Friday, October 31, 2014

Building political capital on hate propaganda

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

It is a reminder bell that rings every year which has not changed us to the core. The horrific crimes against humanity perpetrated by the political goons in the dark night of October 31st till a couple of days of November 1984 after the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was declared officially ‘dead’ and which remain unpunished till date is not just a matter of shame but absolute failure of our democracy. A truly democratic system would have envisaged ways and means to tackle such a situation in future but instead people became ‘football’ in the political games of those who have least concern about loss of human lives and sentiments. Punjab was bleeding when India got partitioned in 1947 and Sikh community felt betrayed as many of their issues remained unsettled politically. Sikh nationalism has to be merged into pan Indian Nationalism dictated and dominated by the brahmanical Hindus.

In the din of Pan Indian nationalism, we refused to understand the Punjab’s hurt psyche and wanted to resolve it through military solution in the very similar way of what we are doing in Kashmir. We want referendum on every conflict but not in those regions but in rest of the country. The people of the state had lost faith in administration and politicians were reaping rich harvest on ‘action’ against ‘terrorism’ in rest of the country. So, you take ‘strong’ ‘action’ against ‘terrorist’ and rest assure, you will get a good crop of votes elsewhere. The farcical first past the post system that we inherited from the British is actually now the best weapon for our political class to use against minorities ‘legitimately’.

Political killing cannot help restore peace and resolve a crisis but we saw how everybody used Indira Gandhi’s killing as a political weapon for their own interest. The Congress Party used her killing as a killing of ‘Bharat Mata’ and Rajiv was using all the good words that emerged from ‘Hindutva’ dictionary that time. Maa, Ganga Maa and everything is same which is being used by Narendra Modi today. Indian sentiments have been very openly and unambiguously have to be brahmanical Hindu sentiments. The Hindutva elements inside Congress used it and hence the mandate that Rajiv got in 1984 was thoroughly communal mandate based on hate propaganda. It does not matter whether BJP was zero or two member strength in the Parliament as the ideology preached by the Hindutva won that time. So, to say that Hindutva politics came just when BJP assumed power is absolutely wrong and does not take into account the brahmanical games of the Congress Party. India’s mainstream political parties have seen systematic Hindutvaisation process which was the agenda of Sangh Parivar. Hinduise the polity they wanted and once that was done political parties were unable to challenge the process ideologically. It seems Hindutva has become the main theme and parties want to stick to it and not to question it.

We did not learn from such a crime against humanity when state became a party to it and abdicated its responsibility to protect its citizens irrespective of their caste, religion, region as promised in our constitution. It is not that Congress only was using Hindutva for its own purposes.  Many of the Sikh groups also praised the killers and some of them celebrated Indira Gandhi’s killing too. Even today there are many such groups in UK and Canada which keep celebrating her death. These unfortunate things come handy for hate monger as a tiny incident become a powerful weapon of propaganda by the political opponents. It is according to our suitability who can fetch us vote hence for Modi it is Godhra victims, for Congress it is Indira’s martyrdom, for Akalis it is the murderers of Indira Gandhi and that reflects the bankruptcy of our political parties and their thought process where they assume people to absolute fool and apolitical.

Rumours have always been used to develop hatred towards minority and the marginalized to ensure a consolidation of so-called ‘majority’ for political purpose. So 1984 and 2002 are may look different to some people but they are complimentary to each other. The mask of dominance has changed but it remained quintessentially Hindu hatred towards Sikh in Delhi and Muslims in Gujarat. The leaders might emerge from different political parties, one ‘so called secular and the other so called communal but the leadership, ideology of these parties remain consolidated in the hands of caste Hindus. So the consolidation of upper caste Hindus towards Hindutva philosophy is not a sudden phenomenon as it is a political weapon for power and minorities of different variety will automatically become the victim of this maneuvering.

