Following the talk of Áche Din’, India of the past two and half years saw a series of events. It saw the eagerness of the state to push the Hindutva agenda. Efforts in the direction of picking and punishing those opposed to the agenda were undertaken. Similarly those wedded to RSS ideology saw a garlanding. In the process several sections were targeted. These included students (of left and Ambedkarite tradition), dalits (struggling for equality in public spaces), minorities (who are considered as a natural enemy), adivasis (resisting push of corporate control over their resources – land, water and forest), workers (in the name of labour reforms), and rationalists (those exposing irrational aspects of superstition). The period also saw an attempt at modifying the DNA of institutions. The persons with leanings towards Hindutva agenda were appointed in academic bodies irrespective of academic credentials.
There was an attempt at creating an image of a ‘Nation’ to which everyone should be subservient to. ‘Nationalism’ became a hollow image reduced to respect for symbols as that of a national flag, national anthem, the national song, bharat matha slogans, the national boundaries, the army etc.. At the core was subservience to the idea of a ‘nation’ as defined by RSS. It only meant that being nationalist; one should be anti-muslim, anti-ambedkar, anti-left. It also meant being pro-RSS, pro-Modi, pro-BJP. Nationalism defined in any other form was anti-national.
Nationalism of anti-colonial and anti-imperial traditions was pushed behind to provide spaces to pro-colonial, pro-imperial but anti-muslim, anti-dalit, anti-left traditions symbolised by the fascist forces. In its nationalism, the vision of Bhagat Singh, Subash Chandra Bose, Ambedkar, Gandhi, Nehru was pushed to the background. Golwalkars, Savarkars with little credentials in anti-colonial and anti-imperial struggles became the symbols of nationalism.
In the ache din, the country also saw a decline in political culture. Communal talks became mainstream talks. Polarisation politics at highest levels represented through talks such as shmasan-kabrastan, mandir-masjids, communalisation of electricity supply became objects of great oratory. Yogi Adityanath, Sakshi Maharaj and Sadhvi Pragya became the new heroes and nationalists. Responding to contemporary times, Rabindra Nath Tagore would have only written: –
Where Rohit Vemulas, Najeebs and Muthikrishnans are safe
Where incidents such as Dadri and Una never take place
Where people like Irom Sharmilas have an electoral space
Where the world desired by Gurmerhar kaur has an emergent phase
The world which is not broken down by domestic walls
The talk of Mandir and Masjids, Shmasan and Kabrastan are thrown behind
Where nation gets defined as a collection of human beings relating equally
Where nation itself has become obsolete breaking the artificial boundaries
Where there has been a triumph of reason
Peace has replaced forms of irrational violence
Where fear and insecurity has been replaced with freedom and security
There is no space for discrimination or exploitation
Towards a world where there is complete equality
Towards a world where there is complete freedom
Where humans and nature live harmoniously
Towards achieving a world of perfection
Oh countrymen, let the nation awake
In the world of knowledge, mythology and vedas became the fundamental sources of knowledge. Scientific establishments were asked to base their research on mythological faith. Astrology and Superstition became the science which was to be funded by the state.
The period saw increasing violence against minorities, dalits, adivasi, women and rationalists. Nationalists symbolised by Gau Rakshaks, Internet Trolls, Modi Bhakts, Sanghis became the advanced creatures who have solutions in shaping a ‘New India’.
The two and half year of ‘Ache din’ experimentation provides enough evidence of what ‘New India’ would look like. It can at the most be a situation from ‘bad to worse’. It might represent intensification of efforts towards pushing hindutva agenda, mainstreaming of hindutva into all the social and cultural spaces and establishing the dictatorship of the Sanghis. It might mean more violence against minorities, suppression of struggles of dalits and marginal groups for equality, revival of the brahmanical forces, emergence of new nationalist symbols represented through their anti-minority and anti-pakistan sentiments. It might mean establishing hegemony through control over ideological spaces as well as use physical violence to suppress the resistance.
T Navin works with an NGO as a Researcher. He did his M.Phil from Jawaharlal Nehru University.