By Krishna Jha
It was the largest mass involvement in the world that was engaged in Freedom struggle in our country, except the rightist forces. They had no share in it. Nor did they have any share in strengthening the secular democracy borne out of the freedom struggle or in the national reconstruction. And yet, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in his speech on October 24, once again evaded all the vital questions that his organisation faces – Why did RSS always keep away from the national movement? What role did it play in the Partition of India and in the communal violence that ensued? And why did it play a divisive politics all through its existence?
Instead of answering these questions, Bhagwat uttered something that he and his organisation know the best – to follow western fascist ideas. In his speech he mentioned communists and progressives as “cultural Marxists” and held them responsible for creating “discrimination in society” and for making “attempt to break the constructive collectivity, create separation and conflict”. He further said: “Their modus operandi involves taking control of the media and academia and plunging education, culture, politics and social environment into confusion, chaos and corruption.”
In fact these comments do not deserve any attention, since truth speaks for itself. They have used an expression like ‘cultural Marxists’, something which is used by the far-right and neo-fascist circles in Europe and other countries. For them, ‘cultural Marxism’ is conspiracy to destroy western morality and civilisation and to impose an elite concept of political correctness. Here they have attributed this role to communists. They have used the term to attack all those who stand against the homogenization of our society, culture and history.
It may also be mentioned here that the most important organisations of Hindu nationalism not only adopted fascist ideas in a conscious and deliberate way, but this happened also because of the existence of direct contacts between the representatives of the main Hindu organisations and fascist Italy. Mussolini had himself said, “Fascism believes neither in the possibility nor in the utility of perpetual peace”. And it is peace for which we always strived.
Seventy five years back, we attained freedom. The fragrance of the memories still unfading, men and women moved as one towards a new horizon. It was the road to freedom. It was with a promise of victory. Victory it was, the victory of vision, perspective, human values. All they yearned for was a humane socio- economic structure, egalitarian society and democratic values. All this got expression when in the first general election itself, the rightists lost heavily, communists became the main opposition party, and first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru declared that it was not the victory of any party, it was the victory of secularism and humanity.
The election results had been declared in 1952. Before that in August, 1947, India was partitioned and also set free. After three hundred years of colonial rule, India became a free nation, but knifed into two. One based on religion, the other on democracy. The communal frenzy that followed, intensely brutalised our country. In all this, no less important was the role played by organisations that saw in the immediate aftermath of the partition an opportunity to derail the secular project of independent India. The conspirators associated with these Rightist organisations and the conspiracies they hatched had resulted already in major national tragedies. One such was gruesome murder of Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948. Assassination was part of a conspiracy hatched by top Hindu Mahasabha leaders whose prime objective was to destabilize all efforts to uphold secularism in India.
Hell was let lose. There were riots, killings, and people uprooted from homes, moving towards a world they never expected to see. They had lost their sense of belonging. And yet they loved their people, with a keen sense of oneness. Communists were everywhere, helping those lakhs of migrants. It was awakening to this unity and faith in it, that made them vote for secularism and build the new Republic. But there were the rightists, who never had anything to do with either the freedom struggle or the new republic emerging with the new democratic system and its Constitution.
Secularism was not something unknown to us. We had been living together for centuries as one. Wedge came only when some of us started talking about majoritarianism. That was not our culture. All of us had fought together, shed our blood and sacrificed lives for the freedom that was our goal. We had our Constitution that had in its preamble characterised our state as Sovereign, Socialist, Secular Republic, the very ingredients on which we built our nation. We believe in change, not stagnation. Our infrastructure was changing.
Industrialisation was in process. Five year plans were prepared to move ahead. All the time, those who believed in Marxism, planned, slogged and celebrated the achievements. The socio-economic progress, perusal of peace were the driving forces. Communists always stood by the people whenever there was injustice. Entire toiling masses have been represented by the communists in pre and post independence period. We had invented the word called bandh, a complete strike. It was us who fought for the freedom of Goa. The first martyr was a communist.
We had fought along with the people of Puducherry against French colonialists and gained freedom. We had launched the struggle for Samyukta Maharashtra, and succeeded. We had our government in Kerala, the first in the country and second in the world. It was us who had organised first All India rally in Delhi joined by all the states and their people for the first time. In fact the very expressions evolved in the process like anti-colonialism, anti fascism, national independence and peace came as the leading concepts of the national liberation struggle. But the rightists always kept away from these. History is witness to it. (IPA Service)