More on Bharat Bandh

The only partial success of    the Bharat Bandh has shown that the problems of building up an all-India united front against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are immense. It is curious that the TMC, the ruling party in West Bengal, opposed the bandh while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and its leader, Mayawati refused to join it. In contrast, the Kisan rally organised earlier was fairly successful. Issues like the rise in the prices of petrol and diesel do not evoke much response as yet, although ordinary customers do not approve of such rises. It may be recalled that when the prices of petrol and petroleum products drastically went down in the international market, the Modi government preferred to keep them out of the GST. Now the official explanation for the rise is the rise in international prices. This is hypocritical, but the way the bandh was called and implemented highlights the failure of the opposition. In truth they are still in disarray. The tyrannical face of communal fascism has been evidenced in numerous events. It is communal, because it is based on the ideology of the 'othering' of Muslims and dalits. It is fascist because it constantly endeavours to punish protesters including writers, journalists, researchers, lawyers and civil rights activists by inciting the police,who are only too ready to serve as the lackeys of the powerful, against them. Refusal to take complaints against an MLA for raping a girl and instead filing false cases against the father of the victim, ultimately torturing him to death, is one example. Such examples have grown in number and intensity ever since Narendra Modi and Amit Shah's ascent to power.

Of course, the so-called opposition parties cannot escape their responsibility. As far as West Bengal is concerned, one phenomenon is particularly noticeable, namely growing influence of the ideology of anti-Muslim communalism. One reason is the increasingly dictatorial actions of the ruling Trinammul Congress, which has been bent on suppressing all dissent by force. Growing ccorruption is an additional factor.

All these have driven many towards the BJP and emboldened the die-herd communal forces who had so far been lying low. They are now propagating all sorts of lies and thus misleading the people through the social media. The other is the virtual inaction of the parliamentary left which, after enjoying long years of powers and privileges, became heavily dependent on the police and robbed themselves of all independence in thought and action. Except the recent struggle in Bhangar, there has been no mass movement that caught the attention of the greater public. There too the struggle was directed mainly against the tyranny of the ruling establishment. The dictatorial nature of the ruling party cadres has certainly corroded the possibility of an anti-BJP platform. In other states too, the greed for power of the opposition politicians and their internal quarrels have helped the forces of communal fascism.

What is needed is a concerted effort to build up a broad based united front capable of fighting the forces of communal fascism on all fronts, not in the polls only. This battle should cover a broad spectrum, from exposing the alliance of Modi with the plunderers of bank money, namely the corporate houses, to the comprehensive presentation of the real truths about India's history as against the distortions made by communal fascists. As Professor Amartya Sen has recently pointed out, no powerful and strong political movement can be built up through elctoral adjustments alone.

Vol. 51, No.12, Sep 23 - 29, 2018