the return of Modi rule with increased strength is not like Indira Gandhi led Congress returning to power in 1971, or any other such change of governments under the bourgeois democratic ruling system. Such comparisons will be simplistic. It reduces the great threat from the ‘New India’ RSS is trying to mould through the Modi rule. Even a glance through the Bunch of Thoughts of Golwalkar show that through its Hindu Rashtra concept RSS wants to take the Indian society back to the pre-renaissance Manuvadi conditions, to a caste and communal divided situation, which had weakened this South Asian polity for centuries, ultimately making two centuries British colonial domination possible; and now, it shall lead to further intensification of the neoliberal/corporate raj.
When BJP’s initial moves to saffronize and control the political scene started gaining strength with Adwani’s rath yatra, especially when the RJD government in Bihar stopped its advance by arresting Adwani, and in the following decades, the prevalent dominant view, not only among the wide range of caste based political parties/groups/individuals emerged and strengthened based on ‘identity politics’ following Mandalisation of politics, but also among the traditional socialist and left parties, and large number of intellectuals close to them, was that the powerful caste identity, sharply dividing the existing Hindu identity, will not allow the growth of majoritarian Hindutva polarization in India! Based on this theorization, in continuation to their anti-Congressism, large sections from the socialist trend joined the saffron band wagon. All of them failed to recognize the powerful influence of religious undercurrent nurtured by the Bhramanical forces, the Hindutva myths from Ramayana, Mahabharata etc, and the Hindu religious traditions and the customs promoted under Manuvad influencing even the most down- trodden castes. As far as the main stream parties, mainly Congress was concerned, to promote their vote bank, they were increasingly using communal appeasement, mainly Hindutua appeasement. Neither the various political groups emerging from the Ambedkarite/Periyarist like streams, nor other parties based on castes or caste based ‘social engineering’, nor the traditional left stream, all of whom who had reduced their political activities, in the main, to electoral politics, bothered to take up the tasks of carrying forward the renaissance values, of struggling against patriarchy, decadent customs and traditions, of focussing on the annihilation of the caste system, and of strengthening genuine secular values, that is keeping religion away from politics. The caste identity was increasingly utilised to promote vote-banks. In the name of ‘social engineering’, promotion of caste collaboration went ahead. Meanwhile, the small but powerful section among the SCs/STs and other backward sections, who became economically advanced with the benefit of reservation, embraced ‘neo-Brahminical’ positions, abandoning the concept of caste annihilation. They went on diluting demarcation of the socially and economically oppressed sections with the majoritarian Hindutva forces.
At the same time, with active assistance of Savarna elitist sections, the corporate forces, their media, state machinery which is under Brahmanical domination and the enormous corporate funds it is getting, the RSS was executing its plans for saffronization of society and politics aggressively through socio-cultural offensive, utilizing the most modern technology, like utilizing the TV serials based on Mahabharata, Ramayana, etc, entering the field of education and publications in a big way. It imposed its own dress, food codes, etc, spreading hatred against the minorities mainly Muslims and Pakistan, that is against everything that is not saffron or its allies. Once Modi came to power in 2014, mob lynching by gorakshaks and attacks on Muslims and dalits intensified. Imposing patriarchy, the concept of women’s liberation and gender equality were attacked. In this way saffronization was intensified in manifold ways. As a result, in this election BJP could submerge the caste based identity politics, and hegemony of majoritarian Hindutva identity could be advanced decisively, along with the muscular nationalism based on it.
It targeted communists in general, and in the context of immediate electoral demands, the CPI(M) led Left Front parties in particular. Similar to other areas or more than that, it spread RSS sakhas in Kerala, Tripura and Bengal in a big way. It launched an onslaught against the LF governments. The Left Front parties were devoutly pursuing the neoliberal policies wherever they came to power. Instead of waging parliamentary struggle to strengthen class struggle, they had degenerated to parliamentary cretinism, becoming a part of the ruling system. They could not put forward an alternate vision among the masses against the neo-liberal/corporate regime, and for a casteless, genuinely secular and egalitarian society with democratization of all fields of life. So, the LF government in Bengal had started weakening by 2009 and got defeated by the aggressive TMC in 2011 assembly elections. The LF was thrown out from power by aggressive BJP in last year’s assembly elections in Tripura using naked muscle power along with its majoritarian Hindutva offensive. As the CPI(M) and its allies, in spite of the electoral setbacks from the time of 2009 elections, in the main, were not prepared to make self-introspection and to come out of their social democratic narrative, in this election almost 30% of the LF vote share shifted to BJP compared to 2014, decimating it in both these states. It was mauled in its last bastion, Kerala, also, raising the threat of a similar fate for it by the time of the next assembly elections there in 2021.
