In the last one year, Uttar Pradesh has seen a spurt in communal riots incidents. Data from IB reports for the first eight months of the year till August 31 pegs the figure at 80. So it’s no coincidence that the politics of projecting Modi as future prime minister by the RSS and BJP also gained momentum during this period. That matters were moving in such a direction became obvious on August 25 itself, during the VHP’s aborted chaurasi kosi parikrama (CKP) yatra. Around 10 days before the CKP, senior VHP leaders had a two-hour-long closed door meeting with Mulayam Singh Yadav. No one knows exactly what transpired, but it can be safely speculated that there was consensus on some enacted rivalry between the two. The events thereafter prove the theory, one could say. The effect of that strategy was evident in the happenings in Muzaffarnagar and the small communal clashes in other parts of eastern and western Uttar Pradesh.
The political ramifications of the CKP are much larger, a double-pronged approach polarising the rightist Hindutva votebank while also helping the ‘minority politics’ card of the Samajwadi Party (SP). As Hindu votes unite, its opposite number, the Muslims, too will come together. The posturing of the Hindutva forces is bound to see a counter, triggering a fear psychosis all around. Echoes of this are already reverberating across the state.
BJP and SP: win-win situation
In all this, two political parties, the BJP and the SP, stand to gain the most. As chaos prevails, both get a chance to fish in troubled waters, a win-win situation—‘match-fixing’ if you will. For the BJP, the dynamics of the communal rage being whipped up by fringe saffron outfits will bring the party centrestage after a long political oblivion. As a natural corollary, Muslims will rally around Mulayam who they see as their protector in UP. Piquantly, both parties have a common political enemy here, the Congress.
The BJP’s favourite exhibit—Modi’s ‘development plus’ image—is even now fairly blunt in UP and Bihar. People here still see him more as Gujarat’s saviour rather than that of the nation. The party also knows that while Modi is their main strength in many places, he is also their “terrible weakness”. Their fear is that as a reaction to Modi, Muslim votes will shift to the Congress en bloc. At whatever cost, this they have to stop. For them, the SP is a “lesser evil”. Meanwhile, the SP is afraid of losing its votebank to the Congress, given its record of bad governance in UP. But with the communal polarisation, the Muslim votebank has nowhere else to go.
The 2012 assembly polls, though, undid most of the damage with the Muslims flocking back. But within months, the saffron parties were crying themselves hoarse over Muslim appeasement and the alleged heavy-handed dealings of some of the SP’s minority leaders. That aside, the fact that the communal cauldron was on the boil was plain for everyone to see. The social fabric in UP today is extremely fragile. Even small skirmishes are taking the shape of ugly communal clashes. Just last Saturday, Dallipur, under Kandhai police station in Allahabad district, witnessed such a case. It was a small incident, a youth having a small argument at an electronics shop belonging to a member of the minority community. Soon, the two communities were baring fangs at each other. A small error and another ugly clash might have erupted. Similarly, backstreet fights and alley clashes are taking a communal colour all over UP. One reflection of such contesting fractures was seen in the Muzaffarnagar riots.
BJP, RSS and the Communalisation of Politics
The RSS, which had been lying low since 2009, has become very active, even issuing a whip to the shakhas to mobilise the cadre. It all went into high gear after Narendra Modi was declared chief of the BJP election committee. Saffron hardliners like VHP leader Ashok Singhal have already started cranking up the war machine, setting up camp in Ayodhya. Meanwhile, the BJP’s Uttar Pradesh in-charge and Modi’s No. 2 man, Amit Shah, tilak-chandan in place, is all over the newspaper inside pages. Now he’s camping in Ayodhya, declaring Ramjanmabhoomi will be a major issue in 2014, then he’s in Mathura and western UP spreading the message that Modi will begin his campaign from Mathura, the god Krishna’s birthplace, thus emphasising the mythic link between Mathura and Dwaraka in Gujarat. Linking the Kanphata Yogis of Gorakhnath with Hindu politics is another strategy. The mahant there is Avaidyanath and his young successor and MP is Mahant Adityanath—the duo represent a strong pillar of Hindutva in the region. Their controversial Hindu Yuva Vahini is very strong in eastern UP and the areas bordering Nepal. It’s to be seen what they will make out of the NaMo yug of the BJP.
