"Hindu Comprador Right"

Sankar Ray

Indian parliamentary democracy today reminds of Rabindranath Tagore's lyric, 'The world is wild with the delirium of hatred (his own translation of opening line of a lyric he wrote on 5 March 1927, 'Hingsay unmatta prithwee'). And the far right, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its political front, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), try to cash in on a nationally spread humanimalistic venom. African Marxist economist Samir Amin characterised the RSS-BJP as 'Hindu comprador right'. Indian democratic polity in Amin's life time was invaded by a calculative violence as a means to a mutated fascism through religious majoritarianism. But he witnessed the trajectory of rise of Narendra Damodardas Modi who led the rise of this fascism whose dress rehearsal was the Gujarat communal riot of 2002 during the first term of chief ministership of Gujarat of Modi.

The rest is history.

There is no denying that the RSS-BJP project of Fascism sails smoothly to a great extent as never before, demolishing the basic structure of the Constitution of India, thanks to the weakening of Left which has historically combated fascism since the mid-1930s. No doubt the Indian National Congress (INC) and All India Trinamool Congress are putting up resistance to the BJP in their own way, particularly during electoral campaigns. But the theoretically enriched anti-Fascism that characterised the Left - mainly the communists - is missing here. Pitiably enough, the official Left led by the  CPI(M) which until 15 years ago was a powerful force is today too feeble to even mildly checkmate the aggressive Hindutva-fascism hawked by the RSS-BJP combine. Tragically enough they are teaming up with minority communal outfits to fight the menace of majoritarian communalism.

The first major parliamentary violence in post-independent India was the massive rigging in the West Bengal state assembly election in 1972, perpetrated by the INC. It was globally condemned. Coincidentally, René Girard's La violence et le sacré (Violence and the Sacred) was published in the same year. According to the mimetic theory of Girard, human violence is rooted in the rivalry that stems from imitation. But Girard's treatise is too theoretical to explain the nightmarish violence against the libertarian essence of Indian parliamentary democracy as majoritarian rule sans constitutionalism constantly undermines the minorities, particularly Muslims. The impunity for Hindu right-wing rioters runs parallel with expanding cruelty towards dissidents who are indiscriminately arrested, imprisoned and persecuted through wanton misuse and abuse of institutional and judicial tools. The edifice of a parliamentary democracy perishes.

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Vol. 53, No. 44, May 2 - 8, 2021