If there’s one thing that the 102nd Indian Science Congress, held in Mumbai, will be remembered for, it’s the outrageous claims made at it about the achievements of science in ancient India, including the assertion that Indians between 7000 and 6000 BC knew how to make airplanes that could undertake “interplanetary travel”, and fly backwards and sideways, as well as forwards!
Tag - Hindutva
Some commentators have deplored the conferment of India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, on Madan Mohan Malaviya, but many have welcomed its award to the Sangh Parivar’s first Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The latter include even Amartya Sen, himself a Bharat Ratna and Nobel Laureate, who called Mr Vajpayee a “great statesman” while expressing some reservations about his policies, but praising the “human quality” behind “his leadership”.
A hallmark of the Modi government’s first 200 days in office is the beginning of the Sangh Parivar’s Long March through the Institutions of the State, in particular bodies that deal with education and culture. The Parivar’s agenda is to influence their working to reflect its own specific brand of “cultural nationalism” by engineering long-term changes in their programmes and priorities, and making key appointments of personnel who will loyally execute such changes.
Nothing in Indian politics has dismayed me recently as much as a report (The Hindu, November 22) on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s success in attracting 600 middle-class professional families in Noida to a late-night education-cum-entertainment event featuring preacher Satyanarayan Mourya. Each family paid Rs300 to attend it. Mourya is a crasser version of Ritambhara. He speaks (http://communalism.blogspot.in/2014/11/india-rss-outreach-show-with-baba.html) execrable language while attacking Muslims, and invokes Hindutva pride by claiming that ancient India gave the world geometry and airplanes, besides mastering space and nuclear technologies, achievements that today’s youth have all but forgotten under the evil influence of modern Western culture.
How does Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s lofty slogan Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikaas (inclusion and development for all) square up with India’s social-political reality as vulnerable groups such as the religious minorities experience it? The honest answer is that these groups had the most to fear from a Bharatiya Janata Party election victory, and some of their fears are coming true. The BJP’s leaders, Mr Modi included, have done very little to allay them although it’s their duty to do so.
The Lok Sabha election has produced what was easily the worst conceivable outcome by giving an outright majority to the Bharatiya Janata Party under a man who is widely believed to have been complicit in mass killings of Indian citizens belonging to one faith, and who even 12 years on has not been fully exonerated by the country’s legal system despite its compromised, semi-functional nature, and vulnerability to diabolical manipulation. Make no mistake. Despite a limited (31 percent) national vote, Narendra Modi’s victory is the result of a Rightward shift in society, and the triumph of Hindutva combined with neoliberal capitalism.
As the momentum of India’s nine-phase Lok Sabha election shifts in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s opponents, a new bunch of writers and social scientists have risen to defend its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Some of them see virtue and talent, indeed even poetic genius, in a man who presided over the mass butchery of Muslims in Gujarat. (One of them compares Mr Modi’s ghastly poetry with Kabir’s!)
When Indira Gandhi imposed the Emergency in 1975, the vast majority of Indian academics, intellectuals and media commentators protested. Barring a few publications like India Today, most newspapers carried sharply critical comments and truthful, horrifying accounts of the excesses perpetrated in the name of defending India against contrived “threats”—until censorship was imposed, and sometimes defying it.
Many Narendra Modi zealots are acting as if he had already been sworn in as Prime Minister, or as if that were only a matter of time. They have taken their cue from Mr Modi’s March 29 statement in Chandigarh, where he declared himself India’s future PM. He says the people have chosen the government even before voting; the national election is a mere formality to be gone through. Such contrived hype about a “Modi wave”, bankrolled by corporations, and propagated by much of the media, ignores four main trends which have emerged in the last couple of weeks. These suggest the election still remains open-ended. Mr Modi has doubtless established an edge, but it isn’t decisive, and cannot ensure the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance’s election victory.
Whatever its other sins and there are many one charge can never be made against the Sangh Parivar: that of having produced a halfway tall intellectual. No star in its firmament, from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s founders, to the present leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party or the Sangh’s 30-odd other affiliates, remotely approaches the description ‘intellectual’.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has committed a historic blunder by allowing the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh—a secretive, conspiratorial, unelected body with a deeply sectarian anti-democratic agenda—to dictate the choice of its Prime Ministerial candidate for the next election. It’s no surprise that the candidate is India’s vilest and most hated political figure, who has blood on his hands, pure aggression in his veins, and a slavishly pro-corporate agenda in his heart.
The shortest, if dirtiest, route to victory in the circumstances is to polarise politics along religious lines by engineering communal violence. This is exactly what happened in Muzaffarnagar-Shamli in Western UP. A minor incident—a youth allegedly made lewd remarks to a girl of another community—was converted by RSS-VHP-BJP rumour-mills into “love jihad” (seduction-abduction of Hindu women), triggering Jat-Muslim clashes, in which 40 people were killed and 50,000 displaced.
About 1,000 Muslims died in the Gujarat riots, under Modi's watch. Without justice, there can be no reconciliation
Having tasted blood through the Anna Hazare campaign, the Sangh Parivar is launching an all-round attack on the Manmohan Singh-led government. The UPA cannot defend itself with weak-kneed Right-leaning policies.
No government in India has bent over backwards to please a civil society campaign as much as the Manmohan Singh government, in respect of the Jan Lokpal (ombudsman) Bill, drafted by a small group of people, including Anna Hazare, nominated by an NGO called India against Corruption (IAC). And no single individual’s act has recently attracted as much popular support as Mr Hazare’s fast for passing the Bill on terms dictated by him by an impossibly short deadline.
The Hindutva terrorist network must be ruthlessly exposed and brought to justice. Its infiltration into the police, civil services and security forces must be thoroughly investigated. This is a precondition for reaffirming the secular character of the state and the rule of law.
The attack by Bharatiya Janata Party Mahila Morcha activists on the residence of writer Arundhati Roy in Delhi, accompanied by abusive slogans and breaking of flower-pots, marks a new low in the destructive activities of the forces of bigotry and intolerance in India. It is a hair-raising reminder of the great distance this society has travelled from the concept of a liberal democracy which genuinely respects the freedom of expression and the right to dissent—a concept that’s at the heart of the Constitution.
How should India's Supreme Court treat the appeals certain to be filed before it against the Allahabad High Court judgment on the Babri Masjid issue, which dismisses the Sunni Central Waqf Board's title suit and says the site was the birthplace of Lord Ram? Should the Court strive to reconcile the Vishwa Hindu Parishad with the Waqf Board? Or should it overturn the judgment?
THE Bharatiya Janata Party, once cohesive and disciplined, is now so faction-ridden that it often ends up damaging itself by pandering to particular leaders.
The Bharatiya Janata Party's national leadership could not have cut a sorrier figure than it did with its abysmally inept handling of the latest political crisis in Karnataka, which very nearly brought down the only government the party heads in all of South India.
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