The RSS has decided it will start 40 new shakhas in every district. The idea of villages as a centre of Hindutva activities is also gaining currency. Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat recently said there was a need to search for a “nayak” (hero icon) in every village. A Hindutva awareness programme is also on, with collection centres in the villages for old iron implements, to be later used to construct the world’s tallest statue of Sardar Patel. It seems the politics of shilanyas still has something going for the saffronites. In the vitiated air in the state, another perennial issue of Hindu politics, cow slaughter (goksi), is also getting much play. In north India, it’s mostly Muslims and Dalits who are in the dead animal skins and bones trade. In UP and Bihar, it is believed that cows—old and otherwise—are never slaughtered by the Dalits. The blame is always on the Muslims. An RSS bid to spread such hysteria was seen in a case in Azamgarh recently.
All in all, it’s become evident that both the Samajwadi Party and the saffron forces are playing a very dangerous game in fuelling the communal cauldron, and all for a few votes. What the endgame will be and how much it will cost the people of Uttar Pradesh will be evident in the next few months.
(The author is professor, G.B. Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad University)
From Kashmir Times, 26 October 2013 Editorial
Communal fascist onslaught.
Secular forces must realize the growing threat to the country’s pluralism....The RSS has a clear agenda of making India as a Hindu Rashtra, where minorities and dalits have no place.
The growth of BJP into a major political party in the country was simply due to the failure of secular parties and leaders, particularly the Congress, to understand the real character of this organization.
It is for the secular parties and leaders to realize the grave threat posed by these rising communal fascist forces which, if allowed to succeed, can not only change the basic secular democratic character of the country, but also pose a serious threat even to India’s unity and integrity. Time for them to rise above narrow partisan considerations and mobilize the people to isolate these forces of communalism and bigotry. The Congress, in particular, needs to do some introspection, reoorient its policies and programmes by steadfastly adhering to secular, democratic and socialist ideology.
That the rise of Modi has been mirrored by increase in the Hindutva fervour is a fact only the very motivated will deny. UP has seen a sharp increase in Hindutva activism bolstered by their conviction that Modi would be their saviour and herald to a new future.
The Muslims who had after a reasonably long peaceful time begun looking to issues of growth and development and had slowly begun emerging out of the fear psychosis that the Mullahs would love them to remain in, have been struck again by this bolt.
This is not to deny that the Islamists were and are very active in fuelling the fear and delusions of Islamists victory and fruits of Jannat for the 'martyrs'.
Samajwadi Party with its idiotic leadership and vision of "Muslim vote" played a naked hand of 'extreme minorityism' in the daily administration of the state. The mind and heart of even ordinary Hindu, ususally 'secular' got poisoned
In this environment any tiny spark was sufficient for a conflagration and SP through sheer political chicanery and then crude and stupid behaviour caused an eruption of anger and frustration building up over a long time but not finding a viable support till advent of Modi on the horizon as a Hindu Messiah.
That only explains the high rate of violence and the high Muslim casualty despite administarative and political collusion with the Muslim rioters.
Real outcome of the event is that Modi will find it very hard to make thse followers who would like him to annihilate all 'enemies of Hindutva', turn to peaceful and growth oriented stable society.
Even if Modi wants to take some sort of Centrist position, these Hindutva forces may not allow him.
That would be the real tragedy.
It's funny how lies have been perpetuated by all pAIDMEDIA AND PAID academicians.
What does this douchebag have to say how SP, Azam Khan, CONGis let all rioters go free and told Police to go slow until all Muslims kill Hindus?
Check India today expose where polce admitted all the plan of CONGis and SP, Muslim ministers.
"In the last one year, Uttar Pradesh has seen a spurt in communal riots incidents. "
Really!!!! No one would have known it had they been readingonly Outlook for news.
And who is writing this article? A supporter of isaai naksali killers. These Isaai missionary fundamentalists are main cause of most of the hindu muslim riots in India. "divide and Rule"
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT