Amidst the ongoing debates- discussions- dissections on the crucial question 'why' the Right- Wing managed to get or gather or grab adequate votes in the recently held elections in the five states of the country, let me focus on the Right-wing Hindutva cadres cum brigades cum private senas/ armies spread out, right across, from the top to the grassroots level.
This no overnight build-up! This been happening rather too systematically for the last several years and now, of course, more than writ large. This build-up of the Hindutva forces and the severe dangers involved was first brought to my notice by Khushwant Singh, when he and I were putting together the book titled – Absolute Khushwant- The Low-Down on Life, Death & Most Things In-Between (Penguin) where he put forth his views on an entire range, from emotions to death to the Right-wing , to the political scenario.
The year was 2009 – 2010 and Khushwant and I would sit and discuss just about everything and anything. But after or before every such discussion he would sound and look very worried about the rise of the Right-wing in the country. To quote him from the above mentioned book which was published in 2010: "My only worry today is the rise in the right-wing fascist parties in the country. We allowed fascism to dig its heels in our courtyard. We let them get away with every step they took and never raised a howl of protest…We failed to hit back because we have never been a united force and do not realize the perils of allowing our country to fall into their hands. Events such as the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the burning of Graham Staines and his children and the barbaric and mindless carnage in Gujarat are events that stink of politics mixed with religion. I have always maintained that politics and religion do not go together; they must be kept apart at any cost …What concerns me is how narrow-minded and intolerant we Indians have become."
Along the same strain, he had also commented, "What in Nehru's times were parties of marginal importance, the RSS, the Hindu Mahasabha, the Jan Sangh, the Shiv Sena and the Bajrang Dal, gathered strength and became the main opposition to secular forces."
He also detailed his meeting with Rahul Gandhi, "Rahul had telephoned sometime last year and said that he wanted to come and see me. He came at the appointed time - 4 p.m. - and spent almost an hour in my home. I gave him tea - he said he'd like some tea - and we spoke of politics; about the current situation in general and other things in particular…I told him, 'Your cadres are very weak. The BJP has the RSS and the VHP to work for it at the grassroots level. The Congress lacks that.' He said that he agreed with me and that he was already working on this."
In fact, Khushwant had gone ahead to praise Rahul Gandhi, "He has a vision and that's very important. I'm impressed with him, impressed with the way he's been conducting himself. He has the right attitude. Even if much of what he does only amounts to gestures, the thinking behind them is right…He himself seems to have no caste or class prejudice."
The dark reality of the present day is that today it's the communal Hindutva forces which seem to be in control. New forms of violence and harassment and hounding is on! And till about a cadres of secular men and women are trained and spread out at the grassroots level, the going would be very tough for the average citizen of this country. Nah, today it is no longer a question of Hindu- Musalmaan-Dalit-Christians. Rather, immense worry cum apprehension for all those of us who can see the dangers engulfing us all, striking at the very roots of our survival.
There's an uneasy quiet spreading out, in and around the rural and the urban locales. Political mafia in control! With that, the hapless masses left with just about no means to question the rulers of the day.
Polarization and divides spreading out amidst much decay and deterioration. Writ large, a crumbling infrastructure. And in it, human forms and psyches contained. By unleashing communal and caste divides!
Nah, no full-fledged pogrom or rioting will take place, because that would rob the Right-wing government the opportunity to hoodwink the masses with those stale one-liners on the so called good governance day: See, how well we are containing all possible creatures from all possible castes and communities!
There's fear and scare in the minority communities, of the state machinery and also of those private brigades. Didn't we all get glimpses of those un-nerving shots of severe violence when during the anti- CAA protests, the police force unleashed brutalities on unarmed protestors…it got difficult to even view those disturbing shots of policemen barging into homes, attacking and assaulting. Targeting even the places of worship — the Masjids.
What baffles political commentators is the fact that though there were serious criminal cases against several so called top politicians yet they continue to rule. Not a squeak in terms of revolt or outcry against their appointments. Fragile we have been rendered…seeing the decay and hopelessness spreading out.