THE REALITY OF SAFFRON BRIGADE'S MYTHS
The BJP-RSS-VHP-Bajrang Dal (Saffron Shirts - S.S. for short: the resemblance to the Hitler's infamous S.S. and Brown Shirts is more than coincidental) not only continues to brazenly defend the wanton destruction of the Babri Masjid but is in fact justifying it as a great service done to the cause of the nation. In the process, it justifies its complete rejection of the Indian Constitution, law and the courts. The S.S. in fact today has rejected the existing political system.
The events of December 6 and later on have been truly demonstrated the SS's fascistic nature not only in its aims but also by the perfidious methods and propaganda methods that it is adopting. Mastering the maxim of Hitler's propaganda minister Goebbel :"If you tell a big enough lie frequently enough, it becomes the truth", the S.S. continues to perpetuate untruths in defence of its despicable action.
A characteristic feature of a party with fascist overtones is that different leaders speak with different voices. They do so to confuse the people and mislead them by never making their true objective clear. The present day rantings of the BJP leaders and the crocodile tears they shed for destroying the secular polity, is sought to mask their real intention - the establishment of the RSS concept of Hindu Rashtra, a theocratic state which is the very anti-thesis of the existing democratic secular polity.
This perfidy must be unmasked. The challenge has to be squarely met to defend and uphold all that the people of our country, through generations of struggle, have achieved so far. The untruths they propagate must be thoroughly exposed.
Lie No.1 :That enraged "Hindu sentiments" led to the pulling down of the mosque, in exasperation.
At the outset it must be emphasised that India is a secular state precisely because the predominant majority of Hindus embraced secularism rejecting the RSS concept of Hindu Rashtra. They rejected the RSS concept as an attempt to take India into medieval times as a religious theocratic state, which constitutes the very anti-thesis of a democratic policy. The majority of Hindus, through the freedom struggle, embraced values which found manifestation in our present constitution. It is precisely these values that the S.S. has attacked by their wanton destruction on December 6. In the process they have not championed "Hindu sentiments" but sought to demolish the entire product of generations of secular Hindus. By hiding behind the veil of "Hindu sentiments" the S.S. is actually reiterating the basis of the Hindu Rashtra that was frighteningly outlined by the late RSS chief, Golwalkar, with fascistic precision. In a Book titled We or Our Nationhood Defined, Golwalkar bemoaned the fact that Hindus had forgotten their nationhood and called upon them to rise to defend their nation. He stated:
"Only those movements are truly national as aim at rebuilding, revitalising and emancipating from its present stupor, the Hindu nation. Those only are nationalist patriots who, with the aspirations to glorify the Hindu race and nation next to their heart, are prompted into and strive to achieve that goal. All others are either traitors and enemies to the national cause, or to take a charitable view, idiots."
And as for those who are not Hindus but who have contributed to the development of their country and continue to live here, Golwalkar had this to say:
"They have no place in national life, unless they abandon their differences, adopt the religion, culture and language of the nation, and completely merge themselves in the national race. So long, however, as they maintain their racial religious and cultural differences, they cannot but be only foreigners." Further " in Hindusthan exists, and must exist, the ancient Hindu nation, and nought else but the Hindu nation. All those not belonging to the national, i.e. Hindu race, religion, culture and language, naturally fall out of the pale of real national life."
Further, "The foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea except the glorification of the Hindu religion and culture, i.e. of the Hindu nation, and must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or they may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment - not even citizen's rights. There is, at least should be, no other course for them to adopt. We are an old nation, let us deal as old nations ought to deal with the foreign races who have chosen to live in our country."
And how should one deal with such `foreign races'? Golwalkar exposes the fascistic nature of the saffron brigade.
"To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by purging the country of the semitic race - the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures having differences going to the roots, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."
This is the meaning of the BJP's invocation of the "Hindu sentiment". This runs contrary to the vast diversity and majority of Hindu opinion which has been guided more by Vivekananda and Adi Sankara than by Golwalkar or the present day self-incarnations of the S.S. put together. While Adi Sankara was to constantly preach that as different rivers flow through different courses to merge in the same ocean, so do different individuals through different faiths merge with the same almighty. Vivekananda had said , "If anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion and the destruction of others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written, in spite of resistance; help, and not fight harmony and peace and not dissension".
