Join the “March for Secularism” to counter the fascist campaign in the name of Ram Rajya Rath Yatra
Dear friends and comrades,
The Sangh Parivar and its allies are once again mobilising for a 'Ram Rajya Ratha Yatra' that will cover 6 states and more than 6000 Km, from February 13 to March 25 of this year. This fascist campaign, with its blatantly illegal and dangerous demands for "Ram Rajya in India" and "reconstruction of the Ram temple at Ram Janma Bhoomi", is being flagged off by Yogi Adityanath. It has the complete backing of the State machinery as per the Union Home Ministry's directives.
The Ratha Yatra declares express goals to tackle the 'situation in Kerala' and is very evident that it targets the southern states in view of the upcoming Assembly and Parliamentary elections in the near future. In TamilNadu alone, the Sangh and BJP leaders are already about to successfully conclude the 'Sister Nivedita 150 Yatra' that has reached 3 lakh women students across women's colleges and schools in all districts of TN. A part of this Yatra also coincided with the Chennai Hindu Spiritual Fair's 9th edition that was officially sponsored by the TN State Govt. and involved massive casteist and right-wing mobilisation of students, youth and women.
Such extraordinary times do call for extraordinary measures, and as part of 'People Against Fascism' we increasingly feel the urgency to stop and to reverse the harm that this aggressive saffronisation intends. It is hence that we are launching the 'MARCH FOR SECULARISM' in Tamil Nadu. This march will not only counter the Ratha Yatra in its own track, on the terms of its demands, but primarily will be consolidating a secular democratic alternative that can inspire and channelise a progressive movement of the grassroots. The march will call out to the people and to all progressive secular forces at the helm to "Defeat Fascism and Unite for Democracy". The march will culminate in Kanyakumari on March 23 at a public remembrance meeting of the young Bhagat Singh's revolutionary martyrdom. We will be communicating the detailed calendar of the march very soon, so that participating groups and individuals can plan their travel and extend their support.
When we unite to weed out caste down to every last residue, as Capitalism collapses into its own inferno of ecological unsustainability and crisis, it is very likely the beginning of the end of all Fascisms. That the annual Chennai Hindu Spiritual Fairs are associated with several multinational Corporate brands testifies to the symbiosis that Corporatism and neoliberal crisis share with communal supremacist hatred that has historically been propagated by the ruling elites and precipitates the Fascist State.
Just a few weeks preceding Gauri Lankesh's assassination, 32 year old Heather Heyer was crushed to death under a neo-Nazi's car that attacked a rally of anti-fascists in Charlottesville Virginia. American Civil Rights Movement icon Prof.Cornel West's first statement was "We would have all been crushed like cockroaches at Charlottesville had it not been for the Anti-Fascists". That assassination, very relevantly, mainstreamed the question of 'civil society self-defence' or 'anti-fascist defense' not simply for its utility, but for it's unavoidable ethicality. At Heather's funeral her mother said “I’d rather have my child, but, if I’ve got to give her up, we’re going to make it count... This is just the beginning". We too write this letter with much foreboding about what this Ratha Yatra will bring to TamilNadu and our immediate neighbours, but we also seek hope and transformation through our 'March for Secularism'.
Looking forward to full participation from each of you in person, in spirit or in kind, and your affirmation in this regard
People Against Fascism