Even those who don’t believe in electoral politics and those who don’t believe in anti-hindutva credentials of congress party are slightly disappointed. They wonder why Modi was not defeated in Gujarat.
First answer is tampering of electronic voting machine. There is no ground for ruling out such machination by saffron criminals who didn’t flinch on murdering thousands of innocent people for the sake of victory in 2002 election and who are experts in spreading bogus videos, photos and news. However, we need to answer the question whether the fault lies only in voting machine and whether the people of Gujarat are otherwise free from the influence of hindutva?
Congress has won more seats. Many agree that its progress comes from its surrender to hindutva politics. Rahul Gandhi not only visited temple after temple, he also studiously avoided the word secularism or Muslims in Gujarat. Congress fears that it would “wound the Hindu majority”. This is nothing but the trump card called moderate hindutva used by Indira and Rajiv, earlier.
While Modi, under the fear of losing, was whipping up hate campaign with ‘Pakistan – Aurangzeb’ barbs, Hardik Patel was claiming that Modi has sacrificed Patels like Babu Bajrangi & Pravin Togadia and that they were the original hindutva leaders.
Arun Jaitley ridiculed the temple visits of Rahul asking “Everyone knows that BJP is a hindutva party. While we the original are there, how can Gujarat people vote for a duplicate?”. This is just one sample to understand the “nature” of the victory, just in case Congress had won.
Some points given in the article “How Gujarat was won” written by Shreyas Sardesai and Sanjay Kumar in the The Hindu dated 19.12.2017 are noteworthy. They give some statistics collected during the opinion survey they conducted on behalf of Lokniti and CSDS.
According to these essayists, two out of five voters decided whom to vote in the last week only, out of them 53% have voted for BJP and 38% for Congress and this is the period when a campaign of suggestive language inciting religious intolerance was spearheaded by Modi.
This is not all. They say that in constituencies where the Muslim population is less the Hindu votes have gone more to Congress and where Muslim population is slightly more the Hindu votes have gone to BJP.
This is a proof that a significant number of Hindus have become so poisoned with religious intolerance that they ignore many issues like demonetization, GST, unemployment, etc that affect their lives directly.
A friend from Tiruchi said that the small merchants of Gandhi market were angry seeing the Gujarat election results and fumed whether the Gujarat people have any sense or concern. They did not ask such question when the same Gujarat people voted for the hindutva murderers without any remorse even after directly witnessing a big genocide in 2002. Such question did not rise even when the hero behind that genocide became PM in 2014. We have to point out to our merchants that it is only after demonetization & GST, that they see the state of indifference in Gujarat.
The answer to these merchants was given on December 6th itself by journalist Rana Ayyub (The author of the book ‘Gujarat Files’). He had asked a diamond trader participating in the protest against GST at Surat, “will your anger turn against Modi in the coming election?” That merchant had replied, “Both are different. I will even sell my property to make Modi win”.
The opinion expressed by Jignesh Mewani about Gujarat election result (Tamil Hindu, 19/12/2017) is interesting. He says “ Gujaratis do not love BJP, but fear. If they are defeated, BJPians themselves will cause religious riots. That’s why merchants and middle class have voted BJP”.
They love it and also fear it. This is the whole truth. They love hindutva so much that they vote for Modi in spite of the danger to their immediate class interest (from employment opportunity to trade). This irrational love exists in sizeable number of Gujaratis.
Similarly there is also fear. The aim of the fascists is to instil such fear mentioned by Jignesh Mewani, in the majority. Starting from the murders of Kalburgi, Pansare, Dabolkar, and Gowri Lankesh up to the suspicious death of Justice Loya, all are aimed for this purpose.
In electoral politics, is there a possibility of liberating people from the infatuation on hindutva fascism ideologically and from the fear of fascists practically?
Many progressives have a ready-made answer to this question. “The talk of ‘outside electoral politics’ is a waste of time, just a pipe dream. Defeating BJP in election is the only practical solution.”
Let us examine this answer based on our recent experience. After Modi’s victory in 2014, Kejriwal’s victory in Delhi was feted as very important one.
Focussing on the bankruptcy of this state system including political parties and state machinery, corruption, misuse of power, etc, Kejriwal offered a non-political NGO like formula of “Janatana Sarkar”. He avoided speaking against hindutva even inadvertently. He not only projected himself as a religiously tolerant Hindu but also comforted regressive forces by claiming Khap panchayat of Jats as part of our culture. As far as Kashmir is concerned, his played second fiddle to BJP’s politics.
The next star of hope that the anti hindutva camp has got in electoral politics was Lalu-Nitish coalition. Though this coalition was a clear gang of caste opportunists, caste bigots, corrupt persons, proven political opportunists, etc, many progressivists celebrated it as a great coalition to defeat the hindutva forces, consoling themselves as this is the only solution possible for the time being. Nitish pricked this balloon which was ready to burst anytime.
With election statistics in hand, many progressivists lamented that if Rahul & Akilesh had formed a coalition with Mayavati they could have defeated BJP in UP.
In the electoral politics believed to be “the only practical way”, this is the actual status of the parties believed to be against hindutva.
