The Nation at Stake

Published on, by Badri Raina on his Z Space Page, August 01, 2010

(About Bhartiya Janata Party statement on the investigations into the Gujarat crimes).

I: As the skeletons tumble in droves out of the  house of horrors in Gujarat, right-wing Hindutva  forces  which now openly  include the  “main opposition Party” in  parliament, the BJP, is up in arms at what it suits them  to call a  Congress-inspired attack on  “patriotic Indians” … //

… II: … //  Remarkably, whereas India has laws that render discrimination on grounds of race, caste, gender, or faith criminal offences,  there are no laws that make such blatanly class-based  discrimination and calumny as perpetrated by the school circular an offence of any kind.  Whereby hangs the tale. 

“Culture” and “Development” thus are conjoint  handmaidens, ordained to cater to a 20% or so minority of Indians who self-evidently  constitute the nation and  prescribe  the true meaning of “nationalism.”

And yet, so long as there are those who are now unraveling the  house of horrors in Gujarat, and a Mani Shankar Aiyar who can fearlessly heap contempt on the self-appointed custodians of “development” all may not be lost.

Many years ago in 1859 John Stuart Mill had spoken in his celebrated essay “On Liberty” of the dangers of the “tyranny of the majority.”   Many years ago also, John Ruskin had envisaged a model of development based on village communities, cottage industry, and so on in a book like Unto This Last.

We recall that if Nehru was much taken with the first, Gandhi was to model his own economic paradigms on Ruskin.

We say then to our presiding Party structures, leave room for truth tellers like Mani Shankar Aiyar who have the integrity and the courage to critique your favoured  schemes,  and refrain from  taking recourse to the tyranny of the majority to sideline them  (as we write, any number of whistleblowers have been murdered for exposing wrongful shenanigans through their Right to Information), and recall Ruskin-Gandhi before you set upon such well-wishers of “we the people” ( in whose name you framed the Constitution of India) for rubbishing your Commonwealth Games idea.

Just as we say to the cultural fascists,  have a thought to the Constitution and the rule of law upon which you take your oath as parliamentarians and ministers, and  have the  character to admit to gruesome atrocities of the kind that your own have  perpetrated in Gujarat—or the propriety to say that you will not obstruct the course of justice through  vigilante hooliganism, brazen denial and filibustering , or smashing media houses who report on your misdeeds, and will abide by the results of court decisions when they come.

And to both we say it is time that you learnt to include and rub shoulders with, not as tactics and gimmickry but as conviction,  some 80% “other” Indians, be it as cultural entities or economic have-nots, in your definition of nation and nationalism.  Or the time is not far when they will make you do so. (full long text).

(There is nothing common to the Commonwealth; certainly not wealth).

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