Noam Chomsky is one of the leading peace workers in the world. In the wake of America’s attack on Vietnam, he brought out his classic formulation, ‘manufacturing consent’. The phrase explains the state manipulating public opinion to have the public approve of it policies—in this case, the attack of the American state on Vietnam, which was then struggling to free itself from French colonial rule.

In India, we are witness to manufactured hate against religious minorities. This hatred serves to enhance polarisation in society, which undermines India’s democracy and Constitution and promotes support for a Hindu nation. Hate is being manufactured through multiple mechanisms. For example, it manifests in violence against religious minorities. Some recent ghastly expressions of this manufactured hate was the massive communal violence witnessed in Mumbai (1992-93), Gujarat (2002), Kandhamal (2008) and Muzaffarnagar (2013). Its other manifestation was in the form of lynching of those accused of having killed a cow or consumed beef. A parallel phenomenon is the brutal flogging, often to death, of Dalits who deal with animal carcasses or leather.

Yet another form of this was seen when Shambhulal Regar, indoctrinated by the propaganda of Hindu nationalists, burned alive Afrazul Khan and shot the video of the heinous act. For his brutality, he was praised by many. Regar was incited into the act by the propaganda around love jihad. Lately, we have the same phenomenon of manufactured hate taking on even more dastardly proportions as youth related to Hindu nationalist organisations have been caught using pistols, while police authorities look on.

Anurag Thakur, a BJP minster in the central government recently incited a crowd in Delhi to complete his chant of what should happen to ‘traitors of the country...” with a “they should be shot”. Just two days later, a youth brought a pistol to the site of a protest at Jamia Millia Islamia university and shouted “take Azaadi!” and fired it. One bullet hit a student of Jamia. This happened on 30 January, the day Nathuram Godse had shot Mahatma Gandhi in 1948. A few days later, another youth fired near the site of protests against the CAA and NRC at Shaheen Bagh. Soon after, he said that in India, “only Hindus will rule”.

What is very obvious is that the shootings by those associated with Hindu nationalist organisations are the culmination of a long campaign of spreading hate against religious minorities in India in general and against Muslims in particular. The present phase is the outcome of a long and sustained hate campaign, the beginning of which lies in nationalism in the name of religion; Muslim nationalism and Hindu nationalism. This sectarian nationalism picked up the communal view of history and the communal historiography which the British introduced in order to pursue their ‘divide and rule’ policy.

In India what became part of “social common sense” was that Muslim kings had destroyed Hindu temples, that Islam was spread by force, and that it is a foreign religion, and so on. Campaigns, such as the one for a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Rama to be built at the site where the Babri masjid once stood, further deepened the idea of a Muslim as a “temple-destroyer”. Aurangzeb, Tipu Sultan and other Muslim kings were tarnished as the ones who spread Islam by force in the subcontinent. The tragic Partition, which was primarily due to British policies, and was well-supported by communal streams too, was entirely attributed to Muslims. The Kashmir conflict, which is the outcome of regional, ethnic and other historical issues, coupled with the American policy of supporting Pakistan’s ambitions of regional hegemony, (which also fostered the birth of Al-Qaeda), was also attributed to the Muslims.

With recurring incidents of communal violence, these falsehoods went on going deeper into the social thinking. Violence itself led to ghettoisation of Muslims and further broke inter-community social bonds. On the one hand, a ghettoised community is cut off from others and on the other hand the victims come to be presented as culprits. The percolation of this hate through word-of-mouth propaganda, media and re-writing of school curricula, had a strong impact on social attitudes towards the minorities.

In the last couple of decades, the process of manufacturing hate has been intensified by social media platforms that are being cleverly used by communal forces. Swati Chaturvedi’s book, I Am a Troll: Inside the Secret World of the BJP’s Digital Army, tells us how the BJP used social media to spread hate. The Whatapp University became the source of understanding for large sections of society and hate for the ‘Other’, went up by leaps and bounds. To add on to this process, the phenomenon of fake news was shrewdly deployed to intensify divisiveness.

Currently, the Shaheen Bagh movement is a big uniting force for the country; but it is being demonised as a gathering of ‘anti-nationals’. Another BJP leader has said that these protesters will indulge in crimes like rape. This has intensified the prevalent hate.

