- Arundhati Roy at Balagopal Memorial Meet
- Clifton D’Rozario, Mihir Desai and Jaha Aara speak against fascist trends
When the State and the Constitutional institutions are conflated with a single political party, it is an indication that fascism has arrived, said Arundhati Roy, famous writer and thinker.
Talking on ‘Fascist Moment’ during 13th Balagopal Memorial Meet organized by Human Rights Forum (HRF) at Sundarayya Vignyana Kedram in Hyderabad on Sunday, Arundhati Roy said that fascism comes riding on social crisis that challenges existing hierarchies. She listed out the factors and signs that deepen the crisis.
Longing for a mythical past, mass movements with the support of the ruling parties with corporate funding, fabrication of external threats, media which plays to the tune of ruling party, promoting street fighting militia, anti-feminism and other indicators show that fascism in India is a reality. She said Agneepath scheme recently announced by the Central Government, though apparently intended for short term recruitment in Army might produce trained, young hands for future fascist militia. There are Swayam Sevaks of Sangh Parivar, which is a fascist organization, has been training people in martial arts as future recruits for the militia, she alleged. “You can tell people about a mythical past and snatch away their future,” she commented.
The Modi government has been anti-poor and pro-corporate without hiding its intentions. The first major move by Modi was demonitisation which is blatantly anti-poor. Sudden announcement of the lockdown during the Covid-19 is also an action against the poor. She wondered, “What is that makes people to revere the person that is humiliating them, is the fundamental question.”
A book comprising Balagopal’s 40 article on different court judgments titled ‘Court Judgments and Social Justice’ was released by Arundhati Roy on this occasion. RSS and BJP have been neutralizing the Constitutional institutions leading to fascism, she observed. Media, judiciary, executive, educational institutions have gone into the hands of fascist forces, she said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been asking for Congress Mukt Bharat and causing havoc in the name of Hindutva and creating artificial majority. Forcing the poor people, who fled Hinduism because of caste discrimination, to join back the Hindu fold and bringing about CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) are some of the indications of fascism, she said. Arundhati Roy called on Left forces not to get discouraged or disheartened and fight resolutely against RSS and BJP.
Speaking on Fascist Assault on the Working Class, advocate Clifton D’Rozario said dismantling of labour laws, demonitisation and the announcement of the lockdown all of a sudden indicate the fascist mindset of the rulers towards working class. The pro-capitalist policies of the government are in keeping with this mindset. Days before Adani steps in to beach sand mining, Modi government lifted the ban on beach sand mining making it clear where it stands.
Senior advocate Mihir Desai of PUCL argued how the judiciary has been getting saffronised. The chief judges, be it Justice Lalit today or Chandrachud tomorrow might exhibit their independence here and there but they are most unlikely to go against the core policy of the BJP government. For instance, if the constitutional court quashed the 370 Article Amendment, then the government might go for new Constitution, he said. As long as the government gets its way without making any amendments or changes in the constitution, it will not go for them. It will change the Constitution only when it is essential to carry forward their Hindutva ideology, Desai elaborated. He said the NDA government under Modi had gone for Constitution amendment only for four times so far.
Jaha Aara, an activist of HRF, spoke on “Living in a Hindutva State.” She said she was persecuted by the Hindus whenever there is some adverse development in an Islamic country. They expected her to answer their questions. The would be ready to brand her as anti-indian, pro-Afghanistan or Pakistan or to be in league with jihadi forces at the slightest provocation. She said there is a movement against hijab in Iran because the women there were forced to wear hijab. There is a movement in Karnataka in favour of hijab because the Muslims in Karnataka are forced against wearing a hijab. Any where the use of force is opposed. She said when she started wearing a piece of cloth around her head for a few days in the month of Ramazan, she was looked at in a different way. She was questioned. Her nationality was disputed. So, as a sign of defiance, she has been wearing a cloth looking like hijab, she said. Jaha Aara said the central government has been violating the Constitution while dealing with Muslim minorities in the country.
Though it was the thirteenth death anniversary of the legendary activist of human rights, the big hall at Sundarayya Vignyan Kendram was jam packed with people, most of them youngsters who may not have seen Balagopal, but only heard of him or read him. All the people in the hall sat through the day from 10 am to 5 pm. Justice Sudershan Reddy, former judge of the Supreme Court, was among the audience. Vemana Vasantha Lakshmi, wife of Balagopal, Jeevan Kumar and VS Krishna, HRF Convenors of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh respectively, HRF General Secretaries S Tirupathaiah and K. Sudha, Telangana HRF Vice-President Harikrishna were among the organizers.