Post Mortem

Religio-cultural colonization and segregation: a wily move

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/6/2019 11:52:41 AM IST

 How to disintegrate and isolate further the shaken and bewildered religo-cultural minorities who are in majority in some pockets of the country from the ‘Hindu majoritarian’?  The present dispensation is bent on targeting and polarizing the ‘minorities’ from the mainstream of the Indian society. And for this, the far-right political and cultural organization such as RSS, Bajrang Deal and other fringe elements keep evolving crafty moves more particularly since 2014 such as  ‘Ghar Wapsi’, ‘One Nation, One Culture’, ‘One Nation, One Language’ and so on to change the socio-religio-cultural fabric. The social, religio-cultural fabrics India is known for and is proud of having multi-cultural, multi-religious and plural mosaic depicting metamorphically the colors that we find in the rainbow.

Indian Republic is known for its plurality accommodating diverse cultures and religions in its wide canopy portraying secular character in letter and spirit. But, for RSS-BJP the basic character of accommodation and mutual co-existence should change. The agenda of the ruling dispensation is gradually moving towards wherein the mindset of those who are indecisive and sitting on the walls seem to be changing—from the culture of accommodation and inclusion to alienation and Hinduisation. We can clearly observe the changing trends in 2014 as well as 2019 Lok Sabha elections.   The percentage of votes polled and the seats garnered by BJP proves the changing trend. The scenario is changing and the ‘politics of majoritarianism’ is indeed working in tune to the ideological tenors of RSS-BJP.

Prior to 2014, the dictum of secularism meaning co-habitation and respect to one another was alive and vibrant, not because due to the minorities, but of the majority of the Hindus. As of now that equations, configurations and the matrix are gradually changing because of the changing political templates and narratives. The emergent scenario which the current dispensation enjoys absolute majority has daringly started to bulldoze the basic democratic values and principles  all in the name of ‘brute majority’ as there is no organized opposition to check the onslaughts  of the ruling party. The GOI headed by the BJP ventured into some of the most radical changes that bewildered many particularly the ways with which the GOI went about.  More shock-waves in such ways are expected to happen during the course of BJP’s tenure. 

More such things could be expected in the months and years to come. Propaganda machinery of the GOI headed by BJP is in absolute control that pitches the narratives and rhetoric in such ways that makes many wonder, nonetheless to ‘believe’. The notion of India is gradually changing and moving diametrically in opposite direction. This is what the current ruling dispensation believes, wants and visualizes. Its understanding of nation, nationalism and democracy seem to be entirely on the opposite plank. Their idea of India is premised on Hindu majoritarianism and muscular nationalism. Its concept of Hindu nationalism mirrors the Hindu Raj wherein Hindus are given the utmost importance and due weightage as compared to other religious communities. The hard-line Hindutva agenda on non-issues such as NRC and Citizenship Amendment Bill are squandering goodwill as well as mustering unease in the minds of minorities as well as others too.

Modern India is at cross roads, wherein its rights to life, liberty, freedom and pursuit of happiness are increasingly at stake, particularly of the minorities, Dalits, tribals and women. Those who challenge and defy the dictates of the GOI will have to probably undergo serious and severe obstacles and problems.  Freedom and liberty and rights to expression (words and writing), along with other rights guaranteed in the Constitution would have to be bargained by the concerned citizens with the State as we have been witnessing and experiencing some of these are blatantly being trampled upon.  As seen and read in history, those rulers moving towards totalitarian rule believe in inflicting ‘fear component’ at different levels. 

Fear is introduced in such appalling degrees and ways that make most of the citizens to ‘fall in line’, so that whatever the ruling dispensation wants can be executed without any opposition and resistance. This is what those totalitarian regimes did and believe in. Therefore, we are presently moving away from ‘liberal nationalism’ to ‘muscular nationalism’. A classic illustration that happened a few days ago in Bengaluru substantiates to the current impasse we are into. “Not able to spare 52 seconds for the country, but you have the audacity to sit here and watch a three-hour movie? Are you Pakistani terrorists’?” A sandalwood actor Arun Gowda and a few others shouted at four people (two men and two women) at a movie theatre in Bengaluru for allegedly not standing up when the national anthem was played. 

