Today’s Bihar Could be Tomorrow’s India
Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam says the JDU-NDA split has the potential to steer the country away from the fascist path being prepared for it, if Nitish remains true to his words.
What is happening in Bihar today after the breakdown of JDU-NDA marriage of convenience requires an in-depth analysis rather than the ready judgment we see in the media today.
Surely, this is going to have a political impact that will not remain confined to Bihar, but will embrace the whole country and influence the course of events for years to come.
It may also determine whether Bihar and the country as a whole will go the fascist way or remain true to the secular, democratic Constitution and the vision of the Founding Fathers about the plural, multicultural nature of India.
Among the several courses for JDU’s future, a third front of regional leaders like Mamata Bannerjee, Naveen Patnaik, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Jaylalitha is being talked about even though such fronts have seldom been cohesive and stable in the past.
Before going into the future it would be illuminating to look at the past to understand the dynamics of JDU-BJP alliance and the contamination of the chelas of Ram Manohar Lohia and Jayprakash Narain in the company of communally-minded people.
The innate anti-Congressism of Lohia-JP tradition was enough to attract largely secular-minded socialists to align themselves with any non-Congress grouping, including even the rabidly anti-Muslim Bhartiya Jan Sangh.
When the JP movement rose, RSS lost no time in controlling it from behind the scenes. Its senior leader Nanaji Deshmukh was deputed by the RSS as a personal aide to JP. Deshmukh took great care of the ailing JP and won his trust. RSS also lent its cadres for state-wide dharnas, demonstrations and rallies. This brought both the younger socialists like Nitish, Sushil Modi and Paswan close to the Sangh.
In the years that followed they enjoyed great positions in Janata Party government along with Jan Sanghis, who in a tactical move became Bhartiya Janata Party later. Even stalwarts like Chandra Shekhar, VP Singh and Raj Narayan did not think twice before joining Jan Sanghis, who did not believe in the secular Constitution. They trusted the Sangh because their guru JP did.
However, when the NDA came along it was not only the JP legacy of dependence on the Sangh built during the Total Revolution days in the mid-70s but the vaulting ambition, greed and lust for power that compelled men like Nitish, Paswan and Sharad Yadav to jump on the bandwagon driven by Vajpayee and co-piloted by Advani. It was the second phase of BJP-Socialist alliance.
Later Nitish moved to Bihar at the head of an NDA-JDU alliance with terrible results for the minorities, especially Muslims.
The compulsions of coalition politics have caused great harm to Muslims who could not be rescued by Nitish even if he wanted to do so. However, it is not sure that he even wanted fair play and justice.
The worst damage that he has inflicted is the division he has sown among Muslims in the name of forward, backward and extremely backward castes. Besides this horizontal division he has created a vertical division between Muslims who visit Sufi shrines frequently and those who do not do it as often, or not at all. This division too has Nitish’s encouragement, something that earlier governments did not do.
(To be continued)