Attack on Freedoms: A Growing Fascist Trend
The RSS and its various official unofficial fronts are quite enraged with the protest of various sections of the intellectuals and artists against the attack on freedoms and the composite culture of the country and intolerance of dissent leading to killing of the progressive intellectuals and mob lynching in Dadari. The protest of the intellectuals that began with the symbolic protest of returning of the Sahitya Academy awards by eminent poets and writers is becoming more and more pervasive. Concerned with effect on “investment” for “make in India” The leaders of RSS and BJP are making irresponsible and dangerous statements of vengeance with the inferences of growing fascist trends under the dispensation of the present government. In fact this kind of unexpected nationwide protests of intellectuals and creative personalities from other cultural fields against the culture of communal violence and intolerance of dissent by the Hinduttva forces under government patronage has crossed the national boundaries and is garnering widespread support of international intellectual community. Panicked by the international condemnation, RSS leaders began terming intellectuals’ protests as intolerance to it and Hinduism. The billionaire Finance Minister echoed it by stating that Modi has been the worst victim of intolerance since 2002 hinting at more vengeful acts of attack on freedoms situational rights of the citizens.
It is for the first time in the history of India since independence that such a large number of people from various creative cultural fields: poets and writers of various languages; artists; filmmakers and actors from all over the country and abroad have joined hands to protest against the culture of communal violence and intolerance. The intellectual dissent to the growing fascist trends of communal intolerance had been gaining ground ever since the present government came to power through communal polarization and that seems intent to maintain and extend power with the same tactic. The recent cold blooded, cowardly murder of the Kannad writer Professor Kalburgi and premeditated lynching with the beef rumor in Dadri, proved to be the triggering point precipitating into collective protest. The protests continue and shall continue as the hate campaign, the political tool of the RSS does not seem to mellow down but has become more aggressively vocal. The present undeclared emergency is more dangerous than the declared emergency as Indira Gandhi had to rely on mostly state’s coercive apparatuses for oppression. The present government has additional forces of various RSS lumpen brigades like Bajrangdal, Ramsena, et.al under its disposal and experts in rumor mongering.
The Hinduttva forces under the RSS command, due to being bereft of sense of history, had not imagined that symbolic protest of returning Sahitya Academy awards by some eminent poets and writers shall made such a huge worldwide collective protests by intellectuals – poets; writers; artists; film makers; scientist and social scientists. The worry and desperation of the RSS and its government are not concern for country’s constitution values of secularism and constitutional rights of freedom to speech and expression and right to choice, but the image of the government affecting its “make in India” model of neo-liberal development under the WTO direction. Ever since Modi government took over the power with massive majority in parliaments, the intellectuals have been concerned with the growing attacks on basic democratic values of communal amity; plurality of lifestyles; fundamentals rights and tolerance to differences of opinion, through threats, muscle power and murders. In the name of Hinduttva, these obscurantist forces with a favorable government at centre and some states are moving forward to implement their divisive agenda of cultural homogenization aimed further marginalizing the other cultures rendering the members of minority community into second class citizens. Venomous expression of this intent can be seen in everyday utterances of RSS and BJP leaders and ministers terming the opponents as Pakistan agent or leftists suggesting to leave the country for Pakistan. Premeditated attacks on minorities have increased in the last one year threatening the basic fabrics of democracy. Not only are the minions like Sadhvi Prachi or Sakshi Maharaj indulging into criminal loose talks with the intention of creating communal hatred but BJP’s top leaders too. While BJP President traces Pakistan’s hand in BJP’s possible defeat in Bihar its General Secretary advised the actor Shahrukh Khan to go to Pakistan over his condemnation of communal intolerance.
The cold blooded murder Prof. Kalburgi and premeditated lynching of Akhlaq at Basehda village in Dadri after spreading the rumor of storage of beef in his house, are latest examples of sequence that began with the threats of sending to Pakistan to eminent thinker and novelist, UR Anantmurhy fr his criticism of Modi, with intimidating posters on the walls of his house. This was followed by withdrawal of Ramanun’s essay ‘Three hundred Ramayana subsequent to vandalism by ABVP leaders and VHP goons. The list of attacks by the obscurantist forces in the subcontinent on the rationalist writers and thinkers. As yet individuals and religious communities were declared to be anti-national now a university, JNU, the only campus in the country with a healthy democratic academic culture, has been declared anti-national.
Why are these forces so intolerant to dissent and scared of the rational ideas whom they depict as attack on their faith and hurtful to their religious sentiments? The answer is that chauvinistic jingoism and intolerance to dissent is immanently innate attribute of all varieties of fascism. The Hinduttva variety of fascism, if allowed to run the show, shall prove to be more catastrophic owing to India’s relatively huge population and pluralism of cultural values. The historical ethos tells us that fascisms do not last long but do not end voluntarily but they have to be fought by resistance and the radicalization of the social consciousness. The intellectuals have taken the lead; let us join the bandwagon of, and carry ahead the protest against the growing fascist trend of intolerance to dissent and continuing attacks on rationalists, minorities, Dalits, Adivasis and women. Let us join the discourse to deliberate the over the strategies to fight the communal menace, plaguing this country.
Janhastakshep’s this meeting is an effort in this direction, please join us at 5.00PM, today 5th November, 2015 at Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi .
n Ish Mishra