On June 7 2014, Sitaram Yechury, the 64-year old General Secretary of the CPI (M) and Member of Parliament was on the third floor of the AK Gopalan Bhavan, the Head Quarters of the CPM in New Delhi. He was on his way to address a press conference on the ongoing farmers’ protest in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. He was, out of the blue, physically assaulted by Upendra Kumar and Pawal kaul. The victim fell down in the mêlée. While he was being attacked, the attackers were heard shouting ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’. One of the extreme right fringe groups ‘Bharatiya Hindu Sena’, to which the two attackers belonged later claimed responsibility for the attack. The attackers later told the police that they were piqued by the CPM hierarchy’s unsavory remarks against the Indian army and its involvement in the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir. Incidentally, no army has the right to rape its own people who it was sent in to protect.
Whatever maybe the grouse, this is not the modus operandi a political party or a group ought to have adopted to express its opinion or protest within a democracy, the maturity of which India has been proud about, and acclaimed and recognized the world over. The shameful incident, which the entire nation watched on television with utter shock, horror and disbelief, verily rendered Indian democracy poorer. That, on two counts (a) the person attacked was a 64-year old senior politician who held high office of a major political party that CPM is (b) he was also a senior Member of Parliament. The attackers chose to vent their ire on a wrong person, through wrong methods- that of physical violence. What was more appalling than the attack on the politician is the silence the Prime Minister sought to maintain, as has been his ‘style’ whenever the goons of rightwing fringe elements chose to express their ‘love for the motherland’ and skewed sense of ‘nationalism’ enthusiastically, in instances such as the murder of scholar, rationalist and teacher M.M. Kalburgi in Karnataka, which followed the murder of rationalists and activists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, the censuring and isolation of U. R. Anantha Murthy, all meant to throttle freedom of sane expression, attack of Mohammed Ikhlaq and mob lynching in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh over the alleged slaughter of a cow, attack on the sets of the film ‘Padmavati’ by Karni Sena, a Rajput organization. The list seems to go on and on, not to forget the fuss made over respecting the tricolor and the national anthem, and expression of love and respect for the cow by overzealous cow vigilantes. All these have been the handiwork of rightwing fringe elements, operating with the blessings and connivance of the ruling BJP and its ‘God father’- the RSS, whose writ seem to run to the letter in India of the 21st century. When other nations on the planet choose development over maters that have no bearing on wholesome growth and development of their citizenry, India seems to be one country which has chosen to operate on a reverse gear, to take the country back to the irrelevant and the unwholesome. A country which is more bothered about crowning the holy cow as the national animal to replace the Bengal Tiger, which is already being tagged ‘endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red List, which the cow too might very well follow suit, as they would be seen in large numbers, unfed and uncared for, loitering on Indian roads under the sweltering heat, its sheer numbers overwhelming the much hyped Gaushalas.
What is worrying is the silence of the Prime minister and the governing apparatus. The former seem to be at his eloquent best only before the podia at election rallies and on the floor of foreign seats of power and before world leaders. It is doubtful if there is hardly any of them whom he is yet to meet! As a person elected by citizens on a thumping majority to lead the nation with great expectations, he needs to be equally vocal, if not more, to at least condemn the aforesaid attacks as they happened in the nation’s backyard. Things have come to a pass that such acts of vandalism by these fringe elements and goons of ‘sister concerns’ of the BJP-RSS combine in the name of their skewed versions of ‘nationalism’ will have a free run in this nation, with their enthusiasm for ‘Bharat Mata (God bless her!) enjoying a free run with the law of the land having no bearing on them or their enthusiasm. If there is one factor which could bring about the downfall of the present ruling alliance and it’s captain, the seemingly invincible Narendra Modi, it is the ‘enthusiasm’ and overcharged ‘nationalistic’ rush of blood, enjoying a free run in ‘modern’ India, unchallenged.