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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 16-17, April 20, April 27, 2024

Review of Vijayan’s India vs. RSS – a book against majoritarian agenda | Joydip Ghosal

Saturday 20 April 2024



In the book India vs RSS by Pinarayi Vijayan asserts that the battle for democratic and secular India against totalitarian RSS is winnable. CPI (M) leader Pinarayi Vijayan is the chief minister of Kerala. He served as Minister of Electric Power and Cooperatives from 1996 to 1998. He was born in Kannur which was the “ground zero of RSS terror.”

The majoritarian ideology is steeped in hatred and parochialism. Vijayan in this book shows that the BJP dispensation in Delhi hopes to camouflage that with a mask of occasional sobriety. In this book he exposes the root of RSS terror in his state. For political gains, the authoritarian forces are trying to tarnish the state. In unequivocal terms, he declares that RSS policies and ethos are not compliant with our country’s interests. They are a direct threat to secular ideals and to a pluralistic country like ours. Vijay Prashad and Sudhanva Deshpande wrote the ‘Note from the Editors’ section of this book. We come across a bizarre information that RSS leader Kundan Chandrawat declared a bounty of Rs 1 crore for his assassination. But later we realised that it was quite natural because Vijayan stood firmly against the terror and mayhem unleashed by right-wing forces. While delivering the inaugural address at the Delhi Union of Journalists and National Association of Journalists seminar on ’ Democracy in Danger’ at Kerala House Conference Hall, New Delhi he said that we lived in times when there was a price to be paid for uttering the truth. Dissenting voices are being threatened with dire consequences. Ill-conceived demonetization had brought the economy to a grinding halt. The first casualty of this blunder was a washerwoman from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh - Tirtharaji.

Vijjayan’s own state, Kerala on the other hand was setting the trajectory and tone of defiance and resistance. Repeatedly Kerala faced attack from ruling dispensation because it always remained flag bearer of secularism and communal harmony. RSS, he unequivocally declared wanted to appropriate the social reformers in the name of religion. He cited historical facts to disclose RSS. Majoritarian forces spread canards and propaganda laced with hatred against minorities. One campaign orchestrated by Hindutvawadi forces drummed that Hindus were not allowed to buy land in Malappuram but Hindus of Malappuram, including the former foreign secretary refuted that. Vijayan wrote that tension was sought to be built up by propagating malice on social media that during the holy month of Ramzan, minorities desecrated a temple at Nilambur. But later it turned out that that reprehensible incident was hatched by RSS. Amidst all of these ’Boycott Kerala’ campaign was also run with full malicious vigour. Its purpose was to the bring the tourism industry to its knees. In no uncertain terms he said that those who were behind such fake news had no regards for lives and livelihoods of the people of Kerala. There were calls from some to invoke Article 356 of the Constitution to dismiss the Kerala Govt. According to Mr Vijayan, such campaigns would gain momentum in search for opposition–free India. But he remained sure that the people of Kerala would trounce such attempts. In a speech delivered at the ’ Rally for communal harmony’, Mangalore he warned that several efforts were on to create fissure in our society. He exposed the attempts of RSS to propagate discord and communal hatred. Huchangi Prasad, Chetna Thirthahalli, M.T Vasudevan Nair, U.R Ananthamurthy, flim director Kamal, and K.S Bhagawan faced the brunt for not submitting to the dictates of majoritarian bigots. Vijayan suggested to read some of the fact-finding reports to ascertain the nefarious design. Justice Jaganmohan Reddy Commission of Inquiry investigating the Ahmedabad riots of 1969, Report of the Commission of Inquiry, Tellicherry disturbance, 1971, Justice Joseph Vithyathil, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Communal Disturbances at Jamshedpur, April 1979, Justice Venugopal Commission of Inquiry into Kanyakumari riots of 1982 are some of the reports that are mentioned in the book to gauge the extent of harm these riots had done. In the National Seminar Against Communal Fascism, Kozhikode stressed the need to safeguard secularism. The outlook on socialism, parliamentary democracy federalism and secularism are the fundamental perspectives put forward by the Indian Constitution. He said that when combined with the idea of ’ unity in diversity ’ these ideas of secularism and federalism constituted the fundamental features of our country. “ Such a vision evolved in the Indian Constitution on the basis of the perspectives put forward by the national movement given the international context.” He is firmly of the opinion that people’s interests can not be protected in a country which has fissures on religious lines. Protection of minority rights is also crucial to resist the penetration of terrorist and communal ideas. According to him we should recognise that protecting minority rights amounts to strengthening secularism. He thinks that believers should have the right to believe and non-believers should have right to remain so. Politics should not interfere in religion and religion should not interfere in politics. He cited various instances in this book when Sangh Parivar had been using government machinery to dismantle the national vision of unity in diversity.

This book also contains an insightful article on the left and Muslims of Malabar which was published in The Marxist. He showed that Malabar revolution interested Lenin. He observed the Hindu–Muslim unity that thrived in that period. He instructed Abani Mukherjee, an Indian Communist who was in Moscow to gather all available information and facts on the peasant struggle and agrarian problem. Abani Mukherjee prepared the pamphlet after collecting all the facts. Kutowskia a Russian scholar conducted research on the Malabar rebellion. He earned his doctorate degree for that. Conrad Woods, a British communist also thoroughly researched the different aspects of revolution and wrote a book titled The Moplah Rebellion and Its Genesis which was published by People’s Publishing House in 1987. He mentioned that when such rebellion took place, leftist political ideology did not exist. It was quite natural that some limitations appeared in the movement. Jean Chesneaux, a historian who researched on the agrarian struggle in China stressed the role religious movements played in the absence of political ideas. But the glorious tradition of anti-imperialist struggle was carried forward by communists. In 1943, the fighter of Kayyur went to the gallows shouting slogans against imperialism.

This book is valuable for understanding the nefarious designs of the majoritarian fanatics.

India vs. RSS
by Pinarayi Vijayan

ISBN – 978- 93-80118-69-7

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