Many people suggest that in 1984 it was the Congress leaders who committed the crime against humanity. Yes, Congress found that secular mask would not help them much in elections and hence it trended dangerously towards Hindutva and fact is all the events that led to army operation at the Harminder Saheb need to interrogated and analysed carefully. Right from Kashmir to Punjab, Indira Gandhi was using the Hindu card and Rajiv did the same after her death. You need to create a villain for the greater ‘majority’ consolidation and martial castes become the real tool to ‘act’ on the ground. This is the real functioning of the status quoists that they use the ‘victims’ to victimize others. In the cases of riots everywhere urbanized Dalits, OBCs are used even when the leaders of these groups may hail from the upper caste Hindu background as the ‘leader’ has to fight elections too.
If you are not convinced then I can put a small question. May be ‘experts’ can analyse the trend of 

Trilokpuri incident last week and compare it with what happened on the nights of October 31st and first week of November 1984. The victims in 1984 were Sikhs and this time Muslims but the perpetrators were political goons of Congress that time and this time of the Hindutva party and I can bet the ‘actors’ may be the same who are ‘professionals’ who have become ‘nationalists’ ensures every different thought and look should be ‘treated’ properly. It is therefore essential to see India’s political trends not in terms of Congress or BJP but in terms of majoritarianism at the cost of minorities. If this trend is not arrested we will see more blood bath. India’s electoral system has actually converted minorities into a sandwich between different authoritarian brahmanical parties and unless our electoral system is not changed completely we will see more communal slaughter to ‘anoint’ so messiahs over us.

The failure of the victim getting justice has given bigger propaganda material to those whose ideology was responsible for the crisis that we face in India today. Just yesterday the government of India decided to ‘increase’ amount of compensation to five lakh rupees to the people killed in ‘communal violence’. Shamelessly, the entire issue has been communalized with a clear agenda of going to polls in Punjab exclusively in the coming years.  One must ask as whether people who have been slaughtered in Gujarat in 2002 and who happened to be Muslims will also get any compensation on account of this? Years after year, we see killings of Dalits by the caste Hindus and yet not a single case has been taken to conclusion. India must ask a question to itself why in the past 60 years, none of those responsible for communal carnage have been given any sentences by the courts. In fact, all those who are responsible for such disturbances and hatred are reaping rich harvest politically. Our judiciary has to introspect as why there is such antipathy on part of our state and the system which claim to be ‘one of the best’.  Riots after riots and there is no lessons. Tragedies are occurring on larger scales and yet state remains mute and in the riots cases if we follow them diligently the ‘professionals’ are caught but the real ‘actors’ behind the crime are roaming free and have political protection and power at their hand. When will we see the day when politicians who reaping this ‘rich harvest of hatred’ get sentences by our courts. Unless that is done, we will continue to see the crop of hatred which will empower a few of our politicians but definitely weaken the whole idea of India.

In 1984, we had still good people around us in the media who raised the issue and have been fighting for the rights of the people who were slaughtered. We cannot imagine that now as the time has changed and media has been converted into the propaganda tool of the ruling party. That over 10000 people were killed all over the country and in the most brutal manner and yet we as a nation could not provide a healing touch to them is a shame. It is double shame when people who themselves butcher another minority and discriminate among different minorities create a deliberate and mischievous misunderstanding of an entire thing which is nothing but majoritarianism and its brutal repercussion on minorities. It is the power of these dominant and powerful majoritarian political classes which has resulted in the massacres of people after independence. They will blame each other but the fact is that they perpetuated it. Unambiguously, it is the idea of majority dominance in democracy where minorities have to just succumb and follow the diktats. We are witnessing it at every level.

