Saturday, September 27, 2008

The wonder that was India

I am witnessing the birth of a new resurgent India, which has rejected Nehruvian visions of a modern mindset and polity, and which believes in a masculine and aggressive version of religiosity and cultural hegemony, a belief in contrast to the Gandhian values of Sarv dharm sambhav.

In the light of the recent encounter killings in Jamia, Delhi and the anti-Christian activities in the south of India, I am sad to note what Shabnam Hashmi says here in her piece in Tehelka (Communalism, Centrestage):

The ascent of these forces has been systematic and well planned. Twenty years ago, most of the secular forces believed that the communal fascist forces were on the fringe of society and laughed at the possibility of their ever moving centerstage. Today the situation has reversed — the communal forces are so centrestage, it is difficult to differentiate between what is right and what is centre. They have invaded all spaces and areas including the minds of our secular politicians.

Among the plenty of weapons that they have used in this journey — from the peripheral to the Centre — fake encounters occupy a fairly important position. They have cleverly used different weapons at different stages. Beginning from ordinary bhajan mandalis, they moved to more organised kathas, to new age gurus. Working at different levels over 15 years — shishu mandirs, shakhas, ekal vidyalayas, sant samagams, television serials, the rath yatras, leaflets, videos, CDs — they have slowly entered the consciousness of an entire society with targeted messages against minorities. Only those sections of society who strongly and consciously contested this ideology could retain their sanity. After the seeds of hatred were sowed successfully and the harvest was being reaped, started the more decisive phase — the physical attacks and largescale genocide. Most of the experiments were done in Gujarat and the remote areas of other states. For example, the experiment within the tribal belts started in the late 1960s and early 1970s.Almost simultaneously, the VHP swamis then moved into these areas.


No comments: