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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 22 New Delhi May 18, 2019

What would they do to prevent the Enemy?

Saturday 18 May 2019

by Binoy Viswam

These eventful days of hectic electioneering reveal the real character and content of Indian politics of the present and future. In the ultimate analysis, this war between various political parties and coalitions broadly point to a single fact. The final test of strength in India will be between two ideologies—the ideology of secularism and the ideology of theocratic fundamentalism. The RSS is the spearhead of the ultra-Right, theocratic, fundamentalist forces indebted to the fascist ideology. The very word and concept of secularism is hated by the RSS. They unleashed their crusade against secularism depicting it as a Western notion. Those crusaders forget that the socio-philosophical values of secularism have many facets in common with Indian traditions and ethos. Pluralism in thought and vision is the soul of that tradition. Secularism in a broad manner is the modern political version of all the positive values in a pluralistic society. In Indian circumstances it is devoted to unity in diversity and it also stands for separation of religion from politics.

The RSS and its political outfit, the BJP, have never hid their animosity to secularism. Ever since their inception, they used to call it pseudo-secularism. According to their world view, secularism can only be ‘pseudo’. What is real for them is a country based on theocratic funda-mentalism. The ideological teachings of the RSS start from the concept that a nation should have a religion to be called as its own. Their motto— one nation, one culture, one religion, one language etc.—derives from nothing else but this concept. The RSS insists that everyone living in India should pay allegiance to their inter-pretation of nationalism. Their ideology and politics are deep-rooted in the thought processes of Mussolini and Hitler. Without any shadow of doubt this intellectual indebtedness to fascism is explained in M.S. Golwalkar’s Bunch of Thoughts (1966) which can be called their holy book. In yet another book, We or Our Nationhood Defined (1939) the same author discusses the very same ideas. Always they looked at fascist Germany as a model land and all their early leaders were trained to hero-worship Hitler.

As it is akin to fascist politics, the RSS-BJP was always cunning enough to hide and unhide their real face according to the situation. To capture power they would speak in the name of the poor. Once in power they simply forget the poor and betray all the promises. Following the footsteps of Hitler, the RSS-BJP also preaches racial supremacy garbed by the word ‘Hindutva’. (In fascist Germany it was the supremacy of the Aryan race.). All their actions were subservient to the unending greed of finance capital. The five years rule of Narendra Modi provides innu-merable instances of typical fascist character. Fascists in many countries come to power through the constitutional process. But in all countries their first target is to undermine the Constitution and all its institutions. The country witnessed this from the CBI to RBI and the Supreme Court to Election Commission.

In order to escape from the wrath of the people they lavishly use the names of Gods and religion. Pitting one religion against another and one place of worship against a different place of worship they attempt to divide the people. Ultra-nationalism and militaristic jingoism are readymade weapons in the armoury of Right reactionary fascist governments. History of fascism all over the world presents ample evidences of this kind of fascist tactics. Every action, every utterance, every political move of Narendra Modi during this period tells us that he is the Indian epitome of fascism.

During the decisive days of the electoral battle Narendra Modi was so frantic that all electoral norms and codes of conduct were violated. The government machinery was blatantly used, civil servants were arm-twisted. The media were used exactly in tune with the Goebbelsian principles. (This author had to face it with Doordarshan, where they insisted to revise a paragraph in the CPI’s election address dealing with the RSS, the school of Mussolini and Hitler and fascist philosophy. As it was an infringement on the right of the CPI to express itself before the voters, the party refused to record the speech.) The hue and cry, the unconcealed frenzy in the Modi camp testified to the fact that they are aware of the shift in the political equilibrium. It is a known fact that the people’s verdict in 2019 will be different from that of 2014. By any hook or crook the BJP will not reach the magic number of 273. The NDA collectively is not going to have that thumping majority in the 17th Lok Sabha as it had in 2014-19.

The days following May 23, after the election results come out, will be extremely critical as far as India’s future is concerned. The RSS-BJP and the socio- economic forces behind them will try with all their might to install Narendra Modi back to power again. Horse-trading of the MPs will definitely take place. Political and ideological credibility of every political party swearing in the name of secularism will be tested. Will they stand truthful to the cause of secularism, the heart and soul of united India? Or will they, solely or partly, succumb to the divisive designs of the Sangh Parivar? ‘We, the People of India’ are naturally anxious to know about the reactions of all secular and democratic parties to this vital question. During the pre-poll days, all their talk about forging a common approach to defeat the BJP turned out to be futile. Narrow political interests and individual egoism prevented them from building a common platform against the main enemy of secularism. Bigger parties made bigger mistakes and smaller parties made smaller mistakes in this regard. Still the voters are in no mood to repeat the mistake that they committed in 2014 by ensuring absolute majority to the BJP.

That spirit of the popular verdict should be the guiding principle for every secular party in India. The presence of the Left may not be huge in Parliament. But the people of India can rest assured that the Left will leave no stone unturned in this crucial fight against the fascist forces that have caused havoc in the last five years.

The author, a member of the Rajya Sabha, is a former Minister of Forests and Housing in the erstwhile LDF Government in Kerala. He is also currently a member of the CPI’s Central Secretariat.

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