Above all, take the Bhagavad Gita which says, "Whatever celestial form a devotee seeks to worship with faith, I stabilise the faith of that particular devotee in that particular form." (Chapter VII (21). Whatever be the colour of the cow, the milk is always white.
The R.S.S's Hindu Rashtra is in total contradiction with such wisdom.
The so-called enraged "Hindu sentiments" are nothing but a fascistic expression of pseudo-Hinduism; an expression of how religion is utilised for partisan political interests.
This runs completely in contradiction and conflict with the Constitution adopted by our people for independent India. A constitution that was drafted by a predominant Hindu majority of the Constituent Assembly. A constitution that continues to be defended by Hindus who are laying down their lives in the struggles against the enemies of our country and uphold its unity. Which are the Hindus that the S.S. today seeks to champion? Can they be allowed to hijack the great traditions and ethos that constitutes our social, cultural, political heritage? The S.S's attempts to impose a theocratic Hindu Rashtra has to be resisted tooth and nail.
Lie No.2 : Temples have been destroyed in the past and continue to be destroyed today. So, what is wrong in destroying the Babri Masjid?
The S.S. tries to justify its vandalism by pointing out the destruction of temples both in the past and the present. As far as the past is concerned, must the present generation be made to atone for those substantiated or unsubstantiated events? If the process of undoing historical wrongs is unleashed then there are no limits that can be set for going back into the history. The son cannot be punished for the father's crime; leave alone crimes committed by generations ago even if these charges can be substantiated.
Deliberate untruths continue to be spread regarding the number of temples that were allegedly demolished in Kashmir. The B.G.Varghese Report conducted at the behest of the RSS run Deen Dayal Upadhyaya research Institute and released in March 1991 showed that not a single temple in the Kashmir valley has been destroyed recently though some were damaged primarily as a result of being occupied by security forces.
Further in the 1986 riots in Anantnag , the RSS rumour machine had claimed that over a hundred temples were destroyed. The government and unofficial enquiries shows that only two temples were damaged which were rebuilt by the government within a week.
There is no dispute about it and history is witness to the desecration of many a Hindu places of worship by Muslim zealots. Destruction of places of worship in medieval times was an integral part of political power. Such destruction was not confined only to Muslims alone. In the 11th century Harsh Deva of Kashmir defiled a lot of temples. In the 12th century Subhatha Varman, the Parmara ruler plundered Jain temples in Gujarat. Any number of such examples can be given. Note that the Jaganath temple at Puri is built on the ruins of a tribal shrine. At Bodh Gaya, the Buddhist Vihara was destroyed by Sasanka in the Sixth century and its place a Hindu temple was raised which still exists.
All this is a part of history through which our country has passed. And the issue was settled through the years of freedom struggle. The Constitution of India which is the product of the freedom struggle had in unambiguous terms given to our people a democratic secular polity. A polity that was necessary for the preservation of the vast, multi-religious, multi-linguistic and multi-cultural character of our country. India's independence, an advance of human civilisation emphatically rejected the RSS concept of Hindu Rashtra. By raking up such issues of the past, the BJP today is once again placing the agenda of Hindu Rashtra before the country. As it was rejected earlier it has to be more emphatically rejected today.
The destruction of temples is to be condemned, so should the destruction of other places of worship. The destruction of mosques in Punjab following 1947 partition, the destruction of mosques in Bhagalpur in 1990 and the destruction of the Gurudwaras in 1984 were all according to the S.S. justifiable.Such double standards must be thoroughly exposed.
The diabolical nature of the S.S. can be understood by their complete lack of respect for the Hindu religion itself when along with the Babri Masjid it wantonly destroyed the Ayodhya temples of Ram Chabutra and Sita ki Rasoi on December 6. Does the S.S. condemn such destruction?
Finally, and importantly, by taking recourse to the destruction of temples as a justification for the destruction of the Babri Masjid, the S.S. is thoroughly exposing its character of operating outside the existing law and the Constitution. If temples are desecrated in Kashmir today they are being done by the anti-national secessionist forces who have rejected India's unity and Constitution. The Indian Government and the State deals with them accordingly as enemies of the country. The S.S., by equating itself with such anti-national secessionists only exposes itself as a political force whose character is no different. If this is their justification for destroying the Babri Masjid then they should also be dealt with like the anti-national secessionists are dealt with in Kashmir.
