Upper Caste Marxism is Dead; The Right-wing Loses its Fascist Teeth

For a so called working class party that refuses to see caste as the clearest marker of social hierarchy in India and which still allows itself to be led by the "enlightened" upper castes, this day had to come. CPM in its current version is very unlikely to come back to power in either Tripura or Bengal in a long time to come. Kerala's left has at least been attempting to reinvent itself. Its previous Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan and its current CM Pinarayi Vijayan represent the Bahujan community. However, its intervention or lack of it in the recent Vadayampady temple wall issue still shows its inability to see Dalit resistance as the most authentic form of working class protest.

As for BJP's victory in Nagaland and near victory in Meghalaya, with its clever alliance with regional parties, we need to read it as its attempt to shed its own fascist teeth. Almost all of the candidates who won from the BJP coalition in the beef eating states of Nagaland and Meghalaya are Christians. What does this show? Yes, the BJP will continue to play its communal politics as and when it can. But with more and more members from the minority communities representing the party from places where the national minorities are regional majorities, they won't be able to embarrass themselves beyond a point. No temple politics. No beef politics. Not in the North East. And if you play too much beef or temple politics elsewhere, it will have its repercussions in these "friendly" states as well.

But this doesn't settle the Muslim question, since it is this very question that defines the core essence of BJP's Hindutva. The inconvenient fact though is that there are millions of Indian Hindus who live in rich Muslim dominated Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia. Our neoliberal economy does not leave us with an option but to have friendly relations with these Islamic countries. NaMo's pragmatic self now realises this, and Hindutvva or no Hindutva, he enjoys the idea of being in power and all the adulation that comes with it. We need to read his tweet on March 1 in this context: "Islamic culture is flourishing across India. The influence of Sufism spreads the message of love, peace and brotherhood. The Government of India is leaving no stone unturned in empowering the Muslim youth. We want them to have the Quran in one hand and a computer in the other." Clearly, the RSS, the VHP and the many bhakts of the sangh resent this kind of uttering. We know NaMo doesn't believe a word of what he tweeted, but then again his intense love for power is capable of overshadowing his own ideological convictions.

If the Sangh is clear on its fascist agenda, the current game of BJP doesn't suit it well. But if they want to become a national party in the 21st century just like Congress in the 20th, then there will be nothing much to differentiate themselves from Congress: neo-liberal economic agenda, "development" politics, "welfare" schemes, alliances with regional parties, accommodation of minorities (without letting go of the majoritarian grip), etc. On this count, the only thing to guard is the sanctity of the Constitution of India. As long as the Constitution survives, fascism cannot win.

But all of that is status quo. The change when it comes will be reminiscent of the concern Ambedkar expressed in his last speech to the Constituent Assembly on November 25, 1949: "In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognising the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value. How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously built up."

Article courtesy : Anil Mammen