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Endangered Freedom

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

11 August, 2014
Countercurrents.org

The first casualty that was hardly noticed after the new government
took over in Delhi was the deletion of important documents of the home
ministry. It was taken rather casually and the voices who expressed
their concern and anguish over it were targeted. Initially, the
incident might have looked a slight mistake on part of the government
as home minister informed parliament that files related to
assassination of Mahatma Gandhi were actually safe with government
department.

Initially many thought that this is a government friendly for the
business as the people have given it mandate for ‘good governance’ but
we all know such image creation as part of media which has shamelessly
taken the role of a propagandist for the BharatiyaJanata Party.Media
not just played a dutiful Public Relation Organization of the
SanghParivar and left no stone unturned in discrediting the opponents
particularly the ruling Congress which definitely had not done
anything worth sympathetic yet in the greater interest of
impartiality, media forgot its own role as a watch dog of the society.

Government began with greater symbolism like Ganga cleaning operation
or Prime Minister deliberately choosing the Ganga Maha-arati to start
the tenure. None ever thought that the government and the party
heading it would ultimately return to their original agenda of
Hindutva and polarization. The scars of Mujaffarnagar have not yet
healed and we have witnessed now series of reports of communal
polarization in Uttar Pradesh. A peaceful district like Saharanpur has
been assaulted by the communal violence that engulfed the Qutubsher
police station of the city resulting in loss of properties and human
lives. Meerut and Mujaffarnagar are again on the rock with rumors and
stories of a forcible conversion and rape of a Hindu girl who was
working with a Madarasa. There should be no sympathies with the
perpetrators of any crime whether the rape or conversion or spreading
rumors forpolitical gains but it speaks volume of the irresponsibility
of the Hindutva organizations who are rushing everywhere, becoming
moral police and now decided to escalate their ‘fight’ against ‘Love
Jehad’ which according to them is responsible for all this. If you
know well, Hindu organisations have long blamed the Muslim youths for
enticing ‘their girls’ in love and then converting them to Islam.
Unfortunately, all this is a war against Indian constitution, which
guarantees individual to have a choice in their marriages, which treat
‘individual’ as a ‘supreme’. Marriages are not a choice for
communities but individuals who must be respected at all cost. There
is nothing like Love Jehad but an attempt to communalize and then
polarize the entire social fabric for political games.

The Prime Minister’s speeches at both Bhutan and Nepal Assemblies used
Hindu symbolism to its best. His travel to Pashupatinath and then a
heavy donation of 2500 kilograms of sandalwood to the temple while
deliberately not sending customary greetings of Eid to Muslims in
India reflected how the government was functioning and what is in
store ahead in the coming days. How can the Prime Minister of a
secular nation be so blatant in disrespect for secular values and
ideals? Has secularism become so dirty a word that Hindutva’s fanatics
are looking better choice for people? The problem with the Hindutva’s
political philosophers is that it put ‘secularism’ equal to Muslim
fanaticism and therefore cleverly diverts the entire debate towards
communal polarization. For a person devoted to human rights of all, I
would add here that if speaking for the rights of minorities and
marginalized makes is fanaticism then we must be prepared to accept
the tag.

The problem is much bigger and need to be understood seriously. The
Hinduisation of Indian polity started long back with Congress Party
unable to respond to modern India’s challenges of fair representation
for all the marginalized and minorities. It did not develop
leadership from these segments.

The result was deep erosion of secular values in our institutions,
which are resulting in deep unrest and anguish among the marginalized
sections of our society and creating a fear psychosis among minorities
particularly the Muslims and Christians. The agenda holders of
SanghParivar have done every effort to even break the unity of the
minorities so Christians and Muslims are separated from Buddhists,
Jains and Sikhs, which are cleverly being presented as part of
‘broader Hindu family’. These are the ‘panths’ who originated from
India and Sanghparivar clearly make it distinct between them and the
religions, which originated from outside India. So, Muslims and
Christians clearly do not fall in the category of the ‘Indian
religion’ according to this agenda long unleashed by the saffron
ideologues.

