A Future India Must Do Without
"Genius: a person who has a strong influence upon one for good or ill."
(Advanced Oxford Dictionary)
All of the year gone by, India's corporate classes—in sundry areas of material control, including the media—have been pushing and prodding the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) to return from the dumps to health and vigour. Editorially this Hindu right-wing formation has been reminded how the nation cannot do without them.
Alas, at the end of it all, its unedifying, even if highly diverting, internal squabbles have been for now set to right, not by its own autonomous political exertions, but per diktat of the RSS—a fascist outfit wholly extraneous to the Constitutional scheme of the Republic.
Brushing aside the many hopefuls within the BJP, Nitin Gadkare, a self-confessed RSS devotee who has never yet won an election to an assembl, not to speak of the parliament, has been installed as President of the BJP vide explicit decree of the RSS.
Within seconds of an installation which violated all the inner-party constitutional procedures and mechanisms of the BJP, and violated also the democratic party-political norms of organizational recognition as required by the Election Commission of India, Shri Gadkare made known where he comes from and to what end.
To wit, much to the dismay of media and other elites sympatheic to the BJP who have been wishing and hoping that the BJP would, after the drubbings at the hustings through the year, learn to rercognize and acknowledge the new India of young, secular purposes, Gadkare announced the party's return to the RSS-dictated theme of "cultural nationalism" (read a Hindu nation wherein all non-Hindus must learn to think and behave as though they were all Hindus as well, and do honour to Hindu forms of worship, ritual, and to Hindu gods and goddesses, as explicitly set out by the great Guru Golwalker in his fascist handbook, We, Our Nationhood Defined).
Well aware of the chagrin many hard Hindutva adherents within the BJP have felt at the relegation of Narendra Modi (who, incidentally, still is unable to find a country that will give him a visa), Gadkare has now said that he envisions a major role for Modi in the days to come, presumably both within the BJP and in national life.
Great have been the propogational exertions made since the Gujarat Muslim-massacre of 2002 to float the view that the Modi of then and the Modi of now are, after all, two different personas. By inference, the Modi of then may well have been a murderous anti-Muslim bigot, but the Modi of since has been a shining emblem of a "vibrant Gujarat" given wholly to developmental purposes, garnering huge foreign investments, and showing the way that India must go.
Alas, though, when are leopards known to change their spots. All evidence since 2002 continues to point to the vibrancy being an all-encompassing phenomenon, informing the congealed infrastructure of hate as much as the infrastructure of investments.
It has been repeatedly pointed out by humanist Indians, Gujaratis included, that not once in the last seven years has Modi initiated the least exercise to heal the social/communal divide in Gujarat's cities and towns. Verily, Gujarat's polity continues to be viciously fractured into a Hindu Gujarat and a Muslim one.
To a point where, as a recent write-up in one of India's most respected dailies, The Indian Express, brings out, Muslim Gujaratis have been obliged to masquerade under Hindu names inorder to have any hope of finding work.
Thus, in the diamond-cutting town of Surat, Mehboob Pathan took the name of Jayenti Bhatti, his son, Mushtaq, that of Mukesh, Samina of Sharmila and so on.
That the police outfits in Modi's Gujarat have learnt no lessons either is testified to by another recent story of the brutalization, including sexual outrage, perpetrated on a slew of Muslim women in Godhra on charges of alleged rioting and stone throwing.
Proof positive that the vibrancy of Modi's anti-Muslim hate has received scant competition from the vibrancy of his efforts to affect a personal make-over by drafting sundry business tycoons and foreign investors to his realm.
To put that hate into a context which Modi's well-wishers wish us direly to forget all about, an episode from the hearing before the Special court of Justice B.U.Joshi must clinch the issue.
The Gulbarg carnage: the year and half long testimony of the second eyewitness to the episode in which the Congress Member of Parliament, Ahsan Jaffri, was also hacked to pieces along with some ninety other Muslims.
--Rupabehn Modi (lest you think all Modis are of the same vintage) confirmed to the SIT that Ahsan Jaffri had made several desperate calls, including to Narendra Modi, who, N.Modi, that is, had abused him rather than promise help;
--that she had pleaded with the then Commissioner of Police, Pandey, for help but received none;
--that Police Inspector of Meghninagar, K.G.Erda, now an accused, had taken her to two other accused, Atul Vaid and Bharat Telli, promising her the return of her missing 13 year old son, Azhar, but forced her to sign a false affidavit (a heart-rending movie was to be made of this episode of Rupabehn's life, titled Parzhania, which, however was viciously attacked by Sangh Parivar vigilantes, and not allowed to be screened within Gujarat);
Rupabehn was to break into uncontrollable grief as she recalled the last words her son had spoken to her: "mummy, do not put your hand out; they will cut your hands like they cut up Aslam uncle."
