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Posts Tagged ‘BJP’

Indian electoral results will impact on minorities in South Asia

Posted by chimeki on June 10, 2014

saarcWith Narendra Modi’s ascendance to power in India the long feared political transformation of South Asian politics is complete. South Asia today is in the grip of majoritarianism. Most of the eight SAARC countries are governed by political parties that do not have a good record of safeguarding minorities’ rights.

Only Nepal and Bangladesh can be said to be not openly aligning with their countries’ majoritarian politics, however, the change in the biggest neighbor can drift the political pendulums of these countries too to the extreme right. A situation has emerged where there is no place in the South Asian region where the rights of its minorities are not prone to tampering. This is a dangerous phenomenon in a region as diverse as South Asia.

Like a double-edged sword, in South Asia, the Modi victory in India will work two ways. In Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka fundamentalists will get further  justification for consolidation on religious lines.

In Nepal, it will boost the morale of religious chauvinists who were feeling defeated and dejected in Republic Nepal. The BJP, in the past, had openly supported the Monarchy in Nepal hence monarchists and fundamentalists will certainly try and renew channels of communication with New Delhi. Even before Narendra Modi was sworn in , voices seeking a referendum on monarchy and the declaration of Nepal as a secular country have started making noises.

Nepal had benefitted economically during the previous BJP led NDA government, and as a corollary rightist parties and godmen had enjoyed considerable clout in Nepal. During that period the RSS affiliated Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had become hyperactive in the Himalayan country. Even after King Gyanendra suspended the Nepal government on February 1 2003, VHP supremo Ashok Singhal was instrumental in giving the coup legitimate cover. In return, Gyanendra allowed the VHP to propagate its communal agenda. At the time the government of India fully supported the VHP in Nepal.  In September that year Nepal saw the first ever communal riot in the capital city of Kathmandu after 12 Nepali nationals were killed in Iraq by Islamic militants. Religious zealots attacked mosques and properties of Muslims.

Today, Nepal is passing through a very critical time. It is writing a constitution which will guide its future actions. However, religious zealots in Nepal clearly see an opportunity in the Indian election results to place obstacles in the way of efforts to establish Nepal as a secular and democratic nation.The change has already started showing. Two days after the Indian Lok Sabha results were announced the Nepal government accepted the demand of the Pashupatinath Temple priests for 17 per cent share from the income generated by special offerings in the temple. The priests had been agitating for a month for this.

Moreover, the royalist and religious forces have considerable presence in the present Constituent Assembly. The Rashtriya Prajatantra Party – Nepal and the Rashtriya Prajatantra Party have emerged as the 4th and the 6th largest parties with 37 seats in 601 member assembly. In the last Constituent Assembly together they held only eight seats.

Under Modi, the BJP may play wise by not openly supporting the disreputable monarchy but it can certainly, like the previous NDA government, use its ‘Gandhi’ Ramdev and other RSS backed affiliations to work on that direction. Ramdev enjoys a considerable popularity amongst the monarchists in Nepal. In India his Bharat Swabhiman Trust has been working with people of Nepali origin for many years. The trust has been successful in depoliticizing the Nepalese and blunting aspirations for secularism amongst them.


(First published in the Citizen on 25 May 2014.)


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Bigotry: Shivraj Style

Posted by chimeki on October 11, 2013


Shivraj Singh Chauhan

In Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is everywhere. He is in railway stations boasting clean platforms, at bus stops priding on Bus Rapid Transits, on the hoardings across roads, and in public conveniences. There is no place in Bhopal where one can slip out of his gaze. Big Brother is Watching You!

Hardly, one steps out of Bhopal station first thing comes to notice is Shivraj Singh big boastful picture explaining one of the his numerous yojanas (schemes). Literally, he has yojanas for every section and class of society. He is taking elders on pilgrimages through Mukhyamantri Teerth Darshan Yojana (Chief Minister Pilgrimage Scheme). He is educating the girls through Ladli Laxmi Yojana and later getting them married through Mukhyamantri Kanyadaan Yojana!

You name a section and he has yojana for it. For young and educated unemployed he has created Mukhyamantri Pichada Varg Yuva Swa-rojgaar (self employment) Yojana. For those who can’t afford medical expenses he is running a Free Pathology Checkup Scheme.

