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Home > 2024 > India on the brink with RSS in Charge | Arun Srivastava

Mainstream, VOL 62 No 12, March 23, 2024

India on the brink with RSS in Charge | Arun Srivastava

Saturday 23 March 2024


The expose of India’s behemothic electoral bond scam has unravelled an existential crisis in the country’s democratic future. It may sound obnoxious, but it is a fact and not a mere threat perception. India has already been facing a crisis in the functioning of the institutional pillars of Government. Narendra Modi and his colleagues have been making attempts to control the judiciary after making the bureaucracy scrawl.

In 1996 the Fodder Scam in which Lalu Prasad Yadav was supposedly involved was described as the biggest scam in the Independent India. At that time the BJP’s ecosystem used its full strength to project him as the mastermind. Even today the saffron ecosystem and especially Modi frequently project this as the biggest scam of Independent India, which was authored by a secular hero. The indisputable fact is that Lalu was not the mastermind. It was Shyam Behari Sinha a government honcho. Of course, there is no denying that Lalu was one of the beneficiaries. But the patriarch of BJP L K Advani used his battery of officers, intelligence officials and loyalists to show him in bad light and project him as the mastermind. It was not at all a secret that Advani avenged his arrest in Samastipur on October 23, 1990, by Lalu, who was then the chief minister of Bihar. It was the manifestation of Advani’s hate for Lalu.

But in sharp contrast, legal proceedings in the case of electoral bonds which is being conducted by the Supreme Court unmasks the horrid design of the RSS and saffron ecosystem to completely corrupt the basic system of democracy. Proceedings not only unravel the subversive plot of the BJP, it also make it explicit that the entire operation was planned to subvert democracy.

Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen had come to comprehend the situation long back. Recently he observed at the inauguration of the Amartya Sen Research Centre in Salt Lake that India has entered into a dangerous phase that can best be described as the “Collapse of the Nation”. He said, what scared him most were the divisions he saw in the country right now. It was also “extraordinary” that colonial laws were being used to put people behind bars. He pointed out that India is witnessing a shift toward a majoritarian state and asks whether ‘majoritarianism is an end of all? He said democracy is not just a majoritarian rule. It also involves minority rights, and it involves freedom and liberty of expression.

He was candid; “Those ruling the country do not constitute a majority, because the reason for their power is their apt use of the tools of our political system. I think in modern days, the majority and minority cannot be decided based on who is a Hindu or who is a Muslim, as it is not really clear who is a Hindu’’.

The Nobel laureate said “India had an inherent culture of tolerance because “Muslims, Jews, Christians, and Parsis had lived side by side with us for ages. The current situation in the country has become a cause of fear because many things are happening that suggest that Hindus are becoming less tolerant these days. The way derogatory remarks are being made against the Muslims and their Prophet is a symptom that Hindus and Muslims are falling apart. India is passing through “an extraordinary situation and this is the ominous sign of the “Collapse of the Nation.”

Little doubt the RSS and saffron ecosystem have been weakening India from within. Modi’s claim of India emerging as the strongest nation is merely a façade to conceal their designs. It is a mechanism to confuse the people and not allow them the opportunity to take a broader view of the saffron conspiracy.

Ever since the BJP government led by Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, the RSS and Modi have been methodically planning to introduce a new political order that must be visualised in this perspective. Modi had claimed that New India had emerged. Ironically no one had questioned him and sought to know what he meant.

India’s political system needed some modification or reforms. But Modi and the RSS have targeted every institution which was required for a healthy democracy. The Modi Government has had face to face serious criticism from global agencies and organisations for throttling democracy.

The first major move to dismantle the Republic character of the country was carried out on January 22, 2024, the day the Prime Minister of India preferred to consecrate Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. On that day the Republic of India was eliminated. The entire performance looked like a simple religious ritual, but in reality, it heralded the creation and introduction of a new framework by the RSS and Modi. It also underlined that RSS its ecosystem does not take their moral strength from the Indian Constitution which was adopted by the Constituent Assembly. RSS with the help of Modi is determined to destroy the basic foundation of India. A religious ritual is performed for upholding and preserving the norms, and basic tenets of religion and the people; faith. But we saw what happened in Ayodhya. It was a move to draw a parallel line to the existing Constitutional norms.

RSS has been using Modi, who has been suffering from the complex, and striving hard to project himself as superior to others. The consecration was a political affair that was evident from Modi ignoring the suggestions of all four Shankaracharya, the supreme authorities of the Hindu religion. Truly speaking even Modi did not intend to send the message that it was a religious affair. He used it to consolidate the political gains of RSS in its mission to usher India as a Hindu Rashtra [a Hindu State]. The most glaring was the participation of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. His presence simply legalised and approved Modi’s political action.

A look at the hundred years of functioning of RSS would make it explicit that it has been against India, its democratic institution and later the Constitution. The cultural tenet of India combined with its democratic commitment and aspirations has been the major impediment in the path of RSS to accomplish its mission. Which was why its strived to capture the power. It got it in 2014. But unfortunately for RSS, it did not succeed as the social and cultural tenets did not have space for such ideas.

