Signs of our times : “Modi”fied India

Around India’s 71st Independence Day, there have been many ominous signs of our times. Can we read the writing on the wall?

Governments Callous To Dying Indians

In the week towards 15 August 2017, more than 70 babies died in a Gorakhpur hospital – their lives choked out by Governments at the Centre and Uttar Pradesh that are more obsessed with proving Muslims to be unpatriotic than caring to ensure oxygen for children in hospitals. UP Ministers claimed that ‘babies die in August.’

Chief Minister of UP Yogi Adityanath, as MP of Gorakhpur for two decades did nothing to ensure basic infrastructure for the Government hospital. His Government – and he personally as CM – ignored repeated letters from the hospital seeking payment of dues to the oxygen vendor. But Yogi nevertheless felt no shame or lack of propriety in ordering Janmashtami celebrations (celebrating the birth of baby Krishna after Kansa had babies killed) all over the state after the deaths of so many babies.

Meanwhile three more men died in India’s national capital, losing their lives while cleaning sewers. They were contract workers – not acknowledged officially as workers so that the Government of India can maintain the Swacch Bharat fiction that manual scavenging has been eradicated and sewers cleaned out by machines not men.

In Assam, the workers of the Bargaon tea garden in Sonitpur have been protesting a month-long illegal lockout by the management for demanding payment of firewood dues and provision of an ambulance. On Independence Day, the workers – stripped to the waist to highlight their state of poverty, malnutrition and oppression even 70 years after Independence – hoisted the national flag. The BJP Government of Assam promptly booked the workers for “disrespect of the national flag”! In Modi and BJP-ruled India, it is perhaps a crime for the poor to hoist the national flag.

“Tests” Of Patriotism: Only for Others NOT for RSS

Adityanath ordered all madarsas in UP to unfurl the national flag and sing the national anthem, and submit a video recording of the celebration to minority welfare officers! Such moves are nothing but at attempt to humiliate India’s minorities by branding their patriotism as permanently suspect and requiring of surveillance.

But the RSS itself declared at the time of Independence that three was an inauspicious colour and that Hindus would never accept the tricolor. Just on the eve of independence on 14 Aug 1947, RSS official mouthpiece Organiser  wrote: “The people who have come to power by the kick of fate may give in our hands the Tricolour but it will never be respected and owned by Hindus. The word three is in itself an evil and a flag having three colours will certainly produce a very bad psychological effect and is injurious to a country.”

Not only did RSS hate the tricolour way back in 1947 – the RSS did not fly the tricolour in its own Nagpur HQ till 2001, and even filed cases against three youths of the Rashtrapremi Yuva Dal for hoisting the tricolour in the RSS HQ on 26 January 2001! The three youths were acquitted in that case in 2013. Only after this incident did the RSS start hoisting the tricolour in its HQs, to pre-empt possible questions about their commitment to India.   (http://thewirehindi.com/15834/indian-independence-and-rss/).

Saffronisation and “Core Ideology”

The Prime Minister Modi, stung by outgoing VP Hamid Ansari’s observation that Muslims in India are insecure, taunted Ansari, suggesting that he would be relieved to be now free to follow his core ideology. What should worry every democratic Indian is that Modi and his colleagures share the “core ideology” of fascism: communal fascism inspired by the German Nazis and Italian fascists.

Meanwhile in Assam, students are protesting the BJP Government’s move to name no less than 22 colleges after Sangh ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay – a figure who had nothing to do with Assam’s own history, legacy, and heritage. And Modi and Sarabananda Sonowal, who sought to Hinduise and colonise a river with the slogan of Namami Brahmaputra, are doing nothing about one of the worst floods ever in Assam’s history. Flood-ravaged Assam and Bihar are suffering – with Governments at the Centre and states more interested in saffronising than in helping the flood affected people.

Emergency by Other Means : Shockingly the Prasar Bharti told Tripura CM Manik Sarkar to “reshape” his speech to make it fit for broadcasting on DD! Comrade Manik Sarkar had spoken of the countrywide threat to secularism and the attempt to divide the country on communal lines – Modi Government-controlled Prasar Bharti censored this timely message. It seems that only ‘lapdog media’ is allowed – critical voices are being gagged, be they the EPW editor, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen or the elected CM of Tripura.

Promise of Jobs Turns Out To Be Another Jumla

Modi came to power with grand promises of 1 crore/2 crore jobs per year! Now that promise too has been admitted by Amit Shah to be a piece of empty rhetoric, a mere ‘jumla’ – the headlines from various papers below tell their own story: with actual jobs falling steeply in Modi rule, BJP Governments are now trying to accommodate the jobless in mobs of ‘Gau Rakshaks’! But Indian youth demand jobs not mobs.

India on Sale:  . Chief of NITI Ayog has given an open call to hand over our schools, universities, health, airways, railway, metro services created through public money for private corporate profit. Modi apologists like Chetan Bhagat as well as Union Minister Gadkari are even shameless enough to use the Gorakhpur hospital massacre of children to argue that Governments should hand over hospitals to private profiteers! The truth is that private profiteers kill the poor patients anyway – by using steep charges to exclude the poor from the ambit of healthcare. It is the Government’s job to ensure the best education, healthcare and transport facilities for the 80% Indians that are poor and deprived.

Big Bank Loan Scam: Even as the Government claims to lack funds for health and education the govt eagerly writes off lakhs of crores of loans due from super rich corporate. The bad loan write-off in last 4 years is Rs. 2.35 lakh crore far exceeding Rs. 1.76 lakh cr. 2G Scam!

Doublespeak Unlimited

The RSS tries to incite Indians to boycott Chinese goods in the name of patriotism. But the fact is that such jingoism is merely a way to divert attention away from the real failures of the Modi Government to keep its own Acche Din promises. The hollowness of the Sanghi rhetoric against Chinese goods is proved by the double standards of the Modi Government itself. If it is unpatriotic to do business with China, why are Modi’s pet corporate Adani, Reliance Jio and PayTM and even BJP run Maharashtra Govt.’s Nagpur Metro are tying up with Chinese corporates?

The Sanghi ‘Gau Rakshaks’ kill Muslims and attack Dalits in the name of saving cows. But their own claims of saving cows are plain lies: in Government-run Gaushalas in BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh 200 cows or more have starved to death and more are starving; in Rajasthan also more than 8000 cows have died in a Government run Hingonia Gaushala between January-July 2016 alone!

The RSS and BJP don’t care for cows, just as they don’t care for women: “saving” cows and women for them are mere pretexts to unleash mob lynching and riots.

Let’s resolve this August to intensify the struggle against the RSS-led fascism in India, and to struggle for an India of Bhagat Singh’s, Ambedkar’s and Savitri Bai’s dreams – an India where every citizen can be truly free and live a life of dignity.

See More : Fighting Patriarchy: Interrogating ‘Commonsense’,

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