Auroville Case: Justice Chinnappa Reddy’s views on religion

S.P. Mittal Etc. Etc vs Union Of India And Others
1983 AIR, 1 1983 SCR (1) 729

CHINNAPPA REDDY, J.: Everyone has a religion, or at least, a view or a window on religion, be he a bigot or simple believer, philosopher or pedestrian, atheist or agnostic. Religion, like ‘democracy’ and ‘equality’ is an elusive expression, which everyone understands according to his preconceptions. What is religion to some is pure dogma to others and what is religion to others is pure superstition to some others. Karl Marx in his contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law described religion as the ‘Opium of the people’. He said further “Basically religion is a very convenient sanctuary for bourgeois thought to flee to in times of stress.” Bertrand Russell, in his essay ‘Why I am not Christian’, said, “Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear.” It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother, who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing – fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and, therefore, it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. As a worshipper at the altar of peace, I find it difficult to reconcile myself to religion, which throughout the ages, has justified war calling it a Dharma Yuddha, a Jehad or a Crusade. I believe that by getting mixed up with religion, ethics has lost much of its point, much of its purpose and a major portion of its spontaneity.

On the Demolition of Babri Masjid and the Allahabad HC judgement (Dec 6)

Dear Friends,

6th December 1992 marked the demolition of the Babri Masjid situated at Ayodhya by Hindu communal hordes led by Hindutva leaders, while the central security forces looked on without intervening. The Central Govt. of Congress led by P.V. Narasimha Rao and the state BJP Govt. led by Kalyan Singh stood by and allowed the demolition. Narasimha Rao’s first public statement promised the country that the Govt. would rebuild the mosque; a sentence which the Central Govt. ceased to repeat in the space of just a few days. Anti-Muslim violence under the patronage of the police followed in Mumbai, where the Sri Krishna Commission report remains unimplemented till date.

Later the Supreme Court refused to answer a Presidential reference to ascertain whether any Hindu religious structure was demolished to build the Mosque. Criminal complaints filed against the Hindutva leaders for the demolition continue to lie pending before various special benches of the state High Court.

Now the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has passed a judgment which legalizes the illegal act of smuggling of idols under the central dome of the Babri Masjid which for centuries had been a functional mosque .It has condoned the act of physical demolition of the Mosque by holding that the area under the Central dome of the Mosque had all along been the birth place of Rama. Not only that the Lucknow Bench has even endorsed the VHP’s plan of a ‘grand temple’ at Ayodhya entertaining VHP functionaries as a Party and their design of ‘grand temple’ as a legally valid cause. While the religious demolition of the Babri Masjid took place in 1949, its physical demolition in 1992, this court judgment has effected its legal demolition. Worse, it has opened wide the doors to avenging missions of Hindu communalists to reverse perceived ‘wrongs’ of history targeting the minorities.

Not only this .The current High Court judgment has passed comments of far reaching significance on archeology and history with dangerous consequences regarding use of these disciplines.

The Babri Masjid demolition and the aftermath till date puts on agenda the entire question of Hindu communalism in India. Congress practices a ‘soft’ Hindu communalism while wearing the mask of secularism while the Hindutva organizations like BJP, VHP, and RSS take aggressive Hindu communal position. The communal conspiracies of the rulers divide the people’s movements and turn the focus away from the real issues before the people.

To discuss all these aspects, especially the Allahabad High Court judgment, Delhi Committee of CPI (ML) New Democracy is holding a meeting

on 6th December 2010
from 5.30 pm
at Gandhi Peace Foundation

where several distinguished speakers will place their views. We hope you will be able to spare your valuable time to attend the same.

Speakers:
Rajinder Sachar,
Prashant Bhushan, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court
Saeed Naqvi, Senior Journalist
D. Mandal, Archeologist
and others
Delhi Committee,
CPI (ML)-New Democracy

Naujawan Bharat Sabha (NBS)
Delhi Committee
Contact
Mrigank (09268708291)
Veerendra (09210186894)
Rajesh (09818834175, 09953960163)

Communalism, Business Houses, Citizenship and GUJURATE

Raju J Das

The reason for the power of saffron politics is only partly political. India’s business class is not unconnected to this. The power of saffron politics also raises troubling questions about the sense of citizenship.

Some commentators focus on the political factors behind the success of the saffron electoral-machine. One argument has been that Congress has played a ‘soft’ hindutva (for example, by giving tickets to some disgruntled members of hindutva forces as in Gujarat). Others say that Congress’ secularism has not cut much ice with the voters who fall for the communal propaganda. There is some truth in the political interpretations of electoral success of communal politics. What is neglected in these discussions – both on TV and in newspapers – is often what tends to be neglected in many discussions of India’s polity as such: the role of business. What is the possible connection between the business houses and communal politics? Are the business houses – the so-called corporate citizens – a secular force? This issue needs to be more thoroughly investigated. I can only indicate a few things.

At the national level and in the States, the business class, by ushering in the neoliberal regime, has cleared the ground for a specific kind of electoral politics. This is one which is not oriented towards development: here development is seen in the sense of development for/of the poor, a process which is not primarily based on the idea that development of the poor can happen only when the business class prospers, by the so-called trickle-down mechanism. By forcing all political parties to take the free-market approach, by forcing them to pursue neo-liberalism, India’s business class (in solidarity with its brothers/sisters in the advanced world) have contributed to the erasure of any substantive difference between them. In terms of economic policies there is practically little difference between Congress and BJP. Even, the Left parties are not further behind in terms of following neo-liberal policies. When economic policies stop being the differentiators of political parties, when all parties pursue more or less similar pro-business policies, they choose cheap identity politics to divide the electorate and win elections: hindutva, regionalism, linguistic identity, caste-ism, etc. By making jobs scarce, by making it difficult for ordinary toiling masses to earn a decent livelihood, neoliberalism creates the usual kind of jealousy and spirit of nasty competition among labouring people, which take religious (and other) form. The rise of the religious right in the last 15 years or so and the rise of corporate power under neoliberalism are not isolated from one another. Let’s now come to Gujarat more specifically, which combines religious politics and neoliberalism.

