The recently concluded meeting of the Central Committee of the CPI (M) seems to have arrived at an understanding of the current status of the Indian State and of the forces working to shape the Indian polity which corresponds to concrete realities. The Party makes the obvious point that the government of the day has not thus far sought to formally overthrow the secular-democratic Constitution in order to install a Fascist regime. Thus the instrumentalities of the State as at present constituted – Parliament, the Judiciary, the Executive – continue to function by and large within the ambit set for them in the Constitutional scheme. Equally rightly, the Party notes that they will to push this scheme in the direction of authoritarian rule is everyday visible nonetheless.
The Party expresses its cognizance of the other reality, namely, that the ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the RSS, continues to carry the agenda of converting the state into a Hindu Rashtra – a prospect that desires to see citizenship and citizens’ rights placed on a new and different footing in law, where the operations of the state and its agencies would be determined by the preeminence of the majoritarian identity principle. Clearly, such an agenda remains the active blueprint for a properly Fascist state.
What is of immediate significance is the fact that at the social levels attempts by the several ground-level organizations of that mentor body have been seeking over the last two years and a half robustly to infuse the polity at large with the cultural accoutrement required to facilitate the acceptance of a Fascist state. Thus habits of dress, of eating, of worship, of linguistic preference, of diverse religious practice have been sought to be coercively brought into a majoritarian homogeneity as only a select band of people attribute to themselves the right to dictate and evaluate the loyalties of individuals and groups at large. That this activity is clearly preparatory to a possible reconstitution of State and polity has been recognized. And with that recognition, it has been understood that, although the Party may not necessarily forge electoral alliances with other secular forces, it will need to work in cohesion with such forces on an issue-based principle whenever and wherever the secular-democratic edifice of the Republic is sought to be undermined by coercive, authoritarian right-wing forces with a view ultimately to weaken and delegitimise the Constitutional order sufficiently to make a Fascist alternative acceptable.
What is of immediate concern is a general howl to project nationalism now towards a militarized praxis. It is necessary to recall what Savarkar had advised: “Hinduise the military, and militarise Hindudom.” As can be garnered everyday from sections of the media, this project is seen to be necessary to the forging of the nation-state into a “great power.” Thus even those sections of the fourth estate who by and large wish to retain the present Constitutional arrangement are not averse to the concerns of a majority of Indians, including their need and desire for peace and justice, in favour of procedures that may announce to the world that India has arrived at the great power stage and will henceforth rub shoulders only with those that are greater.
Overall, the latest clarifications from the Party’s Central Committee restore important perspectives and hopefully provide the clarities needed to mount a united resistance to proto-fascist forces and tendencies. One would like the Left, however, to acknowledge also that such resistance within a system of parliamentary democracy must remain somewhat inconsequential unless it also metamorphoses into victories at the hustings. And that shunning electoral alliances altogether may not be the surest way to obtaining that result.