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archive: Democracy in Danger (Guest Editorial)

Democracy in Danger (Guest Editorial)

Dr. Ambrose Pinto, S.J.
August 16-31, 1999.

    Title: Democracy in Danger (Guest Editorial)
    Author: Dr. Ambrose Pinto, S.J.
    Publication: Renovacao
    Date: August 16-31, 1999.
    We have entitled our newsletter as "SUBALTERNS" from the present issue
    with reasons. In the vision statement of the Institute, we had
    committed ourselves as an Institute of Research, Training and Action
    for the cause of Dalits, Tribals, minorities and Women. These are the
    subalterns we are committed to and we would like this newsletter to
    reflect their reality to further their cause. 
    In this issue we want to further reflect on the forthcoming general
    elections. Elections are important because they decide the political
    destiny of the nation and shape welfare of citizens. "I have a dream'
    Martin Luther King said in the course of his remarks "that one day on
    the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of
    former slave-holders will be able to sit down at the table of
    brotherhood. That was the vision of the framers of the Constitution.
    It is the vision of the masses of India as well. Majority of India's
    population does desire that all people independent of caste,
    community, creed and race be able to live in harmony and unity.
    Unfortunately, political parties instead of uniting people into one
    human community, divide. The frequent violence among social groups -
    dalit versus other castes, hindus versus muslims, atrocities on
    minorities and caste war among dominant groups are all indicators of
    the malaise of the system. The situation has been made worse by the
    rise of the BJP. With the Ram Rath of Advani, Sangh Parivar raised the
    spectre of violent communalism. The man along with the Party
    responsible for the blood of the innocent ruled the country for
    fifteen months without a parliamentary majority. Like Hitler, who
    emerged as the Chancellor of Germany, from within the parliamentary
    system the BJP's emergence is no accident. As the small parties in
    Germany then backed Hitler so did the seventeen parties backed the
    BJP. International financiers have generously poured money and backed
    the party.
    Their first achievement was the Pokhran blasts which had nothing to do
    with military or defence strategies. The bombs were meant to quell
    serious internal unrest within the party by displaying the external
    face of communalism, to bait Pakistan. The second reason was that the
    party that had, professed "swadishi" -and had absolutely no trust on
    it did not know how to handle the MNCs, TNCs and the CTBT. The
    explosions, the BIP knew would invite sanctions. While placating the
    swadishis and all "patriotic Indians' the country surrendered to the
    forces of imperialism. That is what the plan was all about.
    Within the country the communal forces were let loose. In the fifteen
    months of BJP led governance, the country witnessed the manic violence
    of the Bajrangis, the wickedness of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and their
    sadhus, the viciousness of the RSS, the brutality of the Hindu Jagran
    Manch and the fanatic and fundamental interpretation of history and
    reality by Swapan Dasguptas and the Arun Shouries. Citizens were
    communalised. The country experienced the worst kind of violence on
    the helpless and the poor.
    To further make the Kashimiries insecure there was a demand to
    abrogate article 370, a strong signal that the party will carry on the
    massacres of Kashimiries on a large scale. WN1e the demand for a
    uniform civil code and the temple at Ayodhya was meant to terrorise
    the muslims, proposal to do away with minority commissions at the
    level of states and centre was aimed at making the minority groups
    insecure. The party argued for the replacement of the parliamentary
    system by the Presidential. It is through the parliamentary system
    that people in India have been politically educated and are still
    learning to express their resistance to anti-people policies of
    governments. The idea of the BJP is to work for an authoritarian state
    with Presidential form and turn India into a fascist-communal
    political system.
    With thoroughness the Sangh Parivar has infiltrated every civil and
    political institution in the last 15 months.  It is unfortunate that
    its fascist ideology is confidently and fearlessly propagated by the
    media today specially the vernacular creating further divide among
    communities.  Several academic institutions, non-governmental
    organisations and even a section of the government has provided
    support to the fascist ideology.
    That is why these elections are very important to all of us who
    believe in democratic and secular values.  Participation in elections
    is mandatory to reject the communal forces for the well-being of the
    subalterns.  Fascist parties like the BJP do away with all policies in
    favour of the poor as they have done.  In their regime the SCs/
    STs/the minorities, the secularists, the socialists and the
    progressives have no place.  In the situation, we need to draw
    therefore a line and isolate the fascist BJP as the main enemy of the
    subalterns and unite with all forces opposed to them. It is essential
    to take a clear stand to prevent the rise of fascist Sangh Parivar
    forces by uniting ourselves with all subaltems in the interest of the
    country and the well being and welfare of the majority.
    (This Editorial from SUBALTERNS a Quaterly Newsletter of Indian Social
    Institute, new Delhi, India, is published because of its relevance. 
    Fr Pinto is the Executive Director of the Indian Social Institute -
    The Editor)
    Note: Renovacao (Revival) is a publication of the Roman Catholic
    Church  in Goa.

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