Need for Political Change


With the election that is about to come up for 2024 Lok Sabha, it is important to delve into the social vision of the party and its ideological parent that was in power during the last ten years. A dominant theme that was floated during this period was on nationalism. RSS which hardly had a role in the national freedom struggle captured this space to define the narrative of nationalism. It applied its own criteria of others (liberal, left, JNU, Muslims, Justice seekers, beef eaters, anti-BJP, anti-Modi) as exclusionary aspects to brand who is and who is not a nationalist.

The social vision of RSS / BJP ran in a direction opposite to that of the constitutional values. Its belief in a Hindu Rashtra – a land of the Hindus went against the constitutional norm where in ‘we the people’ included people of all faiths. It ran contrary to the constitutional values of liberty, equality and fraternity. While on the one hand it claimed to stand by ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’, its social vision lacked how in order to bring equality, it wanted to eradicate caste discrimination, annihilate caste and bring social equality. Moreover, BJP’s earlier avatar had a history of opposing progressive legislations. Bhartiya Jan Sangh were the ones to oppose the Hindu Code Bills introduced by Nehru and Ambedkar which sought to bring gender justice in Hindu religion. The bills had provisions related to abolition of polygamy, right to seek divorce by women, inheritance rights, property rights, protection of widows and child marriage prevention. BJS (BJPs earlier avatar) saw these progressive provisions as a threat to Hindu family system. Now the same BJP started claiming to be gender justice seeking through acts for Triple Talaq and Uniform Civil Code (UCC). There is critic that it is more of minority targeting and less gender justice seeking. One example provided by critics is that of Goa, where a gender unjust provision continues with BJP in power. Goa’s uniform civil code allowed Hindu men to leave their wife if they fail to deliver a child by 25 which is gender unjust.

Fraternity based on religious beliefs do not form part of RSS / BJP’s social vision. According to it Hindus are natural enemies of Muslims and Christians. The only way to create brotherhood is through ‘Ghar Whaapsi’.  While Hindus outside India (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan) are brothers as they can come and settle down in India through CAA, Muslims within India are not brothers. The only way to have some sort of equal status is to be part of the Hindu religion. Otherwise one may be reduced to a secondary status. This also means it does not believe in ‘Liberty’ for people to choose their own religions as per their belief and faith.

BJP cannot be equated with just any other party in India and considered one among many. That would be a severe mistake. History is enough to show how they stand with the oppressors and not the oppressed. RSS was a great admirer of Hitler and Mussolini. It did not find anything problematic in the way Nazis were eliminating the Jews. Again the same people do not have any problem with the way Palestinians are being acted upon by Israel.

A big decline can be seen in India’s position and influence in international affairs. India as a leader of Non Aligned Movement (NAM) was supportive of the oppressed across the world and stood for anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism, anti-racism which came from its beliefs from participation in the anti-colonial struggle. It held a moral position despite being a newly liberated nation, which was deeply poverty stricken. In the current times except for propaganda made in whaatsapp university which says that India is being looked out towards for worldly solutions after 2014, the reality is different. Unlike South Africa which went to international court of Justice seeking justice for Palestinians, India on the other hand abstained from the UN resolution related to “protection of civilians and upholding humanitarian obligations”  in favor of Palestinians.

The voices for changing the constitution in the last few years have increased. Questions started getting raised on relevance of affirmative action without a clear agenda of how it wants to bring social justice in its absence. However, such idea was dropped by Mohan Bhagwat later. The fate of article 370 is known as an integral part of the constitution. The fate of 5th and 6th schedules in future is unpredictable as it may stand against the commercial and industrial interests of crony friends. Currently, Ladakh is fighting to be given a 6th schedule status fearing that their resources would be exploited, and ecologically fragile region might be threatened.

There has been push to remove ‘secularism’ and ‘socialism’ from the Constitution. The logic used is it was introduced through an amendment. The fact remains that even without the amendment Indian constitution was secular and the amendment was only an explicit expression. Voices closer to the BJP are calling for revisiting the constitution and changing it as it is 75 years old. Under a party which believes in Hindu Rashtra, what that change could mean can be guessed.

While the party is very well known for religious polarization, the practice of polarizing does not stop with religion itself. It can polarize on the basis of caste, ethnicity, region, language, race etc. Polarization across ethnic groups in Manipur brought about deep divides among Meiteis and Kukis. Religious element again was introduced into the same resulting in destruction of churches. Social harmony among groups on an egalitarian basis is not an integral part of political vision of RSS / BJP.

BJP is a fascist party which makes it distinct from every other party. It seeks no opposition and dissent of any sort. Any dissent is sought to be curbed. The way mainstream opposition parties are being jailed through genuine or fake cases, dissent voices being charged under UAPA and imprisoned without any evidence of charges made, parliamentary bills being passed by throwing out opposition out of parliament is enough to show how it stands to contrary views. One can guess what it means for the future of Democracy.

While each of the parties may have its flaws related to corruption, criminalization, communalism, casteism, capitalist centric, the current regime still can be considered to pose the biggest threat for survival of Indian republic.

A vote for change in the current situation would greatly help in survival of Indian Republic.

T Navin is an Independent writer

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