Mainstream

Home > 2022 > Three cheers to Comrade Brinda Karat! | Faraz Ahmad

Mainstream, VOL LX No 18, New Delhi, April 23, 2022

Three cheers to Comrade Brinda Karat! | Faraz Ahmad

Friday 22 April 2022, by Faraz Ahmad

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Politburo member Brinda Karat deserves our salute for rising up to the occasion and demonstrating what real leaders are made of.

Ever since the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won elections in four out of five states where it was politically relevant, including UP, which went to polls in February-March this year and the Congress lost in all the four states where it was in direct fight with the BJP, the upbeat mood of the victors has translated into unbridled, violent, abusive aggression against the Muslim community to thumb their nose at Muslims that their vote against the saffron party matters little to them and they can and will continue to come to power not just in spite of them but by publicly humiliating and torturing them more and more.

Even before the results of these polls came, Karnataka was setting this agenda by preventing girls with head scarves to enter educational institutions with ABVP/Bajrang Dal/Sri Ram Sene boys heckling and harassing these girls. Once some Ambedkarite Dalit students led a small college demonstration in support of these girls. But no political party stood along-side these hapless girls. At best they issued statements or ‘tweeted’ off and on. But where were their cadres and leaders when the poor girls were being publicly harassed? The Karnataka High Court, when approached, changed the entire discourse by ignoring the right to education of girls, whatever be their background, to deliberating on whether Hijab was necessary in Islam. The girls went to the Supreme Court in appeal against the Karnataka High Court seeking urgent hearing and citing their impending exams from March 28, but the apex Court saw no urgency to hear this matter and it is still pending. Who cares if these girls lost one academic year? Then came the 9-day Navratri festival and for the first time meat shops were closed wherever BJP ruled including the national Capital because it rules in the three, now dissolved municipalities. The Navaratri, coinciding this year, with the month long Ramzan festival of day time fasting and late evening feasting for Muslims, ended with Ram Navami which witnessed saffron clad youth armed with lethal weapons, in almost each BJP ruled state, deliberately halting opposite a mosque when the Azan was being relayed along with the call to end the fast; playing loud DJ music accompanied by abusive slogans and threats of violence, with occasional attempts to climb up the mosque minarets in Khargone, Madhya Pradesh; Gujarat, Uttarakhand; Haryana and last in Delhi; hoisting saffron flag to digging the graves of Sufis and saints. The whole attempt all through the Ram Navami and then in Hanuman Jayanti processions, as was earlier the forcible closure of meat shops, was to harass the Muslims to the extent that they react and once they did as in Khargone, in Gujarat and latest in Jahangirpuri, Delhi, Muslim men are rounded up and jailed; while the saffron provocateurs strut around freely and the municipalities on explicit demand from BJP leaders like Adesh Gupta of Delhi BJP, moving in with bulldozers to demolish the homes, shops, carts or kiosks of the poor hapless Muslims and even their Hindu neighbours living for decades in harmony and peace with each, subsisting on hand to mouth earnings from their small businesses.

These are the people who were in dire need of physical support of political parties which garner their vote, specially when they are being targeted, only to demonstrate that their vote against the BJP matters little to the BJP. But where were the leaders of the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Congress, the BSP, in Gujarat, MP, Delhi and Haryana. Most of all what was Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal doing? With impunity the South Delhi Mayor announced closure of meat shops for all the nine days of Navaratri. There was also no formal order. Yet no Muslim meat shop owner dare open his shop in Delhi. Of course it was different if you went to one of the fancy malls where all kinds of imported non veg items are on display and available freely.

By now it is evident that the bulldozer first used by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath to demolish the houses and tenements has become a symbol of the brute power that the Sanghi state enjoys with pride and displays the bulldozer and its destructive power to drive fear in the hearts of those who dare question the tyranny and oppression of the saffron brigade with unabashed state patronage Which law gives the authority to the Administration to demolish the houses of even the presumed accused? None to my knowledge. Be it MP or Gujarat and now Delhi the same pattern is repeated—day one on the pretext of celebrating a Hindu festival saffron clad lumpen elements armed with lethal weapons, including pipe guns choose Muslim areas to take out their processions and the administration and police provide them not just permission but armed protection. They use DJ and loud speakers to sing songs with double meaning entendre and abusive and threatening language including the threat to kill and slaughter all Muslims in front of a mosque. Then some of them would forcibly enter the mosque, climb up a minaret and hoist their saffron flag as a sign of conquering the entire Muslim population. The sequence of events is also predetermined. First day provocative processions leading upto some communal clashes and stone throwing from both sides, which the attending Police easily manages to control. The next day the Police comes to round up Muslim men accusing them of violence. And even as these men’s family members go running around to secure their release, the Municipal authorities arrive with bulldozers without any prior notice and start demolishing in these Muslim majority areas.

Delhi’s Jahangirpuri was not the first nor likely to be the last. Only difference, the Delhi government even with very limited powers is led by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who in the absence of Congress has become the main beneficiary of anti-BJP votes and has been occupying this chair since 2013. But be it the anti-CAA demonstrations by women—elderly and young both, or the so-called communal clashes in East Delhi following the anti-CAA dharnas or now the Jahangirpuri episode, Arvind Kejriwal won’t turn round to have a look, leave alone commiserate with the victims, lest the Hindutva forces start suspecting him.

But one brave move by Comrade Brinda Karat and the other so called Opposition parties, including the Congress and AAP (not Kejriwal) go rushing to Jahangirpuri. However her act required not just tremendous courage but also a high degree of alacrity. Also a conviction in secularism not just lip service for electoral purposes. That when the CPI-M or Brinda do not have a large base among Delhi voters even in this lower middle class colony—Jahangirpurind can hardly benefit electorally from this act.

Hope other parties will learn a lesson from this and the people of Delhi also see the necessity of strengthening the Left to reinforce secularism.

Notice: Mainstream Weekly appears online only.