Summary of conditions prevailing in UP.
Today the reign of Adityanath Yogi is reminiscent of a ruthless emperor retaining the throne, even at the cost of trampling on the people. Hindu Communal fascism is simmering at a boiling point. This despite the fact that people in Uttar Pradesh, mainly agrarian and mostly backward state, have suffered a lot from criminal conduct of the State government during the Corona second wave.
The State is mired in most oppressive conditions for the overwhelming majority of people and spiralling unemployment, especially in rural areas. While farmers in the western part of the State rallied in movement through big mobilizations, agrarian distress has affected all regions of the State, marginal and small peasants in particular. The Samajwadi party led by Akhilesh Yadav is still giving the BJP a strong run for it’s money or the battle of his life.. Arguably in no Indian state ever has such powerful fascist machinery been constructed. In recent times we have witnessed the most outrageous atrocities in the history of our country in state of Uttar Pradesh. The judicial system in UP has become a virtual appendage of the Saffron brigade.
The strength of the BJP lies in support from traditional Hindu voters and its strong IT cell. The strength of the Samajwadi party lies in the vote banks among yadavs,Muslims and ability to woo Brahmin and Dalit voters and alliance with non-Yadav OBC’s.Strength of Bahujan Samaj party lies in personal mass appeal and a sold vote bank. The shortcomings of the BJP are the soaring inflation, unemployment and challenge of winning non-Yadav OBC voters. The weakness of the Samjawadi party is that the minority vote can be split by other parties. What can go against the BSP is that other parties are wooing the dalits.
While people all over the country are facing mounting problems, political situation in different states going to polls is to an extent different. People in Uttar Pradesh, mainly an agrarian and mostly backward state, suffered a lot from criminal conduct of the Govt. during Corona second wave. It is mired in most oppressive conditions for the overwhelming majority of people and spiralling unemployment especially in rural areas. While farmers in the western part of the state rallied in the movement through big mobilizations, agrarian distress has affected all regions of the state and here the agrarian distress has got compounded with mobilization along caste lines as oppressed castes constitute bulk of marginal and small peasants. In West UP, non-payment of sugarcane dues is a major problem with nearly half of the payment (Rs. 7000 crores) of the current season still pending and some dues pending from the last one as well. Retail trade been affected and unorganized sections have faced the worst. Most importantly, the mobilization of farmers especially in West UP has undermined the communal push of RSS-BJP to a large extent besides turning this support base away from them. RSS-BJP communal hordes are so unnerved that their supporters are openly calling for genocide of Muslims besides raking up the issues of Mathura and Kashi.(C.P.I-ML-New Democracy)
UP under RSS-BJP Govt. under Yogi Adityanath has been a laboratory of fascist attacks on minorities and democratic forces. Large scale police attacks were launched on minorities during protests against CAA-NRC-NPR killing a large number. Economic extractions were made from them in the name of damage to public property besides publically defaming the leaders of the protest. Naked police terror is on, epitomized by “Thoko” call by Chief Minister where judicial process is done away with forcing all Mafia to seek patronage of ruling RSS-BJP. Struggles of the people, different sections, are crushed with brute force. Manuwadi code is imposed on girls. Body of a rape victim, a Dalit girl, was forcibly cremated in Hathras against the will of her family. Cow protection is taken to extreme with large number of stray animals damaging crops of the peasants and the latter rendered helpless.(C.P.I-ML.New Democracy)
Revolutionary Democrats must not undervalue the threat of genuine fascism emerging with a concrete fascist army built by the RSS. Rather, under the patronage of a saffron bigot from their own caste, the feudal landlords of the Thakur caste will intensify the oppression of the poor and landless peasantry, who mostly belongs to the Muslim community, Dalit, and backward caste Hindus. The social welfare funds have been diverted to help the RSS mission of building up a huge army of militant supporters of the Savarkarite ideology.The Muslim minority or dalit community has been stripped of all its rights and been oppressed at an intensity unscaled in history .Any attack on them has the very patronage of the ruling party which openly endorses a licence to such acts. Hindu Communal philosophy of Brahmanical fascism has penetrated every sphere of society in state of Uttar Pradesh at an unparalleled magnitude. People have been brainwashed or indoctrinated at a scale similar to Hitler’s Germany on Hindu supremacy with fascist propaganda resurrecting at a magnitude unprecedented since 1947. It is unbelievable that inspite of incidents like patients denied of Oxygen in Gorakhpur hospital the masses still offer loyalty to the BJP or a heinous murder in Laxmipur Kheri.It is phenomena to be studied what is still gripping the masses with Hindutva fervour, inspite of facing gravest economic crisis.