A careful study will reveal that hardly any scheme with Mukhyamantri prefix is new.  All were there. He prefixed Mukhyamantri and made people celebrate them. Supporters of welfare state would not mind this, however, Shivraj’s passion for these schemes is enough to give them shivers down their skins.

Shivraj is a magician.  From Bhopal he makes everyone believe that all is well in Indore and from Indore it looks other parts of state are flourishing! A Bhopali is seen singing paeans of Gwalior and an Indori falls short of words for glorifying Jabalpur’s development!  The road in Damoh is pathetic but according to Shivraj, in one of those hoardings of course, good roads have reached everywhere in Madhya Pradesh.

Under his careful gaze, Madhya Pradesh is being transformed into a replica of some imaginative medieval Hindu state which his supporters claim existed in the place where the state stands today! His party-men want to rename Bhopal as Bhojpal on some mythical Hindu king who is said to have ruled there. Since long he has been promoting ‘Vedic’ language Sanskrit with a passion of a crusader and now intends to introduce the Gita in Urdu to madarsa students. The farce doesn’t end here. He legitimizes dowry through his Mukhyamantri Kanyadaan Yogana instead of fighting it roots and branches. All his yojanas are shrewd attempts to saffronize the whole society.

If Gujarat under Modi is a laboratory of hardline, militaristic and chauvinistic Hindutva, Madhya Pradesh under Shivraj is an exercise in saffron bigotry.


Warnings on the rocks read: couples seen together will be beaten and their procession will be taken out! (photo: V.S.)

The CM hardly utters a word on industrialization and creating employment. The young either migrate or commit suicide. Madhya Pradesh’s major four cities have the highest suicide rates in India according to National Crime Record Bureau. Jabalpur, once a flourishing industrial hub of the country, leads the chart with 572 suicides in 2012. The administration, as anywhere else, blames ‘domestic’ problems and deteriorating ‘family system’ for the rise in number.  The fact of the matter is the main cause of suicides is increasing unemployment. The anger, rising from it, either results in self destruction or is channeled or managed to fuel hatred among weaker sections of the society. In 2011, Madhya Pradesh recorded, the highest number of rape cases at 3046.

Although, Shivraj is not solely responsible for the state’s complete collapse nevertheless his indifference towards it makes him doubly dangerous. He is an emperor who plays fiddle while his state is awaiting eruption. While Nero was acting unconsciously, Shivraj does it knowingly. Nothing is there in his tenure to suggest that he is concerned about the development of the state. Only thing he seems to care is implicit indoctrination of youth with religious chauvinism and anti-minority hatred making an easy catch for the RSS. In return, the Sangh guarantees him continuous support.

Jawaharlal Nehru in his Towards Freedom wrote about Fascism that ‘their way had been to mobilize mass support for one program and then to utilize this for an entirely different purpose (365).’ This is in cruel display in the BJP ruled Madhya Pradesh. The anger of people against unemployment and deteriorating condition is being utilized for ‘an entirely different purpose’. They are trained to distrust neighboring countries, see them as enemy and if need be, be ready to attack them.

The people are also given ‘classes’ in moral policing. They bully couples where ever they get to see them. Warnings, like, ‘boys and girls if found together will be beaten’, ‘their procession will be taken out’ and of other such exemplary punishment are written everywhere couples may have chance to be together. Valentine’s Day is the most feared day for the state’s youth. The warnings are issued well in advanced in local newspaper and cable channels and couples receive harsh treatment, in full public gaze, if seen together on that day. In this Bajrang Dal ruled state the police is a mere spectator.

Shivraj’s brand of Hindutva is not less dangerous for the society. What Narendra Modi failed to do, Shivraj Singh Chouhan is doing without coming under any scrutiny what so ever. This ‘benevolent’ looking Chief Minister has made religious bigotry, national chauvinism and Fascism a ‘national mission’. Unlike his Gujarati counterpart, he has made a dangerous and medieval idea acceptable to whole society without risking to put a drop of blood on his hand.

An MP Tourism jingle suggests ‘MP Ajab Hai (MP is strange)’. It equally fits on its CM too.


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