Madhya Pradesh: shadows of Hindu Rashtra
Madhya Pradesh is being ruled by the BJP Government for the last several years. This is one state where BJP and its erstwhile avatar, Bhartiya Jansangh had a good deal of following in the past also. During the last few years one has seen, with the BJP Government in the saddle, the state is imposing norms which are intimidating to minorities, the BJP associates have become more assertive and the state is openly promoting Hindu culture, and it is also the place where the terror component of RSS affiliates has been having its dens at various places in the state.
Recently (March 2011) the police stations got a circular from the head office which required them to collect information about Christian minorities. This information pertained to various facets of social life of the community. The order candidly sought information about Christians of all denominations such as number of priests, bishops, schools, institutions, political patronage, Christians with criminal antecedents, economic sources, among many other things. When one priest refused to divulge the information, meant to profile the community, he was taken to the police station. When the community leaders took up the matter with the top police officers, they expressed their ignorance, and it seemed like the case of ‘No One Killed Jessica Lall’, as if no one had issued the circular, or the one who issued this illegal circular was being shielded. With this the subtle ways of operating of the RSS controlled state mechanism became clear.
With BJP government in the seat of power the RSS associates have become much more bold and dominant and there are activities, which begin as ‘religious’ ones and end up being generating hate of minorities the way the events are tilted and given shape by those controlling these organizations. This is one state where the RSS has been very active in the Adivasi areas. Like in the case of Gujarat, on the pretext that ‘Christian missionaries are converting’, many acts of violence have been taking place in these areas. One recalls the rape of nuns in Jhabua, followed by the comment by ‘B.L. Sharma Prem’ from RSS stable, who proudly boasted that a rape of nuns is the act of nationalism. In the same areas the followers of Asaram Bapu have been very active, spreading venom against the minorities.
Pursuing this line of action, they had earlier also organized meetings in Adivasi areas, now this agenda culminated in the organization of Narmada Samajik Kumbh (Feb 2011), on the lines of Shabri Kumbh in the Dangs of Gujarat. These Kumbhs have been creating an atmosphere of fear and insecurity amongst Christians in particular and in these events they undertake the “Ghar Vapasi” (Returning Home), which in actually means the conversion of Adivasis, to Hinduism by direct or indirect pressure. Now these efforts are being totally backed up by facilities from the state Government. There is a plethora of anti Minority literature which is distributed en masse. Such intervention in Adivasi areas is dampening the educational and health welfare work of Missionaries in the Adivasi areas.
With this Government in power, the Muslim minorities were clearly told that MP is not going to implement Sachar Committee report. Rather than seeing it as necessary affirmative action for the poor Muslims, it is being projected in the divisive communal language.
Going against the spirit of Indian Constitution, the MP Chief Minister has given a call to the Government servants to join RSS, while being on active service. One recalls in Gujarat, a similar call was given by Narendra Modi. At that time Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime minister, he felt so embarrassed by this move that he insisted that the state Government withdraw the circular permitting state employees to join the RSS. As such it is RSS trained and coordinated Swayamsevaks, who not only work in BJP, in the important positions of power but they also manipulate politics in more ways than one. To argue that RSS is not a political organization is factually wrong as RSS has a political agenda of Hindu Rashtra, which it operates through its multiple progenies. So while the Government servants are barred to join politics, MP government is openly flouting this norm.
In Gujarat one witnessed the advent of Hindu Rashtra through massive anti-Muslim violence backed up by cultural manipulation. In MP the cultural instance is more dominant and visible. Hindu terminologies are being picked up for every occasion and implemented. For School teachers the term coined was Rishi, as in ancient India, Rishis were committed to imparting knowledge. Interestingly, Rishi is a masculine term, so the large number of women teachers are out of its ambit. And more interestingly these Rishis were lathi charged when they came together to demand implementation of better pay scales!
M.P. has also been the place where the Hindutva terror groups got good shelter, a safe haven. People like Sunil Joshi, Pragya Singh Thakur, Kalsangra, Devendra Sharma, Sandeep Dange and others could operate freely and comfortably due to their saffron association in a BJP ruled state. State has been totally insensitive to the feelings of minorities and all its schemes have been named in Hindu terminology, Girls welfare scheme: Ladli Laxmi, Child Nutrition program: Anna Prashan, Water Harvesting: Jalabhishek are just few of the names of state government schemes currently in operation in the state. Similarly the schools have been made to observe Surya Namaskar, (Sun Worship), a sort of exercise-worship routine from Hindu mythology. The state officials openly participate in Arms Worship (Shastra Puja) a ritual on Dussehra festival. In this worship the guns and weapons from the police department are freely used. This taking out arms from armed police must be regarded as serious violation of law. Yoga was initially introduced as a compulsory discipline. Now it is optional, but then with the majority of Hindus opting for it, the minority children do feel left out.
State has showered the gift of land to various trusts formed by RSS associates. Recently one donation of large plot of land to Kushabhau Thackeray (the founder of RSS-BJP activities in the state) trust has been quashed by the Court, but such instances abound.
Madhya Pradesh Government is combining subtle and overt intimidation along with cultural manipulation to Hindutvize the state. The minorities are feeling marginalized and insecure due to the atmosphere created by the state machinery and RSS affiliates. After Gujarat, many a states are vying for emulating its model; Madhya Pradesh already seems to be way ahead! (Issues in Secular Politics)