It is worth recalling that on 9 September 1945, while Congress leaders were seriously engaged in the task of negotiating the formalities of independence top leaders of RSS met at the Nagpur office. The documents available make it explicit that it desired to capture political power, thus subverting the Indian nationalists’ efforts to develop the country along the lines of electoral democracy. A section of the experts, intellectuals and Godi media claim that Modi has been practising electoral democracy. But it is completely a wrong perception. He has been using electoral victory to carry out RSS design.

The importance of their brand of politics is manifest in the observation of Balasaheb Deoras. In 1945 at the Nagpur meet he had told his colleagues; “It is wrong to say that we have no connections with politics. Today we plan to create a powerful body by organising the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh all over India and thereby to effect an all India Unity, and at an opportune moment to seize the power on receipt of an order from our Leader. Obviously, to achieve this power, it is necessary that it should not be utilised in any other sphere and our attention should not be diverted to any other thing.”

There is no denying that the secular forces and their proponents provided the space for the RSS to flourish. They never strived to reach the secular spirit and message to the ground level. They used secularism for their personal empowerment and gains. The secularists have not been serious and sincere in fighting the rightist and fascist forces is even being witnessed today. Their behaviour is more like of an ostrich. While RSS and Modi have been trampling the democracy they are simply content with issuing some stray flat statement. The sheer arrogance of secular ideology, it’s disconnect with the people, its refusal to speak to people in their language and idiom has helped the delegitimization of the very idea of secularism.

It is worth mentioning that in its annual report on global political rights and liberties, US-based non-profit Freedom House downgraded India from a free democracy to a "partially free democracy". Sweden-based V-Dem Institute was harsher in its latest report on democracy. It said India had become an "electoral autocracy". India, described as a "flawed democracy", slipped two places to 53rd position in the latest Democracy Index published by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

The rankings blame Modi and his Hindu nationalist BJP government for the backsliding of democracy. Under Modi’s watch, they say, there has been increased pressure on human rights groups, intimidation of journalists and activists, and a spate of attacks, especially against Muslims. Hindus for Human Rights, Indian American Muslim Council, Dalit Solidarity Forum, American Manipur Tribal Association, Peace Action, and others held peaceful protests near the White House where PM Modi had a meeting with US President Joe Biden.

Modi’s attack on Muslims and his design not to provide them a humane space manifest the thinking of RSS to alter the character of India. A Muslim is a more potential threat to RSS political line than a liberal and moderate Hindu. The two alibis “Love Jihad” and “cow slaughter” are purely to cover their design. An insight into the hatred campaign against Muslims would reveal that it is more the threat perception that has forced the RSS and Modi to launch a communal war against Muslims. True speaking the communal war is a façade to conceal the true fact.

RSS and Modi are determined to erase their Indian identity. With changes to citizenship laws, Muslims fear that they could be declared stateless and held in detention camps. They are aware of the fact that 20 crore Muslims cannot be pushed out of India. They cannot be rendered homeless. Muslims have been a major stumbling block for RSS and the saffron ecosystem in attaining its goal of erasing the entity of India.

It is wrong to construe that Modi has been an astute leader. True enough he has been following the RSS script. It is really regrettable that the opposition leaders did not look through Modi’s game. The communist leaders may get slighted but the bare fact is they preferred to be more reclusive than the leaders of regional and small centrist and liberal parties. Only one small example is suffice. The initiative to unite the opposition leaders had come from Nitish Kumar, chief of JD(U), a regional party. They did not reach out to the people to make aware of the fallacies and wrong policies of Modi and RSS. This was the golden period for them to galvanise their support base and come back in the political arena with a bang.

After 2019, we saw things changing in the laws. A very important law was the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. It was passed in order to make religion the criterion for accessing Indian nationality. Only non-Muslim refugees from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan were eligible for citizenship. Also, new laws were passed to make interreligious marriages more difficult. The secular and communist leaders could not muster courage to come to the streets and launch a sustained struggle against this move of Modi. The task was literally left to the women’s. They organised Shahin Bagh movement across the country and managed to push the government to the wall.

While Modi had turned the bureaucracy subservient, he had tried to bulldoze the judiciary. He had succeeded to a large extent. The judges who were, in the perception of Modi, not favourable to him had to wait for their appointment. Modi refused to appoint the judges that the judiciary itself had selected for the job. As a result of this in 2017, 2018, and 2019, a large number of posts were vacant.

Modi has not only been systematically eating into the political structure and institution of the country, he has conspired to turn India a bankrupt state. While the people are still busy decoding the mystery behind Modi’s love for Adani, the electoral bond scam has rocked the country. This is the bestseller financial thriller which unmasks how Modi used the banks and the corporate sector for fulfilling his suppressed sadistic feelings.

He along with his late colleague Arun Jaitley had set up electoral bond scheme. Under the scheme billions of funds were received from the corporate houses. Modi government through an order had made it immune to any kind of audit. Even the rules of RTI (Right to Information) would not apply. After a sustained legal battle, Supreme Court finally declared it unconstitutional. As a corollary to this order, it is natural the court should have directed the parties to return the money.

