The questions of national sovereignty are dominating debates in Indian politics today. The Indian media has become the voice of the BJP government led by Mr Narendra Modi. The government and media derides anyone as anti-national if one question’s the government of the day. The students, youths, religious minorities, Dalits, tribals, Kashmiris, human rights activists, lawyers, rationalists, writers, journalists, comedians, cartoonists, progressive activists and farmers are branded as anti-nationals by the government and its media agencies.
The poor oppressed and marginalised Indian population and voices of their struggles for justice are considered to be a threat to the sovereignty of the country. Such painful transition of India and its democracy is invisible to the people, who stay insulated by the power of money, name, fame, constructed public image, and celebrity status blessed by governments and corporates. These lumpen celebrities have forgotten their social commitments for the people who adore, celebrate, emulate and idealise them in their everyday life. These celebrities betray their own roots and break their follower’s trusts by being the voice of power and powerful. These deceptive forces live in an ideology free zone called ‘opportunism’.
The Indian farmers are fighting against anti farmer laws, which threaten their source of livelihoods. The Kashmiris are in an open prison without basic internet facilities. The tribals are facing the onslaught of mining led industrialisation and corporate loot of their natural resources. The journalists are facing annihilating threat to their live for reporting truth. The students, writers, lawyers and human rights activists are languishing in prison cells. The hunger, homelessness, unemployment and poverty is accelerated by the government policies in defence of corporates. There is a greater realisation that Mr Narendra Modi led BJP government has deceived the people of India. Such realisation is crystalised by the farmers protests for last three months. The BJP government is taking all authoritarian steps to supress the democratic voices of dissent with ruthless actions.
The corporate sovereignty and bonded citizenship is unsustainable. But the rent seeking Modi government is promoting a culture of taxpayer citizenship rights to divide people and rule. It puts farmers against army, Hindus against Muslims, north India versus south India and higher caste against lower caste. The Hindutva politics is based on hate and divisiveness. The Hindutva ideology is an internal threat to the unity, integrity and progress of India. The citizenship rights and democratic institutions are dwindling in India. But the majority of Indian celebrities are either silent, living in fear or defending the corporate government, which is the source of their advertisement or tax rebate revenue.
The democratic and peaceful farmers movements have attracted global attentions. Many people watch the sliding democracy in India with utter horror and disbelief. The farmers movements have exposed the hollowness of the BJP and RSS. It has exposed the fascist character of Hindutva forces represented by the BJP and RSS. It is within this context; many international voices expressed their solidarity with India and Indian farmers and their legitimate democratic and citizenship rights to defend their livelihoods. The Modi government is hellbent on implementing the anti-farmers laws concomitant with corporate interests. It show Modi’s commitment to corporates and disregard for the farmers of India. The Modi government treats poor Indians as disposables and their democratic rights does not matter. It has proved itself time and again that people of India are mere voters and not shareholders of Indian democracy and its decision making.
The failures of Modi government have contributed to create conditions of enormous political, social, cultural, religious, economic and institutional crises in India. The farmers movements have helped people to understand the nature and source of these crises. The solidarities are growing in support of Indian farmers and their democratic rights. The Modi government is hiding behind by creating a propaganda war in the name of protecting the unity, integrity and sovereignty of India. From Indian cricketers, film stars, celebrities to media and corporate heads have started echoing Mr Narendra Modi led BJP government’s propaganda as if India and its sovereignty is under threat after international celebrities and public figures twitted in support of ongoing farmers struggles. The Hindutva forces are manufacturing the crisis of Indian sovereignty escape from their constitutional responsibilities and hide their failures.
The Indian farmers struggles have also exposed the limits of Westphalian sovereignty that helps to consolidates the mobility of capital and territorialisation of labour. The ruling class and their celebrity representatives call it as ‘our internal affairs’. The Westphalian concept of national sovereignty is a bourgeoisie project whereas the postcolonial national sovereignty is a product of mass movements. The sovereignty of India is a product of anti-colonial struggle led by Indian working classes from all regional and religious backgrounds. The anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, anti-feudal and anti-capitalist nature of Indian freedom struggle has shaped constitutional sovereignty, democracy and its egalitarian and secular ideals of modern India. The sovereignty of India is a product of collective sacrifice and collective consensus to build a country for its people. The people of India are the shareholders and guardians of Indian sovereignty. The collective foundations of sovereignty, unity and integrity of India is shaped by its people and their citizenship rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India. The unity, integrity and sovereignty of India depends on common will of the people. The Hindutva politics breaks this common will in the name of its fictitious ideology.
The Hindutva forces are opposed to the ideals of India based on integral humanism reverberates in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family). The Hindutva politics of hate weakens Indian democracy by destroying the universal, egalitarian and secular nature of citizenship rights. The unity, integrity and sovereignty of India depends on greater democracy, stronger and inalienable citizenship rights. The farmers movements are growing every day to reclaim democracy and citizenship rights to ensure unity, integrity and sovereignty of India by defeating reactionary and original anti national Hindutva forces. The heroic farmers struggle is a national liberation struggle to uphold the inclusive legacies of India freedom struggle and its emancipatory ideals. These ideals are not based on territorial theology of sovereignty.
The collective emancipatory ideals bring people together from all backgrounds to fight unitedly against all forms of exploitation, inequalities and domination. Struggles for human emancipation and justice and the ideals of solidarities are borderless. This is how human history progress from feudalism to democracy. The successful struggles against slavery, feudalism, colonialism, apartheid, fascism and dictatorships are products of interconnectedness of human beings, and their collective commitment to uphold common values of humanism beyond narrow selfishness or immediate identity based on nationality, religion, race and class. The farmers movements in India represent best traditions of working-class unity. It has reinvigorated the progressive ideals of solidarity and internationalism.
*Bhabani Shankar Nayak, University of Glasgow, UK