We are living in most unfortunate times in the history when such things may take place before our eyes, which could hardly have been imagined in other times. The Sangh Parivar – the RSS, BJP, VHP etc., who not only opposed our glorious freedom movement, but openly sided with the British Government against the freedom fighters, assisting it in the repression of fighters, are commanding a majority in Parliament, thanks to the cooperation of the centrists, and now are in league with some other parties of the centrist opposition like the Cong (I), SP, RJD etc. and are bent upon defeating Capt. Lakshmi Sahgal, the veteran freedom fighter who took a gun on her shoulder and joined the Indian National Army of Subhash Chandra Bose, as its first woman commander to end British rule in India, in the contest for the highest office of President of India.
The fascists and centrists have fielded their joint candidate Abdul Kalam, and are shamelessly attempting to make a comparison between the two, in order to justify their opposition to Lakshmi Sahgal. Abdul Kalam is being presented as a symbol representing that variety of ‘pop-patriotism’ which these fascists have nurtured zealously for decades. This variety, best reflected in the concept of ‘Hindu Rashtra’ of the RSS brand, is identified with jingoism, war frenzy, military might, and weapons of mass destruction (missiles! for example) on the fronts, and in the rear with bullets, batons, jails and stringent laws. Obviously, in the fascist system of thought those bureaucrats/ technocrats who have command and control over this machine of guns, bullets, missiles, batons, jails and black laws are conceived of as the only patriots. The fascist yardstick to adjudge the ‘patriotism’ is how effectively (ruthlessly!) one can use (misuse!) this machine against the enemy as well as against its own people. Narendra Modi is a ‘patriot’ because he carried out the genocide of the minorities in Gujarat, and similarly Abdul Kalam is a ‘patriot’ because he contributed to the development of missile system – a system of mass destruction. Measuring by this yardstick of rabid patriotism, our fascists possess hate and contempt towards those fighters like Lakshmi Sahgal, who fought for real ideals and the goals of freedom and democracy against the imperial machine of guns, bullets, batons and black laws.
The ‘consensus’ is nothing but a conspiracy to defeat the symbol of the revolutionary legacy of the pre independence era.
Lakshmi Sahgal represents that legacy of pre independence era where we fought, as one people, against the anti-people regime of the British Imperialists, for a free, democratic and egalitarian India. Their hatred for Lakshmi Sahgal and their wish to defeat her at any cost is in fact their contempt towards that revolutionary legacy, because it reminds us all that the rule of guns, batons, bullets and black laws has not only continued but has become more repressive and stringent day by day after independence and that the much propagated missiles are nothing but the continuation of this rule on the borders. In their hatred of the revolutionary legacy, the fascists are not alone. Almost all major centrist parties are siding with them on this issue. The consensus arrived at among the fascists and centrists is the consensus in connivance with each other to ensure the defeat of a legacy, a movement, a culture and a thought. It is not correct to say that these parties have established a consensus for Abdul Kalam, because Abdul Kalam was selected after these parties decided to put up a consensus candidate, rather Abdul Kalam himself is choice of this consensus.
Missiles and jingoism have nothing in common with the idea of Indian nationalism. While propagating Abdul Kalam as the ‘father of the missile programme’ and thus a ‘patriot’ and ‘nationalist’, both the fascists and centrists forget that these missiles and jingoism have nothing in common with the Indian nationalism as was conceived by those who fought for real freedom and democracy. Jingoism is the ‘pop-patriotism’ nurtured by those who had opposed the freedom movement. The Sangh Parivar, led by the RSS, which had been notorious in assisting the British Government against the revolutionary fighters like Lakshmi Sahgal and thousands others, are propping up this variety of patriotism which identifies itself with missiles. The ideas and culture which inspired the freedom fighters like Lakshmi Sahgal are in fact squarely opposed to the concept of missiles and jingoism and the cowardly dream of ‘Hindu Rashtra’ propagated by fascists.
