A young student of the Delhi University, Gurmehar Kaur, criticised the BJP’s students wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) over its complicity in campus violence. A video posted by her a few years ago read: “Pakistan did not kill my dad, war killed him” had exacerbated this xenophobic frenzy. Getting sick of the smear campaign Gurmehar pulled out of a teachers protest march at the Delhi University. She wrote, “That’s all I can take… To anyone questioning my courage and bravery. I’ve shown more than enough.”
Kaur’s father, Mandeep Singh, was a captain in the Indian army who was killed during the 1999 Kargil war. Gurmehar’s gesture of peace resulted in her Hindutva opponents lampooning her, including cricketer Virender Sehwag. He retorted with a Twitter post saying: “I didn’t score two triple centuries, my bat did.” This post by Sehwag went viral on social media, with many trolling Gurmehar on the notorious social media and threatening her with physical violence. She revealed on an Indian television network, “I have been getting a lot of threats on social media. I think it is very scary when people threaten you with violence and rape,” On a question about Sehwag, she replied, “Honestly, this just breaks your heart because these are people you grow up looking up to.”
Earlier Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda had joined Virendra Sehwag in this vicious crusade against Gurmehar. It is a harsh reality that in the masses social deprivations there is a huge following of the sports heroes and top actors in India and Pakistan. Cricketers and Bollywood stars are amongst most pampered citizens. Cricketing and film celebrities in their luminary arrogance try to use the chauvinist bandwagon to enhance their fame by exuding nationalist chauvinism and religious symbolism. These effect mainly amongst the petit bourgeois and the primitive sections of the society where such reactionary trends are prevalent in periods of social inertia. It’s a pretentious act of advertising their piety and perceived honesty for promoting their future business endeavours.
Few mainstream broadcasting houses in an otherwise virulent Indian media networks objected to the victimisation of Gurmehar Kaur. However an article on the NDTV website was spot on: “Gurmehar is among the few who understand that war has no winners. What she probably underestimated was politics, because today, it feeds on war. So, bravo, let’s pat our collective backs, a bunch of ruling politicians and celebrities managed to do what even her father’s death didn’t, we have silenced her. Today, Gurmehar Kaur is being called anti-national and an embarrassment to her father. Yes, her father would have been ashamed because the country he gave his life for now compares his brave daughter to Dawood (Ibrahim). In the end, what we are is a country of users. We have taken Gurmehar’s father’s sacrifice and flung it back at her and her family. The vicious threat is from within our borders. Mr. Virendra Sehwag, none of us have the last laugh.”
Students protest rallies came out in India’s capital on Tuesday in support of a Gurmehar against the rape threats and online intimidation. Hundreds of students from several colleges in New Delhi were out against recent campus violence that triggered this crusade after Gurmehar’s partaking in the movement against the violence at the Ramjas College in Delhi last week. These protests may as well spread to other states and regions of India sooner and more forcefully than most commentators think. There was a similar movement last year that started in the Jahawar Lal Nehru University in Delhi and spread to universities in eighteen Indian states — inspiring students and the youth throughout the South Asian subcontinent. There have been two largest general strikes in the world by the Indian proletariat in 2015 and 2016 and numerous other struggles of the workers, students, peasants and other oppressed strata of society ever since the Modi Sarkar (regime) came to power. The most significant struggle was the third Intifada in Kashmir last year. This shook the Indian state. But the main problem has been that these movements remained sporadic and were not linked in a united class struggle. Most of these actions remained in the domain of the ‘civil society’s’ leadership. These petit bourgeois tendencies have no belief in the class struggle and workers strike movements through which the social and economic power of the working class can be mobilised to paralyse the state. Appallingly most of these leaders have illusions in the bourgeois state institutions and are limited to presenting the demands of the oppressed to the state that oppresses them. This capitalist state was historically created, in the first place, to crush the working classes that comprise vast majority of the society in order to serve the vested interests of the ruling elite that is in a tiny minority.
Modi’s ultimate objective is to exploit the religious schisms by driving a wedge in the class unity of the working classes in the service of Indian and imperialist corporate capital that he represents above all the rest. Hence the contradiction between secularism and communalism flouted by the liberal,secular and democratic parties is false from beginning to end. Unfortunately the leaderships of the communist and the left parties subscribe to this theory of the liberal bourgeois politicians. The vicious campaign against Gurmehar Kaur by these religious fanatic vigilantes is the outcome of the rot that Indian capitalism has beset in society. It’s mainly the frustrated and the frenzied petit bourgeois that are the citadels of this reaction. But this religiosity is also a weapon of the ruling elite against the working classes and the revolutionary movements that have and can erupt in India. Hence these protests and outrage that erupted against Gurmehar’s reactionary persecution needs a leadership and party that can link it to the class struggle. With the worsening crisis of the Indian capitalism this reaction can aggravate into barbaric tendencies. These xenophobic tendencies can only be combated and obliterated with a victorious class struggle with a revolutionary leadership that is prepared to go all the way to overthrow this decayed capitalism that is the root cause of this lethal lunacy.