Give them the credit. The political credit. The RSS calls itself a cultural organisation, but does nothing but politics, including having the gall to remove LK Advani as president of the BJP on his meaningful remarks on Jinnah. It also does culture politics, among other things such as hate politics or organising low intensity and big intensity communal polarisations, often with a great deal of sectarian strife and universal tragedy, as several enquiry commission reports have decisively proved, from Bhagalpur to Bhiwandi. Considering its sinister role, the outfit has been banned thrice, and the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi was alleged to have been linked with the RSS at one time.
It is largely invisible but operates through hundreds of fronts and backlane outfits in the social, educational and political sectors, including the brazenly violent and extremist outfits like the VHP and the lumpen Bajrang Dal, the latter particularly mindless and bloodthirsty, as those famous pictures from the Gujarat genocide show so transparently, so proudly, and so graphically.
Communal riots are different from organised pogroms, or State-sponsored pogroms, like the Holocaust in Germany and Europe, or what happened in the Balkans in the recent past. It is general anarchy and bloody madness let loose across the caste, class and religious spectrum in the case of riots, which are also instigated by vested interests, including political actors. Organised pogroms or the State-sponsored ones are inevitably backed by the status quo, the police, the bureaucracy and the ruling party, because no public violence can continue if the State wishes to clamp down and stop it to restore law and order. However, as the dismal record in terms of crime and punishment shows in India, everything becomes a part of the twilight zone once the killings and rapes are over and done with. Because this becomes a collective perversion, a mass enactment, socially sanctioned, almost like war. So even when it has faces, catalysts, protagonists and actors, often, no one gets punished. This helps communal organisations and fascists to attract legitimacy and consolidate. The Sangh Parivar is a classical example of this historical pattern of coincidences.
Witness whatever happened to the Srikrishna Commission report on the Bombay pogrom of 1992-93, where key police figures and Shiv Sena politicians were named by the judge with impeccable credentials. The BJP-Shiv Sena regime dumped it as “anti-Hindu”; the Congress never moved an inch. The Babri Masjid was demolished by the Sangh Parivar under the able leadership of LK Advani, Vinay Katiar (earlier, a Bajrang Dal leader), Uma Bharti and sundry BJP/VHP leaders, with effective intervention from Shiv Sena cadre. What followed was communal violence across the nation.
Almost 16 years later, the Liberhan Commission, instituted on the demolition, has got yet another extension, while Advani, 81 plus, is being pitch-forked as the PM-in-waiting. Ditto with the 1984 Maliana-Hashimpura massacre of Muslims in Meerut reportedly at the hands of the Provincial Armed Constabulary, often accused of being overtly communal in its law enforcement operations. Or the November 1984 organised massacre of Sikhs in Delhi and elsewhere, including the murder of some army soldiers on trains.
In a scenario whereby the killers can repeatedly go scot free, the political class turns tacit accomplice or blind and deaf, and no justice arrives even after decades, communal fascism of all varieties becomes an obsessive ritual, a part of the social consciousness, integral to norms and conventions, immersed in the sense and sensibilities of everyday life. Even while simmering wounds cry angry tears.
Witness Babu Bajrangi, one of the accused in the Gujarat carnage, waxing eloquent on his brave deeds in the Tehelka tapes on the genocide. Witness Narendra Modi being eulogised by the corporate sector and a section of the media – (please see a vegetarian pink daily one day after he won this assembly elections, with several pictures of the great man on page after page, even he, reading that very newspaper, as if that newspaper has totally appropriated him and his glory.)
That is why this twilight zone of bomb blasts, massacres, gang-rapes and ravaged landscapes have become an internal discourse of our collective social sensibility, whereby justice is neither seen to be done nor is it ever hoped that it will be done. So what becomes of a society which loses all its sense of shame or sanity, sense or sensibility, justice and injustice? Where the murdered and the raped are eliminated from public consciousness. What becomes of a nation where the extremists in the margins become integral to mainstream political discourse? So why can’t Ratan Tata and corporate fat cats deal with the likes of Togadia, the Thackerays, and Bajrangi? So when the politics of morality has been effectively buried, how can massacres block economic and political relationships, and mass murderers not be eulogised by the media, corporates and political class?
Be it the terrorist, or the communal fascist, it requires more than human guts to kill people in cold blood; or gang-rape women as a public spectacle or burn children alive as an act of religious redemption, as several testimonies from Gujarat and Orissa have unfolded. It requires a steely barbarism, a trained mind which has totally internalised this doctrine of barbarism in good faith and conviction, which hates like an evangelical and ideological creed in itself, not making any distinctions between good and bad, human and inhuman, skin and eyes, hands and fingers, colour and sensibilities, ideas and feelings, gender or class, man or woman or child. Almost abysmally robotic, sinking in these depths of depravity and perversion, bereft of the littlest trace of either critical rationality or humanism, with absolutely no sense of history or aesthetics, anti-god, anti-human, anti-democracy, anti-secular pluralism, anti-tolerance, anti-woman, celebrating, for instance, the Gujarat carnage as a “successful experiment” – in the words of Pravin Togadia.