Kalam has no vision and mission except nuclear might
At a time, when this country is haunted by the monsters of communalism and corruption Kalam has no vision or programme to overcome them. The only programme he has is to make India a nuclear power. This vision of Kalam perfectly coincides with the vision of our fascists of ‘Hindu Rashtra’ with a nuclear deterrent to be used to intimidate its neighbours. This has made Kalam a perfect choice for our fascists. One would wonder as to why and how a nuclear scientific administrator, who had nothing to do with the polity of a country till date, has been fielded for the post of President of India? Everybody knows and even according to the media propaganda, Abdul Kalam has no other vision for India except that it should become a great nuclear power. This country which even officially owes its freedom, its democracy to the Gandhian vision and philosophy, how can it accept a person as its first citizen who openly declares that his only commitment is to make India a nuclear power? How can a country which had felt proud in posing as a pioneer of peace, which had declared itself to be one of the greatest democracies in the world would accept the person as its first citizen, whose mission is nothing but a clear military misadventure? Has this misadventure anything to do with ‘nationalism’, if one is not misled by the ‘nationalism’ of the fascist variety? What ‘nationalism’ can one find in the development of weapons of mass destruction which would result in the killing and maiming of millions and would generate an arms race in the region?
The candidature of Abdul Kalam shows the bankruptcy of the politics of fascists and centrists.
Abdul Kalam is not a scientist rather a scientific administrator. He heads the research organisation DRDO which developed the missile programme. Kalam has been fielded as a candidate for the office of president after none from the political arena could could be named for the same. The office of President of India, is the top political office and the inability of the rightists and centrists put together to bring forward even a single name from the political arena clearly demonstrates their political bankruptcy. By nominating a technocrat who does not know even the a,b,c of politics, both the rightists and centrists have exposed their bankruptcy. In fact, in the past years of the rule of these political parties, the vast majority of their leaders have been involved in one or the other scams or other misdeeds and none could be found to be trustworthy to maintain the ‘dignity’ of the top political office. This mistrust of the corrupt and incompetent political leadership, has led the rightists and centrists to both opt for a non-political personality in Abdul Kalam.
While Lakshmi Sahgal is known for her role as the first woman and a Captain in the Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj) and leader of the Rani Jhansi Regiment, organised by Subhash Chandra Bose, Abdul Kalam finds favour with the RSS and its allies holding the reigns of power, for his alleged role in visualising and developing the missile programme in this country. While Lakshmi Sahgal represents the finest and shining traditions of our freedom struggle, Abdul Kalam, the man of missiles, can be identified only by his striving for a personal career. While Lakshmi Sahgal is credited with armed opposition to the imperial rulers, Abdul Kalam is known for his pitiful acts and thoughts to appease the present day rulers. Lakshmi Sahgal, a graduate in medicine of those times, sacrificed her personal career, to take up arms against the British regime, while Kalam came to defence research after his failure in making a career in the Air Force. One cannot fail to mark the stark difference between the commitments and preferences of the two.
The media run by the big money bags and dominated by the fascists, has been carrying out fictitious propaganda in favour of Abdul Kalam. But it has failed to point out any remarkable deed of Abdul Kalam even in post independence India. What goes to the credit of Abdul Kalam? Only that he had been engaged for decades in making his career! None has been able to point out anything to show that this man has sacrificed anything for the country. As far as his dedication to scientific research is concerned that is clear from the fact that Abdul Kalam has grabbed the first opportunity to abandon his research work in science for a political election. Not only is he enthusiastic for political office while abandoning his research work, he has shown by his deeds that he is ready to go to any extent for that. To appease the Hindu fascists, who are in practical control of the reins of power at the centre, he is quoted by the press to have said that he is a ‘Rambhakt’ (a disciple of Lord Rama). His childish vision of making India a nuclear power coincides with that of the fascists who know no better vision of India other than that of complete Militarism.
Abdul Kalam is a model Muslim of RSS choice.
