What feeds the Indian right wing? Undoubtedly, centrally orchestrated spectacles and narratives of fierce nationalism have strong roles to play but there are other equally important undercurrents that merit attention. For instance, at the very local level the right wing scores a few points every time the opposition fails to live up to its own stated ideology.
Let us take for instance the on-going controversy in Chandrapur regarding the district administration’s failure to observe the National Minorities Day on December 18. This oversight has not gone down well amongst the politically aware people of the district. According to the 2011 census Hindus formed about 80% of the district’s 22 lakh population while a substantial 20% belonged to the various minority communities including Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. Although there have been voices of protest against the administration’s negligent attitude, no cognisance has been taken of this matter at higher levels. Adv. Farhat Baig, a well-known lawyer and President of the Muslim Educational Social and Cultural Organisation was one of the first voices of protest. In a Facebook Live message Adv. Baig pointed out that while the National Minorities Day was observed in other districts like Nagpur and Bhandara, the district collector was busy attending other programmes and did not find time for the minorities of the district.
The apathy of the district administration has not drawn any comments from the senior political leadership of the district. Shri. Vijay Wadettiwar, the Guardian Minister, is silent on the issue as also Shri. Suresh Dhanorkar Member of Parliament. Both these leaders belong to Congress which presents itself as the defender of the constitutional rights of minorities. It is a known fact that a chunk of the minority communities are traditional voters and staunch supporters of the Congress Party. Therefore, eyebrows are being raised that inspite of continuous support, leaders of the Congress party are not taking the district administration to task.
There is also a feeling that the Congress in the district is not responding because of complete security regarding the support of minorities. The logic being put forward is that the Congress leaders show more concern for communities where they face insecurity of shifting votes. In other words the minorities are paying for their loyalty. Such perceptions should worry the Congress because it paints them as cynics and hypocrites. No wonder many smirking right wingers take sadistic pleasure at the predicament of the minorities.
The irony of the matter is that the only grievance redressal mechanism available in this case is to file complaints with the central home ministry, which some people are planning to do. Overall there is a sense of nostalgia and resignation and not anger. “The district administration has insulted minorities by ignoring the National Minorities Day. There was a time when members of minority communities from Chandrapur district proudly represented Congress in the Vidhan Sabha and the Lok Sabha, but now things have changed. Nobody has time to take cognizance of this insult.” The right wing thrives on every expression of despair and hopelessness towards the opposition as much as it expands through its own propaganda and threats.
The right wing agenda is not imposed from above or at least not entirely. It is built and normalised into the local, everyday political give-and-take. Every small act of omission or commission by the opposition feeds into the right wing scheme – directly or indirectly.
– The Vidarbha Gazette Team