious minorities (particularly the Muslims) and Dalits and tribals into a position of total subjugation, as evident from the rising incidents of attacks on them during the current Modi regime in different parts of the country..

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Sampradayikta Virodhi Andolan :Documents