The following, necessarily brief, reflections have been sparked off by two recent posts on Kafila – one by Biju Mathew published on 16 April, and the other by CP Geevan, published today. These reflections should not be seen as a response to the positions taken by Biju and/ or Geevan; they are, in fact, more in the way of addressing the central question raised by Biju Mathew’s piece – that of despondency and pessimism that has followed the UP elections and more importantly, the stealthy manner in which Adityanath was installed as the chief minister in the state. Stealthy, because after all, it was amply clear even to the decision makers in BJP, from the very beginning that if they had entered the election campaign with Adityanath as the chief ministerial face, it might have yielded very different results. It was too big a risk to be undertaken.The real stroke of Modi-fascist genius lay precisely in keeping not just the electorate but also the organizational machinery in the dark and turning it into an advantage.
As it happens, despite the sharpness of Geevan’s comments, my sense, on reading the two pieces, is that there isn’t really as great a divergence on most issues as might appear at first sight.
Continue reading Beyond Defeatism – Political Parties and the Fight Against Hindutva
Guest post by CP GEEVAN
The following is a response to the piece by Biju Mathew on Kafila, underlining the need for single-minded focus and keep the feet firmly on political realities
Given the exuberant optimism that Biju Mathew evokes in these dark days, many of us afflicted by malignant pessimism should not have many reasons to complain or pick holes in this view of looking back and foreseeing the way forward. On the face of it, this article does gladden one’s heart and spirit! However, imagining larger than life attributes to struggles and spells of resistance can be very misleading. In a way, with a rather benevolent interpretation, one cannot quarrel with Biju’s contention that nobody needs to wait for some political party to lead the resistances against the far-right takeover or start the process of breaking the ‘wave’. There is no hesitation in agreeing with the proposition that instead of waiting, which carries the risk of waiting indefinitely, it is imperative that each individual who is appalled at the turn of events must contribute urgently to building ‘innovative and locally responsive actions’. Well, inaction is certainly not an option. Act we must – in the face of the frightening likelihood of the saffron brigade unleashing a horrific civil war and engineering mass killings. There are no quarrels as to the primary intent of the article – that it is a call to shed excessive pessimism, end despondency, and take steps towards politically meaningful actions. Nevertheless, it will be a big mistake to imply that the process of banishing the gloom need not extend to the political rivals of the Hindutva nationalist parties. Continue reading Thinking Past the BJP Victory in UP – Response to Biju Mathew: C.P. Geevan
Guest post by BIJU MATHEW
The BJP’s appointment of Adityanath to the post of UP CM once electoral victory was secured has left many angry, sad and frightened. Already the ominous signs of inhuman mass violence are accelerating across UP. A more brazen Sangh will pivot off UP to spread terror and hatred across the country. And yet, we must guard against an excessive pessimism and guide the anger and the sadness in productive directions. The 2014 Lok Sabha, 2015 Delhi and Bihar and 2017 UP elections together are indicative of an evolving structural logic in Indian politics and show telltale signs of irresolvable contradictions that the Sangh is faced with. Modi and the BJP are riding a wave that is not entirely of their own making – a wave that will necessarily crest, break and crash in the not too distant future. How soon this wave can be interrupted, and what happens after that, does not depend on them, but on the rest of us.
So here then is the puzzle: Why do so many people support what is both an absurd and an unrealizable ideology? Absurd, because poverty, caste discrimination, corruption and government failures are not due to “enemies” or “enemy communities”- Muslims or Leftists, LoveJihadis or Beef eaters; and unrealizable because with over 400 million minorities and oppressed castes who will not fit into Hindu Rashtra, the saffron brigade can only deliver a horrific civil war. Does UP mean that, despite all this absurdity, this ideology has nevertheless triumphed in the Indian mind? Continue reading Stepping Back/Stepping Forward – Thinking Past the BJP Victory in UP: Biju Mathew
This is a guest post by BIJU MATHEW: The story is always the same, isn’t it? A perfectly ordinary day becomes extraordinary. A day when the daily tribulations of thousands of workers and small merchants is instantly transformed into tragedy. 15 dead, 5 still critical and over 100 others injured– some of them maimed for life – thinking of what recovery might mean. Ravinder, a farm hand from a Nalgonda village has lost a leg. His wife, Lakshmi might still yet lose her foot. Their 1 year old is missing. And they were in Dilsukhnagar for a hospital visit because the 1 year old has a congenital heart condition. There is no justice to be had here. Continue reading Elements of Bomb (Blast) Making – Understanding Dilsukhnagar: Biju Mathew