From Chicago to Delhi

Kashmir Times. Dated: 9/13/2018 12:43:56 AM

The message of the Sangh Parivar smacks of contempt for democracy and penchant for Hindu rashtra

Two almost simultaneous events kicked off in two different parts of the world echoed the saffron vision for India sans its democratic spirit and sans its plural ethos earlier this week. Both the World Hindu Congress, organized by Sangh Parivar affiliates in Chicago and BJP national executive meeting in New Delhi, though in varying degrees betrayed their contempt for democracy. While one gave calls for Hindu unity and resurgence, the other was a sheer display of brute arrogance and typical chest thumping. BJP president Amit Shah minced no words in proclaiming that if re-elected to power in 2019, the BJP would remain in power for the next 50 years and that "nobody can remove us". This statement is either a foreboding of the likely tampering of the Indian constitution to rob it of its democratic practices or atleast seeks to undermine the voters, who vote for the representatives to serve them not to boisterously proclaim their victories and put a life-long seal on them without the confidence and will of the public that is put to test every five years. Shah's assertions that BJP has won despite issues like Akhlaq and intolerance smacks of the contempt for minority issues and towards dissent, especially as he went into denial about the gravity of such issues and projected them more as some figment of imagination of BJP's adversaries. At the BJP executive meet, the likes of Amit Shah dropped such hints, which appear subtle in the face of the far more jarring and brazenly xenophobia unleashed at the Chicago event. The hysteria was whipped by projecting an image of a persecuted and threatened Hindu. To counter that invoked threat, several delegates called upon Hindus to produce more children to protect their social and territorial integrity. One speaker even called for the use of force by Hindus on the pretext of 'protecting Hindus'.
The WHC which pivoted around hounding of Muslims by invoking threats to Hindus from minorities, raking up conversions and inter-faith marriages, also sought to make inroads into media industry through creation of 'new narratives' and need for rigorous journalists by talking about the model of 'urban naxal' as the model to emulate. The most brazen attack came from the RSS chief who threw in the parable of Hindu 'lion' under attack from 'wild dogs' and spoke about controlling "the pests" while adding that there are all kinds of instruments, apparatuses and data to control them "without hurting them". The contempt for the 'other' is all too evident and the only posers left to grapple with are whether the reference to 'pests' meant the saffron brigade's ideological opponents or India's religious and ethnic minority groups. These remarks which are in line with the teachings of the RSS and its larger ambition to turn India into a 'Hindu rashtra' smack of communal hatred and are an affront to democracy. The BJP has distanced itself from such remarks but its leaders echoed similar sentiments, though in different words at the party's national executive meet. The latter echoed with an ownership of the lawlessness spread in the name of beef politics and the vindictiveness against civil rights activists as well as divisive projects like National Register of Citizens in Assam and an open call to throw out Bangladeshi and Rohingya refugees. The major pivot point of both the events was 'polarisation' and both need to be seen in tandem to understand the larger design of whipping up hysteria over misplaced notion of majoritarian victimhood with an eye on Lok Sabha elections and then use that along with strengthening of Hindutva ideologues and sympathizers through overseas support, which helps fill in the coffers back home, to subvert the democracy of the country. The march to fascism is picking up momentum. A pernicious brand of Hindutva nationalism is on the rise in run up to the elections and will gather more moss if the BJP has its way. Let there be no mistake about that.



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