India does not need to choose between an Iron man and Iron woman. The Iron man was a Congressman and a Gandhian though with a feudal mind and the iron woman too displayed similar anti-democratic tendencies many time. Ofcourse, if commitment to socialism and India’s marginalized and minorities are concern, iron woman as well as her father would be considered far above the ‘iron man’ of India but at the core of their heart both the Iron woman and Iron Man were ‘dictatorial’ in nature. We need to go beyond the rhetoric of individuals and come back to work according to the spirit of our constitution and international laws. Remembering leaders is good but using them for political purposes must stop now. We do not need messiah as they have done enough damage to us making us absolutely ‘devotees’ without ever thinking and respecting rights of others. There is no doubt that Congress leadership had gone overboard in promoting their Nehru Gandhi family but things were never as awkward and explicit as they are looking today.  With pettiness being visible at the highest level, Indian continue to show how immature as a democracy they are and how we live in bitterness giving full freedom to those who continue to enjoy great harvest of hatred. Whoever be at the helm of affairs in Delhi or state, it is the people who will have to pay price. A country is known from the society it has and event managements will not ensure future of its children, women and men. The attitude to look down upon the minorities in suspicion and giving legitimacy to all forms of accusations and violence against them must stop at all level.

The electoral system which benefitted Congress is now helping the BJP but the victims remain the minorities. The propaganda is mostly based on individual incidents where persons from minority or marginalized communities are involved. Their ‘action’ results in negative portrayal of the entire community and ‘need’ strong ‘reaction’. We have seen such ‘reactions’. Majority symbols too are being supplied for children, young and adults in large quantity these days. 
They mean nothing but everything and have become license to intimidate others who do not look like ‘us’. Every morning we are hearing these heavily loaded slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ not out of our own self but to provoke ‘others’ who may not be having the same idea about this concept. If patriotism and nationalism can be certified just on the basis of a few empty slogans, India would not have had any problem but it is much bigger than this. Gandhi was killed and his killings have been justified so was the killings of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv. Godhra was justified and so was the massacre of Delhi in 1984 and Gujarat in 2002. Hundreds of other riots and pogroms have happened in India and our notoriety is in justifying them. 

Our political system has not yet evolved and may be the political parties do not want that to evolve fully to convert us into a complete democracy where each one of us express our opinion without any fear and each of the communities living in India has enough participation in our power structure. We will not have people crying for justice then when each one of us will feel the pain of them. Why should the victims of pogroms of 1984 and 2002 be referred to with particular political slants? They were Indians and therefore India needs to respond to this that both the massacres at 1984 and 2002 are blot to its face and reflect draconian majority tendencies afraid of minority assertion or dissent. 

Democracies mature from the accidents of history so that such things do not happen again by providing level playing fields and ensuring through speedy justice without any political manipulations. Will our political leaders rise above narrow and petty political interests and allow justice to be done to those who have been used as fodder to reach power structure. People must not allow themselves to be used in such a way as such games are not over and some other day we will see other games where people are killed and justification being provided by those in power.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Love Jihad or Khap Yuddh

Return of Barbarians

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

The brutal killing of three person of a Dalit family in Ahmednagar district of Maharastra is a reminder of the power of people who want to govern us through domination.  In democracy they say, it is the choice of the people but in India democracy is conveniently being used as a tool to reinforce the primitive barbaric values on people. As the reports are coming in from Maharashtra that the Dalit family of three who were butchered to death in the village might be the case of honored killing as it is being alleged the young son of the Dalit family who was a student in Mumbai had an affair with a married Maratha woman.

According to reports published in DNA, Mumbai, “the incident took place in Javkhade Khalsa village of Pathardi town. The bodies of the couple - Jayashree and Sanjay Jadhav and their son Sunil were found with body parts chopped in pieces in the nearby well. Sanjay Jadhav, a farmer by profession owned an acre of land. Whereas, his son Sunil, who works in a milk dairy in Mumbai had come to his village a week ago.’

The incident and the brutality with which it has been conducted would definitely disturb and outrage any sensitive person as why such things are happening at the regular intervals in India. Is India love starve and living in sexual frustration or there is plainly a caste angle behind these things since the boy allegedly having a secret relations with a Maratha woman whose 16 years son came to know about it and planned it with his maternal uncle.