Modi & co. has used the veneer, the appearance, of a specific style of ‘development’ and has resorted tohindutva to sell his communalism agenda and to benefit his business-class mentors. The veneer of development is about, among other things, bijlisadak and pani. It is also about attracting industries and creating some jobs. It is about creating what can be called Guju-rate (the Gujurat-style rate of economic growth). Behind all this lies the fact that business houses remain attracted to Gujarat and invest there with huge subsidies from the government which increase their profit and competitive position vis a vis businesses located elsewhere. They have poured in millions of rupees in the last five years. They like Gujarat’s resources which are happily made available by its governing regime. They like Gujarat’s labour, made quiet by the decisive and strong regime – it is for nothing that Modi is seen as the CEO of Gujurat – a regime that boasts of the lowest person-days lost in labour conflict among all the States. The good business climate of Gujarat making Guju-rate possible is created by Modi’s ‘determined’ and ‘strong’ character. The business houses enjoy a cosy relation with the regime. And this happens, despite the fact that the regime is widely seen as one that was complicit in the 2002 carnage of a given section of Indian citizens on religious grounds. The idea of so-called corporate social responsibility does not worry the business houses at all. Their business is the business of doing business. If business requires doing business with a regime that is communal and fascistic, so be it. It does not matter. To the extent that the business houses have been heavily investing in the State in their own interest which the regime boasts of – whether this ‘development’ helps the rural and urban poor in any significant and economically and ecologically sustainable manner is another matter (just look at social-human indicators of development in this State) – and to the extent that the ‘development’ veneer as well as communal propaganda in the electoral campaign have helped the regime return to power, the business houses cannot be seen as unconnected to the political success of the regime.

In addition to this material ‘support’ – one must also know where Modi got the money to fight elections, who funded Modi’s communal agenda – there is also an ideological support for the man and his regime which came from business houses. Ratan Tata has said: Modi will not have to attract people to Gujarat, it will be stupid if you are not here. Anil Ambani was all praise for his Modi Bhai, whose various achievements he counts including the Narmada (as if all the fight against the Narmada by India’s civil society by Medha Patkar and others was non-sense). It is this sort of business-inspired ideological support for Modi – that is indeed used during electoral campaign – that has propped up Modi in ‘popular’ imagination. This requires a detailed analysis.

If the business forces are really for a country free from communalism, have they ever seriously considered an investment strike – at least a threat of it? A slight indication of the trouble of class politics in a State (look at what happened in West Bengal earlier) makes the business class look elsewhere. But communal politics? It can survive with it much better than class politics perhaps. In part because communal politics helps the business class divide any possible opposition to itself from the workers’ side, and because communal politics produces the sort of rightwing decisiveness that obliterates any possibility of anti-business opposition, business houses tend to enjoy a comradely relation with the communal regime.

Communalism thrives on a specific irrational politics of rejection: the idea that a person will reject his/her fellow citizens who are different from him/her in terms of religion. India’s business houses  – like global business houses that enjoyed doing business with South Africa’s erstwhile apartheid regime – do not mind doing business with a communal regime. How will the same business houses respond if the consumers start rejecting their products – a Reliance mobile or  a Tata car, for example – because they are associated with a regime which spreads hate and the politics of rejection of the religious other?

This then leads me to my second point. This is about us as ordinary citizens. What does the success of communal politics (including Modi’s electoral win) say about us as citizens? What does it say about our democracy and the institutions of the state that are supposed to protect the secular fabric of the constitution? How can a person kill someone next to her just because she may have different religious views? How can one believe in the lie created by a few people that one is worse off because of his/her religion? What has happened to our education system – indeed our whole ideological apparatus – that is no longer able to encourage citizens of different religious identities to live in peace? What is it that makes citizens believe Modi-type character when he treats every criticism of him as a criticism of an entire region/province (e.g. Gujarat)? What is it that makes one feel proud to be a citizen of a country when her fellow citizens are treated as second class citizens? What has happened to our sense of citizenship? The quality of one’s citizenship depends on how one’s fellow citizens are treated. If they are treated (and killed and tortured) as second class citizens by a state of whose citizen one is, then does one’s citizenship not stand devalued? And what can we say about the entire set of state apparatuses, including the judiciary, that has allowed the gradual process of capture of parts of the state and civil society by communal forces, the forces that live by spreading the idea of violence on religious grounds?

Let’s not be obsessed with explaining the rise of these communal forces by the failure of the Congress, the premier party of Indian business houses. Both are elements of a system, and both of them have to be explained by the dynamics of the political-economy system as such. The rise of the communal power is not merely an electoral rise. Therefore, to fight against them is not to be merely an electoral fight. The fact that the communal forces have carved out a space within our polity as such, within the state itself, and within civil society, has to be explained. In this explanation, the silent role of the business houses and changing ideological nature of the sense of our citizenship must be understood, and the business houses must be made to reconsider how they deal with communal regimes. They must be asked to take side: are they on the side of communal forces or secular forces?

Raju J Das is an Associate Professor at York University, Toronto, Canada.

Hussain From the Front Stall

Pallavi Paul

The last late night show. A forgotten, mossy single screen theatre. The burgers are too oily here and the butter stained pop corn never warm. A balding carpet which smells of people, wood, spit, chips, sugar, plastic, hands, cum. The man sitting behind me snores a musical snore, with high and low notes in place. I try to turn around and glare, but only a sleepy shiny T-shirt glares back in the darkness. In the corners some heads move involuntarily to a rhythm which bodies of lovers instinctively recognize, from other films seen in other rooms filled with blue, gauzy light.

Everyone else though is watching with rapt attention, the terribly overplayed drama of a good-hearted practising Muslim in search of a man who cannot only solve all his problems but also those of the rest of the world – the one, the only president of the United States of America! Killer story, I would say, for the ‘sensitive types’, ‘liberal’ upwardly mobile wonder lives of the PVRs, but for the last show, single screen, front-row scum? Really?

As my stomach growls, something that my best friend once said suddenly hits me, “I can’t believe how everyone just sits in a dark room and watches something in complete silence!” I begin thinking that all these people could have been anywhere, doing anything – eating dinner (it’s past eleven and I am craving food), sleeping (barely at daybreak overcrowded, rickety buses take workers to far away factories),or just simply talking! But instead they are here. Getting sucked deeper and deeper into this dream, where prices start at Rs 30 onwards.

These dreams, I realize in a flash of clarity, make the poorest sit closest to them, appearing to even larger than the promised 70mm, dreams that try to overpower and anaesthetize imaginations lest they start inventing dreams of their own, dreams in which presidents don’t matter and disability doesn’t have to be extraordinary. The rich on the other hand get to sit at a considerable distance. Distance that gives them ‘perspective’, ’judgment’, ‘taste’ and ‘understanding’. All this so they can tell ‘serious’ from ‘mass’, ‘cinema’ from ‘entertainment’.

