Skip to main content

2019 polls: Amidst view that BJP has 20% support, call to unite, take debates on "xenophobic" onslaught to roads

Mevani speaking at the seminar
By Our Representative
Worry appeared writ large of a large number of left-of-centre intellectuals, who had gathered for a three-day India Inclusive seminar, held at the Constitution Club, Delhi, last week, with most of them suggesting how the ruling BJP and the Sangh Parivar were successful in creating a xenophobic atmosphere, suggesting there was little possibility things might change ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Of tens of top scholars, journalists, human rights leaders, lawyers and other professionals gathered at the meet, which was held on May 25-27, the view seemed to ring high about the need for unity to defeat the saffron “onslaught”, Thus, young politician Kanhaiya Kumar, who made his mark as former Jawaharlal Nehru University president, exhorted the intellectuals to “take our debates, dissent and discussions to the roads.”
Wanting the views expressed at the seminar to be taken “to the communities that are present beyond our platforms”, Kumar insisted, this was needed in order to “spread” the concern to “the furthest corners of the country to really be inclusive”, adding, “If we want people to come together we have to sit with the people and speak in their language.”
Taking a similar view, Mevani, suggested that type of unity was still very much needed, and is possible, as on the ground, there is not much of support to the BJP. He noted, “Data shows that BJP has only 20% dedicated voters and with consistent work they can be defeated in 2019.”
In a similar vein, Iftikhar Ahmad Khan, retired associate professor from Vadodara, Gujarat, insisted on the need to “break complicit silence”, while documentary film-maker Saba Dewan urged for “unification of various struggles, resistances, movements and communities” to fight “honour killing, xenophobic clashes and religious intolerance.”
However, despondency appeared to rule most intellectuals. Top journalist Siddharth Varadarajan, who has founded the well-known news website, “The Wire, appeared to appeared to suggest that the state is successful in “engaging” intellectuals “in senseless debates”, which fuels “xenophobic tendencies and communal ideas”. 
Another top journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, who is consulting editor, India Today group, lamented how journalists have been failing in rising above what he called neutrality and diplomacy. “The way the society is being divided on the lines of anti-nationals and nationalist, our jobs as journalists is to show the state a mirror and make it answerable. It is time for our moral vocabularies to attack the system unconditionally”, he said.
Meanwhile, the view went strong that the rulers have been successful in emasculating established institutions, with those wanting to safeguard constitution unable to do much. Thus, sop advocate Colin Gonsalves, founder of Human Rights Law Network, spoke about how judiciary in India is being undermined by the ruling government. 
He said, “If the executive starts electing judges to the High Courts and Supreme Court, that is the day we will lose control of the judiciary and it will no longer protect those who need it the most.”
Human rights activist Teesta Setlavad talked of “the dangerous point in history when those seated in the structures of democracy – legislation, police, judiciary – are people who don’t believe in the values of our constitution”, while well-known Leftist and feminist pointed towards how it is “the same ideology of Hitler that the right wing uses while they talk about ‘protecting’ the women from Muslims.”
Zoya Hasan, professor emeritus, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, “said that today in India transition from inclusive nationalism to an exclusive nationalism is taking place”, adding, “We need to build an alternative definition of Nationalism”.

Comments

Uma said…
What does "20% dedicated voters mean"? BJP has a dedicated network of grassroots workers (read RSS), who fan out and try to reach people at all levels--something which INC, AAP,Communists, and others have forgotten how to do. To fight the saffron wave, we need to match them, trick for trick, otherwise....

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Gandhi's grandson, Khudai Khidmatgar chief among advisers to US Hindu rights group

By Our Representative
The Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), a US-wide advocacy organization claiming to be committed to the "ideals of multi-religious pluralism in the United States, India and beyond", advocate peace, justice and human rights of all communities from a Hindu perspective, has declared it has appointed a group of advisors, including Mahatma Gandhi's grandson Rajmohan Gandhi.