Narendra Modi roamed to power by selling the dream of a golden era to the aspiring Indians. Instead of the dreams becoming reality, India has become a “Republic of Hatred” in the words of Harsh Mander, a social activist and former IAS officer. The Modi government under the pressure from the Sangh Parivar focused more on the implementation of the strategies for realizing the dream of a Hindu nation than on the efforts to materialize the promises made to the people of India at the time of election. The so called fringe elements became the main players during the last four years of Modi regime. The venom of hatred that had been injected into the vein of the society began to be spilled in the form of mob lynching, murder of rationalists who questioned blind faith and superstitions and trolling by the right wing army on the social media of the critics of the Sangh Parivar and of the BJP government.
When Kerala faced the mammoth task of rescuing and rehabilitating lakhs of people during the recent murderous flood, the people of Kerala came together forgetting caste, class and religion to face the crisis. More than 3000 fishermen took 700 boats to the rushing waters and saved the lives of more 70,000 people. While risking their own lives to save others they did not ask the religion, caste or class of the human beings saved by them. They carried with them not only the gears to save people but also food items collected from their villages. Some of them even paid the cost of transporting their boats by trucks. The image of Jaisal KP, a fisherman from Malapuram, bending and offering his back as a ramp for rescued people getting on a boat is, indeed, heartrending. The social media, which is misused and abused by the hate mongers for spreading hatred, was profusely used for coordinating rescue and relief operations and mobilizing resources for the relief camps.
During this unprecedented crisis and agony some fundamentalists made attempts to divide the people by spewing the venom of hatred. “Kerala Hindus must stop eating beef. You can’t claim you’re a Hindu and eat beef too. Mother nature will pay back with interest”. “What help? Most are working outside Kerala, in Gulf etc. Islamic organizations and Churches take good care of these Commies! Try helping them with food to survive and they will ask for beef curry”. “Lord Ayyappa is angry with the Kerala Government, as the whole country knows that the Communist & Congress Workers had publicly slaughtered an innocent calf in protest of Beef ban, cooked it publicly & feasted on its cooked beef openly on the road! God wouldn't spare”. These outpourings of the poison of hatred even when the state of Kerala was facing the worst flood in a century indicate the dangerous direction towards the country is moving.
According to a report in UCAN news on 27th August, Swami Chakrapani Maharaj, leader of the All India Hindu Assembly, appealed to the federal government and Hindus in general not to provide relief to flood-hit victims in Kerala who eat beef, as the cow is a revered animal in Hinduism. "Before giving any assistance, one should ask the victim whether they have ever eaten cow meat, and then in accordance with their answer, relief should be decided on," he added in a statement. "It is not just because of some untimely monsoon. The state of Kerala has been stuck with nature's fury because of the sins of beef eaters," read the statement by the chief of Hindu Mahasabha. A BJP lawmaker from the neighbouring Karnataka joined the hate mongers as per the NDTV report on 27th August. “ Slaughtering cows is against the feelings of the Hindu community. One should not hurt the feelings of other religions. Now you see what happened to Kerala, they openly slaughtered cows and you see in less than one year they've come to this stage. “Whoever hurts the feelings of the Hindu community will be punished this way," said Basangouda Patil Yatnal, a BJP lawmaker. Last month, he had said if he were home minister of Karnataka, he would have had intellectuals shot as they were "dangerous".
On August 17 when Swami Agnivesh went to BJP headquarters for paying homage to the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee he was verbally abused and manhandled by a crowd. They were shouting the slogan, “Anti-national, go back!” One month back he was attacked at Pakur in Jharkhand. It was reported that the attackers were the members of RSS backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Parishad. Many supporters of BJP justified the attack and uploaded on the social media a video talk of Swami Agnivesh in which he criticized the P M Modi’s claim that the technology of plastic surgery was available in the ancient India and applying this technology head of elephant was fixed to Lord Ganesh. As a social reformer Swami Agnivesh is critique of superstitions and blind practices within the Hindu religion. That could be the reason for the right wing forces targeting him.
