By Pradeep Narwal:
The month of February is seemingly the favourite month for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to push its baseless agendas and the debate of ‘nationalism’ and ‘anti-nationalism’ in the society. If we trace the links between the two incidents and the impact they had on the student community, then it will be found that both signal the defeat of fascism and ‘ultra nationalism’ in this country.
Last year, on February 9, I belonged to the ‘right-wing’ side, which was not necessarily always ‘right’. This was the time when I saw the power and the might of the Sangh – from ‘police control’ to ‘media control’ and manipulating videos. We also saw how some students of JNU, namely Umar Khalid, Kanhaiya Kumar and Anirban Bhattacharya, were branded as ‘anti-nationals’ by the media and politicians who don’t even know about the concept of a ‘nation’.
I can assure you that the Sangh has a powerful propaganda machinery which has ‘created’ narratives for the last seven decades. They have even successfully portrayed Nathuram Godse as a ‘nationalist’, even though he killed the Father of the Nation. Even I was made to believe that Godse was a ‘patriot’. When even engineering graduates are made to believe the Sangh’s narratives, it is only to be expected that the illiterate masses will be easily swayed and manipulated by the Sangh’s lies.
Whether it be February 9, 2016, or February 22, 2017, we can see students taking to the roads to challenge the fascism of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). After the incident on February 9, 2016, the students of JNU, Jamia and DU questioned the narrative created by the ABVP and their ideological masters. It was at this time that I stepped down from the post of joint secretary of the ABVP.
In Ramjas College too, the ABVP unleashed brutalities on progressive students who believe in the Freedom of Speech as guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. Even more unfortunate was the response of the police and DCP Jatin Narwal (who was also involved in the JNU incident) – more so, because Jatin Narwal and I come from the same village.
I was also present in the protest march from Ramjas College to Maurice Nagar Police Station that took place on February 22, 2017. However, the students in the march were beaten with stones and lathis by ABVP goons in front of the police, while the DCP was laughing with the head of the goons, the former Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) president.
These events are all big setbacks for the Sangh, because they were defeated in the same month when they were trying to create and spread their narratives. In the aftermath of the February 9, 2016 incident, thousands of students from JNU made a human chain against them. In DU too, thousand of students took to the streets to challenge their lies and propaganda machinery. They challenged the ABVP’s model of Bharat Mata (Mother India) which is limited to vague slogans and rape threats to women.
How unfortunate is it that a daughter of a Kargil martyr gets trolled by these ‘sanghis’ and is given rape threats, when she asked for nothing more than to stop wars between countries? This isn’t surprising because we know ‘sanghis’ don’t like peace. So they stir up trouble time and again. This only highlights how the ABVP and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gather votes in the name of the army, while also giving rape threats to the family members of army personnel.
The ‘script of February’ is not only limited to students but also to the society at large. The riots that happened in Haryana in February 2016 polarised the Jats and the non-Jats. The population of Muslims in Haryana wasn’t large enough for the BJP to divide and exploit along religious lines – hence their strategy of dividing the state along lines of caste.
Today, whether it’s Umar Khalid or any other student, they will be painted ‘black’ if they don’t accept the ‘saffron’ colour. Yes, we are all ‘anti-nationals’ because we question the death of innocent Kashmiris, the killing of Rohith Vemula and the policemen in Bastar who are killing innocent adivasis and dalits and threatening to put chillies in their vaginas.
Yes, we are ‘anti-national’ because we are against your Hindu Rashtra (Hindu Nation) model and because we believe in the ‘secular ethos’ of our Constitution.