Pardon Headley, punish Kanhaiya: How RSS plays nationalism game


Kowtowing to USA plus jingoism towards neighbours plus branding all internal dissent as anti-national equals to Parivar patriotism.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) mouthpiece Organiser‘s last issue has its editorial and another separate story on David Coleman Headley’s depositions at the second 26/11 trial before the Mumbai Sessions Court. It lists the admissions of Headley about the reconnaissance he did and numerous plans he conceived for terror attacks in India and other countries. It points to his claims to being within the top coterie of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) providing advice and suggestions andtalks of his links with senior officers of Pakistan’s ISI.

The article also refers to Headley being a “double agent for American spy agency CIA”.  Thus the Organiser points to the many things that make Headley the top-most terrorist to have appeared before an Indian court in recent times.

One would have expected these self-proclaimed nationalists to launch a frontal attack on this terrorist and the American state. [Not only did the Americans not share such intelligence, which could have prevented the Mumbai attacks, but they also entered into a deal with Headley to ensure that he is not handed over to face justice in India].

No not a whisper against the Americans. They raise a point about the exposure of Pakistan as the fountainhead of terrorism. But the main focus of the RSS attack is directed within the country. They hit out at pseudo-seculars, i.e., all Indian citizens who disagree with their viewpoint.

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They cling on to the statements of this double agent and self-confessed top terrorist, as if Headley is the latest poster boy of their brand of Hindutva nationalism. Headley did not even mention Ishrat Jahan’s name until prosecutor Ujwal Nikam suggested it to him through multiple-choice questions. But Organiser uses it to hit out at those who, in 2004, had opposed her murder by the Gujarat police in a fake encounter. Obviously, even if Ishrat had been a member of the LeT, it would not make any difference to the crime by the Gujarat Police.

But such rationale is lost on the RSS, which goes to any lengths to twist things to fit their logic. Thus, they drag in the issue of the JNU programme against the hanging of Afzal Guru and say that tomorrow these JNUites may even stand by Headley. This absurd argument ignores the fact that it is they who are standing by Headley and his every word, and it is their government that asked the court to pardon him.

There is no equivalence whatsoever between an Afzal, who maintained his innocence right upto the gallows, and a Headley, who proudly proclaims his terror record and earns a complete pardon from the Indian state.

‘Nationalist’ doublespeak and doublethink

But doublespeak to induce doublethink is second nature for the Sangh Parivar. During the Independence movement, RSS nationalism kept away from any anti-British activity. Today, their nationalism prevents them from questioning the American superpower. Their nationalism concentrates on war-mongering against neighbours, attacks on religious minorities and on all ideologies opposed to their Hindutva thinking.

RSS is bent on crushing all forms of dissent. For their cadre and sympathisers, brought up to doublethink in true Orwellian fashion: continuous war on internal “threats” is peace, freedom means slavery to all big powers and ignorance of anything other than what is preached by the Pariwar is their strength.

It is this brand of nationalism that is trying to crush the anti-nationalismof dissent by the students and youth across the country. Using the strong arm of the state machinery, this government has applied the brand of “anti-national” to members of some of the best universities in the country – from Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) to IIT-Madras, from Hyderabad Central University (HCU) to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to Jadavpur University (JU).

Rohith Vemula was branded anti-national and punished for being a Dalit who exposed the Parivar’s role in organising the Muzaffarnagar riots and for his opposition to the hanging of Yakub Memon. Umar Khalid is being branded anti-national and punished for being born a Muslim and for daring to oppose the hanging of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat. Kanhaiya is anti-national and put behind bars merely for standing in defence of the right to free expression.

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There is however a method in the madness. In line with Samuel Johnson’s dictum that “patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”, the present government is increasingly resorting to the nationalism mantra to save itself from the mess it is in. The achhe din promise has rapidly failed on all counts. Sensex and rupee are at pre-May 2014 lows, inflation is out of control despite low international oil prices and unemployment has been on the rise with no new employment generation despite the hype of Make in India.

Voter disillusionment seen in the loss of Delhi and Bihar has bitterly shaken the ruling party. The Sangh attempts to control and saffronise the universities has met with stiff resistance from the students and there has been a massive upsurge of the student movement culminating in the countrywide movement for #JusticeForRohith. It was therefore only to be expected that the Modi government would evolve some very devious tactics to divert, divide and crush the opposition against it.

An elaborate fascist conspiracy

An elaborate plan was drawn up on classic fascist lines with the launchpad being a strike upon JNU, which has been in the forefront of the students’ battles. Ironically and with typical fascist hypocrisy, the programme selected to start the attack was on the issue of opposition to Afzal Guru’s hanging – an issue regularly raised by the Peoples’ Democratic Party, under whose leadership the BJP has been in government in Kashmir.

Pressure was brought on the JNU administration to withdraw permission to the programme, it was attacked while videos were taken by crony media, doctored videoswere deployed by immoral anchors to create a frenzy of nationalistic fervour against the students, lawyers and other goons were massed at the university gates and court rooms to physically assault students, faculty, journalists and anyone remotely suspected of being in any way linked to or supportive of JNU and all this was done with total connivance of the police machinery.

In typical fascist fashion, those bombarding the “anti-national” students’ questioning of the Supreme Court’s decision on Afzal Guru were the same “nationalists” who used the terrorist Headley’s word to counter Supreme Court and high court decisions on Ishrat Jahan.

The attack has been well met by a variety of progressive forces, particularly the students and faculty of JNU and other universities in the country and abroad. The #JusticeForRohith movement too continues with a broader canvas of a campaign for social justice in universities and all spheres in society.

Meanwhile, while nationalistic lawyers were on the rampage in the Delhi courts, the focus shifted away from another lawyer, Ujwal Nikam who quietly closed his examination of witness, David Headley. After five full days of questioning, the witness had not been asked, nor had himself volunteered a word about the only accused in the trial, Zabiuddin Ansari.

Headley obviously knew nothing about the accused and had nothing to do with the trial. Headley had been summoned merely to be given a pardon so that he may spout things which could be used against any opponents of the regime, while protecting his American handlers. But this is the way of nationalism, the way of fascism.

by Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/pardon-for-david-headley-and-punishment-for-rohit-kanhaiya-umar-are-two-sides-of-the-nationalism-coin/story/1/9172.html

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