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The Polity: BJP Prepares for the Morrow

Unlike any other political entity in the country, the BJP is an arm, a front organisation, and an extension of another organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. In the Eighties there was a fundamental transformation in the mass character of the party: on the heels of the VHP's test runs with emotive symbols the party cashed in to reap a rich harvest of votes. When these proved inadequate to reach power without back-pedalling the core issues, a compromise was arrived at. The issues were deferred but never renounced. They were put on the shelf, ready to be activated when the time was ripe. Such a time had clearly arrived by mid-March 2002 for a variety of reasons. 

Gujarat's Burning Train:India's Inferno?

Anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim sentiments had been building up in Gujarat long before the revival of the Ayodhya temple campaign. Godhra was not mere a spark but a bomb in itself. The fall-out has been both mammoth and horrifying. What is now happening in Gujarat is not heightened Ram Janmabhoomi stir, but a vigilante administration of 'justice' for whatever are considered historical wrongs. What happened in Gujarat may not be an aberration, and if similar developments are to be arrested elsewhere, the underlying reasons prompting such wide-ranging violence and moving the masses need to be genuinely understood.

Whither Gujarat?

Large-scale looting, arson and even mass burning are not new for Gujarat. But last fortnight, the violence took unbelievably brutal forms. The collapse of the state was evident - even the symbols of the institutions of the state were under attack . What kind of forces have generated this ugly metamorphosis in Gandhi's Gujarat? Perhaps more than anything else it is the changing self-perceptions of the modernising and rapidly growing middle classes, their search for a new identity and structures of domination and the lack of a significant radical challenge from below.

Gujarat : No Room for Dialogue

Over the decade there has been a complete collapse of civil society which in the past has allowed, mediated and kept alive the possibility of dialogues. The violence of the last fortnight vividly demonstrates that there is today no collective which can exercise moral authority and rescue the dialogic space.


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