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Published in the 16-29 Feb 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Ayodhya: mayhem as mascot
By I K Shukla

Mr Vajpayee has announced he would launch the poll drive for Lok Sabha with Ayodhya Pranam (Salute to Ayodhya). This is tantamount to declaring that the electorate has to vote Hindu Terror back to power. If the past is any guide, Vajpayee has his party’s collective reason to issue this triumphalist threat. For, not just the minorities but many more segments of society, sizeable and diverse, would now deem that they have been put on alert, and asked to vote “sensibly”. If they choose to ignore the ill-concealed diktat, they better be prepared for the consequences. Tough luck.

What this one statement (Nav Bharat Times, Jan. 29, 2004) unambiguously declares is the intent and the project that characterizes Hindutva. Less symbolically, but far more substantively, it is a declaration of war on Indian people, the Constitution, the minorities, the secular state, and the democratic polity. The lines between majoritarianism, nationalism, and fascism have been defiantly blurred, and quite logically. Majoritarianism, at inception, tactically masquerades as nationalism to win general acceptance as something decent and respectable, but morphs into fascism once it acquires power and feels sure of its ground.

The viciousness and thuggish vandalism evident in the ransacking of Bhandarkar Research Institute at Pune, and soon thereafter, of the Garden Art Gallery, Surat, which had a Durga painting, and various similar acts of cultural boors, enjoy a quiet sanction of illicit immunity guaranteed by the totalitarian Hindu warlordism, official and organizational. And these were not “isolated incidents” hackneyed official assertions notwithstanding.. This orgy will run in a series.. 

The separation of church and state is a concept too far beyond the mental capacity of any sectarian aggression that expropriates the state to serve its purpose. Hindutva cavemen believe that it is the state that should prescribe, as in the ages past, the religion of its subjects. They fancy that they are kings and feudal lords of a bygone era, to luxuriate in predation and parasitism, and citizens are mere subjects, born only to obey their orders as chattels and serfs. They have either never known or deliberately dismissed the basic tenets of civics, along with democracy, pluralistic society, or egalitarian dispensation.
The populace at large may be amazed that the PM has proclaimed his tribal bigotry befitting a primitive chieftain of times now unfit for display even in a museum. VHP has demanded that Hindutva be on the poll agenda of BJP (Bhrashtachaar / corruption and Jighansa / desire to kill party). That he has no shame or remorse at the Babri Demolition of 1992, or the holocaust that followed in its wake in Mumbai and several Indian cities, and in Pakistan and Bangladesh, that he is cynical enough to exploit the mayhem-muddied Mandir issue for a terrorist organization like BJP to stay in power, betrays his unfitness as PM of a nation so diverse and large as India, so segmented and variegated as India.

What the announcement of Mandir (the Mayhem Machine, the Monumental Mendacity) as mascot amounts to is this: BJP will keep brazenly stealing from the national coffer as its innumerable scams and humongous swindles attest, thus it will keep the people poor and illiterate, homeless and malnourished, indebted and starving; that it will go on pimping for and selling the national assets to foreign corporations in the name of Liberalization and Privatization; that it will be the surrogate and stooge of alien imperialists, tyrannically repressing peoples’ resistance at home and militarily helping the neo-colonialists abroad in subjugating and enslaving other countries and crushing other peoples who dare mount principled and patriotic resistance to the rampaging super power.

Too, Vapayee has signaled well in advance his tacit consent for and implicit collaboration with all mayhem carried out thus far, and also prospectively to be carried out, by the terrorist Hindu outfits against non-Hindus. The viciousness and thuggish vandalism evident in the ransacking of Bhandarkar Research Institute at Pune, and soon thereafter, of the Garden Art Gallery, Surat, which had a Durga painting, and various similar acts of cultural boors, enjoy a quiet sanction of illicit immunity guaranteed by the totalitarian Hindu warlordism, official and organizational. And these were not “isolated incidents” hackneyed official assertions notwithstanding.. This orgy will run in a series. We should expect more of the same in the days ahead.

This moral outrage against the minorities has been granted absolution, by the Ayodhya Salute Annunciation, in the name of Dharma, by Vajpayee, the Brahmin, the RSS man, the man with a ventriloquist’s reputation. The violence against Christians in Jhabua, Mdhya Pradesh, is an intimation of what is in store for the minorities in the election season. It is he who called for a national debate on Conversion as anodyne for the violated and bruised minorities. It is he who flew into a rage, not at the hurt and humiliation suffered by a church in Dangs, Gujarat, but at the debris of shattered glass which once framed its windows. A poetaster’s aesthetic feathers had been ruffled, but his humanity, anemic and amoral, had remained unstirred, somnolent, and moribund.

His declaration of Ayodhya Salute is a violation of the principles incorporated in the Constitution. Unless the judiciary declares his extremist sectarian bias mala fide and ultra vires, unless the Election Commission quashes the sops and largesse he has showered after the date for, and the decision to go to, polls were announced, not only would he be setting an ugly precedent, he will have abrasively impugned and brutally impaired the sanctity of the democratic process that has somehow anchored India in extremely trying conditions. It is in the abyss of anomie that Vajpayee has daringly dumped India with this Annunciation of Ayodhya as his mascot. He, in effect, has roared he would keep the communal cauldron boiling. It brings electoral victories to the votaries of death and darkness. For this transgression, he should be declared unqualified to contest the elections.

It is a provocative declaration. To counter this open call to arms and this savage glob of contempt for the minorities and our besieged democracy, strategies to be devised by those directly threatened and direly affected, may not all be uniformly polite and rigorously decent. Nor was Vajpayee polite or decent thundering this Ayodhya Salute to inaugurate Hindu fascism’s parliamentary stumping. Has he “concluded he can get away with a rape-pillage approach and still win a second term”? The words in quotes (of Mark Hertsgaard, The Nation, Feb. 9, 04) refer to Bush, “the natural ally”, recently discovered and so anointed by saffron-soaked New Delhi. They so aptly apply to pal Atal too. Birds of a feather hawk together.

Unless Vajpayee and his cohorts are stopped in their tracks, Hindu fascism as politico-religious fever will have struck and spread all over India. Imperialism, which has always been chummy with and supportive of its fascist kin, will play its historical role in degrading the people, dividing the society, and destroying the nation. A neo-imperial aggressor on the prowl will find in Asia willing and ardent coolies and camp followers, this time swathed in saffron. This will guarantee longevity to a hydra-headed terrorism that will hoarsely call itself Cultural Nationalism, the new-fangled name of old-fashioned fascism.
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