– Oliver D’Souza
Have no doubts, not that you should have any by now. Uttar Pradesh (UP) is not a state run on the basis of the Constitution of India, but by the diktats of Manusmriti packaged as Hindutva. The Hathras rape of a 19 year-old Dalit girl is a classic demonstration of this fact and of what Hindutva really is all about.
There have been two versions concerning the evidence of rape in the case. The medico-legal examination conducted on her by an Aligarh hospital recorded a “complete penetration” of her vagina, “strangulation” and “gagging”. Whereas a report filed by the government run JNMC Aligarh says that there was no rape. Private run hospitals are run mostly on principles of the Hypocrites oath and the profit motive, while a state run hospital is run according to the whims and fancies of the political class in power. The discrepancy in the reports is not surprising.
But whether it was rape or not the fact is that the girl was indeed assaulted, her tongue was indeed cutout and she was indeed murdered. The fact also is that the victim was a Dalit girl and the accused are all upper caste. The girl right from the start had been saying that she was sexually assaulted and sexual assault of Dalits is nothing new.
Sexual assault in general is universally used as a tool used to express both revenge and male domination. That is how you have lot of rapes occurring during wars. That is why rape is also used against women who challenge the citadels of male domination.
In India, historically, in addition to other forms of violence, rape of the Dalit women has been used as one of the tools to keep the Dalits servile and obedient. This happened in historical times, sanctioned by scripture – Manusmriti – which is the constitutional model of the casteist, communal forces in India that presently run the government – and has happened in post independence India as well.
The difference between pre-independence days and subsequent ones for the Dalits was that post-independence, laws were instituted explicitly prohibiting any type of discrimination and the atrocities that flow from it due to caste identity. These laws and the affirmative action of the Constitution protected them substantially, though it was not as successful in dissipating caste because the upper caste political class has always been in power at every level of governance, ensuring that their caste hegemony is not extinct and that those who ensure caste lines are well protected. Yet, in post-independent India the low castes had a better lot than their predecessors through millennia, until the rise of the casteist, communal BJP under tutelage of its hardcore casteist mother-lode to power.
It is statistically demonstrated that wherever the BJP, whose primary vehicle to get votes is Hindutva, comes to power there is a massive spurt in crimes against the Dalits, tribals and minorities and the crimes committed against them are more brazen than ever before.
In UP alone, after the casteist Yogi Government came to power, these crimes increased by 47% as per NCRB Data. In Gujarat between 2003, when Modi became the CM, and 2018, there has been a 72% increase in crimes against Dalits. Nationally, after the BJP came to power in 2014, crimes against Dalits increase from an average of 35,000 incidents between 2011-2012 to 47, 064 cases in 2014. And here it needs to be considered that only a minuscule of the crimes against Dalits are either reported or registered due to the politician-casteist-policeman alliance.
It is not only the violence but also the brazenness that has increased manifold. The brazenness, to which most of civil society is a mute spectator, thereby giving silent approval for such violence, was aptly demonstrated in the public floggings of the Dalits in Una, Gujarat, and the Hathras murder in which the state and the patrons of the culprits suppressed the family, took their phones away, threatened them with counter cases, eventually cremating the body of the raped girl in the middle of the night to destroy evidence.
For something as brazen as the Hathras incident to take place, every wing of the government is culpable. The state has a political leadership that comes from the dark ages of caste and communal poison, with appointments to government made on caste basis with most ministries going to the upper castes, more specifically the Kshatriya caste from which the CM claims to originate. The Brahmim-Kshatriya-Viashya alliance that works in tandem to rule the roost is a historical fact.
The state civil administration on the other hand is dominated by men and women whose allegiance is to such leadership and their ideology, while the condition of the law and order machinery too is the same, in fact going the extra mile eager to please the political class and the civil administration to survive. Added to this are the state institutions that are supposed to be independent but overtly support these criminal elements.
For instance, in the Hathras case a private hospital in Aligarh clearly cited rape and sexual assault besides physical violence against the girl in the mandatory Medico-legal case, while government run JNMC close to the ruling political class said there was no evidence of such violence. Surely the medical processes to establish rape are the same for all doctors. What makes the private hospital report less believable than the government version?
One does not need to look far as to why such violence has massively increased in BJP ruled states. It may be a party that has a clear dividing line within itself – RSS and non-RSS – but for both sections caste and communalism is a tool for profit with some differences. Those who are non-RSS are there purely for monetary benefit using caste and communalism as a tool to get elected and these politicians will change their tact as the times change. This section has no ideology save profit and money.
When it comes to the RSS linked BJP politicians, these are not only men and women who want to gain monetarily from caste and communalism but for whom caste and communalism is the desired model for the future of the nation and it’s Constitution. It is the RSS’s stated goal to revert India back to a theocratic state via a constitution based on the perverse, exploitative and discriminatory Manusmriti that enshrines the code in which only the 15% upper castes (5% Brahmin, Kshatriya 7.5%, Vaishyas 3%) are entitled to the wealth and resources of the country along with human, social and civil rights, while the rest of the 85% population irrespective of religious identity is required to serve these three upper castes and have none of the wealth, resources and rights. Between these two groups of power and money hungry BJP politicians, the Dalits, tribals and minorities are at the receiving end of their crimes.
