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India: Political Resolution of the Annual Convention of the Sampradayikta Virodhi Andolan, Delhi, March 1992

by Dilip, 17 July 2013

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Political Resolution of the Annual Convention of the Sampradayikta Virodhi Andolan, (Movement Against Communalism) Delhi, March 1992

NB -This document is being placed in the public domain as a beginning to an archive. The SVA was an anti-communal civic campaign floated by concerned citizens in the post ’84 period. It carried on a tenuous existence for nearly ten years. It was one of the few secular campaigns which maintained an organisational existence with a written constitution, regular meetings and conventions, and a formal membership. Its history, methods and ideas remain significant today. We (ex-members of SVA) would like to expand this archive and encourage people to use it. The current posting will be amended and extended gradually.

Attached beneath the 1992 resolution is a brief history, that is not part of the archive. It was written in 2002, in the aftermath of the Gujaratcarnage, for circulation amongst newly formed anti-communal networks. To the best of my knowledge, it was not completed and not circulated. It remains an incomplete account, and I hope other participants in SVA activities will help us fill in the gaps. I include it here as a necessary introduction, and for an informative purpose- DS

Political Resolution of the SVA, drafted at the Annual Convention (dtd 29/2/92), and finalised at the Co-ordination Committee meeting dtd 28/3/92.

I/ The GB of the SVA notes that :

...the communal situation in the country has worsened, despite the decline in the number of communal incidents as compared to the year 1990-91. The general election in May 1991 led to a consolidation of the RSS and its front organisations, which, through the agency of four state governments, has continued to subvert the administration and police; launch an onslaught on the trade union movement in Chhatisgarh, where the reknowned leader Shankar Guha Niyogi was murdered by the capitalists; rewrite history for poisoning the minds of young citizens, and, in general, carry on its self appointed task of creating a so-called political Hindu community.

With typical hypocrisy and subterfuge, the BJP government of UP has chosen to misinterpret its mandate as a national referendum for the destruction, not only of Babri Masjid, but several temples as well, of which two have been vandalised in the last week of March, 1992, in clear violation of the Places of Worship Act of 1991. It remains to be seen how long the RSS/VHP/BJP’s open contempt for constitutional norms will be overlooked by the Central Government.

At the same time, the long-standing crises in the provinces of Punjab and J&K, whose origins we have discussed in previous resolutions, has led to a virtual breakdown of the authority of the Indian union. Large scale slaughter of innocent citizens is continuing in the Punjab, where over 4000 persons were killed in a single year, since the Rao government came to power. The moral authority of the state no longer exists, due in part to the persistent denial of constitutional rights to the people, and to the shameless protection the state has extended over the years to the mass murderers of 1984. It is especially noteworthy that the Indian Parliament has till date not seen fit to express its remorse for the unprecedented murder of innocents which took place in the capital that year.

In Punjab, the authority generated by fear is now equally shared by the organs of state and the terrorists. The several Akali factional leaders are pathetic figures who cannot bring themselves to denounce murder and criminality in the name of Sikhism. The failures of the state and of political processes has led to a stalemate which is unlikely to be resolved by the formation of a government, until such time as the Indian Union regains its moral stature in the eyes of the citizens. This is proven by the farcical nature of the recent elections in the state, which has resulted in the entry into the legislature of persons polling a few hundred votes. It is highly unlikely that this caricature of a popular government will re-establish the legitimacy of the Indian union.

It is important to take due and serious note of the dangerous and growing tendencies towards state-sponsored violence. What graver instance of the ethical hollowness of our political system could there be than the registering, more than six years after the event, of criminal cases against HKL Bhagat, and the simultaneous elevation of the man to the post of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee President ? It is evident that the high political bigwigs behind the massacres of November 1984 are to go scot free. Judging by past experience it was not surprising that the Kaveri Waters dispute should have resulted in the unleashing of state-sponsored violence against Tamil citizens of Karnataka, nor that this should have happened in a Congress-ruled province.

