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Autumn Number 2019

RSS Commands

The Rise of Saffron Caeser—Modi

Ismail Chaudhury

The second coming of Modi seems to have unnenved the Opposition, otherwise a motely crowd without a programme, and regional parties as well more than ever before. With Modi's party—Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—showing aggressiveness in almost every state regional parties in Andhra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and West Bengal are losing their relevance. Barring Telengana Rashtriaya Samiti all these regional outfits are now fighting for survival. As they stand now, they have very little to offer other than grilling the Centre over this issue or that. Their sole purpose of existence is to bargain with the Centre for more doles. Their one-point agenda is how to maximise the loot of the exchequer. After all it is all about how to win elections or lose them.

The regional parties arose with the aim of opposing too much centralisation of power. They were agitating over Centre-State relations. In truth there is enough scope to highlight the skewed Centre-State relations. It makes sense if they demand review of Centre-State relations in view of the publication of Sarkaria Commission Report. No, they don't. If they are at all serious they could agitate over non-implementation of Sarkaria Commission recommendations. It seems they are least bothered about Sarkaria Commission suggestions. There are two family-oriented regional parties in Kashmir—National Conference (NC) and People's Democratic Party (PDP)—but they never talked vociferously against the separatist Hurriyat. Nor were they sincere enough to fight Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. It's not enough to condemn terrorism. What is needed is to raise footsoldiers to confront 'terrorists' in the field. It is their political duty to isolate them politically from masses without which they cannot defeat them. They never do that. They demand more grants and doles and continuous protection under Article 370, which is gone forever. As for Bengal where the regional outfit Trinamul Congress (TMC) enjoying poticial advantage because of 34 years of Marxist turanny, is crumbling. Of late it is panicked by widespread desertion and putch by BJP. Whether they admit it or not it is losing to the saffron camp. And BJP looks determined to caputre power in Bengal by any means, fair or foul. This party is plagued by corruption. Random corruption even at the grassroots level. No party can survive with such a mountain of corruption as the 'Cut Money Syndrome' shows. Unless regional parties get united and demand de-centralisation of power as per Sarkaria Commission Report they have no future. They are out and out regional in outlook while asking for recongnition in national politics and they hope to play bigger role in national scenario. A contradiction. As they continually indulge in politics of passivity, they will soon lose all their political clout they had in yester years. After all who is bothered now about Lalu Yadav's regional outfit Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) but Lalu. Their existence does in no way affect national politics.

Having failed to re-define Centre-State relations they solely depended on communal-secular divide to fight what they call BJP menace and failed miserably. People no longer believe in their secular credentials. They have over-played the secular card and blunted it only to legitimise BJP's idea of majoritarian rule and minority-bashing through its dozens of frontal organisations. For one thing BJP's consistent campaign against appeasement policy of oppositon and so-called secular parties bears fruit as people no longer take their campaign lightly.

Equation between BJP and regional parties in different provinces has taken different shape and in most cases regionalists are mellowed, too eager to cooperate with the Modi dispensation in passing controversial bills which were earlier pending in upper house for lack of majority.

In Bengal the situation is somewhat different. The leftists cannot reconcile themselves with the sudden meteoric rise of saffron political power. If anything their rise is not really sudden, they have slowly but steadily eroding the leftist base by default. Whether they like it or not, the rightists have followers who think they could do something better for them if they have a chance. This calculation motivated a large number of voters to switch over to BJP. In West Bengal, the CPM-led left forces are now occasionally conducting meetings and rallies, rather aimlessly. It won't serve any purpose.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is now a well-knit organisation with an ideology moulded with Hindutva, to offer to Hindus across the country. Marxists or leftists never attacked RSS politically and ideologically. As for new generation cadres of Marxists and leftist parties their conviction is so fragile that they easily get swayed by RSS propaganda and join the BJP to make things exfacie unbelievable. The wounds of partition have not been healed up in Bengal even after 73 years and it still remains a catalyst to foment communal passion and riots.

Right-wing forces are capable of mobilising masses in favour of their retrogressive ideas. And it is happening all over the world.

The history of communist movement in India has an interesting reading. Whenever mass movement sharpens, communal passion vanishes and the society remains free from communal riots. To thwart communal riots and hatred campaign peasants and workers must take to the streets. Students being the most sensitive section of society must assert in their own way to fight against the unjust education system. An atmosphere of mass movement must prevail to defeat communal politics.

For one thing peasant movement is no longer a news in Bengal. Nor do workers show any dynamism. Instead retrenched workers are on starvation, commiting suicide. Labour organising takes place from time to time but mostly right-wing politicians are in the forefront to lead trade union movement. Leftists are left out—they are nowhere.

It is not easy to mobilise workers to resort to strike. Objective conditions must be there. Right now tea industry in Bengal is plagued by multiple ailments. Workers do not get stipulated minimum wages. In truth, in most tea-producing states workers get assured minimum wages. West Bengal lags behind and there is ample scope for agitation over minimum wages in gardens. No, nothing happens in this part of the globe. Leftists are happy to react to spontaneity.

In today's labour scenario jobs are flying, they are vanishing very fast. New industries are not coming up. As for digital economy Bengal is yet to catch up with other states. As a result a state of gloom seems to have gripped the society.

Both CPM and Congress have have nothing to do other than raising land and order issue against the ruling dispensation TMC. But it is unlikely to have 'law and order' issue translated into political advantage.

Left parties have nothing to say about hundreds of thousands of prisoners, non-political and political, who are languishing in jails as undertrial for years. Violation of human rights is rampant, no voice of dissent is tolerated. Yet they do not ask the authorities to release such a huge prison population unconditionally. The National Human Rights Commission intervenes selectively. NHRC has no mandatory power. In most cases their recommendations remain on paper, government simply ignore them. There is ample scope to develop democratic struggle to release political prisoners and so-called 'terrorists', 'jihadists' and their fellow travellers who are under detention of draconian laws.

Indian prisons are over-crowded, with horrible sanitation conditions. After the abolition of special status of Kashmir prison conditions in Kashmir and elsewhere beggar description.

Communists in India may go the Euro-communist way. Euro-communism is now a thing of the past. Even the Russian Communist party working under the iron heels of Putin has no future. France, Italy or England—nowhere people would like to discuss communism and communist party. In India too, a similar situation has arisen. But there is no conscious attempt to break this juggernaut without which nothing will move for the better. And the rise of Saffron Ceaser—Modi—is a fait accompli.

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Frontier
Autumn Number 2019
Vol. 52, No. 13 - 16, Sep 29 - October 26, 2019