(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 10, 2013
Defeat This Rising Intolerance
DEFYING all predictions and
opinion polls, the electorate of our country in the 2004 general elections gave
a decisive verdict for a secular democratic dispensation that shall form the
government in the country. They
defeated the combination of communal forces led by the BJP despite an aggressive
One of the consequences of this verdict was of seminal importance. This was a dramatic and welcome shift in the paradigm of political discourse in the country. High pitched communal and religious intolerance dominated the discourse at that time. The country was still nursing the grievous wounds caused by the communal genocide in Gujarat when nasty campaigns for stopping the Pakistani Gazal singer Ghulam Ali from performing in Mumbai, cricket pitches being dug up by the Shiv Sena to prevent the Pakistani cricket team to play in India, banning of films that focused on social evils concerning widow re-marriage etc were raging across our lands.
With the 2004 poll verdict, the discourse shifted to issues that had a direct and significant impact on people’s livelihood such as Rural Employment Guarantee, Tribals right to forest lands, the Right to Information, loan waiver for indebted farmers etc. On many of these pro-people issues, the Congress led UPA government was forced by the Left parties to implement such important policy decisions. Likewise, the country was prevented from losing its precious public sector assets and stopped from becoming vulnerable to the speculations of international finance capital with the Left’s opposition to the policies of financial liberalisation.
Unfortunately, now history
seems to have traveled in a full circle. Once again waves of cultural and
religious intolerance are raising their ugly head across the country.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader spoke, recently, pouring out venomous
communal hatred. This comes exactly
a month after the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), MLA in Andhra Pradesh
Akbaruddin Owaisi delivered an inflammatory hate speech at
Such intolerance in the field of art and culture is also on the rise. Kamal Hassan’s film `Vishwaroopam’ was banned in the state of Tamilnadu. It was subsequently cleared for showing following some compromises that the film maker had to make with certain sections who raised objections. This raises a serious issue about a film being banned after the Censor Board has cleared it for showing in the theatres.
In a repeat of what
happened in West Bengal under the directions of its chief minister, police
arrested a man in
An art exhibition in
All these are ominous signs that threaten the unity and integrity of our country and the secular fabric of our society. A desperate RSS-led BJP in its efforts to regain control of the reins of government at Delhi, embroiled as it is in serious inner-party squabbles and the rat race amongst its leaders to be projected as the future prime minister of India, is preparing to fall back on its core Hindutva agenda to rouse communal passions. The consequent communal polarisation, it hopes, will deliver political and electoral benefits.
In the process, however, the very foundations of our secular democratic Republic will, once again, come under severe strain. For our country and our people, who are in the midst of a grim battle against the economic onslaughts of the present government, such communal polarisation will only grievously divert people’s attention away from strengthening struggles to improve their livelihood. Therefore, both for the sake of our country and for the well-being of our people, such communal polarisation must be decisively defeated.
(February 6, 2013)