One wonders as to how the RSS which is avowed enemy of the minority community and especially of the muslims has put its strength behind Kalam? In fact, Kalam is one of those few who share the view of the Sangh Parivar that Indian muslims should subject themselves to the majority hindu community and in the process should lose their separate religious identity. This means that the muslims should lose their separate identity and assume their status in the ‘Hindu Rashtra’ as second grade citizens. That is why Abdul Kalam says he is a ‘Ram Bhakt’. By ‘Ram Bhakt’ he doesn’t mean in fact a disciple of Rama, but one who shares the views and thoughts of the saffron brigade of ‘Hindu Rashtra’. It is with this mindset that Kalam has become a choice for the office of President of India. This explains why the Sangh Parivar, which otherwise is bent upon eliminating the non-hindu communities and especially the muslims, has agreed to the candidature of Kalam.
Where were those who field Abdul Kalam in the freedom struggle?
It is also not out of place to mention that none of the NDA partners, their leaders, including those in the BJP, SP, TDP have any background in the freedom struggle of this country. Rather the fascist organizations like RSS who control the parties like BJP had played a dubious role during the freedom struggle. It was Hedgewar, the founder of the RSS who instructed his cadre that they should not involve themselves in activities which may annoy the British Government. Savarkar many times had given apologies and assurances to the British government. The Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mukherjee wrote to the Governor of Bengal on how to suppress the Quit India Movement led by Gandhiji. Even after 1947 the RSS chief Golvalkar had repeatedly said that British rule was better than independence. RSS leaders have often made contemptuous remarks about the freedom struggle and about those participating in that struggle.Their opposition to Lakshmi Sahgal speaks of their contempt for the ideals and values of our great freedom struggle in which countless sacrifices have been made by thousands of our people like Lakshmi Sahgal. These ‘pop-patriots’ who are opposing Lakshmi Sahgal today, cannot tell where they were when Lakshmi Sahgal and thousands like her had taken part in the struggle against British rule.
On 18th May, 2002, Prime Minister visits Kupwara Sector, addresses a meeting of Army personnel, asks them to prepare themselves for utmost sacrifices in the impending border conflict with Pakistan. The very next day the Prime Minister goes for a week’s pleasure trip to Manali.
The aforesaid is sufficient to make clear the true colour of war frenzy—sacrifices for the many and pleasure trips for a few. Truly, the Prime Minister has never said that he or his cabinet colleagues were ready to ‘sacrifice’ anything, rather he had called upon the Army personnel to be prepared for any sacrifice.
Earlier also the same Prime Minister had called on the Army personnel to make sacrifices in the Kargil conflict and it later came to light that after the ‘sacrifices’ were made by the Army personnel in Kargil, the Ministers of this very Government received bribes and commissions in the purchase of coffins for those who ‘sacrificed’ themselves.
A full scale war with Pakistan, in which the backbone of Pakistan could be broken, is a long cherished dream of the Sangh Parivar, which presently holds the reins of power at the centre for all practical purposes. Belts were tightened, but when the masters in the government looked towards the U.S. for the green signal, the same was declined and in this way dreams came to be shattered.
The entire episode demonstrated beyond any doubt that the U.S. has a decisive role in determining affairs in this region in the home and foreign policies of the governments. The policies of the governments are formulated with U.S. interventions and their decisions await signals from the U.S. masters before they are implemented.
The foreign policy of the present government cannot be seen in isolation from its home policy. These are the same ‘patriots’ who recently have carried out a full scale state genocide in Gujarat including the murder of children and the mass rape of women. They have pursued a consistent policy of fascism against the minority communities inside the country. These ‘patriots’ have thrown open the gates to the big international capitalist corporations and are trying to destroy the last vestiges of the public sector, selling the same to individual capitalist concerns, mainly foreign multinational companies. Led by these ‘patriots’ the political regime has more and more sunk to the depths of corruption, while the cost of living for the common man has gone sky high. How can people ever forget that these are the same ‘patriots’ who received commissions even in the purchase of the coffins for those ‘sacrificed’ in the Kargil conflict. Can people forget that the masters in the Sangh Parivar including their political party BJP are the same ‘patriots’ who were exposed by tehelka.com for receiving commissions in purchases of military equipment.