More importantly, the entire dynamics that facilitated the Hathras rape is a candid exhibition of what Hindutva is all about. Millions of Indians have been fooled into believing Hindutva is about religion, but the fact is that it has nothing to do with religion as its own founder said.
Rather, it is a ploy and strategy of the RSS in which religion and caste differences are strung together to hoodwink the population into bringing into power its political wing, the BJP, so that a section of the upper castes, who own the RSS (The RSS’s core leadership and office bearer are always Brahmin and upper caste), go about indulging in their epiphany called Hindurashtra to exploit the masses. It is an alliance between criminal elements among the upper castes who according to Manusmriti are allied with each other to support the exploitative caste structure. This is the logic that drives the BJP’s proximity and enriching of a section of Vaishyas on an obvious quo prid quo basis. This is how it worked for thousands of years before the colonials and foreign invaders disrupted it all and this is what the BJP is doing today.
More importantly, the manner in which the Hathras incident was facilitated is a full-blown example of hindutva and its Hindurashtra in operation. You have landlords on whose land the girl was working who are emboldened by the open patronage of a discriminatory, albeit incompetent Hindutva government oozing with casteist and communal elements, who have non qualms in raping and mutilating a 19-year-old girl. You have a Circle Inspector with allegiance to hindutva and so buried in caste saying on national TV, he wanted to book the Dalit victims family not the culprit upper caste men. You have a hindutva drenched district administration sworn to protect the dalits via constitutional requirements of their employment that takes away their mobile phones to deprive them of help and then threatens them for raising their voice. The same administration further not only illegally cremates the girl’s body, but also keeps political parties and the media away from Hathras. This is what hindutva and Hindurashtra practically works out
A large section of the population would privately like to blame the BJP for such state of affairs. This is partly true. It is the BJP in power and it is doing the bidding of its upper caste masters. But who brought the BJP into power? It is these very same people who are now complaining against its pathetic performance in all spheres not only in the individual states that it holds power in but also nationally who voted for it.
Rather than vote on the basis of that which is visible – the unequivocal destructive agenda of the BJP cashing in on years of false indoctrination against the minorities, the pathetic performance of Modi both as CM of Gujarat and as PM from 2014 to 2019- they chose to vote for him again despite having devastated the country economically, socially, religiously and in foreign relations for 5 years.
Similar is the case with the migrant workers. As much empathy as one has for the nightmare that these workers went through, the fact is that these are the very same people who voted for Modi’s and BJP’ false promises despite having received zilch in the previous 5 years.
So why blame the BJP, RSS or Yogi? You voted for their leadership and their rule, so what are you complaining about? As Abraham Lincoln once said, when you vote for the wrong people you can’t comp-lain when your backside is on fire!
Likewise, if you see the voting patterns of Dalits in states where the BJP got a lot of LS seats, it is seen that the Dalits have voted for the BJP in both Lok Sabha elections and in Assembly elections in the Hindi heartland from where most and worst of the crimes against Dalits occur.
On what basis did the Dalits vote for the BJP? On the basis of Modi promising them the moon when his Gujarat record showed that all that the Dalits got were the sewers? I am past the argument that the Dalits are illiterate and are fooled. Even the illiterate know where their welfare lies and that their local leaders are corrupt. Moreover, there is a total lack among most of the educated Dalits to go to the illiterate ones and tell them about what is going on in the political scenario in India. There is only so much that civl society can do for the dalits; they have to do their part.
Hathras is not an isolated incident. It has happened before and it will happen again. The challenge before the nation viz a viz the dalits is now two-fold. First, through constitutional means bring an end to the political rule that has patronized the victimization of Dalits leading to a massive spurt in atrocities against them. The second is that once the first has been achieved, the momentum gained in liberating the Dalits after independence has to be restored and further sharpened to bring an end to this pernicious evil.
As far as justice for the girl and her family is concerned, they are truly caught between a rock and a hard place. Handing over the case to CBI is not going to get them justice. If justice was the motive, there was enough evidence and overt visible action to jail both the SP and the DM immediately after the criminal cremation of the girl’s body. The CBI, again controlled by the BJP has the credibility of an alley cat. The CBI has been roped in not to provide justice to the victim, but to water down the case, absolve the victims and divert attention from caste violence or in the least file a case that will not end in an conviction which is the standard practice among all law enforcement agencies in India. They are as much as part of the problem, they are not the solution.
Worse, even a court monitored probe if one is instituted does not evoke much confidence because the conduct of the sections of the Judges of the Supreme court, led by the likes of Dipak Misra and Ranjan Gogoi, have shown that there are men and women in our judiciary who have no integrity, character or morality. There will be no justice for the girl as has happened to millions of Dalits through the ages. It is highly possible that the family, after having cost the girl’s life, will now be blamed for the death. Justice will come only when our entire political class, judiciary, administrative mechanism and law and order machinery is completely revamped to reflect the constitution of India.