Skip to main content

'Alternatives' to neo-liberal polity, caste apartheid promoted by Hindutva politics

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Mass movements are not always oppositional movements. Mass movements can be offensive, defensive and alternative at the same time. They often offer progressive alternatives to face and recover from various crises. Mass movements establish lasting solidarities between different social, religious, cultural, economic, political and professional groups. It helps to overcome the old barriers and established fault lines of regressive societies.
Mass movements shape our present and fortifies our progressive future. India desperately needs a mass movement today to save itself from the ruining path paved by the predatory, neoliberal, and capitalist Hindutva forces.
These forces are the products of upper caste and class alliance represented by RSS and BJP. They truly serve the purpose of empowering higher caste and class people in India under the veil of fake nationalism of the RSS and BJP. These forces further aggravate the structural malaises in Indian society.
Therefore, Indians are in a critical movement in the history, and need to decide on various critical questions that is affecting the future of national life, peace, prosperity, unity, integrity, and progress of India. A people’s manifesto for India’s future is needed for secular, liberal and democratic mass movements based on following five concrete ideological pillars of policy proposals.

Rebuilding society

Indian society is destroyed by centuries long apartheid practices based on Hindu caste order which was institutionalised by the British colonialism and strengthened by the Hindutva politics. Caste discrimination denies the constitutional citizenship rights and works as an impediment in the growth of egalitarian society in India.
The anti-Muslim politics of Hindutva forces led by BJP and RSS have destroyed the existing social solidarity between Hindus and Muslims by promoting the politics of hate and Islamophobia. The lynching and genocide of Muslims in India led to an environment of fear, which created the trust deficit in Indian democracy. The innocent Indian Muslims are made to feel foreigner in their own land.
The regional discrimination of north-east Indians, Kashmiris, tribals, Dalits, women and rural poor is a threat to national unity and integrity. Therefore, pan Indian mass movements for alternatives need to understand, acknowledge, apologise and rebuild the trust based on equal citizenship rights as enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
The alternative manifestos for mass movements need to incorporate ideals of anti-caste movements and ensure to end Islamophobia and defeat all forms of social discrimination. It should vigorously oppose all attempts to solve the economic crisis by discrimination and scapegoating on caste, religion, gender, sexuality, regional and racial grounds. Social solidarity and peaceful coexistence can only rebuild the society and economy in India.

Rebuilding economy

Centralisation project within Indian constitution helps in the growth of capitalist economy in India. Financial decentralisation and autonomy of states are important to revive cooperative federalism in India which can promote cooperative economy.
The centralised economic planning for development and economic growth based on ideals of neoliberal capitalism further marginalised the lower caste, tribals, farmers, rural and urban poor. Both the national parties, Indian National Congress and BJP, followed this ruinous path.
There is absolutely no difference between BJP and Congress when it comes to economic policies. But when it comes to valiant defence of corporate capitalism, BJP stands out in open. The economic policies pursued by the BJP government led by Narendra Modi marginalise masses. It ruined all regulatory mechanisms to support the capitalist classes. It provides tax breaks and stimulus packages to the rich and destroys livelihoods and employment opportunities for many.
Economic austerity is not an economic policy but a political choice followed by the BJP government to empower the capitalist elites in the country. Falling wages, growing unemployment, plummeting health, rising food insecurities and diminishing welfare state are the net results of economic policies pursued by the Modi-led BJP government in India.
The visions and missions of the mass movements in India need to develop broad united national campaign against liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation of Indian economy to stop the rampant exploitation of national resources and working classes. The non-sectarian social solidarity based economic policies and taxation for the welfare of one and all should be the foundation of all public polices for development in India.
Mass movements need to take affirmative action for marginalised communities in order to usher in a pan Indian alternative
The will help to rebuild public services like health, education, public transportation and communication infrastructure in India. The sustainable economic growth depends on progressive nationalisation of economy, state control and intervention in market operations to maintain the quality and price of essential services.
It is important to extend all supports by the state and governments to the farmers to increase agricultural production. The public ownership of all-natural resources can help to mobilise internal resources for industrialisation, economic growth and development in India. Agriculture and industry are two sectors that can generate mass employment and provide livelihoods to the masses in India.

Reinstating legitimacy of Indian Constitution

The ideals of equality, liberty and justice are three non-negotiable pillars of Indian constitution with liberal, secular and democratic ethos. But the legitimacy of Indian constitution is under question due to the compromised actions of the constitutional institutions under the BJP government led by Modi and guided by the RSS.
The failure of the state and the government has created a constitutional void in India where hopelessness and injustice rule over the poor, Muslims, lower caste and farmers. So, it is important to reinsure citizenship based on individual liberty and equality before law as a non-negotiable right irrespective of caste, creed, religion, gender, sexuality and region.
The centuries long caste oppression and gender inequalities, decades long marginalisation of Muslims, tribals, Dalits and women demands affirmative actions to ensure equality in letter and spirit of the Indian constitution. Mass movements need to ensure the principles of affirmative actions for all marginalised communities in order to develop a truly pan Indian alternative that focuses on people.

