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Kumar Ketkar

55% of India still doesn’t believe in BJP’s Hindutva

Even if we presume that the 45 per cent vote of the NDA is for the same polarising forces, still it leaves about 55 per cent of people not influenced by the frenzy generated by Modi-Shah duo.

 

Exactly one month ago, on May 23, Indian polity and society took a radical reverse turn. It is not as if the seeds of such a “counter-revolution” were not there. The regressive tendencies were there but most often, they were either restrained or sometimes even defeated.

We have seen the elections in 2014 and now in 2019 in the context of the internal social dynamics. It is intriguing that the worst form of regression was most common among the Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), who were much more educated than most Indian back home, were economically well off, were living in modern-cosmopolitan societies and worked as engineers, technocrats and researchers. Yet ever since the Ram-Rath Yatra of 1990 and the violent destruction of Babri Masjid in 1992, a very large number of the NRIs had begun the “backward journey” to the medieval era.

The regressive march to 2014 and 2019 election had begun at that time. Today Lal Krishna Advani May appear a pathetic and large newly figure, but it was he who had released the genie from the bottle. Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have carried forward what he began. But the ideology and the organisational outfit was created 95 years ago when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was founded in 1925.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had prophetically written way back on 7th December 1947, that is just about four months after his famous “Tryst with Destiny” speech, in a letter to the chief ministers, “We have a great deal of evidence, to show that the RSS is an organisation, which is proceeding on the strictest Nazi lines, even following the technique of organisation…The German youth drifted towards the Nazi Party because of the negative programmes of that party which did not require the active effort of mind…The Nazi Party brought Germany to ruin and I have little doubt that if these tendencies are allowed to spread and increase in India, they would do enormous injury to our country…No doubt India would survive. But the nation would be grievously wounded and would take a long time to recover”.

Nehru used to say often that his biggest challenge was to bring secularism to people who are deeply religious. He was never against religion as such but was totally opposed to bringing religion into politics. He knew that religious faith as a political agenda would polarise the country. He was witnessing the holocaust at the time of partition.

Such partition divides minds and society first, and then the nations, he had seen this happening in the world. He had a historian’s mind, global vision and scientific temper. He did not want yet another partition of the country, though he feared it, as is seen in that letter. This not only shows the serious apprehensions he had about the Hindu-Muslim divide and where it can lead to. India is a multi-religious, multi-Faith, multi-cultural and multi-lingual country with fascinating diversity. The destiny has placed responsibility on us to preserve it, he felt.

The glorious and progressive movement of the Indian masses to win freedom from the British Rule is being made redundant. The freedom movement was not just an “anti-imperialist” struggle but was an effort to create a human, equal, fraternal and free society, based on compassion and love, not based on violence and discrimination. These were the values, of sacrifice, of cooperation, of new work ethic.

The election results in 2014 and 2019 are a reflection of how degenerate we have become as a society. However, there are some other things that must not be ignored. The BJP has about 38 per cent vote and NDA has nearly 45 per cent votes. Even if we presume that the 45 per cent vote of the NDA is for the same polarising forces, still it leaves about 55 per cent of people not influenced by the frenzy generated by Modi-Shah duo and their RSS mentors. That means the majority is still sane.

This calm sanity has been reflected in the absence of any celebrity fanfare and frenzy on May 23 and during the last month. There is an inexplicable lull after the sensational election results. One had expected crackers and lights and fireworks on the day or night of results. Even drums and dances and colours like Holi, on streets, blocking traffic. Those were the scenes on 16th May 2014. In fact, most large victories lead to such spontaneous celebrations. But interestingly, even the BJP offices and Shiv Sena shakhas did not have that kind of exhibitionist joy this time. Not even on later days. The exuberant Shiv Sainiks require just an excuse, an occasion to go wild. Even a small by-election for the Corporation or Zilla Parishad victory or even win by the Mumbai Indians in the IPL matches gives them the opportunity to go for a euphoric celebration. But the landslide victory by the National Democratic Alliance this year received rather tame, even dull response.

Before the results, particularly after the exit polls, there was animated discussion in offices, drawing rooms, in buses and trains. Nobody ever expected landslide for any party or front. Indeed, every single magazine, all pollsters, all commentators and talking heads on TV shows used to say that the election would produce a coalition—either led by the BJP or by the Congress.

The RSS ideologue Ram Madhav went even further. He declared days before the results that the BJP will accommodate other parties to form a government. He predicted shortfall for the BJP. And yet the results proved to be astounding. For the first time, the exit polls were bang on dot. Predictions made by Amit Shah and Piyush Goyal proved bang on. But till the results were out, nobody except those two were so sure. Their confidence is mysterious indeed.

That mystery is further deepened by the fact that till today, the final results, constituency-by constituency, are not published by the Election Commission. About 370 results have a huge mismatch of figures between votes polled and votes cast. The role of the EC and the judiciary is being questioned by hundreds of NGOs and candidates themselves. But there is sinister silence around.

Why is there such silence? “Itna Sannata Kyon Hai Bhai” was the dismay expressed by A K Hangal in the famous Hindi film. That “Sannata” has many secrets which need to be revealed. Only then we will know the real election results. Be that as it may. But the warning given by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru over 70 years ago must be remembered. We have to overcome and we shall overcome. The majority is still with us!

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