While there is a general dominance of hate, the likes of Shambhulal Regar and the Jamia shooter do get taken in by the incitement and act out the violence that is constantly hinted at. The deeper issue involved is the prevalence of hate, misconceptions and biases, which have become the part of social thinking.

These misconceptions are undoing the amity between different religious communities which was built during the freedom movement. They are undoing the fraternity which emerged with the process of India as a nation in the making. The processes which brought these communities together broadly drew from Gandhi, Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar. It is these values which need to be rooted again in the society. Communal forces have resorted to false propaganda against minorities, and that needs to be undone with sincerity.

Combating those foundational misconceptions which create hatred is a massive task which needs to be taken up by social organisations and political parties which have faith in the Indian Constitution and values of the freedom movement. It needs to be done right away as a priority issue in with a focus on cultivating Indian fraternity yet again

On 24th February when Trump and Modi were displaying bonhomie, and Trumps was spewing Islamophobia boasting about how US administration has put down Islamic terrorists making the largely RSS mobilization at Ahmedabad stadium happy, and the mainstream media was eulogizing these neo-fascists in power, Modi’s own RSS men, the Hindutva terrorists, led by BJP leaders indulging in hate speeches had started surrounding the Muslim areas of Northeast Delhi and indulging in large scale arson, looting and killing. As happened in Gujarat in 2002, the police was not visible for two days, or if present, were helping the RSS men on 24th and 25th February, resulting in large scale arson of Muslim shops, workplaces and houses, killing of 23 and bullet injuries to hundreds. By the time Amit Shah opened his mouth giving ‘shoot at sight’ orders to the saffronized Delhi police, and Modi appealed for peace on 26th February, what the RSS wanted was started and realized in a big way, terrorizing the Muslims, in their latest bid to show that the Muslims are entirely responsible to the Anti-CAA, NPR, NRC movement. It was surprising that when a defeated Assembly candidate of BJP, Kapil Misra, could lead the attacks by the RSS men, none of the elected AAP MLAs or leaders of the mainstream opposition parties were also not visible in the streets to support the victims of this aggression by Hindutva forces. Reports from this area on 26th also shows that, in spite of putting the whole area under prohibitory orders and police making flag marches, RSS men are still on the streets and they are still burning down if any shops, factories or houses of Muslims are still remaining in this area. As a result, hundreds of Muslim families are fleeing from their houses to more safe areas in Delhi. Instead of addressing this state of affairs and to arrest the RSS muscle men indulging in these crimes, BJP is justifying their actions by comparing what Congress did in 1984! It is an outright criminal approach! As far as the masses are concerned they unequivocally condemn all criminal acts of pogroms in 1984, 2002 as well as what is happening in Delhi now in order to communalize and suppress the Anti-CAA, NPR, NRC movement.

Modi government cannot justify what the RSS men are doing in the streets of Delhi, indulging in large scale arson and killings by their muscular forces providing state support. A whole section of the population, the Muslims, are subjected to barbarous attacks in order to communalize and brutally suppress a peaceful movement by masses of people, not only Muslims, but also the dalits, Adivasis and other most backward sections spear headed by the students and women on a large scale. What the Modi government is doing is illegal, unconstitutional and cannot be justified at all. So we demand his government should resign taking responsibility for what is happening in the country to impose the CAA, and to go ahead with the NPR from 1st April, to be followed by the NRC process after 30th Sept, the entire process aimed at making millions of people stateless, as was done under NRC/Assam in that state, rendering 19 lakhs of residents stateless.

We appeal to the Masses of Muslims undaunted by the criminal attacks by the Modi government, the dalits, the Adivasis and other most backward sections of people, along with all secular democratic forces who are part of the present Anti-CAA, NPR, NRC movement, to intensify the movement to its highest levels so that the Modi government can be prevented from launching the NPR anywhere in the country. Along with this, let us intensify the campaign demanding the banning of RSS which is the largest, uniformed, trained and armed terrorist organization in the world, as well as the resignation of Modi government which has subverted all its constitutional responsibilities, resorting to criminal acts to impose the majoritarian, Hindutva agenda of fascist RSS. n

The representatives Sramika Bahula Bahujana Samiti, Muslim Thinkers Forum, OPDR, CPI(ML) Red Star, KANPS, UCCRI (ML) Kishan, Left Bahujan Front, MCPI(U), CPI(ML) Bhutam Veeraiah and a numer of professors, altogether around 60 people met in Sundaraiah Vignana Kendram .It was chaired by prof. KC Chakradhararao.CB Rao, chaiman OPDR explained the formation the Telangana state Manuvadi Saffron- Corporate Fascist Resistance Forum is a follow up of the all India meeting at Kolkota on September 22, 2019 intiated by CPI(ML) Red Star.

