RSS stake at Cheruvanchery
So intense and bitter is the divide that saffron activists and red cadres have carved out the land between themselves. Cutouts of the hammer and sickle, or saffron flags and RSS painted on electric posts, on roads or walls announce whose fiefdom a particular village is. Those believed to be subscribing to a rival ideology are rendered persona non grata in the village and are possible targets. Respective party cadres are on a constant vigil. Any unauthorised entry is challenged. A stranger who might stray in accidentally is followed closely till it's certain that he is not an 'enemy'. Even buses, run by sympathisers of the two groups, stop only at 'friendly' bus stops.What is the genesis of this hatred? It dates back to 1958 when the Ganesh Beedi factory shifted to Mangalore in neighbouring Karnataka due to labour problems, and many lost their jobs. The RSS stepped in and helped many secure alternate jobs, winning over several Communists to its side. Things turned bloody in 1968 when RSS swayamsevak Vadikkal Ramakrishnan was killed, triggering off the cycle of red-saffron war.According to the RSS, the Marxists suffered—and still suffer from—a fear psychosis because many of its cadres have crossed over to the rss. The CPI(M) leaders, upon seeing erosions in its camp, accuse the RSS of accomplishing this by violence. Comments Congress leader K Sudhakaran: "Perhaps the Marxists believe desertions can be dealt with only by physically preventing people from leaving or teaching the renegades a lesson."Savagery rather than revolution or patriotism guides Kannur's killer squads. Limbs are cut off and rubbed on the roads or doused in coal tar to prevent the severed body parts from being stitched back surgically. Both sides are equally brutal in such tactics. The difference might lie in the number of dead or maimed. That unfinished agenda of "equalising goals" is stoked at will, further fuelling the spiral of hatred.
CPI(M) walas protest attack on Delhi HQ
While the CPI(M) has much at stake in a district which is its bastion, what's in it for the BJP-RSS, especially as there's relatively little electoral advantage? It might not have won a single seat in an assembly or Lok Sabha election in the state, but the BJP has been able to improve on its voteshare over the years, especially in the local council polls. Quite often, at the macro-level, in the assembly or Parliament elections, its net share of the vote eats into that of other candidates. The logic could be either to reduce the Congress in Parliament or checkmate the CPI(M) in the assembly.What's driving the saffron brigade is the general perception in the state that it alone has the guts to take on the CPI(M). The Congress in Kannur is already believed to have succumbed to the CPI(M)'s strongarm tactics.So, if the BJP has to put up a semblance of a political force to counter the CPI(M), it needs to live up to its proven image as a physical checkmate to the red brigade. Kannur's legacy of fighting the might of the British, then the Emergency and the pervasive traditional martial arts culture equip homegrown rss activists to position themselves as protectors of the middle class against CPI(M) cadres.But CPI(M) cadres too are built of stern stuff. Which is why violence escalates when the party is in power. Historian M.G.S. Narayanan says the principal blame rests with the CPI(M) since it's the dominant party in Kannur and now heads the ruling Left coalition. "The CPI(M) needs to accept that it's but one of the political parties, vying for its rightful place in a democratic framework," says Narayanan. "Sadly, the party does not subscribe to this notion of democracy, of allowing its rivals political freedom."Which is why many believe that the violence can only cease if the two warring parties take it upon themselves to call an end to hostilities. Says Prof M.N. Karassery, a Kozhikode-based social commentator: "We can go into the anatomy of the violence later and anlayse whose hands are bloodier. Let the violence stop first." Adds retired civil servant Moorkothu Ramunny: "Just one word from the CPI(M) and the BJP, and the killings will stop." Will they?
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
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