Targeting Lakshadweep

Writing more than 2000   years ago, the Chinese general and philosopher Sun Tzu appraised war in terms of five factors–morality (or justice and righteousness), weather (natural effects), terrain (whether open or restricted), command (or leadership qualities such as wisdom and courage), and doctrine (or organisation of armed structure). Having shown itself to be bereft of all morality, unable to exploit the weather conditions, alienated from the people on the terrain that voted it into power, and having its supreme leader cut to size and without a halo despite the attempt to appear sagely, the Hindutva brigade fell back on the only factor it has left in its armoury–its hate doctrine (and its indoctrinated army). This time it seeks a terrain far-away, yet clearly significant for attempting to salvage itself–Lakshadweep islands off the coast of Kerala. Having suffered a crushing defeat in the recently concluded elections in multiple states (including Kerala where it lost all 113 seats it contested), the Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) has now desperately turned to this largely Muslim-dominated archipelago where Malayalam is the official language (along with English) in order to make it the new testing ground for Hindutva politics. Breaking protocol, it deployed Praful Khoda Patel, a non-IAS officer as Administrator of Lakshadweep – a post usually reserved for IAS officers. Patel is one of Hindutva’s dyed-in- the-wool believer and bhakt, whose experience as home minister of Gujarat (where he held all the portfolios vacated by Amit Shah since 2007) is matched only by his neoliberal contempt for any form of equitable and sustainable development. With this move the BJP has made it clear that it will leave no stone unturned to reap the harvest of hate that it has sown over the last several decades. The horrors are already underway in Lakshadweep ranging from the all-too-familiar beef ban and attempt to impose vegetarianism, cracking down on protesters and dissenters as anti-national, ushering in ecologically destructive development policies, preparing the ples for the sale of land, and much more.


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Vol. 54, No. 7, Aug 15 - 21, 2021