The fun obviously is that this no fun, top down, set in stone blue print is violated left, right and centre. Those meant to be overpowered and intimidated stand up and hoot, whistle and howl, critique and love, embrace and reject, laugh and cry, do everything that disrupts the judgment of those watching from above.

These lines between front stalls and balconies which can tell the good from the bad, the desirable from the acceptable, are lines that can be used to understand most discourse about art in public spaces. Who can talk and who can’t, who can understand and who just can’t, who can attack and who must defend? In this respect the most interesting and contemporary is the debate around M.F. Hussain. Widely discussed, defended and attacked his artistic work has become one of the axes on which the tolerance of the Indian state can be graded. As Monica Juneja writes in “Reclaiming the Public Sphere: Hussain’s portrayals of Saraswati and Draupadi”:

“…the arguments and positions advanced in this debate have tended to posit a series of oppositions- between the freedom of an artist and the ‘sensibilities’ of a community, between virtue and obscenity, between an elite of the intellectuals and the ‘common man’, between a harmonious composite definition of ‘Indianess’ and a homogenizing exclusivist definition that represses all strains of cultural plurality…”

The opening of Juneja’s paper is an excellent summing up of the threads around which the ‘Hussain controversy’ has been debated since the first Right Wing tirade against him by Vichaar Mimansa which carried a piece by Om Nagpal titled ‘Ye Kasai ya Chitrakar?’(Is he an artist or a Butcher?). The title not only mobilized deeply communal stereotypes about Hussain’s religion but also played up the irreconcilable binary between the ‘intellectual’ and the ‘savage’. It derided nudity in Hussain’s paintings calling his depictions of Saraswati vulgar, demeaning and deeply offensive to ‘Hindu sensibilities’. What has followed since is violence, vandalism, name-calling, attacks on places that exhibit his work, even announcement of exorbitant premiums for anyone who came back with his severed head. After having lived in exile for more than a decade, he has finally accepted Qatari citizenship.

About his own work Hussain says,

“…I had painted Parvati sitting on Shiva’s thigh, with his hand on her breast — the first marriage in the cosmos. Nudity, in Hindu culture, is a metaphor for purity. Would I insult that which I feel so close to?“

At another point he says,

“…We are all part of a large family and when a child breaks something at home, you don’t throw him out, you try and explain things to him. Yeh aapas ka mamla hai (This is a family matter). Those opposed to my art just do not understand it. Or have never seen it.”

Those who support Hussain and his art talk of him as only a part of a larger tradition of art which uses nudity and Hindu mythology as artistic tropes. Right wing attacks on him are condemned as representing an exclusivist vision of who can or cannot be mainstreamed as a citizen, more so, be in playful engagement with the collapsible categories of religion and nationalism. His exile from India and the state’s inability to protect him in any way has been mourned as the loss of an artist whose aesthetics and politics were not meant to offend anyone; they were in fact the celebration of the creative ‘tradition’, ’secularism’ and the ‘spirit of tolerance’ of India as it were.

These are the broad markers that inform the debate. Before I begin to look at them more closely, I must admit that within it my position is that of the typical front-staller, a young student with no understanding of modern art, no idea about tones, colours, textures or the ‘essential’ markers of ‘great art’; if a comment on aesthetic merit were the reason for this intervention then this should have been my last sentence. Further, what does not help is that the artist at hand is much bigger than many 70mms put together. Internationally celebrated, widely admired and by now forever canonized.

In such sharply polarized contexts where one’s loyalties are quickly called to test, I cannot help but think how both sides of the debate apply over and over again a barely sixty year old idea of the Indian nation-state, its triumphs and failures to a consciousness which precedes it by nearly three decades. Born in 1915, Hussain must have been 32 years old at the time of the creation of the ‘Indian’ state, the cruelest reversal, for many, of the dreams of the nationalist movement. Moreover the idea of the departure from secularism as an ‘aberration’ in an otherwise ‘tolerant’ history is in itself naïve in a context where a carnival of blood spurting and mass exodus was described by Nehru as an “awakening” to “light” and “freedom”.

There must therefore be another question, another story I must look for in Hussain. This one seems over explicated, yet inadequate.

I find at the centre of the attacks on Hussain that which dictates the limits of how much a woman can be seen in public places, in representations or in reality. Where the body is the training ground of the spirit, a spirit which in turn learns to never ask any questions of its body. Sacrilege befalls when the body in question is sacred, that which ought to have all markers of the human form but none whatsoever of human desire. So when the goddess becomes just like any other bare-breasted poster girl deciding to play coy, hundreds and thousands of men rise to the challenge of playing the protective patriarch and set her right. Scholars have argued how Hussain’s depictions have come under attack as they make upper caste Hindu patriarchy uneasy. This must indeed be true of a religious and social ethos that would rather burn and kill women at their husbands’ death pyres than run the risk of having them desert ‘virtue’. But a question that glides between the oils on a coarse, white starched canvas is that whether Hindu upper caste patriarchy the only sort of patriarchy there is? Further, is the desire to cover up women and keep them in the confines of a house, the only way in which it functions?

John Berger in his delightful book Ways of Seeing writes about female nudes

“…Women are there to feed an appetite, not to have any of their own…”.

These words come back to me again and again as I see Hussain’s most attacked and by extension also the most defended work.

His depiction of Bharat Mata as a naked woman, her knees bent and hands stretched to one side to create the semblance of the map of India. From her hair rise the Himalayas, in the curves of her full-ish torso rests the Ashok Chakra from the Indian flag. Like most other patriarchal nationalists, Hussain too implicates the body of the woman within the body of the nation. The ‘nation’ must be identified and glorified through representations of its geography – its mountains and rivers, plains and plateaus. As the woman must be ‘seen’ and appropriated through her ‘body’, the real only too willing to fill in for the imaginary.

His Ramayana painting of a naked Sita sitting on the lap of a naked Ravana, while Hanuman, also naked, trying to rescue her. To think within Berger’s motif of need fulfillment, it reinstates and reinvigorates the dominant and repressive need to divide good and bad, virtue and degradation, man and woman. In the painting, Sita is seen by the spectator crouching in withdrawal from the menacing Ravana painted in black while Hanuman aggressively bares his teeth just as he is about to attack. What is spectacularized is the masculine duel being undertaken for a woman, who in this painting as in the source of its inspiration has nothing to fear but her own body, site of the honour which once clouded in suspicion can never be reclaimed.

Finally, before trying to round off this front stallers’ enquiry, it is important to mention the idea of Hussain’s aesthetics as being significantly tied up in the idea of a ‘muse’. The muse who inspires his gaze, eggs him on to create and whose only ambition ought to forever want to be worthy of being looked at, even at the cost of becoming invisible in his larger artistic universe.

