(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
September 13, 2009
RSS/BJP: Back to Their Basics
THROUGH these columns, we had repeatedly raised in the recent past apprehensions concerning greater dangers to communal harmony and peace in the light of the growing control of the RSS over the BJP. Plagued with internal dissensions and organisational problems that appeared to run out of control, with the expulsion of Jaswant Singh, the RSS stepped in to restore some semblance of organisational functioning. Though the BJP functions as the political arm of the RSS, the RSS appears to have assumed the reins of direct control. This, we had apprehended, would bring the aggressive hardcore Hindutva agenda to the fore which cannot but sharpen communal passions disturbing peace and harmony. This is because the RSS/BJP appear to have come to the conclusion that it is only through an aggressive display of hardcore communalism, can it succeed in polarising the society in its effort to mobilise the `Hindu vote bank'.
these apprehensions are turning
out to be true. For a week now, communal tensions continue to simmer
threatening to burst into flames in the districts of Sangli and
As always, there is a deliberate design stoking such violence. The trouble started in the district after the police seized a decorative poster in one of the Ganesh mandals which depicted Shivaji Maharaja's killing of Afzal Khan. Such a depiction was designed to provoke a confrontation. As a mark of protest against the police, the Ganesh mandals in Miraj refused to conduct immersion of the idols. As tension escalated, riots spread to neighbouring pockets in the state.
There is a historical background which is being exploited to the hilt by the BJP-Shiv Sena combine. In 1659, in a battle between Shivaji and Bijapur's Adil Shah, Shivaji kills Adil Shah's general Afzal Khan at the Pratapgad Fort near Satara town. Afzal Khan�s tomb was built near the Fort after this battle. The Afzal Khan Trust at Pratapgad has been in constant battle with Hindutva organisations over disputes and allegations of encroachment.
in the continuing week long
violence and communal clashes in these districts. Curfew has been
various places. As we go to press, Ichalkaranji, a powerloom town in
incendiary rousing of communal passions is
directly aimed at reaping political benefit through communal
the forthcoming elections to the
Finally, on September 8, the chief minister convened an all party meeting at which a consensus was reached that the Ganesh mandals will begin the immersion of the idols from the next day. This, according to the original schedule, had to be completed on September 3. However, as we go to press, the tensions have not yet begun to ease and the completion of the immersion is yet to happen.
All this is a
chilling pointer to the fact that
in the days to come, aggressive pursuit of hardcore Hindutva agenda and
consequent sharpening of communal polarisation
will be the staple diet of the RSS/BJP to overcome its internal
and try and regain some political space.
For this to succeed, however, the country and the people need to
very heavy price. For the sake of
(September 9, 2009)