Ussa presented the policy statement drafted by the preparatory Committee. It is adopted by the convention after discussion and a few amendments. A Committee with professor (retd.) Chakradhar Rao as honarary president,. U Sambasivarao as president and Usha S Dani as secretary is formed. B Narasimha, OPDR, B. Lakshmaiah, KANPS, G Sadanandam, UCCRI (ML), M Saidaiah, Red Star, Ashok, RPI, K Mallanna, SBBS, Butam Veeraiah,CPI(ML) are members of the committee. MCPIU(C), BLF representatives promised to join the Forum. The convention resolved to hold a big meeting on January 30, the day Gandhiji was murdered in 1948 by Godse, a rabid Saffron element.  After the meeting Manusmriti was burnt

WB: MARTYRS’ DAY OBSERVED AT BHANGOR

On 17th January, 2017, two youths of the Bhangor anti-powergrid movement, Mafijul and Alamgir, were martyred when the police working in nexus with hooligans of local Trinamool henchman Arabul Islam opened fire on peaceful demonstrators. Then, during the Panchayat elections of 2018, Arabul and his band of hooligans once again fired on an election rally of the Jomi Jibika Bastutantro O Poribesh Raksha Committee, killing the young Committee member Hafijur. Subsequently, after the movement went on to snatch victory from a belligerent government, compelling the latter to sit for unconditional dialogue with the Committee and accept all its demands, the Jomi Jibika Bastutantro OPoribesh Raksha Committee constructed 3 martyrs’ columns in 2019 and observed Martyrs’ Day on 17th January. 

This year, a blood donation camp was organised by the Committee on Martyrs’ Day on 17th January. At around 10 am that day, hundreds of people gathered at the sites of the 3 martyrs’ columns in Natunhat, Kamarbari and Shyamnagar and offered garlands and flowers amidst robust shouting of slogans in the martyrs’ memory. This year, in the light of the current situation, the Jomi Committee resolved on Martyrs’ Day to carry on the struggle against NPR-NRC-CAA to the very end.

At around 11 am, the blood donation camp began on the field adjacent to the Dhibdhiba Primary Health Care Centre (which is now being upgraded to a 10-bedded hospital, thanks to the Bhangor agreement). A total of 133 women and men donated blood. Many more people who had come to donate blood could not do so due to the shortage of blood bags. A brief public meeting was held at the conclusion of the event. The entire leadership of the Jomi Committee was present during the programme. Also present were Kolkata High Court advocate Bharati Mutsuddi, leaders of Welfare Party of India and People’s Brigade and the West Bengal state leadership of CPI (ML) Red Star.

The fourth all-India conference of the All India Revolutionary Women’s Organisation (AIRWO) was successfully held in Kolkata from 27-29 December, 2019. On 27th December, a grand women’s rally was held from Ramlila Park to Rani Rashmoni Road, where hundreds of women then converged for a public meeting. The stage was named after Comrade Kondapalli Koteshwaramma, the communist leader and feminist writer who passed away in 2018. The public meeting was presided over by Comrade Fatima, conducted by Comrade Usha and addressed by leaders of the AIRWO including Pramila, Urmila, Fatema, Anusha and Sharmistha, as well as leaders of friendly organizations like Vimukta, Evam Manabi and Shramajibi Nari Mancha. Girl students Sulochana and Anindita and Vimukta representative Ashu presented songs.

The delegate session was held on 28th and 29th December at Begum Rokeya Hall, Savitribai Phule Nagar (Nitika-Don Bosco,Tyangra) in Kolkata. The delegate session began with the raising of the AIRWO flag by Comrade Pramila amidst shouting of slogans. After entering the hall, the conference was conducted by a presidium comprising comrades Pramila, Usha and Shukla. Close to a 100 delegates from 8 states thoroughly discussed the general secretary’s report and draft, revised programme and constitution of AIRWO for two days. Comrades from Vimukta also attended the conference and participated in the discussion. Finally, all the three documents were unanimously passed with certain amendments.

