In 2013, then Home Minister Sushil Shinde said that BJP is a terrorist organization; specifically, that BJP is running terrorist training camps.
It should be noted that when asked to explain his views, the former Home Minister of India offered no proof and instead said that it had appeared “so many times in papers.”
Home Minister of India getting his inputs on national security issues through newspapers. Anyway.
Understandably, the BJP and RSS were furious when these remarks were made in 2013 and they created quite an uproar at the time. Incidentally, I do not remember any freedom loving liberals speaking out at the time against an obvious effort by the ruling party to crush the voice of the main opposition by labelling them, terrorists.
What I want to point out is this: while BJP and the Hindu right protested vociferously against the smear, do you remember the Hindu right embracing something like “#MeTooTerrorist” whether in jest or in sarcasm?
Because no matter what happens, nobody in his senses would be willing to pick up the tag of “terrorist”, even as a joke. The tag of terrorist is just too vile and too despicable.
Compare this to the ready ease with which the left has embraced #MeTooUrbanNaxal.
Of course, I understand that they started it as a form of sarcasm. But the eagerness with which they embraced the term “Naxal” suggests that the participants did actually identify and sympathize with Naxals at some level or the other.
In a charged political environment, rhetoric and hyperbole fly from all sides. I’ll give you a simple example. A favourite thing for the Indian left, for instance, is to call the Hindu nationalists as “Nazis.”
This assertion is based on a very hypocritical reading of history by looking at a few lines penned by Golwalkar nearly a century ago. Whereas it is deliberately forgotten that World War – 2 began with Hitler invading Poland jointly with his Communist ally Stalin.
Despite the insults and despite the hypocrisy of the left, I am yet to see the Hindu right embrace the tag of “Nazi” whether in a show of jest, sarcasm or defiance.
#MeTooNazi never became a cause among Hindu nationalists. Because the word “Nazi” is just too reprehensible for anyone to label themselves with. No matter what.
Similarly, after the Kathua incident, it was in fashion among leftists to try to tar the Hindu right as rapists or even child rapists.
Did you see Hindu nationalists trending #MeTooRapist or #MeTooChildRapist as a counter? Of course not.
Because, no matter what, no person will call himself a Nazi, a rapist or a child rapist even as a form of sarcasm. The tag is just too horrible.
On the other hand, you might have noticed that nowadays many on the Hindu right do actually call themselves “Bhakts” or “Internet Hindus”. Because, even though the left originally used such tags as insults, the literal meanings of these words were completely inoffensive.
The fact that somebody would willingly call himself a Naxal suggests that the person is comfortable, at some level, with the Naxals.
This possibility also goes well with the observation that the left, in general, has a very high comfort level with mass murder, terrorism and dictatorship. Worldwide, the Communist Party has run some of the most brutal regimes ever, those of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, killing an estimated 1000 lakh people. There are places in the world where you can go and see heaps of human skulls and skeletons left behind by Communism.
Now, even if I give India’s leftist intellectuals a wide berth and say that they do not endorse those massacres, basic marketing principles would suggest that these people would shun a brand that has become as toxic as “Communist”. That these people would want to rebrand themselves. However, we observe exactly the opposite: leftist organizations label themselves as CPI(X), CPI(Y), CPI(XY) and so on…each group trying its best to claim a slice of the toxic Communist brand.
In other words, they don’t try to run away from the legacy of mass murder, they take great pride in displaying their connection to it. They use the same red colour and variations on the hammer and sickle theme, somehow trying to make sure the whole world knows that they are intellectual cousins of Stalin and Mao.
To be fair, the Communists never made any effort to hide anything. Usually, the portraits of Stalin are displayed quite prominently in Communist Party offices.
And now we have people who are “proud” to call themselves Naxals.
You know what? They just might actually be Naxals.
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.