By Krishna Jha
Our Republic Day is here, a moment for us to introspect how close we have been to meet the ideals spelt out in our Constitution. In India, for more than half a decade, the extreme rightist forces have been in power, elected with promises to serve the people’s cause. The shift represents a new stage in the old garb.
Democracy has been perishing slowly in the hands of autocracy. ‘Divide and rule’ has been the wake up call to communalism, that nourishes majoritarianism, an enemy from within, destroying all the institutions that help evolve the democratic ethos. JNU campus has been one of the victims. The university is based on democratic foundations, providing the country generations of intellectuals committed to keep alive values spelt out in the Constitution. No effort has been spared to destroy it. In fact, efforts are to subvert the ideals it stands for.
Country has realized that it is the rule of finance capital, which has been rooting itself under many wraps.
These wraps are meant to divide the society, openly, brutally. Citizenship (Amendment) Act is one example that seeks to pit one section of the society against the other. The idea is not to serve the majority but to rule with ease pushing the minority to the wall, sometime leaning on obsolete, like caste and community, and at other, destroying the pillars of democracy, like efforts to amend the federal character of the Constitution.
Among other instances, there is the NRC which is being sought to be prepared through the brutal strength of majority in Parliament. Then comes the NPR, an exercise meant to lay the ground to divide the society through the NRC and the CAA.
While preparing the Constitution, to formulate Citizenship Act, it took almost three months, while the CAA was passed in mere seventy two hours, with brute majority in the two houses. People have come out on the streets protesting, fearless, with slogan on their lips, demanding ‘Azaadi’ that the Constitution had once promised them.
The ideology of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), under its Hindutva garb, concentrates on only one aim, that is absolute state power, reconstructing India as a whole, politically, ideologically and historically. It is fundamentalist, against pluralism. It believes in the singularity of Hindutva and hence it is not just the issue of minorities submitting, it strives to take the command of the entire consciousness of the people in the country. It is against the concept of equality among individuals and communities enshrined in our Constitution. All the minority communities will have to submit to Hindutva. Its cadres are fed on communalism. The impression that is engraved in their thinking process is that non-Hindus are racially inferior, they are aliens and invaders, their identity must be merged within Hindu culture and they must opt for conversion.
Despite all violent assertions, the RSS has an ambiguity about the concept of Hindu identity itself. It just goes for some indigenous practices and invents a few others that are mostly moulded for the upper caste Hindus, who are also close to power. In fact, V D Savarkar has spelt out in clear terms that in expressions like Hindu or Hinduism, there is a religious connotation, hence the terms like Hindutva, Hinduness, and Hindudom are preferred. Hindutva has not much to do with religion, it is to have more of a communal, political, cultural and historical content. He said “Hindutva” is not identical with what is vaguely indicated by the term “Hinduism”.
All this comes down to setting one community against the other, under the rule of finance capital, depriving people of their fundamental right, that is right to live. There is no means of livelihood available, country’s economic growth is drastically coming down, education is getting too costly, medical care is scarce. This is what happens when finance capital creeps into the system and soon after fascism takes the reigns in its hands facilitating the process of centralisation of power, almost in every sense.
Republic Day is here again, celebrating its seventh decade, and also that of our Constitution. It was January 26 when our Constitution was adopted, celebrating our composite culture, and it has come again with common masses, men women, children holding their fingers and in their arms, boys and girls, unafraid, spilling in protest all over the country, demanding our Constitution back, unhurt. (IPA Service)