Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Crisis of Indian Democracy

Sanjay Kumar

Indian democracy faces  an unprecedented crisis. We do not have to get into debates about whether the current regime is fascist, or not. It is clearly and cleverly, creating, as well egging on, a majoritarian politics, which for instance calls upon 'people of India' to target their selected enemies; minorities, leftists, anti-national liberals, etc.  What Nehru had warned against, a majority communalism masquerading as nationalism, is growing right before our eyes. This is no longer a possible conspiracy, or a plan of Nagpur headquarters, but an embodied reality in terms of popular attitudes, modes of behaviour and values. On the other hand, the Modi government is implementing many anti-people economic and social policies. But somehow the popular mobilisations against those are not able to cross a critical mass. We can compare and contrast the situation with Emergency when a particular leader and the state power became the symbol of anti people authoritarianism. Then, the idea that given a chance people will throw out the authoritarian leader seemed reasonable; and that is how indeed it turned out in 1977 elections. Now, the nature and modus operandi of 'authoritarianism' are different. How do you challenge a 'popular' authoritarianism, whose kit bag also contains legitimate 'democratic' tools. In any democratic project, it is ultimately the people themselves who assert their democratic rights and make society and state democratic. How do we address the people who are supporting anti-democratic politics. Old assumptions and methods will not work. It seems democratic politics now has to be 'molecular', work at micro-level, make people confront their own attitudes, modes of behaviour, and long held beliefs. At the other level, we have to unpack deeper and more rooted contradictions of the Modi regime with the people of India. Of course, all this is easier said than done. However, what we can call the 'self criticism' of the democracy in India, a self awareness of its blind spots  and limitations, can be a first constructive step.

So what are these blind spots and limitations? We can only briefly touch some of them here. Our understanding about democracy in India has generally worked on a simplistic notion of people, which can best be called populist. While presenting the draft of the constitution Dr Ambedkar had famously warned about the health and future of the plant on democracy in a social soil which was deeply anti democratic. He most likely had feudal, casteist, partiarchal hold overs in mind, which had made Indian society one of the most unequal and dehumanising in human history. People like Dr Ambedkar were deeply aware that in a society like India democracy will not be a spontaneous development. It was not that once a liberal democratic constitution is in place, the state and society will merrily start chugging along the path of democracy. We all know how the power of office (whose other name is corruption), money, and muscle have thrived in our society since independence. We have come to accept a narrow definition of democracy, which is mainly centered on regular elections and a modicum of freedom of expression and association for a small, relatively privileged minority. On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of Indians have been deprived of even basic citizenship rights, except of course the right to vote. Actually, the relatively small privileged minority also does not interact with state as citizens.  

There is no doubt that the past nearly seventy years of electoral democracy have expanded and deepened the stake people feel in the elected governments. Over time, many oppressed and deprived sections of society, which could not vote in  earlier  elections, have been mobilised, and in India we actually witness an interesting phenomenon that larger percentages of deprived and oppressed people vote than the privileged and the rich. Another interesting phenomenon is that this mobilisation has occurred at the level of community, mainly caste. It has been generally believed that participation of oppressed castes has broadened and deepened democracy in India. While this is true in its own special way, another parallel process got overlooked. All communities which become active during elections are actually 'created' communities, called into  action by leaders, parties and their ground level workers. If communities like these become the main mode of address to an average voter, then it is only a matter of time that an organisation gets successful  in mobilising the largest such 'community' , the Hindu religious community. This follows from the logic of the 'arithmetic' of electoral politics in our country. For some time many of us had thought that the pluralities of caste, language, and regional variations in India will not allow mobilisation of people around a monolithic Hindutva identity to be successful. Actually, it seems that in states like Asom and UP, Hindutva has gone around this problem. In UP it managed to mobolise non Jatav dalits and non Yadav OBCs by specifically targeting them under an the over all ideological hegemony of upper castes. In the process it managed to disempower nearly 18% Muslim voters. Actually this exercise of dis empowering a significant minority is not unique to India. In the US, in the past four decades, the Republican Party has evolved a programme which systematically disregards the interests to 12 percent African Americans. And, in all presidential elections the majority of white voters have always voted for republican candidates. This was the case even during 'landslide' Obama victories.

Among the blind spots of Indian democracy we must also touch upon its hugely compromising notion and practice of secularism. The unique brand of secularism in India has been called 'sarv dharm sambhav', which literally translates as equal attitude towards all religions. Opportunistic politicians have translated it to 'equal respect for all religions'. An idea like the latter is  completely against the spirit of secularism. Secularism in a democracy has two assumptions. One, the fundamental democratic values, those of equality and fundamental rights, are not based upon any religious idea. The people who give themselves a constitution do not derive this power from authority of any religious belief. In this sense the basic democratic values are secular. The second principle, that a secular state will not prefer any religion over others, is a requirement of the principle of equality. A consequence of the secular basis of democracy is that any religious practice which violate these principles, for instance the principle of equality, can be outlawed. No religious belief can sanction inequality. Indian state did outlaw untouchability, even though for many Hindus it was an article of faith. So a secular democratic state power can not follow a formula like equal respect, or equal attitude towards all religions. Yet it does not  mean that secularism is anti religion. It just does not entertain any religious sanction in its domain. It does not interfere in the sphere of personal beliefs, nor  does it deny believers the right to associate on the basis of their religion.

Finally, the vexed relationship of caste in India with democracy need to be addressed. The electoral democracy has largely succeeded in reducing struggles against caste oppression to a politics of representation. While the reality is that in the era of electoral democracy and reservations for oppressed castes in state jobs and educational institutions, caste inequalities morphed into newer forms, which the politics of representation fully integrated into existing structures is often unable to address. It is in this regard that Rohith Vemula's suicide note becomes an important window to the lived reality of politically and socially conscious Dalit youth. Second, an important observation of Ambedkar in Annihilation of Caste is that as long as Hindus remain caste ridden, Hindu society is actually not a society. Caste fragments, and arranges society hierarchically so that any large scale unity becomes difficult. A public sphere, in which any individual rights bearing citizen interacts with others as their equal, is an important part of  any democratic society. Continuing salience of caste in Indian society has limited and compromised the possibilities of public sphere in India?

The text is based upon author's presentation at a round table on the same title organised by People's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism on 15th July, 2017. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Populism and 'Post Truth': The Two Misrepresentations of Extreme Right Wing in Liberal Discourse

Sanjay Kumar

Populism has emerged as the latest bad word in the liberal commentary on current politics in the West. The understanding is simple. Populist politicians are supposed to appeal to the 'people' and stoke their jealousy against those who are economically, socially and politically successful. Why should liberal commentators be bad mouthing an appeal to the people? After all, is not democracy supposed to be government 'of the people, by the people, for the people'? To appreciate the liberal disdain of populism, it helps to unpack its conception of state and economy. The basic idea is that running a modern and complex state and economy is a specialists' job, much beyond abilities of ordinary people. That is why the liberal model of governance advocates representative democracy, rather than direct democracy. A related worry is the lack of cultural and civil behaviour of the masses. Masses vs classes, the former lacking public rationality and civility, while the latter being defined by these properties, is an apt description of the underbelly of liberal understanding of society. Depending upon how democratic a particular liberalism institutional structure is, the avenues to reach to the level of 'classes', through education, money, culture, etc. may be more or less open to individuals from different social strata. The liberal criticism of populism rests upon seeing it as a misguided, ill-informed and foolhardy attack on those without whom the political and economic system would not work.

Extreme right wingers relish the populist tag. It is a profitable wrapper over a racist, misogynist and communal core. What others see as racism and misogyny, someone like Trump sees as his courageous disregard of 'political correctness'. And he genuinely believes that his conduct has allowed ordinary people to challenge a public censorship liberal elites had forced on them. Same for Modi; he sees his open espousal of Hindu communal interests as unshackling the Hindu pride from emasculation by a pseudo-secular ruling elite. Besides targeting entrenched elites, extreme right wingers like Trump, LePen, or own Modi, also use national jingoism, racism, misogyny, and bigotry to advance their politics. The populist label given by liberal commentators fails to address the threat these pose to selected minorities. It fails to face up to the disdainful and ugly realities to social life. 

Another word used in liberal discourse to identify extreme right wing is 'post truth', designated as the word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries. The implication is that popular opinion now is somehow being easily swayed by emotionally charged rhetoric and fake news having no factual basis. The claim that this is happening only now is odd. The history of liberal media and politics is littered with selective reporting, commentary and demagoguery. Radical thinkers like Chomsky have uncovered how these tactics are used to create consent in liberal democracies. It was not too long ago that newspapers like NYT and Times were calling their readers to march to the drumbeats of war on Iraq on fake charges of weapons of mass destruction possessed by Saddam Hussein. Elected leaders like Blair were presenting 'sexed up' intelligence in the parliament to prepare their country for a war of aggression. The story was repeated without any remorse with regard to Libya and Syria. Nor is it the case that liberal media and politicians indulge in such skulduggery only for aggressions against third world countries, and are truthful saints when reporting on internal politics. The way even moderate left leaders like Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn, or Malenchon have been lampooned, and their policies against austerity and increasing taxes on the rich ridiculed would put shame to any claims of fair reporting and neutrality. Websites circulating fake news and rumours, and claims of leaders like Trump or LePen are only more brazen and less polished attempts to create a favourable public opinion. To create a wall separation of between them and liberal discourse, with truth and facts on the one side, and 'post-truth' on the other is a motivated attempt to disguise the long history of dissemination of false information and propaganda by the liberal establishment. 

