Statement of the Maharashtra Council of Lok Raj Sangathan, October 2018
The campaign of Baatein Aman Ki is a praiseworthy initiative of all those concerned with the rising violence and chaos that has engulfed our country. The campaign organised from all over the country has drawn in a large number of organisations, activists and concerned citizens from all walks of life and has struck a chord with people of our country. The campaign has generated lively interest in the true nature of today’s democracy and what the challenges in front of us are to ensure that we the people can live a life befitting modern society.
What are the democratic challenges faced by our country? The fundamental point is that our country does not run according to the wishes of the people. There is no mechanism to ensure that the will of the people gets implemented. If the had their way, the policies of globalisation through privatisation and liberalisation would not have been implemented. The gap between the rich and poor would have narrowed down and got eliminated and not widened every minute. Those who fight for the people would have been honoured instead of being hounded, maligned, arrested, tortured and killed as they are today. Those guilty of the most horrendous crimes against children, women and men would have been given exemplary punishment instead of receiving political power and patronage.
The basic problem is that the system of democracy that we have in our country actually serves to keep the vast majority of people away from power. The most that people can do is cast their votes. Once they have cast their vote, people have no further role at all. Elections are won by candidates selected by parties backed by big money power and the muscle power and media power that come with it. It is obvious that those who are elected have to fulfill the demands of those who funded them. Elected representatives are accountable to them, not to the people. People have no say in who forms the government and what the government does or does not do. Sovereignty, the supreme decision-making power, is in the hands of the Cabinet within the Parliament.
The Indian State has armed itself with some of the most draconian powers, with arbitrary arrests and detention, being the order of the day. India is perhaps one of the few countries in the world where the State can merely state that this or that person believes in this or that ideology and lock them away. At different times in our history, different black laws have been implemented by parties in power. In states where the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is enforced, a person can even be killed on “suspicion” and no action is taken against the perpetrators even when the “suspicion” is wrong. How democratic is that?
We cannot afford to forget the lessons of history. In the seven decades since Independence, we have seen innumerable communal massacres. The anti-Sikh communal massacre that occurred in 1984 saw hundreds of women being raped and their men-folk killed at the behest of the then ruling Congress Party. In the 1990s the Congress and the BJP colluded to spread religious hatred and hysteria, to then demolish the Babri Masjid and subsequently to unleash brutal massacres of Hindus and Muslims in many places in the country. In 2002 mass rapes and murders of women and innumerable murders of men were organised by the BJP that was ruling Gujarat.
The economic and political power has become so extremely concentrated that just about 150 monopoly houses effectively control the State, the entire economy and set the direction for society. The government is in effect the managerial team for these monopolies. The monopoly houses who head the ruling class in our country are on an aggressive global imperialist drive. They are eager to expand their capital both within the country and abroad. Successive governments led by the Congress Party and BJP have been implementing the same economic program aimed at fulfilling capitalist greed and the imperialist aims of the monopoly houses, at the expense of the livelihood and rights of the toiling majority of people.
How do these handful of monopolies rule over 130 crore people? They have a number of weapons in their arsenal. Spreading myths and illusions and befuddling the people is one of them. One of the greatest myths is that what we have in our country is the rule of the people. Communalism, casteism and all kinds of lies and prejudices are systematically spread through the news media and through social media. A climate is created in which hate crimes can be justified in people’s eyes. It is the rulers who organize to set people at each other’s throats. They then carry out the lying propaganda that people and their beliefs are to blame.
Our rulers have perfected the British rulers’ strategy of “Divide and Rule”. Creating a climate of anarchy, violence and terror has become the only way that the rulers can continue to rule society. It serves to divert the working class and people, and to prevent them from uniting against the monopoly capitalists and the governments in their service. It is the only way they can rule today. For thousands of years our people have believed that it is the duty of the state to provide sukh and suraksha for all. The present day state in our country has been inherited from the British rulers. What it does is to provide sukh and suraksha to the rulers, while guaranteeing dukh and hinsa to the working and toiling people and those who stand up for them.
What justice can we expect from such rulers, from parties like the Congress and BJP, whose leaders have commanded and organised numerous rapes and mass murders? How can Aman be expected in our society when it is in the interest of those in power to spread violence and hatred?
We have to address the basic flaws in the existing system.
It is necessary to bring about changes that would place the people at the centre of the decision-making process.
The Constitution must vest sovereignty in the people.
People must have the right to select the candidates prior to any election.
People must have the right to recall the one they elected at any time and the right to initiate legislation.
The role of political parties must be redefined: they must work to keep the people in power and not to usurp power in their own hands and rule in the name of the people.
With political power in our hands, we the people will not only be able to ensure our safety and that of our children, but we will also be able to address other problems like poverty and lack of necessities required for a dignified human life.
Let us wage the struggle against sectarian violence and terror with the perspective and aim of building a society that would guarantee prosperity and protection for all. Such a society would guarantee the inviolability of the right to conscience.
Lok Raj Sangathan has been working since its founding to build political unity in defence of the rights of all, in opposition to communalism, communal violence and all forms of State terrorism. It has consistently raised the demand that those guilty of organising communal violence against any section of the people must be punished. It has persistently worked to build people’s committees in local areas on a non-sectarian basis, overcoming all the barriers that are set up between us. It has built and strengthened such committees in the course of waging united struggles of the people for the realisation of human and democratic rights.