Symptoms Of Hindu Nation
By Ram Puniyani
04 June, 2007
Mohan, a gifted art student of the faculty of arts of Sayajirao Giakwad
University, Baroda had to be in jail for five days (May 2007) for the
'crime' of painting an assignment for his degree. The problem was that
the painting he made was not to the liking of the BJP camp. When the
display of the paintings was going on for assessment by the teachers,
BJP leader, Neeraj Jain attacked the exhibition with his band of supporters.
The police put Chandra Mohan behind the bars, Neeraj Jain, who had violated
the law by entering the university came out with a sense of pride for
saving, protecting the honor of 'his religion' or a religion, which
is the base of his party. As the matters unfolded the students of the
University peacefully protested against this breach of their right to
learn and against the false implication of one of their fellow students
by the barbarians in the garb of religion. The Vice Chancellor of Baroda
university, Manoj Soni who is wedded to the politics of the ruling BJP
and more particularly to Narendra Modi, gave orders that the demonstration
by students should not be permitted. The Dean of Arts faculty, a
renowned art historian felt it is too much to stifle the student's right
for peaceful protest, permitted them the protest, and he was suspended.
To add salt to the injury the pro-Vice Chancellor got the display of
students paintings removed from the spot where they were protesting.
In the bizarre happenings
at one of the most prestigious Universities of the state of Gujarat,
the culprit was projected as the hero by the ruling BJP, while those
who were merely doing their academic explorations, something for which
universities are meant for, found themselves either behind the bars
or suspended from their job. Interestingly Neeraj Jain of BJP is one
of the accused in the Gujarat carnage of 2002 and Soni, VC is one of
the Modi acolytes, a symptom of rot which has set in to the educational
system of Gujarat. A small but dominant section of population in Gujarat
upholds the actions of VC and arrest of student artist and suspension
of Dean of arts faculty.
In another incident, in order
to prevent the CBI inquiry into the cold blooded murder of Soharabuddin,
by a team of police officials led by the Modi favorite Vanzara, the
murder of Soharabuddin's wife Kausar Bano and Tulsiram Prajapati, the
police informer, the Gujarat Government admitted that its police officials
have committed the crime. Vanzara, who today owns the properties running
into millions, was showered with rose petals by the section of people
when he was being taken to be produced in the court.
Just a moth ago the, the
film which sensitively portrays the Gujarat carnage, Perzania, which
was duly cleared by the censor board, was not screened by the owners
of cine theaters because of the fear that their theaters may be damaged
by the goons, wearing saffron clothes. Similarly another film Faana
was not released in Gujarat on similar grounds as the theater owners
feared that people are opposed to Aamir Khan, who had openly sympathized
with Narmada Bachao Andolan and the cause of those displaced by the
dam. It is interesting that in most of the incidents there is a blatant
tendency to suppress the basic democratic norm and the level of apparent
acceptance for such acts from the dominant section of society is very
It is not that Gujarat is
the only state with such violations of democratic and civic norms. There
are gradations of these patterns, from the mild violations to the severe
ones like those cited above. And surely as far as the gross violations
and that too the one's related to minority community are concerned,
Gujarat is the worst state without any shadow of doubt. In other BJP
ruled states like MP, Rajasthan and Chattisgarhg also, the violations
are of severe degree, still they do not match with the ones in Gujarat.
In Gujarat, at all the levels from top to bottom and in most of the
arenas of social and political life one can see the intense aggression
of oppressive religion based ideology, opposing the little and big issues
where the freedom of expression or democratic rights of people are concerned.
From these instances various
things become more than clear. To begin with the state machinery, the
educational institutions are heavily communalized. This Vice Chancellor,
who normally should have protected the student of his University for
fulfilling the academic obligation, but chose to let the police arrest
his own student, is a comparatively young faculty who has been elevated
to the highest level of the academic prestige because he wrote a book
in defense of Modi in Gujarat genocide. The rot in the educational system,
the infiltration of communal elements in the positions of power is more
than obvious from the case of Mr. Soni.
Police acting as an onlooker
and arresting the student, the victim, and letting the culprits take
the law in their hands is reflective of the communal mind set and the
type of instructions they must be getting from the top leadership. The
attack by these goons and their defense by a section on the ground that
'our sentiments are hurt' show the type of communal common sense prevalent
in the state.
What is new about Soharabuddin's
killing? So many fake encounters, so many high handed acts of law breaking
by those supposed to be upholders of law. So many such incidents in
so many other states. The striking features of this encounter killing
are that, one, not only the criminal but his wife was also killed in
cold blood. Secondly, the pretext of terrorists coming to kill Modi,
the Hindu Hriday Samrat (emperor of Hindu Hearts) has been used to eliminate
people once again. And three, the honor showered on Vanzara, have we
heard before that these 'criminal in khaki' having patronage of those
in the seats of power are showered with rose petals while being taken
to the court? That's what Gujarat is becoming, thoroughly communalized,
the communal common sense being the dominant thought pattern of sections
of society, and politics strongly under the sway of RSS ideology.
While the acts of attacking
cinema theaters, attacking art exhibitions, stopping musical concerts
has been heard before as an occasional phenomenon, now this intolerance
is becoming systematically ingrained in Gujarat. That's what makes Gujarat
different from large parts of the country, some of which are definitely
on pursuing what we can call as 'Gujarat course' but the critical limits
have not been reached there.
At different level, one can
note two systems off law in Gujarat, minorities neither get nor can
hope to get justice after violence, and relief is a distant dream. The
transmigration within the city, Hindu area, Muslim area, and the emotional
and physical borders separating the different communities and the communal
wedge is deepening by the day. The schools are becoming set more along
religious lines than the previous mixed character where diverse children
come together and have an inherent understanding and respect for the
other. The legal system is becoming more and more insular to the anguish
of minority community. The minorities have been relegated to the second
class status, no ban loans to them, no telephone connections at times.
An analogy with Hitler's Germany has more than just the germ of truth.
While at surface, Gujarat as the state seems to be focusing on development,
the 'we have taught them a lesson' is the undercurrent thinking amongst
dominant majority community.
Gujarat is being ruled by
the BJP Government from over a decade. The RSS combine is having a field
day, using government facilities and machinery to co-opt the Adivasi,
through Shabri Kumbhs. Other programs, social engineering for inclusion
of dalits and exclusion of Muslims and Christians are under full flow.
The progressive, liberal sections of society are feeling the heat of
political intimidation. While many of them are holding aloft the torch
of democracy, the broad layers of civil society has to come forward
with courage and conviction for democratic values and the principles
of Indian Constitution. Though few, they are the hope for return of
democracy in Gujarat. Whether the electoral arithmetic will help them
restore democracy are a million vote questions? Despite internal dissentions
the RSS combine is clearly behind Modi/BJP as far as electoral arithmetic
goes. The terrifying vision of RSS ideologues is coming to fruition
in this Hindu Rashtra in one state. The question is how fast other states,
more so the BJP ruled one's or the one's where BJP is ruling in alliances,
will go in this direction? More than that the question is can the democracy
be saved in Gujarat? If some novice doubted the Fascist analogy with
the communal politics, that should become as clear as he crystal. Politics
in the name of religions or race does lead to a fascist state, and the
only difference in Hitler, Taliban and BJP is the degree of crudeness
and the use of terminology, the content remains the same.
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