Fighting against extremist ideologies

Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Not every one shouting loudest against Narendra Modi is a believer in modern democratic values. The other day when travelling from Bihar, my first AC cabin has only one passenger. Old man was coming to Delhi for some treatment. After some time, we started talking and I felt that he must a politician. He was talking sensible for some time, criticising BJP and Narendra Modi, showing me information from whatsapp. We talked about Kanvad menace to which he said most of them are druggists and anti social elements and those who are the real bhaktas do it silently and walk barefoot.

He was equally critical of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cremation by his daughter. According to Hindu belief, a person never get liberated if his daughter perform the last rituals. Why were Vajpayee’s daughter allow to do so ? Didn’t he has brothers ? I said but what is the problem by the daughters performing his rituals if he does not have sons. Oh, the daughters cant shave their head and therefore the ritual will not be fulfilling. In the past, people would go to Gaya to do the Pinddan and shave off their head for the fulfillment of the life of their ancestors.

The man later told me that he belong to Kayastha community and was a constant congress supporter as his father was a Congress leader. I was wondering if Congress has such kind of people inside, what would happen to the party. It need a total clean up as there are huge number of regressive forces inside the party.

Yesterday, a young man messaged me that he wanted to speak to me. Normally, I dont chat or speak up on messenger or whatsapp as people come up with strange questions and it not only waste your time but irritate you but somehow I responded to him. He asked me : Do you know VHP ? I was just amused. He again said : ‘Do you know Gaurakshaks in your area’. Are there any ? I was a bit disturbed with these questions. So, I said, why you calling criminals as gaurakshaks ?. ‘ I want to dismantle VHP’, he said. If people help me, I will do this. Sound more abusing. I said, you should do it if it is that easy. He said, ‘we must and I want to unite Indian people, activists in Europe, America and Canada’. I said good and you should do it. He was not convinced with me. He said, I will write to all the government that VHP is a CIA agent and declare it a terror organisation. He continued with his words. I got quite irritated and said, you know fight against VHP or Hindutva will be fought in India and people are fighting against them. We have been doing it for last two to three decade. There are people who have dedicated more than that against the majoritarianism. This is a political fight and have to be fought politically, I said. Again this person tells me that India is a Hindu country. ‘ Do you know 80% of India’s is Hindu and if you people are not protected from outside, you will be killed and not body would care’, he said.

‘ So you think, you are the first person to have got the idea to fight against VHP and dismantle them through foreign governments’, I said. Before saying so many things and sounding the first person to do so, read the history, if that is not possible, please read about the person you are speaking to, I said. He got pissed up and said, ‘ radical Hindu or moderate Hindu, noone will give to f*ck about an Ambedkarite killed’.

I told him not to bother too much as we shall fight our battle and fighting. It is not that we dont know the situation here. Over the years, people like me have lived life on edge. When you fight caste battle and take into the den of those who perpetuate it, when you raise the land question and right to be redistributed, it is a threat to status quo. The power equations in our villages will only change with land question and not merely who sit on the throne of Delhi but one thing is for sure there are many friends who are concerned about us. Many write to me in person and I respect them as I know it well but dont expect me to shout loud on these issues. These are bigger issues of democracy, caste-orcracy, feudalism, gender imbalances in India and we all have to fight it together. Dont expect me to react to all the things happening in the same way as many people do. I continue to stand up with my values and all those whose rights are violated, for freedom and dignity. As most of the time, I travel to such areas, where the accesses to internet is difficult, hence it become difficult to respond to issues that fast yet I try to respond and react. If I have not spoken on issues some time, it mean, I am out of the connectivity as well as equally important that I might not know the entire details. I desist writing on issues, I am not aware about the facts.

I have only one sentence to say, India did not get its independence on May 2014 and similarly, all Indian problems did not crop us just because Modi became the prime minister of this country. Yes, democracy degraded and lynch mob justified but then there are more issues before us which we need to continue to fight. Obsession with Modi will help him only. Raise the issue of governance, job growth, demonetisation, foreign policy, education and ask sincere questions. It is not that Congress Party had done wonderful in education of land reform. We can not convert the issues of India between BJP and Congress. If India has to survive as a vibrant democracy, we will have to promote multiparty democracy. India must honor coalition politics and learn to live together hence those who wish to make it a two party system are doing the greatest damage.

I would like Congress to get strengthen in the same way as I wish the BSP, SP, DMK, CPM, various left parties to grow and learn to work together. Even all these parties fall short of representing the communities and varieties that we have. Remember, battle against the fanaticism, hatred and polarisation has to be fought not only politically and that too in India but it would be well to engage other like minded people in South Asia. The culture of majoritarianism has creeped in our part of the world and we have to fight against it. And in this the role of our friends abroad will be greater as a participants and not as patrons. There is another hypocrisy among all, why do we need democracy when in trouble, why not promote it everywhere, inside our homes, in our religious affairs, in our schools, colleges, institutions, panchayats, khaps.. but we wont do it there. We only use democracy for our benefit and forget about it. We feel, it is merely a five year ritual and we forget. If we love democracy, we must promote it at every level, which means respect dissent, believe in building bridges and shun hatred. I am sorry not merely Modi and his RSS, there are huge number of groups and individuals in our part of the world not interested in democracy at all. Democracy for them become merely a party politics where people are appointed from above and questioning their wisdom make you vulnerable to their supporters who may lynch you. It is time to promote these values of democracy in our society only then we wont have feudal communal forces succeeding through democratic methods.