Often on mornings I wake up with half-dreamt, half-forgotten, half-remembered dreams. Sometimes I close my eyes and pretend to sleep trying to dream what I want all the way through to the end. It makes me understand like nothing else the joy of freedom, creativity and hope. The freedom that every artist must have, to create, to be able to espouse any kind of politics irrespective of who or what it’s threatening to, the freedom to speak out, also the freedom to be silent; but as important as this is the freedom to be able to question all kinds of art, irrespective of whether it’s internationally celebrated or completely unknown.

That the space for progressive and democratic questioning is shrinking because loud and dangerous attacks must be kept at bay and dealt with first, is a failure of our times. It is in keeping these spaces alive, not letting our front stalls disappear into ‘all balcony’ PVRs, that our struggles must be directed at.

A version of the article was published in Hard News

An Interview with Lenin Kumar

Satyabrata

Lenin Kumar, editor of a progressive peoples’ magazine in Oriya, Nisan, was arrested and sent to jail on charges of writing provocative literature. The fact is that his magazine took a stance against the anti-Christian pogrom in Kandhamal district after the killing of Laxmananda Saraswati. His arrest was an attempt by the government of Orissa to silence the voices of the oppressed, and could be seen as corroborating the ongoing McCarthyization process in India. After much struggle, Lenin is free on bail now.

Satyabrata: You have been convicted for possessing inflammatory materials. What, according to you, is being regarded as inflammatory in your booklet, Dharma Namare Kandhamalare Raktanadi (Kandhamal’s River of Blood in the Name of Religion) and why?

Lenin Kumar: Is it inflammatory, to identify the communal and brahminist forces and their agenda? The riot affected people in the relief camps have already pointed at the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal men as responsible for violence in the name of religion. In the book, Dharma Namare Kandhamalare Raktanadi they are unmasked. But, they are in power in the state. So using the police they wanted to silence the voice, which is ‘inflammatory’ to them. It is ridiculous to say that the book disturbed communal harmony because it exposed them who really disturbed it.

Satyabrata: Why is Nisan being targeted? What is your expectation from other progressive people, intellectuals on this assault on Nisan?

Lenin Kumar: Nisan stands for janabadi (democratic) literature. Its basic trend is against Brahminism and imperialism. Unlike mainstream journalism, we have focussed on the ongoing peoples’ movements (including the Maoist among others) and their roots in genuine popular desire for liberation from brahminical and imperialist domination. The magazine is not yet banned. There is no question of bowing in front of the anti-people forces. When they sent me to jail, people protested throughout the state – writers came on the streets in a manner quite unimaginable in a region like Orissa. I think this is due to our commitment. All these developments inspire us. So there is no question of leaving the battlefield. And how can one repress an ideology?

Satyabrata: What reaction do you expect from other newspapers and journalists?

Lenin Kumar: Unfortunately in Orissa, most newspapers are in the hands of the ruling classes. They are simply bourgeois party leaflets. It is very difficult for a genuine reporter to take his position. Some reporters blindly act like representatives of the state. In my case, I have seen my name as ‘Mao writer”. What does it mean, till date I do not understand. Professionally they are expected to be above the outlook of the ruling classes, which are openly becoming the agents of international capital. Otherwise, there will be no space for democracy.

Satyabrata: You were arrested because of touching the Kandhamal issue. What is your personal view regarding the recent incidents in Kandhamal?

Lenin Kumar: Anti-dalit, anti-minority agenda is in the air. The Sangh Parivar is openly challenging the democratic values. The state is keeping silence. The Maoists in Kandhamal have showed us that the communal forces are building their second laboratory in the region after Gujarat’s. They have opposed these forces in their own way. We should not forget that Laxmananda Saraswati in Kandhamal was not a saint or a representative of the Hindu religion, but a leader of VHP. And frankly, I have no respect to their riot-politics.

Satyabrata: What is your message for fellow journalists, writers, intellectuals and progressive people?

Lenin Kumar: For getting the bail, I heartily thank the writers, journalists, intellectuals who stood for freedom of expression and protested my arrest. I thank my wife Rumita for her camaraderie in this process. If a person like me coming from a middle class family living in the state capital can be targeted, one can only imagine the extent of state terrorism and violation of human rights in the remote villages of Orissa, which hardly get noticed. We must stand united against any undemocratic, exploitative, anti-people actions.

Prelude to Mumbai Blasts – Hindu Terrorism

Saswat Pattanayak

Like Mumbai, also in Maharashtra, Malegaon was the site to bomb blasts on September 5, 2008 – less than three months prior to Mumbai blasts. Three bomb attacks killed more than 31 people – mostly Muslims – while they were returning from offering Friday prayers at a mosque.

Immediately thereafter, the “India” woke up to terror alerts. Politicians and administration were quick to point out the role of Muslim terrorists. The usual hounding of suspects continued, and all the “illegal” Muslim student outfits were harassed. Police arrested Muslim youths under suspicion. Until, one after the other evidences led to a radically different conclusion: That, it is not the Muslim people of India, but Hindu terrorists who were behind the Malegaon blasts.

Malegaon blasts have opened up a whole Pandora’s Box. Not so much of a shock considering that the Hindu fundamentalists who are still holding seats in Indian Parliament today were the despicable figures behind the biggest communal clash and tragedy to hit India when they demolished Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. That was the darkest day in India’s contemporary history. Those that led the procession of mayhem and sinister murder trails went on to get elected to the highest offices of Indian democracy soon thereafter. Such coveted politicians included chargesheeted riot leader like LK Advani – that shameful face of Hindu fanaticism masquerading as a meticulously passionate orator of Hindi-Hindu aspirations.

Hindu terrorism is also not a shock for millions of Indians who did witness the biggest tragedy to reshape Bombay due to the reactionary terror attacks orchestrated by a Hindu Chauvinist Bal Thackeray and his gang of Hindu fundamentalists calling themselves Shiv Sena. Following Ayodhya terrorism against Muslims’s sacred place, instead of bringing calm and publicly apologizing on behalf of the Hindu civilization, misguided Hindu supremacists like Advani and Thackeray conducted nationwide victory marches to incite hatred against the minorities in India. As a result, Mumbai, the commercial capital under the mercy of Thackeray, was converted overnight into a terrorized center of Hindu-Muslim riots. While in power, all that Thackeray did was continue his mode of operation- hate-speech against the Muslim minority. Currently his political cronies have taken up staunch regionalism in Maharashtra to threaten the lives of “outsiders”, whereas the terrorist outfit representing the Hindu interests have been bombing all over Maharashtra, recruiting a few Muslim youths for training, and then shifting blames of terror attacks either on Pakistan or on Indian Muslims.

