Skip to main content

Ashrams, maths, akhadas of Varanasi "never produced" leaders who gained notoriety for hate speeches

By Nachiketa Desai*
Anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal’s prospects of trouncing Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial aspirant Narendra Modi in Varanasi brightened further today when leading litterateurs, theatre artistes and academics jointly appealed to the voters to defeat ‘communal fascist’ Modi to save this holy city’s legacy of Sufi saints Kabir, Tulsi and Raidas. The appeal was made at a one-day ‘Anti-communal fascist convention’ held in the premises of Kabir Math from where the fifteenth century weaver-turned-saint had spread the message of Hindu-Muslim unity through his couplets written in the local Bhojpuri dialect.
“The country faces a grave threat to its secular and democratic Constitution from communal and fascist Narendra Modi and BJP,” warned speaker after speaker at the convention.
A group of artistes from the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) started the convention, called by the Progressive Writers’ Association, by singing songs written by Kabir exhorting the people to bury their parochial religious difference and work for the greater good of humanity.
“Do not let your votes get divided. Vote for the candidate who can defeat Modi,” said Kashinath Singh, well-known Hindi novelist. “Fascist and communal forces have invaded this city in the same manner as they had invaded Ayodhya in 1992. These forces want to shatter peace and the legacy of communal harmony inherited from saints Kabir, Tulsidas, Raidas and great Hindustani novelist Munshi Premchand,” he warned.
He emphasized that though Kashi is famous pilgrimage centre of Hindus, it has never been a bastion of fanatic Hindutva. There are many Ashrams, Maths and Akhadas here and yet this holy city has never produced a Togadia, a Modi or a Ramdev (all the three have gained notoriety through their hate speeches). Hardcore Hindutva elements have always been planted from outside, particularly during elections. Whenever these fanatic forces have won elections, they have done so by polarizing people on communal lines,” elaborated Kashinath Singh.
He said the supporters of Modi do not allow opponents to talk and interact with people, do not allow them to enter lanes and bylanes and if they dare to enter the lane, they are beaten up black and blue. “And if the opponent belongs to the minority community he is told that this is not your country, leave the country. This is the democracy of Modi model,” he said. “If this is the scenario when he is not the prime minister, one can imagine what would happen if he becomes the prime minister,” he warned.
Former inspector general of police and vice-chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi Hindi University Vibhuti Narain Rai said Modi was a great threat to our country’s secular democracy based on fraternity, harmony and freedom. “The day India becomes a Hindu nation, the process of disintegration of the country will start,” he warned. “We have remained a unified country for the last 67 years only because we are a secular state,” he added. “Modi’s victory would mean the defeat of Kashi of Kabir, Tulsi and Raidas.”
Professor Roop Rekha Verma appealed to people to defeat Modi who was indulging in politics of hatred and said the worst form of fascism was communal fascism. She said Modi’s political moves amply showed that he was an autocratic person who did not believe even in internal democracy of his own party. “Modi is trying to propagate that he has the divine right to rule, just as in the dark ages a king used to say that the god had ordained him to rule,” said. “He is not saying that his party had asked him to contest but instead he is saying that he is contesting because mother Ganga has asked him,” she said.
Others who spoke at the convention included Professor Deepak Mallik, former director of the Gandhian Institute of Studies and veteran journalist Shitala Prasad Singh from Ayodhya.
Later in the evening, the participants took out a procession through the main road of the city.
---
*Senior journalist currently in Varanasi



Comments

TRENDING

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Attack on Gaza: Western media 'went out of the way' to obscure, protect perpetrators

By Sonali Kolhatkar*  Israeli forces killed more than a hundred Palestinians and wounded more than 700 on February 29, 2024 during a distribution of food aid in Gaza city, pushing the Palestinian death toll to 30,000 since October 7, 2023. The food aid massacre was straightforward in its deadliness as armed Israeli forces aimed weapons at desperate, hungry Palestinian civilians and killed many of them. It was also plausible within the context of who has firepower and who doesn’t, and wholly consistent with Israeli atrocities, especially those committed since October 7, 2023.

Living standards in 'model' Gujarat worse than major states: Govt of India document

By Rajiv Shah  Amidst raging controversy over whether the latest Government of India’s “Household Consumption Expenditure Survey 2022-23 Fact Sheet: August 2022-July 2023” suggests that India’s poverty levels are actually down to 4.5 to 5%  during the decade-long Narendra Modi rule, a state-wise breakup in the 27-page document shows that “model” Gujarat’s average consumption expenditure is far below most of the so-called developed states.

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Not livable in summer, Chitrakut PM-Awas houses 'push' tribals in moneylender trap

By Bharat Dogra*  Those who are in-charge of implementing the PM-Awas scheme of rural housing can rightly take pride in what has been achieved in Dafai hamlet (Karvi block, Chitrakut district, Uttar Pradesh). All the Kol tribal families here are extremely poor and vulnerable. In a rare achievement, almost all of them have received housing assistance under PM Awas. 

Stressing on standardisation, efficiency, capitalists 'intensify' workers' exploitation

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The productivist ideology lies at the core of the profit-making pyramid of capitalism. It perpetuates a relentless cycle characterized by busy schedules, workplace tension, an imbalance in work-life equilibrium, and a pervasive sense of alienation. 

Development? This tribal hamlet in Chitrakut has no toilets, no electricity connections yet

By Bharat Dogra*  As we moved away from the starting point of the Bundelkhand Expressway and a famous pilgrimage site into a side-road, the hills of Chitrakut here appeared to be more and more isolated. Another turn, and we appeared to have reached almost a dead-end. However it is here that over 80 households of the Kol tribal community have been living for a long time.

WTO 'loses legitimacy': CSOs shut out of normal participation in MC13 at Abu Dhabi

By Deborah James  Given unprecedented repression of participants, the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at Abu Dhabi should not continue until historical and international standards and human rights for participation in global governance are restored.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".