Tuesday, 28 June, 2022
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Started by Muslim League, mastered by TMC — pro-Hindutva press on Bengal political violence

ThePrint’s round-up of how pro-Hindutva media covered and commented on news and topical issues over the past few days.

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New Delhi: The “culture of political violence started by the Muslim League, nurtured by the Communists and mastered by the TMC must end,” said an editorial in Organiser this week

It linked the Birbhum massacre — a mob attack in a village in West Bengal that led to eight people being burned to death following the killing of local Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Bhadu Sheikh on 21 March — with the state’s history of political violence. 

In addition, a new focus by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on economic issues, and the Sangh’s criticism of the Odisha government’s Puri heritage corridor project, were among the subjects that dominated the pages of publications affiliated to the RSS, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and sister organisations, as well as the writings of some Right-leaning authors.  

‘Muslim League introduced violence in the electoral process’

Comparing the TMC with the pre-Independence Muslim league, the Organiser editorial said, “The Rampurhat massacre is not the first incident where West Bengal has witnessed the mayhem of political violence as a tool to control the democratic apparatus. Right from the 1937 elections, Muslim League introduced violence in the electoral process,” wrote the magazine’s editor, Prafulla Ketkar. 

“The Calcutta and Noakhali riots orchestrated by H.S. Suhrawardy not just butchered Hindus but mainstreamed violence as a tool of political blackmailing and ransacking,” he added, referring to the communal riots of 1946, when Suhrawardy, then a Muslim League leader, was prime minister of Bengal. 

“The political rivalry within the Trinamool Congress (TMC) will settle down. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has arrived as a political challenger and will have to find ways to establish itself as the ruling party for the ordinary Bengalis,” wrote Ketkar.

He added that the “fundamental questions” are how far such “intra-party or inter-party competitions” are settled through democratic means, and with West Bengal being a border state, “can we give preponderance to the narrow political interests over the national interest”.

Another article in Organiser argues that the Odisha government’s project to develop a 75-metre corridor around Puri’s Jagannath Temple poses a serious structural danger to the temple. Referring to digging activities using heavy machinery near the temple, the article says, “Experts and devotees are in fear that such deep digging just close to the temple will pose a serious threat to the 12th-century shrine and the Meghanad Prachira (outer wall).”

It adds, “Even holes as deep as 15 to 20 feet are being dug up at several places within 50-metre radius of Meghanad Prachira using earth-moving machines and excavators. What is the need for digging such deep holes? There is not an iota of doubt that such digging activities will pose a threat to the safety of Jagannath temple and the boundary wall.”


Also read: Modi is ‘father figure’, Yogi ‘no flash in pan’: What pro-Hindutva press made of BJP’s big UP win


RSS acknowledges economic, unemployment challenges

In another article in Organiser, senior journalist K.A. Badrinath offered an analysis of the annual meeting of the RSS’ apex body, the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, held in Ahmedabad earlier this month.

Badrinath wrote that the Sangh, for the first time in the last few decades, had discussed bread-and-butter issues, jobs and the livelihoods of millions.

“In a way, the Hindutva-centric Sangh Parivar recognises the enormity of the challenge posed by Covid-19, especially in the context of huge economic restructuring happening in the country”, he wrote.

“The RSS has two points. Finding homegrown sustainable solutions to absorb the ever expanding human resource base with aspirational youth forming its largest chunk has been recommended,” he added.

“The second big point made by the Sangh was to evolve an alternative Bharatiya — India-centric — economic model that pushes for self-reliance across sectors including agriculture, exports, industry and services,” he wrote.

Also in Organiser, an article in by a senior fellow of the Indian Council of Social Science Research, D.D. Pattanaik, compared RSS founder K.B. Hedgewar to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, saying that both were engaged in different spheres in terms of region and career, yet shared the same cause of devotion.

“Both had worked from the rostrum of the Indian National Congress — of course, Netaji occupying the political space in the highest echelon. Both erected grand organisational edifices to the end of nation-building — Netaji, the Azad Hind Fauz and Doctorji, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh — one to liberate the nation from the scourge of colonial rule and the other to energise the nation within.”

‘De-dollarisation’ 

The Swadeshi Jagaran Manch’s national co-convenor, Ashwani Mahajan, wrote an article in Dainik Jagran about “self-reliance” in global payments in the context of the Russia-Ukraine war and the ensuing sanctions against Moscow, with the US and European countries blocking Russian banks from the international payment gateway SWIFT. 

“For a more viable payment system, we can create a link between our payment system (UPI) and payment systems of different countries, and can circumvent the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) system, which is under the influence of the USA and European countries,” he wrote.

“For example, India can establish self-reliance in international payments by establishing a link with the payment systems of other countries including Russia’s MIR (a local payment card in Russia sponsored by the government) and China’s payment system,” he added.

WTO negotiations: Govt shouldn’t agree to any demand without confirmation from experts

Mahajan also wrote a letter to Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and asked the government to ensure an effective and fruitful outcome in the negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to waive patent restrictions for Covid-19 medical supplies. 

