I personally had many problems with the #NotInMyName Campaign for reasons that have been pointed out by many – its Brahmanical and Left elitism amongst others – and I resent that truth. But I shall also not dismiss it completely, not because I want to be complacent but because, reactionary as it is, it is a movement across sixteen locations in the country and beyond that is expressing a collective rejection of the growing fatalistic violence and brutalities unleashed on minorities, a violence that is an extension of the silent and malignant power of the BJP and its allies.
There must be a broad coalition now, silently building up. And years of work lie ahead. A painstaking job. The Right is in ascendancy today because they have done and are doing this painstaking job of hate-mongering effectively, at the grassroots level, for decades. We have to take on that kind of a might.
Any revolution envisioned without the annihilation of both caste and gender based inequalities would seriously have to be rethought. There is a progressive hypocrisy that pervades the left intelligentsia in this country but this understanding would remain incomplete if it does not take into account the work of Brahmanism in the caste Hindu society. “Revolution” and “Solidarity” are yet distant dreams.
My JNU comrades and friends, by doing what you have done thus far, you, like student rebels earlier have already begun to change the world for the better. This is a victory that nobody can snatch from you, a victory that has drawn unprecedented solidarity and support in your favour. Taking inspiration from this we shall continue to stand with JNU and together face the harder times ahead, ‘asking questions, chanting slogans, walking to the left where the heart resides’, taking one step back if necessary but making things difficult like hell for the fascists.
As the philosopher Walter Benjamin noted, in a context not entirely dissimilar to one we are living through, “even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he wins.” Rest assured, the casteist Hindu Right and the merit-wielding technocrats will not care whether the dead came draped in red or blue.
The fear of criticism breaking solidarity is an enveloped fear; well cushioned in caste hierarchies and privileges. It is an arm chair fear, resulting from the fear of doing the boring but radical work of patiently explaining, convincing and converging.
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