Skeletons in the Cupboards

Fascism means war. Taking the advantage of Covid-19 and the threat of Chinese invasion in Ladakh Modi has launched a war against his own people while silencing any voice of dissent ruthlessly. But his Government's crafty design of suppressing all voices of dissent by all means at its disposal is not doing too well. Nreandra Modi's strongman image is also now deflated like a pricked balloon. In truth it is the image of a paper tiger, particularly after humiliating reports emanating from the Line of Actual Control---LAC. Yet his government is desperate in the pursuit of its ant-people agenda. The arrest of Stan Swamy, an octogenarian Jesuit missionary who worked for the tribals and dalits in his own way for the greater part of life, from his Ranchi residence has drawn much indignation all over the country, including Jharkhand, West Bengal, Kerala and Maharastra, prompting two chief ministers to condemn the incident. To label any activity that does not tally with the Sangh Parivar's scheme of things as Maoist, and to call all these activists ant-nationals with Maoist links are the twin tactics of the Modi government, whose 'patriotism' mainly consists of serving geo-strategic interests of the Uncle Sam and wooing the domestic corporate lobby by granting them more concessions. The term 'Maoist' is applied more frequently to social activists and human rights crusaders working among dalits and tribals. This tactic is clearly linked with the government's policy of 'development by dispossession,' and is clearly in the service of domestic big business houses and foreign multinationals, who want to profit by depriving the tribals and dalits of their traditional resources, namely water, forest and land. Persons like Father Swamy are considered thorns in this process, and hence they must be implicated in false cases. And Maoist label suits their purpose.

The protests in Mumbai against the incarceration of Stan Swamy have another significance; it has rekindled the flame of agitation against the arrest of persons like Sudha Bharadwaj, Var Vara Rao, Gautam Navlakha, Soma Sen etc, as has been evidenced by the statements of Mumbai-based Church functionaries. In Kolkata, the statement of Felix Raj, the respected professor of economics and chief of the St Xaviers University also shows that not all of the Christian missionaries can be cowed down by threats and arrests. Hence it is unlikely that the arrest of Stan Swamy will advance the agenda of the Sangh Parivar, rather it may backfire. Such signs are in evidence in other spheres too. For example, the stupid propaganda of the Rastriya Kamdhenu Ayog in highlighting the efficacy of cow dung in containing radiation has been challenged by a large number of young as well as veteran scientists. It can be asserted with certainty that the Kamdhenu Ayog will not be able to meet the challenge thrown up by scientific workers, because its sole purpose is to promote superstition. Promotion of superstition is the characteristic trait of all fascists in all times and ages.

The Modi government has also proved, more to itself than to the countrymen, that it lacks enough bones and muscles to face up to the challenge posed by the Chinese; hence it is frantically trying to form an alliance with the USA, Japan and Australia. The Kamdhenu like things they need desperately to divert public attention to secondary issues. The reason is that the Modis, like their Chinese counterparts, have expansionist and hegemonic ambitions, and it is now hoist with its own petard. Its actions in Kashmir which include, inter alia, incarceration of pro-India dissenters, have brought all forces together, including Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah. This development has worried the Modi-Shah-Rajnath enterprise. The Muftis and Abdullahs, on the other hand, know well that if they are to retain their political status and power, they have to go on opposing the cancellation of article 370, because otherwise, the pro-Azadi forces will take the wind out of their sails. It may be recalled that Indira Gandhi, by putting all opposition leaders into prison, united them, something which as great a personality as Jayprakash Narayan could not do. The National Conference, the PDP, the People's Conference, the CPI(M) and other outfits seem to be uniting to get back what Kashmir has lost --special status. It is sure to gain momentum in the coming days, the alternative being a strengthening of pro-Azadi forces whose social base in Kashmir is still considerable whether New Delhi admits it or not. The dream of Dr Shyama Prasad Mookherjee, who was for all practical purposes a darling in the eyes of the British government of India and was the prime figure in dividing the Bengali nationality on communal lines, is irrelevant today in the context of recent developments in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, India -China faceoff continues in Ladakh despite periodic military level talks. At the time of writing they completed 7th round of discussions without advancing even an inch towards resolution of the crisis left by history. As per a recent BBC news report, Tibetan refugees are serving in the Indian army. It has very little practical value in the field. For decades, India has recruited Tibetan refugees to a covert unit dedicated to high-altitude combat. No doubt Chinese threat is working wonder for Modi.

Human Rights are only for a privileged few in this biggest show-piece of democracy. The case of G N Saibaba is so inhuman that anything can happen any time in the semi-fascist regime of Modi. Saibaba who is a 90 per cent disabled person, is currently in Nagpur central jail, as a convicted prisoner. He has taken a decision to go on hunger strike from 21st October, demanding the end of brutish treatment meted out to him, despite international outcry against the Modi government's barbaric acts. ooo


Vol. 53, No. 20, Nov 15 - 21, 2020