'Truth spoken without moderation reverses itself'
This blog is a source for intellectual exploration. It includes a list of alternative resources and a source of free books. The placement of an article does not imply that I agree with it, merely that I found it thought-provoking. There are also poems and book reviews. Texts written by me are labelled. Readers are free to re-post anything they like.
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..