Fascism of the saffron variety


The attack on Prashant Bhushan once again reveals the fascist nature of the saffron outfits in India.  The news reports say that one of the attackers belongs to Sri Ram Sene and the other two to an unheard of Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena.  While Pramod Muttalik, the founder of Sri Ram Sene, has denied links with the attacker, Bhagat Singh must have wriggled in his tomb on hearing his name associated with such a dastardly act.

While the attack on Mr Bhushan can be seen as an act of three perverted minds, what happened the next day in the Patiala House Court premises cannot be ignored.  A fairly large group of men, allegedly belonging to Sri Ram Sene, attacked the supporters of the anti-corruption movement.  Is the Sri Ram Sene opposing the anti-corruption movement and thus supporting corruption?  Well, that’s a simplistic way of looking at it. 

What the Ram Sene is doing is to pit physical assault and the law of the jungle against the legal system in the country.  This is precisely what fascism is about.  It imposes, with the ruthlessness of a dictator, its ideology on others.  Like it or not, you have to accept what we say – that’s the crux of fascism.

If we don’t raise our voice against such outfits and oppose them with all the intellectual might we are capable of harnessing, we will end up with ruthless people literally beating us.


There’s another piece of news tucked away in an inner page of some of the newspapers of today [14 Oct].  It speaks about another outfit called Hindu Janjagran Samiti which tried to prevent the screening of a documentary film on M F Husain in Mumbai.  S G Vatkar, member of the outfit, justified the action saying, “The cases (against Husain) are pending.”  Isn’t that interesting?  The cases against a dead man are pending in the courts!

Mahesh Bhatt asked a simple question about the Samiti’s action.  “From where does this boundless surge of hate originate?”

It is hate that drives all [yes, categorically all] the religious outfits that resort to violence as a means.   Hate is a self-destructive emotion.  It also destroys others.

What these outfits should do is to learn to get rid of their hate first.  They can do it by resorting to intellectual discussions, debates or whatever to bring their views to the public.  Give the public the freedom to choose between the views of the outfits and other views.  Imposing any view on anyone using physical assault belonged to the savage era of human civilization.


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9 Responses to Fascism of the saffron variety

  1. (Im)moral police is what they are. Bashing a respected man, that too inside the chambers of justice should in my view be also seen as contempt of court, an act which shook the ‘independent’ conscious of our society.

    Also, as a totally independent comment, I’d like to say that with great public status comes great responsibility. May be I would have still vouched for the removal of AFSPA in Kashmir but Bhushan sir’s suggestion to hold a plebiscite for Kashmir is totally unjustifiable, in an already unstable territory, such comment would indeed fuel up the separatists’ morale. My question is why Kashmir then, have a referendum of such sort in every state.

    Also, IAC’s decision today that it will rethink Bhushan’s continuance in the core committee serves right. Such flamboyant views would be disastrous for a public campaign.

    • matheikal says:

      Sid, the question of referendum arises with respect to Kashmir and not other states simply because of the terms and conditions under which Nehru brought Kashmir under India just after Independence. Nehru had offered the referendum. Of course, given today’s conditions in the region and the relations between India and Pakistan, Kashmir has become strategically too important for India to consider a referendum.

      The exclusivist views of Hindu outfits will only make matters worse in Kashmir. The only solution possible, I think, is to make the Kashmiris feel in their bones that India is genuinely interested in their welfare. Sadly, the fundamentalist approaches of most Hindu outfits work just against it.

  2. Raghuram Ekambaram says:

    On Sri Rama Sena, did they do anything different than what they did a few years ago – beat up pub going youngsters? I don’t think so. They were let off then. Emboldened, they have come back. Simple.

    On referendum in J&K, it is not possible now. The simple reason is the territory has to be certifiably neutral, whatever that may mean. And, that is not possible. A way has to be found out that determines the will of the people, but skirts the legalistic term referendum. It is up to Bhushan, Arundhati Roy et al to devise or at least suggest a way out.

    Raghuram Ekambaram

    • matheikal says:

      Raghuram, the solution to the Kashmir problem is difficult and yet not impossible. As I mentioned in my response to the comment above, the solution will demand a great change of heart among many Indians towards the community of people in Kashmir who have endured much from both the sides – India and Pakistan. This is not to deny the involvement of many Kashmiris in the violence that tore their social fabric. But if we keep looking back and raking among the muck of history we’ll keep getting foul odour and rotten corpses. Mr Bhushan and Ms Roy may be able to suggest solutions, I think. But will the people of India accept them?

  3. Raghuram Ekambaram says:

    Oh, I accept that a solution does exist, in some unlit corner of local, internaional and geoploitical space. At least one has to hope, even against hope, that it exists. What I was mentioning was, referendum is out of the question. There can be no referendum under duress.

    Raghuram Ekambaram

  4. Aditi says:

    Matheikal, Ram Sene is a fringe lumpen element and deserves to be treated with disdain and suppressed with force.

    But Kashmir problem is not something that can be dealt with either by shrill rhetoric (Arundhati Roy) or by referendum (Prashant Bhushan).

    Referendum does not allow nuances and conditional answers, it is always a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ response. Any Referendum with just the residents of the State will yield a ‘majoritarian’response. Now majoritarianism masquarading as democracy is resented by most democratic citizens of our country,particularly those who feel for the minority voices and possible disenfrachisement, insn’t it? Then why the double standard only in case of J&K?

    Also, having a Referendum will be a strategic suicidal gesture for India, not only for J&K but also for any other border State.

    • matheikal says:

      Aditi, had it not been for the strategic part, I would support the issue of referendum all the way. Let the people of Kashmir decide their lot, their destiny – without any double standards. The question of double standard arises only when the non-Kashmiris want to determine the detiny of Kashmiris even as America wants to determine the destiny of many countries all over the world.

      • Aditi says:

        Matheikal, how can you equate US interference in sovereign countries with the situation in Kashmir vis a vis the Central Government of India? Is Jammu and Kashmir a sovereign country? Does Jammu and Kashmir not have its own elected State Government and send Members of Parliament to the Indian Parliament? Most important, has the Government of India ‘colonised’ Jammu and Kashmir? You can not equate apples with oranges.

      • matheikal says:

        Aditi, thank you for accusing me of only comparing “apples with oranges.” Thank you for not accusing me of comparing apples with cockroaches, for example.

        India has indeed colonised Kashmir the same way America has done with a lot of Muslim countries. Rather subtly and using military might. If India had spent the same amount of money that it spends on the military and paramilitary forces depoloyed in Kashmir on developmental tasks + if India had the will to stand outside narrow communal and political considerations + if the majoritarian India could exercise its “majority good will” then the problem of Kashmir would have been solved earlier.

        But I also know that in current India, which believes that shouting aloud is equal to laying claim to the truth, sane voices will be shouted down.

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