New Delhi.9 April, 2017
Janhastakshep organized a well-attended public meeting on the theme – ‘India at the Precipice: Resisting Fascist Onslaught on Peoples Movements’, on 7 April, 2017 at Gandhi Peace Foundation, Delhi. The meeting was organized in the background of increasing communal frenzy under various pretexts such as ‘Gau Raksha’; adversarial judgment against Maruti workers and attacks on workers’ rights; the continuing abuse of laws such as UAPA and AFSPA, with specific reference to the judgment in the case of Prof Sai Baba and several other innocent people; the massive attack on the institutions of higher learning including several universities where a massive cut in admissions has been resorted to in a highly repressive and undemocratic manner; and last but not the least, the newfound anxiety of the government to somehow make even the existence of a common Indian incumbent to the all-encompassing universality of an Aadhaar number.
The eminent speakers who addressed the gathering included Gautam Navlakha of PUDR (Peoples Union for Democratic Rights); Gopal Krishna, who spoke on the issue of Aadhaar; Nandita Narain of the DUTA (Delhi University Teachers Association); noted journalist Saeed Naqvi; and comrade Aparna, National President IFTU (Indian Federation of Trade Unions).
All the speakers underlined the grave situation in the country, especially after the results of the recent assembly elections. This situation while on one hand has led to a political environment wherein the attacks on the democratic rights of the people, especially those who are socially or economically oppressed are increasing, and on the other hand the ruling class opposition parties are paralyzed. Various speakers emphasized that the only way to come out of this pall of gloom is by way of a fight back against the anti-people policies of the Modi government and communal frenzy of RSS and its cohorts.
Gautam Navlakha dismissed any scope whatsoever to be in the awe of Hindu fascist forces and emphasized the struggles being waged by the oppressed people in different parts of the country; struggles which the corporate media shall never cover, but which are worrying for the rulers nevertheless. Referring to the teach ins on ‘Nationalism’ organized by JNU teachers and students last year, he called upon the intelligentsia that time has come when they should step out of their comfort zones and reach out to the common people in their bustees and work places to educate them about the dangerous designs of the rulers in India. He emphasized that without integrating with the people it would be impossible to launch a challenge to the present fascist onslaught.
Gopal Krishna, while talking about the ‘Aadhaar’ scheme underscored the point that all the prophecies and dangers that were initially forecast by different activists and scholars regarding the implications of ‘Aadhaar’ are now coming true. He explained in detail as to how in the political environment that obtains in the country as of date, ‘Aadhaar’ has become an unabashed tool to curb the very basic civil rights and an instrument for keeping tab on every individual and the entire population.
Saeed Naqvi placed the current situation in the country in its historical perspective, tracing the developments from the time of communal division of India in 1947. The import of his speech was that the current situation in the country has been the gift of the so called “secular” parties, among whom the Congress was the foremost. Mr Naqvi emphasized that the policies and political practice of Congress and subsequently by other “secular” parties underscored the point that Indian ‘secularism’ was but a cloak for according a second class status to Indian Muslims.
Nandita Narain chronicled the various measures by which university education in India has been sought to be dumbed down by not just the present government, but also the earlier ones. The whole thrust of the various measures being imposed on the universities was to ensure that the students who are passing out are rendered into self-seeking robots who would unquestioningly conform to the place secured for them by the rulers of the country rather than become thinking individuals who would question every dictate of the government and the various forms of inequalities in the society. The situation, she said, has become all the more acute for the government with many first generation learners from the oppressed castes and communities making it to the universities for the first time.
Comrade Aparna dealt with the working class resistance to the persistent attacks on their rights. She severely criticized the judgment delivered in case of Maruti workers union in which as many as thirteen workers have been handed down life imprisonment. She gave examples of may struggles where the unorganized workers had given expression to their pent up anger and frustration against oppressive and inhuman exploitation going on in various industrial areas. It is these struggles which, she said, have kept alive the flame of working class resistance in the country and have kept the rulers on notice. The Maruti workers case judgment is but a crude attempt by the rulers to crush the spirit of the workers.
The meeting ended by adopting a resolution calling upon people at large to see and understand the imminent threat of fascism in the country and come out in large numbers to safeguard democratic rights and civil liberties in India.