Rebuilding the environment

There is growing natural disasters in India due to over exploitation of nature that pollutes the environment in large scale. The rural communities, urban and rural poor, farmers and forest dwellers are the worst victims of natural disasters due to global warming and environmental destructions.
These communities need to participate in developing policies in environmental protection and become the shareholders of sustainable developments. The economic and social sustainability depends on environmental sustainability. So, the mass movements need to focus on environment by promoting green politics and green economy where citizens are both shareholders and policy makers.

Towards peaceful neighbourhood

Land and territories exist for people. The boundaries and demarcations are designed by people based on their own convenience. There is no point of going for war to protect it. Deaths and destitutions defeat the purpose of individuals, states and societies. The non-allied nature of Indian foreign policy was destroyed by the Narendra Modi government. It ruined India’s external image and relationship with neighbouring countries.
Manifestos for the mass movements need to engage with cooperative foreign policy based on ideals of peace, development and non-militarisation. The peaceful neighbourhood can rebuild international trade and greater market integration based on each other’s social and economic needs.
It is also important to forge broad unity among all liberal, secular, progressive, democratic people, and peaceful struggles, campaigns and movements in India. It is important to facilitate broad alliances and joint actions in different local and regional struggles without top down approach. These broad proposals focusing on people and environment can take India in a democratic path of peace, progress and prosperity.
---
*Coventry University, UK

Comments

TRENDING

Corporate-political party nexus? Rise and rise of Gautam Adani under Modi regime

By Sandeep Pandey*  In last five years Rs 10,09,510 crore taken as loans by various companies from banks in India have been declared as Non Performing Assets, an euphemism for writing them off. Out of this State Bank of India alone wrote off Rs 2,04,486 crore. Only about 13% of the total written off amount was recovered. Identity of the defaulting borrowers, most of whom are influential corporates, is not revealed. Compare this to the loans taken by farmers. The names of defaulting farmers is displayed on walls in tehsil offices to shame them and some unlucky ones also land up in lock-ups there. On the contrary, a few corporate defaulters have fled the country and quite curiously the authorities didn’t seize their passports like they do with some dissenting intellectuals or activists booked under mostly false cases. Now consider the donations received by political parties in the form of electoral bonds. The identity of the donor need not be revealed even to the Election Commission or i

'Extremist' US Hindu global group funding hate against Indian Churches: NGO groups

Counterview Desk  As many as 14 civil rights and faith-based organizations in co-signing a letter to the US Senators, Representatives, State Governor, and other elected officials have demanded the FBI, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Department of Justice should investigate into Texas-based organization Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF) a fundraiser campaign for demolishing churches in India. Co-signed by Federation of Indian American Christian Organization in North America (FIACONA), North American Church of God, Southern Methodist University (SMU) Human Rights Program, Amnesty International - Dallas, World Without Genocide, Center for Pluralism, Genocide Watch, The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), Limitless Church, Justice for All, Hindu for Human Rights, North Texas Peace Advocates, Good Citizens of DFW, and the North Texas Islamic Council, the letter has been sent to Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz; Representatives Michael C Burgess, Pat Fallon, Van Taylor, Terr

Carbon abatement to tackle climate change: India's failure has 'outpaced' its success

By Satorupa Karmakar*  On November 01, 2021, India took a pledge of reaching a carbon-zero stage by 2070, at the COP-26 held in Glasgow, UK. As ‘ambitious’ and dubious it may sound to some, with a short-term delay in renewable energy generation (which gained the pace post-September 2020) and drastic fall in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission level as COVID-19 emerged as a ‘necessary evil’ , the path of India’s clean energy mission could be seen being paved throughout this time. Currently ranked as the third largest GHG emitter in the world, India is projected to demand more energy in coming years due to a large population base (1.3 billion as per 2011 Census data) and primarily coal-based fast-growing economy. Rapid industrialisation in post-colonial developing countries like India, stimulated by a larger and cheaper pool of fossil fuels and labour-force depicted a continuous upsurge in temperature, heavy precipitation in some places with an overall declining rainfall and a burgeoning soc

BJP-RSS trap opposition in 'futile row' around Savarkar, freedom movement

By Prem Singh*  Everything in this article is just a repetition. I have been saying all this since 1991-92. It is obvious that the Congress and the RSS/BJP do not like my ideas. But most socialists, advocates of social justice and communists also dislike my thoughts. I watch their measures and efforts to deal with the present crisis with interest. I respect them and also participate. Yet, the fact it, we fall behind again and again, and the crisis goes ahead. Instead of being a solution-providers, we are seen to be a part of the crisis. How long will this last? Perhaps, if the new generation thinks differently, things may turn for better! 1 To say that modern Indian society and politics are passing through the deepest crisis ever will surely be a repetition. The crisis is deeper than the spreading of communal hatred we witness around us. In fact, the business of communal hatred is flourishing by taking its manure and water from the deep crisis. The crisis of neo-colonial slavery is pro

'Unprecedented rise' of attacks on students of Delhi university by ABVP condemned