Further, the destruction of the Babri Masjid was not an isolated event confined to a communally sensitive locality. It was an event elevated to the national plane with kar sevaks mobilised from all over India. It symbolised the communalisation of Indian politics. Hence, the similar threats regarding Mathura and Varanasi, are part of anti-national activities not confined to any region or state but covering the country as a whole.
Lie No.3 : Temples are destroyed in Islamic countries. So what is wrong in destroying the Babri Masjid?
Temples are desecrated in these countries because they are a theocratic polity based on intolerance. The S.S's position would not be wrong if India were to be a theocratic Hindu state. A state based on Hindu religious practices that not merely sanctions but glorify criminal practices like `Sati'. This is what precisely seeks to establish, thus throwing us all back into medieval barbarism. This our people rejected in the past and continue to do so.
We condemn the attacks on temples in these countries in no uncertain manner. But the condemnation does not step there. It extends to the condemnation of a theocratic polity that ruthlessly suppresses democracy. The rabid intolerance of other religions is matched by ruthlessly suppressive laws that deny elementary democratic rights especially to women. Theocracy and democracy are incompatible as demonstrated by the experience of any of these countries. Muslim fundamentalism that is being encouraged by some of these countries only feeds the Hindu communal forces in India. Each provides grist to the mill of the other and together mount an attack not only on secularism but the very foundations of democracy itself. If India has to remain democratic it has to remain secular as well. The S.S. concept of Hindu Rashtra is not merely an assault on secularism but on the very foundations of democracy itself.
Lie No.4 : The Hindu majority is suffering because the Muslim minority is pampered and appeased!
The S.S. buttresses its reactionary, diabolical efforts by unleashing a hate campaign against the Muslim community. The systematic spread of untruths seeks to camouflage its real ambition.
(a) The Muslim population is growing so fast that Hindus will soon become a minority.
The comparative figures for the 1961 and 1981 census ( 1991 data is not yet available) shows that the percentage of Muslims to total population during these twenty years went up from 10.7 to 11.4. A mere 0.7 per cent increase. The threat that the S.S. propagate, is thus ridiculous.
(b) Muslims can have four wives while the Hindus can have only one.
Some Hindus may feel deprived on this count! But what are the facts? At the outset it must be noted that there are, today, 25 lakh Muslim women less than Muslim men!
A survey conducted by the 1961 census shows the practice of polygamy being highest amongst the tribals (15.25 per cent) while for the Hindus it was 5.8 per cent and the Muslims it was lower at 5.7 per cent.
The report of the Commission on the Status of Women (1975) has revealed that during 1941 and 1951 Muslim polygamous marriages were 0.09 per cent less than Hindus. The figure for the period 51 and 61 shows that the Muslim polygamous marriages were 0.65 less than Hindus. The report also showed that in the later period the number of polygamous marriages were greater amongst Hindus (5.06 per cent) than Muslims (4.31 per cent).
Yet isolated examples such as one Dilip Kumar having divorced his first wife to marry Saira Bano is circulated. But no mention is made of Dharmendra marrying Hema Malini while his first wife was still around.
(c) Muslims reject family planning and hence their population grows faster.
An all India survey conducted by the Operations research Group (ORG) Baroda reveal that the number of Muslim couples practicing family planning by permanent methods rose by 11.5 per cent between 1980 and 1989 while the increase was only 10 per cent for the Hindus. In terms of using temporary methods the percentage of Hindus decreased by 10 while that of the Muslims went up by almost 5 to 10 per cent. (Telegraph, October 14,1992).
(d) The Muslims are a pampered lot.
Let us look at some important indicators. The average per capita income of Muslims is 5 per cent less than the national average of Rs. 4247 (India Today, October 3,1992).
According to a survey conducted by the Planning Commission for 1987 -88 the average literacy rate for the Muslims was 42 per cent, less than the national average of 52.11 per cent. The state of women on this count was abysmal. Only 11 per cent of Muslim women were literate compared to the national average of 39.42 per cent.
A high-power committee headed by late Dr. Gopal Singh submitted a report to the Minorities Commission in 1983. This revealed that throughout the 70s the Muslim community found placements in jobs and educational institutions much less than the qualified and eligible sections of their population. The following chart for the decade of the 70s is self-explanatory.