Neo-Fascism, not Populism 

Extreme right wing in the West is growing in the space opened by the legitimacy crisis of the existing liberal mode of governance. The neo-liberal political economy has unsettled existing patterns of social expectations, and meaning of social life and relations. Globalisation of production, information and culture, and continental level migrations are producing fundamental changes in working lives and public environment; opening opportunities, as well as causing crisis for many. All such changes would be expected from any advance in technology. What is unique to neo-liberalism is a market model of society in which the public sphere is increasingly becoming privatised. This is depriving people of public support to deal with sudden and unsettling change. While many ordinary people feel helpless against these changes, the rich are becoming super rich; taking inequality of income, assets and personal security to obscene levels. Alienation and insecurity are the primal fears on which the right wing is growing. This, however, is only one part of the story.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Lucknow Public Meeting: Democracy and People's lives लोक जीवन और लोकतंत्र

Democracy and People's lives

A Lecture by Dr Ravi Sinha

Time: 5.30 p.m. 4th June 2017
Jaishankar Prasad Sabhagar, Kaiserbagh, Lucknow

The world today witnesses rise of the rightwing at the global level which has generally remained on the margins after second world war. This rise is taking place through democratic routes only. Normally while discerning the menace of fascism which is unfolding before us via 'democratic' routes, the role of capital, finance, corporate houses, globalisation gets discussed but the role of 'people' and their 'lives' in this phenomenon get neglected. With this lecture, we intend to address this issue at the global level as well as in the context of India.

New Socialist Initiative (NSI) is organising this lecture. NSI - as you might be aware - is an ideological-political platform of the left which is committed to reorientation of revolutionary politics. Our attempt is to present a fresh critique of the present day capitalism, propose an outline of the new system which can provide an alternative to it and strengthen the attempts to fashion left politics in our times. No doubt, it can be accomplished by engaging in ideological preparations, internal debates - discussions along with social experiments and model building.

Dr Ravi Sinha, who is a leading member of NSI, is a well known Marxist intellectual and has been associated with the left movement for more than four decades. He is the principal author of the much-acclaimed book 'Globalisation of Capital - A New Modus Operandi of Global Capitalism' (1997) and has been a founding member of the Hindi journal Sandhan. Hundreds of his articles in English-Hindi have appeared in various publications 

You are cordially invited to join us for the programme and participate in the discussion.

New Socialist Initiative
Contact : 9565802785, 09868940920

Monday, May 1, 2017

The New Social Order in Uttar Pradesh

- Sanjay Kumar

UP elections results stunned everyone, losers as well as victors. With 40 percent of votes, the BJP managed to get more than 75% of the state assembly seats. Other major parties of the state, SP and BSP, were left far behind licking their wounds, even though these parties had managed to retain their core vote parcentages of 28% (in alliance with Congress) and 20%, respectively. The appointment of Adityanath Yogi, the mahant of Gorakhnath Math, as the chief minister, and actions of his government like the banning socalled illegal abbatoirs, anti-Romeo squads, and loan waiver of small and marginal farmers, are indications that the BJP government in state is clearly aiming for a new social order, an order which it hopes will consolidate its political success. 

Politics and Society under Bourgeois Democracy

Bourgeois democracies create a specifically mediated relationship between politics and society, through which both, politics and society shape each other. Politics and state action are not passive reflections of the social order. Rules of electoral politics in India have meant that majority governments have been easily formed with votes of even 30% of the electorate. Political success requires agency, conscious planning and organisation. All indications are that from micro level booth management to sending subtle messages to its core voters, the BJP simply out maneaouvered its opponents in UP. Politics, which ensures access to state power, the most organised agency in society, is actually a vehicle to mould society. RSS has been working on this premise for decades. Now that the BJP is in power at center and many large states of the country, there should be no doubt that it is going to try to turn India according to its ideology and vision. However, it will be wrong to attribute political success purely to the actions and abilities of players. Actually, political success itself is premised upon social influence. The latter can take diverse forms, from outright domination, hegemony with passive/active consent, to negotiated compromises. Hence, the political success of the BJP itself is based upon an underlying social dynamic. Through a combination of events, the BJP under Modi has been successful in tapping into this dynamic. What is this dynamic? What is the nature of its influence over society? How far the trends of this dynamic match with RSS gameplan? Also, what kinds of social currents are agaisnt this dynamic, and how can it be countered? There is little doubt that progressive and democratic forces in the country need to address these questions for making sense of the BJP success and developing credible alternatives. 

A lot has been written about how in this election, and before these in Asom and in 2014 Loksabha elections, BJP has been able to form majority governments by completely disregarding Muslims. The obverse of this is the consolidation of large sections of Hindus under a politicla programme which has a clear anti-minority agenda, and whose violent consequences have been evident for many years now. Persecution of minorities is an established fact of Indian social and political life, a lot has been writtten and discussed about it. However, a curious fact about discussions on, and activism against Hindutva is that little light is thrown on Hindu society which is giving its politically allegiance to Hindutva. We need to turn our lens towards the socalled 'majority' community and explore processes that are turning it communal. Without this we will be forced to argue that the success of Hindutva communalism is purely a result of propaganda, conspiracy, organisational acumen, etc (depending upon one's ideological orientation, any one of these can be picked) of the RSS/BJP. Without such an analysis we can not show and convince Hindus that the path of Hindutva is actually a path of complete disaster for India as a society. Hindutva is bad for every Indian, not just for minorities. The UP election results are as good an opportunity as any other, to have a look at the ways the Hindu social order, despite its many bewildering and contradictory diversity, is changing; changes which at present appear to be strengthening Hindutva appeal. 

Resurgence of 'Upper' Caste Hegemony: Caste has changed, but is still a dominant fact of social life in most of India. For more than five years UP was ruled by a Dalit woman. This is an unprecedented fact in more than three thousand years old history of Hindu society. Yet, caste has not disappeared. It remains perhaps the most common identity, both in private and public life, and has morphed into newer forms of hierarchy and social power. The so called upper castes, which constitute about 20% of UP population, remain the most influential caste group in society. Like in the rest of India, these castes dominate urban economy, bureaucracy, education sector, judiciary, media, and even non government sector organisations. Upper castes do not dominate UP through control of land and traditional institutions of rural society, the way their ancestors did upto two generations ago. Capitalism, political mobilisation of other castes in electoral democracy, and reservations in bureaucracy and educational institututions have meant that the old order with its naked violence and Brahmanical inhumanity is dead for good. 

'Upper' castes remain self-conscious of themselves as the upper castes in society, despite a number of inner fissures, and many among them actually living in poverty. Upper caste influence in UP takes different forms in different parts of social life. Their hegemony is most clearly visible in the media and public discourse. A popular movie like Dabang based on UP, has a Brahmin police officer as the hero, a Prajpat (of potter caste) as his love interest, and wrestler of a Netaji (not so hidden reference to upstart Yadavs) as the vile villain. All vernacular newspapers, tv news channels are owned and managed by upper castes. The upper caste self-representation is hegemonic because it is accepted as universal, while self-representations of other castes like of Yadavs, or Jatavs, are self-conscious particular. Notice another fact. While political commentators routinely refer to other castes and Muslims, as 'vote banks' of particular political parties, upper castes, to all contrary evidence, are rarely mentioned as a 'vote bank'. 

The political hegemony which upper castes enjoyed during the freedom movement, and under Congress rule, has been seriously eroded by subsequent political developments. In a nutshell, the Hindutva programme of BJP is a chance for upper castes to regain their political hegemony. This has been evident for many decades now, ever since the internal haemorrhage of Congress in the late eighties. Upper caste dalliances with SP and BSP were only tactical to serve immediate interests. Hindutva is a different bandwagon altogether. Like the national development plans of Congress earlier, Hindutva by design is a project with hegemonic pretensions, which aims to represent the entire Hindu society. Nationalism and development are the programmatic elements of this project, suitably modified from earlier Congress variants to match the neo-liberal political economy. In the present circumstances there is a natural gravitation of upper castes towards it. Now that the BJP has got a national level presence in Modi, it is very sure that upper castes form its natural core of voters. Like Congress earlier, it does not have to do anything special to attract them. Hindutva forces and 'upper' castes together can share in the glory of 'leading the nation'. 

