People's Democracy

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


No. 44

November 03, 2013






Hugely Successful Convention against Communalism



THE hugely successful Convention calling for people’s unity against communalism gave a clear and unambiguous call for protecting the secular democratic character of the Indian Republic from the relentless assaults that are being mounted by the communal forces, as the essential prerequisite for an alternative policy trajectory necessary for the progress of the country and the well-being of the people. Apart from the leaders and representatives from fourteen political parties that attended the Convention, various renowned intellectuals have associated themselves with the objectives of this Convention.  The fact that the Convention was inaugurated by one of India’s most renowned historians and accomplished scholar, Prof Irfan Habib, by itself sent the message  that the unique  evolution and growth of the `idea of India’ cannot be allowed to be thwarted by the communal forces. 


The message of the Convention was loud and clear – carry forward this call for people’s unity against communalism all over the country through such conventions and other mass mobilisations.  The Resolution adopted by the Convention had given such a call and all the parties present along with an enthusiastic  participation that overflowed the Talkatora Indoor Stadium endorsed it with not merely a show of one hand but with both! 


Further, as the Convention was in progress, messages kept pouring in from various parties and groups from across the country that they would  like to be associated with such campaigns in the future.  The presence of a UPA ally, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), also sent the message that the parties represented at the Convention was not a `closed’ list  and will most likely enlarge significantly in the future.  This was further buttressed by the fact that representatives of regional parties from India’s two most populous states – UP and Bihar – who are currently in government and  from two other important states – Odisha and Tamilnadu – gave enthusiastic calls for strengthening  such unity in the coming days. 


The cross section of the parties present in fact reflected  the rich diversity and plurality  of the Indian social mosaic.  From the former ruling party of Assam – Asom Gana Parishad – to the former chief minister of Jharkhand, the other leaders present, reflected the composite  cultural heritage of our country.  This in itself was a clear message  that this Convention  reflected  not merely the recognition of Indian diversity but to build on the bonds of commonality that run through such diversity to create a much stronger united and prosperous India. 


Speeches at the Convention convincingly  punctured  the campaigns of disinformation  and insidious communal propaganda currently being carried out by the RSS/BJP.  For instance, the RSS/BJP’s efforts to (mis)appropriate the legacy of India’s iron man Sardar Patel was thoroughly exposed  as an effort to try and steal a link with the freedom struggle when the RSS deliberately stayed away from the mighty national movement. 


It is necessary to recollect that it was this very Sardar Patel who banned the RSS following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. A government communiqué dated February 4, 1948, drafted by Sardar Patel,  announcing the ban on the RSS says: “The objectionable and harmful activities of the Sangh have, however, continued unabated and the cult of violence sponsored and inspired by the activities of the Sangh has claimed many victims.  The latest and the most precious to fall was Gandhiji himself”.


Even so, how they can appropriate Patel  remains inexplicable.  On November 14, 1948, Patel's home ministry issues a press note on the talks that were held with then RSS chief, Golwalkar who made many deceitful compromises.  This informs that the “professions of RSS leaders are, however, quite inconsistent with the practice of its followers” and refused to withdraw the ban.  A further request by Golwalkar for a meeting was refused by Sardar Patel who ordered his return to Nagpur.  It was only on July 11, 1949 that the ban was withdrawn when the RSS buckled  and accepted all the conditions set by the government including that it shall remain a “cultural organisation” “eschewing secrecy and abjuring violence”. All ‘conditions’ that it is brazenly violating today.


Such a misappropriation of Sardar Patel is part of the overall objective of re-writing Indian history in order to straightjacket it into a monolithic record of the glorification of the “Hindu Nation”. Such an effort is integral to advance the RSS project of the metamorphosis of the modern Indian secular democratic Republic into their version of “Hindu Rashtra”. 


The sharpening of communal polarisation through fascistic demagogy and the triumph of the RSS project of the `Hindu Rashtra’ will only signal the death of the ideals enshrined in our Republican Constitution.  Thus what is at stake is the very unity and integrity of India, preserving and enriching  its immensely rich  socio-cultural-religious diversity.  This cannot be allowed in order to advance the popular struggles for the creation of a better India. 


There was wide speculation among sections of the media that this Convention  will announce  the formation of a non-Congress, non-BJP political alternative in the forthcoming general elections.   The Convention made it absolutely clear that its primary objective was to strengthen people’s unity against communalism which poses a grave threat to our future itself.


The message of the Convention will now be carried across the length and breadth of the country.

(October 30, 2013)