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Narendra Modi is following in Pushyamitra Shunga’s footsteps, but who will stop him?

A recent statement by SP national chief Akhilesh Yadav that on coming to power they would build grand temples dedicated to Lord Parshuram and Lord Vishnu underlines his ideological bankruptcy. The RSS-BJP were overjoyed by his announcement. A leader who believes that building temples is socialism is clearly surrendering to Brahmanism, writes Kanwal Bharti

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge’s warning that the 2024 General Elections may be the last one in India’s democratic history should not be dismissed offhand. This also seems likely because the upcoming elections are the first opposition-free elections in India’s parliamentary history. It is not without reason that the so-called mainstream media is parroting the “Abki baar char sau paar” slogan day in, day out. Most of the leading opposition leaders are either lying prostrate before Narendra Modi or are cooling their heels behind bars. It is probably for the first time in Indian politics that the leader in power has taken to fascism. 

Fascism hasn’t appeared in India out of the blue. It has sneaked in along with Hindutva politics. Adolf Hitler had brought fascism into Germany via a similar route. Rabid German nationalism was the foundation of Nazism and it thrived on extreme hatred of the Jews. Similarly, nationalism is part and parcel of Hindu fascism, which thrives on extreme hatred of Muslims. Fascism first crafts an imaginary enemy and then holds it responsible for every ill plaguing the country. Hitler projected Jews as the enemy and now Hindu fascism is doing the same with the Muslims. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has deployed their entire machinery to fan anti-Muslim sentiment. Muslims were blamed for every problem in the country including the spread of COVID-19 in the national capital. The large population of the Muslims was held responsible for poverty and unemployment and Mughal rulers were declared progenitors of the practice of untouchability. The country began looking for a Hindu temple under every Muslim place of worship. Imaginary tales were fashioned to turn Hindus into a frenzied mob of fascists. Massacres of Muslims were carried out under the patronage of the state and Muslims were lynched by mobs on trains, buses, streets and in markets. Meticulously planned riots were engineered to destroy their homes and their businesses. This hatred for the Muslims was channelized into support for the Hindu Rashtra, Ram Rajya and Hindu Raj. If the RSS-BJP could succeed in planting Hindu fascism in India, it was because of a casteist, communal and brahmanical society built around the Varna system. Hindus can never become democrats. Hindu society not only hates Muslims but also Dalits and maintains social distance from both. That is why if the BJP-RSS decide someday that besides Muslims, hatred of the Dalits would also be the credo of their nationalism, they won’t face any obstacles. Hitler might have faced difficulties in turning Germans into Nazis, for he had to begin with sowing the seeds of Nazism in German society. However, RSS-BJP didn’t have to start from scratch as the brahmanical varna system already had seeds of fascism. Only water and manure were needed to make the seeds germinate and grow.

Narendra Modi accepts the ‘sengol’ (sceptre) from a Hindu priest

The fact is that right since Independence, numerous roadblocks have put on the path to democratization of the Hindus. More than the political powers, religious powers have been to blame. The Shankaracharyas, the sants and an army of sermonizers went about strengthening the Varna system among the Hindus, and they are still doing it. The Varna system is the biggest strength of Hindu fascism.

This fascism has projected Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the greatest icon of the Hindus. The blind reverence for Modi is now such that whatever little of democratic ethos had developed among the people courtesy of Dalit discourse and politics, has been effaced. Education, health and employment are no longer issues of consequence for the Hindus. They see their emancipation in Ram Rajya. They no longer feel that a caste census or survey is needed for their economic progress. The pro-reservation voices have fallen silent. The Hindus have voluntarily allowed the Brahmins, the Thakurs and the Banias to rule over them as Hindu Raj is ushered in.

Hindu fascism has brought things to such a pass that people are simply not bothered about what is happening around them. If someone is arrested, so what? If someone is donating this much and looting that much, so what? If drugs manufactured by leading pharma companies for cardiac conditions, high blood pressure and diabetes are failing clinical trials, so what? If medicines being prescribed by doctors are not having any effect and patients are dying, so what? For the Bhakts (the devotees of the RSS, BJP and Modi), those dying are probably the Pakistani or the Chinese. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Sanjay Singh’s arrest did not evoke any reaction among the Thakurs and the Banias were unperturbed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest. How deep fascism has seeped into India’s body politic is evident by the fact that even judges are trying to keep the ruling party in good humour. In their judgments, they are praising Modi and Yogi and quoting from the Gita and Mansumriti. But the Bhakts are simply not bothered. The BJP is not talking about education and employment. Its poll planks are Ram Mandir, Ram Rajya, Article 370, Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Uniform Civil Code, Gyanvapi and Mathura temples and “Abki baar char sau paar”. These issues are neither democratic nor constitutional. But then, when were preserving democracy and the Constitution among the concerns of fascism?

Is any political party combating this fascism? No, not at all. Barring the southern states, no political or social movement seems to be taking on the BJP’s fascism. This is especially so in the Hindi belt, which is also known as the ‘gobar patti’ (cow-dung belt). Is the Congress fighting this fascism? The answer is fairly straightforward. Opposition to Modi is indeed a component of the Congress’s politics but opposition to Hindutva is not. And until the Congress launches a movement against Hindutva, it can’t hope to put an end to the BJP’s Hindu fascism. The fact is that this fascism had ridden piggyback on the Congress for a long time. It was Rajiv Gandhi who got the locks of Babri Masjid opened and Narasimha Rao, another Congress prime minister, had a role in the demolition of the mosque.