The attack on Swami Agnivesh could be viewed in the line of the killing of the rationalists: Narendra Dabolkar, Govind Pansare, MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh. All four of them had vehemently opposed superstitions and blind faith promoted in various religions, particularly in Hindu religion. News reports about the investigation of the cases related to the murder of these writers point to the involvement of some Hindu extremist organizations. The investigations have successfully nailed many operatives of the Sanatan Sanstha (the Sanstha has denied any involvement), first in the Gauri Lankesh murder and now in Dabholkar’s case. Whenever the investigative agencies point to the involvement of certain Hindu extremist organizations using violence to achieve their goal, all Hindutva groups come to their defence. While the term, “Islamic terrorism” is profusely used, use of the term “Hindu terrorism”, referring to the involvement of Hindtva elements in violence and murder, is condemned by the self proclaimed nationalists. It is heartening to note that the CBI has informed the court that it has established link between the murder of Gauri Lankesh and Narendra Dabolkar. The investigations have to be taken to their logical conclusion so that the culprits are brought before the law.
The most tragic phenomenon is that none of the BJP leaders or ministers of Modi government condemns the venom spewing by the hate mongers. One gets the impression from the silence of the BJP leaders and of the Prime Minister that these ‘anti-nationals’ have the overt or covert support of the higher ups of the Sangh Parivar. While those who spread hatred and participate in mob lynching walk around freely Human Rights activists are arrested and put behind the bars. Arundhati Roy reacted to the state swooping down on the Human Rights activists and arresting five of them on 28th August in the following words. “They should raid those who make up lynch mobs and murder people in the broad daylight. It tells us very clearly where India is headed. Murders will be honoured and celebrated. Anybody who speaks up for justice or against Hindu majoritrianism is being made into a criminal. What is happening is absolutely perilous.” "There is only place for one NGO in India and it's called the RSS. Shut down all other NGOs. Jail all activists and shoot those that complain. Welcome to the new India," Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
Various incidents of hatred and intolerance taking place in the country call for a serious response on the part of the citizens of India. Rahul Gandhi during his recent visit to Germany and England harshly criticized the BJP and the RSS for their divisive politics. While addressing a gathering at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London he compared the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. "The RSS is trying to change the nature of India. There is no other organisation in India that wants to capture India's institutions... What we are dealing with is a completely new idea. It's an old idea being reborn. It is similar to the idea that exists in the Arab world of the Muslim Brotherhood. The idea is that one ideology should run through every institution and one idea should crush all other ideas," he told the gathering. While addressing the Indian Diaspora in Germany he claimed that while his party binds the people, the RSS and the BJP divide them and spread hatred.
The Congress Party cannot wash its hands and put all the blame on RSS and BJP for the present situation. The omissions and commissions of the Congress helped the Sangh Parivar to grow and acquire enormous power. The Congress failed to arrest the growth of the Sangh Parivar while it was in power. It failed to stop the infiltration of RSS men into different departments and wings of the government. It could not identify the supporters of the Sangh Parivar within its own fold, who destroyed it from within like termites.
Rahul’s Gandhi’s plan for bringing together all democratic and secular forces in India to oppose the dangerous and poisonous ideology of the BJP and RSS is the need of the hour. But mere opposition to BJP cannot win the confidence of the people of India. The opposition parties have to present a constructive plan based on the core values of the Preamble of Indian Constitution in order to solve the vital issues affecting the people: unemployment, price rise, corruption, crisis in agriculture, deterioration in education and health care, and communalism and hatred. They may adopt a slogan, Nafrat mukt Bharat: Samridh Bharat (An India liberated from hatred: A prosperous India). The BJP under the leadership PM Modi wants to establish a Congress mukt Bharat; but the opposition parties should aim at liberating India from the toxin of hatred, revenge and violence and transform it into a country of inclusiveness, harmony, peace and prosperity as envisaged in the preamble of Indian Constitution.
(firstname.lastname@example.org)(Published on 03rd September 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 36)