Well, how can a Dalit boy have an affair with a Maratha woman is the core issue in caste ridden India where caste means everything including your right to have relationship and sex too. There may be other side  of this story, which is natural that sex has become so sacrosanct for us that once we come to know about any affair in our families or friendship our opinion about the person changes. ‘ Oh! you too kind of attitude. In the cases of women belonging to high caste Hindus having any affair with either Dalit or Muslim community youths, the reprisal is much bigger.  Our children are filled with hatred once they come to know that their parents had sex or if they had seen them having sex. Such is the filth in the minds that any affair outside the traditional framework will find a violent retaliation. Frankly none is happy with their woman to be in relationship with any one else outside their defined frame. A Maratha man with big landholding would enjoy any extra relationship and would find encouragement for his ‘brave’ ‘manly’ act but a woman engaged in a relationship would be met with brutality unparalleled.

A few weeks back, we faced the similar situation and this time the girl was a Muslim who used to come to learn computer education at our Centre opened for girl in a place in Uttar Pradesh. Many days she was not turning up at our centre and one fine morning her brother came to office threatening the colleagues working there that they have ‘abducted’ his sister. He spoke to me and I guided him to file an FIR in the police but his family was not interested in doing so. He put lots of external pressure through police but nothing materialized. After many days, the girl returned home. It was said that she was find at a religious town in a red light area. Now, the girls brother again came back and this time he did not go to the police but to the local politician and complained about our work. We got a call from the politician asking us to immediately close our office and leave the place. It was shocking for us. My colleagues tried to reason with the leader but he was not willing to listen. I asked them to keep their patience and try to meet this person in the evening. Finally, in the evening when they went to meet this man whose family is an authority with generations they have been leading that area with ample members of Parliament and legislative assemblies, informed them that girls at our centre need to be ‘disciplined’ as many of them are too ‘bold’. What was his problem? Some of them don’t wear dupatta and many come with Jeans and tops without any dupatta carrying over their head.

I knew this was a sensitive issue there. The problem of this man was that he was the leader of Muslim community and girl who disappeared was a Muslim and hence he wanted to send a signal to all others to fall in line and behave ‘appropriately’.

The fear of boys and girl meeting and in love has never threatened our societies like today. Parents have become victim of the continuous propaganda of ‘love Jihad’ as if some body is planning his marriage according to numbers of their religion. It is disturbing to see continuous violence and communalization of the process after incidents of love marriages, which are either inter caste or inter religious. Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar and many other revolutionaries’ felt that for India’s unity and integrity, the concept of inter-caste and inter-religious marriages must be encouraged and those who are into it must be provided complete protection.

Unfortunately the last few years’ love has become symbol of our male superiority where women’s sexuality is controlled and confined through arranged marriages. With rapid urbanization the individual’s choices will also increases day-by-day resulting in close interaction between boys and girls.  The numbers of court marriages have grown and girls too are ready to take risk at their own threatening the very edifice of this structure, so laboriously protected by religious rights as their fiefdom.  One has to understand who are the forces opposing and politicizing a very personal issue of choices between the two individuals. Why has the term Love Jihad emerged so powerfully to be politicized and used as a weapon of communalization process, which has created chaos and anarchy in many of the Indian cities just because the state of India has failed to protect its citizen from the thugs pretending to believe the moral guardians of our society.

Several years ago an acquaintance of mine informed her parents that she was in love with a boy and want to marry him. Her parents after much persuasion agreed but when they came to know that the boy was a Muslim they tried everything to stop that marriage but of them were determined and had their way. Neither the boy nor the girl changed their religion or identities and are happily living together. The family of the girl who were determined and had hardcore allegiance to Sangh orientation today feel that their son in law is the best.

The institution of marriage is under pressure and more so because the age old caste hierarchies are crumbling under the power of love but then the forces of status quo will never allow such things to happen.  We must not underestimate the point as where is the Love Jihad term used at the moment? And the answer is simple in the areas where young couples have been lynched to death. Western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana have seen maximum violence against inter caste marriages and now to evade the issue of Khap Panchayat they created the term Love Jihad.

We all know that Sangh Parivar has never raised any movement for inter caste marriages. There is no history of any Hindutva organization working against caste system, elimination of untouchability or for the inter caste marriages. They got exposed in Haryana as when the Khap were threatening people with dire consequences BJP kept silent. In fact the current incumbent to the chief minister’s position in Haryana is an open supporter of Khap Panchayats as he feel they work according to the social laws. Yes, girls should ‘dress’ appropriately not get assaulted by the boys he said. So, when the Khap issues exposed you, suddenly the new enemy in the form of ‘Love Jihad’ was created.