Percentage Adequacy level(of those qualified and eligible section of population)
Engineers 2.00 1/6
Doctors 2.50 1/5
IAS 2.86 1/4
IPS 2.00 1/6
State Class I 3.30
Private Enterprises 4.08
Differential interest rate 3.76
According to the Economic Times (December 21,1992) the decline in the community's relative economic strength was between 20 and 25 per cent.
This is the status of the community that is supposedly posing a grave threat to the Hindus! Can such Goebbelsian untruths be allowed to divert all of us from our genuine struggles against the present economic policies that continue to heap ruin on the millions? Can we allow the SS to take recourse to such falsification and subterfuge to achieve its diabolic plan to foist a reactionary, theocratic Hindu Rashtra? The enemies of modern India have to be completely and thoroughly unmasked.
(e) Mulsims have been appeased by the Shah Bhano case ruling.
This was a blatant concession made by the Rajiv Gandhi government which goes totally contrary to the essence of secular polity. The CPI(M) was not only in the forefront but actively conducted a nationwide campaign that such buttressing of Muslim fundamentalism will pose grave dangers to secularism.
In a secular polity, ideally, the civil code should be common and uniform for all citizens irrespective of their religion. But such a common civil code would mean not only the abandonment of the Muslim personal law but also the various laws that are specific to the Hindu community like the Hindu Marriages Act and more importantly the Hindu Undivided Family Act. The latter is notoriously used to deprive the State of crores of rupees through taxes. It also means that the equal right to inheritance and other aspects between men and women. The discriminatory provision against women in the Hindu Acts will also have to be abandoned. More than the Muslims are the Hindu communalists prepared for this? All along, it was the fundamentalists in both the communities that opposed any progressive amendments to existing laws.
It is only through the strengthening of secularism and its corresponding consciousness and over a period of time when each and every minority community feels not only secure but has the fullest confidence that its rights are protected, can the ground for such a common civil code be created. The S.S's inflammatory communal poisoning only works to the contrary. By sowing deep the seeds of discord they create conditions of growing insecurity amongst the minorities.
Lie No. 5 : Since an Islamic Pakistan has been created why our Muslims continue to live in India? India is only meant for the Hindus.
That India is only for the Hindus was a concept that was roundly rejected during the freedom struggle and after. The majority of the Muslims did not migrate to Pakistan and continued to live in India. There are more Muslims in India than the entire population of Pakistan. India has the largest number of Muslims in the world, next only to Indonesia.
They have chosen to remain in India because independent India adopted secularism. It is not only the Muslims but any number of religious minorities that continue to live in India since it is as much their country as anybodyelse's. The bulk of those who converted other religious faiths from Hinduism were after all indigenous people. It is the interaction of these various cultures that has given India its rich diversity which cannot be straight-jacketed into any one religion. For over five centuries, the lineage of Muslim Dagar brothers had sung and continue to sing `Ram dhuns'. Innumerable instances of exemplary patriotism by members of minority communities are there. It must be remembered that the first Paramvir Chakra in independent India was given to a muslim, Abdul Hameed.
People of other religious faiths chose to live in India because it is not a theocratic Hindu Rashtra. Christians of Tamilnadu and Kerala have been here since 32 A.D. The Muslims of Gujarat and Kerala have remained here since the medieval 7th century trading with Arabia was established. They have stayed in India probably longer than some who have embraced Hinduism coming from Central Asia, over 7th and 8th centuries.
The S.S. campaign in this context is purely inflammatory communal propaganda to further its political interests.
Lie No. 6 : That the Babri Masjid was constructed after destroying a standing Ram temple.
There is absolutely no conclusive historical evidence to prove this fact. All the findings of any structure prior to the Babri Masjid are equivocal and ambiguous. Some studies have in fact suggested that Ayodhya was one of the revered places of Buddhism known as Saket. And if one were to investigate we may well find ruins of a Buddhist stupa.
Prior to the present incendiary communal campaign unleashed by the S.S. they were half a dozen more temples in Ayodhya whose priests used to claim that this was the actual birth place of Ram. A similar situation obtains today in Mathura.
That the S.S. insisted and continues to propagate that Lord Ram was born precisely at the place where the Babri Masjid stood was its deliberate attempt to utilise religious communal passions for its political purpose.
