Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Why BJP is less about unacceptable past and more about undesirable future

Ratnakar Tripathy

Decades went by as the critics of RSS-BJP spent their entire energy on emphasizing and explaining the both as obscurantists and regressive forces standing in the way of modernity and progress. In the past three years after the BJP came to power, we have seen the same cycle of critiques repeat again and again, the rubric of the entire rhetoric being the persistent allegiance of the BJP to a false vision of the past. And thus we continue attacking the animal with great ferocity precisely where it hurts the least and rather often leaves it unaffected. The main reason may be that while the liberals in India have altogether exited the past or presume thus, the common citizen in the country still adheres to the good old symbols that the BJP gathers brick by brick to erect its monumentally repulsive edifice of Hindutva. I believe that the Indian voter has begun to learn that its religious symbols and beliefs may be related to the official Hindutva in the most distant sense possible. The daily political discourse broadcast through the media and the mundane struggles on the streets often provide the sort of education that can never come from the lectern. So the mystique of BJP’s cow, its saints so-called, its yoga and its Ayurveda, its contempt and fear of women and girls, its reverence for the Sanskrit texts, its hunger for raw power or Shakti, its apotheosis of masculinity that at times seems to mimic the Wahabi Arabs – all these are now getting unraveled one after the other as more and more eyes are left peeled. Soon the common citizen will begin to find the BJP’s extreme version of the common beliefs and biases unbearably ugly and damaging to normal social life.   

It is now time that democratically inclined intellectuals let the cows and the saints be. As for women, with some support from the men, they are in no mood to be cowed down. The agitations in Rajasthan, Gujarat and more recently in BHU, UP are ample evidence that they are not waiting for arguments. With the opposition seemingly lacking the will and the ability, a number of agitations in various parts of the country despite going unreported will soon end the opposition’s slumber is how I take it. Add to it the overall economic crisis looming with equal menace for all the sections, including the several sectors of big business. Cow urine or yogic contortions are certainly not going to see us out of the mess visibly awaiting us at the horizon. And how the hell do you demonstrate and establish decisively that the value of a cow’s life can never be greater than that of a human being? I am not willing to invest my precious time in forging arguments to convince the bovinely oriented dumbass! Or even the paid software propagandist employee who would lose his precious job and monthly car installment if he ditched his mother cow in the favour of reason and ordinary human goodwill. 

I am willing however to repeatedly, indeed endlessly demonstrate two fundamental points. First, the BJP’s main concern is a future where inclusion and human considerations are missing, the environment is violated, the economically and educationally deprived continue to remain so, where land is grabbed from the poor peasant and the forest dweller, where resources are gifted for free to mining companies, the real estate, and the factory owner.  

Second, I am also keen to invest all my argumentative energies to demonstrate that whatever little we have achieved by way of a democratic polity, social order and system including free speech in India in the last century is sought to be negated by the present regime. The cow and the saints are just proxies and alibis for a regime that is single-mindedly looking at an undesirable future that yokes the bullet train with Brahmanism. The obscurantist thrust of the BJP is thus a proxy for its technocratic vision of future where money and technology reign and human life is devalued progressively with state violence taking centre stage. That is the kind of fight we have on our hands. So don’t sit weaving arguments against the BJP's version of the past and aim at the future we do not want. The BJP wants both modernity and progress but entirely of its own kind!

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