The political mission of the Rahul Yatra- K. Murali (Ajith)

Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra is almost over. What was its mission? Rahul Gandhi has repeatedly said that his Yatra is not meant for immediate electoral gains. That is true. The Yatra is aimed at carrying out an ideological intervention in ruling class legitimacy. Throughout the Yatra, Rahul Gandhi has continuously and ceaselessly criticised the RSS and Modi. They indulge in the language and acts of hatred and antagonism. This divides the country. Whereas he is trying to unite it through the language of love. This is what he has been saying. While speaking of the hatred spread by the Sangh Parivar he is precisely pointing at its Hinduvaadi views. Then is this Yatra trying to put forward an ideological, political position that excludes Hinduvaad? While it may appear like that the fact is something else. Just as we saw during elections, Rahul Gandhi has taken due care to project his Hindu faith and even his caste. Then what is the content of this criticism made against the RSS?

In order to answer this we must identify the status as well as the sources of aggressive Brahmanism which has entrenched itself through the RSS and its Modi regime. Contrary to the thinking of many, this is not merely a product of the RSS. An explicit expression of Brahmanism is something that was consciously adopted by the Indian ruling classes in order to overcome the challenges faced by their legitimacy. Therefore, despite having differences, all of their political representatives, political parties, of the ruling classes, from the left to the extreme right, accepted and supported it. They shifted from the indirect and moderate expression of Brahmanism seen during the Gandhi-Nehru period to an explicit expression of Brahmanism. As part of this, all of them were involved, directly or indirectly, in bringing about basic changes in such things like the understanding of secularism and caste reservation, which used to be propagated as inviolable principles of the Indian polity. This amply proves that this is not a matter of any one party. It is a position of the ruling classes as a whole.

However, there are differences among them on the extent to which it should be made explicit or the extent to which it can be aggressive. Such differences among political parties reflect the divisions within the ruling classes itself. Expelling Muslims from the spaces they presently occupy in the political and economic spheres, pushing them down to the status of 2nd class citizens, the endorsement given to brazen attacks by dominant castes on the Dalits and other oppressed social sections — all of these acts orchestrated by the RSS are manifestations of the aggressive Brahmanism forcefully supported by a section of the ruling classes.

There is another section among them who are concerned over the way in which Brahmanism is being aggressively promoted though they support its explicit expression and making the country a Hindu country in effect, if not formally. Intellectuals representing this section, as well asmany among those who have been at the topmost levels of the state such as ex-armed forces chiefs, judges, police chiefs, bureaucrats and prominent figures from comprador monopolies have often expressed this view. Quite a few personages from among them have even written open letters to the President. It is this section that has declared full support to Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra and participated in it in many ways.

Apart from this, even within the Hinduvaadi camp supporting aggressive Brahmanism, a thinking that this cannot be continued for long is taking shape. They fear that it could lead to big internal turmoil and that this would be dangerous in the context of external threats such as that from China. It would also cause major repercussions in the political and economic spheres as well as in external relations. Many examples of this are already seen. Moreover, they think that the task of establishing this country as a Hindu country has already been accomplished. Therefore they are arriving at a thinking that there is no longer any need to carry this out in an aggressive manner. The growing angst within the RSS over the Modi-Shah combine overshadowing it and their unabashed bias for Gujarati compradors, feed into this.

When examined in the light of all of this, Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra can be understood as the expression of an approach taking form within the ruling classes, as well as an attempt to consolidate it as a political pole. The applause for the Yatra from some of the prominent people involved in the construction of the Savarna fort being built at Ayodhya and the support extended to it by a leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad can be taken as indications. How far Rahul Gandhi will succeed in this and whether it will indeed get consolidated as a polarising pole, remain to be decided by future developments. Whatever that might be, what we are seeing is an attempt at the readjustment of an ideological stance that has been dominant for sometime at the level of ruling class legitimacy. This is readjustment and nothing more. It only demands that the aggressive practice of Brahmanism should be avoided while continuing to endorse its explicit expressions. Even then, this is a significant development so far as ruling class politics in India is concerned. Even if it might not get manifested as such in the electoral sphere, it’s importance won’t be reduced. It will continue to be of relevance. It reveals the trying situation faced by the ruling classes.

Regardless of the success or failure of this readjustment, a basic issue will remain, demanding resolution. The Gandhi-Nehru ruling legitimacy did not get worn-out because of inherent infirmities. Instead, its claims on building up a self-reliant independent country, its claims of secularism and democracy, started to get exposed. Over time, the dependence of the economy and political servitude of the state started showing up. Ruling class legitimacy functions through the consensus formed under the hegemony of the ruling classes to maintain their rule over the people. When that gets weakened, space is opened up for the emergence of alternate ideologies, alternate hegemonies. This gets realised through various anti-state people struggles. This is what happened in the past. The turn to explicit Brahmanism from its indirect and moderate expression, the reason why the ruling classes were willing to accept this change, was precisely meant to overcome this. Now a thinking is emerging from among the ruling classes that this has brought up new problems and some easing up is necessary in this aggressive posture. Meanwhile, the political and economic challenges they faced remain. As we saw in the matter of the farm laws, the attempt to implement liberalisation policies suitable to imperialist interests is stuck up. In the matter of the CAA also, which is a major aspect of the Hinduvaad agenda, they had to step back. Those who seek to bring about readjustment in ruling class legitimacy will have to find solutions to these issues. And that is not an easy task.

Modi and co. are trying to project an image of stability and strength. But the Indian polity is approaching a period of great instability and turbulence. Recession at the global level, contradictions that have surfaced in the globalisation agenda, the relentless return of protectionism, and the intensification of peoples’ struggles and inter-imperialist contradictions as a result of all of this, go to amplify instability within India. In this situation, the blazing reality of the revolutionary alternative which stands firm facing up to the most brutal repression gives hope and enthusiasm to the people, while it is an intolerable threat to the rulers. And that is why the Modi regime has been carrying out bombing raids in Chhattisgarh even while it claims to have more or less eliminated the Maoists. After the bombing runs carried out by the British colonialists against freedom fighters in Peshawar and Medinipur during the 1940s, this is the first time the Indian armed forces have carried out such an attack against the people of this country. It reveals the intensity of the difficult situation faced by the Indian ruling classes, whatever may be their posture.

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