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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Road to absolutism 

Friday, 06 October 2017 13:04
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When religion gets ossified, it is abused, mythologized, superstitionized; coming closer to Marxian dictum that 'religion is opium for the masses.' Beliefs, practices, rituals, ages old life-negating traditions are upheld as sacrosanct, inalienable elements of genuine religion, propounded by the religious pundits whose life-sustenance and work-a-day depends on distortion of religion. It is these proponents of anti human religion who poison the public mind making it inimical to those who belong to a different religion or who oppose the irrational dehumanizing bigotry. Such propagation degenerates into propaganda. It becomes extremely venomous even to the extent of killing a man by man. Outrageous when nationalism itself is sought to be linked with cultural practices of a majority of a country professing a particular religion, thereby denying freedom to profess a different faith openly and the cultural practices thereof to the minority which historical evolution has put in place in every country. If you observe them, you are a nationalist. If not you deserve to be hated or even killed. This crude, vulgar, obscurantist, reactionary nationalism is anathema to democracy. Love for one's country or native land is a natural feeling after the time tribal societies were first replaced by kingdoms and kingdoms in due course of time in societal evolution were replaced by nation states. But when nationalism degenerates into Hitler's Nazism or Mussolini's Fascism, its consequences are dangerous. It is this out of bounds ultra nationalism which confronts India now. Nationalism which the Sangh Parivar aims to build - a new India around the ideology of Hindutva negating pluralism, multiculturalism and the very basic principle of co existence, live and let-live. The founding fathers of the Constitution of India had three basic tenets in mind during the debate over the same in the constituent assembly - secularism, socialism and democracy. This was in view of the multi-religious, multicultural and multilingual nature of the overall Indian society to foster national integration. And, of course, to transform a feudal state of landlordism to a welfare state so that the benefits of freshly achieved freedom would accrue to the poorest of the poor. But casteism, dalit subjugation, majoritarian communal bias, capitalist profiteering had soon set in to set at naught what the Constitution had enjoined upon the political class. So much so chairman of the drafts committee Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was disappointed. He said, 'By framing the Constitution of India I had hoped to build a temple in which to install gods. But before gods could be installed, devils had already taken possession of the temple.' The most apprehensive aspect of Hindutva is its fascist methodology of making Bharat purely a land of Hindutva narrative which in reality is not so much religious as it is ethnic. History, culture, tradition, language, education, science - everything is to be flattened to safforonize people. No matter what the method. Its recent most fearful face is the murder of firebrand woman journalist Gauri Lankesh in Benglaru. Her crime - criticism of the right wing discourse, exposing the atrocities committed by the Hindutva, pleading for the rights of the marginalised, empathising with the dalit cause, a friend of the poor writing to give voice to the voiceless. One BJP member of the Karnataka Assembly has issued an RSS diktat to survive on the gruesome murder of Gauri Lankesh: "Lankesh would have been alive today if she had not written anything against the RSS." Debate, dialogue, discussion is the very verve and nerve of democracy. Freedom of expression and thought is a fundamental right man has come to have after centuries of struggle and sacrifice. This curtailed, creativity in civilisation is throttled. Free press subverted paves the road to absolutism. After the elimination of Gauri Lankesh threats to kill have been issued to five more women writers. Charge - that they are dissenters, rationalist, end of scientific thinking. The message being loud and clear - no room for enlightenment and ideas other than that of Hindutva. Hateful intolerance then culminating in murder and the murderers sure of getting away with it. They enjoy 'infrastructure of impunity'. Question that arises is this 'whither India?' Cow vigilantism, witch hunting, honour killing, rampant rapes, mob lynching - these horrific events have become commonplace since this new politics took over the reins of power. 


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