India at large stood aghast at the minority imperialism that came into display during President Bush's recent State visit to India in the first week of March 2006, in the form of violent and riotous demonstrations . Regrettably, in India today, while there are many minorities, namely, Buddhists, Sikhs and Indian Christians, the so called secular parties have bestowed the appellation 'minority' on the Indian Muslim segment only. The political policies of the Congress Party, the Communist Parties and the regional parties of India's heartland in Uttar Pradesh(Samajwadi Party; SP) and Bihar (Rashtriya Janata Dal; RJD) vociferously proclaim themselves as secularist parties and as defenders of secularism.
These parties, unfortunately, over the years have in the eyes of India's majority made 'secularism' as synonymous with 'Indian Muslim Appeasement' policies and in the process breeding resentment in India at large which never harbored any misgivings about the Indian Muslims ever. It was this feeling of security which prompted more than 80% Indian Muslims to stay back in India in 1947 and not migrate to Jinnah's Indian Muslim Homeland of Pakistan.
India's so called secularist parties named above have used and exploited the Indian Muslims as captive vote-banks to climb to political power in the States and at the Centre. This is achieved by generating fear and insecurities in Indian Muslim about India's Rightist parties and by extension the Hindus. This is no different and despicable politically than what Jinnah practiced in the events leading to the Partition of India in 1947. Many right thinking ordinary Indian Muslims realize this exploitation but are rendered ineffective by their religious leaders and their so called community leaders who vie for political loaves of profit dangled by the so called secularist parties in return for Muslim votes.
India at large has so far ignored the exploitation of Indian Muslim vote banks by the so called secularist parties and so also the patently anti-secular policies of Indian Muslim minority appeasement in the various legislative changes brought by the present government. This also includes setting up of a new Ministry of Minority Affairs under an old Congress Muslim politician. Why could there not have been a Sikh or Indian Christian heading this new Ministry? The salience that has been sought to be given to this new Ministry is obviously politically motivated and not motivated by any secular ideals.
The Indian Muslim community has so far, creditably and wisely, kept itself away from the fires that are presently engulfing the larger Islamic world as India at large has given them three avenues to seek redress of their grievances if any, namely, political, electoral and judicial. But what came into play during the Bush visit has left India at large aghast in terms of the 'manufactured rage', as some have aptly termed it, that was generated to engineer riotous demonstrations by the Indian Muslims in the major towns of India. The Indian Muslims have every right to political protest in the Indian democracy but on issues which are indigenously Indian in content.
The Indian Muslim demonstrations during President Bush's visit were manufactured out of external causes. The first excuse was about the Danish cartoon controversy and the second excuse was India siding with the United States referral of Iran to the UN Security Council on the nuclear issue and the third excuse was against American policies in Iraq etc. In terms of overall content, the major issues were Pan-Islamic and anti-United States.
To beat the Congress Government at its own game, and in view of the coming States elections, the Communist Parties and the regional parties took the initial lead in generating these demonstrations by the Indian Muslim minority against President Bush. However, all these parties ultimately were marginalized and the demonstrations were hijacked by Indian Muslim religious parties who brought thousands of protesters from their religious schools to demonstrate their mobilizing power. On the final day of demonstrations one saw a sea of white skull-caps with hardly any red caps of the Communists or the Samajwadi party or others.
India at large welcomed President Bush and strongly supports a United States- India strategic partnership. Therefore there were no demonstrations by India's Rightist parties or Hindu organizations. A pro-United States sentiment is the dominant trend in India and also subscribed by a major spectrum of Indian political parties with some varying nuances. This leads to some worrying deductions and these are:
Has the Indian Muslim vote-bank traditionally exploited by the so called secular parties been hi-jacked by some newly arising indigenous Islamic combine?
Where did the money come to mobilize the massive Indian Muslim anti-American demonstrations during President Bush's visit?
Are the so called secular parties going to permit their Indian Muslim vote banks to hi-jack India's foreign policies by pan-Islamic considerations?
These are dangerous trends which are neither good for India's future nor good for the future of Indian Muslims. In their mad political race to garner Muslim minority vote banks, India's so called secular political parties should desist from this political chicanery. For Indian Muslims, their future lies in throwing off the yoke of their minority vote-bank exploitation and assimilating themselves in the larger all-embracing political processes that India at large has offered them without discrimination.