Skip to main content

Chauri Chaura: Why Modi govt decided to 'question' Gandhiji's wisdom, glorify violence

By Sandeep Pandey, Anandi Pandey, Kushagra Kumar* 

In a surprise move, in the midst of farmers’ struggle, the government has celebrated the Chauri Chaura incident and glorified the families of freedom fighters involved. As part of Mahatma Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement when there was violence involving setting the police station in Chauri Chaura, near Gorakhpur, on fire killing 22 policemen as a reaction to police firing on protestors in which three people were killed, Gandhiji was so disturbed by the violence that he decided to suspend the entire movement.
While the sentiments of people who were involved in burning the police station along with the police personnel can be understood the act of violence cannot be justified. The Bhartiya Janata Party by choosing to honour the relatives of people involved in this incident, 19 of whom were hanged, 110 given life term in jail and others long term jail sentences, seems not only to be questioning the wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi but also glorifying the violence.
Simultaneously, the government is showing condemnation for the violence that occurred on January 26. It shows selective valorization of certain instances while belittling of other crucial instances which involve marginalized communities.
BJP’s predicament is twofold. Its parent ideology of Hindutva, represented by Hindu Mahasabha and Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh at that time, did not support the Indian freedom struggle. Now with its hyper nationalism ideology it doesn’t want to lose any opportunity to project itself as champion of Indian sovereignty. This is the reason that, leaving aside its own leaders like Savarkar, Hedgewar and Golwalkar it highlights Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel, Babasaheb Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh to gain some vicarious credit for freedom movement.
Secondly, the history of Hindutva ideology is full of violence. Starting with Mahatma Gandhi’s murder to demolition of Babri mosque which provoked immediate communal killings and serial bomb blasts in Mumbai soon thereafter, it is seen to be patronising mob lynchings and vigilante violence over the issue of cow and killing, jailing and humiliation of dissenting intellectuals, all with the sole purpose of mobilization of Hindu votes. BJP in its history also failed to take any stringent measures against the atrocities committed against Muslims, Dalits, tribals and women.
There was strong reaction from the government and its supporters, including dedicated media, to solidarity extended to farmers’ movement by climate change activist Greta Thunberg. Within days of this a major natural disaster took place in Chamoli, causing an avalanche and flash floods in Rishiganga and Dhauliganga causing damage to human lives and washing away of Tapovan Vishnugad and Rishiganga hydroelectric projects, almost as a response from nature to the criticism of Greta Thunberg for her intervention in what is being described as an internal matter of India.
It is worthwhile to recall that our indigenous activist Professor GD Agrawal, also known as Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand died fasting for 112 days in 2018 demanding stoppage of work on all hydroelectric projects in upper reaches of Ganga. Upon his death when young hermit Brahmachari Atmabodhanand undertook another long fast, in negotiations with Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga, the head of Matri Sadan in Haridwar which was the site of both fasts, Swami Shivanand, had sought suspension of work on three hydroelectric projects, one of which was Tapovan Vishnugad.
It suggests frustration of Sangh Parivar of not having contributed to freedom struggle or in any worthwhile movement for social reconstruction
Professor Agrawal, as a premonition, had warned Narendra Modi that he will hold the Prime Minister responsible for his death if it happens due to fasting. Modi did not listen to him but the nature has taken a decision to halt this project. It is better if the government pays attention to national and international environmental activists in what they say about the phenomenon of modern development with attendant ecological damage.
Just as climate change cannot be seen in isolation by nations, similarly, the farmers’ movement cannot be termed as internal matter of our country. Human Rights are universal and hence anybody belonging to anywhere can criticize their violations in any other part of the world. Moreover, farming has a direct bearing on climate change and is affected by it.
Stubble burning is seen as a major source of pollution and an alternative has to be found to it. Similarly, corporatization of farm sector, the inevitable consequence of the three controversial laws, will lead to more carbon emissions adversely affecting the climate. It will further marginalize farmers, especially landless labourers and women.
PM has ridiculed the protesters by calling them ‘andolan-jeevi.’ Again, he and the family of RSS he belongs to have no idea of what it takes to run a movement as they have a history of either not participating in movements or seeking mercy of the government to come out of jail if they were arrested in any movement.
It is not just Savarkar, but RSS activists during Emergency and movements like the one against Enron in Maharashtra, have demonstrated similar tendencies. They demolished the mosque at Ayodhya during the BJP’s rule in Uttar Pradesh under Chief Minister Kalyan Singh and then all accused were acquitted by the court again during their own government.
Modi had the audacity to compare the building of Ram temple with the freedom movement of India. It is the frustration of Sangh Parivar of not having contributed to the freedom struggle or in any worthwhile movement for social reconstruction that they try to coopt national struggles and iconic figures. Some activists have now termed the BJP and PM as ‘corporate-jeevi.’
Having failed to label the farmers’ movement itself as a movement of terrorists and Khalistani supporters, now the government is trying to find a link between a pro-Khalistani organization and the activists of Extinction Rebellion, an international network against climate change, three of whom are under government scanner for provoking the 26 January incident whereas the group was merely trying to mobilize support for a twitter storm. It is ironical that the government which pretends not to be under any pressure from a real movement of farmers on ground feels threatened by a storm over social media.
---
*Sandeep Pandey, a Magsaysay award winning social activist, is Vice President of Socialist Party (India); Anandi Pandey is BA III year student at Ashoka University; Kushagra Kumar is a student in Lucknow

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

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".

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.

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Cyrus Mistry, PM Modi’s brother: What do these accidents have in common? Merc!

By Rosamma Thomas*  In September 2022, in an accident at Palghar near Mumbai, Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of the Tata Group, died in a road accident . On December 28, 2022, a road accident in Mysore left one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brothers injured. What is common in these accidents? The car that crashed into the divider on the road, in both these cases, was manufactured by “prestigious” German manufacturer Mercedes Benz. One former dealer of Mercedes Benz cars in India has been raising issues of the threat to the lives of those riding these cars for many years now. Cama Motors, among the oldest dealers of foreign cars, having started business in pre-independence India, noted over 10 years ago that Mercedes Benz was indulging in corrupt practices . The cars are currently priced between Rs 41 lakh and Rs 2.92 crore in India; few people realize that the pride of owning a Merc comes at considerable risk to life. Cama Motors carefully documented several of the flaws on a websi

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen