|Gujarat: Making of a Fascist State|
By Ram Puniyani
|Abdul Shakeel Basha, known popularly as Shakeel to his friends, has been arrested on 17th June 2010, on various charges. The major charge is that he along with his other friends was planning to start a Maoist revolution in Gujarat. Shakeel is 13th amongst the activists who have been arrested on similar charges. Activists who have been arrested on the charge of being Naxalites are Avinash Kulkarni, Bharat Pawar, Makabhai Chowdhary, Jayaram Goswami and others who have been working in different parts of Gujarat, particularly amongst the tribal and workers for their economic rights. There has been no news of any violence in the areas where they have been working. One knows Shakeel has a long record of working for communal harmony, justice for Gujarat violence victims, and housing for street children amongst other issues. ‘Peace issues’ has been his concern during last few years.|
Apart from Shakeel the work of most of these activist’s, arrested by Gujarat police, has been within the confines of Indian Constitution, struggles based on the ‘rights as citizens’, as weaker sections of society. The major violence witnessed by Gujarat has been the one of sectarian type, the one directed first against Muslim minorities and then Christian minorities. On the contrary the work of some of these activists has been to promote communal harmony, which has been a hindrance to spread of divisiveness being promoted by the likes of Swami Aseemanand of VHP, an RSS affiliate, who is currently absconding for his linkages with the perpetrators of Ajmer terror attack.
With the nation wide beginning of operation ‘green hunt’, the targeting of Naxalites/Maoists, the Gujarat police, not to be left behind, has targeted the activists working within the confines of constitutional limits. Gujarat has never been known to be the work area of Naxalites/Maoists anyway. This has been an area where the followers of RSS have been calling shots from last two decades in particular and trying to convert it into ‘ideal Hindu state’. Gujarat has also been boasted as the ideal Hindu state, particularly since the violence against minorities became intense. The anti Muslim offensive culminated in Gujarat carnage of 2002. After 2002 there was a sustained attack on Christians. This is the violence which is the marker of Gujarat.
One never heard of any Naxalite violence and there are no criminal cases against most of the activists who have been arrested. As such through the intense media propaganda, social activists have been defamed to the extent that Medha Patkar was attacked physically for her campaigns to protect the rights of tribal. Strong propaganda against ‘activists’ in general is part of the norms prevalent in Gujarat.
The sequence of the political events in Gujarat is very revealing. First the sectarianism comes up; various factors promote this communal divide. This leads to the massive anti Muslim pogrom on the pretext of Godhra train burning. Then on the plea that Christian missionaries are converting the gullible Adivasis, anti Christian violence is unleashed. This runs parallel with the aggressive conversion of Adivasis into Hinduism under the garb of ‘Ghar vapasi’. Through Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, through swamis and associates identity issues are projected in the Adivasi areas. The result of all this is the overall suspension of the concept of Human rights and demonization of social activists. As such whatever little is there in the name of social activism has been dwarfed under the shadow of communalization of social space and communal violence.
Due to these anti minority attacks, minorities have been relegated to second class citizens. The culmination of this is the formation of Muslim ghettoes in urban areas and intimidation of Christians in Adivasi areas. Along with this the concept of ‘Swarnim Gujarat’ (Golden Gujarat), a heaven for investors is advertised through media. In tandem with this the rights of workers and tribal are being suppressed to ensure that the industrialists can have their sway to make big money. As Ratan Tata put it, industrialists have to be in Gujarat. And so Anil Ambani and others of their ilk project Narendra Modi as the ideal Chief Minister, the future Prime Minister of India. The inference is emerging that anti minority pogrom has effectively been undertaken to create a ‘smooth’ atmosphere for the industrialists. After subjugating minorities and the democratic values the illusion of ‘development’ has been manufactured.
Narnedra Modi has been compared to Hitler times and over again. Through his anti Jew, anti Communist tirades Hitler created the ‘ideal’ atmosphere for the big industrialists. It seems Modi has taken Gujarat on the same path. First he has ensured the suspension of human rights through anti-minority pogroms, then demonized the social activists and now whatever little activity prevailed for democratic rights of the marginalized, is being done away with. The human rights workers, working in the Constitutional framework are being dubbed as Naxalites and are being put behind the bars. The idea is to smoothen the path for big industrialists. The arrest of workers for human rights issues is like laying the red carpet for the reckless growth of industries, trampling on the interests of the deprived sections of society. What is hidden below the red carpet is the very concept of a welfare state, a secular state, a state with the concept of human rights of all. One is also reminded of the RSS ideologue M.S. Golwalkar writing in his book ‘Bunch of Thoughts’ that Muslims, Christians and Communists are the internal threat to Hindu nation. It seems following his advice first the Muslims, then the Christians and now the social activists (communist substitutes) are being targeted as Naxalites.
The happenings in Gujarat show us the deeper designs of the political class of the country, who are executing industrialization without a human face, industrialization on the bodies of the marginalized sections. Hitler did precisely the same. In the short term it seems very rewarding but surely one knows from History that once the violation of the concepts of democracy goes too far, the results are not very pleasing. Hitler refused to learn it in his life, that’s why he had to put a bullet in his head. Germany kept toeing his line, that’s why it faced the ruin after the temporary graphs showing economic prosperity!
One reaffirms that those believing in the ‘violence as a means for social change’ have no place in the democratic system. In turn, one must learn that democracy is doomed in a state which does not let the peaceful social movements to exist!