“Bharat ke tukde tak…”, for months now every student who has asked for affordable quality education and employment with dignity have been accused of aspiring to break up India by Sambit Mahapatra on noisy television shows. We have been promptly called anti-national and when some of us fainted in the long ATM queues during demonetization, we were told that the army stood inspiration for us in Siachen and we had no right to chicken out simply because all our life-savings were in danger. Aside from the fact that the army then came out to talk of its hardships, that despite the huge claims of expenditure on defence the army is buying its own uniform, if one looks closely at the various allies the BJP has garnered over the last few years in its bid to wipe out any opposition governments of the various states we shall be more than shocked. Here we tried to find out if National integration is just rhetoric for the BJP?
1. The North-East
The BJP, post its resounding victory in Tripura, has swept through the North-Eastern states. While the rest of India was being lynched for consuming beef ahead of the polls, the “Gau Mata” was served hot on the plate of diversity and Assam was promptly assured, there will be no beef ban. It was not cuisine alone. In the north-east, the BJP allied with
• The Bodoland Liberation Front in Assam
• The Naga Peoples’ Front in Nagaland
• The Indigenous Peoples’ Front in Tripura
All three have declared agendas of separation. While Bodoland has a clear agenda in asking for a separate state the other two are forces wishing separation from the Indian Union altogether.
2. Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh
Jammu and Kashmir have been at the eye of the storm ever since its accession in 1947 by Maharaja Hari Singh. The people never had their promised plebiscite, the resistance grew more intense and in the last couple of years, the repression has become unbearable. Rubber bullets have blinded hundreds of people, only last week army vehicles mowed down protestors and the death and missing toll keep rising every minute. The repression is of course engineered by the BJP government in the center. Yet who would imagine that while looking for an ally to come to power in J&k, the BJP would find PDP, a declared separatist force with Mufti at its lead! The BJP did not stop there! Ladakh has been straining for separation from the State of J&K for a while now. The BJP did not falter before promising Ladakh the status of a Union Territory ahead of the polls. It was clearly beyond the powers of the central government to do so since the state of Kashmir falls under the purview of disputed territory under the UN. That did not stop the BJP from making false promises nevertheless. Read here What Is The Kashmir Issue And How It Started?
3. Gorkhaland Movement and West Bengal.
Gorkhaland is almost a century old movement for a separate state for the Gorkha population residing in the hills in the North of Bengal. It consists of the Nepali community and several other tribal/ethnic minorities brought together by years and years of neglect. While the erstwhile left front government was outright brutal, the present Mamata government has done little more than lip service for the people. The BJP, of course, saw opportunity in the movement and promptly extended its support in the last Lok Sabha elections even managing to win seats. The problem arose when last year the movement was rekindled and the BJP in the center had no support to offer given that it did not want to disturb its increasing support base in the rest of Bengal. Read out how Mamta Banerjee government has fared in West Bengal.
4. The Saurashtra Movement in Gujrat.
The movement for a separate state has been on in Saurashtra through years and years of BJP government. Ironically Saurashtra was the BJP bastion until the very last assembly elections when the discontent led to the votes being transferred to the Congress and their tally doubling. One would expect the BJP being an integrative force would have addressed the issues by now. Not likely, it seems?
The ally BJP found itself in Punjab was the Shiromani Akali Dal that was only defeated in 2017 by the Congress. Probing into the ideologies of the Akali Dal one would find this party launching the movement for a Punjabi Suba, a separate Punjabi province. Even before Independence, the party did not hesitate to work with the supporters of the Khalistan movement.
Whether these movements are separatist in nature at all, or if they are movements demanding independence, which ones are justified, which ask for the economic privilege are matters of deep introspection and political analysis. What remains very prominent, however, is that the BJP used and allied with each one of them to come into power in various local and state level bodies. Needless to spell out not one of these aspirations were fulfilled and in fact like Gorkhaland and Jammu and Kashmir, most of these aspirations were betrayed and repressed; often with violence.
Read more – Can BJP Win The General Elections 2019?
Thus while the average Indian citizen was being force-fed nationalist fervor and asked to stand up for national anthems in movie theatres, while GST was being marketed as “one nation one tax”, while students asking for rights were being charged with sedition and called anti-national, poor tribal populations being rounded up and encountered on the charges of “internal threat to security” and Muslims being lynched for eating beef, BJP could not care less for national integration. It is just another jumla like Achhe Din, bringing back black money, and putting an end to corruption. Nationalism for the Modi government is what it has historically always been for any fascist force – fervor to dilute the more pressing issues like the rise in petroleum and LPG prices, fund cuts in education and large sections of unemployed youth. Then again it was probably foolish of us to expect that the people who proudly identified themselves as the bearers of Savarkar’s and Godse’s ideology would do much more than communal corporate violence for the country.