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Looming Saffron Threat and Electoral Choices

It is true that the Congress has often tolerated, encouraged and supported communalism in various ways. But this communalism is opportunistic, employed in the service of building a bourgeois nation state; the BJP communalism is programmatic dedicated to the creation of Hindu Rashtra.

Portents for Communal Politics

P R Ram THE results of the recent parliamentary elections have given a verdict in which no single party has an absolute majority neilher has any pre-electoral alliance any clear majority and the post-election coalitions are trying to be forged to get a majority. In this gameof forging coalitions BJP is frantically trying to woo all and sundry, irrespective of ideological differences, the same game is being played by the Congress though at a less aggressive level. It is more or less certain that it will be the BJP which will be leading the coalition at the centre, In this context a large section of progressives have opined that it will better 'If BJP is given the chance to form a government'. This contribution is an attempt to evaluate this stance. BJP's march to increasing its strength has slowed down at a particular leve. In the present elections their number has gone up by 15 or so seats. But its earlier leaps, from 2 to 89, from 89 to 161 seem to be arrested in this election. In 1996 when it was the single largest party and was invited to form the government, even without introspecting whether it is capable of forming one, even without negotiating with other probable coalition partners, it shamelessly took a plunge to grab power just to realise in 13 days that none of the parties would be offering it support. It could have very well accepted defeat with humility. But activating the doublespeak machine it accused all other parties of ganging up to prevent the 'morally justifiable single largest party to rule'. This totally unconstitutional stance enhanced with Goebellsian vjgour to an extent that even in this interregnum, before the formation of a new government, a large number of progressives felt morally intimidated by the propaganda of the BJP to say that let them form the government.

Left Ideology, Ends and Means and Hindutva

and Hindutva P R Ram ROMESH DIWAN (EPW, August 24-31, 1996) starting from his dissatisfaction with the articles on 1996 elections, 'On Election Eve' in EPW, has gone on to condemn the left ideology and uphold the ideology of hindutva. One partly concedes his initial point that the articles on the elections carried by EPW may not have totally matched with the 'result' of elections, i e, they were not accurate psephological pieces. As I understand, these articles were trying to articulate deeper societal changes and their likely impact on the forthcoming elections. Given the diversity of Indian society, to be able to link up the two is a Herculean task in light of the fact that even the so-called surveys based on the science of psephology, carried by major papers came a cropper this time as their predictions were 'off the mark', biased in favour of the urban opinion and thereby giving a heavy weightage in favour of the BJP. The BJP has succeeded in dropping its anchor in sections of urban population, more so in last decade, pari passu with the religiously coloured political campaigns conducted by different wings of the Sangh parivar (RSS and its progeny) in general, and VHP and BJP itself, in particular, For Diwan the projection of the reality of society, the complex interactions of different castes, sub-castes, minorities, dalits, adivasis and other disadvantaged sections, which is the emphasis of the left-leaning writers, does not have much meaning as these are precisely the social forces which derail the applecart of 'status quo', which oppose the onslaught of fascistoid forces, whose advocacy is the raison detre of Diwans article. Our society is not value neutral: loss of credibility of the approach of left scholarship is definitely a part of the game, as what is in the interests of subalterns may be an anathema to the upper caste/class interests. So loss of credibility of left writings amongst the elite does not mean a loss of objectivity, but only 'elite intolerance' of the deeper dynamics of society, the logical, long-term outcome of which is detrimental to the interests of the elite.

In Praise of RSS

the day; I shall miss walking with him over the Sussex downs in spring weather or even with a slight drizzle blurring the view; I shall miss arguing with him in a Tottenham Court Road cafe on the degree and kind of state intervention needed to boost industrial growth in India. I will never again have him pottering around in our rented flat in the slippers the airlines sometimes supply, so as In Praise of RSS P R Ram AT a meeting held at Talkotra Stadium in Delhi on Sunday July 14 to pay tributes to the ex-RSS chief Deoras, Atal Behari Vajpayee, ex-PM reiterated that the present PM, Deve Gowda, had praised the RSS. Earlier during the Lok Sabha dabate(May 27) while concluding the resolution, seeking the trust of the house, Atal Behari Vajpayee went on to eulogise his 'training school', the RSS. In the course of his speech he quoted the remarks of Deve Gowda, about the RSS, which were apparently laudatory to the RSS. These remarks from a speech made by the 'then' incoming PM shook the house. We presume for the moment that Vajpayee correctly quoted from the speech and Deve Gowda might well have said what was being quoted in his name. What does this lead us to understand? Is Gowda really appreciative of the role of RSS in its entirety or was he referring to its role only during the emergency? Does Deve Gowda think that RSS is an organisation only engaged in 'democratic' struggles, like the one against emergency, and in social, work amongst the tribals? This episode just goes to show that the image which the RSS projects of itself, is related to only its marginal activities while it underplays the 'core' of its work, and the consequences which follow from the 'core activity.' It is to the 'credit' of RSS that despite being engaged in the propagation of an 'authoritarian' model of society, it is able to project itself as an organisation working for democracy. It is to the 'crodit' of RSS that despite spreading an ideology which is against the interests of most deprived sections of society, it is able to project its 'missionary' image. It is to the 'credit' of RSS that despite being at the root of communalisation of society, most of the communal violence in not to soil the floor. Above all, I will miss meeting ever again one of the most civilised human beings I have known in my life. The only consolation I can think of is that Pramit had his wife, his son and his daughter, and their two granddaughters around him in his last moments, and that he must have known that there would be scores of persons all over the world for whom that world would appear poorer when he is gone.

A Way of Life

P R Ram It is to the discredit of our secular and democratic spirit that Hinduism, a religion and Hindutva, a political force, appear to be a 'way of life '.

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