Resolutions against NPR-NRC-CAA, violence against women, trafficking, abuse of liquor, discrimination in the workplace and a host of issues were passed at the conference. The conference also gave a call to observe 8th March, 2020, with a central rally and convention on working women in Raichur, Karnataka. The conference elected a 15-member central committee comprising comrades Sharmistha, Pramila, Urmila, Usha, Shukla, Deepa, Sukanti, Fatema, Radharani, Sujata, Pushpamma, Anusha, Bhuvaneswari, Sheeba and Khemlata, and a seven-member executive committee including comrades Sharmistha (General Secretary), Pramila (President), Urmila (Vice President), Usha (Treasurer), Shukla, Deepa and Sukanti (Secretaries). The conference ended with the lowering of the flag on the afternoon of the 29th January.

Draft New Education Policy (DNEP) Burnt at Many Places on 17th January, 2020

The Narendra Modi-led NDA government is rapidly proceeding with the implementation of the agenda of privatization, commercialization, centralization and communalization of India’s education system. Initiated under pressure of the ‘structural adjustment agenda’ of World Bank and International Monetary Fund following the adoption of Neoliberal Reforms in 1991, it continues the process set in motion by the earlier UPA and NDA governments. However, whilst previous governments had been somewhat restrained by democratic struggles of the academic community and by established conventions and regulations of the education system, the present regime is openly flouting democratic norms and practices. Even before placing its DNEP in Parliament, executive orders of the Government of India (GOI) and emergency powers of administrators are being used to implement policies to secure a “market” in education which will ensure super-profits for corporate investors and which will aid other processes of building a ‘Hindu rashtra’.

Socio-economic deprivation plays a major role in denying India’s children their fundamental right to education. In a country where more than eighty per cent of people live on less than twenty rupees a day the current neoliberal trend endorsing the “user pays principle” in the name of promoting individual “merit” and resulting in massive fee hikes and savage budgetary cuts will lead to the vast majority of India’s children being denied the education which is constitutionally their fundamental right.

DNEP ignores the Kothari Commission’s (1964-66) recommendation of establishing a completely government funded Common School System of Neighbourhood Schools (CSS-NS) up to Class XII for all children, irrespective of class, caste, religion, gender, language, and disability. CSS-NS was recommended by successive policies viz., 1968, 1986 and 1986 (As modified in 1992). However, the DNEP replaces the neighbourhood school as the basic unit of the school system with the proposed School Complex scheme. This will accelerate the dismantling of the public-funded government school system through merger/closure of lakhs of schools.

DNEP legitimizes a multi-layered school system for different sections of society with vocational streams as early as Class IX and introduction of vocational courses even earlier for backward communities and regions. Diverting Bahujan (SCs/ STs/ OBCs/ Muslims/ Denotified & Nomadic Tribes) and other deprived children, who comprise more than 85% of those in the relevant age group, to ‘low wage-earning’ trades violates the constitutional principle of Social Justice for it excludes them from access meaningful education and particularly to Higher Education. This reinforces Brahmanical discrimination and oppression and promotes caste-based occupations.

DNEP 2019 must be rejected as it is destructive of education and knowledge. Its political and ideological agenda of ‘re-writing’ history, placing ‘traditional’ values above constitutional values, and Manuvadi imposition of Sanskrit and Hindi above India’s many languages exposes it’s Hindutva agenda. While Hindi and Sanskrit will be imposed on students in non-Hindi speaking states, Sanskrit will be imposed on students of Hindi-speaking states. The anti-scientific approach to learning and the reduction of knowledge to “marketable skills” threatens the very prospect of creating an egalitarian society and a meaningful future for the nation’s younger generations. DNEP mandates the National Research Foundation (NRF) to control research to be undertaken by the HEIs all over the country. Undoubtedly, this will lead to regimentation of thought and knowledge production, a pre-requisite for fascism. 

Equality, secularism and social justice are fundamental values enshrined in the Constitution. Federalism is a basic feature of the structure of the constitution because it ensures the greatest democratic involvement of the socio-cultural diversity that is a hallmark of the people of India. DNEP 2019 violates the Constitution by bringing the entire education system under the Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog (RSA) which centralizes all policy and regulatory mechanisms. RSA, headed by the Prime Minister/ Education Minister, is an authoritarian body subservient to the petty partisan ideas and requirements of the regime in power. It denies State legislatures their Constitutional right to respond to the educational  requirements of their citizens.