In the early 1990s during the Ayodhya movement the RSS and its hate propagandists actually raised loads of slogans of hatred against their political opponents. And the third grade slogans rented in the air.’  Tel lagado dabar ka, naam mita do Babar ka’ (massage yourself with Dabar oil, eliminate the name of Babar).  That time every Muslim was termed as ‘Babar Ki aulad’, son of Babar and slogans were deliberately created to provoke them to react. It is disturbing to see many of the so-called secularists in India still feel that Muslims are responsible for the violence as they ‘initiate’ it.  Many of the leaders having allegiance to Sangh Parivar have their children or that of their relatives, near dear ones have married in Muslim families. These include the most pious of our to day’s leader Subrahmanyam Swamy, Lal Krishna Advani and even relative of Bal Thackrey. I am sure none of them would have ever liked to call their ‘grand children’ as Babar Ki aulad if he or she were born to Muslim father.

Love, sex, marriages have been converted into not just political but thoroughly communal ideology by the religious rights. A matter of choice or what we call as right to choice has become public propaganda material for the Sangh’s hate brigade which in fact help the fanatics among the Muslims who have the ‘similar’ perception of ‘sanctity’ of their ‘religious’ ‘values’. A Muslim girl marrying a Hindu boy is a ‘loss’ and ‘shame’ for the Islamic fanatics in the very similar fashion as the Hindu zealots these days are feeling when a Hindu girl is falling in love with a Muslim boy. The fanatics wants in perpetual war so that we do not have time to question them and the status quo which they wish to maintain with growing assertion on part of the Dalits and other marginalized communities. Hence the whole Love Jihad campaign may look against Islam and Muslims but the fact it has an unambiguous hidden agenda and that is to maintain the Hindu caste order that confine their children to their own castes.  The growth and glitter that post 1990s economic reforms brought them in Western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana is now fizzling out. Land made them ‘industrialists’ with children enjoying ‘ night life’ in Delhi, it became clear that caste citadels were crumbling in sex and marriage.  Once there are more self arranged marriages the shops of the moral guardians will be closed and all the political issues related to Hindus, Muslims also get affected. You cannot emotionally blackmail people then.

It is therefore important to understand that those campaigning hatred in the name of Love Jihad are the same who justified the violence and extra constitutional authority of the Khap Panchayats. And it is not just the problem related to north or Haryana as ugly face of caste exists everywhere in the country. Muslims will be the face of this campaign but the real aim is to stop inter caste marriages as purity of the castes have to be maintained here.  Have we not seen the brutality of the Vanniar community in Dharmapuri in Tamilnadu on Dalits? It is not for unknown reasons that the leaders of PMK in that state called for abrogation of SC-ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. The Vanniyar leadership is irked like the Sangh Parivar hate campaigners that the girls from their community are being ‘lured’ by the Dalit boys.  Mujaffarnagar’s riots started from such filthy campaign and they provide great political dividend even when the cost is very high. The whole western Uttar Pradesh was epicenter of this hate campaign and we were just reduced to responding to it.

When the state fails and become one of the party in all this the enormity of the situation has to be understood. Now with a government in power that came on these dividends, the agenda is getting wider and wider day by day and states are unable to fix them as most of our secular leaders too cant go beyond their castes and respect their individual choices. Organisations like Ram Sene are on rampage finding out how many new couples came for registration for marriage. They have enough money and time to put people to find through RTI applications and state like Maharastra provided them this information. It reflects that how dangerous have we turned. How can we provide information about two individuals who are under the threat by these goons?

