, by RAM PUNIYANI
Madhya Pradesh is being ruled by the BJP government for the last several years. This is one state where BJP and its erstwhile avatar, Bhartiya Jansangh had a good deal of following in the past also. During the last few years, the state has imposed the norms which are intimidating to minorities: the BJP associates have become more assertive, the state is promoting the outright Hindu culture, and it is also the place where the terror component of RSS affiliates has been having its dens at various places in the state.
Recently (in March 2011) the police stations got a circular from the head office which required them to collect the information about Christian minorities. This information pertained to various facet of social life of the community. The order candidly sought information about Christians of all denominations such as number of priests, bishops, schools, institutions, political patronage, Christians with criminal antecedents, economic sources, among many other things.
When one priest refused to divulge the information, meant to profile the community, he was taken to police station. When the community leaders took the matter with the top police officers, they expressed their ignorance, and it seemed like the case of ‘No One Killed Jessica Lall’, as if no one has issued the circular, or the one who issued this illegal circular is being shielded. With this the subtle ways of operation by the RSS controlled state mechanism became clear.
With BJP government in the seat of power, the RSS associates have become much more dominant, and there are activities, which begin as ‘religious’ and end up being hateful to minorities: the way the events are tilted and given shape by those controlling these organisations. This is one state where the RSS has been very active in the Adivasi areas. Like in case of Gujarat, on the pretext that ‘Christian missionaries are converting’ many acts of violence have been taking place in these areas. One recalls the rape of nuns in Jhabua, followed by the comment by ‘B.L. Sharma Prem’ from RSS, who proudly boasted that ‘the rape of nuns is the act of nationalism’. In the same areas the followers of Asaram Bapu have been very active, spreading venom against the minorities.
Pursuing this line of action, they had earlier also organised meetings in Adivasi areas, now this agenda got culminated in the organisation of Narmada Samajik Kumbh (Feb 2011), on the lines of Shabri Kumbh in the Dangs of Gujarat. These Kumbhs have been creating an atmosphere of fear and insecurity among Christians in particular and in these events they undertake the “Ghar Vapasi” (Returning Home), which in real sense means the conversion of Adivasis to Hinduism under direct or indirect pressure.
Now these efforts are totally being backed up by the facilities from the state government. There is a plethora of anti-minority literature which is distributed en masse. Such intervention in Adivasi areas is dampening the educational and health welfare work of Missionaries in the Adivasi areas.
With this government in power, the Muslim minorities were clearly told that MP is not going to implement Sachar Committee report. Rather than seeing it as a necessary affirmative action for the poor Muslims, it is being projected in the divisive communal language.
Going against the spirit of the Constitution of India, the MP Chief Minister has given a call to the government servants to join RSS, while being on the active service. One recalls in Gujarat similar call was given by Narendra Modi. When Atal Behari Vajpayee was Prime Minister, he felt so embarrassed by this move that he impressed upon the state government to withdraw the circular permitting state employees to join the RSS. As such it is RSS trained and coordinated swayamsevaks, who not only work in BJP, in the important positions of power but they also manipulate politics in more ways than one. To argue that RSS is not a political organisation is factually wrong as RSS has a political agenda of Hindu Rashtra, which it operates through multiple progeny. So while the government servants are barred from joining politics, MP government is openly flaunting this norm.
In Gujarat one witnessed the advent of Hindu Rashtra through massive anti-Muslim violence backed up by cultural manipulation. In MP the cultural instance is more dominant and visible. Hindu terminologies are being picked up for every instance and implemented. For school teachers the term coined was rishi, as in ancient India, it was rishis committed to imparting knowledge. Interestingly, rishi is a masculine gender, so the large number of women teachers falls out of this ambit. And more interestingly, these rishis were lathi-charged when they came together to demand implementation of better pay scales!
M.P. has also been the place where the Hindutva terror groups got a good shelter, safe haven for them. People like Sunil Joshi, Pragya Singh Thakur, Kalsangra, Devendra Sharma, Sandeep Dange and others could operate comfortably due to their saffron association in a BJP-ruled state. The state has been totally insensitive to the feelings of minorities and all its schemes have been named in the Hindu terminology: Girls welfare scheme: Ladli Laxmi; Child Nutrition Programme: Anna Prashan; Water Harvesting: Jalabhishek are just few of the names of state government schemes currently in operation in the state. Similarly, the schools have been made to start Surya Namaskar, (Sun Worship), a sort of exercise-worship routine from the Hindu mythology.
The state officials openly participate in Arms Worship (Shastra Puja) a ritual on Dussehra festival. In this worship the guns and other weapons from police department are freely used. This taking out arms from armed police must be regarded as a serious violation of law.
Yoga was initially introduced as a compulsory discipline. Now it is optional, but then with majority Hindus opting for it, the minority children do feel left out.
The state has showered the gift of land to various trusts formed by RSS associates. Recently one donation of a large plot of land to Kushabhau Thackeray (the founder of RSS-BJP activities in the state) trust has been quashed by the court, but such instances abound.
Madhya Pradesh government is combining subtle and overt intimidation along with cultural manipulation to Hindutvaise the state. The minorities feel marginalised and insecure due to the atmosphere created by the state machinery and RSS affiliates. After Gujarat, many states are vying for emulating its model; Madhya Pradesh already seems to be way ahead!