People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 4

February 01, 2009



Hindutva Taliban

THE Hindutva brigade has mounted an utterly condemnable and outrageous attack on young women in a pub in Mangalore on January 24, 2009. A self-styled outfit called Sri Ram Sene (SRS) has claimed the responsibility for this attack and had even informed the electronic media who willfully collaborated in disseminating the message of rabid communal intolerance. On the very same day, SRS, in a separate incident, barged into a private party on the same pretext and seriously injured some people. Far from showing any remorse, the SRS chief provided a proud justification by saying: “My boys may have gone overboard, but whatever they did was to protect the culture of this country’s women. Their methods this time may be an issue of debate but I can tell you the boys were sincere in their intention of protecting the culture.”

What else is this, but an ugly expression of Hindutva Talibanisation. Recollect that only the other day the Taliban had buried alive five young girls who dared to go to school. The Taliban prescribes the dress and behaviour code for women in the name of protecting `culture and tradition’ of women! If anyone dares to violate their diktat, then they are subjected to their horrendous treatment. In a similar vein, the SRS chief says : “If any one violates our culture and traditions, we will not hesitate to protest” (read attack).

Vigilante attacks by self-declared champions of `morality’ of any variety is nothing else but an expression of barbarism at its worst. They attack the fundamental tenets of any modern civil society. It is, indeed, outrageous that as India enters the 60th year of its modern secular democratic republican existence, such reprehensible attacks by fascistic storm-troopers continue to take place. None of those who have been attacked have, by any stretch of imagination, violated any law of the land. By attacking young women in the name of protecting `Indian culture’, these vigilantes display their total vacuity of understanding of both India’s diversity and its rich cultural plurality, leave alone the fundamental rights enshrined in our Constitution. As a part of the larger design of converting the modern secular democratic republic of India into the RSS version of a rabidly intolerant fascistic `Hindu Rashtra’, such outbursts of vigilante attacks are designed to sharpen communal polarisation hoping for some political benefit.

With mounting public outrage over these assaults, the Karnataka administration has so far arrested some 31 of the more than 40 who were involved in this attack. The SRS chief, Pramod Muthalik, has been arrested, however, not for this attack on the young women but for a different offense – causing communal disharmony in Davanagere.

Such vigilante attacks appear to have become a regular feature in Dakshin Kannada. Since the BJP state government assumed office, there have been at least 14 recorded incidents of this nature. Clearly, the existence of the BJP government in Karnataka is providing the required encouragement and patronisation for these outfits to unleash their barbarous attacks. The reactions of the Karnataka chief minister and the home minister only reconfirm such a suspicion. While the chief minister promised “strong action”, he evaded, according to media reports, questions on banning the SRS. The home minister attacked those who protested against this vandalisation and molestation of women by saying that they were, “blowing it out of proportion and seeking to make it a big issue”. The RSS spokesperson, while ostensibly decrying the hooliganism, qualified this by saying that pub culture was “alien to Indian ethos”. He, in fact, appears to justify `moral policing’ by saying that this, however, needed to be done through “public education and not public violence”. `Public education’ through violent punishment is precisely what the Taliban states that it is doing! The similarity of methodology is chillingly un-nerving – Taliban’s destruction of Buddha statues in Bamiyan and Hindutva brigades demolition of Babri Masjid!

Since the BJP assumed power in the state, the activities of the various tentacles of the RSS have intensified. Apart from whipping up communal passions and generating new tensions by creating disputes such as the Baba Bundanagiri shrine etc, the Bajrang Dal, VHP, the SRS, Hindu Jana Jagriti Samiti and other such outfits have sharpened their attacks against religious minorities, particularly the Christians. The anti-Christian violence in Karnataka rose sharply since the BJP government took over. In the month of September 2008 alone, various churches across the state were attacked and vandalised. These attacks had then created such a situation that the central government had to issue an advisory to the state government. The state government, however, continued to maintain that the attacks were provoked by `religious conversion’ of Hindus by Christians.

It is clear that the RSS and the Hindutva brigade will now seek to mount various assaults on modern India’s secular democratic foundations and its syncretic pluralistic traditions, as the general elections approach, in order to consolidate their `Hindu vote bank’. In the process, they continue to mount a serious challenge for the very unity and integrity of India and the stability of its social fabric. Such Hindutva Talibanisation seen in conjunction with the growth of attacks by Hindutva terrorism must sharply underscore the need to ensure that such forces do not get control of the reins of government both at the centre and in the states in the interests of our country and the people. All Indian patriots must rise unitedly to meet this challenge.