This is very much evident in the results of recent elections. Upper castes now have more than double the number of elected members in the current assembly than their population ratio. Around half of BJP MLAs are 'upper' caste. According to election observers 'upper' castes this time maintained a strategic silence in conversations before elections, while in earlier elections they had been publicly vocal about their preferences (Messages, Mathematics and Silences in BJP's UP Win, Radhika Ramaseshan, EPW, 27 March, 2017). This was in consonance with the 'dog whistle' strategy of the RSS described by a pracharak as ' Man hee man se vote deejiye, sayam rakhiye apnee vaani par'. The aim was to keep political opponents, mainly Muslims confused. The BJP election arithmatic was simple. Gather other caste voters, who may be disgruntled with the Yadav dominated SP and Jatav dominated BSP, around the core of upper caste voters. This strategy is in obvious harmony with upper caste intentions to regain hegemony, for which they need to successfully counter politically organsied Yadavs and Jatavs. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Davids have again humbled Goliath: Why no one is celebrating POSCO victory?

- Subhash Gatade

Photo courtesy: The Hindu

Big news - at times - go completely unnoticed.

(Thanks to the mediatised times we are passing through)

And thus it did not appear surprising that the decision by Posco, the South Korean steel giant, the fourth biggest in the world, to exit the proposed 12 million tonnes a year steel plant in Odisha did not cause much flutter. Yes, newspapers duly reported POSCO India's 'request to the Odisha government to take back the land provided to it near Paradip' where it was supposed to invest 52,000 crore Rs.' The letter stated company's 'failure to start work on the proposed plant'. 

Perhaps none from the media wanted to showcase a negative example which is at variance with the efforts by the powers that be to project the idea of 'ease of doing business' here. Undoubtedly at a time when the government is keen to attract foreign capital and inducing it in very many ways, the way in which a Corporate Major - supposed to be one of the leading in the steel sector - had to exit from its project can easily shake their confidence about investing here. Or was it to cover up the fact that over the years how the South Korean Steel Major had dealt a heavy blow to the local environment by felling down more than eight lakh trees at the project site and residents are demanding accountability and compensation over such large-scale environmental destruction. What is more disturbing has been the fact that while the Union Environment Ministry never gave permission to cut the trees the MNC with due help from the local administration and law and order machinery went ahead with it. A case has been filed before the National Green Tribunal about this issue. 

The question arises why did POSCO decide to quit despite receiving continued support from the central as well as the state government? Remember the company had been handed over 1,700 acres of land by the Odisha state for the project and around 1,000 acres of land was still lying with the state which it had acquired for the project. In fact, the Odisha government went ahead with the forcible land acquisition for the steel plant despite the fact that POSCO did not have an environmental clearance for the project. And also the environmental clearance given by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on January 31, 2011, had also been suspended by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on 30 March 2012. 

Whether it had a 'change of heart' about concerns expressed by local people - who were leading and continuing with the struggle which was billed as one of the 'largest social movements in recent times' - about the devastation it had brought out in the lives of the people or the company decided to become 'green' and decided to discontinue the project.

Definitely not.

Photo provided by author
Capital or capitalists never get moved by such humanitarian concerns ( which are exhibited by lesser mortals like us). Soul of capital or capitalists rest in profit only. It is the sole criterion for it to make decisions. (As an aside if capital/capitalist would have been really 'moved' by human misery neither we would have seen giant armament factories manufacturing weapons of death or and human trafficking becoming 'lucrative' business or crores of children slogging out on peanuts).

Monday, March 27, 2017

[Racism Alert] Statement by The Association of African Students in India (AASI)

In yet another brazen instance of racism against Africans in India, a FIR was filed and 5 Nigerian students were baselessly arrested in Greater Noida on charges of murder and cannibalism. Later, on Sunday, after protests by AASI and due to lack of any evidence police released the 5 students from custody. You can read more about this horrendous incident here

AASI members protesting outside the police station in Greater Noida on Sunday. Photo: AASI

Outraged and troubled by these continued racist assaults, harassment and intimidation The Association of African Students in India (AASI) has issued this statement today. 

Statement by The Association of African Students in India

The Association of African students in India is calling on the government of India to taking concrete steps to protect the lives and properties of all African students in India, and especially in Uttar Pradesh following the recent false allegations laid on five Nigerian students.

  • We are tired of the appeasement and promises made by the Indian government and therefore we will be taking stringent actions.
  • Failure to secure the lives of African students and to ensure maximum security in areas where African students live, we will write to the African Union to cut all bilateral trade with India.
  • We will ensure that all the local media houses in our respective countries get details of the growing racism which African students are facing in India.
  • We will ensure that a detailed report on the barbaric racism African students are facing in India is sent to the high levels of all African governments and heads of state.
  • We will ask African students in our respective countries to stop making India their study destination with immediate effect.
  • We will call for a nationwide protest inviting all international media houses.

Samuel T. Jack 
President (AASI)


Saturday, March 25, 2017

UPDATE from POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) as on 24 March 2016

Picture Courtesy: www.mediamargins.net

Dear Friends,

As you may know from the media about recent the statement by Odisha’s Industry Minister, Devi Prasad Mishra that “POSCO confirmed the withdrawal of its project by requesting the Odisha government to take back the land transferred in its name”. We strongly believe this is not just a victory for our people but also the victory for the all the peasants, fisher folks, forest dwellers who are democratically fighting to protect their land, livelihood and environment. This is a victory against false propaganda, intimidation, false cases and threats of forcible eviction. This is a victory against the invasion by a global capitalist giant like POSCO in partnership with the Central and State Governments. Since this Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project was the largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) investment in this country, it has to be treated as a symbol of struggle against globalization and India’s freedom. We sincerely convey our thanks to all activists, organizations, people’s movements, progressive intellectuals, like minded Political Parties, media and concerned individuals who have extended support to our struggle. 

We strongly condemn the Odisha government’s decision that land acquired and transferred to POSCO will be kept in the Land Bank. The statement of Odisha’s Industry Minister, Devi Prasad Mishra in the Assembly of Odisha was “Steps are being taken for fencing the land by Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO)”. This is illegal, undemocratic, anti-peasants, and unwarranted. The Odisha government must follow the Supreme Court decision on the pattern of Singur where land of farmers acquired by Tata's Nano plant in West Bengal was returned to them.

The government of Odisha must respect the unanimous resolution by Dhinkia Gram Sabha (Panchayat level assembly of adult members) i.e. on 18th of October 2012, where more than 2000 people participated in the meeting and resolved that the land used for beetle vine cultivation is clearly under the rights provided to the Gram Sabha under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. Claims on the forest lands approved and recommended by the Palli Sabhas of villages (Dhinkia, Govindpur…) are still pending for recognition and no step has been taken to recognize their rights. We are strongly determined to reoccupy our farm lands and reconstruct our vineyards for the cultivation of betel leaves. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

योगी परिघटना -उत्तर प्रदेश में ’हिन्दू राष्ट्र’की दस्तक

स्वदेश कुमार सिन्हा

4 जून 2006 - “जब अयोध्या का विवादित ढांचा गिराने से हमें कोई रोक नही सकातो राम मन्दिर बनाने से कौन रोकेगा.”
“गंगा में मूर्ति विर्सजन के दौरान होने वाला प्रदूषण सबको दिखता है , लेकिन बकरीद के समय हजारो निरीह पशु काशी में काटे गये हैं उनका खून गंगा जी में बहा है क्या यह प्रदूषण नही है” ?

जून 2015 - “जो लोग योग का विरोध कर रहे हैं उन्हे भारत छोड़ देना चाहिए , जो सूर्य नमस्कार को नही मानते उन्हे समुद्र में डूब जाना चाहिए.”

अगस्त 2015“मुसलमानो की आबादी तेजी से बढ़ना खतरनाक रूझान है यह एक चिन्ता का विषय है केन्द्र सरकार को उनकी जनसंख्या घटने के लिए सख्त कदम उठाने चाहिए.”
फरवरी 2015 –“हम पूरे हिन्दुस्तान को हिन्दू बनवा देंगे, पूरी दुनिया में भगवा फहरवा देंगे। मक्का में गैर मुस्लिम और वैटिकन सिटी में गैर ईसाइ नही जा सकते,  हमारे यहाँ  सभी लोग आ सकते है। ’’

अगस्त 2015-  लव जेहादको लेकर योगी जी का एक वीडियो सामने आया था जिसमें वे अपने समर्थको से कहते हैं कि हमने फैसला किया है कि अगर वे एक हिन्दू लड़की का धर्म परिवर्तन कराते हैं तो हम सौ मुस्लिम लड़कियों का धर्म परिवर्तन करायेंगे। बाद में योगी ने इस वीडियो के बारे में कहा कि हम इस मुद्दे पर कोई सफाई नही देना चाहते।


ये योगी आदित्यनाथ के कुछ चुने हुए विवादित बयान हैं अपने उग्र हिन्दुत्व की अवधारणा में संघ परिवार को भी पीछे छोड़ने वाले अजय सिंह विष्ट उर्फ योगी आदित्यनाथ के उत्तर प्रदेश का मुख्यमंत्री चुने जाने पर न केवल देश के धर्म निरपेक्ष मानस अपितु बहुत से ’’उदार हिन्दुत्व ’’ के पैरोकार भी आश्चर्यचकित हैं. वास्तव में इस चयन ने कई पुराने मिथको को ध्वस्त किया है तथा कुछ नये गढ़े भी हैं. सन् 2002 में गोधरा हत्याकाण्ड के बाद समूचे गुजरात में भड़के दंगो ने मुस्लिमो के नरसंहार का योगी ने खुलकर समर्थन किया था, उन्होने गोधरा हत्याकाण्ड के बाद एक विशाल जनसभा में कहा था, “मैने मोदी जी से बात की है और उनसे कहा है कि हमारी तरफ से एक विकेट गिरने पर दूसरे पक्ष की दस विकेट लेना अपने घरो पर केसरिया झण्डा फहराइये और अपने आस-पड़ोस के मुसलमानो की संख्या गिनिये। हमें जल्दी ही कुछ करना पड़ सकता है”,(इण्डियन एक्सप्रेस के वर्गीज जार्ज की रिपोर्ट).

Monday, March 20, 2017

[From the Archives] Hindutva-isation of a Gorakhnath Mutt: The Yogi and the Fanatic

Note: This article was first published in sacw.net on October 7, 2004

- Subhash Gatade


The last two decades of the 20th century have been witness to the coming to the fore of the careful and planned unfolding of what one sociologist calls 'spatial strategies of Hindutva'. Ranging from the then-obscure looking Ayodhya focussed place/site based strategy in the early 80s to the shameful use of many religious Yatras or the N number of Political Yatras it undertook, it has thus taken under its ambit places/sites, areas as well as routes to spread the homogenising and hegemonic agenda of Hindu Rashtra. No doubt barring a few disasters ( like the recent 'India Shining' Yatra) this strategy has paid rich dividends to the saffron combine.

What can be considered the key elements of this strategy? The 'success' of such a 'place/area/route' centred strategy hinges around basically two things: one the particular site/place should be 'invested with a unique particularity' and two, the 'other' should be implicated in it.

The movement for the 'liberation of Ram Janam Bhoomi' which ultimately led to the demolition of a four-century old year mosque and the biggest communal conflagration in post-independence India to the periodic raising of tempers at Mathura/'Krishnajanambhoomi' or Kashi Vishwanath Temple/Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi can be called the centrepiece of their activities in the 90s. But apart from focussing themselves on these 'sacred places' and further staking claim to 30,000 more similar shrines/mosques/mazars spread all over the country one was also witness to the playing out of the another type of 'place centred interventions' by the Hindutva forces which apparently had 'secular ' overtones. The controversy over the Hubli Idgah Maidan and the attempts to unfurl Tricolour over it had been a case in point. 

Another type of such interventions can be categorised by looking at the changes wrought in at places/ sites which claim a syncretic tradition. The homogenising/hegemonising project of Hindutva has continued with its feverish attempts to destroy the composite character of such places. Baba Buddhan Giri is a case in point. While a few such places have really succumbed to the 'hinduisation' drive but at many places it has been difficult for them to break the communal unity of the broad masses of the people.

A third category of 'place centred' interventions has involved the gradual Brahminisation/Hindutvisation of temples, mutts which had remained outside the Brahminical fold and had their genesis in the revolts of the subalterns in the medieval times against the stranglehold of Brahminism. The way the historic Veershaiva movement started by the great Basava as a cultural rebellion is being slowly co-opted in the Hindutva fold or the way a section of the famous Nath movement is being co-opted in the overall gameplan of the Hindutva forces is for everyone to see.

Definitely the efforts of the Hindutva brigade which have cleverly made plans, provided space, built networks or started agitations supposedly to involve them in their grand project have played an important stimulating/catalytic role in their metamorphosis but these type of 'external' interventions cannot be said to be solely responsible for the ensuing changes. At times one has also been witness to the way the 'internal' dynamic also plays a role in their transformations. Apart from the rising political ambitions of the chief Guru whose influence is widespread, the internal squabbles among the mutts have also played a role in their transformations. At times the growing 'Sanskritisation' of the followers of a particular mutt has also rather forced the chieftains of the mutts to shed a few of its overtly nonBrahminical rituals or introduce a few Brahminical rituals.

This brief write-up focusses on the hinduisation/hindutvaisation of a famous mutt in eastern Uttar Pradesh which has the potential of impacting the regional politics in a big way.


Adityanath, Date of birth: 5 June 1972, Political Experience: Won the Lok Sabha elections in 1998 and 1999 from Gorakhpur. In 1998, Adityanath was the youngest legislator in the 12th Lok Sabha at 26. The young yogi is the successor to former Hindu Maha Sabha president Mahant Avaidyanath at the Gorakhpur temple and is at the forefront of the Hindutva agenda. Education: B.Sc (Maths) from Garhwal University... Pet projects: Education and cow sheds. His office proudly claims that the MP started 18 educational institutions including a polytechnic; and Gorakhpur has 15 cow sheds... His office claims he checked smuggling of beef from his constituency to Bangladesh. 

Meet Hindutva's Young Flag Bearer [Parul Gupta, Friday, April 09, 2004 Times of India]

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Free the Maruti Workers! 13 Maruti Union members given ‘Life Sentence’ for Struggling for Union Formation &Abolition of the Contract Worker System

13 of our brothers have been given ‘life sentences’ – including 12 Maruti Suzuki Workers Union body members – on the baseless charge of ‘murder’ on 18 March afternoon by the Gurgaon Additional Sessions Court. 4 workers given 5 year sentences. 14 workers given 3 years, but have already spent 4 years in prison, so released. Of the earlier acquitted 117 workers who spent over 4 years in Jail, we do not yet know as to who will return the lost years. 148 already spent 4 years in Jail without bail since 2012 without bail and 2500 workers were earlier illegally terminated and then faced continual State repression.

We reject the falsehood that this is an ‘objective judgement’. The Prosecution Case and Judicial Sentence is based on no evidences, false-witnesses and pure class hatred. See here for details of the arguments. Workers had no involvement in the unfortunate death of the pro-worker manager who helped in registering the Union, Mr Avanish Kumar Dev – this is conclusively proved in the legal case from the Defence. The conflict on the day of 18 July 2012 started with a supervisor attacking a Dalit worker Jiyalal – who was later made into ‘prime accused’ in the case – with caste-based abuse, and the worker’s suspension. The entire case is part of management conspiracy to finish off the Union, an attack on the Right to Union Formation itself, and the demands–particularly of abolition of Contract Worker System–it was raising and symbol it became for workers struggle.

The nature of the legal case was informed from the outset by the vitriolic repressive manner in which thousands of workers were continually hounded after 18 July 2012 by the nexus of the management and government, including the Police, administration and labour departments. This Judgement – made in between turning Gurgaon and Manesar into Police camps – is directly anti-worker and heavily influenced by the interests of the Company management, to ‘set an example’, to sow fear and terror among all industrial workers in the country, particularly the belt of Gurgaon to Neemrana in Haryana and Rajasthan. The Prosecution in its final arguments – much similar to the Chandigarh HC order of May 2013 rejecting bail for workers – arguing for ‘death penalty’ for workers, talked of the need of restoring ‘confidence’ of capital, and the Prime Minister’s initiative of inviting global investors for ‘Make in India’. The confidence of these foreign and national capitalists depend on one thing: a cheap and compliant labour force, so no Unions or any raising of demands.

By specifically targeting the entire Union body, this Company Raj wants to tell us that the workers movement, the Right to Union Formation and other Trade Union rights as well as Human Rights of workers in the country will be simply (with illegal and legal means) crushed by capitalists and the State. The attack on our Union body members is been simply because they have been the leadership of the struggle against the management practices of exploitation of labour in the factory and waged a legitimate long struggle for trade union rights and dignity since 2011 with the unity of permanent and contract workers, demanding the abolition of the contract worker system, dignity in the workplace, and an end to exploitative practices by the management. And finally registered our Union on 1 March 2012. This workers assertion was not acceptable to the management and they wanted to crush our Union, especially after submission of the Charter of Demands in April 2012 which argued for abolition of contract worker system. So they conspired and escalated the conflict on 18 July 2012.

The struggle full of vitality and hope gave positive energies for other workers to fight similar exploitation in the industrial region and beyond from Honda to Rico to Asti to Shriram Pistons to Daikin AC to Bellsonica name a few. This collective workers assertion needed to be crushed and ‘taught a lesson’ in the interests of the company managements. Similar conflicts and cases of repression on workers movements have happened from Graziano Transmissions Noida, Regent Ceramics Puducherry, Pricol in Chennai and so on. This Judgement comes in the trail of these repression, increasing its tempo. And so, the industrial areas are being turned into Police Camps.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Deendayal in Government Schools : Neglecting Education, Indoctrinating Exclusion

- Subhash Gatade

“DEENDAYAL UPADHYAYA is to the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] what Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was to Congress” opined R. Balashankar, former editor of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh’s (RSS) organ Organiser and now a member of the BJP’s central committee, on Prasikhshan Maha Abhiyan. (The Indian Express,; September 24, 2016).
Cows inhale, exhale oxygen, says Rajasthan education minister Vasudev Devnani. (Times of India,; January 17, 2017)

(Photo courtesy: livehindustan.com, From left to right – Golwalkar, Deendayal Upadhyay and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Photo was taken in Mathura during Goraksha/Cow Protection movement, 1965)

Rajaram (name changed) Principal of a school near Jaipur, Rajasthan is a worried man.

