Kerala violence: It's Right vs Left, and it's getting worse

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As news about violence, related to politics from states considered the Left's bastion such as Kerala, Bengal among others from the North-East part of the country, keep getting reported, while sad and deplorable, they should hardly be treated as shocking.

The fight that seems to be playing out in these states, though may feel like just a tussle between political opponents, has a much bigger conflict at its roots. This is a struggle not just between different names of political entities such as the Bharatiya Janata Party, Communist Party of India, Trinamool Congress, the Congress, it is a fight between political ideologies. It is a fight between the Right and the Left.

[Left, Right and Centre of Indian politics]

Kerala violence: It's Right vs Left, and it's getting worse

And that is the reason that it won't stop at just accusation and counter accusations that those in power and the opposition throw at each other. It is going to be violent, and increasingly so, as it is taking place where the political parties on the Left have dominated in a way that the parties which have been political opponents so far exist on the same side of the political fence.

For example, in the state of Kerala, the two major groups that have dominated the political scene are led by the CPI and the other by the Congress, both deeply Left in their policies. This is similar to the other Left bastion, Bengal, where after over a three-decade rule of the communist parties, the TMC replaced them by what can be best described as having 'outlefted' the left.

The reason behind the violence

And now finally with the rise of the BJP, which has a strong desire to spread its roots throughout the country including the states dominated by the left parties, is the latest spark to have lighted up the fire of violence.

The main reason behind this has to be understood in the opposition that has seeped into the political climate of such states towards an alternate way of life and governance, and what is even worse, the hatred towards any opposition.

How else can the stand of the Congress party, which has had a balance of choosing policies which can only be described as a mixture of those from the Right or the Left, to clearly stay in line with the policies of the Communist parties in Kerala, and the alternate to the communists in Bengal being an even more Left party in the form of the TMC.

The constraints put on even the idea of a party such as the BJP, which has after six decades of independence brought the rise of the first Right party in the country, is nothing but a way to stop the evolution of politics. And it can hardly be argued that when evolution is stopped in its tracks, it usually finds a way of breaking through the ceiling with the tendencies of a revolution.

The violence is hardly surprising

Though under such conditions it would seem that the BJP and allied groups such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh may be the instigators behind such incidents, if reports of political violence are looked at, especially in Kerala, it is revealed that they have been the victims of such actions more times than not.

Such a fact should hardly be surprising. Political violence in states such as Bengal and Kerala is hardly new. A look at the history of these states, from the Naxalbari rising five decades ago, to violent struggles between parties on the same side of political ideologies, among others, would throw enough light on such incidents.

And when violence was a mode of suppressing an opposition, which exists only in the name of the party and not ideology, the fact it is inflicted on a party with a different set of principles, could hardly be treated with much shock.

It is thinking of such sort that is behind reports of increasing violence against opponents, from attacks on party members or their offices to the extremes of the dastardly act of a calf being slaughtered in broad daylight in front of cameras just to get the limelight.

To think that such actions are being committed without a moment's thought to the severe violence that they inflict show the normalisation of such acts in order to make political points.

This does not absolve the Right

With the rise of the BJP at the national stage, the pendulum in the political arena has clearly shifted to the Right. Never has there been such a support for a party that stands as far apart from the policies of the Congress, which dominated the political scene for more than five decades out of the nearly seven since independence.

From being a party which was hardly taken seriously, to a stage when it is in power in 17 states, 13 of which have governments of its own while others in coalition and the dominant victory it secured in the 2014 general elections, the BJP has come a long way.

Like any group which has momentum on its side, they have no plans of being content and stopping with what they have. This includes creating a space for itself in regions where it has none and to attempt at making its political ideology at least tolerable to the people of states which have been given no option to have the patience for alternatives, by using tools of not only political methods but literature, school education etc.

Such a scenario and sudden rise usually bring with them an aggression. And this what the Right is guilty of. The lack of patience stems from not only the violent opposition that they face but also the long time that an alternative political philosophy took to even become a part of the conversation.

This is the other side of the pendulum analogy. That is, when let loose from high up on one side, it will not stop in the middle, instead, climbing to almost a similar height on the other side, and coming to rest only after a period of time. This is exactly what is happening to the BJP and the Right in Kerala and Bengal, along with the rest of the country.

What now?

And the current struggle in these states is far from over. Even though elections for state assemblies far away in these states, but those for Lok Sabha to be held in 2019, and the BJP trying to create a standing in these states while the Left is trying to deny it, it is almost certain that the current reports of violence are just the beginning of many similar ones to follow.

The major issue with the current violence is that those in power in these states, instead of allowing the people to continuously make choices with their votes on what they believe is right for their society after they get to hear from the opposite sides, are trying to muzzle out any mode of communication that the real opposition might have, by not only putting fear in them but also those who might want to hear about the alternative.

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