Starting in 1947 itself, the Brahmin lobby of the Congress has been busy bolstering and spreading Hindutva. Just like termites hollow out a structure from within, the Brahmin lobby of the Congress has hollowed out the Congress by pushing it towards Hindutva. And when the BJP assumed power in 2014, the brahmanical elements of the Congress joined the BJP. The Brahmin leaders were feeling suffocated inside the Congress as the party was, in principle, wedded to secularism. Once in the BJP, they could breathe easy and they became vociferous proponents of Hindutva. The Brahmins and other upper castes who are still in the Congress are up in arms against caste census and they may switch to the BJP anytime to attain peace of mind. We should not forget that the Congress is a right-wing party and that it lacks a clear socialist model of democracy.

Are the Dalitbahujan political forces fighting this fascism? The fact is that they are only making the right noises. For instance, look at the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). The leaders of the parties of other Dalit-OBC castes (Paswan, Patel and Rajbhar) have already jumped on the BJP bandwagon. Clearly, they were ideologically bankrupt and were driven by personal ambitions.

A recent statement by SP national chief Akhilesh Yadav that on coming to power they would build grand temples dedicated to Lord Parshuram and Lord Vishnu underlines his ideological bankruptcy. The RSS-BJP were overjoyed by his announcement. A leader who believes that building temples is socialism is clearly surrendering to Brahmanism, which is the source of Hindu fascism, and is responsible for ensuring that the vast population of toilers in the country continues to bear the yoke of backwardness and untouchability. What is the ideology of Akhilesh Yadav? Is he dreaming of coming to power by embracing this ideology? If he thinks that he can compete with the RSS-BJP in the arena of Hindutva, he is living in a fool’s paradise. There is no way he can get the better of them. The leader of the party which should have aroused the people against fascism and should have showcased an outstanding socialist model of democracy, is projecting himself as a believer in Brahmanism.

In fact, Akhilesh is the true son of his father, who handed down his brand of politics to him. His father, who called himself a Lohiate socialist, was bitterly opposed to Ambedkar – so much so that in his speeches he not only called for razing the statues of Ambedkar but also for abrogating the Scheduled Castes-Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. He said all this to please the upper castes. He was under the delusion that the upper castes like him, while the truth is that upper castes are averse to SP even today.

The BSP chief Mayawati is also caught up in the same ideological crisis. Kanshi Ram had made her join hands with the RSS and the BJP and to date, she is not ready to let go of the RSS-BJP. She believes that association with the RSS-BJP is good for her, even when her party was routed in the last elections because of this association. She is still a proxy for the BJP. Her focus in the upcoming general elections is on helping the BJP by upsetting the apple cart of the SP-Congress alliance. She has made the contests in Rampur, Moradabad and Amroha Parliamentary constituencies easy for the BJP. She has fielded candidates in just 16 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. That is a strategy designed to aid the BJP’s poll effort.

The Bahujan leaders need to understand that there are just two political ideologies – left-wing and right-wing. There is no middle path. You have to align with one or the other. Those who try to straddle both are opportunists who have no ideology except selfishness. Dalitbahujan politics has decisive rightist leanings and abhors leftist ideology. But for Mayawati, a strong political alternative to the NDA could have been forged in Uttar Pradesh. That is why the right-wing political groupings are overflowing with opportunists. Among the right-wing political forces, only the RSS and the BJP have an ideology, and Bahujan politics, lacking an ideology, can hardly pose a challenge to it. Only the leftist ideology can and is challenging it. That is the reason the BJP-RSS is trying its best to ensure that the Dalits, the OBCs and the Adivasis sink deeper and deeper into the morass of Hindutva. The objective is to ensure that they don’t embrace left-wing ideology. What is shocking is that the Bahujan parties, devoid of an ideology, and their opportunist leaders are aiding the BJP-RSS’s endeavours.

As a result, the RSS-BJP has cleared all the obstacles in its path. It is facing no challenge. Its Hindu fascism is not only political, but also cultural. It has taken control of the Hindu mind. Not only ordinary Hindus, not only the Hindu trading class, but Hindu intellectuals working in the fields of arts, culture, cinema, journalism, literature, science, medicine and education have come under their sway. They have infiltrated constitutional bodies and the administrative structure. The Modi government is moving towards establishing a Hindu India, the only precedent being the rule of Pushyamitra Shunga (185-149 BCE).

It was not surprising that Modi and Hindu saints saw the pran-prathistha at Ayodhya on 22 January as consecration of Ram Rajya. Hindu fascism is pushing India towards one party, one flag and one election. This will be fatal to the Constitution and democracy. One can only imagine what horrors this would entail for the Dalit-OBC castes, Adivasis and Muslims.

What is the way out? The way out is annihilation of fascism and restoration of democracy. But that is easier said than done. There are only two options. Either the President of India takes action or the Supreme Court takes steps for preserving and protecting the Constitution and democracy.

(Translation from the original Hindi by Amrish Herdenia)

Forward Press also publishes books on Bahujan issues. Forward Press Books sheds light on the widespread problems as well as the finer aspects of Bahujan (Dalit, OBC, Adivasi, Nomadic, Pasmanda) society, culture, literature and politics. Contact us for a list of FP Books’ titles and to order. Mobile: +917827427311, Email: info@forwardmagazine.in)

About The Author

Kanwal bharti

Kanwal Bharti (born February 1953) is a progressive Ambedkarite thinker and one of the most talked-about and active contemporary writers. Dalit Sahitya Kee Avdharna and Swami Achootanand Harihar Sanchayita are his key books. He was conferred with Dr Ambedkar Rashtriya Award in 1996 and Bhimratna Puraskar in 2001

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