Tuesday, November 26, 2019

[IAC#RG] For publication


                                      By Amaresh Misra 

Fools and charlatans are saying BJP has lost the battle but won the perception war. This was partly true before Devendra Fadnavis took oath with Ajit Pawar, a man Fadnavis had personally attacked during the election campaign for massive corruption. 

The Devendra-Ajit combination nauseated the public. It reeked of naked opportunism, rock-bottom desperation and unconstitutional cynicism. BJP's line that painted Shiv Sena as the alliance-ditcher, was relegated to the background. 

Things changed decisively on 25th November, with the joint Shiv Sena-NCP-Shiv Sena show, in which people hit the streets, trade unions of Sena  mobilized tens of thousands and, most critically, kept MLAs in line with force.  

The danger of anti-BJP, anti-Gujarati violence became real, with Mumbai Police up in arms, against any attempt by the Devendra Fadnavis apology of a 'Government', to order action on the crowds. 

Maharashtra public on the ground and in villages, is with the new alliance, the first, true non-BJP Govt in the political history of India. Marx talked about how political crisis clears blurred political lines. 
Modi had managed to put up a clever illusion of anti-Congressism that served two purposes: misleading the people into believing that Congress was still the main enemy, while gerrymandering the opposition and creating a chimera of BJP's invincibility. 

Thus, this is an emphatic, turning point, which has isolated the BJP as a power hungry party of ambitious thugs, lumpens and neo-rich, with a Gujarati bent. There is no example in the world, of fascism being pigeonholed--a force that loves 'othering' communities and political entities, itself being 'othered'! 

This is the historic achievement of the Maratha combine represented by Shiv Sena and NCP and backed by Congress--with survival at stake, these two parties, and their leaders, especially Sharad Pawar, resorted to the age-old, clever Maratha tactics of guerilla deception, glorifying regional identity in reverse mobilization, and isolating the enemy in partisan-centralized categories like 'Gujarati Baniyas' and 'the dictates of Delhi'. 

On 25th November, by resorting to the line that 'Marathas never bow down to Delhi', Sharad Pawar broke the terminology used by all forces in India's first republic since 1950. He pitted democratic sub-nationalism against fascist pseudo-nationalism. RSS-BJP came to power through cultural-psuedo-nationalist politics. Till now, the challenge to it was posed at a national level, by the opposition raising economic issues and other standard political accusations. But Maharashtra conflict was presented in cultural terms. Cultural sub-nationalism defeated fascist-corporate-cultural-pseudo nationalism. 

This is a new line: very soon, you will see, in North India, 1857, the glorious anti-British-colonial/anti-Baniya legacy of Uttar Pradesh, pitted against Modi-Shah fascism. The South and Bengal will respond in it's distinctive manner.  

The complex fight between class-social forces also, needs to be highlighted. In 2014, BJP won both Haryana and Maharashtra, by building an upper caste-OBC alliance against respectively, Jats and Marathas, the two chief landed-peasant castes in these states. BJP similarly, banked heavily on anti-Yadav mobilizations in UP and Bihar; and anti-Adivasi polarization in Jharkhand. 

Here, Jats, to a lesser extent, and Marathas, to a larger extent, essayed a role that the numerically smaller Yadavs of UP and Bihar, or Patels of Gujarat, were unable to play. Jats united and stopped BJP in Haryana, allowing one of their factions to form a lame-duck BJP led Govt. In Maharashtra, where the stakes were higher, the sugar baron rich Maratha united with the poor Kunbi Maratha peasant, and the Maratha-Marathi Koli and lower middle classes (represented by Sena) to bring out the 'Corporate-Gujarati rich' kernel of BJP, hidden behind the mask of Hindutva, based on divisive politics, not just of Hindu Vs Muslim variety, but, also, and more importantly, the Maratha Vs non-Maratha axioms. 

This unmasking of Hindutva, as an ideology of vested interests with a specific identity, is the single most significant element of Maharashtra developments. It will change anti-BJP politics, put up a new kind of resistance against Corporate and Modi-Shah-RSS hegemony, for a long time to come.

Saturday, November 16, 2019


Ranjan Gogoi who retires as the 46th Chief Justice of India after a 13-month stint will be remembered for varied and odd reasons. The Jury is out there to decide whether as Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was crystal clear in safeguarding the Independence of the Judiciary or played fiddle in allowing the government to merrily trample upon it.   

Ranjan Gogoi was one amongst those four Senior Judges of the Supreme Court who on January 12th last year addressed that very unprecedented first ever press conference mounting a scathing revolt against the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra while listing a litany of problems that they said was afflicting the country's highest court and warned that it could destroy Indian democracy. Justice Chelameswar, M.K.Lokur and Kurian Joseph have already retired with Ranjan Gogoi being last of that pack of four. Ranjan Gogoi may have revolted against the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra but his very own tenor and demeanor after assuming the Chief Justice's throne left much to be desired  and did surprise many.

In April this year Ranjan Gogoi as Chief Justice was embroiled in very serious charges of alleged moral turpitude with a 35 year old female former staffer of the Supreme Court leveling serious sexual harassment allegations against Ranjan Gogoi. With his own colleague judges conducting a probe into those mind boggling allegations, propriety demanded that Ranjan Gogoi should have volunteered himself to step aside as Chief Justice pending the probe or at least proceeded on leave to ensure that there was no direct or indirect impediment whatsoever to the investigation being conducted by his own fellow subordinate Judges as Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done.

Ranjan Gogoi and his wife Rupanjali will now be the first ever to get post retirement complimentary perks at tax payer's expense by way of the so called "institutional courtesy" by the Gauhati High Court. The facilities would include a chauffeur-driven vehicle and a private secretary for the couple to look after their day-to-day requirements and coordinate with the High Court Registry for any protocol-related requirements. The other facilities to be provided are a grade IV peon, a bungalow peon and a nodal officer of the High Court to coordinate with the private secretary. Why not provide such courtesy to all retiring Judges?

Those who are entrusted as custodians with the solemn duty of faithfully interpreting and upholding the law cannot themselves be above the law or be seen to artfully tweaking it. 

Aires Rodrigues

Advocate High Court

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Friday, November 8, 2019

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