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Mainstream, VOL LV No 40 New Delhi September 23, 2017

The Politics of Sangh Parivar has Seeds of Violence in it

Saturday 23 September 2017, by Sandeep Pandey

The Prime Minister’s birthday was celebrated by dedicating the Sardar Sarovar dam to the nation. There are 244 villages and one town that are going to be submerged by this dam. The cost of the dam is nearly Rs One lakh crore. Of this an estimated Rs 1500 crore was embezzled in the process of rehabilitation. An enquiry commission headed by Justice S.S. Jha was established to look into the corruption in rehabilitation. The government is not ready to make the report public.

Because of closure of sluice gates of the dam, 40,000 families faced submergence at once. The Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal had ordained that any family before being submerged should be rehabilitated at last six months in advance. However, these 40,000 families are being made to evacuate like rats by flooding their homes. This is akin to inflicting violence on people. Hence the birthday of the PM resulted in violence against the people.

On the other hand, Medha Patkar and 37 other people affected by the dam were standing in the Narmada water protesting the observance of the PM’s birthday. Earlier she was on fast with others and was sent to jail on false charges of causing damage to government property. Till the PM’s birthday not a single official of either the Madhya Pradesh Government or the Central Government met Medha Patkar. This demonstrates the Bharatiya Janata Party’s lack of faith in democracy and their tendency to curb all dissent with brutal force.

This should not come as a surprise because the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, BJP etc., members of the larger Hindutva family, have always used violence to promote themselves. The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 is probably their most gruesome and cowardly act which is still justified by some Sangh Parivar members. The rath-yatra of Lal Krishna Advani, which culminated in demolition of the Babri mosque in 1992, was responsible for the birth of the problem of terrorism in India. First, serial bomb blasts took place in India in 1993 in Mumbai. People have been convicted for this but not for the incident of demolition of the Babri mosque which instigated the Mumbai bomb blasts of 1993. Even though it was Indira Gandhi who carried out the first nuclear tests in 1974, it was only after the 1998 tests carried out by the Atal Behari Vajpayee Government that India declared its possession of nuclear weapons and initiated a nuclear arms race with Pakistan. In any case because of the BJP’s foreign policy India’s relationship with neighbouring countries has been adversely affected.

The 2002 communal violence took place in Gujarat when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister and in that over a thousand people were killed. This will always remain a blot on his name. After Narendra Modi took over as the PM several incidents of public violence against people suspected of being involved in cow slaughter has led to the killing of over twenty people including Mohammed Akhlaq and Pehlu Khan. Rationalists and intellectuals like Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M.M. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh have been targeted and murdered. Even an innocuous looking programme of the PM—the clean India campaign—took the life of one Zafar Khan in Rajasthan in an incident related to open defecation when government employees beat him to death.

It is quite logical that as Narendra Modi’s stature has grown, he’ll need bigger sacrifices with more devastating impact to move ahead. Inauguration of the Sardar Sarovar Dam has made 40,000 people landless and homeless in one stroke. The Government of Myanmar is expelling the Rohingya Muslims from their country because of political vendetta but what was the fault of 40,000 families, all legitimate citizens of India, when they were expelled in a similar manner from their homes? Do they not enjoy the fundamental right to life enshrined in our Constitution?

The Sangh Parivar is enamoured of the Indian culture in which the value of sacrifice is held very high. Who can be a better symbol of this than Medha Patkar? The BJP governments of MP and the Centre are indulging in humiliation of Medha Patkar by ignoring her. The moral force of Medha Patkar is bigger than most of the so-called leaders. To become a leader by winning an election is one thing and quite another to be accepted by the people as a leader because of her participation in people’s struggles. Whether it is the arrogance of Narendra Modi or that of Shivraj Singh Chauhan, the Sangh Parivar cannot escape the blot of submerging 40,000 people forcibly. Once again it has been proved that violence is in the seed of the Sangh Parivar’s ideology.

The personality of Narendra Modi, by misuse of the office of PM, has in this one event emerged as an arrogant, self-centered, patriarchal, feudal, insensitive person appearing like a dwarf before the 32-years-long historic struggle of the Narmada Bachao Andolan. His concept of development is purely materialistic in which there is no scope for human feelings. His lonely family life is an example of this. It is unfortunate that in India, which has a tradition of rich and towering intellectual and political leadership, there is now a person at the helm of affairs who is very parochial and insecure. He would like himself to be juxtaposed alongside Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel or Vivekananda but he is so selfish that he’ll take the whole country down with him.

Noted social activist and Magsaysay awardee Dr Sandeep Pandey is the Vice-President of the Socialist Party (India). He was elected to this post at the founding conference of the party at Hyderabad on May 28-29, 2011.

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