An honest teacher all his life, is not able to comprehend the rationale behind the recent order by the state education ministry asking every secondary and senior secondary school to purchase collected works of Deendayal Upadhyay.

Not only that he has never heard this name before but does not know how funds can be managed for the same. The school does not have a proper library till date. The budgetary situation of the school is such that despite repeated demands by the girl students the sole toilet in the school still remains unrepaired.

The circular sent by the state government on 27th February has asked all secondary and senior secondary schools to buy the compendium of essays and speeches titled ‘Deendayal Upadhyay Sampoorna Vangmay' – which has been published by a Delhi publisher in 15 volumes at a concessional rate of Rs 4,000. Schools are asked to draw from the school development fund – meant to be utilised for local needs – to make the purchase. The compendium has been edited by Mahesh Chandra Sharma – former state BJP president – which was released by PM Modi in October last year.

Where can one keep all these 15 volumes and how their purchase can benefit ordinary students – who lack good quality textbooks – he asks himself but does not get a satisfactory answer.

Definitely, as a Principal of a secondary school, Rajaram is not alone who finds himself in such a quandary. There are scores like him spread across the state who have similar questions before them. It need be added that this is not for the first time that state government has ordered/instructed schools to order a particular book which is not at all related to their course. It was only last year that Rajasthan government was in the news when it was reported that a biography of RSS founder-member Dr Hedgewar – written by Rakesh Sinha – should be purchased by every government school.

First, asking to buy Hedgewar’s biography and now instructing to buy collected works of an RSS ideologue, it is becoming increasingly clear that the state education ministry is not concerned about the growing criticism of the status of education in the state but more keen to push what Congress has called ‘saffron agenda’ in schools.

Close on the heels of the order to schools to buy Deendayal’s works came another news – credited to the education minister himself that he has changed the name of Akbar Fort in Ajmer to Ajmer fort. His alleged remarks about Emperor Akbar also created controversy.
Rajasthan Education Minister Vasudev Devnani Saturday indicated that emperor Akbar may have been a terrorist. Devnani made the reference while responding to the alleged threat he received for changing the name of Akbar fort to Ajmer fort. He later denied that he called Akbar a terrorist, and had called him an invader.
                                                                                 (Indian Express, March 5, 2017)

And the biggest problem with all such orders and the debate or the controversy they generate is that the status of education in the state never gets discussed which suffers not only from lack of sufficient funds, good quality teachers and satisfactory infrastructural facilities in all schools but also is inundated with textbooks which as an expert committee said suffer from ‘limitations of content’ and implicit biases.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

[NSI Statement] NSI congratulates the students' struggle in winning the battle against corporate publishers

On 9 March 2017 three well-established academic corporate publishing houses, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor and Francis withdrew their copyright suit filed in the High Court against Delhi University and Rameshwari Photocopy Shop, a shop stationed at the Delhi School of Economics campus in Delhi University licensed by the University to carry out photocopying work. The suit that was filed in August 2012 on the grounds that photocopying material from books published by the above three publishers by university students, particularly in the compilation of coursepacks, constituted copyright infringement and revenue loss to the publishers. Right from the beginning it was clear this case was treated as a test case to instate a licensing regime, much like one that exists in the US and other First World countries. 

Being the absolute primary constituency to be impacted by such a case and its possible outcomes, students of Delhi University were amongst the first to take up the battle against some of the most powerful publishing houses in academia. The 'Campaign to Save D.School Photocopy Shop' soon became the 'Association of Students for Equitable Access to Knowledge' (ASEAK), reflecting the growing politicisation of the student community on the issue of the knowledge commons in order to resist an increasing attempt across the world to create a market out of it where it didn't as yet exist. This can be seen in the case of Costa Rica as well where there was an attempt to make photocopying illegal, a move that was successfully opposed on a massive scale by students. 

The students of Delhi University, organised as ASEAK, opposed the move through a range of mechanisms, mobilising students from class to class, organising public meetings, taking out protest rallies, campaigning against these publishers at the annual World Book Fair held in New Delhi, influencing public opinion through writing in newspapers, and last but not the least, taking up the legal battle in the courts. NSI hails the struggle of the students that brought to the centre of the debate questions of equity and justice within the arena of production and distribution of knowledge resources, challenging the private property regime sought to be implemented in the sphere of knowledge production by these big academic corporate publishing houses.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

RadhikaVemula on Bhim Auto: Let us Light a Candle for Rohith

-Subhash Gatade

..The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote.To a number.To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind. As a glorious thing made up of star dust.In every field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living.
..My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.

(Excerpts from RohithVemula’s suicide note)


The middle of this month would witness a different type of Yatra on the streets of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Neither it would be led by high-profile leaders - who have the aura of Z-plus security with them - nor it would be undertaken in an ultramodern bus - fitted with latest facilities and which could even be used as a podium for a public meeting.

It would be taken out on a blue pickup truck renamed Bhim Auto and would be led by a fifty years old woman RadhikaVemula along with her son Raja demanding justice for her elder son Rohith. During this Yatra Radhika intends to visit one Velivada ( Dalit hamlet) after other in these two states to tell people how casteist forces are hell bent upon denying Dalits their due rights and how justice is still being denied to her son who committed suicide because of the machinations of such people. She would also communicate to them that not only the ruling dispensation at the centre led by BJP but the state governments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have been callous towards the plight of the Dalits and have joined hands to deny justice to her son. Not some time ago the government of Andhra Pradesh had made outrageous statements about Rohith not being Dalit and earlier in February had demanded that Radhika 'prove' that she is Dalit in 15 days.

Speaking at a rally in Bengaluru RadhikaVemula announced her plan in details:

“On March 14, Raja (her other son) and I will start the Dalit SwabhimanRathYatra. We will travel across Telangana and Andhra for a month and conclude it on AmbedkarJayanti (April 14). We will try and cover every Dalitwada (Dalit settlement) in these two states.” She also exhorted the audience "[t]o revisit what Rohith use to say the radical Ambedkar for 'liberation of dalits.'
She plans to raise two key demands through this awakening programme (-do-): 

- Sacking of Hyderabad University vice chancellor & his prosecution under SC/ST atrocities act 

- Passage of 'Rohith Act' aimed at stopping discrimination in educational institutions. 

Today RadhikaVemula might have become a household name for her uncompromising struggle to render justice to her deceased son but a year and two months back not very many people - barring people from her own village and surroundings - had even heard her name. The mass upsurge which erupted immediately after Rohith's death, demanding justice to him and the manner in which she joined the ongoing struggle, has helped her emerge as a symbol of resistance against the dispensation at the centre. And she has not kept her concerns confined to her deceased son only. She was there when thousands of Dalits and other anti-caste forces and democratic formations gathered in Una, Gujarat on 15th August to demand 'land to Dalits, she joined Fatima Naseem, mother of JNU student Najeeb whose sudden disappearance -after scuffle with the members of ABVP on the JNU campus - has become a cause of concern.

Monday, February 27, 2017

[NSI Statement] On Unleashing of ABVP Violence in Delhi University

The Ramjas College of University of Delhi, and wider campus of the university are under siege. Members of the ABVP, the student group affiliated to RSS, have unleashed an open terror. They attacked a seminar organised by the English Department and Literary Society of the college on 21 February, threw stones on the college conference hall, and physically and verbally attacked students and teachers of the college. The following day, they were even more violent. They held students and teachers of the college hostage by not allowing them to march to the local police station against the previous day's happenings. Violent threats were openly given against two teachers of the college, and like the previous day, students and teachers were abused and threatened. Outside the college, they attacked students and teachers of other colleges and universities of the city, who had gathered in solidarity with students and teachers of the college, and against ABVP violence. Scores received serious injuries. A dangerous low was reached when student members of the ABVP were seen physically attacking their own teachers. Delhi police has acted as a mute agent of ABVP terror. It did not arrest ABVP members when they attacked the Ramjas college seminar, threatened its students and teachers, and assaulted others the next day. In fact, police personnel joined the attackers, and also attacked journalists covering the violence. 

