The country is blazing in yet another outburst of communal inferno, literally and figuratively. Politically conscious, soon to be branded anti-national citizens have taken to the streets demanding the draconian law be removed. The violence meted out to the protesters may be a mild indicator of the violence awaiting the future non-citizens of this secular democratic country.
Every section of the citizenry is savouring their last few years perhaps, even months of freedom of speech, only to be repressed by unwarranted state power. Since the introduction of the CAB in the Lok Sabha, the IT cell of the country’s ruling party had released its army of trolls upon every dissident. The amount of vitriol has only increased with the passing of the bill as protests gained momentum.
Social justice warriors, more often than not inadequately informed of the real motive behind these recent legislations (CAA and NRC) were seen misdirecting their criticism. This coupled with the ruling party’s propaganda manufacturing machine has succeeded in keeping the apolitical citizens in the dark. An accurate reading of history of the ruling party’s ideological parent organisation alone suffices to understand where our country is headed.
Their patrons have explicitly stated that the ultimate aim is in fact Hindu Rashtra, “the nation belongs to the Hindus and the rest must conform.” Since the landslide win in this year’s general election, the party has been treading with ease and pushing forward its communal agenda. In its maniacal pursuit of establishing a Hindu Rashtra, the government is extolling hatred and spewing venom. Their prey? Peaceful protesters.
The CAB (now CAA) was never really a benevolent gesture, the government doesn’t give a damn about the persecuted minorities in reality. The dangerous combination of CAA and nation-wide NRC furthers the RSS’s agenda of establishing a Hindu Rashtra.
The exclusion of Muslims in the CAB was not a typographical error or a chance mistake. The very fact that a democratically elected government had the audacity to release a bill that is unconstitutional points to a terrorising truth – a genocide is in the offing. The process has begun. One needs to look no further than Nazi Germany to sense the signs.
The Nuremberg Laws systemically excluded, ghettoised and annihilated non-Aryans. A charismatic leader, powerful propaganda minister, shunning of democratic values and an unjustified mania for oneness characterised Nazi Germany. The similarities are hard not to notice.
Every piece of legislation that has been stealthily passed in the midnight hours were carefully crafted steps to shun the Muslims to second class status. The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act that targeted individuals rather than organisations, the Triple Talaq Act, that selectively punished Muslim men more for abandoning their marriages, the abrogation of Article 370, apparently to avenge the Kashmiri Pandits exodus, the list goes on.
The CAA is no different. The lettering of the legislation itself is anti-Muslim. The government’s logic is that the religious minorities in neighbouring theocratic nations alone suffer under persecution. The persecution of the Ahmadiyyas in Pakistan, the Hazaras in Afghanistan, the Rohingyas in Myanmar, the Uighurs in China are all well documented.
Yet the government’s decision to provide a religion based selective amnesty itself proves its anti-secular character. What needs our attention is not the fact that Christians, Jains and Sikhs have been included in the CAA, but that the Muslims have been excluded.
The government through these legislations, seeks to remove the concept of secularism from the Constitution altogether. Here, it is essential to consider the Nazi example once again. Under Hitler, nothing the Nazis did were unconstitutional, the Nazi regime saw to that by changing the constitution fundamentally. Every act of notoriety had legal sanction.
The RSS had since its inception rejected the Indian Constitution, calling it anti-Hindu. In a paper titled ‘Vartaman Indian Samvidhan,’ (translates to ‘the Indian Constitution, presently’) the Indian Constitution is accused of being contrary to the country’s culture, character, circumstances, etc. and ‘foreign oriented.’
The writer goes on to say “…it has to be discarded completely as a matter of priority…. the damage done by 100 long years of British rule is negligible compared to the harm done by our Constitution.” A democratically elected Prime Minister who was a former pracharak (promoter) of the RSS that brought him up will definitely not think twice before introducing an unconstitutional bill in the parliament, surely?
Murli Manohar Joshi, a former BJP MP of Kanpur had said in 1991, “I say that all Indian Muslims are Mohammadiya Hindus, all Indian Christians are Christi Hindus. They are Hindus who have adopted Christianity and Islam as their religion. Thus neither are acceptable with distinct identities of their own. They must be Hinduised.”
BJP representatives participating in news channel debates have repeatedly hinted at the chance of establishing a Uniform Civil Code, based on the RSS ideology of “Ek Vidhaan, Ek Nishan” (one structure, one symbol) in the country. The fate awaiting the non-Hindus of the nation that the CAA has avowed to protect is hence, clear. The Sanatan Dharma will soon be guiding ideology and the Bhagwa Dhwaj (saffron flag) the national flag.
Even when the act was still a bill, the northeast had come out in strong opposition against the bill, as the CAA combined with NRC is completely opposed to the ethos of the Assam Accord of 1985.
In 1985, the Assam Accord was signed by the All Assam Students’ Union, the Asom Gana Parishad, the central and state government. This was done to bring an end to the 6-year-long anti-foreign agitations that rocked the state and came to be known as the Assam Fury after the 1971 partition.
Now, the anti-foreign sentiments of the indigenous Assamese can only be understood in the context of colonialism. The middle class Bengali immigrants in the colonial times were largely seen as usurpers that domineered over the tribal population and even tried to impose their language upon them. Bengali was even made their official language and the medium of instruction in schools in 1837. This came at a time when the Assamese had already been ousted from state power by usurping Sylheti Bengalis (Sylhet is a district of present day Bangladesh).
There was always a visible class divide between western educated Sylheti Bengalis and the local Assamese. “They never treated themselves as immigrants and assumed an air of superiority..” (The Northeast Question Conflict and Frontiers). Moreover, given Assam’s precarious geographic position and the frequent incidence of floods, the state had limited resources or economic opportunities. Scope for industrialisation has always been minimal in Assam due to these reasons.
The ethnic nationalism in Assam needs to be seen with these facts in mind.
Despite the reassurances, no underprivileged citizen needs to accept compassion under a communal regime. Taking the very basic example of the CAA-NRC combination, any erstwhile citizen of the nation may be named a non-citizen and stripped of their rights if they do not possess documents to prove their citizenship. The underprivileged, homeless, lower class citizens will hence bear the brunt of this legislation irrespective of religion.
Though the CAA can theoretically help one apply for brand new citizenship, the process is cumbersome. They will first have to prove that they are actually, say for example, a Bengali Hindu immigrant who lied about their citizenship earlier and then reapply to be considered as a victim of religious persecution in Bangladesh and expect mercy.
Those that don’t qualify may be stripped of all their rights and deported to detention centres, which by the way, are strikingly similar to the Nazi regime’s concentration camps.
To conclude, the legislation is not just anti-Muslim, anti-secular, anti-Assamese but also obviously, anti-poor. Hindutva does not believe in equality before law and borrows profusely from the Manusmriti, which established the chatur varna (four varnas, in other words, caste) system. Hence, the nature of this soon to be established Hindu Rashtra should come as no surprise.
News of state-sanctioned violence is dominating every form of media and yet, if your privilege prevents you from having an opinion and being political, know that you brought impending disaster upon yourself. Remember Niemoeller’s immortal words:
“First they came for the Communists,
I said nothing for I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
I said nothing for I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
I said nothing for I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me
And there was nobody left to stand up for me.”
Savarkar’s vision of establishing a Hindu Rashtra in 100 years is nearing completion and remember: you helped by remaining silent.