In the Name of Ram

For the frontal organisations of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Ram Navami is a grand occasion to propagate their communal ideology and assemble armed goons in the guise of cadres to terrorise minority community people. Religious processions are being organised with a lot of fanfare with the sole objective of polarising people on communal lines. The religious outfits owing allegiance to BJP have been doing it for long as they don’t believe in social harmony and cosmopolitan nature of Indian society.

Last year they did it extensively but this year they mainly targeted the non-BJP ruled states, particularly Bengal and Bihar while Modi’s home state Gujarat was riddled with some ‘minor incidents’. The persons in power in Bengal admitted that this year inaction of a section of police personnel who were on duty allowed the riotous mob to continue rampage for more than 48 hours in Howrah’s Shibpur area having a sizeable section of Muslim population. Vandalism, burning of cars, stone-pelting and looting were the common scenario. Incidentally Chief Minister of Bengal who happens to be Home Minister too cannot avoid responsibility by blaming it on a section of police force. Fear was so deep-rooted that many inhabitants had to abandon their homes. They deliberately lead processions in semi-slum areas with provocative slogans inviting stone-pelting and violent retaliation. Nalanda and Sasaram in Bihar witnessed massive violence on Ram Navami day forcing many minority community families to flee because the guardians of law and order failed to stop riot. In north India Ram Navami apart Hanuman Jayanti also serves the purpose of the saffron flag bearers. Panic-stricken people from both communities are being forced to stay inside their houses and housing complexes. Disruption of public transport was the first casualty of communal riot leading to shortage of food supply and basic amenities.

The hate is being spewed by the religious crusaders; the hate speech of most derogatory nature is being made by the saffron jersey holders to vitiate the atmosphere of peaceful co-existence. Why they come in religious processions with swords, pistols and country-made guns year after remains unanswered. The ex-DIG of UP police Dr Vibhuti Narayan Rai, in his doctoral research states that ‘the minority community is so cornered before the violence that many a time it is compelled to throw the first stone. He also shows that there are deep biases in the police force’. Maybe this is one reason why policemen in some cases as it happened recently in Bengal and Bihar remain passive during riots. As per a survey report released by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies trust in police is least among Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis and the poor. In truth violence begets violence and hatred begets hatred creating an atmosphere of permanent animosity and mistrust between communities.

For one thing after communal riots the BJP gains the most electorally. Violence in the name of Ram has a pattern across the country. Even when BJP was not in power at the centre they used to indulge in religious festivity-related violence to address their constituency. The ever-growing hate campaign by the people who appear to have official patronage and against whom no meaningful and strong action is taken is disturbing. The way they raise issues related to dress code, food, festivals and language is powerful enough to keep the society perennially divided. Perhaps ‘this is the worst era of independent India’.

The role of so-called secular parties in fighting the spread of communal virus is so naive that communalists simply ignore their exercise in escapism. They finish their duty by issuing harmless press statements. Sometimes they organise peace rallies in riot-affected localities without really doing much to ease the super-charged situation. A rally or two is no answer to restore confidence of the affected people in their ‘secular politics’.

Secularists do hardly attack the economic roots of communal ism. Initially it was the trading community that used to support the advocates of communal politics. Today communal outfits have the backing of corporate power. It’s a very hard and useful base for the BJP. Only popular movements against the ruling party-corporate nexus involving all the aggrieved of the society could pave the way for a broad-based united front against the divisive forces. And secular parties, including left parties have no idea as to how to mobilise masses in their millions against the communal ploy of the saffron brigade; they simply react to the agenda set by BJP.


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Vol 55, No. 42, April 16 - 22, 2023