STATUE VANDALISING: FLEXING MUSCLE CAN NOT DESTROY AN IDEOLOGY - BY: MASOOD PESHIMAM

BJP has established its electoral supremacy over the three North Indian territories mainly Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland. BJP’s win in Tripura is all the more astonishing as creating popular wave against CPI [M] was not that easy as Tripura is ruled by CPI [M] without a break since 1993. The then political dispensation in the state has meekly caved in despite the credible track record of the Manic Sarkar government in Tripura. Manic Sarkar government is free from all the allegations of corruption. The then CM Manik Sarkar is one of the honest politicians in the country which is a rare commodity in contemporary Indian politics. Being an honest politician he could not afford to wallow in abundant affluence and richness. It is said that he neither owned a house nor car. He shunned all the glory and pomp of office. His wife went to Bazar in a rickshaw for the purchase many a time without the observance of official protocol and security. Manic Sarkar thus austerity exemplified though there was certain law and order problem which was a setback to the Government to certain extent.
Mr. Saeed Naqui writing in Asian Age on 16.3.18 quoted B.L. Vohra in his book captioned “Tripura’s brave hearts” who said, “Manik Sarkar was definitely unlike any other chief minister whom I had seen, met, worked with and heard about………… he was honest personally and that had percolated down to all echelons of the government ………………. again one cannot find many examples of his ilk in the country”.
Saeed Naqvi said “this level of decency has been traded by the Tripura electorate who pulled down statues”.
In the contemporary Indian Politics the elections are not won or lost on the question of merit or the track record. The politicians capitalize on the sway of emotions which governs the political fortune. Many a time the electoral results and the track record of the politicians are two different stories.
In Tripura the crumbling citadel of the Communists emboldened the communal forces to raze Communist ideologue Lenin’s statue at Belonia with a J.C.B. earth remover and subsequently there were reported attacks over the Communists. It’s not surprising to note that such unhappy incidents occur in our country under the very nose of the police quite consequent upon the gross political interference. How can police remain flawless when there is the gross political interference? The way the situation had developed in the country in the teeth of the escalating cases of mob lynching under the different pretexts explains to what extent the police has become more accountable to the politicians.
As the statue demolition spree continued a statue of E.V.R. Ramaswamy better known as Periyar was damaged after a face book post by BJP’s Tamil Nadu leader V. Raja who called the Dravidian movement leader icon a “caste fanatic”. However it is learnt that there was the U turn by BJP leader and deleted his post comments. Thus there follows the desecration of the statues of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Shyama Prasad Maukherjee somewhere.
However notwithstanding desecration of the statues it is good to note that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly condemned the vandalism of the statues. Prime minister’s strong condemnation is in contrast with the contention of the Governor Tathagata Roy who appeared to justify the toppling of the Lenin’s statue in Tripura.
Father Lincon James Senior Priest in charge for Church of Christ missionaries at Ulhasnagar, Maharashtra, India commented that before putting up the statue permission is taken from the competent authorities. Hence any toppling of the statues is illegal.
Basically, the Governor’s post is not political and the Governor’s alleged soft peddling of the offenders destroying the statues leading to the law and order problem is not the right thing to do. It is equally significant to note that such stances on the part of the Governor is not in consonance with the requirements of the sanctimoniousness of the office of the Governor.
BJP MP Subramanium Swamy called Lenin a ‘terrorist’ and questioned the relevance of Lenin in Indian context. Linen’s relevance can well be established in our country as he has a considerable following. His followers are Communist and the various Communist parties are recognized by the Election Commission. The terrorism itself has become the subjective term. Terrorism cannot be justified in any set of circumstances but many a time the weak and meek are targeted in the name of combating terrorism. Remaining weak is the biggest crime in the contemporary civilized world.
Those questioning the relevance of Lenin should be kind enough to note that Lenin has supported our freedom struggle. Can we forget that Bhagat Singh before being put to gallows had the courage and passion to read Lenin.