Hindu terrorism is also not a shock for millions of Indians who have been silent sufferers to a merciless manner in which Gujarat – the birthplace of the Mahatma – had been converted into the rowdiest of states in India under the disgusting leadership of a racist politician Narendra Modi – also part and parcel of the revived Hindu fanaticism. Gujarat’s famous Godhra incident, which was used as a tool to ravage the Islamic business sector in the state ended up taking lives of more than 2000 people, more than 80% of which were Muslims. Under the rule of the Hindu right wing political party, the infamous, yet legal, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), unprecedented violence was let loose on the streets to pointedly murder innocent Muslim citizens. Not surprisingly by the culturally same Hindu fanatics who pride themselves for having assassinated Mahatma Gandhi sixty years ago. Unheard of atrocities against Muslim women were committed by the Hindu “Sainiks” and “Saints” and terrorists that have no parallel in world history.

Thus, Hindu terrorism is not a matter of shock to the huge majority of Indians- majority of whom are deeply innocent Hindus themselves.

Dark Ages of Hindu Revivalism: Secular India to Communal India

Indian history has never been devoid of Muslim roots. Predominantly, Indian land was ruled by Moghuls. Most of the glorified historical personalities of India- from secular emperors to magical musicians, from wise philosophers to lyrical poets have been Muslims. Muslims also have been a successful business class, self-sustained and despite prejudices, well organized. Whenever foreign colonial powers assaulted Indian nationalism, Muslims joined the struggles for freedom alongside the Hindus. They were so united in spirit with Hindus that it took the meanest and most corrupt methods of the British colonialists to separate the two religions from living in harmony.

As a result of British interventions and formation of pseudo-Hindu outfits such as Hindu Mahasabha (which opposed Gandhi’s call for unity), and submission to ruling class blackmails by Muslim League, Pakistan was created upon the blood of millions.

Pakistan’s life was made even more difficult to manage thanks to the illogical and criminal manner in which the British divided the map geographically. East Pakistan (on the east of India) naturally enough remained the point of contention since Pakistan (on the West of India) could neither rule over it to its abilities nor could remain a distinctive nation in the subcontinent without it. Added to the miseries were the decisions of a Hindu supremacist Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to blackmail all Princely States of India to join the British-freed India. This was a cause of misery because in the predominantly Hindu North-Indian democratic setup in Delhi, the representation of predominantly Muslim princely state rulers was almost impossible. Therefore, India, after her independence from British rule, emerged a fractured country of inconsistent neighborhood (which finally got “resolved” with the creation of Bangladesh) and internal religious divides (now officially revived through impositions on Hyderabad and Kashmir – one Hindu state with a Muslim King, and the other a Muslim state with a Hindu King.)

Taking advantage of the problems Nehru faced in his initial years as the first Prime Minister, the ugly head of Hindu fanaticism started to show up. Not only were they banned from participation in mainstream politics by a secular Constitution of the land, they were forbidden from expressing themselves. Despite the fact that Nehru himself was a Kashimiri Brahmin, he was unwilling to cooperate in escalating the communal tensions in India, following Gandhian footsteps. This period of Golden Age of Independent India came to an abrupt end when the country started noticing that many of the Hindu fanatics had hidden their identities and joined the mainstream Congress with an aim to take over the power later. Vajpayee who became the right-wing leader of Indian democracy later on, used to claim himself as a Nehruvian socialist to climb the ladder of power, only to later condemn Nehru after his death. George Fernandes who later became the most tainted Defense Minister of India for his deals with Western militarists used to deceive people in his early years as projecting himself to be a socialist. Indeed, many congress leaders of Nehru’s period claimed Socialism as their paths only to gain entry into mainstream politics of India – and to later disband every principle of socialism in favor of domestic capitalism.

Nehru’s Congress as the dominant political party cannot be absolved of the crime of overlooking the nature of its disciples in favor of their sycophancy. As a result of its professed but unintelligent silence over growth of communal politics in India – where its official policy was to advance the cause of Muslims and minorities even as several of disguised communal politicians were busy thwarting possibilities of harmonious living- India evolved into a vulnerable land soon to be ruled over by the very same Hindu fundamentalists that Gandhi and Nehru, Subhas Bose and Bhagat Singh, together opposed tooth and nail throughout their illustrious lives.

Hindi-Hindu India overshadowed and almost choked to death all the rich historical heritage brought to Indian culture through Islamic traditions. Urdu was relegated to nowhere, Hindustani was not recognized as a language, affirmative actions for Muslims continued to perish under caste politics within Hindu religious majority. Casteism and untouchability continued to exist despite constitutional dictums. Both Dalits and Muslims emerged as outcasts and myth of Hindu cultural purity continued to prosper.

Nehru’s Congress which prided itself for receiving aid from Soviet Union, while at the same time forming Non-Aligned Movement and taking respectable roles in the United Nations to promote peace was gradually reduced to a capitalistic economy headed by a finance minister called Manmohan Singh, who today has become the Prime Minister for his able diplomacy at praising the British Raj (his enslaved speech at Oxford University heralded Queen’s English as the biggest development for India), and unconditional surrender to NATO interests on every conceivable grounds – military to economic.

In such overtly distressing times, it is only natural that the likes of Hindu supremacists who were vehemently opposed by the founding leaders of India’s freedom movement, are back to power. They rule the roads of Maharashtra and Gujarat – two most economically successful states in India. The Hindu supremacists are funded by their bosses – the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) – an outright communal racist organization based in the United States. Indeed, most universities in the US allow VHP-funded student outfits to recruit local students for to promote anti-Islam causes in the name of cultural diversity. And back home, the same organizations routinely attack any Islamic institutions or student unions. As long as it is Banares Hindu University – a completely unnecessary university to be founded on religious grounds considering that Hindus anyway comprise the majority and community-based institutes are required to be formed to protect minority cultures – there is never a talk on terrorism emanating from them. Even as it has been proved countless times that Hindu student organizations such as Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) are violent in nature, and misconstrue history to depict Vivekananda, Bhagat Singh and Subhas Bose radically differently in the minds of the impressionable youths, they go scot free and celebrate their existence and growth. At the same time, Muslim Madrassas are constantly under police investigations. Faculty members of Aligarh Muslim Universities are routinely harassed. Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) has been legally banned by the Indian government.

