Hin­dutva gain­ing strength

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS - Kuldip Na­yar Email:kuldip­na­yar09@gmail.com

trait, which goes against the grain of sec­u­lar­ism, the BJP is march­ing ahead. It is not that the Indians, tol­er­ant by na­ture, are los­ing their ba­sic qual­ity. It is be­cause the peo­ple are sick of cor­rup­tion in ev­ery sphere of govern­ment ac­tiv­ity and they do not find any scams or scandals tum­bling out of the BJP.

Man­mo­han Singh was the best face the Con­gress had. Yet, the scandals like the Com­mon­wealth Games and coal block scams took place in his regime. In fact, it looks as if he gave the best cover the party could have to in­dulge in ram­pant cor­rup­tion. There is now enough ev­i­dence in the pub­lic do­main to prove that So­nia Gandhi on the “ad­vice” of her po­lit­i­cal sec­re­tary, Ahmed Pa­tel, col­lected as much money as she could to oil the party ma­chin­ery and the elec­tions which the party fought.

True, the Con­gress is be­com­ing rel­e­vant be­cause of the BJP’s parochial­ism. But the party’s vice-pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi does not have the stature which Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi en­joys. There­fore, if peo­ple were to be given a choice in the next Lok Sabha elec­tion be­tween and Rahul, Modi may win hands down. There is yet three years’ time for the Lok Sabha polls. The non-BJP and non-Con­gress par­ties can cob­ble to­gether some sort of an agree­ment whereby they do not split their votes. They will have to de­cide upon the leader be­cause peo­ple in In­dia vote for the would-be Prime Min­is­ter, al­though we do not fol­low the pres­i­den­tial form of govern­ment. Whether or not the lat­ter would be more suited to us is an­other kind of a de­bate.

One thing which is in­deed con­cert­ing is the in­roads that the BJP has made in As­sam. But this is pri­mar­ily be­cause of the mi­gra­tion of peo­ple from across the border was en­cour­aged by the Con­gress it­self. The then Con­gress leader, Fakrud­din Ali Ahmed, who later be­came the Pres­i­dent, would openly say that they won the elec­tion with the votes of ‘Ali and coolie.’ What he was meant by Ali was Mus­lims. The labour from Bi­har was de­scribed as coolie.

If As­sam were to re­open the ques­tion of “out­siders” then thou­sands of peo­ple would come un­der this cat­e­gory. We have gone over this prob­lem ear­lier and have up­rooted and de­ported many peo­ple on this ground. When only Mus­lims are ousted and no Hindu is even ques­tioned, the prob­lem takes a com­mu­nal turn. Should In­dia, claim­ing to be a plu­ral­is­tic and demo­cratic polity be do­ing so? And if it does so, should the so­ci­ety claim to be sec­u­lar?

Since the Con­gress does not count much, at least for the time be­ing, which party is ca­pa­ble of lead­ing the fight against com­mu­nal­ism is the ques­tion that stares at the face of the so­ci­ety. There is no doubt that the left­ist forces are a com­mit­ted lot on this point. But then they do not sell any more. Even af­ter more than 65 years, when the first com­mu­nist govern­ment was es­tab­lished un­der com­mu­nist ide­o­logue EMS Nam­bood­iri­pad in Ker­ala, the party has made no head­way. What was then con­sid­ered Yan’an, a Chi­nese city, in the coun­try is now a tall dream. It is true that the magic of Naren­dra Modi, al­though less than what it was be­fore, is still cap­ti­vat­ing. His fu­ture de­pends on the jobs he pro­vides and how far he is able to raise the stan­dard of liv­ing in the coun­try. True, the eco­nomic bet­ter­ment can give a cover to the fun­da­men­tal­ists. But the de­vel­op­ment would have to be real, not a mere slo­gan as is the case so far.

Even fun­da­men­tal­ism would have to be toned down. Modi re­al­izes that and there­fore has not taken any pol­icy de­ci­sion which in­di­cates that the coun­try has swerved from the path of sec­u­lar­ism. His main prob­lem is the RSS which wants to saf­fronize the coun­try as much as it can in the next three years when Modi’s five-year ten­ure ends. No doubt, Modi would want to come back. But if by then the RSS had shown its true fangs the BJP’s re­turn would be dif­fi­cult.

The pat­tern of vot­ing and the places where the BJP has won, in­deed, show that the party has up­rooted a well-en­trenched Con­gress. What it means in real terms is not the suc­cess of the BJP’s ide­ol­ogy but peo­ple’s ex­as­per­a­tion over cor­rup­tion in the Con­gress. If Modi or, more so, the RSS were to learn this les­son, the BJP would be­come more and more rel­e­vant as the time goes by. —The writer is a vet­eran In­dian jour­nal­ist, syn­di­cated colum­nist, hu­man rights ac­tivist and au­thor.

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