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Oct 09, 2019

#RightSideUp: India's Merry Mood, Aarey Protests, ‘Reactionary Right vs Vikas Right’

A weekly round-up of voices from the right.

New Delhi: Kashmir’s silence is now deafening for those who choose to hear it, but the rest of the country has been dancing and eating its way into the 2019 festival season. As jubilant garbas, raucous card parties and effigies of Ravan were being burnt, and Flipkart buckled ever so slightly under a wave of orders as big e-commerce initiated sale season, more news filtered out of Kashmir – none of it particularly matching India’s merry mood.

In fact, the realm of right-leaning media largely appears to be on holiday too.

But Indian newsrooms did make time to go into a frenzy over Trinamool Congress MP Nusrat Jahan even as the silence on Kashmir lingered – other than Union home minister Amit Shah talking about how Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood would be restored one day, while also claiming that “not a single bullet has been fired and not a single person has died” after the reading down of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir” though it has been documented otherwise.

Also read: #RightSideUp: ‘Howdy, Modi’ Hangover, Greta Thunberg, ‘a Liberal Puppet’?

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh mouthpiece Organiser had not much of note to say this week, caught up in their own celebrations of the organisation 94th anniversary. Thus, the magazine’s latest edition once again runs down the “illiberal left”.

OpIndia covered the foundation day at the Sangh headquarters in Nagpur. There, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat addressed the RSS cadres, and the OpIndia staff broke down his speech. Bhagwat spoke of democracy not being a foreign import but the result of practices “ingrained in India’s national psyche as a result of centuries of tradition and collective experiences and enlightenment gained during the post-independence period”.

Talking about the Narendra Modi government’s decision to scrap Article 370, Bhagwat said that the action shows that this government “has the courage to fulfil the people’s expectations and respect for the sentiments of the public that voted them to power”.

“He also added that the efforts will see fruition only when the Kashmiri Pandits, who had been driven away from their homes, are rehabilitated and are assured of a safe life back in the Valley.”

Bhagwat also spoke of how “Bharat’s thought process, the collective psyche of the nation, is evolving”, how “communal violence is never one-sided, there are always two sides” and how lynching is “not a Hindu concept, it has roots in other religions”.

The article ends with what he had to say to the media:

“Bhagwat stated that the media has a major role to play in awakening the society and creating a conducive social atmosphere. He asserted that the media must come out of the attitude of churning out ‘spicey (sic) and sensational’ content and take the responsibility of creating a constructive and efficient society.”

Rightlog.in/The Frustrated Indian‘s website was down for the better part of Tuesday, apparently because of a possible hack attack.

The Frustrated Indian‘s website was down for a better part of the day on Dussehra.

Also read: #RightSideUp: Modi 2.0 Report Card, Netflix in the Red

Aarey’s never-ending woes

Swarajya magazine came out against Bollywood supposedly trying to co-opt the Aarey protests and why actor should not be allowed to ‘hijack the welfare of the common Mumbaiker (Mumbaikar)’.

In an article, Gampa Saidatta, a student of TISS Mumbai, slams film celebrities for joining in on the protests against the felling of trees in the Aarey colony.

“The growing opposition to the Metro Line 3 car shed at Aarey Colony – in a bid to save 2,200 trees – is jeopardising the efforts to give a new lifeline to Mumbai,” he writes.

Saidatta calls them hypocritical:

“Today, movie celebrities and the elite of Mumbai are openly opposing this Mumbai metro shed at the southern border of Aarey but they had never opposed the creation of the Film City in 490 acres of land deep inside Aarey Colony bordering the ecologically vital Sanjay Gandhi National Park.

Everyone has the right to express his/her opinion. But does that include the right to be a hypocrite and stall a critical public transport project?

Many film celebrities are strongly opposing the metro shed at Aarey Colony and galvanising public opinion in support of their ‘green cause’. What they never talk about are the precious lives lost due to unavailability of public transport in Mumbai.”

Also read: #RightSideUp: ‘Howdy, Modi’ Wins Hearts; ‘Vicious Fangs’ Exposed at Jadavpur

‘Reactionary Right vs Vikas Right’

K. Bhattacharjee, in an article in OpIndia, attempts to break down the difference between what he dubs the ‘reactionary right’ and the ‘vikas right’.

“It’s not really a secret that there are multiple shades of ‘rightwing’ which, in reality, is much more aptly described as Non-Left. There is the ‘Cultural Right’, the ‘Liberal Right’, the ‘Economic Right’, the ‘Core Right’ and so and so. Broadly speaking, the Cultural Right and Core Right can be clubbed under one category as there is great overlap between the two while the other two can be clubbed together. For purposes of simplicity, we shall call the former ‘Mainstream Right’ and the other ‘Vikas Right’.

Then, there’s the ‘Reactionary Right’ which shares a lot in common with the ‘Mainstream Right’ but has a radical approach to politics and culture itself. It rejects the fundamental basis of modernity itself and lays the emphasis on traditional values and customs.”

According to him, the three main divisions are:

The Mainstream Right
The Vikas Right
The Reactionary Right

What afflicts the rightwing as a whole today, he says, is the “confrontation between the Reactionary Right and the Vikas Right”.

“The Vikas Right does harbour great sympathy and wishes to live according to western values such as liberalism and secularism. Their main grouse with the Left is that they do not adhere to ‘True Liberalism’ and ‘True Secularism’. They are not against liberalism or secularism per se. The Reactionary Right, on the other hand, completely rejects liberalism and secularism. They consider these to be deeply Christian values that should have no place in India.

The same goes for ideologies such as Feminism. While the Vikas Right voices its support for ‘True Feminism’, the Reactionary Right rejects it completely. Feminism, in all its forms, is considered to be a malaise to society. The same goes for individual liberty. While the Vikas Right believes in the rights and liberty of the individual, the Reactionary Right emphasises on duty and believes that individual liberty cannot be the basis of a functional society.”

He points to recent Twitter battles to highlight the rift. He also writes of how the narrative has continued to shift in favour of the ‘reactionary right’.

“The ‘rightwing’ of today is much much further to the right than it was a couple of years ago…Going forward, one would hope that there will be a synthesis of sorts between the two camps.”

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