In fact Tulsi Das who actually preserved and propagated the epic of Ramayana in his Ram Charita Manas, which was written close after the construction of the babri Masjid makes no mention of the destruction of any temple. Surely, a Ram bhakt like Tulsi Das would have recorded such an outrage.
It was in fact, the British, who following 1857 revolt consciously fostered communal divide to consolidate their rule. The dispute regarding the Babri Masjid was first propagated by British historians in order to sow the seeds of discord. It must be recollected that in 1857 the heroic Rani of Jhansi, a devout Hindu Laxmi Bai, had along with other Hindu rulers accepted the suzerainty of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the Mugal ruler of India. Amongst others who betrayed the first war of independence were the direct ancestors of the present day S.S. leader, Vijaya Raje Scindia. Fostering the communal divide, the British successfully continued to enslave our country for nearly a century longer. It is now part of recorded history that communal tension, as a result of such propaganda regarding the Babri Masjid was directly utilised by the British to justify their annexation of Oudh.
Those who continue to propagate that Babar conquered the Hindus will do well to remember that Babar established the Mughal empire after defeating a Muslim ruler of Delhi, Ibrahim Lodi.
Lie No. 7 : That what was destroyed on December 6 was not a Mosque. Hence why this fuss
Advani on December 8 stated that "The structure which ceased to be a mosque over fifty years back is pulled down". That the Babri Masjid was physically in existence for over four-and-a half centuries is sought to be erased. That the dispute startedun the 23rd of December 1949 when idols was surreptitiously placed is deliberately ignored. There were no idols in the mosque for over four centuries. They were placed defiling the sanctity of the mosque in the background of the communal frenzy that gripped the country following the partition. Till that day Namaz was read in masjid and the Hindus worshiped at Ram Chabutra, the temple that they have now destroyed. The Imam who conducted the last Namaz, Haji Abdul Gaffar is still alive and his son was killed in the vandalism following the destruction of Babri Masjid on December 6.
We are asked, why all this fuss about a decrepit structure? That this structure came to symbolize Indian ethos because its status, based on our accepted secular Constitution, was subject to courts jurisdiction; that the highest court had ordered its protection till the case was disposed of; that the leaders of the Saffron brigade assured the courts and the country of their adherence to it; that they deliberately and wantonly destroyed the Babri Masjid in defiance of the courts, law and their own assurance, is of course of no concern to them. Their deceit, perfidy and total contempt for the law of the land cannot be concealed by pretending that the `structure' was not a mosque.
Lie No. 8 : Leaders could not contain the enraged mobs!
Notwithstanding the crocodile tears shed by the BJP leaders, it is now clear that the destruction of the Babri Masjid was the result of a pre-planned effort. It has now come to light that the entire destruction was rehearsed and meticulously pre-planned. (Statesman, December 10 and other papers)
It is precisely for this reason that no media person, particularly photographers, were allowed to document the destruction and were physically assaulted and hounded out of the area.
That the BJP leadership was caught unawares by the demolition is yet exposed if one carefully studies the statements made by the BJP leaders especially Mr. Advani during the week preceding December 6. The following account is the ultimate in double speak and perfidy.
Varanasi, Dec 1,: "We do not want to destroy any masjid and make a mandir. There was never a masjid at the Janmabhoomi site. The idols of Ram are there and all we want to do is build a temple there...to democratically protest against wrong practices and law is an old tradition of the country...karseva does not mean bhajans and kirtans. We will perform karseva with shovels and bricks on the 2.77 acres of land acquired by the U.P. Government"
Azamgarh, Dec 1,: "We want peaceful karseva but the centre is creating tension."
Mau, Dec. 2 : "Now karseva will begin on December 6. All karsevaks will perform physical activity on the 2.77 acres in Ayodhya and not merely sing bhajans."
Ghorakhpur, Dec.3 : where he had described a news report quoting him as having said karseva would involve use of shovels and bricks as false: " The karsevaks will be fully under control. The karseva will be symbolic. I never said such a thing (about shovels and bricks being used). Yet due to this misreporting half a day's work in Parliament was lost because of the uproar this report caused."
Public meeting in U.P., Dec.2, where he exhorted people to go to Ayodhya for karseva:"Take a plunge and do not bother whether the Kalyan Singh government survives or is dismissed."
