Guest Post by JATIN GORAIYA who recently resigned from the post of Vice President of ABVP JNU unit.
Read also his interview to The Telegraph here.
Jatin sent this statement to Kafila, which we publish here in full.
The right wing in our country is keen to strengthen the model of Hindutva fascism in India which is jeopardising the secular fabric of this country. This model of Hindutva fascism is based on a narrow, conservative sense of nation which tends to exclude a major population of dalits, adivasis, muslims and women. This imagination necessarily feeds on this idea of exclusion, the propagators of RSS and Sangh ideology would never be able to sustain their dominance if they render equal status to Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims and women in this country. Hierarchy and inequality is the basic minimum to keep them in power. At the same time they are trying to inculcate and justify a particular kind of idea of nation and nationalism in people around the country. The BJP has not been able to do any good as far as the rhetoric of development is concerned, so the alternative strategy is to sway people in the name of nationalism and religion. Ideologically they are aware of their hollowness and bankruptcy, so the idea now is to mobilise people in the name of sentimental and unreasonable matters. For example they provide an ideological backup to the Manusmiriti, where women are seen as objects of seduction and are to remain under the feet of men all their lives no matter how brutal he is. Dalits are supposed to serve the upper castes and should be given inhuman punishments if they don’t comply. Following this kind of mindset, they tend to keep the caste and gender hierarchies and divisions intact, while paying lip service to social justice.
The recent institutional murder of Rohit Vemula in Hyderabad University makes it clear that the Sangh, BJP and ABVP cannot tolerate any kind of criticism and opposition, filled as they are with the arrogance of power. The controversy started with a movie related to caste discrimination, which Rohit Vemula and his Ambedkar Students’ Association wanted to screen, the ABVP resisted and it ended up in a physical scuffle after which Rohit Vemula and his friends were harassed to the extent that they were suspended and debarred from their hostels and courses and university, the VC Appa Rao took action against them when the MHRD ministry repeatedly wrote letters to him saying Vemula and others were indulging in anti national activities. Rohit Vemula was a Dalit and by using power and influence the Sangh managed to force him to the edge of suicide, this is what humiliation can lead to. The feeling that one is so powerless because of one’s caste stigma and is treated with bias each time cannot be suffered so easily. After his death no action was taken against those people, a panel was set up which recently said no one was responsible for his death. That is the most disappointing part, why should those who compelled him to take his life, not be seen as murderers? Is this power play never going to end? Or are we going to declare those forcing and humiliating others to the extent of death “not responsible” always? The need of the hour is to stand up and voice our opposition and my resignation should be seen in this light.
The recent upsurge in Una against the brutal inhuman treatment one to Dalits by the self proclaimed, institutionally backed “gaurakshaks” explains a lot about the pattern of social justice followed by the Sangh and BJP. Dalits want a dignified life, a remedy which can wash away the stigma attached to their caste and give them equal recognition and simultaneously uplift their economic condition but what we are seeing today is, Dalits for their survival, have to do jobs like manual scavenging, animal scavenging and lift the carcasses of dead cows. Rather than taking steps for the removal of these practices, the Sangh and Hindutva backed gaurakshaks beat up Dalits and Muslims across the country, for lifting carcasses of dead cows in the name of cow protection, and accuse them of theft. The Dalits are demanding their rights, with the slogan “ gaay ki punch tum rakho, humein hamari zamin do” (keep the tails of cows, give us land). It is because Dalits have been landless that have to do these jobs to sustain their homes. They are now taking a pledge across the country that they won’t do this work anymore. Many progressive groups and students have come to support their fight for a dignified life.
The response of government on Una uprising is depressing. Far from enforcement of law and order, the PM says “kill me but not the Dalits” why not a single step has been taken for the strict enforcement of punishment on these so called cow protectors.
I had major differences with the BJP I tried raising my voice and these concerns innumerable times inside ABVP, but no one paid attention to the cause of social justice, it is suffocating to see that they justify these inhumane practices, these brutal gaurakhsaks, and texts like Manusmriti which is anti women, anti Dalit and pro hierarchy and dominance. This mentality has to be criticized thoroughly and curbed. Far from being progressive, their stance on women is deeply regressive, they want to confine them within the walls of patriarchy and want to preserve this narrow mindset which keeps legitimizing the male dominated society.
It seems we are living in a scenario where the people in power want to crush every dissent, every opposition. They want to take down every fight which arises for equal share, equal participation and due rights. The Sangh and the right wing are scared of the scenario when no one would be able to humiliate and oppress the other, but that is the scenario we want to uphold, establish and strive for.