The economic policies of the government have had a disastrous effect upon the living standards of the poor. The surrender to the dictates of the World Bank & IMF is bound to have a negative impact on the employment and poverty level of the already impoverished majority of Indian citizens. We would also like to warn against the double-speak being indulged in by the RSS/VHP/BJP which has tried simultaneously to support the new economic policies, channelise discontent into fascist movements masquerading as `patriotism’ and `Ram-bhakti’; and drum up a bogus campaign for `swadeshi’. The truth is that both their recent `Yatras’ were undertaken with the help of Japanese technology (DCM-Toyota), and that they are equally busy assuring the multi-nationals of a stable market under a BJP government.

In the light of these developments, the slogan of national unity and integrity is increasingly becoming a transparent mask behind which the dominant groups and politicians carry out the most socially disruptive, irresponsible, and vicious practices. These practices are leading to social disintegration, cynicism, apathy, and contempt for legal, constitutional norms. All this paving the way for the consolidation of fascistic trends, both among the dominant elite and its competitors. The respective situations in KashmirPunjab, and Assam manifest these tendencies.

II/ We warn :
...First and foremost, those patriotic citizens of the country who, deluded by one brand of communalism, have come to believe that the maintenance of national unity and the establishment of a communal dictatorship mean the same thing. We all have to understand that `the nation’ is but the collective name of common interests and social justice. To support such a repressive dictatorship in the name of the nation will be suicidal. At this very crucial stage in social development, it is very important to see through the current scheme of certain interests to institute fascism behind the facade of nationalism, and a revenge-filled culture in the name of `Indianness’.

...The government, the economic elite, and the political parties committed to `national integrity’, that the persistent failure to abide by the letter and spirit of the secular democratic Constitution; the open avowal of communalist prejudice by well-known industrialists, senior retired police and bureaucratic officials; the deliberate sabotage of the processes of criminal law by the ruling groups, especially in the matter of communal carnages, and the failure to initiate drastic reforms for social equity and in Centre-State relations, will add momentum to the spiral of violence and social disintegration. This will ultimately lead to a fracturing of the entity known as the Indian Union.

No longer will it suffice to indulge in nationalist and `Hindu rashtravadi’ demagoguery, preach `national unity’, and at the same time demonstrate, in practice, a deep seated contempt for political moderation and constitutional norms and laws. The rulers will have to realise that the `nation’ is not merely contained in its geopolitical boundaries, but in the minds and sentiments of its citizens. The hardest and most apparently stable state machine constructed this century, the USSR, has evaporated, and niether religious nor political affinity has prevented the outbreak of severe ethnic clashes and generalised social breakdown in its territories. The Indian ruling class had better learn from this historical cataclysm before it is too late.

III/ We suggest that :

...All concerned citizens begin a wide ranging debate on the above issues as the first step in a movement for social regeneration. Such a debate should recognise that there exists now an ever deepening crisis in all spheres of national life for which the underprivileged will be made to pay the heaviest price. On the question of Kashmir we call attention to our resolution of Sept 1990, wherein we had suggested that the issue be taken as an opportunity to begin discussing anew the undemocratic and communal partition of 1947, not with any preconceived notion of undoing it, but with the intention of broadening the discussion on communal politics, nationalism, and federalism. In this regard we would like to underline our perception (discussed in detail in the SVA paper on the debate on Article 370), that whatever else may be said about the current developments in Jammu & Kashmir, its people are unique by virtue of their refusal to accept that partition. This is a sentiment worthy of respect.


The SVA will, from now on, increasingly concern itself with the broader issues which, as stated in our constitution, feed the growth of communalism. It will also undertake to exchange its opinions on such matters with civil rights and anti-racist, anti-fascist groups, both in India and abroad. (Resolution ends)

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See also:
RETHINKING SECULARISM by Bhagwan Josh, Dilip Simeon, and Purushottam Agrawal

View online : via Dilip Simeon’s Blog