The saffronisation of education was a well-planned initiative and the
government is actively promoting it. There are top priorities for the
government. One, privatize the education and second to saffronise it
completely particularly to influence the minds of young kids who can
be shaped according to the whims and fancies of those who wish to see
India a theocratic Hindu state where caste system would be ‘defined’
as ‘scientific’ as the new chairman of Indian Council of Historical
Research suggest. And he is not alone. Now we have saffron historians
and social scientists who are threatening to undo everything that has
happened in the name of education and secularization. So, who are
these new ‘historians’ of Sanghparivar. The biggest name is
ArunShourie who shamelessly tried to be in the Ministry supported by
the corporate but failed to make it. Now, he is back with his favorite
issue of bashing the ‘secular’ historians and questioning their
motives, vilifying the Muslims, putting all the invaders under the
Muslim category though they came from different regions.

The state government of Gujarat has already introduced for its
children the books written by saffron historian DeenanathBatra who is
on a fast mode to change the entire curriculum. The children of
Gujarat government’s school will have a different idea of Indian
nation and its achievements. So, don’t feel amusing about the general
knowledge of your children when they respond to your questions such as
‘ who invented Aero plane ‘ and the answer would be not ‘Wright
Brothers’ but a mythological one that they always existed in
Mahabharat. Don’t scold him or her for answering that plastic surgery
and other important inventions had already been there in our Vedas and
Puranas. Don’t feel absurd when you find them searching for answers of
modern system in our ‘mythologies’ prescribed by Batra. History for
SanghParivar has to be of ‘achievements’ of our society and our past
must look golden. If the past was horrific and full of dirt then we
must justify that and blame it on the ‘foreign’ rulers namely the
Mughals and British, also add the ‘secular’ and ‘western’ historians
for their ‘misrepresentations’ of fact. Batra’s history talks of
‘Akhand Bharat’, which include Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka,
Myanmar and even Afghanistan. One can now see how such countries are
going to have a healthy relations with India if Indian history text
consider them part of ‘Hindustan’, with the feeling that the
ultimately aim of Batra’s history lesson is to work for that Akhand
Hindustan which basically is a threat to the integrity of their
nationhood.

Things are moving perfectly as envisaged by the chitpavan priests of
SanghParivar. A Christian minister from Goa said that he believe Modi
will convert India into a Hindu nation. The Ram Sene chief was
already in Goa dictating how the girls should wear and what time they
should venture in and out. In Maharastra Shiv Sena continue to rant
against the migrants from UP and Bihar and now we see the same being
actively pursued by Delhi BJP leader Vijay Goyal though he later on
tried to explain that he did not mean that.

The promotion of Hindi is being done deliberately at the behest of the
government. A dead language like Sanskrit is being imposed on people.
The anti English language protest against C-Sat of Civil Services is
clearly an attempt to make language issue a national one and impose
Hindi on non-willing partners. It has already created heart burns in
state like Tamilnadu.

The situation is alarming but at best being ignored either due to
political pressure or patronage by industrialists to certain media
organisations. The result is the rein of terror and intimidation
inside the newsrooms. The situation is worst than what was perceived
during the emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975. That was the
time when state terrorism in the form of intimidation was order of the
day and media resisted it with full cooperation of the civil society
as well as political parties. Today, the situation has drastically
changed as India of 2014 is diametrically different than that existed
before 1975 when State was the sole arbitrator on the national issues.
Today, with active participation and encouragements from the corporate
giants, media has become a big challenge to the state itself. Today,
corporate’s fascist tendencies are growing in a much faster way and
there is an atmosphere of distrust and uncertainty in the media.
Those who are considered to be dissenter to current establishment,
both in the Industry as well as in the governments are being shunted
out unceremoniously. The image of media as watch dog is now a matter
of past as today the corporate want them to act as their muscle
flexing Public Relations Organisations.

When the fourth estate is in an absolute overhaul with likes of
Deenanath Batra and Arun Shourie taking Centre stage, the condition of
judiciary cannot be considered as very bright. The way government
scuttled the appointment of former solicitor General GopalSubrahmanyam
reflect the mindset of the state at the moment that those who have
stood against its leadership in the past would be eased out and are
unwanted for them. It is not surprising therefore that Justice Anil
Dave of the Supreme Court, on the other day, actually, endorsed the
demand of the likes of Batra, when he said that if he were a
‘dictator’, he would have enforced strictly studies of Gita and
Puranas to our students at the very beginning as they can manage all
the conflicts.