Usual Suspects: Muslim Youths

Indian official authorities continuously arrest numerous Muslim people, doctors, professors and students on alleged grounds of terrorism, whereas the proven terrorists of Hindu based organizations continue to contest elections, win seats and influence courts. In the most recent Malegaon serial bomb blasts, the first arrests were that of SIMI activists. Noor-ul-Hooda was arrested by the police along with two other “suspects”: Shabbir Batterywala and Raees Ahmed.

Such arrests based solely on suspicion are no exceptions. Even without undertaking any investigations of merit, such Muslim youths are subjected to arrests on a routine basis. In Malegaon, this was massive, because the suspicion was on accusation of murder of 31 people and injury of over 300.

The Times of India in their initial report reported: “The involvement of both Shabbir and Hooda in the Malegaon blasts came to light during their interrogations after their arrest in a bomb hoax case. The intention of conspirators of Malegaon blasts was to create communal tensions in the textile town which has a history of riots and the bomb hoax exercise undertaken by Shabbir and Hooda as the blasts failed to disturb the peace in the town, the DGP said.”

So Who Were Behind Malegaon?

After the initial arrests of Shabbir and Hooda, public demand increased to arrest everyone concerned. The investigation was thus under public demand, transferred to the most efficient branch to deal with issues of terrorism: the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) and its superhero cop Hemant Karkare.

Karkare and his team thoroughly investigated the Malegaon blasts and reached entirely different conclusions. For the firs time, the official agencies had to admit their errors in arresting Muslim youths whereas the real culprits were the Hindu terrorists.

Among the eight arrested following due investigations the Hindu terrorists had high profile candidates: Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur of the right wing political coalition, Indian army official Ramesh Upadhyay, Hindu fundamentalist youth organization Abhinav Bharat’s leader Sameer Kulkarni, and Army official Lt Col Prasad S Purohit.

Hell broke loose. Just when the western world was eyeing Pakistan, including America’s President-Elect Obama who was at his rhetoric worst in calling for war on Pakistan and it was the long cherished time for the Hindu fanatics to rejoice, the real truths were slowly uncovering to indicate otherwise. Immediately reacting to ATS, Delhi’s right-wing leader VK Malhotra attacked the officials and asked its officers to undergo narco-tests! Malhotra of course resorted to his proverbial American master’s tongue: “Whereas the world is seeing Pakistan and Bangladesh as hub of terrorism, ATS is accusing the “saints”!”.

No amount of rhetoric could save the right wing political party this time, because not only it was found upon investigation that the Hindu terrorist leaders representing the BJP’s interests were involved in masterminding the blasts, but even the Indian defense forces officials were. The Hindu “Holy Cow” and the India’s “Holy Cow” were both the actual culprits.

In the past, when Shabbir and Hooda were arrested on suspicion, media reports were agog with conclusions that the previous bomb blasts in India had a very similar strategy. Hence, the conclusions of the media were that, all those blasts perhaps were also caused by Muslim outfits. Hence investigations were on into all the previous blasts. And soon, one after another, the truths started emerging when the cases were “reopened”.

Also came under investigations of ATS were the closed cases of yesteryears: Parbhani blasts of November 21, 2003, Jalna blasts of August 27, 2004, Jama Masjid blast in Delhi on April 14, 2006, Mecca Masjid blast, May 18, 2007, Ajmer blasts, October 11, 2007, Modasa blast, September 29, 2008.

In all of the above terror attacks, the Muslim youths were held under suspicion without investigations. But when the cases were reopened, ATS unearthed evidences which startled the very foundation of Hindu supremacism in India.

Upon due investigations, it was indeed found out by the Indian authorities that the series of blasts have been planned since 2001 by the same group of people- Hindu terrorists. A Hindu supremacist Rakesh Dhawade had transported 54 people, trained them in a camp in Sinhagad in Pune for three years, starting 2001. Using his access to power structure in India, Dhawade continued to remain free despite all evidences against him. Finally, after more than four years of Jalna blast, and after seven years of his discovered training camps, he was chargesheeted in early November 2008. On Novemeber 11, 2008, as a bigger blow on Hindu terrorism, another accused Maruti Wagh was arrested by Jalna police. In the entire Marathwada region, terrorists involved in the several bomb attacks in Parbhani, Purna, Jalna, Nanded and Malegaon were found to be the same –the highly protected Hindu terrorists.

Likwise, in Nanded blasts, new truths had emerged. On April 6, 2006 when a terror attack woke India up in Nanded, it was not as much highlighted in the local media, and received zero coverage on international media. It was so because the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) in its investigation found that behind the bomb blast, there was no role of any Muslim agency. Indeed, it was a hardcore Hindu fundamentalist group that carried out the terror attack. During investigation it was also found out that the Hindu terrorist group was planning to orchestrate such terror attacks in Aurangabad. One Hindu terrorist Rahul Pande was arrested in regards to Nanded bomb blast. Two of his accomplices Naresh Rajkondwar and Himanshu Panse who prepared the bomb died on the spot. Three more Hindu terrorists Yogesh Deshpande, Maruti Wagh and Gururaj Tupttewar were seriously injured.

In related investigations, Hindu supremacist Manoharrao Pande, one of the accused, said that they were trained in handling explosive devices and one trainer Himanshu Pande, died while assembling the explosives. Pande had also implemented the terror attacks in the Marathwada region, including in Jalna, Purnea and Parbhani.

Rationale Behind Mumbai Blasts: Who Benefits?

November 11, 2008 – the day of victory of Anti-Terrorism Squad against Hindu Terrorism- happened two weeks before the latest Mumbai Bomb Blasts.

Just when the world opinion was about to be reshaped following the ugly face of Hindu terrorism being officially exposed, the foreign nationals – the supposedly Muslim-fearing American and British citizens – were attacked in Mumbai. Just when the Hindu “Saints” were going to be declared terrorists, some Muslim youths were once again arrested in the center of commercial capital as accused of the blasts. Just when proper and due investigations were about to begin, lawyers were threatened by right wing political parties from representing the accused. Just when the Anti-Terrorism Squad captured the accused for investigations to find out the masterminds (going by the past blasts, who were going to be the Hindu supremacists), ATS chief and nation’s most beloved police officer Karkare was mysteriously killed.

The fact that Karkare had received death threats from BJP activists, the Hindu terrorist groups and his wife could be interrogated for further information about the letters, Karkare was converted into a national hero and declared to be dead while fighting Islamic terrorism!