It is indeed a national shame that the Prime Minister, who has been consistently trying to present himself as the most honest person in the world, not only in his home country India, was found to be master mind of the scam. Though it was on February 15, the apex court had ordered the SBI to come clean and furnish the details of the fund received, the bank played tantrums and resorted to every means to protect its political master. In the process, the chairman of the bank, Dinesh Kumar Khara, who has already been on one-year extension, conspired to dodge the apex court.

Under pressure, though he furnished information about the fund, it was truncated. Khara who it is learnt has been assured of a further one year extension did not furnish the detailed information. His action was of the nature of contempt of court. Supreme Court warned him not to play foul. But he did not come out with the complete information. There is no denying the fact that through his act he has smeared the face of SBI, one of the most prestigious banks across the globe.

Finally on March 18 Supreme Court taking strong exception to SBI not revealing to the Election Commission the invisible alphanumeric number embossed on the banned electoral bonds, and directed it to comply by March 21. Khara taking so much of risk to the extent of staking his credibility and job simply underlines the hidden interest and agenda of the saffron ecosystem. “We take exception to SBI’s action in not furnishing the alphanumeric numbers (embossed invisibly) on bonds,” a bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices Sanjiv Khanna, B R Gavai, J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said. The bench also included as guest members three judges from the UK SC and its admonition of the largest bank effectively conveyed to the visitors the assertive and decisive character of India’s apex court.

The March 18 hearing also witnessed corporate houses clamouring to keep away the entire fact away from the public glare. It is quite intriguing. The Assocham while trying to place his views through its lawyer Mukul Rohatagi before the bench said; "Protection of anonymity is critical for preserving donors’ privacy and guarding against any adversity by any opposing political factions to whom the investment is not made by a corporate". This is an absurd argument. Why do they desire to keep the identity of the donor secret?

The court pulled up the SBI for not releasing these details saying it should have been clear from the order that all “conceivable” details had to be made public. “…There is no manner of doubt that the SBI is required to furnish all details available with it. This, we clarify, will include the alphanumeric number and serial number, if any, of the bonds purchased. To avoid any controversy in the future, the chairperson of the bank should file an affidavit by 5 pm on Thursday that it has disclosed all details in its custody and that no details have been withheld,” the bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the SBI, said that the bank was happy to furnish whatever details the court wanted. “In the judgment, we had expressed asked the State Bank of India to disclose ‘all details.’ That includes the bond numbers as well. The bank cannot be selective in disclosing all details. Do not wait for the orders of this court,” CJI Chandrachud said in court.

Revelation of the names of the corporate houses and the recipient has wider implications on the political scenario was manifest in the desperation of the lawyers appearing for corporate houses to impress upon the bench not to disclose the alphanumeric number. What was most interesting was the craving of the corporate houses to prevail upon judges to take back their order. One of the lawyers even went on to say that the judgement has come at the back of the people. This in fact enraged one of the judges who warned him to slap a contempt notice. On Monday FICCI and Assocham, two industry bodies had moved the Supreme Court, opposing the list of electoral bond donors public.

Rahul Gandhi said the electoral bonds were used as “the biggest extortion racket in the world” while his party demanded criminal proceedings against Modi and a Supreme Court-monitored investigation. “It was a Chanda do-dhandha lo (Give donations, get business) scheme. So far, the electoral bonds data exposes at least four corrupt tactics of the BJP: 1. Quid Pro Quo 2. Hafta Vasooli 3. Kickbacks 4. Money laundering through shell companies,” he said.

There are many companies that have donated electoral bonds, and immediately in turn got awarded by Modi Government. Name any corporate house and one will find its name on the SBI list of donors. There are companies that donated huge funds, disproportionate to their income shown in their balance sheets. Most of these companies were visited by the ED guys and goons. Significantly Prudent Electoral Trust raised $272 million since its creation in 2013, funnelling roughly 75 per cent of that to PM Modi’s party. The trust’s donations to the BJP total 10 times as much as the $20.6 million it issued to the opposition Congress party, the records show

Modi as usual tries to twist other words to target them. This was also evident from his attempt to twist Rahul Gandhi exhortation to "fight against shakti", which symbolised the forces of corruption and falsehood, not any religious power. Rahul said; "The ’shakti’ (power) that I mentioned, Modi ji is the mask of that power and we are fighting against it. It is such a power that today it has captured India’s voice, India’s institutions, the CBI, I-T, ED, Election Commission, the media, Indian industry and the entire constitutional structure of India in its clutches.”

Rahul even went up to assert; "Narendra Modi ji, who is a slave of the same power, imposes GST on the poor of the country without controlling inflation and auctions the country’s wealth to increase the strength of that power. It is not any kind of religious power, it is the power of unrighteousness, corruption and falsehood. That’s why whenever I raise my voice against it, Modi ji and his machine of lies gets upset and enraged".

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