Azhar remains missing to this day.
This testimony before the court of Justice B.U.Joshi in cases being monitored by the Supreme Court of India.
May we, therefore, ask the following question of our Media houses, especially the electronic ones:
Engaged as you have been, admirably let it be said, in hounding people in high office—in the Jessica Lal murder case, the Priyadarshini case, the Nanda case, the Nithari case, now the Ruchika case—including chief ministers like the erstwhile Koda, and others like Shibu Soren of Jharkhand vintage, and the likes of Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar of the Congress (for their alleged role in the Sikh killings of 1984) governors of the likes of N.D.Tiwari, cabinet rank ministers like Raja, and many others on counts of alleged complicity either in corruption or in criminality, what is it that prevents you from taking Rupabehn's testimony to heart as proof of Narendra Modi's direct complicity in the massacres of 2002?
Plus on the basis of a plethora of recorded evidence to the same effect other than that of Rupabehn?
What is it that makes of Narendra Modi a special case for amelioration and forgetfulness? Why should the past sins of some qualify for pursuit, and those of Modi for relegation? Or, of his entire state-apparatus that continues to this day to vitiate in whatever way they still can the judicial probes that the Supreme Court was obliged to order, thanks to the tireless perseverance of groups like the Citizens for Peace and Justice? Why should the sins of Modi be consigned only to such valiant groups, groups often at risk from fascist goons and outside the pail of media attention, and indeed in their secret bad books?
May there, after all, not be some truth to the Pew report (mentioned in the Times of India) that characterized India as being as communally riven as Iraq?
Is there something subliminally puissant within us that still regards Modi as a true "nationalist" hero because a darling of sectarian Hindus who, like the Zionists, are to be inwardly applauded for taking on the "Islamic" menace?
Since much that may or may not happen to India in the coming year must remain entwined with what may or may not happen to and in Gujarat, our vanguard media mughals have an obligation to ponder the meaning, indeed, the continuing meaning, of Gujarat for India's stated desire of achieving super-powerdom.
And what sort of Hindus does Modi speak for anyway?
The answer to that one is furnished in the substance of an interview with Manjula Pradeep, Executive Director of the Gujarat-based organization, Navsarjan.
Snatches of that interview given to the Dalit Media Watch hereunder:
--most prevalent discriminatory practices in Gujarat (total number of villages covered 1655 over three long years) are related to right to equality in religion and religious affairs;
--in more than 90% of the villages, Dalits are not allowed temple entry or to touch the idols and other articles of worship; not allowed to participate in religious processions and other rituals;
--Dalits are not allowed to sit on the chair or a cot where any non-Dalits are present;
--Dalits are never invited to community meals; they are served tea in separate cups, ironically christened Ram patras;
--untouchability is practiced against Dalits in such matters as use of drinking water, use of ration shops, vegetable shops where they are not allowed to touch the merchandise;
--postmen do not provide services to Dalits;
--milk sellers from the shepherd community do not sell milk to Dalits during the Navratra festival;
--in some villages, when a Rajput dies, Dalit men have to shave their heads to mourn the dead.
It is ofcourse just as well that the truth about the BJP is today out in the open and for all to see, including those whose "Hindu" hearts and corporate purposes melt at the thought of its so pathetic fall from grace. That the BJP stands exposed, and overtly and undeniably, as a puppet political instrument of the fascist RSS must have its own reconstructive consequences among the polity.
But where is the reason that Narendra Modi, the chief architect of that fascist vision which he has sought to implement with ruthless brutality and in defiance of the Constitution of India, be somehow saved, salvaged, and repackaged as a glorious prospect and alternative to the mainline Congress version of nationalism?
The reason, let it be said, lies in the class interest of those who wish to propogate that economic development of some 15% Indians constitutes the best of politics, that ‘development' has little to do with matters of social and cultural equity or with the egalitarian promises and injunctions of the Constitutional regime, that a ‘globalised' India, linking with the exploiters of the world, has a priori privilege over the ragamuffin majority, and that being "Hindu" must unanalysedly be deemed coterminous with being democratic and forward-looking.
It is not a vision that India of the coming year or years either needs or stands to profit by. Indeed, it is a vision which, if allowed unfetterd sway, promises ruin to India and to the sub-continent.