February 25, 2016 By Shameer.KS

The Way a Nation is Split Again


While writing this, India is in the throes of an imminent ‘civil war’, as some commentators expect the current turn of events of becoming. When someone with arrogant postures on the pedestal of a violent, arrogant ideology, is democratically destined to rule the country, civil war, or at least its expectations, is its concomitant.

Last month, Rohit Vemula, a vibrant, enthusiastic, creative student at Hyderabad Central University, committed suicide which is rightly dubbed as institutional murder as it was done following the sidelining, ouster and cancellation of fellowship by the University authorities that are handpicked by   the Human Resources Ministry to appropriate the institution for right-wing political fantasies. Rohit belongs to the oppressed Dalit community in the country and who represents the student movement named after Babasaheb Ambedkar, who, among others, gave Dalits a political platform for fighting for their rights. Rohit’s suicide note, which resonated with the angst, pain and disappointment of a promising youngster whose wings are being irretrievably clipped, soon became viral. It paved the way for a student agitation at Hyderabad.


The Jawaharlal Nehru University which is held to be the bastion of Left-wing student movement in the country followed suit. A batch of students who belongs to the radical Left-wing movement in the campus organized memorial day for Muhammad Afzal Guru, who was executed by the government in connection with the Parliament attack case in 2013. The hanging was cited by many observers, including Amnesty International, as ‘being shrouded in mystery.’ The judgment was meted out to Afzal despite lack of evidence and on ground of satisfying the collective consciousness of nation.’ Political groups that question and criticize Afzal Guru’s hanging have been active ever since the execution, which include the ruling dispensation in Jammu and Kashmir, the People’s Democratic Party, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party. But this time, the slogans of the student protesters who were voicing against the Brahmanist political elites (called Manuvadis) were doctored in such that they were shown to be sloganeering for Pakistan and against India. Kanhaiya Kumar, one among the protesting students, Prof. SAR Geelani, former Delhi University professor, were arrested and put behind the bars. In a late development Delhi Police arrested Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya after the two left the JNU campus and surrendered.


The irony of Indian national identity being defined contrary to Pakistan has resulted in Muslims here being always a suspected minority. So the doctored video paved the way for many ‘anti-national sympathy’ narratives to be aired: Pakistan sympathy, Terrorist sympathy, and Kashmir disintegration sympathy. Indian cricket captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni remarked in another context that the reason why we can hold dialogues and debates (for terrorists) is that military men are risking their lives in the border protecting the nation and it is not right to weaken their morale. But it can be argued, on the same token, that we have to respect the military men who sacrifice their lives for the nation by converting this space which they are said to be protecting into a true nation, in which the idea of citizenship, equality and justice are all built in. If they protecting a piece of land where there is no argument going on, where there is no equal citizenship and rights, where there are farmers committing suicide while the money-hemorrhaging airlines of a liquor baron is being salvaged and the rich are enjoying every penny out of the relaxed wealth tax, we are disrespecting them by making them mere security personnel of an plutocratic oligarchy.

Meanwhile, Students and faculty members from University of Hyderabad hold a protest march titled Delhi Chalo demanding justice for Rohith Vemula on 23 February. Even mainstream politicians were present at the rally like Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI leader D Raja and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Beyond the obvious, the protest and political reaction signify the will of the youth who hesitate to bend their head to the right wing political pressures. The euphoria of a significant majority, and the lack of humility to learn from many of its recent drubbing, has given the BJP government and the right-wing Sangh Parivar elements which prop it up the cherished desire to transform the entire nation into its ideological equations. But counter politics had been born right at the moment the Aryanism and its theology of Brahmanism cast a dark gloom across the canopy of nation in the form of movements which its power wheels always trampled down: Dalits, Muslims, Buddhists, and the Left which know where their battle line lies. This split between hegemony and struggle is the defining moment of India.


Posted in: Editorial