Lenin despite his own flaws and foibles continued to be treated as the champion of the socialism and the working class. He was a Marxist. Karl Marx had predicted that with the emergence of Communism the Capitalism would die its natural death. Communism failed and Lenin’s statue was pulled down in his own country. The demolition of Lenin’s statue did not emanate from violent extremism. Whatever may be the reasons there can’t be any rational explanation of vandalizing the statue.
Some veteran Communist leader compared the demolition of Lenin’s statue with Taliban damaging Buddah statue in Afghanistan. While referring to Taliban demolishing the Buddah statue it can well be said that Mehmood Gaznavi who looted and plundered Somnath temple did not destroy Buddah statue at Bamyan in Afganisthan which was within the reach of Mehmood Gaznavi. Otherwise also Mehmood Gaznvi was a paradox. He was the passionate fan of pre Islamic Zoroaster history. He was so passionately enamored of Zoroaster history that he made poet Firdausi, an Iranian Persian poet to versify the tumultuous events of Zoroaster history. Firdausi’s poetic creation is the marvelous feat of literary accomplishment. Parsis hugely revere Firdausi believing that his coffin was carried by the angels. It’s not the subject at the moment.
CPI national secretary while strongly condemning the statue demolition in Tripura said that this is not an ideological victory because ideas are fought with the ideas. He added that one can destroy statues but one cannot destroy ideology. The extremists in our country cannot tolerate the presence of the conflicting ideologies. Once it is understood that rival ideology cannot be silenced than the aggressive and obstructive narratives are used to silence the rival ideology. Some times its in the name of ultra nationalism and some times in the name of combating terrorism. Terrorists also kill the people who do not practice their precepts.
D. Raja also said that India is a diverse country and this diversity is to be respected. He added that this composite culture must be acknowledged and the pluralist character of our democracy must be understood.
In the light of the words of the CPI veteran D. Raja the democratic values can only be promoted in the pluralist environment. The display of one group or community thus subjugating others searching the scapegoats is not in consonance with the cardinal virtues of democracy.
However notwithstanding the Rightist forces not tolerating the rival ideologies particularly Left what is observed that despite scornful hatred the Leftists have not lost in strength as manifest by the fact that farmers’ march in Mumbai was organized under the banner of CPM’s Kisan wing. Most of the cultivators under the Communist banner who marched in the sweltering heat were Adivasis from Nashik while others had come in from Thane, Sholapur and Sangli. A majority of these Adivasis work on forest land and have not been granted ownership rights under the Forest Rights Act. The marchers asked for an unconditional loan waiver, transfer of forest land in the name of landless tribal’s under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and setting up of a committee for agriculture pricing and compensation for the pink bollworm attack which has affected farmers across the state, among other things.
The march of the farmers was supported by BJP’s arch rival Shiv Sena a partner in the Fadnavis Government. The MNS, NCP and Congress and other NGOs also joined hand. What is astonishing Shiv Sena supporting the kisan march under the Leftist banner as Shiv Sena could not reconcile with the Leftist. Shiv Sena was born thanks to the patronage of Congress to check the expanding influence of the Leftist labour movement. In the politics of opportunism any one can share space with anyone and the hostility to the conflicting ideology looks to be sometimes cosmetic. It’s the politics of opportunism which turns ugly into beautiful and beautiful into ugly.
The Bombay Police has also efficiently dealt with the huge morcha closely monitoring the situation.
The Fadnavis government also had no hesitation in talking to farmers under the Leftist leadership. The farmers also withdrew the stir after government promised to address demands in six months, especially ownership rights of forest patches cultivated by Adivasis.
Talking to the communists or Leftist spear heading the Farmers March was not resented in any quarter in Mumbai as the farmers have shown their strength.
Last but not the least what is significant to note that demolition of statues or silencing or suppressing the rival ideology cannot fail it.
Those who cannot fight intellectual battle resort to such gimmicks.

Posted on Mar 26, 18 | 6:27 am