ABVP violence is the result of careful planning, training, and crucial support from state functionaries of the Modi government, whose Home Ministry directly controls Delhi Police. Unlike other universities like JNU and HCU, which have seen ABVP aggression in recent times, DU has been a centre of ABVP politics for decades. It has won many student union elections. However, this level of violence is unprecedented. It is well known for decades that RSS trains its cadres for visceral hatred and violence against minorities. ABVP members at a place like Delhi University have now also been successfully trained for direct physical assault on other students and teachers. It is a new high for fascist organisational skills of the RSS and BJP. They have a group of storm troopers, ready to terrorise and physically assault in open day light anyone who does not agree with, or opposes, RSS and BJP.

A university is a rare space in the caste ridden, patriarchal and communalised society of India, which provides the youth to interact freely with students and teachers of diverse backgrounds, to learn and critically think about diverse aspects of society, and develop as autonomous social agents. Radical social reformers like Phule and Ambedkar had long recognised the importance of modern education for the oppressed, and its potential to challenge existing social hierarchies. The recent expansion of higher education in the country has seen millions of first generation students from oppressed castes, minorities, and women joining universities like DU. The relative openness of a university space allows for radical questioning of hierarchies, and explains why the social environment in universities can be liberal and encourage growth of radical politics. At present, when the state ideology in India has become neoliberal, and an expanding capitalism has created a receptive atmosphere for the rightwing politics, it is precisely radical politics against caste and patriarchy, and the radical left which demands abolition of class rule, which stand most forcefully in the way of the overall subjugation of India under the fascist Hindu Rashtra programme of the RSS and BJP. This also explains why universities are critical for the RSS, and why since the BJP came to power at the Centre it has targeted groups like Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle at IIT Madras, Rohith Vemula's organisation, Ambedkar Students' Association at HCU, JNU, and now students and teachers at Ramjas College and DU who do not agree with them. The most recent case of suspending a member of the faculty at Jodhpur's Jai Narain Vyas University for something as basic as inviting Nivedita Menon for an academic conference exposes the extent of their insecurity well. 

It needs to be recognised that the RSS/BJP politics is fundamentally different from other forms of authoritarian politics. Its success lies in turning violent authoritarianism into the politics of mass mobilisation. It was worked on for decades on the religious, communal and caste prejudices of Hindus to build an expanding core of supporters. More recently, it has clothed itself in the flag of nationalism to brand its opponents as anti-national. In reality, the Hindu Rashtra of RSS/BJP would be a prison house of hatred and violence against any freedom and equality. It would impose a nationalist test on everyone. It would mobilise Hindus for violence against minorities, oppressed castes and those in Kashmir and the North-East who question the impositions and brutal use of military force by the Indian State there.

None of this is being taken lying down and resistance has been growing, whether in the 139-day strike of the students of FTII, the anti-caste movement that emerged in HCU following the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula or the battle that continues to this day in JNU. The confrontation in DU is simultaneously testimony to the fierce resistance offered by the broader university community in rejecting the terror tactics of the ABVP. NSI calls upon the student and teacher community of Delhi University to not be cowed down by this blatant exercise of muscle power by the ABVP. It is an opportunity to think clearly about the actual game plan of the RSS/BJP, and not be taken in by any slogan of false and violent nationalism. Students and teachers of DU need to come together and think of effective ways to counter ABVP terror on campus.

All left, progressive and liberal forces in campus need to plan for mobilising the widest sections of students, who wish to use opportunities at DU for learning and critical thinking, and are seeing ABVP terror as an attack on their freedom. 

NSI demands that:

1. Appropriate legal action be taken against ABVP members who indulged in violence and attacked students and teachers of Ramjas college and University of Delhi.

2. Delhi police officials who connived with the ABVP, and did not take immediate and appropriate action be punished.

3. Authorities of the University of Delhi, Ramjas College and all other colleges of DU must provide a secure environment for learning and questioning, holding extra-curricular activities like seminars on all issues, and for all students and teachers to express their opinions and organise without fear.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

भोपाल एनकाउंटर : सवाल दर सवाल

जावेद अनीस

इस देश में एनकाउंटर का स्याह इतिहास है और इसको लेकर हमेशा से ही विवाद रहा है. आम तौर पर एनकाउंटर के साथ फर्जी शब्द जरूर जुड़ता है. मध्यप्रदेश के 61वें स्थापना दिवस से ठीक एक दिन पहले यहाँ भी एक ऐसा ही एनकाउंटर हुआ है जो अपने पीछे कई सवाल छोड़ गया है. आईएसओ प्रमाणित भोपाल सेंट्रल जेल में बंद प्रतिबंधित स्टुडेंट इस्लामिक मूवमेंट ऑफ़ इंडिया के आठ संदिग्ध फरार हुए और फिर उनका एनकाउंटर कर दिया गया, उसके बाद से इसको लेकर मंत्रियों, अधिकारियों के बयान आपस में मेल नहीं खा रहे हैं और जो वीडियो सामने आये हैं वो भी कई गंभीर सवाल खड़े करते हैं.

एनकाउंटर में मारे गये आठों विचाराधीन कैदियों पर “सिमी” से जुड़े होने सहित देशद्रोह, बम धमाकों में शामिल होने जैसे कई आरोप थे. जेल प्रशासन के मुताबिक ये आठों 31 अक्टूबर की रात जेल की बीस फीट ऊंची दीवार फांद कर भागे थे. भागने के दौरान उन्होंने एक पुलिस कांस्टेबल की हत्या भी कर दी. इस तरह से इस घटनाक्रम में कुल नौ लोग मारे गये हैं. मारे गये आठ विचाराधीन कैदियों में से तीन तो 2013 में मध्य प्रदेश के ही खंडवा जेल से भी फरार हो चुके थे. जिन्हें दोबारा पकड़ कर सेंट्रल जेल में शिफ्ट कर दिया गया था. हालांकि मध्यप्रदेश सरकार इस एनकाउंटर को अपनी उपलब्धि बताते हुए नहीं थक रही है. लेकिन कई ऐसे सवाल है जिनका उसे जवाब देना बाकी है.
सवाल दर सवाल 

सिमी संदिग्धों के जेल से भागने और उनके एनकाउंटर को लेकर विपक्ष, मानव अधिकार संघटनों और मीडिया द्वारा कई सवाल खड़े किए गये हैं.

घटना की कवरेज करने वाले जी मीडिया के पत्रकार प्रवीण दुबे ने एनकाउंटर पर बहुत ही गंभीर सवाल उठाये हैं. अपने फेसबुक वॉल पर उन्होंने जो लिखा उसका कुछ अंश इस तरह से है “शिवराज जी, इस सिमी के कथित आतंकवादियों के एनकाउंटर पर कुछ तो है जिसकी पर्दादारी है. मैं खुद मौके पर मौजूद था, सबसे पहले 5 किलोमीटर पैदल चलकर उस पहाड़ी पर पहुंचा, जहां उनकी लाशें थीं. लेकिन सर इनको जिंदा क्यों नहीं पकड़ा गया? मेरी एटीएस चीफ संजीव शमी से वहीं मौके पर बात हुई और मैंने पूछा कि क्यों सरेंडर कराने के बजाय सीधे मार दिया? उनका जवाब था कि वे भागने की कोशिश कर रहे थे और काबू में नहीं आ रहे थे, जबकि पहाड़ी के जिस छोर पर उनकी बॉडी मिली, वहां से वो एक कदम भी आगे जाते तो सैकड़ों फीट नीचे गिरकर भी मर सकते थे. मैंने खुद अपनी एक जोड़ी नंगी आँखों से आपकी फ़ोर्स को इनके मारे जाने के बाद हवाई फायर करते देखा, ताकि खाली कारतूस के खोखे कहानी के किरदार बन सकें. उनको जिंदा पकड़ना तो आसान था फिर भी उन्हें सीधा मार दिया और तो और जिसके शरीर में थोड़ी सी भी जुंबिश दिखी उसे फिर गोली मारी गई एकाध को तो जिंदा पकड लेते. उनसे मोटिव तो पूछा जाना चाहिए था कि वो जेल से कौन सी बड़ी वारदात को अंजाम देने के लिए भागे थे”?

इसी तरह वरिष्ठ पत्रकार और सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता अवधेश भार्गव ने तो इस एनकाउंटर को फर्जी बताते हुए जबलपुर हाईकोर्ट में एक याचिका करते हुए सवाल उठाया है कि आरोपियों के सेल में ही लगे सीसीटीवी कैमरे खराब क्यों थे? जेल में कैदियों को दो से ज्यादा चादर नहीं दिए जाते हैं ऐसे में आरोपियों के पास जेल की दीवार कूद कर फरार होने के लिए 35 चादरें कहां से आई और जेल के मेन गेट पर लगे सीसीटीवी कैमरे को जांच में शामिल क्यों नही किया गया.

रिहाई मंच ने इस पूरे मामले पर सवाल उठाते हुए बयान जारी किया कि “ठीक इसी तरह अहमदबाद की जेल में थाली, चम्मच, टूथ ब्रश जैसे औजारों से 120 फुट लंबी सुरंग खोदने का दावा किया गया था.”