The letter said the government should not agree to any agreement without confirmation from technical experts. “We believe that India has stood up to pressures from the European Union, the US and the WTO. We urge you to maintain this position and ensure that this dialogue leads to an effective and fruitful outcome. This should also expand the flexibility provided by the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) agreement.


Also read: Hijab, ‘narco jihad’, Ukraine students’ ‘lavish’ wants — what Right-wing press is writing about


‘Yogi’s second term will be more effective’

Shantanu Gupta — the author of a book on UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, The Monk Who Transformed Uttar Pradesh — argued in an article in Dainik Jagran that Yogi’s second term will be more effective than his first. 

“His critics pointed out three shortcomings in him as a leader and administrator. The first drawback was that Yogi Adityanath had never played an administrative role till then. He was never even a minister in the central government. The other drawback, according to critics, was that Yogi Adityanath had been confined to Gorakhpur and eastern Uttar Pradesh in the last 19 years as an MP,” wrote Gupta.

“The third shortcoming expressed by critics was that Yogi Adityanath never played any role in the party organisation. Hence, his association with the party workers of BJP is not very strong. In his first term, Yogi Adityanath worked tirelessly to overcome these shortcomings, and emerged the winner in the last five years,” he added.

“It is clear that Yogi will be a more vocal leader in his second term, behind whom a big electoral victory stands. After the ‘Gujarat model’, now the ‘UP model’ has become exemplary for BJP-ruled states. Various aspects of Yogi’s governance have received praise from the World Health Organization, UNICEF, NITI Aayog and many other national-international agencies,” he claimed.

Former Modi supporters question govt policies, discuss ‘intellectual bankruptcy’ 

Hari Shankar Vyas, the editor of Naya India and a former supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wrote that India’s foeign policy has always been “shaky” — an allusion to US President Joe Biden’s comment — in the context of India’s stand on the Russia-Ukraine war and hosting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Delhi last week . 

“India is not only standing with China at the historical turning point of the Russia-Ukraine war, but it is also doing international politics by hosting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Delhi. That too after the 48th Conference of Foreign Ministers of OIC, an Islamic organisation of 57 Muslim countries, in Islamabad ” he wrote.

“At the conference, the Chinese foreign minister said bluntly, ‘We have heard the call of our Islamic friends on Kashmir, and China is optimistic about sharing it,’” he added.

“Therefore, the question again of Indian foreign policy is whether India’s good is with the conservative superpowers of the neighbouring Islamic or Chinese civilisations, or with the liberal countries of the West,” Vyas asked. 

Shankar Sharan, another right-leaning author, wrote an article on the Sangh Parivar-BJP ecosystem, criticising it for “intellectual bankruptcy”. 

“In the speeches of BJP leaders taking a dig at the Congress, only the arrogance of power is reflected, not originality. The policies, activities, methods of the BJP, even the misuse of power, are an imitation of the Congress. But unlike the Congress, what is also visible in the BJP is an imitation of the Communists. For example, extreme partyism or organised corruption,” Sharan wrote. 

He added that the intellectual ecosystem in the BJP-RSS is made by the leaders, not the scholars. “They spread it by giving positions to favourable writers, editors, professors, etc. The Sangh-BJP were in a position to create an alternative ecosystem, but they always lost the opportunity. They continued to follow the Congress-Leftist-Racist-Missionary-Islamic ideas and policies. Cursing the helpless, headless Hindus from above”, he wrote. 

Former chief election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi’s comments on ‘love jihad’, in which he said that this harms Muslim girls more, caused an uproar in Right-wing circles. 

Ajay Khemaria, a Right-leaning commentator, responded in an article published in Panchjanya, saying that Quraishi’s comments had presented a “communal face” of the former CEC. 

“Quraishi is today also objecting to the appointments in the (Election) Commission, and he is advocating a collegium system like the Supreme Court. But when he was the chief election commissioner from 2010 to 2012, why did he not do any such thing,” asked Khemaria.  

‘How Muslims take over Hindu lands in West Bengal’

A ‘ground report’ in Organiser about Muslim-dominated areas in West Bengal’s border regions concluded that there is a “terrible imbalance in the demographics in these villages and there are also many Muslims who migrated from Bangladesh”. 

The report stated that these areas are very fertile, with water being found at a depth of only 20 feet. Three crops can be produced in these areas in a year, and there are also many business opportunities. However, due to an influx of Muslims and “organised violence”, Hindus flee and Muslims take over their properties, the report claimed. 

“There is a majority of Muslims in most of the villages and small towns. There are also many Muslims who migrated from Bangladesh. Due to their abundance, local Hindus migrate to other cities or safer places. Organised and sponsored violence incites them to flee. The spread of violence instils fear in them,” it said.

“The result is that the Hindus migrate, leaving behind even their real estate, farming, business, etc. After their escape, with great planning and skill, some Muslims share their land, take gardens, take care of the house. They also give their share to the landowner on time. But this sequence hardly lasts for two-four years. After that, they get ownership rights on those lands at throwaway prices, get them to their names by showing the fear of possession of the house,” the report claimed.


Also read: Nehru vs RSS-backed Organiser: A battle that led to curbs on our freedom of expression


 

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