You can imagine the state of the judiciary of a country where one of
the Judges is ‘fond’ of dictatorship and openly accept the fact that
he were that, he would have enforced the ‘spiritual’ and ‘religious’
education on us. There are two points here. One dictatorship and other
enforcement of Hindu values as defined in Gita and Vedas. Surely, the
honorable Judge knows it well that Indian constitution is a secular
constitution and is committed to democracy and socialist ideals.

India is home to nearly 200 million Muslims. They are not invaders.
They are indigenous population of this country, those who embraced
Islam to save themselves from the clutches of brahmanical tyranny.
There are nearly 10 million Christians in this country and they have
not migrated from Europe or West Asia but children of soil. They too
liberated millions of people from the vicious cycle of caste-based
discrimination. Of course, caste dominance prevailed in these society
too as attempt to find answers in organized religions have failed but
that is another matter as religion or being atheist is a matter of
choice of an individual and state and the parties swearing to
constitution of India must respect that. Baba SahebAmbedkar embraced
Buddhism with nearly 400,000 of his followers in 1956, which redefined
Buddhism in India and revived it too.

Caste system, untouchability and gender discrimination is still
prevalent in our country and violence against Dalits and marginalized
continue to happen. The social norms and rituals actually dominate our
political lives also and hence India remained a secular state in
papers and not in practice. Secularism or Hindu secularism became
victim of the competitive communalism in India with parties, leaders
blaming others for their problems. It is not surprising therefore when
newspapers welcome the ban on ‘loudspeakers’ at the Masjids but do not
speak whether it is on the temples too or whether it is just Muslim
alone who created nuisance and not others including Hindus. What about
the regular torturing of common men during the month of Sawan when
thousands of Kanwars bring Ganga water to their homes? In such a
scenario, how can our courts and judges take recourse to
constitutional values when they have in mind that everything in the
past has ‘meritorious’ structure and we can resolve our modern day
problems.

Suppose we want to resolve the current crisis of caste discrimination
and violence against marginalized, can we take resource in the
teachings of Gita and Puranas.

Long back Baba SahebAmbedkar disclosed to us how Gita preached
violence and justified caste order. Ambedkar’s riddles of Hinduism
are a clear call to Dalits and marginalized to be vary of such
brahmanical crookedness. Joti Ba Phule and SavitriBaiPhule campaigned
relentlessly against the tyranny of scriptures on the Dalits,
marginalized and women. Periyar propagated self-respect marriages and
movement for self-respect among various Dravidian communities. They
remained the biggest champions of Dalit Bahujan movements of the
country. All of them asked people to chose the path of enlightenment
through modern scientific and humanist education. All of them
propagated the path of ‘spirit of inquiry’ and reasoning and humanism.

India can not move ahead ignoring the clarion call of Baba
Saheb Ambedar to develop scientific temper and be an iconoclast,
question everything that comes before you, the path shown by Buddha.
It is sad that today’s ruling establishment feel the biggest
‘enlightenment’ as the biggest threat. It reflect the idea of the
current dispensation which is afraid of modernity and free thinking
and therefore trying to bomb every institutions which has kept us
informed and protected whether it is media, judiciary or education.
Today, all these sectors of our democratic life are under the severe
threat as the admirers of Hitler and Mussolini have really started
their work. Deenanath Batra is a symptom of a bigger crisis that is
threatening to challenge India, its age-old secular humanist values
propagated by Buddha, Ambedkar, Phule, Periyar. In 1991, Kalyan
Singh’s government withdrew Kabir from the textbooks of UP
government’s high school and intermediate courses as their writings
and thoughts were considered a challenge to those who wanted to play
the politics of religion for their own power games.

Muslims in India are direct victims of this brahmanical assault but
the real targets are the Dalits, tribal and backward communities who
are asserting their rights and identities as well as seeking their
participation in power structure. The corporate brahmanical elite is
essentially trying to stop this march of assertion of dignity of this
segments hence these various plans, games and conspiracies. It is a
wake up call for all enlightened people of the country and it is only
those who understand the age old conspiracies of India’s caste elite,
can really defuse the brahmanical bomb which has been planted over us.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist.
He blogs at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com
twitter @freetohumanity Email: vbrawat@gmail.com

 




 

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