Economic disparity has towered as never before.Corporates have never been ever given such a free licence to grab farmers lands or loot people ,while privatisation has made even hospitals and educational institutions unaffordable.
Quoting Draupadi Ghosh in Peoples Review “Yogi Adityanath is the man who will be able to keep the atmosphere of Uttar Pradesh toxic with his communal propaganda. With an ardent misogynist, fascist communal bigot like Yogi Adityanath at the masthead of Uttar Pradesh, the BJP wants to show the original, unapologetic, grotesque face of the fascist Hindutva, which has a huge fanfare in the state among the feudal elites. This unapologetic assertion of its communal credentials will help the BJP to mobilise the newly created Hindu vote bank to remain loyal to Hindutva, despite the prominence of the upper-caste Hindus at the helm and the continuation of caste apartheid against the Dalit community.”
Nature and Prospects of Opposition
We have parties like the Samajwadi party or Bahujan Samaj party which challenge the hegemony of the Hindu fascist party .but who in essence represent the ruling classes and do not offer people a genuine democratic alternative. Never have these opposition parties effectively challenged the agenda of Hindu communalism in any concrete way, and on the contrary danced to their tune. They have no effective opposition to the Supreme Court judgement on Babri Masjid and supported constructing a temple. Even if condemning communal incidents or agenda they have never sharpened or crystallised any genuine peoples movement be it anti-caste,anti-corporate or anti-landlord or any concrete programme for land distribution, confiscation of foreign capital, curbing prise rice, unemployment or proper housing. It did not link its opposition to NPR-NCR with any people’s democratic issue or with the day to day burning issues. We must recall how in the past opposition parties supported Hindu brickworship or Pooja programmes or lighting of Ram Shilyas to win votes. It was endorsing Hindu religious programmes by parties that paved the path for the ascendancy of BJP and chief minister Yogi. All parties kept the dalit community marginalised and offered no resistance to liberalisation or globalisation.
Quoting Tanmoy Ibrahim in Peoples Review “The opposition parties and their tainted politicians living in murky water are not capable of resisting this Hindutva onslaught, which even the result of the Uttar Pradesh assembly election also proved. They can be, at their very best, the secret ally of the saffron brigade. To expect them to lead or participate in the democratic struggle against the Hindutva brigade led by Modi or Yogi Adityanath will be a naïve thing. ‘
“Rather the onus to combat the fascist menace is now on the working class, the peasantry, the democratic section of the urban poor, toiled masses and the lower middle-class. A nationwide patriotic united front against Hindutva fascism and its foreign masters can only be built, if these classes are aroused through counter-propaganda against the blitzkrieg of the fascist Hindutva brigade. The need to combat the Hindutva fascism represented by Narendra Modi and his coterie, including the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, is urgent and to delay in knitting this broad alliance against fascism will spell doom for the future of India and its people.”