सीपीआई के राज्य सचिव बादल सरोज का बयान आया कि “भोपाल की एक अति-सुरक्षित जेल से आठ विचाराधीन-अंडरट्रायल-मुजरिमों के फरार हो जाने, उसके बाद उनके एक साथ टहलते हुए अचारपुरा के जंगल में मिलने और "मुठभेड़" में मारे जाने की घटना एक अत्यंत फूहड़ तरीके से गढी गयी कहानी प्रतीत होती है. यह जितनी जानकारी देती है उससे अनेक गुना सवाल छोड़कर जाती है.”

Forced Demonetisation and Cashlessness by Fiat: Creeping Fascism and its Popular Ideological Receptacles

Sanjay Kumar

The withdrawal of eighty six percent of currency notes by the Modi government has been an administrative fiasco. It is clear that little economic thought, and only a political urge has gone into the exercise. Informal sector of the economy, which accounts for 80% of the employment and 40% of the national output, has suffered short to medium term damage. All cash dependent transactions, wages, wholesale and retail trade, agricultural purchase and sale, are at a crawl. Workers are not getting wages, factories are closing, mandis are empty. Crores of young and old working people are spending hours in queues at banks and ATMs to withdraw their own money now gone scarce.  Press reports count more than eighty deaths. Parliament of the country is in a limbo, because the prime minister thinks it below his worth to reply to charges by the opposition party MPs. While the ordinary people are suffering, the Nero like rulers are trumpeting the arrival of the nirvana of a cash less economy as the answer to India's economic ills.

Even while Mr Modi's government is solely responsible for this needless and widespread suffering, it would be naive to expect an automatic popular backlash against it. The politics of the ruling party does not fit into the patronage or identity driven models of its competitors that draw popular support on the basis of expected returns. Its closest template is fascist politics, which  is a very particular kind of authoritarianism. What distinguishes a fascist regime from other modern authoritarian regimes like military dictatorships is the popular support it is able to garner for its policies and depredations. Fascism is a leadership driven politics. Its agendas are set by the leadership, they are not a response to popular demands and expectations. Nevertheless, fascism generates popular appeal by carefully working upon popular anxieties, prejudices, desires and fears, and refashioning them as grounds for aggression against selected minorities, and a belief in an imminent deliverance under the personalised rule of a leader. Fascism is marriage of demagoguery with powers of the modern state, which make it different from other forms of right wing populism. It also should not be confused with orthodox conservatism. It is a blatant dance of state power, which hides its brutalities by invocation of novelty and a continuous disruption of what society has come to accept as normal. It is the spectacle of fast change, which disorients people and encourages them to willfully suspend every day rules of judging right from the wrong, and truth from falsehood. Many elements of fascist template are visible in the ruling party discourse on demonetisation: the shock and awe of sudden announcement by the PM himself in a national broadcast at TV prime time, praise for the 'broad shoulders' of a courageous and decisive leader (as the finance minister put it in a speech recently), a 'new normal' that will deliver Indians from the seventy year old evil of black money, etc.

A common conceptual mistake is to limit analysis of fascism to explaining what it does.  What gives it popular appeal are not its actions per se, but the way the fascist discourse draws upon already present elements of popular ideologies. The 'banality of (fascist) Evil', as Hannah Arendt called it, appears striking only as long as it is seen as the result of a political event, rather than an ongoing socio-political process. In the Indian context, an uncritical acceptance of communalism, casteism, patriarchy and national chauvinism as parts of everyday common sense of Indians have formed the ideological support base for the RSS work over decades. Anti fascist democratic forces have rightly attempted to counter these by directly challenging them, and by drawing upon the other inclusive elements of popular ideologies. Fascism, however is also fed by ideologies about state and economy. These have remained outside the radar of democratic forces so far. The discourse and politics over the recent demonetisation open up a window to the latter. Many of the elements of popular ideologies used by Modi government to create support are an enduring feature of Indian political formation, used by other political forces too. Anti fascist democratic forces need to identify and challenge these roots urgently.   

Another common misunderstanding is that a regime can be fascist only if it indulges in large scale violence and violation of citizens' rights.  This understanding takes state violence, which all states indulge in more or less, as a defining property of fascism, rather than one of the elements of its political character. The actual violence of fascism depends on the degree of crises faced by the status quo in the society, and strength of its political opponents. Nor can the arrival of fascism be dated with the electoral success of a party, or a leader. It is more fruitful to look at it as a socio-political process driven by specific parties and leaders. Success of a fascist politics should be seen in the direction it is able to give to the character of state power, and how deeply it is able to manage popular support for its programme.

The Artful Irrational: There were no economic reasons to withdraw currency at the scale done by the Modi government. Economic costs of such a move make no sense. Yet the quackery of demonetisation is being sold precisely as the medicine to take care of economic ills. As the chaos due to demonetisation unfolded, and government responded by hastily announcing more than one new rule about bank transactions per day (59 such rules have been announced till 19 Dec, 2016, during 40 days since PM's 8 Nov announcement), it became apparent that no homework and planning was done before throwing the sand of demonetisation in the gears of the economy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

अक्टूबर क्रान्ति की विरासत, तथा भारतीय क्रान्तिकारी कम्युनिस्ट आन्दोलन की दिशा और दशा

स्वदेश कुमार सिन्हा

यदि गरूड़ नीची उड़ान भरता है तो इससे कौवों के प्रसन्न होने की कोई बात नही, क्योकि सबसे ऊॅची उड़ान तो वही भर सकता है
                               (रोजा लक्जमवर्ग को लिखा लेनिन का एक वाक्य )
आज से करीब 100 वर्ष पहले 1917 में पहली बार अक्टूबर में और नये कलेण्डर के अनुसार नवम्बर में रूस में महान समाजवादी क्रान्ति घटित हुयी जिसमें समूची दुनियॉ को हिला दिया। 1789 की महान फ्रांसिसी क्रान्ति सामंतवाद के खिलाफ पहली सचेतन क्रान्ति थी। दबे कुचले लोगो ने सम्पूर्ण मानव इतिहास में बगावत अनगिनत बार की थी। लेकिन पेरिस कम्यून ( 1971 में पेरिस के मजदूरो द्वारा पहली सर्वहारा सत्ता की स्थापना थी जिसे 72 दिन बाद फ्रांसिसी पूँजीपतियो ने पूरे यूरोप के प्रतिक्रिया वादियों की मदद से कुचल दिया) की शुरूआती कोशिश के बाद अक्टूबर क्रान्ति मेहनतकस वर्ग की पहली योजनाबद्ध सचेतन तौर पर संगठित क्रान्ति थी। जिसके पीछे एक दर्शन था, एक युद्ध नीति थी और ऐसे रास्ते की रूपरेखा थी जिससे आगे बढ़ते हुए एक नये समाज की रचना करनी थी।

क्रान्तियों का अध्ययन केवल इतिहास के काल प्रवाह में उन्हे व्यवस्थित करके ही किया जा सकता है, उसमें निहित परिवर्तन और निरंतरता के तत्वों के द्वन्द्वांत्मक अर्न्तसम्बन्धो को ध्यान में ही रख कर किया जा सकता हे। हर क्रान्ति अपने घटित होने के काल में एक महान उद्वान्त और क्रान्तिकारी घटना होती है और आगे भी उसकी प्रासंगिगता बनी रहती हे , पर बाद के दौरो में उसकी अनुकृति नही की जाती। ऐसा करते हुए केवल उस महाकाब्यात्मक त्रासदी का प्रहसन ही प्रस्तुत किया जा सकता है। यदि ’’विश्व इतिहास महानतम कवि है ’’(मार्क्स को एंगेल्स का पत्र 4 सितम्बर 1870) तो कहा जा सकता है कि क्रान्तियॉ ही उसके द्वारा विरचित कालजयी महाकाब्यात्मक त्रासदियॉ है। महान रूसी क्रान्ति एक ऐसी ही महाकाब्यात्मक गाथा है , जिसमें नीहित इतिहास की जरूरी महत्वपूर्ण शिक्षाओ का अध्ययन तथा मानव सभ्यता को जिसके अवदानो का अध्ययन आज भी प्रासंगिक है और आने वाले दिनो में भी रहेगा। यह भी इतिहास की त्रासदी ही है कि इस महान क्रान्ति का अवसान केवल 70 वर्षो में ही हो गया। परन्तु उसकी शिक्षायें भविष्य में होने वाली किसी भी क्रान्ति की पथ प्रदर्शक बनी रहेगी।
शायद यह भी इतिहास की त्रासदी कही जायेगी कि भारत जैसे विशाल देश में जहॉ विश्व के सबसे गरीब ,अशिक्षित बसते है। जो मानव विकास दर में विश्व के निर्धनतम देशो में एक है वहॉ अपनी तमाम कुर्बानियों ,महान संघर्षो के बावजूद कम्युनिष्ट आन्दोलन मुख्य ताकत कभी नही बन पाया। भारत तथा चीन में कम्युनिष्ट पार्टी की स्थापना करीब -करीब एक साथ ही हुयी। परन्तु पार्टी स्थापना के 25 वर्षो के भीतर ही चीनी पार्टी ने सफलता पूर्वक क्रान्ति को अंजाम दिया तथा समाजवादी निर्माण की ओर आगे बढ़ गयी , परन्तु इसी दौर में भारतीय कम्युनिष्ट अपने को एक अखिल भारतीय पार्टी के रूप में भी संगठित नही कर सके , तथा निरन्तर टूट-फूट तथा बिखराव के शिकार होते रहे , कमोवेश यह प्रक्रिया आज भी जारी है। इस संबंध में भारतीय वामपंथी आन्दोलन के एक विचारक तथा इतिहसकार डा0 ’’लाल बहादुर वर्मा का कथन हैं ’’ वैचारिक रूप से भारतीय कम्युनिष्टो में स्वतंत्र निर्णय लेने की क्षमता का भारी अभाव रहा है , आजादी से पहले वे वैचारिक रूप से ब्रिटेन की कम्युनिष्ट पार्टी पर निर्भर थे। बाद में रूस तथा चीन की पार्टियों पर निर्भर हो गये। उनकी यह प्रवृत्ति आज भी जारी है। एशिया ,लैटिन अमेरिका तथा यूरोप की अनेक कम्युनिष्ट पार्टियों ने विश्व कम्युनिष्ट आन्दोलन में कुछ न कुछ नया योगदान दिया है। परन्तु भारतीय कम्युनिष्ट अपनी पर निर्भरता के कारण ऐसा न कर सके’’

