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Challenging Minorityism and Pseudo-secularism
|by H.N. Bali|
Implication of the Emergence of Narendra Modi - IV
The 2014 election is going to decide which road the Indian polity takes in the years to come: continue on well-paved, familiar two-lane highway of pseudo-socialism with two converging lanes of pseudo-secularism and minorityism, or take the newly built road of development-for-all backed by good governance. The choice will be crucial for the ill-guided, long-suffering masses who have been let down in the past by many a false god.
Fortunately, though not lettered and much too often tricked by our self-serving politicians, the electorate has home-spun common sense to decide what’s what. The democratic experiment of the last six decades has taught them – and politicians have lately discovered to their astonishment – how to differentiate, when called upon to do so, even between Tweedledom and Tweedledee. (Look at UP and Tamil Nadu).
Modi’s election strategy is likely to be built on two fronts: first, an exposé of the devious policy of Muslim appeasement and the great damage it has done to the polity in general and Muslims in particular and secondly, an exposure of the deleterious effects of the so-called secularism Congress has preached and practised over the years.
Taking the Bull by its Horn.
Will Modi take the Congress bull by its proverbial horns to floor it down? (The expression, allow me to add in passing, is generally attributed to have originated in the American West where it was a fairly common, but hazardous, practice to wrestle with steers (as young bulls are called). Is that the reason the Americans didn’t let Modi visit their land lest he should learn the secrets of this game fraught with dangers from the real masters of the sport? The American version was not just for fun but was part of the everyday working life of ranchers in the Wild West. To control a bull or a steer, the cowhand would first have to catch it. The only practical option was to take a deep breath and face the problem directly by grabbing the bull by the horns and then pulling it to the ground. So, the expression has come to means to confront a problem directly without the proverbial beating about the bush). And that’s what Modi will have to do if he means business.
Thanks to the fast-paced British manipulations, there were far-reaching changes in the Indian sub-continent in just seven years. On March 26, 1940, the leaders of the Muslim League, the political front of Indian Muslims, had raised – (or were they asked to raise?) – the issue of creation of Pakistan as a separate Muslim homeland. On August 14-15, 1947, the partition of India created two independent states, India and Pakistan. Just before Independence, the Muslim population in undivided India was 23 percent. However, on the basis of religious majority Pakistan received 32 percent of the land area. The most appropriate follow-up step after the partition was to carry out population exchange, or send the entire Muslim population of the divided India to Pakistan and bring all Hindus and other non-Muslims from Pakistan to India. (That most of non-Muslims were driven out from Pakistan is another story.) This exchange of population, as a logical part of the partition, was included in the original Pakistan proposal by the Muslim League. Most importantly, after communal riots in Bihar, Jinnah himself requested the Government of India to carry out population exchange as early as possible. But it could not be undertaken due to Gandhi’s staunch opposition. He termed it an absurd and impractical proposal. And that was the beginning of the politics of Muslim appeasement.
The most blatant manifestation of this appeasement that BJP is bound to capitalize on is the practice of providing subsidized airfare by the Government of India to Haj pilgrims. It began as a policy of appeasing the Muslims, though it was a direct violation of the declared secular principles of the government. While commenting on it, Bipin Pal, in his article The Haj subsidy A Himalayan shame, writes: “How absurd, if not sad, that India is the only country in the world that provides a subsidy to its second biggest majority for pilgrimage to Mecca....” Doesn’t that make a mockery of our pretensions of secularism?
It was the British intellectual C.E.M. Joad who famously compared socialism to a hat that had lost its shape because so many had worn it – each one in his own way. The same is true – perhaps more poignantly – of secularism. Similarly, so egregiously confused and confusing has been the use of the term secularism at the hands of Congress leaders – and their innumerable acolytes and lackeys – that reportedly the British writer George Jacob Holyoake who first coined the term secularism in 1851, has stopped turning in his grave. Although it was an addition to dictionary, the general idea of free thought – bordering on Hindu way of life – on which it was based had been present all through history. In particular, it was rooted in ideas involving the separation of philosophy and religion. These days everyone has uses the term to suit his beliefs – even Jinnah turned a secular after dividing the sub-continent on grounds of religion.
However, what the Congress Party has over the years been practising is not secularism but pseudo-secularism. Surprisingly indeed, the first recorded use of the term pseudo-secularism was in a book, Philosophy and Action of the R.S.S. for the Hind Swaraj, by a Christian priest, Anthony Elenjimittam. Elenjimittam accused our leaders of merely pretending to uphold secularism.
Nehru’s stand with which started the practise of the Congress brand was, straight from Alice in Wonderland
Nehru’s secularism was always selective. Remember, how India’s secular Prime Minister refused to serve on the Congress Working Committee in 1951. The reason was it was presided over by Purushottam Das Tandon, who didn’t measure up to Nehru-prescribed criteria of secularism.
Shah Bano Case
Another opportunity came in 1985 when Jawaharlal’s grandson had inherited the gadi from his mother. It was an opportunity to make amends for the failure to introduce a uniform civil code in India – an indispensable step toward bringing Muslims in national mainstream.
Howsoever exposed, the Congress Government’s tender concern for the Muslim minority continues unabated. This is confirmed by the appointment in 2005 of a committee headed by Justice Rajinder Sachar to study the socio-economic conditions of the Indian Muslims. How touching! The Committee submitted its report on 30 Nov 2006. Here’re some highlights of the Committee findings:
If the Indian Muslims were looked after by all governments so far, why is their economic condition so pathetic? The answer is that they were not appeased; but only made to look like so! Vested interests had ulterior motives in doing that.
Vote bank politics is the arch villain among the motives found in Indian politics.
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07/08/2013 04:26 AM