India, a country of independent spirited people who took on the mightiest of empires through actions and thoughts of the wise and the nonviolent, has been forced to be converted into a country of hero-worshipping uncritical enslaved people that refuse to believe that the problems are indeed from within.

Karkare has been converted into a national hero and is being heralded as the bravest police officer. Yet ironically, his principles of life that defied conventional thinking while he unearthed the most shameful chapter of Hindu nationalism, have been already forgotten. Domestic media – both vernacular and English language have adopted a tone that’s most submissive, prejudiced and rhetorical. Indian parliament has always been the mainstay of chosen criminals from across the country since last few decades. Now it has evolved as the chamber of discussion among most of them demanding across parties, to control the country through new draconic laws.

Indian Hindu terrorism has once again been shoved into obscurity by once again successfully shifting blame on Pakistan. Instead of working closely together with Pakistani officials to eradicate roots of terrors – which are implanted by the politicians in both countries than invented by the misguided people – India has chosen to allow Israeli and American interests to prevail upon the land in a quest to convert Gandhi’s Free India into a Militarist Enslaved Agent of Global Imperialism.

December 6, 1992

The Babri Masjid was attacked on December 6, 1992. The terrorists are still at large.

An Open letter to the Chief Election Commissioner

The Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Group reacting sharply to the ongoing communal vitiation of the political environment by the Bharatiya Janata Party issued an open letter to the Chief Election Commissioner of India, Mr. N. Gopalaswami. The indiscriminate manner in which the Bharatiya Janata Party and its parent organizations had been targeting the minority communities in the country in Kandhamal, Dhule, Udulgudi creates an alarming situation that challenges the very moral fabric of a secular, democratic nation. Not only the credentials of a central university like Jamia Millia Islamia is being regularly brought into question, a sense of insecurity, fear and anxiety is created in the adjoining area of Batla House, Jamia Nagar, Abul Fazal Enclave, etc. where primarily the Muslim population resides. The hate campaign of the BJP has to be stopped at all cost and before the guilt of those who have been killed in the encounter, one of whom was a minor and the five who have been accused of being involved in seditious activities against the State is proved before a court of law, they cannot be referred to as terrorists

Subject: Demand to Restrain Bharatiya Janata Party targeting the Muslim community in Jamia and Batla House area in their election campaign.

Dear Sir,

Following the incident of encounter at L-18 in the Batla House area on September 19, 2008 where a MA Previous year student of Jamia Millia Islamia and a 17-year old boy were killed by the Special Cell on the ground of their involvement with the bomb blasts in Delhi and other cities of the country, Bharatiya Janata Party had been actively engaged in a virulent hate campaign fomenting communal sentiments in the country to garner votes in their favour. Two of the five young men who are in police custody for their alleged involvement in seditious activities are students of Jamia Millia Islamia, while the other three were young men seeking out a career in the city. The recent findings of the CBI regarding the activities of the Delhi Police Special Cell has cast a serious aspersion over the credibility of their findings and since the issue of Batla House ‘encounter’ is yet to be produced before the court of law, one cannot pronounce them as guilty. Thus, the constant reference by the BJP to the deceased (one of whom was a minor) and the five arrested as terrorists is not only malicious and politically motivated but also legally invalid.

We urge your office to immediately intervene in the matter and take necessary action against a political party like the Bharatiya Janata Party who have been campaigning for the forth-coming elections in a language that is contrary to the secular, democratic spirit of the Indian Constitution.

The letter was signed by several members of the teaching fraternity.

Thanking you,

Yours’ truly,

Manisha Sethi

Adil Mehdi

Anuradha Ghosh

Sreerekha

Kandhamal, They and We

Satyabrata

On August 24, two policemen came and informed a Christian dominated hamlet (comprising of around 50 families out of which 32 were Christians) that 6 ‘Hindus’ along with ‘Swami’ Lakshmananda Saraswati had been killed. They asked the villagers not to go to the church. The majority of the villagers are cattle-bearers with little land. They decided to obey the order/advice but asked the police for protection which was denied on the grounds that there were not adequate forces for that.

In the evening, about 50 men, with fire torches in their hands came to the village shouting Hindu communal slogans, like ‘Hindu-Hindu-Bhai-Bhai’ (All Hindus are brothers), etc. They stopped in the midst of the village and shouted. There was a dilemma – “should we burn the houses of the Christians first or their church?” To put it more accurately, “should we destroy them or their symbol first?” They decided to destroy the symbol first; the church was to be destroyed.

That symbol played the function of the authority, this they probably understood. On hearing that the church was to be burnt and then their houses would be the target, the villagers panicked. They went to the Hindu houses of their village and asked for help. They wanted their Hindu brethren to take care of their costly possessions, which they handed them over. They ran and hid themselves behind the bushes. The Hindu stalwarts then came to the village and lit the houses aflame. The Christians were silent spectators.

There was a family of four brothers. One of them was a paralytic who couldn’t be rescued from his house. He was shouting at the Hindu fundamentalists desperately, “Throw me out of this place and do whatever you like.” They drenched him in petrol and… One of his brothers watched this from behind the bushes, shocked!

With the houses burning, enough light emanated. The villagers from behind the bushes could see the faces of over 50 ‘Hindus’. They recognized some of them. They were from a nearby village, the place where the slain Swami practiced his “philanthropy” and “education”, which his followers were demonstrating that day.

With the light also came the fear of being noticed by the killer mob. Fear forced them to leave the bushes and go to the nearby jungles. They did so. The mother of the four brothers, aged about 70, couldn’t run. She was kept behind a tree seated and was asked not to move. The rest of the villagers ran into the village. Their struggle continued. The Hindu fundamentalists had got some clue about them and entered the forest to chase them. The villagers couldn’t go to the nearby ‘main-road’, nor could they stay in the jungle. They decided to go to Bhubaneswar, Orissa’s capital. They succeeded in doing so after about a journey of 300km. They reached Bhubaneswar on the 28th evening and took shelter in the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) from the 29th morning.

I went to interact with them a day later. They refused to tell me anything. Then I noticed a priest who had come from Andhra Pradesh. I went and sat beside him to know what had happened. One of the brothers was speaking to the priest. The priest asked, “Why didn’t you confront these people. You were 32 families, which means you were at least 60 men.” The brother replied, “Most men have migrated. Majority among our families present in the village were women and children”. Another man then came and sat beside me. He introduced himself as an army man guarding the Indian borders, and was one of the four brothers, too. He came directly to YMCA when he got the news.

***

“What do you want now?

“This Government has failed us.”