Counterview Desk  A statement, sent as an email alert by "concerned teachers and students of Delhi University", referring to a protest organised against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad's (ABVP's), has alleged “brutal” attack on students and teachers demanding the release of civil rights leader Prof GN Saibaba and others from “unjust incarceration.” “We are seeing an unprecedented rise of attacks on the students of our university by the fascist ABVP goons. Almost every week we see our fellow students and activists getting attacked physically by the lackeys of this current Brahmanical Hindutva fascist regime”, the statement claimed. Text : A joint protest was organised by the students and teachers of Delhi University on 2nd of December against the brutal attack by ABVP goons. On 1st of December, activists of Bhagat Singh Chatra Ekta Manch (bsCEM), Lawyers Against Atrocities (LAA) and many other organisations as a part of Campaign Against State Repression (CASR),

Nullify environmental release, uproot GM mustard plants: 111 doctors urge Modi

Counterview Desk  In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as many as 111 medical professionals , most of them senior doctors, has expressed concern with regard to human health implications of the genetically modified (GM) herbicide tolerant (HT) mustard that got approved by Government of India, with indications that it has already been planted in at least six locations. Floated by Dr Rupal M Dalal, a Mumbai-based pediatrician, the letter, even as “welcoming” Modi’s “unprecedented push” towards non-chemical farming in the country for the benefit of environment, nature, consumers and farmers, it said, “HT GM mustard will push the country in the opposite direction.” “A herbicide tolerant crop will put an end to diversity-based cropping, which is important not just for soil health but human health and expose consumers and farmers to a toxic herbicide with serious long term health implications”, it added. The letter seeks the Prime Minister’s urgent intervention to not only withdraw th

Climate change 'can't be fought' with fancy issues: re-engineering cities, green energy

By Shankar Sharma*  "The Hindu" has carried a discussion paper in the form of an interview, Can poor countries afford to go green? Many such articles/ opinion pieces are making the grievous mistake of ignoring a fundamental question: what is the true cost of climate change (CC), and can poor countries, or for that matter any community, afford not to do all that is feasible to address the threats of  CC; instead of wasting our time and resources in endlessly deliberating on the so called "financial/economic costs" of the much needed transition. Such articles seem to focus only on high profile / glamorous/ debatable stuff, and ignore the basic issues which we all can do something or the other to minimise the impacts of CC in the short-term, and which may probably lead to long term solution. The opinion pieces/ discussion, as above, are guilty of conveniently ignoring the basic question: what is the fundamental cause of CC? The answer should be: the unsustainable dema

Enemies of elephants: Odisha real estate agents, ivory smugglers, mining contractors

By Sudhansu R Das  Over centuries the elephant in Odisha has been closely associated with its economy, culture and politics. The state was known for its mighty elephant army which repelled enemy attacks until the end of the 16th century AD. The kings of Odisha were known as Gajapati for their skill and ability to use elephants in the battlefield. Some historians said Odisha had 18,000 war elephants. In the olden time, Odisha had exported fine ivory work to foreign countries. The ancient temple walls have the carvings of an elephant army and the scene of elephants boarded on traditional boita (ship) for transportation. Today the elephants in Odisha are at the receiving end; they are being hunted, poisoned and poached for their tusks. They are branded as trespassers, destroyers of crops and human life; the media paints the situation as human-animal conflict and the debate to show concern for the elephant’s protection has become a meaningless endeavor. The state needs a development vision

Bangladeshi dacoits loot villagers' cattle, yet BSF 'doesn't guard' Ichamati river border

Counterview Desk  Bringing to light the case of one Basudeb Adhikari, who earns livelihood by cattle rearing and working as agricultural labour, a senior human rights activist has pointed towards how in the middle of a September night, Bangladeshi miscreants illegally trespassed into his house, situated near Indo-Bangladesh borders, broke the lock in the gate of the cowshed and stole his cow. Stating that such incidents are not uncommon, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), Hooghly, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said, the village where this person lives, Pipli, is next to the river Ichamati, which is the international border between two countries. There is no fencing in this area, he said, regretting, here, at the International Border Pillar (IBP) Border Security Force personnel are never posted. This leads to the villagers experiencing severe harassment from hooligans from Bangladesh. Often Bangladeshi mi

Demand to withdraw 'anti-environment, anti-adivasi' forest conservation rules 2022

By Gopinath Majhi*  The Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha, a coalition of adivasis and forest dwellers’ organisations, has sent a memorandum to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) raising serious concerns over Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022, notified by the Centre on June 29.  Contending that recent amendments and a host of executive orders/guidelines issued by the ministry undermine and dilute the FRA and threaten the rights of adivasis and forest dwellers, CSD demands that the 2022 FC Rules should be rescinded forthwith. Demanding withdrawal of such anti-people and anti-environment rules CSD Odisha organised a protest Dharana in front of State Assembly today on 25th November 2022 and submitted memorandums to the Hon’ble Governor of Odisha, Chief Secretary and Commissioner-cum-Secretary, ST & SC Development Department for conveying our concerns against the FC Rules 2022 to the Central Government for its withdrawal. The memorandums w