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Home > Communalism Repository > India: Is there a communal angle to Anna Hazare Upsurge?

India: Is there a communal angle to Anna Hazare Upsurge?

by Ram Puniyani, 12 September 2011

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The nation heaved a sigh of relief when Anna Hazare broke his fast (August 2011). The breaking of the fast with coconut water offered by a dalit and a Muslim girl was an attempt to project as if Anna’s upsurge represents all the sections of society and is not just having a narrow social base of elite middle class. Now as the matters stand a large section of dalits and Muslims are standing up to raise their voices against the ‘Anna claim’ that it is an inclusive upsurge. Congress in its frustration said that Anna Hazare is an agent of RSS, how far is this true?

A survey conducted by an agency, post Anna upsurge, showed that the episode of Anna fasting has changed the political equations quite a bit. One, the BJP support base has expanded and that of Congress has declined. Two, the popularity of Rahul Gandhi has taken a beating and that of Anna Hazare has zoomed up to the sky. Enthused by these developments, the professional Rath yatri, whose Rath yatras led to the process of demolition of Babri masjid, massive communal violence and polarization of Indians along religious lines, has jumped into the band wagon of anti corruption movement and has declared that he will take out an anti Corruption yatra. Life has strange paradoxes. BJP, where ever in power has been as corrupt as possible and now with this rath yatra, on one hand Advani is throwing his hat into the race for being Prime-ministerial candidate for BJP in forthcoming Loksabha elections, and on the other hand BJP by supporting the permanent aspirant for prime-ministership, is also trying to show as if it is really above being the allurement of corruption. A case of nau so chuhe kha kar billi chali haj ko! (After eating 900 rats, cat is trying to strike a pious pose) Team Anna after feeling that they have gained legitimacy in popular psyche is now planning various train yatras in states facing elections. The Kejrivals and Kiran Bedis do know who will electorally benefit from their efforts.

One is not sure if Anna has been a lathi wielding, Hindu Rashtra indoctrinated swayamsevak, or a member of any of RSS affiliates (BJP, VHP, Bajrang Dal etc.) Still one knows that RSS top functionary H.V. Sheshadri has written a book lauding Anna’s work in Ralegaon Siddhi experiment; calling it as an ideal village, close to the vision of RSS’s ‘model’ village. In this village there are no elections for any bodies, the dictates of Anna run for most of the things. In this village, drinking was eradicated, probably by tying one who drank to the pole, beating him with shoes and then forcing making him to ride on a donkey. This is a village where traditional caste system has been upheld in more ways than one.

It was in March 2011 when RSS decided to launch anti corruption movement. It was the time when RSS’s political child BJP was on a free fall course, the Hindutva-saffron terror network was getting exposed by the day and the criminal cases against Narendra Modi were taking a concrete shape. RSS had struck an understanding with Baba Ramdev for such a movement, and in addition to Ramdev’s yoga following, RSS had committed the support of its vast visible and invisible network. At the same time Anna also began his own efforts for Jan Lokpal Bill. With *Kudasan* (Baba jumping amongst women to prevent being arrested by police) collapse of Baba; Anna became the sole vehicle for anti corruption strategies. Even in the April fast by Anna, RSS had mobilized its support base, the ‘shining India’ class, IT generation-MBA class, in large numbers. With joint team for drafting the bill being formed, the fast was suspended.

First time around (April) the hand of RSS in the fast was clear with Bharat Mata in the backdrop, and cry of Vande Matram and ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ in the air. In the second round, 16th August onwards, Anna modified the strategy in the light of criticism of the first fast. The primary
mobilization was done by various outfits of RSS, including Youth against Corruption, an ABVP outfit. ABVP is the student wing of RSS. Needless to say the mobilization was joined in by a huge diverse sections also, who are very dissatisfied with problems of daily life, burden of price rise, withdrawal of social welfare by state, petty corruption by officers and what have you. The mobilization in practice was equally contributed by the corporate
controlled media. First time (April) the overt signature of RSS was obvious with Ram Madhav, Sadhvi Ritmabhara and the back room ideologues like Govindacharaya being on call for strategy making. This time (August) around the caution was exercised and the overt RSS faces were replaced by less visible ones’, still all levers of control were with RSS swayamsevaks. RSS chief openly supported the Anna upsurge and that was message enough. VHP supporters funded and manned food stalls for those coming to show solidarity with fasting Anna. Mauvadi organizations and Khaps were in toe. BJP, itself drenched in corruption of various types, was too clever and gave a public impression that it is fully with Anna.

One has noticed that RSS progeny BJP, though claims to be fully against corruption, is no different than any other party in matters of corruption, as the real cause of corruption is much deeper than being projected by this movement, which is talking merely of punishing just those who receive bribe and not those who give, neither of the system which creates this corruption. We know ‘Power Corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’. How the strategy of those behind Anna worked? One outcome of this is visible at electoral level. As pointed out above as per the surveys after the Anna episode, the support base of Congress has declined and that of BJP gone up. BJP has always taken up the issues which are primarily based on identity like Ram Janmbhoomi or Ram Setu. With every emotive issue, with most episodes of communal violence, support base of BJP expands. After Babri demolition it jumped from two MP’s to a large number, after Gujarat violence again BJP base went up and now the survey reports show that BJP has benefitted a lot from Anna upsurge. RSS combine’s appeal is to the particular sections of society who are not very appreciative of affirmative action of state, reservations, social welfare schemes, Mahatma Gandhi NAREGA and the like. This class is becoming stronger in number during last few decades. With BJP support base going up due to Anna movement, it becomes clearer as to who has been working behind the scene to create the upsurge around Anna!