“Which Government? The Central or State Government?”

“The State Government.”

“But the Central Government also knows what is happening and we have also approached it.”

“Then we want a President Rule.”

“That is in the hands of the Central Government.”

“Then it is war between ‘us’ and ‘them’ and we want ‘our people’ to be ‘on our side’.”

“What do you mean by ‘our people’?”

He took a glance at me and answered, “The Christians”.

Now, I could make out why they were not revealing anything to me. Probably, they wanted to know who I was – was I from among ‘them’ or was I from among ‘us’. The Father was of course one of ‘us’.

There were several such villages that have had such bitter experiences.

The author is a second year bachelor student in an engineering college in Bhubaneshwar.

Orissa Matters

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

1. RELIGIOUS REVIVALISM BECOMES BLOODY

A stalwart of Hindu religious revivalism Laxmanananda Saraswati has been shot dead while resting in a female child asylum at Tumudibandha of Kandhamal district along with five others at about 8.30 in the evening of August 23.

RSS alleges that Christian religious fanatics have killed Laxmananand who was very active in foiling their attempts to Christianize the tribals and hence was in their hit list.

Orissa has experienced a lot of communal conflict due to religious revivalism. Laxmanananda was a known agent provocateur whom the Law and order authorities a few months ago had prohibited to enter into Phulbani in order to contain communal carnages.

Plutocracy, ushered into India by Manmohan Singh infested Congress and pampered by profiteers’ political organ BJP, is eager to keep the jungle-dweller tribes subdued forever as it is only they, who can valiantly resist the spread of industry and trade that needs to grab their land and to destroy their environment to proceed and profit.

Therefore plutocracy is apprehensive of a tribal uprising, specifically as, abandoned by mainstream politicians and exploited by local bureaucrats and middlemen and contractors and moneylenders and traders, they have got a strong ally in the left-wing ultras that the exploiters and their pet media go on projecting as Naxals or Maoists. The left-wing ultras have given the tribes their voice to raise demands for their economic rights and as evidenced in spread of Naxal influence from district to district, the poor peoples’ voice of demand for their economic right is stronger day by day. This is fidgeting the scoundrels that are exploiting the peoples.

As this new phase of peoples uprising is getting more defined, the precipitators of plutocracy are using a two-pronged strategy. One, they are using state exchequer to instigate armed forces to annihilate the left-wing ultras in blatant contravention of the civil laws in force and two, they are encouraging religious revivalists to confuse peoples into the fold of fate so that plutocracy gets a good shock-absorber to surge ahead. This is why in Orissa’s tribal areas where left-wing ultras are active, religious revivalists are seen aggressively active.

When the armed forces engaged against left-wing ultras are not ready to block the poor peoples’ demand for economic rights, the religious revivalists are intrinsic to plutocracy and are active supporters of plutocratic power play as plutocracy for survival fully depends on existence of God or Gods that the religious revivalists create, propagate and protect.

So religious revivalism is a political game aimed at putting exploiters in power. No game is a game if rivals are not there. Naturally therefore, there is bitter rivalry between the Christian and Hindu fanatics in Kandhamal and similar other places. Hindu religious chauvinists are marked for their support to Indian capitalists when Christian religious fanatics are active collaborators of foreign capitalist interest in India. There rivalry is not religious but in the guise of religion it in reality is a politico-economic rivalry that in other words may be said as national versus international rivalry in serving the system of exploitation. No wonder, it is bitter.

This bitter rivalry has led to death of Laxmanananda. If anybody is to take note of this, it is the religious revivalist of all hue, primarily.

They should note that if their foul play against poor people in the name of religion does not stop, time will come, no God would come to their rescue as Laxmananand’s God has notably failed to save him. As dinosaurs supposedly killed each other and got extinct, the religious revivalists would kill each other as bloody stooges of politico-economic rivals both in the national and international arenas.

Orissa’s Tumuribandha may just be the beginning.

2. LAXMANANANDA’S POSTHUMOUS MISUSE BY ADVANI AND CNN-IBN

BJP leader L.K.Advani and media organization CNN-IBN have preferred Hindu sectarian leader Laxmanananda’s posthumous misuse against Leftist ultras through premature assertions that Naxals have killed him, when, his own organization Viswa Hindu Parisad that is supposed to know where the shoe really pinched has declared that it is the Christian fanatics who are the real killers.

Both the assertions are premature and irresponsible specifically as the matter is under active investigation by rightful authorities.

We have earlier discussed that religious revivalism that has ruined the peace and tranquility of tribal belt is meant to counter Naxal influence by pushing peoples into the labyrinth of fate so that they can tolerate economic exploitation by accepting their wretchedness as the result of sins they might have committed in previous birth. So religious revivalism, conversions and counter-conversions and acrimonious sectarian quarrels practiced by both the Hindu and Christian chauvinists are not meant for making peoples religious but are promoted by Indian capitalism and American imperialism to stop evolution of exploited peoples’ conscious rising for their economic rights by blocking the spread of Naxal influence. In other words, rival religion practitioners are not their enemy; the real enemy is the Naxal organization. Therefore, Advani was quite eager to attribute Laxmanananda’s annihilation to the Naxals only.

Naxals are known as politically aggressive advocates of wretchedly poor and blatantly exploited peoples’ economic rights. Therefore to oppose them is a clear act of exploitive political activism. Advani is an exploitive political activist. When peoples of Orissa had raised the first ever Indian mass movement against deliberate price rise by profiteers and hoarders and blackmarketeers in the early eighties, Advani had instigated marwadis to observe Diwali as ‘Black Diwali” in protest against the Orissan movement. So there is nothing unusual in his attempts to make propaganda that Naxals have killed Laxmanananda. And he has not done any wrong by that, because that is the right way in pursuit of his political creed and nothing other than that is expected of him. In doing this he has just extended the mission of Laxmanananda in a political way that he is supposed to do as a right wing politician.

But why a media organization like CNN-IBN has ignored the minimum professional discipline needed in such cases and shown so eagerness to use Laxmanananda posthumously against the Naxals?

Conduct of this organization in cash for confidence vote matter exposed recently is yet alive in mass memory. Therefore it attracts suspicion in matter of its motive in trading this most premature but prejudiced propaganda that Naxals have killed Laxmanananda, the master craftsman of counter-conversions so dear to Hindu ultras.

Advani and this media organization look like close collaborators in frustrating the peoples who love democracy, peace and tranquility and want inequality to honorably end.

Subhash Chandra Pattanayak is a senior Oriya journalist and litterateur