The incident occurred on the 23rd October 23, 2019 at PVR Orion Mall during the screening of Tamil movie Asrun.   Actor Arun Gowda and his friends yelled at them for allegedly choosing to sit while the national anthem was played.  He went on yelling that “When a national anthem came on these guys didn’t stand. Look at these guys. Just look at their faces once again. They are telling us to file a complaint.”  The language that the Arun Gowda and his cronies used shows duplicity and audacity, as if they are the ones--custodians to safeguard their notions of nation and nationalism. India avoided becoming a Hindu rashtra in 1947 because of the fact those in power believed in constitutional liberalism. 

The current ruling dispensation is keen and thus firmly determined transforming India to Hindu rashtra via muscular nationalism. In such context specificities those who do not believe in populism, far-right hindu fundamentalism and skewed nationalism have no other choice except to resist and defy the move of RSS-BJP through democratic means as echoed in the Indian constitution. The insistent calls for Hindu rashtra by the RSS and far-right fundamentalist outfits cannot be ignored because day-in and day-out we keep hearing the motor mouths issuing new narratives couched with hatred and venom. Their poisonous ideology and political agenda could perhaps be described is the biggest anti-national project in the independent India. 

The current dispensation at the Centre is pushing its agenda—Hindu rashtra designed on the model of the State of Israel which is premised on the Zionist prototype. Israeli government keep filling the Jewish settlements in the occupied areas belonging to the Palestinians—Golan Heights, Jerusalem and Gaza. All their moves is enmeshed on flushing out the Palestinians from their domiciles in due course of time via ethnic cleansing. There are semblances to the country I belong to that I have been experiencing in recent times. For example, the recent move by GOI—creation of three union territories such as Jammu, Kashmir and Ladah show that the three religious communities exclusively dominate in these landscapes such as Jammu with Hindus, Kashmir with Muslims and Ladakh with Buddhists.

Though the GOI offers all sorts of reasons to justify and legitimize its position, the move behind the repeal of the articles is primarily to destroy the multi-cultural landscapes of those terrains. Apparently the gateway for this is to create an ambiance in the pretext of ‘mainstreaming’ and ‘one nation, one law, one constitution’—which means pushing its agenda of Hinduisation with an objective of destroying multi-culturalism vis-à-vis the Rainbow Republic. Internal colonization is in the offing so that the pockets where the minorities, Dalits and indigenous communities live with social equality and economic prosperity are pushed to miserable conditions—losing their rights and dignity wherein their livelihood totally dependent  under the mercy of the GOI as secondary citizens.  As of now the GOI have selectively isolated the Muslims and gradually come down heavily on others. No one knows what would be the outcome of the current talks with the Nagas. However, Nagaland is yet another serious matter which needs serious scrutiny and to be watched which under scanner of GOI because it is being predominantly dominated by the Christians who happened to be indigenous people. However, the policies of the GOI fail to meet the principles of accommodation and harmonious living. Its moves are quite visible and predictable. It functions on the premises of: dislocate the communities other than the Hindus that have been living for ages, create fear and anxiety, break their resolve and resilience, and infiltrate with the dominant fanatic people those who subscribe to mob frenzy and fanatic ultra-religious fundamentalism. 

With brute majority the GOI is gaming democracy—involved in poaching the MLAs and MPs from opposition political parties; abusing the Government machinery and institutions of governance to intimidate, raid and taking them for interrogation in one pretext or the other; alleging those engaged with poor and the marginalized by branding them being associated with “anti-nationals” thereby involved with “seditious activities”. Is the current political impasse going to have passing significance or lasting significance? Ours is a young democracy and we did witness emergency in mid 1970s and now our democracy showing all semblance of totalitarian rule and moving towards a regime which could be ruthless. And so, it is going to have lasting significance as we have started to realize what it means to have brute majority without any credible opposition. 

Absolute power in the hands of a few by all means corrupts absolutely and there’s no second thought to it. Parliamentary democracy guided by Constitution has become an open mockery where in the name of ‘democracy’ rule of law is subverted. Lessons of history show chilling effects on people and nations. The populism and religious fundamentalism we are in is quite dangerous and harmful for the present and future of our country. Brute majority has robbed the institutions of governance which in turn has created consequential effects and grave impact on public confidence. We at present are caught in trust deficit. The society particularly the polity the populace live in by and large losing their trust deficit on those who govern. In such a context a question that looms is: What is to be done? Those who believe in the ethos of accommodation, peace, harmonious living and mutual co-existence of all races, communities, ethnicities cutting across caste, religion, class and host of others must rise and thus bring the current project of the ruling dispensation to a halt by employing democratic and constitutional means and methods.    

Dr. John Mohan Razu

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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