More the dates of elections to Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand Assemblies are drawing near, more the RSS-BJP-Sangh Parivar are desperate to bring arch communal Hindutva narrative to the forefront. Revealing the truth, it is because the ruling dispensation is aware that not a single people’s issue can be raised by them to seek vote as their performance on each front has been so dismal that aggrieved citizens in poll-bound states are seething in anger. Harrowing price-rise, mounting unemployment, one after another closure of industries, spike in job loss, growing poverty, increasing hunger and malnutrition, acute scarcity of potable water, virtual collapse of law and order, shameless politicisation of police-administration, spiralling corruption, nepotism, rising number of custodial and encounter deaths, lynching by so called cow-vigilantes, unabated peasants’ suicide, diminishing access to education, perilous healthcare system, criminal callousness in handling corona pandemic, soaring atrocities against women, engineered fratricidal bloodbaths, domination of mafia-money power, absence of justice, vulgar inequality-these are only some of what constitute the spectacle of capitalist India, UP and Uttarakhand included. The ruling BJP, a devoted servitor of the ruling monopolists, has no answer to all these problems as the very capitalist system is breeding all these evils, maladies and aberrations. But it needs to anyhow retain power. The ruling monopolists also find on date no suitable substitute for the BJP who could serve them best. Even efforts to rig the elections or manipulate the results using technology or any other means might prove abortive in keeping the BJP on the throne as public mood is decidedly anti-RSS, anti-BJP. The recent victory of the historic peasant movement and the failure of the BJP government to break it despite arraying its entire coercive machinery has further contributed in consolidating this anti-RSS, anti-BJP disposition. Under the circumstances, neither the ruling class nor the party in power has any alternative other than intensifying communal-fundamentalist frenzy to the extreme with the objective of brainwashing the electorates through continuous propaganda, heightened anti-minority hate campaign and surfeit of provocative, if not inflammatory, speeches. By this, they aim at reaping twin benefits. On the one hand, this might polarise the people along communal lines and the majority Hindu vote might swing to them. On the other hand, the growing unity of oppressed toiling people, irrespective of religion, caste and ethnicity, which is crystallizing in the form of mass movements might be disrupted and the process of eruption of class and mass struggles might be spoiled. So is this swift shift of all the RSS-BJP leaders and the Sangh Parivar satraps towards exacerbating arch communal-fundamentalist jingoism. This is not to be viewed as an exclusive agenda of the RSS-BJP, but to be understood as a heinous class design of ruling capitalism. So even the vote-based parliamentary parties who stand in opposition to the BJP are also compelled to peddle soft-Hindutva in one way or the other to avoid isolation from the Hindu masses and at the same time covertly serve the bourgeois class interest with a view to be in the race for power with the blessings of the ruling monopolists.
Dharma Sansad in Haridwar
With these ends in view, a ‘Dharma Sansad’ (Religious congregation) was organised at Haridwar in Uttarakhand on December 17-19. It saw an assortment of leaders from the Hindutva brigade taking the stage to set a new benchmark for brazen hate speech in the country. Sadhvi Annapurna aka Pooja Shakun Pandey, General Secretary of the Hindu Mahasabha, gave an open call to arms and incitement to genocide. Without any ambiguity, she gave a direct call for the mass murder of the Muslims. ‘‘Nothing is possible without weapons. If you want to eliminate their population then kill them. Be ready to kill and be ready to go to jail. Even if 100 of us are ready to kill 20 lakhs of them (Muslims), then we will be victorious,… I will pick up arms to defend my Hindutva from every demon who is a threat to my religion,’’ she added. Endorsing that, Swami Prabodhanand Giri, President of the Hindu Raksha Sena, a Sangh Parivar affiliate based out of Uttarakhand, said, ‘‘We have to make preparations… And I’ll tell you what preparations those are. I will make myself clear, this is the solution, and if you follow this solution, then the path is made for you…every Hindu must pick up weapons and conduct a Safayi Abhiyan (ethnic cleansing). There is no other option left.’’ On two occasions, Prabodhanand had shared photographs of himself with UP BJP chief minister Yogi Adityanath. ‘‘The decision of this Dharma Sansad would be a word of God and the government will have to listen to it,’’ said Swami Anandswaroop, whose hate speeches and incitement led to violence earlier. Yati Narasimhanand, convener of the ‘Dharma Sansad’, who had been accused in the past of inciting violence with his incendiary speeches, declared emphatically that ‘‘…what I said in the Sansad …is the truth of these times’’. Despite all these names being in public domain and their espousals not merely remaining within the precincts of hate campaign but transcending its boundaries by a direct call of armed action against the minorities, no arrests have been made so far. The police claimed that there was no FIR as there was no complaint. ‘‘The police are monitoring the situation,’’ said Haridwar Superintendent of Police when it was pointed out that the divisive speeches were already out in the open.