New Delhi, December 7 : "It (the demolition of the mosque) was unfortunate. Both I and the U.P. chief minister did all we could to prevent the destruction but what actually happened was we could not gauge the intensity of the people's feelings over Ayodhya. We wanted that the temple should be constructed by legal and lawful means."
New Delhi December 8: "Today, when an old structure which ceased to be a mosque over 50 years back is pulled down by a group of people exasperated by the tardiness of the judicial process and the obtuseness and myopia of the executive, they are reviled by the president, the vice-president and political parties as betrayers of the nation, destroyers of the constitution and what not. It is blatant double standards such as evidenced by this tirade against the Ayodhya movement that is making the Hindus feel incensed and outraged."(The Statesman, December 11,1992)
Hence all arguments put forward of wanting to demarcate between the hard-liners and the soft-liners within the Saffron brigade are a deliberate exercise to mislead the people. It is the characteristic of a fascistic organisation that different leaders speak in different tones. This is what precisely the S.S. has done. Their intention, all along, was clear - destruction of the Babri Masjid and the establishment of a theocratic Hindu Rashtra.
Lie No. 9 : That all this happened due to the intransigence of the Muslims.
We are told that Muslims should have gracefully accepted the S.S.'s diktat and voluntarily abdicate the claims on Babri Masjid, in which case, none of this would have happened. Indeed strange. The minority should succumb to the unreasonableness of the majority only because of the strength of the majority! In any case, this was not for the RSS an isolated issue but a beginning of a campaign to continue this inflammatory communal propaganda for the destruction of the mosques both in Varanasi and Mathura. This was eloquently witnessed by the belligerence of the BJP MP's slogans in the Parliament on 8th and 9th of December.
Lie No.10 : That all this happened due to the procrastination of the courts.
The fact that all assurances to the courts by the S.S. leaders including Kalyan Singh and Vijaye Raje Scindia were violated and the constant refrain of `courts cannot decide on matters of faith' have thoroughly exposed their contempt for the judiciary. According to them judiciary was acceptable as long as it upheld their view. In a democratic polity, any dispute between two faiths can be resolved either through a mutually negotiated settlement or a judicial intervention and verdict. The S.S. all along rejected such reason, fearing rejection of their bigotry. The now delivered judgement of Special Bench of the Allahabad High Court annulling Kalyan Singh Government's acquisition of the disputed land has only vindicated this. Their position always was that if courts upheld their position then it was acceptable, otherwise, no.
Lie No. 11 : All this happened due to the incompetence and inept attitude of the Central Government!
Very true! If the Government had acted in time and on the basis of the suggestions made by the CPI(M) and the left, then such a serious situation could have been averted. The Government had actually abdicated its political responsibility and relied on the private assurances of the leaders of the S.S. For this criminal ineptitude, the CPI(M) had demanded that PV Narasimha Rao has no moral right to continue as the Prime Minister. The S.S., however, blames the Government not for this, but, for not accepting their terms! The incompetence of the present Congress(I) government, its ineptitude bordering on complicity and criminal negligence of its duties cannot absolve the S.S. from the damage which has been done to our social fabric and polity.
The reality is that what we are challenged with is a force that is out to destroy the entire premise of a modern secular, democratic India. To this effect, in pursuance of their political ambition they have no scruples in stooping to the worst possible crimes. Thousands who continue to die in the aftermath of December 6 and thousands who died since this inflammatory campaign was unleashed in mid 80s are all sacrifices being made at the altar of the fascistic pseudo Hindu attempt to capture political power. It is this that has to be completely unmasked.
Lie No. 12 : The BJP is the champion of democracy! The democratic rights of the S.S. are being curtailed today! Even the CPI(M) has capitulated from its demand for scrapping of Article 356 of the Constitution!
The S.S's ultimate duplicity is the attempt to masquerade as a `champion' of democracy. Can those who, in complete violation of the Constitution, law and courts, wantonly destroyed the Babri Masjid with meticulous preplanning have the right to speak of, leave alone defend, democracy? Having violated all democratic foundations of the Indian Constitution, they are now crying wolf! According to them Advani and company have the right to destroy the Babri Masjid but they cannot be arrested! The BJP state governments can use official machinery to mobilise, arm and train kar sevaks, send them to Ayodhya to demolish the mosque, in complete violation of the constitution under which they pledged to function. The Chief Ministers can proudly state that they are leading members of the RSS and schemingly justify the demolition. This of course, is democratic! But if action is taken on this count, it is undemocratic! The basic norm of the existing democratic polity is that only those who function within its parameters have the access to democratic rights guaranteed by the existing polity. The BJP by its actions has chosen to opt out of this democratic framework. By demolishing the mosque, as it chose to do, the BJP has forfeited its claim to democracy and democratic rights contained in our Constitution.
