BROADER PLATFORM IS NEED OF THE HOUR
By Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy
The article of CPI (M) polit bureau member Prakash Karat recently published in a English daily is very important as it tries to analyse the character of the present BJP government at the Centre.
I agree with some of the important comments Prakash Karat has made. “A correct understanding of the ruling regime and the political movement that it represents is necessary because it has a bearing on the political strategy and electoral tactics to be followed in order to fight the BJP and Modi government.” To a large extent this is true.
The present regime cannot be characterised as fascist yet. Some Left intellectuals and some groups loosely use the word fascist to describe the present regime.
In pluralistic democracy political parties are known as political opponents or political friends but not as enemies. But we treat the Sangh Parivar as enemy of the nation due to its fascistic character. BJP is the political wing of RSS. In the recent years RSS is directly intervening in shaping the policies of the BJP, nominating prime ministerial candidates, appointing RSS cadre as general secretaries and secretaries of the party to control the party, and even summoning ministers, MPs to give a particular political or organisational line to be followed in education, culture and in almost all the available fields.
An institution which depends on communalism in a country with large number of minorities, to divide the people on religious basis is dangerous to the unity and integrity of the nation. Majority community should be accommodative and should create confidence to minorities in a secular country. Ours is a multi-linguistic, multi-cultural, multi-religious country. Unity in diversity is our strength. RSS is trying to break it which will be disastrous, hence it is enemy of the nation.
Enemy should not be overestimated or underestimated. It is necessary to have a balanced, objective realistic assessment of the enemy. This is a necessity so that a proper lesson can be drawn and a correct strategy can be worked out by left parties.
CPI in its 22nd Congress at Puducherry described the formation of BJP government as “the new government clearly represents the combinations of the interests of corporate capital, rightwing ideology coupled with the worst form of majoritarianism and communalism with fascistic tendencies”. After 28-month rule of BJP we feel that the characterization of the BJP government by CPI has come true in letter and spirit.
The BJP rule is a disaster that the people of the country cannot afford. It is posing a direct threat to the fundamentals of secular democratic fabric of the country.
We the CPI comrades feel that the present BJP government is “fascistic but not fascist yet.” It is not because we are angry with the BJP that we use this terminology. We believe this is the reality. The BJP government is more than rightwing authoritarian and less than fascist. Hence we named it as fascistic. Whether it has become totally fascistic or is on the way is a subject matter of further discussion.
There is a difference between Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led BJP government from 1998 to 2004 and the present Narendra Modi-led BJP government. At that time BJP had no majority of its own. It was dependent on some regional parties like TDP of Andhra Pradesh, AIADMK of Tamil Nadu, TMC of West Bengal, JD (U) (then Samata Party), etc and could not implement its communal agenda brazenly. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was comparatively liberal than Narendra Modi who is a personified authoritarian ruler. Third, the RSS then did not directly interfere with the administration and guidance as it is doing today.
Authoritarianism is also a very bad form because it is sabotaging democracy. Many Arab and Latin American countries have had dictators, authoritarian rulers.
Using democracy to come to power and sabotaging democracy after coming to power is the new phenomenon. Both in India and Turkey, religion is being used to browbeat and terrorise opponents and unleash attacks on them. The Turkish government supported the IS groups which unleashed terror through religious fundamentalism. Both the Justice Party and BJP are out to destroy “secularism” which is the national character of the two nations, but is systematically being diluted.
The Sangh Parivar has got lakhs of shakhas in the country and it has got several wings. Some of them are directly run by them, some are remotely controlled by them. BJP is only a political wing of the RSS.
If the Sangh is fascistic in its character, its wing BJP cannot be just authoritarian but also fascistic. The remote control of running the party and government is in the hands of RSS.
Earlier Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and some such organisations used to behave as if they are independent fringe groups. The Sanathan Sanstha with its headquarters at Goa which, killed Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and Prof. M.M. Kalburgi is also behaving like independent groups, though many believe that the RSS is fully aware of the actions of these groups. Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and army officer Purohit, committed terrorist attacks and subsequently the BJP government diluted the cases against them and withdrew cases of fake encounters of Sohrabuddin, Ishrat Jahan and Prajapati, etc. All these give a clue of links between them.
The cow vigilante groups attacking minorities, the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq on the pretext of beef eating was the beginning which followed such attacks throughout the country on minorities and Dalits. Prime minister’s statements condemning attacks on Dalits did not yield to any positive result. In the Akhlaq case he did not even name the village Bishada in Dadri where the lynching took place. In every single case of attack on Dalits, cases are filed against Dalits, but in the case of “Gau Rakshaks” or cow vigilantes, either bail is granted or no arrests are made against accused cow vigilante groups. They are not banned or serious action is taken in accordance with the law.
ABVP is dictating the university vice-chancellors and the police on each of its complaints a sedition case is filed on the opponent student leaders. Student leaders are suspended, banned from campus, and Dalit student leaders’ scholarships are stopped, and are facing serious harassment.
Civil rights are curtailed and human rights are rejected. An atmosphere of fear, and helplessness among minorities and Dalits is the order of the day. Neo-liberal economic policies, crony capitalism, total opening of Indian economy to MNCs for FDI, pauperisation of the masses and concessions to the rich form the current economic policy.
Propagation of lies continuously against secularism, democracy and truth is the Goebbelsian philosophy. Every week through social media and so called surveys, bogus and distorted news are propagated. Whether it is an unearthing of black money, exaggerating figures of PM’s Jan Dhan Yogna, or on saving of thousands of concessional gas cylinders or 70% vote for Narendra Modi on weekly surveys is all part of Goebbelsian tactics. Manipulation through paid companies for propagations in social media is part of “manufacturing consent.”
The fascistic tendencies should not be allowed to become full blown fascism. This must be resisted and prevented. It should be strongly rebuffed by mass movements and secular alliances. The attempts of saffronisation of education and attempts to influence the Army through yoga classes by communal gurus are very serious issues, about which the Army high command is also concerned.
Of course, authoritarianism is also to be fought back. Whether it is authoritarianism or fascistic methods of rule, unfortunately the Left alone cannot resist them. If the Left alone could give a strong fight, it would be excellent. The Left has limitations, not because of the parliamentary defeats, but due its limited strength in some states. Northern states, West, North-East states are weak points of the Left. The biggest secular opposition bourgeois party Congress is still in disarray. Regional parties are sometimes playing opportunistic role but still all put together have the potentiality to give a big resistance. In spite of weakness the Left is ideologically strong to fight uncompromisingly against communalism.
The broad platform of left democratic secular forces should be seen beyond election strategies. India is boiling with unrest, anger due to price rise, unemployment, poverty, atrocities and communal and casteist attacks.
The recent struggles by students and professors in universities, by the writers and intellectuals for the right to freedom of speech, the struggle of peasants against land acquisition, the historic united strike of 2nd September of working class of India, the resistance movement of Dalits, Adivasis and minorities give ample opportunity for broadbased struggle. Broad platform should be organized to mobilise Dalits, minorities and marginalised sections of the society. Confidence among the masses is the need of the hour to mobilise them for massive militant battles. Confidence will come only if a broader platform can be the rallying point.
While I write this, I welcome a healthy debate on the subject. I disapprove of the harsh comments of AISF leader Kanhaiya Kumar at Kolkata who has criticised those who do not agree that BJP is fascistic. We are prepared to have a proper discussion among the left and democratic forces. We must clarify any theoretical positions that may remain unclear. Unity of theory and practice is critical. (IPA Service)
The writer is General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI).