Now you can view this blog on your mobile phones! Give a try.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Wrongs of Right Wing - BBC Report and my Quick Comments

Following is the link to BBC report of Ring Wing (BJP/Sri Rama Sena/Bhajarangdal/RSS) vandalism in Mangalore and other parts. Click here for the link.

Some quick notes (If time permits will produce a well-researched academic article here)
1. The recent developments in Mangalore have thrown up interesting observations for me.
a. There is a strong support base for the right wing recent vandalism in Mangalore both among the grown ups and the young.

b. The opposition has been from the open but small vocal individuals.

c. Unlike post-Godhra carnage and post-Babri Masjid demolition, the incidents in Mangalore - attack on churches, nunnery, unprovocated but hand-in-glove police brutality inside several churches, inhuman and illegal detainment and treatment of BV Sitaram editor of Karavali Ale daily, the multiple cases filed on him in different police stations across Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, the mute response of both Christians and Muslims to such injustice to individuals, attack on Muslim residential areas with police support in Ullal and other parts of the districts, the brutal attack on young girls in a pub by taking law into their hands and thereby becoming a parallel state-system, the numerous attacks on boys and girls from different religious communities while in interaction - have not been theorized. I am yet to come across any serious articles in EPW or similar journals on these issues. The silence of social science and humanities scholars across India and aboard is really conspicuous. The academic responses to Rajkumar abduction, protest against Fire, and Water, Beauty Pageant in Bangalore were far quicker- written within weeks.

d. The response of the BJP-led state government has been one of constantly trying to twist the tales to take political mileage of every sort or politicise it further to attack the other political parties - Congress and Left in particular.

e. Catholic church which preaches love-discourse towards others which is distinct from the 'tolerance-discourse' put forth by the right wing, has over a decade and a half has never seen social violence as an issue to be engaged with, but has only responded when the attacks are particularly focused on its institutions marked by buildings only.

f. A very concerned response has overwhelmingly come from a lot of non-christian and non-Muslim citizens.

g. The Muslim and Christian communities in Mangalore have hardly made any investment in building intellectuals among its members - may be because they did not want to get the established systems threatened. Because of this, they do not even have a language to respond to the violence - other than one of counter violence.

h. The media because of its flawed idea of 'balancing views' and 'objectivity' plays into the hands of the right wing.

i. Lack of good ethics on the part of the media has led the right wing to zero down on those who oppose right wing views in the media to be attacked both physically and through media.

j. I think post-babri Masjid Media has not really learnt how to respond to the rise of right wing in India.

k. We still do not know how to change the terms of the debate of right wing, esp in the case of Mangalore.

l. The corporate leaders like Narayana Murthy have not seen it as a moral responsibility to rise to the occasion. But, they had a lot to say in support of neoliberalism.

m. The right wing-led nation discourse has eroded the moral and ethical stand among the TV-IT families.

n. In Bangalore, curiously, a lot of part-time activists who participated in many protests and meeting related to Tibet and such issues have been withdrawing from mailing lists of NGOs and other socially conscious groups because, now it is not about sth out there but about us. They cannot digest the ruling right wing criticized in Karnataka. My follow up of those opting out of such lists shows that all of them belong to upper castes and work in the corporate sector in Bangalore.

o. The real estate boom in Mangalore has a close link to the rise of recent violence of right wing in Mangalore as most of those arrested and accused in recent attacks have real estate agencies.

p. The 'caste' as it is practiced and its hierarchic manifestation in Mangalore is seen in the groups involved in the violence too. While the RSS has largely been a upper caste male organisation, The Bhajarang Dal caters to men of slightly lower castes/communities/social groups in the higheracrhy. Those castes and 'Hindu' /communities/social groups which are denied membership in both right wing groups have formed Sri Rama Sene. In Ramayana, Sri Rama Sene was the name for the army of Monkeys. One can now see how within right wing social meanings of hierarchy based on birth are played out and Right wing is not one undivided house, although their ideological origins seem to similar.

q. There has been a constant attempt to see judiciary, executive and the legislature as systems out there independent of what is happening in Mangalore. But I think we need to see that they are very much part of these developments. Minus their coming together these incidents cannot happen. In other words the state itself is communal.

r. Within the Catholic church the 'charismatic' movements perhaps have done the most damage when it comes to building socially conscious people within the religion-group. The religion came to be constructed as the ultimate site of resolution of all social, economic, political, and personal issues. This then led to creating an apolitical subjects, who would now not believe in social intervention. (This is partly an insight I am borrowing the conversation I had with William da Silva two years ago)


Nick said...

Sir I fail to see why a corporate leader is expected to take a stand in such issues. After all an IT czar has a lot more to worry about( now that the whole world is plunged into recession ).

Anil Pinto said...

Some responses....

1. What is happening is a social issue and is happening the society we exist in. Hence, it is everyone's business and not merely of some lonely voices here and there, who feel for the victimized as well as the direction our day happening are pointing at. This direction does not seem to be assuring a safe and health society. Narayan Murthy and the likes are very much part of this society. They also have a responsibility to contribute his bit to ensure a safe and healthy society.

2. Narayana Murthy and the likes feel fully justified is talking about what kind of economic direction the state and society should take, the education patterns we should evolve to cater to 'industry' needs, talk on nation's trajectory in order to become a 'better' society but not on issues which are claiming lives, and peace in the society.

3. Although I am using Mr Murthy's name, I am using him more as metaphor for the values that he has come to represent.

4. In a way the value system he represents is responsible for the violence. I mentioned in my post the perpetrators of violence having strong links to real estate business in Mangalore. How did real estate boom come about in Mangalore? It's directly linked Infosys, Wipro and such other companies buing huge tracts of land, through SEZ projects which they impressed upon and such other means. Mangalore has less space to expand, unlike Bangalore. The SEZisation has seriously affected the social structure and equations which made certain sections serious vulnerable.

5. The economic very much exists in the social. We cannot say the economic and the social are separate. They keep interacting.

6. From one point of view, in his own interest he should intervene. For, communal violence only reduces investment and economic activity.

Anonymous said...

Sir, please continue writing on such topics. There s a lot more space here for discussion than in class.

Agent M said...

Sir, could you expand a bit more on your last point (r)?

Especially these two sentences : The religion came to be constructed as the ultimate site of resolution of all social, economic, political, and personal issues. This then led to creating an apolitical subjects, who would now not believe in social intervention.

In terms of HOW religion came to be a site of resolution of such issues, and HOW it led to creating an apolitical populace? And WHY they would not now believe in social intervention?

Anil Pinto said...

will do in a few days. may need a reminder, Agent M said...

Useful information shared..I am very happy to read this article..