Failing to see this basic point or deliberately sleeping over it, certain columnists are mounting a systematic attack in defence of the BJP by stating that the dismissal of its state governments is `undemocratic'. In the process, the CPI(M) is frontally attacked for an alleged capitulation from its long standing demand of scrapping Article 356 from the Constitution.
The record needs to be set right. The CPI(M) has consistently sought the removal of Article 356 and continues to do so. This stand stems from the fact that, this particular provision can and has been misused to suit the political interests of the ruling party. Thus, it restricts and limits the truly federal essence of our Constitution and to that extent it is undemocratic. The CPI(M)'s stand is thus directed at enhancing the democratic and federal content of our Constitution.
The BJP's wailing against this clause is not from this point of view. Its "democratic" right to violate the constitution with impunity must be accepted but how can anyone dare to take action against its state governments! Its stand stems not from the point of enhancing the democratic content of the Constitution but from the contrary. No action can be taken against it even if it violates the very foundations of the constitution!
Consider a hypothetical situation. Suppose, following the Punjab elections, Khalistani separatists had formed the government and adopted a resolution in the assembly declaring secession from India. Can any Central Government not use the constitutional provisions to dismiss such a state government and defend our country's unity? Similarly, when state governments led by the BJP violate the Constitution in a manner as brazen as they did, can the people of the country tolerate it?
If this be so, why does the CPI(M) continue to seek the removal of Article 356? Precisely because this can be misused as has been done repeatedly in the past. The grave challenge posed to the Constitution by the BJP governments and their consequent dismissal is probably the first time since independence that Article 356 has been properly used. Even without Article 356 in the statute book, the unity and integrity of our country can be ensured. The Constitution provides other safeguards and provisions (like Article 355) for Central intervention in such cases as serious as these. But the Congress Governments have repeatedly used Art. 356 because this is the most convenient for its interests. The Governors, whose status has been reduced to that of a mere nominee of the Centre can be utilised to give a report to suit the political interests of the ruling party at the centre.
The entire debate on the `undemocratic' use of Article 356, in the present context, thus, only serves as a smoke screen to defend the BJP's indefensible violation of the Constitution and the utter contempt with which it hold democracy.
Democracy and secularism are inseparable in today's Indian polity. In fact, they are inseparable in any modern polity; secularism defined as the separation of religion from politics and the State. Unless this is ensured, no democracy exists for any minority community. By choosing to exercise democratic rights to attack secularism and instead propagate communalism of the worst order, the BJP is completely undermining the foundations of modern India. In place of a democratic - secular republic they seek to impose its very anti-thesis - the RSS concept of Hindu Rashtra.
In this context, the BJP's so called championing of the freedom of press must be seen in proper light. Press freedom is championed so long as this is required for the propagation of communalism. But the moment this is utilised to oppose it, this freedom is ruthlessly attacked. The gruesome attacks on press persons on December 6 graphically illustrates this. For the SS, freedom and democracy are for the propagation of communal poison, only to be ruthlessly suppressed when these are exercised against its interests or when its purpose is served.
MEET THIS CHALLENGE SQUARELY
Unless this challenge is unitedly combated, unless the communal frenzy is challenged with an equal vigour, the very future of India for whose freedom thousands have been martyred is at stake. All patriots, who have not sold their conscience to the enemies of our country, realising these dangers, will have to forge strong unity in action against this communal monster.
To those who underestimate the dangers of the present situation we can only remind them of what a German intellectual Pastor Neimoeller had said at the time of Nazi ascendancy:
" First they came for the jews and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists then I did not speak out- Because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Catholics and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Catholic.
Then they came for me -and there was no one left to speak out for me."
To those who consider that these developments do not affect their life and future we can only recall to them the wisdom that has filtered down through the ages. "For evil to succeed, the good has only to be silent." Passivity in meeting this challenge can only mean peril for the individual and the country.
All patriots will have to rise to the Occasion and defend India and its democratic-secular ethos.