Those who are impressed with Hitler and his Nazism know it well how to keep people on toes all the time. It give good time to business too. Hitler was afraid of Jew businessmen and here in India such mobilisation also isolate Muslim businessmen and put them endanger. The theory is never remain in peace as it will bring people together and force them come more nearer. Once that is done, all the propaganda fail. It is therefore essential for the hate propagandists to keep spreading lies and deceits so that all their talks look original. If there is no enemy then please construct it. If there is no news please create it. If there are no rumors please bring more and more. Bring the issues that touch people’s heart. Corruption may not touch us that heartily as marriage of our women folk with a man from other community.

Filing of false cases and intimidating couples are direct threat now, which can turn purely an individual affair into a monstrous war between the communities. If matter is investigated properly such cases get exposed as happened to a Meerut girl who was allegedly paid Rs twenty five thousands to accuse the Muslim man of rape who she was working with in the Madarasa, by a local Hindutva leader. Entire Meerut was tense for many days with newspapers coming out with different stories. Soon after we had a story from Jharkhand even when the woman clearly informed that all the charges alleged by her are false.

There was a time when people used to have high opinion of those who wore religious apparel but today they are proving to be more treacherous and dangerous. The shocking tale of a woman from Manglore reflects this who accused how a VHP man kidnapped her and forced her into marrying him. It is not for unknown reason that Shiv Sena declared that it would give Rs 21,000 to those Hindus who will produce 10 or more children. Can we have more frightening and maddening ideas such as this, which violate the fundamental rights of individual to have families of their choice and children accordingly? Shiv Sena has run out of ideas. It shows how disconnected they are from the real issues of livelihood and survival of the people.

Now, we have come to such a situation when we can accuse some one falsely as that will kill the person with more TV studios peeping into our personal lives, there is no space for a person to survive and even prove him or her as innocent unless state fails to bring proof of our being criminal. Today, we are surviving on state’s failure otherwise it won’t allow us to even raise our head and prove our innocence. No mechanism is in place to challenge media or punish it or the state apparatus where if the stories turn out to be false after several days. A person is guilty much before the court verdict is declared and their individual choices becoming ‘threat’ to the nation and its ‘social fabric’. This is the state of affair here, which will strengthen the hate mongers. As they are not involved directly as most of them had actually relations among Muslims too but they want to use our marriages, our love affairs, our private lives for their political survival. An India on this will never be safe and secure for all. It will never move ahead. It will be disastrous for all.

The killings of the Dalit family in Ahmednagar did not become a national issue because it did not have a ‘love-jihad’ angle. For media to become a main story for many days you need a Muslim character in it so that our ‘experts’ can discuss it endlessly for hours and hours. How many time this sick media discussed the carnage committed by upper castes against Dalits and Aadivasis? How many times did we hear discussion on such barbaric incidents that reflects how ‘tolerant’ we are? The show will go on. We will continue to fight ‘Love Jihad’ but the implications are already there. Love threatens status quo maintained by caste forces and it is bound to weaken their foundation. It is a war by the caste forces on the citizens of this country who want to live on their own choice, which has been granted under the constitution of India and all the international covenants and conventions. Why should only Dalit speak on the issue? Where are the Hindu leaders who feel Dalits are Hindus and have been working on their ‘social engineering’ for years? Does our prime minister know how brutal Hindus can be when their caste sanctity is challenged? The religious rights and their organizations are happy. It suits well to all that people remain confined to their caste and religious identities so that they could be used for political purposes and sanctity of the caste remains intact. If the threat of Love Jihad can save our caste system very well and further perpetuate it then what is wrong. It is needed to protect the caste minds who are posing the biggest threat to social change so we will hear more cries of Love Jihad and less on Khap Panchayats and their misdeeds on the warring zones of our TV studios. Meanwhile, life for individuals, who our constitutional forefathers imagined would build a stronger idea beyond the narrow confines of caste, region and religion, would be more threatening, painful and isolated. A secular constitution would not be able to save them from being lynched in the streets, at home or elsewhere as Barbarians rules our streets, our life and media. As a citizen of India, this helplessness is more painful and worrying trend. Such acts are only going to strengthen religious rights and extremists in each society who do not want intermingling of people and are afraid of crumbling of caste and religious barriers.  State must act and do its duty. Will it ?