Why, the Fascists Fear a Documentary?

BBC Documentary

The political campuses of India are in turmoil.Since the past week, we are witnessing all over India, a widespread political unrest in universities like JNU, Jamia, HCU, DU etc. where the students screened the BBC’s Documentary, India: The Modi Question. The most reactionary, neo-fascist modi government and RSS forces retaliated this move of students by using highly nefarious means, by keeping the Constitution of India, just a scarecrow.

It is not the first time a BBC documentary that critiques Modi, is getting banned in India. In February, 2022, a documentary by BBC named, “Modi: The Man, The Myth, The Legend” was banned for its focussing on Modi’s fierce way of handling the Kashmir conflict.[1] It also mentioned Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat Riots. The ban was opposed by the people vehemently. Now, BBC has released a documentary, named India: The Modi Question, which lays more emphasis on the 2002 Gujarat Riots and also the fascist regime of Modi. The political scenario of India is set ablaze by the ban on this documentary by the Modi Government invoking the IT Act.

All over India, in different universities, the students took up this question. On 21st January, 2023, the students of Fraternity Movement screened this documentary in HCU and in Kerala. As a retaliation, the students of Kerala were arrested by the Kerala police. On 25th January, 2023, students of JNU screened the documentary, India: The Modi Question in JNU Campus. The JNU Administration cut the power supply of JNU campus to stop the screening of the documentary. But still, the documentary was screened on laptops by the students. The RSS-ABVP workers pelted stones on the students to disrupt it.

On 26th January, 2023, students of SFI called for the screening of the same documentary in MCRC Lawn of Jamia Millia Islamia. But the Jamia administration released a notice, restricting all kinds of gatherings and meetings in Jamia. Atleast 12 student activists, 7 from SFI and 5 from NSUI and Fraternity together, were detained. I was in my hometown, otherwise, I would also have been one among the detainees. We are victims of the Jamia administration’s witch-hunt by issuing showcause notices for raising our voices for the student issues. Those students who were caught were mercilessly dragged through the roads. They were kept in police custody for the whole night. The mobile phones of the students were also snatched away and the guards chased the students and helped the police catch them.

Again, on 27th January, 2023, Delhi University also witnessed the same events. The police declared Section 144 in DU and also repeated Jamia incidents in DU by brutally attacking the students and taking them to Maurice Nagar and Cyber Cell Police stations. The students of TISS also screened this documentary. Also, many students shared it personally and publicly by the means of Google Drive links and QR Codes. In CU, Rajasthan, the administration suspended 8 students, based on the list made by ABVP. All the university administrations have degenerated into stooges of the RSS-BJP fascists. That’s why, all over India, they are just acting for the political interest of the state, without even minding the legality of these acts.

The most important question is why the Modi government fears such a documentary. In America, we could see Donald Trump, reiterating the Hitler’s slogan attacking the ‘Lùgenpresse’, which condemned all the criticisms on him as leftist propoganda and as lies. Now, we are seeing such a repetition here in India too, where the Modi government is claiming every single claim that negates the Hindutva narrative as a propaganda as well as a lie. It is not just about claiming but also about the ruthless means through which they suppress the voices of the people. The use of draconian laws like UAPA and the reactionary application of violence to suppress movements like anti-CAA-NRC movement and Farmers’ movement are clear cases of this. The 15/12 attack on Jamia and AMU was not just a case of attack on the students but also an open declaration of war against the people by the state. In fact, it was a highly exposed form of state terrorism.

We can see the Modi and the RSS neo-fascist forces using constitutional and extra constitutional means to advance to their Hindu Rashtra, which Dr. BR Ambedkar condemned as “the greatest calamity for this country.”[2] He also said, “Hinduism is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. On that account it is incompatible with democracy. Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost.”[3] But on the other hand, the ideologues of Hindutva, ranging from Savarkar and Golwalkar to Modi, Mohan Bhagawat created their own narrative on India, which repeated the same idea of determining the nationhood based on the concepts of Hindutva, based on the Pitrubhoomi (Ancestral land) and Punyabhoomi (Cradle land of one’s religion)[4]. This narrative claimed India as a place where the ‘intrepid Aryans’ thrived and also, where tolerance and freedom of worship were at its peak. It also claimed the Moslems as alien to our culture and also the destroyers of this harmony in India. The partition of India into India and Pakistan proved how diabolic this narrative was.

RSS advanced this narrative after independence and gained strength after the emergency. The instances of Babri Demolition in 1992 and Gujarat riots in 2002 deeply implanted this radical ideology of hate in the veins of the people. The corporate media houses repeated this hate propaganda. We could see that all those mainstream corporate media houses except NDTV had already become the lackeys of the fascist Modi regime by 2019. Now, with the takeover by Adani, NDTV also fell into the laps of the fascists. But BBC came forward critiquing the fascist regime, with their documentary in February 2022. After this, the statement of Pakistan Minister Bhilawal Bhutoo, “Osama bin Laden is dead, but the butcher of Gujarat lives and he is the Prime Minister of India ”[5], was also openly attacking the Hindutva terrorist, Modi. Now, again, when the latest BBC documentary has come out, they are using the most pernicious and diabolic methods to suppress it. Those who are clamping down on those who screen this are the same people, who facilitated the screening of the Kashmiri Files in the campuses like HCU.

The ongoing fascist offensive sabotaged all the fundamental rights of the people, in their efforts to build Hindu Rashtra. They have either completely destroyed those laws that protect the people’s rights or have infringed them in a completely unlawful and dictatorial way. This clampdown on documentary screening was their loud clarion against our liberties. They are just waiting for a right moment for the final leap towards the Hindu Rashtra. A united resistance against this can only stop this move.

Niranjan K S is 2nd Law Student of Jamia Millia Islamia, Central Committee Member of All India Revolutionary Students Organisation)

[1] https://www.ssatripura.com/india-bans-bbc-documentary-on-pm-modi/

[2] Dr. B R Ambedkar, Writings and Speeches, Volume 8, Pg. No. 358, Published by Dr. B R Ambedkar Foundation

[3] Ibid

[4] V D Savarkar, Essentials of Hindutva, Pg. No. 54


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