Congress and BJP are not the same. Samajwadi and BJP are not the same. Similarly it is true that Aam Aadmi and BJP are not the same. But can all “non hindutvists” pass for “anti hindutvists”? Does assuming so help in fighting hindutva fascism or hinder it? This is the question before us.
This is not about voting or boycotting the election. This is about, can elections help in fighting against hindutva fascism? To get answer to this question we need to consider the ground realities before us.
Hindutva fascism is shaped in public opinion as something to do with only “anti Muslim or anti diversity”. The politics of hindutva fascism is a complex intermingling of Brahminism comprising caste, race and linguistic oppressions, broker capitalism and dependency on imperialism.
The majority of the people affected by Modi’s demonetization, GST, etc are only Hindus. The justification for Modi’s “development” (vikas) that pillage the majority of the working class like farmers, tribals, fishers, workers, self employed people, etc is in Brahminism.
Brahminism and neo liberalism find common ground as the former cannot digest even name sake democracy and the later considers the class exploitation and disparities as unavoidable rules that have to be accepted as destiny.
Modi who harped on ‘vikas’ without pronouncing the word ‘hindutva’ even once, in 2014 parliamentary elections, has forgotten about vikas or Gujarat model and spoke about hindutva in Gujarat elections. Now, once victorious, he claims it to be a victory for his reform programs.
Handling hindutva and development separately has always been favourable to Modi. But even those who depend on political parties to fight Modi handle them separately. If they don’t handle them separately, it is impossible for them to prop up Rahul to oppose Modi.
It is not the only contradiction that is created when we confine the hindutva within the limits of electoral politics.
Similar to political parties having turned opportunists, the whole system comprising of judiciary, police, bureaucracy, media, etc have turned against the rules they created for themselves. Corruption scandals and illegitimate judgments from supreme court to lowest court, criminal activities of bureaucracy and police, etc offer brahminical fascism many excuses to strengthen its grip in the name of law and order. This has quickened the trend of these government agencies becoming hindutva oriented.
None of these are complex ideological aspects. Prashant Bhushan walks out of Supreme Court as he was denied opportunity to speak. Rajeev Dhavan quits his profession of lawyer. The Khaki criminals who played important role in Gujarat riots get promotion. Well known media persons are directly intimidated. Media are selling the hindutva lies blatantly. Key positions in bureaucracy are filled with the members of RSS family. Election commission, CBI, Income tax department, Vigilance department, etc directly act like Babu Bajrangi and Vansara.
Political parties lament helplessly and blame that “no institution is reliable”. The fear of hindutva fascism exists not only with people as Jignesh Mewani has said. It haunts the political parties more than people.
These political parties are in a pitiable condition vis-à-vis hindutva fascism. Can such parties do anything about this danger?
What did these parties do against the murders of Akhlaq and Pehlu Khan? A gang gathers at Rajasthan court, creates ruckus in support of the murderer who killed a Muslim named Afrazul for the alleged crime of love jihad and raises saffron flag atop the court. Which party came forward to fight against this?
The Indian state is adapting itself to hindutva and recolonization. All the happenings are confirming the fact that the possibilities, within the limits imposed by this state structure, of expressing the opposition to this setup are dwindling.
Only those who fight the hindutva fascists face to face in the field can save the country . Whether it is hindutva fascist actions or attacks of neo liberal policies, it is only non political activists and people who fight on the field without any compromise. This is the fact we witness in Neduvasal, Kathiramangalam, Kanyakumari, and in the entire country. The role of political parties has shrunk to visiting such protests and giving a word of praise.
They would say a hundred times that Election commission is a stooge of the ruling party. Then they would also go and give petition to this commission. Then they will lament again. It is because, their interests lie there. The majority of political parties are not founded on the principle of anti hindutva. Their aims are caste, opportunism, position, etc. They have therefore the limit imposed by this state structure.
People do not have any such limits. They are pushed to the situation of life becoming impossible for them within this limit. That’s why they are crossing the limits in many cases as a matter of fact.
The fishing people ravaged by the cyclone Okhi cried and pleaded for rescue of their relatives missing in the sea. There was no use. Edapadi’s government, Modi’s government, Navy and Coast Guard evinced no interest about it.
A few days back, fishermen from Kanyakumari district have rescued some fishermen who were waiting to be rescued in their damaged boats near Lakshadweep islands. They are also searching for others now.
If they had come to the conclusion earlier that it is useless in petitioning this government, they would have rescued few more fishermen. If planes, helicopters, ships were under the authority of these fishermen, hundreds of more lives could have been saved.
Fisher people themselves might think, “Ships under the command of fishers? Is it possible?”. Fishers have declared that navy is of no use. They have rescued themselves in reality. What they themselves have made it possible seems impossible as an idea.
The question of can we defeat hindutva fascism out of election politics is similar to this.
“Be realistic, demand the impossible” was the rallying cry raised by the French students and workers during the rising in 1968.
Yes. “Impossible” is only an assumption. The “truth” is not an “assumption” of yours or mine. It is truth!.
“Be realistic, demand the impossible”
Translation of Tamil Article by Nesan : குஜராத் : இந்துத்துவ பாசிசத்தை வீழ்த்தக்கூடியவர்கள் யார் ?
Courtesy : Puthiya Jananayagam, December 2017
Translated by – Nesan