Kairana Backfired but RSS and BJP Adamant to Carry Forward Communal Polarisation in Uttar Pradesh
(This article was first published in June 2016 in the previous version of People’s Review. Due to an incident of hacking the old website was pulled down and we could only restore the old articles in this section)
As the election season in Uttar Pradesh sets in, it is high time for the Hindutva brigade led by the RSS to reap the yields of communal polarisation and to attract the Dalits and lower caste Hindus within its fold by fear mongering. The primary issue of Uttar Pradesh elections for the BJP is to regain power in a state that helped it become a national party during the volatile Ram Mandir campaign of the party, during which its top leaders like Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Rajnath Singh, and others spewed the venom of anti-Muslim hatred among its traditional vote bank of upper caste Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Baniyas. The combined strength of these savarna castes seems to be with the BJP, thanks to the extensive propaganda and communal flare up work done by the RSS workers since 2012 at the grassroots of the province. To bring in the outcaste Dalits by luring them with a sham promise of equal treatment and to woo the backward and lower castes of the Hindu society, the BJP has resorted to fear mongering by using the “Muslim terror” issue. This time, the focal point of the primary stage of the campaigning is Kairana, a small town in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district. Following directions from Nagpur, the entire rank and file of the RSS along with the BJP leaders have suddenly hyped the issue of the unknown town on a national scale.
Hukum Singh, a notorious BJP leader and an accused of the Muzaffarnagar anti-Muslim pogrom, alleged that the Hindu community has gone for an exodus from Kairana due to persecution by the Muslims, who are in the majority there. This allegation came up when Hukum Singh compiled a list of 346 families that left the town in a period of few months. When investigated by different news agencies, it was found that the people left the town due to economic reason, a cause that is fuelling a nationwide migration to metro and tier I cities from the small towns. Many of these families have been out of the town since decades and much more went around 2011 for jobs and other economic interests. As more and more news reporting from the ground zero refuted the claims made by Hukum Singh and his followers, the tainted BJP leader did a volte face and claimed that not all migrations happened due to “Hindu-Muslim tension” but mostly for “law and order problem”. Manoeuvering cunningly, this RSS stalwart whose introduction on the Muzaffarnagar government portal is placed with the most rudimentary English, blamed the BJP workers for the faux pas.
Since this allegation surfaced from one of the most infamous characters in the UP politics, it was found that the entire team of the RSS and BJP supporters working online and offline for the poll fortune of the saffron party – took up the issue and blew it out of proportion to create a communally charged atmosphere that will help them reap the benefits of the polarisation in the ballot boxes. The party leaders including Amit Shah joined the chorus and the toady news channels like Zee News, fuelled the fire to make the picture bigger – without caring to do an investigation like other media houses. This flawed and now retracted information of Hukum Singh provided fodder to the cow brigade of the RSS during the BJP national meet at Allahabad, where Narendra Modi-Amit Shah spewed the communal hatred with a duet.
Though the initial story of Kairana Hindu exodus is now retracted by Singh, the story of the persecution of Hindus by Muslims and their exodus is a deeply thought out psychological warfare strategy of the RSS, which the BJP is implementing. The RSS has always clung the doctrine of its founders like Hedgewar and Golwalkar, which claimed that the Muslims are a community that tends to exert dictatorship and tyrannical rule on the non-Muslim population of a land in which they are in the majority. This theory creates a fear psychosis among the Savarna Hindus, who can see a near extinction of their domination on the Hindu society and the country at large in the future in case the Muslims outnumber Hindus. Something, which can threaten the very existence of the Brahminical hegemony, religiously followed by the Brahminical Savarnas to dominate the lower castes and the ostracised Dalits using the logic of Hindu theology that promotes caste hierarchy. This fear of losing their dominant position in the ruling system makes the Savarna Hindus align with a power that promises them maintenance of the status quo and in the case of the RSS, the re-establishment of their theological tyranny.
Though this fear psychosis always brings the upper caste elite Hindus to the fold of the Hindutva politics in a socially and economically backward province like Uttar Pradesh, it fails to woo the Dalits and the lower caste Hindus whom the BJP specifically wants to win over this time to ensure a complete and comfortable majority in the state that has got the maximum number of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha seats. As depending on its traditional vote bank of upper caste Savarna Hindus like Brahmin, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas will not help the RSS-BJP to secure the state with the largest Dalit and backward caste Hindu population.
To spread the paranoia among the Dalits and the backward castes it is important for the BJP to incite the people of these communities with an incident that will force them to seek refuge in the fold of the Brahminical supremacist party rather than the traditional Dalit parties like BSP of Mayawati. Therefore, the decision makers of the BJP and its patriarch RSS are closely working with activists of different Sangh outfits to create communal tension between the Dalits and lower caste Hindus on one hand, and the Muslims on the other hand. Kairana was an initiative with a motive to scare the Dalits and the backward castes of the communally volatile Western Uttar Pradesh before the elections and hoodwink them to join the camp of the BJP.
The emergence of Mayawati as a strong contender for the throne of Lucknow is making the picture inconvenient for the incumbent Samajwadi Party, which follows a very notorious agenda of minority appeasement to help the RSS, as well as for the BJP that wants to prove itself in the Uttar Pradesh elections to project itself as the winner of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The victory of the BSP over the SP-BJP covert alliance in Uttar Pradesh could mean the another nail in the coffin of the BJP after the dismissal performance of the party in Delhi, Bihar, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry. The victory of Mayawati will also signal towards a broader alliance of Dalit-OBC and Muslim voters against the minority upper caste elite Hindutva forces. Therefore, it has become imperative for the SP and the BJP to drive a wedge among the Muslims and the Dalits to ensure that Mayawati and her alliance partners, if any, cannot derive any mileage from the anti-Brahminical and anti-Hindutva wave among the Dalits and the oppressed caste Hindus of Uttar Pradesh.
Starting with the communal riots using a Dalit pawn in Agra, followed by a Hindutva cult mob violence in Mathura, the Mahapanchayat at Dadri, and lately Kairana, the BJP and its fraternal organisations are leaving no stone unturned for polarising the Hindu community by fear mongering and through a blitzkrieg Islamophobic propaganda campaign aided by the toady media outfits like Zee and Times Now. This full-fledged coverage is able to superimpose the much-needed fear psychosis among a section of the backward and politically immature people of the state that ranks 30th among 36 states and union territories in terms of literacy. With a very small educated population, this most populated state of India is certainly working as another factory of communalism for the Sangh fraternity after their tryst in Gujarat and Assam. It is the urgent task of the democratic and progressive forces to resist and defeat Hindutva fascism in the very labour room from where it emerged nearly three decades ago. Unless the fascist forces are defeated in Uttar Pradesh the pogroms like Muzaffarnagar will keep on haunting any democratic conscience and the likes of Yogi Adityanath, Sakshi Maharaj, Niranjan Jyoti, Sangeet Som, and Hukum Singh will flourish in Indian political arena with their minuscule intellect and high level of hate mongering.
An avid reader and a merciless political analyst. When not writing then either reading something, debating something or sipping espresso with a dash of cream. Street photographer. Tweets as @la_muckraker