‘Hey Ram’ were the last words of Mahatma Gandhi; the father of the nation. He uttered these words on 30th of January 1948 while taking bullets from his assassin; a Hindutva terrorist called Nathuram Godse. The Hindutva politics of hate filled bullets from the Beretta automatic pistol that killed Mahatma Gandhi. This was the first onslaught on the secular and multicultural fabric of independent India by the Hindutva forces.
Like the three bullets that Killed Mahatma Gandhi, the 6th of December 1992, 9th of November 2019 and 5th of August 2020 are three defining dates that killed secular India. These three dates are significant in dismantling of the secular character of Indian state and politics. These three dates are central towards the establishment of Hindu Rashtra in India. The process was started with the killing of Mahatma Gandhi. It continues to create havoc and enduring pain within the Indian republic.
The activists belong to the VHP, BJP, RSS and other affiliated organisations were responsible for the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on 6th of December 1992. The demolition of Babri Masjid has accelerated the deepening of Masjid-Mandir(temple) politics in India led by Hindutva; a bigoted political and economic project of Brahmanical propertied caste, class and capital.
The landslide electoral victory of BJP in general elections led by Mr Narendra Modi has given pan Indian political legitimacy to the Hindutva forces. But the Hindutva political project has received its judicial legitimacy, when the Supreme Court of India ordered the Government of India to create a trust to build the Ram temple in the disputed land and give five acres of land in another place to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque. The Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict has ended legal dispute between Hindus and Muslims. The contradictory judicial verdict is a victory of religious faith based on Hindutva mythology; the life and blood of Hindutva politics. The verdict did not punish the Hindutva forces and their organisations for dismantling a historic monument; 470 years old mosque.
The verdict has given new life to the political vandalism of Hindutva forces in the name of establishing a Hindu Rashtra by destroying secular India.
Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, Mr Naredra Modi; the Prime Minister of India and the poster boy of Hindutva politics will lay the foundation stone for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya on 5th of August 2020. He will also release a commemorative postage stamp called “Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir”.
The many leaders of the Indian National Congress and opposition parties consider Ram temple in Ayodhya is a product of national consensus. It means Hindutva consensus. The Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has not only endorsed the construction of Ram temple but also considers the ground-breaking ceremony of the temple as an occasion for “national unity, fraternity and cultural congregation”. The Hindutva politics is immersed with hate, violence and vandalism. It can not inspire national confidence, cultural unity and fraternity. The statement by Priyanka Gandhi shows the influence of Hindutva politics on mainstream opposition parties and its leaders in India.
The ‘Hey Ram India’ signifies the assassination of secular politics and state in India on 5th of August 2020 by the BJP and Congress Party. The era of closet Hindutva is over. The launch of the culture of ‘Jai Sri Ram’ within Congress represents the rise of Congress model of Hindutva and the death of secular, Nehruvian and Gandhian Congress Party. There is no difference between Hindutva politics of BJP and Congress Party that helps to establish the higher caste based Hindu social order destroying multicultural fabric of Indian society.
Both parties follow the same neoliberal economic policies that consolidates the powers of big businesses and capitalist classes in India. The difference in political flag colour and office locations does not matter. These two national parties are detrimental to the idea of India. Both political parties are threat to life and livelihoods of poor masses in India. The circulation of elites defines both political formations, which failed to provide any alternative for the relief and rehabilitation of people from the pandemic of hunger, ill-health, homelessness and joblessness.
The deceptive politics of BJP and Congress Party can never offer any form of alternatives to India and Indians during the current social, economic and military crisis. Both the political parties represent the interests of the local, regional, national and global capitalist classes in India. The Hindutva led caste based social, political and economic order is concomitant with the requirements of capitalism. The political consensus and judicial legitimacy have given a final touch to the process of writing the last secular and democratic epitaph for Indian pluriveralism.
It is truly the start of new India led by Hindutva, where there is money for temples and statues but there is no money for health and education. There is money to subsidise and write off debts of big businesses but there is no money for farmers, students and youths of India.
Such a pathetic transformation did not happen overnight or over last six years. The casteist and conservative undercurrent of Hindu Brahmanical social order has received its political patronage from the Narendra Modi led BJP government. This has helped the upper caste and class bigotry to become mainstream social, political and economic order in India. The idea of secular and democratic India was demolished with the destruction of Babri Masjid on 6th of December 1992. The success of Hindutva political project in India was verified and reconfirmed with the start of the Ram temple construction on 5th of August 2020.
The Hindutva triumphalism is undisputedly the new order in India today, where political despondency, social alienation and economic crisis rules. But hope comes up from unusual sources to inspire the resilient masses. Hindutva politics is a national shame and it cannot write the final words on the future of India and Indians. The civilisation survived all onslaughts of time. The graveyards of time have swallowed all prides, empires and emperors within all its powerful waves and allows history to document the death of all winners to give hope to a hopeless world in India.
Hope redeems itself as alternatives. It is only the human heritage of peace outlives time to tell stories of successful struggles for justice, equality, liberty and fraternity. It is time to conserve energy and fight for the future. The fake gully boys and their deceptive politics of Hindutva will fall like all other regimes drunk in power. This time shall pass and Apna Time Aayega (our time shall come), for the gullible masses to enjoy their freedom and dreams of life in peace and prosperity.
*Bhabani Shankar Nayak, Coventry University, UK