Planned violence against the Christian community
Not just the Muslims. To create a Hindutva xenophobia, the RSS-BJP-Sangh Parivar are also targeting the minority Christian community. On 3 October last, over 200 armed hooligans of local Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal and BJP barged into a church in Roorkee, UP, vandalised the properties and mercilessly beat the churchgoers while Sunday morning prayer was going on. In another incident, wearing saffron scarves, the Bajrang Dal ruffians gathered outside a church in Matiala village, in the Dwarka area of West Delhi in November last and smashed the prayer hall structure, chanting the slogan ‘shoot the rascal traitors’. Earlier, the BJP ministers and leaders were found to parade in open anti-minority tirade to break the anti-NRC, anti-CAA Shaheen Bagh movement by fielding their armed storm-troopers to orchestrate a riot and vandalize the houses and shops of the minority people to generate terror, raising the same slogan. Earlier, by ‘rascal traitors’, they meant the Muslims. Now the same slogan is being used against the Christians. On the pretext of stopping ‘forced conversion’, an attack was led by the Saffron brigade on a missionary school in Madhya Pradesh earlier.
The latest attacks have been during the Christmas time. A group of Hindutva criminals raising slogans ‘Jai Shree Ram’ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ forcibly entered a church in Pataudi, Gurgaon, Haryana, on the eve of Christmas and disrupted the prayers, pushed the choir members down the stage and snatched the mike. A video of the incident went viral across the social networking sites in no time. But, as usual, the Police said that they had not received any complaint. In Chandmari district of Varanasi, UP, a group of Hindutva foot-soldiers carrying saffron flags and raising ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Church murdabad’ (death to the church) slogans demonstrated outside the Matridham Ashram before a Christmas event was due to take place. In Kurukshetra, Haryana, a group of Hindutva hoodlums shouting the same slogans took over a stage at a Christmas celebration and began to play the ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ (A Hindu chant book) on the loudspeakers. On Christmas night, a statue of Jesus Christ in the Redeemer Church premises in Ambala Cantonment, Punjab, was torn down by two unidentified miscreants. Bajrang Dal activists were also involved in impeding the Christmas midnight mass celebrations in Silchar, Assam. Bajrang Dal and other Hindutva groups set an effigy of Santa Claus on fire in the middle of a street in Agra, UP, while shouting ‘‘Santa Claus Murdabad’’. Many similar incidents on the same pretext took place in Karnataka, too.
Fanning up Hindutva fanaticism
Besides bringing down attacks on religious minorities, the RSS-BJP-Sangh Parivar are also on a mission to accentuate Hindutva fanatism. Joint General Secretary of VHP even commented that that the Ram temple movement was ‘‘bigger than the freedom struggle’’. ‘‘In 1947, India got its political freedom. But through the movement for the Ram Temple, we got our religious and cultural freedom. This was an even bigger movement than the freedom struggle,’’ a statement from the VHP quoted him saying so. The VHP which was in the forefront of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, has also been campaigning to ‘‘reclaim’’ the temples in Kashi and Mathura after Ayodhya. Harnath Yadav, a BJP Rajya Sabha member, on 9 December last, raised demand for repeal of the ‘Places of Worship (Special Provisions), Act 1991’ underlining that the provisions of the law were ‘‘unconstitutional and violate the tenets of equality and secularism, which is part of the preamble,’’ as if he and his party are accredited votaries of secularism. The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991, incidentally, prohibits conversion of any place of worship and provides for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on 15 August 1947. Repeal of this Act would enable evasion of punitive measures for destruction of any religious shrine There is planned saffronization of education in various ways to indoctrinate the students in Hindutva and kill their scientific bent of mind as well as rational thinking process. IIT, Kharagpur, world renowned institute of Science and Technology ,has already included ‘Vastu Shastra’, believed to have been developed between 6000 BC and 3000 BC as a model of designing building structures, for this high-tech world. Its ‘Centre of Excellence for Indian Knowledge System’’ has even issued a calendar, entitled ‘Recovery of the Foundation of Indian Knowledge System’, the Chairman of the Centre justifying it as providing evidence to disprove the myth on ‘so-called’ Aryan invasion and place the history on the right track, even though the international and national efforts have unambiguously and scientifically proven that Aryans had come from outside the country. The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) has introduced a new curriculum under which ancient Indian knowledge and heritage, including Gita, Ramayana will be taught in about 100 madrassas across the country. Some of the courses will be on Veda, yoga, vocational skills, Sanskrit language, and Maheswhara sutras (aphorisms of Hindu Lord Shiva). The list is long.