भारत का क्रान्तिकारी कम्युनिष्ट आन्दोलन सम्पूर्ण  विश्व मेंआज तात्कालिक रूप से वामपंथी आन्दोलन का पराभव हुआ है तथा संगठन टूट फूट तथा बिखराव के शिकार है परन्तु इस विषम स्थिति में भी हमारे देश में सभी धाराओ की कम्युनिष्ट पार्टियॉ तथा संगठन मौजूद है। भारत की कम्युनिष्ट पार्टी, भारत की कम्युनिष्ट पार्टी (मार्क्सवादी) भारत की कम्युनिष्ट पार्टी (मार्क्सवादी -लेनिन वादी ) के अलावा ढ़ेरो छोटे-मोटे वामपंथी ग्रुप तथा संगठन मौजूद है। 80 के दशक में तो एक शेध छात्र ने इनकी संख्या करीब 300 बतलायी थी , फिलहाल भारी टूट -फूट तथा बिखराव के बावजूद भी इस समय भी तीन से चार दर्जन ग्रुप देश के विभिन्न भागो में सक्रिय है। इस लेख का मुख्य उद्देश्य इन ग्रुपो की विचारधारा तथा कार्यक्रम की सम्पूर्ण व्याख्या नही है फिर भी हम लेख की सीमाओ को ध्यान में रखकर उन ग्रुपो तथा संगठनो की कार्यपद्धति तथा विचारधारा की व्याख्या करने की कोशिश करेंगे , जो स्थापित कम्युनिष्ट पार्टियो, भारतीय कम्युनिष्ट पार्टी तथा मार्क्सवादी कम्युनिष्ट पार्टी से भिन्न है तथा महान अक्टूबर क्रान्ति की विरासत को स्वीकार करती है। वास्तव में  इन संगठनो में निरंतर टूट -फूट तथा बिखराव की प्रक्रिया ने इस कार्य को बहुत दुरूह तथा जटिल बना दिया है। 1964 में एकीकृत कम्युनिष्ट पार्टी ’’भारतीय कम्युनिष्ट पार्टी के अन्दर एक बड़ा विभाजन हुआ माना जाता है कि इसका सबसे बड़ा कारण 1962 में भारत चीन के बीच हुआ युद्ध था। पार्टी के एक बड़े समूह ने इस मुद्दे पर चीन की आलोचना करने से इन्कार कर दिया। फलस्वरूप पार्टी विभाजित हो गयी तथा मार्क्सवादी पार्टी का जन्म हुआ। नवगठित मार्क्सवादी कम्युनिष्ट पार्टी भी अपने क्रान्तिकारी समर्थको की अपेक्षाओ पर खरी नही उतर पायी। दो तीन साल के अन्दर ही पार्टी में असंतोष सामने आ गया। पश्चिमी बंगाल के दार्जिलिंग जिले के नक्सलबाड़ीअंचल की जिला कमेटी के अध्यक्ष ’’चारू मजूमदारके नेतृत्व में पार्टी कार्यकर्ताओ के एक छोटे से समूह ने मार्क्सवादी कम्युनिष्ट पार्टी की नीतियों का विरोध शुरू कर दिया। यह ग्रुप आरंभ में पार्टी के भीतर ही कार्य करता रहा परन्तु कुछ समय पश्चात ही 1967 में यह ग्रुप जिसमें चारू मजूमदार , कानू सान्याल तथा जंगल संथाल जैसे नेता प्रमुख थे। पार्टी के विरूद्ध विद्रोह करके संगठन से बाहर निकल गये तथा नक्सलबाड़ी अंचल तथा इसके आस-पास के इलाको में  हथियारबंद संघर्ष की शुरूआत कर दी। इस इलाके के सूदखोरो तथा जमींदारो की हत्या की जाने लगी किसानो के कर्जा के दस्तावेज नष्ट कर दिये गये। देखते -देखते यह छापामार संघर्ष  देश के बड़े ग्रामीण इलाको तथा कलकत्ता जैसे बड़े शहरी इलाको में फैल गया। ’’24 अप्रेल 1971 में  चारू मजूमदार ने एक नयी पार्टी भारतीय कम्युनिष्ट पार्टी (मार्क्सवादी -लेनिनवादी) का गठन किया। यह पार्टी चीनी क्रान्ति के रास्ते का अनुसरण करते हुए सशस्त्र क्रान्ति के माध्यम से भारतीय राजसत्ता पर अधिकार करने का समर्थन करती थी। 1969 के मई दिवस पर कलकत्ते के शहीद मीनार मैदानमें कानु सान्याल ने एक बड़ी रैली को सम्बोधित किया और 22 अप्रैल के लेनिन के जन्म दिवस पर भारत की कम्युनिष्ट पार्टी (मार्क्सवादी-लेनिनवादी) के स्थापना की घोषणा की। इसी के साथ दो प्रस्ताव भी पास किये गये जिसमें एक राजनीतिक प्रस्ताव था , दूसरा पार्टी संगठन के बारे में था। दूसरे प्रस्ताव में यह साफ कहा गया था कि नयी पार्टी गॉवो पर आधारित होगी तथा भूमिगत रहकर सशस्त्र संघर्ष चलायेगी। यह इस आन्दोलन की शुरूआती दौर की संक्षिप्त रूप रेखा है। नक्सलवादी किसान विद्रोह ने भारतीय वामपंथी आन्दोलन पर गहरा असर डाला। पूरा आन्दोलन दो भागो में बॅट गया। एक वे थे जो संसदीय रास्ते से समाजवाद की स्थापना करना चाहते थे। दूसरे वे जो हथियारबंद क्रान्ति के समर्थक थे। वास्तव में इस आन्दोलन पर राष्ट्रीय राजनीति से ज्यादा अन्तर्राष्ट्रीय राजनीति का गहरा प्रभाव था। सोवियत संघ में निकिता खुश्चेवद्वारा सत्ता की बागडोर सम्हालने तथा रूसी कम्युनिष्ट पार्टी की बीसवी कांग्रेस में  स्टालिन की नीतियों की आलोचना करने के साथ -साथ शान्तिपूर्ण संक्रमणशान्तिपूर्ण प्रतियोगिता तथा शान्तिपूर्ण सहअस्तित्व के सिद्धान्तो के प्रतिपादन के बाद चीनी तथा रूसी कम्युनिष्ट पार्टियों में गम्भीर मतभेद पैदा हो गये। बाद में दोनो पार्टियों के बीच चली बहसों ( जिसे कम्युनिष्ट इतिहास में महान बहस कहकर पुकारा गया) के बाद चीन ने सोवियत संघ को सामाजिक -साम्राज्यवादी घोषित कर दिया तथा उसे विश्व के लिए प्रमुख खतरा बताया। इस बीच चीनी कम्युनिष्ट पार्टी में भी सत्ता संघर्ष का दौर चला पार्टी में धुसे ’’तथाकथित पूँजीवादी तत्वों ’’ के खिलाफ सांस्कृतिक क्रान्तिकी घोषणा की गयी। भारत में नक्सलवादी किसान विद्रोह के पीछे इन कारको का भी बड़ा योगदान रहा है। 1967 में नक्सलवाड़ी में किसान विद्रोह के तुरंत बाद पीकिंग (चीन) रेडियों ने ’’भारत में वसंत का ब्रजनाद’’ नामक कार्यक्रम में नक्सलवाद का समर्थन किया तथा चारू मजूमदार जो एक जिला इकाई के अध्यक्ष थे रातो रात विश्वभर में चर्चित हो गयें।