True the ruling party was given a crippling blow with important members quitting the BJP to join the Samajwadi Party, like cabinet ministers Swami Prasad Maurya,Dara Singh Chauhan and minister of state Dharam Singh Saini,who all belonged to the backward castes and expressed grievances of the BJP .neglecting their problems. It will not be a cruise for Yogi Adityanath. The most important question is whether the political volte-face by these politicians who quit the BJP, mostly of non-RSS origin, can influence the voters before the elections. This is important for both the BJP and the Samajwadi Party to comprehend. At this point, when the MLAs and ministers quitting the BJP in Uttar Pradesh are joining the Samajwadi Party, Yogi can very well utilise the situation to consolidate the BJP’s ranks by providing more tickets to those with RSS roots, which will motivate the cadre to work hard during the elections. (Peoples Review on MLA’s quitting BJP to join opposition)Akhilesh has knitted a coalition engine with support from Rashtriya Lok Dal the SBSP AND 3 other smaller parties..Effectively he has placed together caste combinations, wooing the non-Yadav OBC’s.It is likely to make the BJP escalate polarisation to consolidate the Hindu vote.Akhilesh has been tactically careful not overtly support Mulsim community and play into BJP hands.
The inhumane lockdown by the Modi regime, the constant police atrocities on the poor people under the garb of enforcing Covid-19 restrictions, the unbridled rapes and murders of the ostracised Dalits and the members of the other backward classes (OBCs), especially the grotesque Unnao and Hathras incidents , and the massive farmers’ movement against Modi’s pro-corporate farm reforms jolted the BJP’s political prospects throughout Uttar Pradesh, especially in the rural areas.
In the May 20121 Panchayat elections, rural Uttar Pradesh saw a massive people’s outburst against the BJP, which forced Yogi’s men to unapologetically rig the elections to the mid and higher tiers of the Panchayat system using sheer violence. Though the terror unleashed by the BJP helped it sweep other rounds of the election and save its face, the people’s resentment couldn’t be subjugated.(Peoples Review on Uttar Pradesh 2022 elections).
Weaknesses in Democratic Revolutionary camp and steps needed to be taken
No genuine anti-feudal peasant struggle has been launched which could confront the social system at the very roots, giving a blow to the nexus of the pro-Hindutva forces patronising landlords. There is hardly a strong urban labour force with majority migrating for jobs in factories in big cities. An armed secular movement of workers and peasants is the need of the hour to create tremors in the camp of the rulers. The intellectuals have virtually become a lackey of the saffron brigade. The worst enemy is the so called liberal social media which acts as a virtual instrument or propaganda machine of Saffron politics and leaves no stone unturned in promoting lies to glorify the Modi led govt. and spread communal poison. The incarceration of intellectuals in the name of terrorism has been weapon on the hands of the rulers in simmering any dissent.
Even amongst Communist revolutionary groups there is major weakness in embracing electoral or marginal politics They are giving call to defeat BJP-RSS,but do not expose the anti-people nature of the parliamentary system as a whole by projecting a revolutionary alternative. No doubt contradictions or extra-parliamentary struggles must be utilised to check the fascists and we must learn lessons of the past. However they must no be de-linked from the day to day class issues of the masses, and infact sharpen them. Class struggle cannot by itself defeat communalism but genuine revolutionary democratic secular resistance. Formation of secular anti-riot committees is imperative. Today we grossly miss cycle rallies that took place in the past fluttering the colour of secularism by student and youth organisations or even genuine secular anti-riot platforms. A genuine revolutionary party must propagate the sheer bankruptcy of the parliamentary system or its role as a pigsty, chart the genuinely democratic form of society in every sector to enable the people to form their own struggling organisations and sharpen the cutting edge of all democratic class struggles. Ofcourse main emphasis must be placed on challenging the nefarious policies of the fascist Bharatiya Janata party. Efforts must be made to fuse the farmer’s movement against bills with the anti-NRC movement as well as bridge the gap between the landed peasantry and agricultural labour. The struggles or issues of all oppressed sections should be interwoven. A massive ideological propaganda campaign must be undertaken establishing the link between Hindutva politics and economic oppression.
Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist. Toured India, particularly Punjab .Written on Mass movements