And now the BJP Prime Minister himself, who had earlier floated weird theories about progress of science in ancient India citing references from myths (like elephant head of Lord Ganesha proving practice of plastic surgery) has again taken it upon himself to lead the raked up campaign of Hindutva fanaticism. While his henchmen are pressed for crude propaganda and direct attack on the religious minorities, he himself has started visiting the Hindu pilgrimages to sing peans in favour of Hindutva and spending thousands of crores of rupees from public exchequer to renovate those places. The pliant bourgeois media is also covering such events with much hype. It is relevant to mention that though such renovations are outwardly given a religious colour, there is an in-built commercial intent to showcase these places as tourist destinations and open up newer avenues to the corporate houses to earn fabulous profit from roaring tourism business.
Just the other day, the BJP Prime Minister inaugurated a Rs 700 crore Kashi Vishwanath Corridor in Varanasi, UP. ‘‘History has been created by reviving the socio-cultural history of this ancient city, which is vibrant with Hindu philosophy as enshrined in our religious books….Tyrants attacked this city, tried to destroy it. History is witness to Aurangzeb’s atrocities, his terror. He tried to change civilisation with the sword,’’ he said. In the way of typical of religious bigots, he then raised the chant of ‘Har Har Mahadev’, associated with Hindu god Shiva. ‘‘Kashi is Kashi. Kashi is imperishable….There is only one government in Kashi, the government of Mahadev who holds damru (a typical leather-made small drum-like musical instrument) in his hand’’, he added. Earlier, crores of rupees were spent to modernize Ayodhya. Besides Ram Temple on the site of demolished Babri Masjid, a 600 feet tall Ram statue at a cost of Rs 2,500 crores is going to be installed there. The RSS-BJP are also trying to project with elan some of the noted personalities of the so called dalit communities, building temples of the god or goddesses these backward populace worship and inaugurating those temples with ‘‘Jai Shri Ram’’ slogan. Even they are highlighting the chapters of the Ramayana where the so called lower caste characters were portrayed to have done something appreciable. Thus, they want to prove that the dalits, too, are part of bigger Hindutva family.
How are all these connected with people’s interest?
The question is whether any of the aforesaid acts has any connection with people’s interest? Will spewing venom against the religious minorities, bringing down murderous assault on them and vandalizing their places of worship would help, in any way, bringing down the price-line? Will ‘‘Jai Shri Ram’’ slogan provide jobs to the millions of retrenched workers and migrant labourers who lost their jobs before, during or after pandemic? Will decorating Kashi or Mathura solve unemployment problem? Will the proposed Ram statue eradicate appalling poverty? Will inclusion of Vastu Shastra in syllabus provide home to the homeless? Will ‘‘shoot the religious minorities’’ or ‘‘Santa Claus Murdabad’’ slogans improve the life of the distressed peasants? If ‘‘every Hindu picks up weapons and conduct an ethnic cleansing’’, will that remove corruption in every sphere of administration and ensure justice to all? Would a walk around Kashi corridor or a holy dip in Kumbh Mela or Ganga Sagar insulate people against pandemic and reach out proper medical treatment to the myriads of have-nots? Will reading Maheshwara sutras guarantee education to all? Will inclusion of Gita or Veda in curriculum reduce growing inequality or stop crime against women? Will hurling invectives against a Mughal emperor who ruled almost 400 years back provide justice to one and all? Will eulogizing dalit gods, installing their temples and citing references of dalit chivalry from the epics or myths improve the life standard of the misery and penury-stricken dalit people, abolish their discrimination in bourgeois society or their lynching in the hands of powerful upper caster rich and the cow vigilantes? In all the cases the answer is emphatic, NO.
Let not people be swayed by communal-fundamentalist rabble-rousing
These are the questions the suffering citizens of poll-bound UP, Uttarakhand should seriously ponder over. Even the oppressed millions round the country, particularly those professing Hinduism should think about these things in an unbiased manner. Let it be clear that Hindu religion and Hindutva are not the same. Just as Islam and fundamentalism of Islamic terrorist outfits are not same nor is Christianity responsible for war crimes in Vietnam and Middle East by the US imperialists. No religion preaches hatred against other beliefs, let alone giving call for bringing down murderous attacks upon believers in other religions. Religion is not to be equated with fundamentalism-communalism. When religion is abused by the power-mongers or despots to derive narrow sectarian political mileage, it is called fundamentalism. Communalism is a weapon in the hands of the fundamentalists and motivated bigots to bully others to submission. When logic ceases to weigh, the autocrats and tyrants chose the other way of wooing the masses through deception and defrauding. Should the people oppressed and repressed by ruthless capitalist exploitation and repeatedly cheated by the political agents of ruling capitalism get swayed by this communal-fundamentalist trickery and rabble-rousing of the RSS-BJP-Sangh Parivar who are no custodians of Hinduism but are liable to be prosecuted for distorting Hinduism for their self-serving agenda and aggrandizement? Or should not they take inspiration from the fighting peasants who rose above all religious and other differences and divisions to fight for their life and earn victory? Is not the time ripe to take up cudgels against these evil forces drumming communalism-fundamentalism and give them a befitting reply even in elections?