Build a united struggle for the livelihood of the poor as an alternative to religiopolitical nexus

 Democratic Socialism

According to newspaper reports, Leo Saldanha, a social activist and lawyer, has written a letter to President RamnathKobind demanding the suspension of Tejaswi Surya, a BJP MP from South Bengaluru, from the LokSabha. He has accused the BJP MP of “desecrating the constitution”. How? On 5th August when the Prime Minister NarendraModi was bowing on the ground during the ground-breaking and laying of the foundation stone of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, Tejaswi Surya took to Twitter with an emotional outburst. He had twitted,  “Dear Hindus, Most important lesson is that control of State power by Hindus is absolutely essential for sustenance of Dharma. When we didn’t control State, we lost our temple. When we regained, we rebuilt. The 282 in 2014 & 303 in 2019 to Sri @narendramodi made today possible!” Well, if the PM of the country can take part in ground-breaking and bhumi puja as the main attraction of the ceremony, then what is wrong with the candid confession of Tejaswi Surya? And not only Tejaswi Surya!After the BJP had come to power in Delhi in 2014, many ministers, MPs, MLAs have made many unconstitutional comments. Some people love to stay in a fool’s paradise! They have no objection to the Prime Minister laying the foundation stone of the temple by donating silver bricks. Still, they discover the disgrace of the Constitution of our country based on a four-line Twitter message from a member of the Parliament. The PM is duty-bound to protect the Constitution, whose fundamental structure, according to the SC, lies in sovereignty, democracy and secularism and which stands on the foundation of the rule of law, independence of the judiciary and democratic rights of the citizens.  Based on what had happened in Ayodhya on 5thAugust, can we say that the spirit of the Constitution was honoured?

Except for a few leftists and secularists, no one had raised this fundamental question. Opposition parties at the state and national levels raised their hands in support of the Ram Mandir for fear of losing votes. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi said, “Simplicity, courage, restraint, sacrifice and commitment are the essence of the name Deenbandhu Rama. Ram is within everyone, Ram is with everyone. … By Lord Ram’s grace, let this ceremony promote national unity, brotherhood, and cultural confluence,” Working President of the Gujarat Congress, Hardik Patel moved even one step further and said,“Lord Shri Ram’s temple is coming up in Ayodhya. … I hope that the temple would usher in ‘Ram Rajya’ in India and Gujarat. … Ram Rajya means prosperity for farmers, jobs for youths, safety of women, free and quality education for children, development of villages and economic growth of the country.I pray for the wellbeing of all countrymen.”Another Congress leader, Kamal Nath, announced that he would recite Hanuman Chalisa on 5th August. Some political analysts said that the Congress was trying to convey two things. Firstly, secularism does not mean opposition to Hinduism. And secondly, the BJP  is not the sole possessor and torchbearer of Hindutva. They wanted to portray that the Ram Mandir movement belongs to the Hindus in general and does not belong to any party. And due to this thinking, the main opposition party did not consider the issue of contempt of the Constitution.

This duplicity of Congress is not a new phenomenon. Madan Mohan Malaviya, who had given the call of “Hindu-Hindi-Hindustan”, was the President of the Congress in 1909, 1918 and 1933. He was also the founder of the Hindu Mahasabha and had served as its President in 1923, 1924 and 1936. But at present, the BJP has emerged as the frontrunner in mixing religion with politics across the country. So much so, it is the  BJP which alone can challenge the BJP in the politics of religion. We have to understand very clearly that as long as the present government will be in power at the Centre, every action of the government will be made with the religiopolitical motives. Even the Constitution will get changed. And all this will be done as per their declared ideology.

The ideological guide of the present rulers of the country, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has been critical of the Constitution of India ever since its finalisation. The Constituent Assembly of India had finalised the Constitution on 24th November 1949. The editorial in Organizer, the RSS mouthpiece, on 30thNovember 1949 stated, “But in our Constitution, there is no mention of the unique constitutional development in ancient Bharat. Manu’s Laws were written long before Lycurgus of Sparta or Solon of Persia. To this day, his laws as enunciated in the Manusmriti excite the admiration of the world and elicit spontaneous obedience and conformity. But to our constitutional pundits, that means nothing.”M.S.Golwalkar’s book ‘Bunch of Thoughts’ is considered as a bible by the RSS workers. In that book, “Guruji” of the RSS wrote, “Our Constitution too is just a cumbersome and heterogeneous piecing together of various articles from various Constitutions of Western countries. It has absolutely nothing, which can be called our own. Is there a single word of reference in its guiding principles as to what our national mission is and what our keynote in life is? No!” The idea that the BJP, which grew under the ideological control of the RSS, would abide by the Constitution adopted in 1950 is therefore unrealistic.

Disregarding the fundamental tenets of the Constitution and even with self-contradictions in terms of passing judgements, the Supreme Court allowed the construction of the Ram temple in the disputed area, while another court has summoned those accused of demolishing the Babri Masjid to record their statement. Isn’t it surprising that how can the destruction of the Babri Masjid be considered illegal when the Supreme Court has legalised the Ram Janmabhoomi?Actually, in a very subtle way,a process has already started through which a mix of religion-politics-court-legislation is fed to the public. This process will continue until the RSS reaches its main target. And what is this main goal?

On 14th August 1947, that is just on the eve of the independence, when the entire nation was celebrating, editorial in ‘Organizer’ spelt out RSS’s vision of our nation. “Let us no longer allow ourselves to be influenced by false notions of nationhood. Much of the mental confusion and the present and future troubles can be removed by the ready recognition of the simple fact that in Hindustan only the Hindus form the nation and the national structure must be built on that safe and solid foundation, the nation itself must be built up of Hindus, on Hindu traditions, culture, ideas and aspirations…” The BJP has come to power in full glory with an absolute majority thanks to the expansion of the RSS in the nearly last 100 years of its existence based on this particular narrow vision. The attempt of the Congress to praise the Ramjanmabhoomi puja or to pray in every conceivable temple during the election campaigns in a bid to dislodge the BJP from power is a distant dream. There is a need to create an alternative to the religiopolitical clique. Standing against the communal politics which fuels public sentiments of temples and mosques, there is a pressing need to raise the demands of the majority of the people of the country, that is the workers and the peasants, and to organise them. Then, and then only, a genuine alternative to communal politics will emerge. However, it remains doubtful as to how much the opposition parties will contribute to building this alternative narrative. Hence, all the democratic-minded, secular citizens have to come forward to take this agenda further. Else, history will never forgive us.

Asish Gupta is a senior journalist




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