Monday, 18 December 2017

The politics of Sangh Parivar has seeds of violence in it

The Prime Minister’s birthday was celebrated by dedicating the Sardar Sarovar dam to the nation. There are 244 villages and one town going to be submerged by this dam. The cost of the dam is nearing Rs. One lakh Crores. Of this estimated Rs. 1,500 Crores was embezzled in the process of rehabilitation. An enquiry commission headed by Justice S.S. Jha was established to look into the corruption in rehabilitation. The government is not ready to make the report public.
Because of closure of sluice gates of the dam, 40,000 families faced submergence at once. The Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal had ordained that any family before being submerged should be rehabilitated at six months in advance. However, these 40,000 families are being made to evacuate like rats by flooding their homes. This is akin to inflicting violence on people. Hence the birthday of PM resulted in violence against the people.
On the other hand Medha Patkar and 37 other people affected by the dam were standing in Narmada water protesting the observance of PM’s birthday. Earlier she was on fast with others and was sent to jail on false charges of causing damage to government property. Till the PM’s birthday not a single official of either the Madhya Pradesh government or the central government has met Medha Patkar. This demonstrates Bhartiya Janata Party’s lack of faith in democracy and their tendency to curb all dissent with brutal force.
This should not come as a surprise because RSS, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, BJP, etc., members of the larger Hindutva family have always used violence to promote themselves. The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 is probably their most gruesome and coward act which is still justified by some Sangh parivar members. The rath-yatra of Lal Krishna Advani which culminated in demolition of Babri mosque in 1992 was responsible for the birth of the problem of terrorism in India. First serial bomb blasts took place in India in 1993 in Mumbai. People have been convicted for this but not for the incident of demolition of Babri mosque which instigated the Mumbai bomb blasts of 1993. Even though it was Indira Gandhi who carried out the first nuclear tests in 1974, it was only in 1998 tests carried out by Atal Behari Vajpayee government that India declared possession of nuclear weapon and initiated a nuclear arms race with Pakistan. In any case because of BJP’s foreign policy India’s relationship with neighboring countries has been adversely affected. The 2002 communal violence took place in Gujarat when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister in which over a thousand people were killed. This will always remain a blot on his name. After Narendra Modi took over as PM several incidents of public violence against people suspected of being involved in cow slaughter have killed over twenty people including Mohammed Akhlaq and Pehlu Khan. Rationalists and intellectuals like Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M.M. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh have been targetted and murdered. Even an innocuous looking programme of PM – clean India campaign – took the life of one Zafar Khan in Rajasthan in an incident related to open defecation when government employees beat him to death.
It is quite logical that as Narendra Modi’s stature has grown he’ll need bigger sacrifices with more devastating impact to move ahead. Inauguration of Sardar Sarovar dam has made 40,000 people landless and homeless in one stroke. The government of Myanmar is expelling the Rohingya Muslims from their country because of political vendetta but what was the fault of 40,000 families, all legitimate citizens of India, when they were expelled in a similar manner from their homes? Do they not enjoy fundamental right to life enshrined in our Constitution?
Sangh parivar is enamored about the Indian culture in which the value of sacrifice is held very highly. Who can be a better symbol of this than Medha Patkar? The BJP governments of M.P. and centre are indulging in humiliation of Medha Patkar by ignoring her. The moral force of Medha Patkar is bigger than most of the so called leaders. To become a leader by winning election is one thing and quite another to be accepted by people as a leader because of her participation in people’s struggles. Whether it is the arrogance of Narendra Modi or that of Shivraj Singh Chauhan the Sangh parivar cannot escape the blot of submerging 40,000 people forcibly. Once again it has been proved that violence is in the seed of Sangh parivar ideology.
The personality of Narendra Modi, by misuse of the office of PM, has in this one event emerged as arrogant, self-centered, patriarchal, feudal, insensitive person appearing like a dwarf before the 32 years long historic struggle of the Narmada Bachao Andolan. His concept of development is purely materialistic in which there is no scope for human feelings. His lonely family life is an example of this. It is unfortunate that India which has a tradition of rich and towering intellectual and political leadership there is now a person at the helm of affairs who is very parochial and insecure. He would like himself to be juxtaposed alongside Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel or Vivekanand but he is so short-sighted that he’ll take the whole country down with him.

Sandeep Pandey is an Indian social activist. Magsaysay Award recipient, Gandhian and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a co-founder of Asha for Education. He is a Former Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar.

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