These ‘patriots’ call upon the people to be prepared for ‘sacrifice’ so that their rule con be maintained. We should never forget that this war frenzy is nothing but the continuation of the same policy – genocide at home against the minorities and jingoism at the borders.
This is what the parties in power are doing and finding full support from the bourgeois opposition, but what are our ‘left’ bravados doing? Nothing different from the former! The stand of our ‘left’ becomes clear from a leading and official article published in People’s Democracy in its issue no.20, 20-26 May 2002, ‘WAR IS NO SOLUTION’ written by none else than the General Secretary of the CPI(M), Harkishan Singh Surjeet. In this write-up Pakistan and its dictatorial regime have been severely criticised while the Indian rulers have been depicted as representing a peace loving democracy and, lastly the Indian Government has been advised to show patience in front of such ‘misdeeds’ of Pakistan. Appreciating the caution shown by the Indian rulers, the article says ‘ The situation demands more, not less, caution on part of Government of India’.
On the Kashmir issue, the article clearly criticises the stance of Pakistan, without saying any word about the stance of the Indian rulers. Tracing the history of Pakistan’s polity, the country is projected as a religious dictatorship in the grip of the Army, but not even a single word is murmured about the Indian polity which has fallen prey to communal fascism, and which has a vested interest in keeping the situation blazing on the borders while carrying out the cleansing campaign against the minorities in its own land. But the article does not say anything regarding the interrelation of the foreign and domestic policy of this Government. Though the border conflict has taken place right in the aftermath of the Gujarat carnage the article sees the issue in isolation from the domestic policy of Indian rulers. It does not criticize the jingoism displayed by the Indian rulers. Even in relation to the provocative statements made by the leaders of Sangh Parivar, including the BJP, especially those in top positions in the Government, including the Prime Minister himself, the article says that such statements have been made by the second line BJP leaders, Thereby deliberately exonerating the first line leadership. It says ‘though the top leaders of Government of India have so far avoided making any such statement…’
The article mischievously identifies the U.S. with Pakistan, as if in contraposition to India, falsifying the true position that the present leadership in both the countries are handmaids of U.S. imperialism. It suggests to the Indian government: ‘The situation demands deft handling with mature statesmanship’. With the golden hopes and expectations of ‘mature’ statesmanship from the present Indian rulers, the article assures the Indian rulers that the CPI(M) has already taken a position that falls in line with their own. Discussing the claim of Pakistan over Kashmir, it says: ‘we have already dealt with the falsity of this claim in these columns’. Finding all defects with the political regime in Pakistan, the article comes to advise the Indian rulers that ‘The war is no solution’.
Going through the article, one comes to an inescapable conclusion that the reformist left has already taken a definite position to support its own bourgeoisie in cross border conflicts. This position has everything in common with the stance adopted by the traitors of the Second International who ultimately deceiving the interests of international unity of working class, had openly and shamefully sided with their bourgeois governments, and thus brought disrepute to the revolutionary movement. As the article clearly demonstrates the Indian reformist left has taken the ‘national chauvinist’ position and has shown its willingness in not resisting the local hegemonic designs of fascists in power.
The situation thus comes to this that the fascists fully supported by the centrists on one side and by the reformist left on the other, find no major hindrance in furthering their designs. The situation is thus not so grim on the border, as inside our own land, where power is being held by the fascists, who later or sooner are bound to show their true colours.
Neither the centrists like the Cong(I) and the S.P. nor the official left are inclined to thwart the advance of these dark forces, rather they are showing their eagerness to supporting to assist them. As long as the vast mass of working population remains under the influence of the centrists and the reformists, no effective resistance can be built against the bourgeoisie in general and the fascists in particular, who represent and serve the bare interests of present day imperialism, creating war frenzy on the borders, propagating national chauvinism, carrying out campaigns of communal hatred and genocide and preparing for the open dictatorship of the worst of its kind in history.
June 6, 2002
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