The Election Result 2019

The most reactionary reconstruction of national pride

Arup Baisya

The reasons behind national electoral upsurge of BJP are manifold. Many political observers are emphasizing the nation-wide RSS organization, the money and media power as the prime factors for this spectacular rise of BJP. But this is an over-simplified assessment of the here and now. The organizational network built by RSS through their 36 odd organizational activities encompassing all aspect of social life is not new. But this social network cannot be transformed into such a gigantic political force without a much deeper social dynamic at play. Ashis Nandy, in his analysis of the interaction of Hinduism and Hindutva, wrote perceptively in 1990 that, ‘Hinduism and Hindutva now stand face to face, not yet ready to confront each other, but aware that the confrontation will have to come some day’. (RSS, A view to the Inside : Penguin, Viking 2018 : 247). But at this moment after the resounding victory of political Hindutva, it seems, Hinduism gave way to Hindutva and conceded defeat without any confrontation or fight. The moot question is why this has happened? On the issue of traditional Hindu caste hierarchy versus Hindutva, the RSS has faced the dilemma right from its inception of attracting the all Hindus for its nationalist programme from its original support base of High-caste Hindus while advocating a doctrine of social unity that undermines caste hierarchy. (RSS, A view to the Inside : Penguin, Viking 2018 : 245). What has changed drastically to Indian society that enables the sangh Parivar to transcend the caste-community barrier to uphold the pan-Indian muscular ultra-nationalist project? One easy answer to the success story of popular acceptance of RSS project is that the RSS has established a pattern of accommodating regional religious and cultural traditions by claiming them as elements of larger Bharatiya culture. But this interpretation is loaded with too much of subjectivity.

The fascism is basically a particular political response to the challenges with which the management of capitalist society may be confronted in specific circumstances. The return of fascism in East, West and South is connected with the spread of the systemic crisis of generalized, and globalised monopoly capitalism. The fundamental reason of rise of fascist movement lies with the change of social forces of production with concomitant change of relations of production from above. It is a sort of passive revolution of bourgeois order where the democracy is denied in the bourgeois sense of the term.

In India, the rapid disintegration of the old caste-community based society due to the coercive pressure of imperialist capital from above and the pressure from the human-labour uprooted from their village community life generated the passion within the society to redefine the age old ideological framework befitting the constitutional form of secularism, the secularism which upholds diversity in a nostalgic sense but accommodates itself in an imperialist centre-periphery relation of subjugation propped up with internal hierarchical order. The tension thus generated in the conflict between the old and new values can only be democratically remoulded by radically redefining this relation of subjugation. In absence of such a project which can rest on the force of workers-peasant alliance, the Sangh offered the alternative route to lead the people to an imagined plank where the people can sense a mystical moment of carte blanche, a skewed sense of freedom which is directed against the other. They successfully constructed this imaginary enemy of other in alien culture, and the history of partition behind our Indian nation building gave them the opportunity to construct a weak alien enemy power to channelize the collective alter-ego of the masses in the most reactionary path of Hindutva. The basic premise of BJP’s rise is also the culmination of a carefully and meticulously crafted image of Mr Modi who epitomizes the aspiration of a resurgent India in a muscular nation-building which is the ramification of most reactionary alliance of RSS led forces of Hindutva Nationalism and neo-liberal comprador bourgeois class. The objective strength of this new nationalism lies with the support of new class which owes its increasing wealth from privatisation and disinvestment, income from the rent and plunder of natural resources and commissions from the opening up of the Indian market to foreign oligarchs. A small section of this class has already emerged as national oligarchs intricately connected to global giants as compradors.    

The aspiration of 40 crores of new precarious working class who have been uprooted from their village community life and the large section of intellectual working class for a new India have been modulated to lead to an imagined plank of ultra-nationalism. The lack of an alternative politics and unity of opposition on democratic nation-building on the basis of workers-peasant alliance paved the way for BJP to get such a resounding victory. The most reactionary reconstruction of national pride can somewhat be combated by reducing the migration from villages to towns and cities by revamping the agriculture through small family farms (Maoist agricultural reconstruction in China) which is, unlike industry, more efficient than big farms, and the food sovereignty, increasing demand for the consumer goods that need to be produced domestically. 

This electoral upsurge of BJP will accelerate the dismantling of the federal structure of the state by transcending the regional aspirations. The immediate epicenter of this onslaught of this rising communal forces is West-Bengal where the Sangh has launched an all out attack to grab the state power. The broadest unity with a democratic programme with focus on worker-peasant alliance can resist the rise of forces of extreme reaction in Bengal. The social reality and political balance of Bengal ensure the vital energy to rejuvenate constructive political discourse and democratic resistance. But while striving for the broadest unity which is the need of the hour, the serious alternative views can be derived from a sincere criticism of the left practices in India.

Vol. 51, No. 48, Jun 2 - 8, 2019