In that sense, what is the difference between the Taliban stoning a woman to death for “adultery” in a football stadium in Kabul, the Al Qaeda punishing girls who go to school in South Waziristan, or terrorists killing innocents (distorting Islam) – and the Hindutva brigade unleashing violence distorting Hinduism? Like the Ku Klux Klan, these retrograde groups have no religion or faith or god. All they have is the mindless energy of barbarism and hatred; governments and societies should treat all of them as barbarians – not fit for a civilised, democratic society. In contrast, when they are not treated as barbarians, they effectively destroy the middle ground, the Constitution, democracy, social tolerance and cohesion, feeding communal hate and viciousness against each other.
That is why, Togadia celebrated the Orissa carnage at Kandhamal, literally, physically, while others celebrated by killing people, ravaging homes, burning alive a Hindu woman caretaker of a Christian orphanage, and raping a nun in full public view, including the police as voyeuristic witness. Under the tacit patronage of the BJD-BJP regime in Orissa, led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the man who is selling the mineral rich ecological hot spots of tribal interiors to big business and MNCs by hook or crook, through seduction or repression.
That is, subsidised big business, power politics and communal fascism working in tandem, like a cold symphony in slow motion, as in Gujarat and Orissa, even though Ratan Tata’s Nano will not run with human blood in Modiland, or the memory of the human blood as a spectacle on the streets. Because cars, like machines, don’t have either memory or conscience. Not even a People’s Car.
Surely, Tata has not seen Parzania, the true story of a sensitive Parsi couple whose child disappeared in the Gujarat carnage, in this case, a State-sponsored massacre. Surely, profit or capital has neither ideology nor guilt.
In fascist Germany several capitalists backed Adolf Hitler till the last. Even many rich Jews bought their freedom, even while millions were being “gas-chambered” in concentration camps, women were being raped outside the camps in Gestapo quarters, and children’s bodies were being used to makes soaps and shampoos. No wonder the founder fathers of the RSS and Hindutva outfits hailed the Nazis and the mass murders – “purging of the Jews”. Witness this profound and oft-quoted statement by Hindutva ideologue Guru Golwalkar: “To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races – the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by.”
Predictably, these hydra-headed fronts operate most effectively under State patronage – the Gujarat carnage had the tacit support of the BJP-led NDA regime in Delhi, the Karnataka and Orissa mayhem against Christians was brazenly backed by the state governments, even while the ¡secular’ Congress-led UPA played footsie between a hard and soft State. This is because this entire family of fanatics and xenophobes, incestuous and ideological blood brothers (pracharaks in the RSS don’t marry, as if they have renounced the world), who manipulate the materialism of worldly life, politics and culture with relentless and infinite sustenance, only flourish under State patronage.
They are not martyrs or willing to sacrifice their bodies and lives for a “higher cause” – like revolutionaries of the past and present – something which makes them inherently hostile to the progressive greatness of Bhagat Singh, Ashfaqullah Khan, Khudiram Bose, Ramprasad Bismil, among others who died for the cause of the freedom struggle. (Bhagat Singh was an atheist and communist, and he opposed anarchist actions.) They are not even like the communists of the past, or the Naxalites of the present, whose hearts beat for the poor, who make sacrifices or die for a cause, chase an egalitarian dream of larger social justice and equality, though the methods or means adopted by the underground Maoists might not be acceptable to several progressive sections.
In that sense, you will not see the BJP/RSS and its octopus like fronts deeply concerned about atrocities on Dalits and adivasis, gender injustice, affirmative action for the extremely poor, low and backward castes, starvation deaths, farmer suicides, people’s resistance against SEZs, big dams, big mining projects, custody deaths, fake encounters, human rights violations, corruption, or the rights of the millions of poor who have been systematically crushed and betrayed by all political parties who back the neo-liberal predator, crony, casino capitalism. They care two hoots for these ¡Leftist’ and ¡civil society’ issues. All they think of is a civilisation agenda: the Akhand Hindu Rashtra of One People and One Culture. That is why, the “successful experiment” of the laboratory of Gujarat (and now Orissa and Karnataka) are just one step forward. Because the coup against a secular democracy can happen anytime.
No wonder they did not participate in the freedom struggle. They made no sacrifices. No wonder Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Patel, among other stalwarts, were wary of them. No wonder they were chasing the politics of xenophobia, when others were being jailed and hanged in the anti-colonial struggle against the British. That is why, all these fake sankaracharyas, sadhus and sadhvis, now being accused of terror blasts driven by fanatic hate politics, are being openly linked with the BJP/RSS/VHP and miscellaneous fronts of the incestuous Sangh Parivar.