DNEP 2019 also takes away every last shred of autonomy from the education system and promotes the centralization of eligibility, admissions and evaluation criteria at all levels including higher education. It proposes a private National Testing Agency and accreditation procedures to put in place a multi-layered system of educational institutions. These institutions will be run by so-called “independent” managements which will not allow for any democratic and representative involvement of teachers, students and staff in the functioning of the institutions. More militaristic environment will be created at the campuses of educational institutions if the DNEP is enacted. Even the curriculum and content of education is to be controlled by centrally framed textbooks with some local additions.

the framework of 5 foundational years, 3 primary years and 4 secondary years actually reduces the content provided for even by the flawed RTE Act 2009 which restricted the fundamental right to education from 6 to 14 years. The no-detention policy upto Class VIII is given up. Children can be failed’ after Class III and sent to vocational training or labour in ‘family enterprises’ at 10 years of age.

Exclusion is the central characteristic of DNEP 2019. It contains no reference to caste, patriarchy and other forms of systemic religious, linguistic and regional marginalization to account for the socio-educational deprivation of vast sections of the population. The only solution it proposes is that individuals belonging to these “underrepresented groups” be made “aware of the targeted opportunities” available for them! The reservation policy based on the principle of affirmative action in favour of those who have been deprived and marginalized for centuries is repeatedly disparaged and disregarded by promoting the “merit” of privileged sections.

DNEP’s recommendation to universalize ECCE (for 3-6 year age group) in the public-funded domain relies on the recruitment  of ‘local volunteers, social workers and counsellors’ for this ‘large-scale mission’ who would undoubtedly belong to the ruling dispensation, especially RSS. Thus, RSS cadre would be supported by public funds. Similar infiltration by the RSS Cadre is provided for at all stages of education - from schools to universities.

DNEP does not only allow privately owned schools and colleges to collect fees but, in line with the dictates of the World Bank, IMF and WTO, it recommends that the governments shall not regulate private institutions since they are ‘not-for-profit or public-spirited bodies’!

Following demands are essential in order to guarantee the fundamental right to education and to facilitate fully state-funded Higher Education for all free of cost:

  1.  Complete withdrawal of the Draft National Education Policy 2019.
  2.  Establishment of a fully state-funded, entirely free and democratically governed Common Education System from ‘KG to PG’, that includes Common School System from ‘KG to Class XII’, based on Neighbourhood Schools and founded on mother-tongue as medium of education in a multi-lingual context.
  3.  Strengthen government school system to provide quality education in the mother tongue. Implement and extend across the country the order of the Allahabad High Court (2015) requiring all who receive any form of remuneration from government treasury to send their children to government schools as a contemporary demand to strengthen government school system.
  4.  Demand free higher education. In the interim, oppose massive fee hikes, substitution of scholarships and grants by loans, imposition of hostel fees and enforced budgetary reduction through HEFA loans, 70/30 formula etc.
  5.  Oppose discrimination in educational institutions on grounds of gender, caste, class, ethnicity, disability, language and religion etc. Demand maintenance of “diversity index” by all public institutions as recommended by Justice Sachchar Committee.
  6.    Abolish centralization of decision-making in education, re-instate CABE as model of democratic consultation with states/UTs. Return Education from the concurrent to the state/UT list.
  7.    Oppose introduction of Self-Financing Courses in public-funded universities, and closure of regular academic courses to facilitate self-financing “job-oriented” courses. Oppose Distance Education like Swayam and MOOCS which deprive students of faculty contact but charge high fees.
  8.    Demand immediate filling up of all substantive posts in educational institutions with permanent appointments as per the 200 point roster, regular promotions and social securities.
  9.    Intellectual rigor and knowledge will be necessary to defeat the neoliberal cum Hindutva agenda. We must be fully informed, prepared and organized to defend the democratic spaces for dissent and struggle in both schools and institutions of higher education which will guarantee quality education for all.

The earlier 484-page Dr. K. Kasturirangan Committee’s Draft Report (June 2019) now stands converted into its 55-page version (October 2019). The latter version is essentially a more cleverly camouflaged version so that the intention of the GoI would not be easily decoded by the public. This version is yet to be officially acknowledged by the Ministry of HRD. This critique refers to both the versions. n

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The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.