Many noted intellectuals, authors and film makers have returned their national awards to the government, to protest the communal and religious intolerance that has resurfaced in India.
It is true that India’s BJP government is run by people, many of whom are anti-Muslim and anti-socialism (and very capitalist), and they have had their lifelong allegiance to RSS, Hindu fundamentalist organization (where I also began my political and organizing life — I have written a book about them, since quitting). Prime minister Modi, finance minister Arun Jaitley, and cultural affairs minister Mahesh Sharma are three examples. Jaitley and Sharma are also former ABVP leaders (RSS’ student wing, where I was the state secretary of West Bengal).
I have written and talked so much against their Tea Party or Christian Coalition-type politics over the years that I do not need anybody’s permission to do it anymore.
However, as much as I despise and condemn their fascistic ugliness, including killing of free thinkers and progressive human rights activists, I can’t help but pointing out the fallacy in these “Beef Protests.” First, even though BJP/RSS is largely a bunch of bigots, and Shiv Sena in Bombay is a xxx-variety (allegedly created by CIA), the so-called liberal Congress’ hands are also blood-stained. They have fomented communal and caste violence across India, to win elections and keep in power. Congress thugs killed thousands of innocent Sikhs in 1984.
In Bangladesh and Pakistan, Islamic extremists’ anti-Hindu, anti-intellectual violence has been going on for decades, with no international outcry. And in India, because of its enormous, unprecedented, open, voluntary slave market, USA, Obama and Clinton are not saying a word to stop either the beef violence or violence on women — both of which are now rampant.
Basically, politically marginalized, corrupt Congress and irrelevant left parties are desperately fishing out of troubled waters to return to power.
I am totally against any violence, bigotry and racism — anywhere in the world. But I do believe, the real focus of the protests must be on the economic issues, because U.S. powers, IMF, World Bank and the global 1% are completely colonizing India and destroying the Third World democracies, beyond recognition.
It is a massive neo-colonization, and it is silent and bloodless.
They have found BJP and Modi as their ally in India, and if in the next elections, some Congress-led coalition throws BJP out of power, the same economic destruction and neoliberal colonization will continue.
Congress, since the CIA-led dismantling of India’s socialistic governance and killing of Indira Gandhi, has embraced global corporations and IMF, and the result has been disastrous for the poor — one billion Indians. Labor unions were killed off. Environmental movements were crushed. Voices of dissent were murdered. Monsanto farmers are committing suicide, and cricket players and Bollywood stars are not paying taxes.
Politics in South Asia now is ONLY about making money, using cycles of voting. Black money — unaccounted for billions — rules. Unthinkable in the land of Gandhi and Tagore!
Liberal intellectuals protesting now, many of whom are affluent, do not want to come out against the economic colonization, corruption, and new slavery. They only speak out when their safety is in question.
I must give credit to the left parties who have rallied around the economic demands, but I do not believe only the left have any power to put together a meaningful resistance. They have NOT evolved, and embraced the new, global reality.
In fact, I do not believe in the left-right divide in the first place. Only a broad coalition and bridge building across the 99% — of moderate left and right — can make any serious changes in the political and economic landscape.
Beef protests by the elite, including film stars and such famous personalities, are hollow, meaningless, and often hypocritical. Protests must be at the roots of the catastrophic economic destruction.
Thanks for listening.
Brooklyn, New York