The Era of ‘teaching lessons’

Swami Agnivesh

Although the recent attack on social activist Swami Agnivesh is being widely and strongly condemned, there are many people who, citing some earlier incidents involving Swami ji, perceive the attack as an inevitable and normal culmination. This is definitely most unfortunate. Those who do not agree with his earlier or present views and actions were, and are, absolutely free and within their rights to disagree. They are also not wrong in trying to oppose him in a democratic manner. However, before doing so they could possibly take a moment to look at the background of Swami Agnivesh.

On the other hand, some people distressed by the continuous violent attacks by Sangh Brigade’s ‘Hindutva lumpen’ elements, call for organizing a united body of the dalits, other backward classes (OBCs), adivasis and the minorities, in order to teach the Hindutva group a fitting lesson. Such sentiment is also present in their response to the recent incident of the attack on Swami Agnivesh. Some friends are confident that if the dalits, OBCs, adivasis and minorities will unite and come together, the Hindutva brigade will have to look for escape routes. One such friend on social media has gone to the extent in claiming that the only lesson that can be taught to the lynchers would be to lynch them in the same manner. The Hindutva of the RSS and the pride associated with it is born out of the frustration of an insecure and defeated mindset. That is why it is forever cursed to remain a negative voice. The new challenge of teaching a lesson to the Hindutva lumpen elements through unity of the dalits, OBCs, adivasis and minorities cannot be perceived to be a positive option. This is nothing better than a short lived, temporary and immature indignation .

My first submission in this context is that the dalits, OBCs and adivasis have already been not too far placed from the RSS/BJP and this solidarity is continuing well. The RSS/BJP’s integration with neo-liberalism/neo-imperialism has become full-fledged and complete. Needless to say, that the dalits, OBCs and adivasis too have been quite in league with the RSS/BJP in support of neo-liberal/neo-imperial policies along. As far as the minority Muslims are concerned, how long will they stand in alienation and oppose the RSS/BJP? After all, they are all Indians like the rest of the citizens. They too need some kind of support in terms of political power apart from the religious identity. The RSS is working deeply to influence the Shia Muslim community in the country. This fact cannot be denied that the RSS work is consistent and delivers results even if it comes late. If that was not true, we would not have arrived on this juncture at which all streams of scientific, progressive and revolutionary thought processes are being bashed and beaten up by the RSS with its sole media organ ‘Panchjanya’! A Muslim, anyway, knows well that he cannot as much as think of thrashing the Hindutva lumpen elements. For that even the dalits, OBCs and adivasis will teach him a lesson!

The second submission is that if the intellectuals of this country are planning to unite the dalits, OBCs, adivasis and minorities to teach a lesson to the Hindutva lumpen elements, then, we have to remember Lohia’s more democratic suggestion – ‘Live communities do not wait for five years’. With the understanding that the identity discourse and politics do not become a subsidiary of right-wing forces, Lohia gave a formula of unity among the dalits, OBCs, adivasis, women and minorities. Behind this it was his dream of building a new Indian civilization which would create its special place in the modern world. In his plan, this largest part of India’s population has been, more or less, non-conformist i.e. freed from the clutches of the pre-colonial Brahminical order and the colonial capitalist ideology. With the solidarity of these groups, getting political power through democracy, a new system of equality, different from Brahminism and capitalism can be established as an example before the world. Lohia had a great dream to integrate this marginalised yet non-conformist mind-bank of India for the building up of socialism vis a-vis capitalism and communism. In order to proceed in this direction, he presented the principle of special opportunity (reservation). However, this formula of Lohia is being used by the champions of social justice only for the politics of vote. The RSS/BJP too has used the same tactics, imitating the other leaders and parties.

If intellectuals in this country are suggesting that the solidarity of these marginalised groups should be directed towards teaching a lesson to the Hindutva lumpen elements, then, it can only be called a backward step, even in the politics of vote. The corporate capitalism forces are not only making the country’s leaders dance to their tunes but also the intellectuals. Let me remind ourselves here that the intellectuals who call for the unity of the dalits, OBCs, adivasis and minorities to teach a lesson to the Hindutva lumpen elements, had also joined the ‘crowd’ in support of the thoroughly anti-reservationists group of Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal!

Dr. Prem Singh, Dept. of Hindi, University of Delhi


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