The massive victory of BJP in Bengal and Tripura and increasing influence in Kerala, along with its sweeping victory except in few states like TN and AP has created a critical situation. Whatever false narrative Modi may propagate about inclusive growth, in reality Yogi Adityanath and Pragya Thakur have become the symbols of BJP victory. Modi-2 is going to launch a severe assault on all democratic values strengthened during the renaissance movement. While indulging in dirty tricks to assimilate the names of renaissance leaders, it is actually intensifying efforts to distort, vulgarize and annihilate the renaissance values. Whatever positive principles are enshrined in the Constitution is assaulted. Constitutional institutions are saffronized further. Fields of education, culture and propaganda also shall be brought under the hegemony of Hindu Rashtra ideology. Penetration and domination of the state machinery and armed forces by RSS shall be speeded up further.
Based on the above analysis of what is happening in the political scene, a pertinent question arises, especially in the context when all the mainstream opposition parties, starting from Congress are seemingly in a somewhat paralysed condition following the BJP/NDA victory: were they not aware of the political plan of the RSS to transform India in to a Hindu Rashtra right from the time it was formed in 1925 following the models of Brown shirts of Italy and storm troopers of Nazis? Though their history may be different, the numerous neo-fascist outfits including RSS are emerging and often coming to power today, in a larger scale than in the 1930s, as the imperialist system has become much more degenerated and reactionary, and as it wants these as their political task masters to serve the neoliberal/corporate exploitative system with an iron hand. Though it was the Congress which opened the neoliberal innings in India, during the decade long UPA rule it was proved inefficient and lacking a reactionary ideology as efficient as that of the RSS parivar to carry forward the tasks of globalisation to its extreme levels. So, 90% or more of the corporate funding and support went to BJP, the political face of RSS which could wield the majoritarian Hindutva weapon to polarise the “Hindu” votes and come to power to serve imperialist interests. The first budget of Modi-2 has proved how the neo-fascists with populist claims are opening up the country for globalization decisively, justifying the corporate trust in it. At least Congress, leading a decade of UPA rule cannot say that it was ignorant of the systematic growth of RSS and its criminal activities.
Still the Congress and other opposition parties who were serving the neoliberal agenda at the centre or in the states are refusing to recognize this fact, even grudgingly, because of their political positions subservient to the ruling classes. So, afraid of their future, they are in total disarray. It is similar to what is happening in most other countries where the neo-fascists, whatever may be their brand, are coming to power. All the centrist or rightist parties who were in power are in disarray as they are still sticking to their rightist policies. This is proved from their meek response so far to the blatant budget proposals of Modi-2 as well as to its aggressive saffron offensive.
In spite of such a severe setback they suffered in Bengal, Tripura and even in Kerala where they are in power, besides in all other states except Tamilnadu thanks to their alliance with the DMK, the traditional left parties, the CPI(M) and its Left Front partners, refuse to recognize this reality. CPI(M) general secretary is repeating that if all non-NDA parties come together everything will be ok. While saying so, he is not ready to ask the LDF government in Kerala led by his party to rectify its positions so that a better resistance can be put up against the BJP in the 2021 assembly elections. The Pinarayi government is so dedicated to implement the Modi-2’s so-called development plans and so arrogant towards people’s movements for social justice, environmental protection, land for the landless Adivasis and dalits etc that nobody should be surprised if what happened in Bengal and Tripura is repeated in Kerala also! The pity is that CPI(M) leadership which is not capable to stop its own government in Kerala from pursuing neoliberal agenda and to strive for an alternative development approach is talking big about building an all India level front against the Modi government by uniting Congress like parties (who may commit suicide rather than changing their ruling class policies)! Like the social democrats everywhere, the CPI(M) is also on the path of self-destruction, instead of rectifying its line and working for left unity as the core to build the anti-fascist front.
The stand taken by the sectarian CPI(Maoist) is also suicidal. They are still under the illusion that through their squad politics they can win over the people! Even after the victory of the mass movement of the Adivasis in Chhattisgarh which compelled the state government to withdraw orders for coal mining destroying vast forest areas, which their squads could not achieve, the Maoist and their intellectual supporters are not prepared to abandon their anarchist line which is only defaming the communist movement.
Under these circumstances, it is the historical responsibility of revolutionary left forces to come together and unite all struggling and toiling people to resist this fascist offensive of the RJP/RSS-Parivar. It is only by exposing the corporate - saffron fascist agenda of the Modi government and building mass movements and class struggle against every such attack can we build an effective resistance against the looming threat of fascism. Our proposal is that the struggling left forces should start an open dialogue to explore the possibilities of developing a mass political platform at the national level based on a common minimum program that will take up both parliamentary as well as extra-parliamentary struggles against the saffron brigade and its policies. Such an initiative from our side shall create conditions for uniting all anti-fascist forces on a broad platform also in coming days. n