The Dadri incident recently has got me thinking quite deeply on the whole political landscape of India. Or should I say, the socio-religious political landscape of the world’s largest democracy.
Let me clear one thing out in the beginning itself before I begin my rant…
I am a born Hindu, living in a Muslim country for 19 years, Christian educated for majority of my life…. but a practicing theist; i.e. I believe in a “God” but on my own terms. I do not identify myself with any organised religion but hold “Indian” traditions and values of the highest regard. Politically, I am pro – development; it doesn’t matter which political party promises to deliver it; although I haven’t voted a single time in my life.
There seems to be a common cry out there in India at the moment being fanned by a sullen, bitter and considerably disgraced opposition and its supporters. The war cry being – “BJP has communal intentions throughout the country”, ” The BJP is anti-minorities” and the biggest one of them all… “The BJP, VHP and the RSS have plans to saffronise the country and make life hell for the Muslims.”
Frankly speaking… I personally feel this is bullsh*t!!
There is no political party that can do anything of this sort in India, whether in power or not. India is a land of 1.2 billion people. Majority of whom are educated and have more than cordial relationships with members of a different religion or caste. No political party or “dictator” can have enough clout to orchestrate an ethnic or religious cleansing. Our judiciary and Armed Forces are not silent bystanders and we have enough level-headed people running these institutions to allow anything of the sort to happen. So let us drop those baseless theories.
It would be stupid to say that bias based on caste and religion do not exist, but if left on its own… it would die a natural death. Unfortunately, India is a land of 1.2 billion people. Even if 5% of the population decide to encourage these devils… we have 6 million people who will keep those flames alive. (That is more than the population of Singapore and Denmark)
My whole concern is the branding of any political party whose ideology is based on Hindu philosophy as communal and non-secular?
Every news article I read has no qualms in branding the BJP and other parties as a Hindu communal party. Why is it that the communal branding only goes out to them when there are plenty of other political outfits who have identified themselves with a particular religion or caste?
Why is Laloo Prasad’s RJD or Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party not called, “the Yadav caste party from North India”? Or Mayawati’s party called “the Dalit party”? Akali Dal in Punjab is not referred to as the “Jat party” nor is Chirajeevi’s political outfit in Andhra Pradesh known as the “Kappu outfit”. And in what world is a party called the Indian Union Muslim League a secular party?
Would this mean that the Indian National Congress is the only “secular” party in India??? OH PLEASE!!! They are the worst… They are a party who has NO IDEOLOGY whatsoever. Their sole motive is to misconstrue the meaning of the word “Secular” so much that people today have no clue what it actually means. The INC is a party that decides to fight against the Communist Party and it’s off shoots in the state of Kerala, but has no qualms about forming a coalition with them in the centre. They claim to be the true secular party of India but form coalitions with the Indian Union Muslim League in Kerala, the RJD in Bihar etc. etc. What is worse is that aligning with the Congress seems to automatically give any party the title of SECULAR!!
Is the media blind to this? Oh Wait!! You will not comment as you might also lose your secular tag.
So then is the BJP secular? It depends on what your understanding of the word “Secular” is. If we are to go by the same vein in which the other parties of India are called secular, the BJP is too. They are as secular as the Muslim League. No doubt about it!!
I am not against any political party having an ideology behind them. In fact it is essential as to define what the party represents. If the Muslim League stems from the ideology of Islam, good for them. If the Samajwadi party stems from the ideology of the Yadav people and its heritage, brilliant. If the Shiv Sena decides that its party believes in the ideology of the Hindu Marathas, I have no issues.
India is a mini eco-system on its own. We have so many sects, castes, religions that if we had a planet that was populated only by Indians, each segment would be a different species. In that case why label one ideology as communal and the rest as secular? It just not make sense to my logical mind especially since the ideology in question is common with the majority of the population?
If a label has to be attached with the BJP, RSS, Shiv Sena etc., why can’t it be done to all those parties? Why does the media shy away from labelling others? Will the media channel lose its “secular credentials” for calling the Jamaat e Islami Hind an “Islamic Political Outfit” or calling the Indian Christian Front a “Christian Communal Party”? Would the media house tarnished as a bigot if they called the BSP a “Dalit organisation”?
The ideal secular party is one that goes beyond the usual vote bank dynamics and decides that its agenda is one that can truly incorporate every citizen of that country. When the Aam Aadmi Party or the AAP was formed, I had huge expectations because I felt that their ideology was one that is not buoyed by the usual religious or casteist undertones. Their performance in power is something that I would not comment on as that is not the basis of my “Incoherent Rationale”.
The politics of the current government are highly commendable as they are focussed on development of the country. I emphasise the word COUNTRY as what they are striving to achieve will benefit everyone regardless of their religious or social standing. I do not agree with some policies including the beef ban but hey who am I to say such things. I live in a country where my religious and social freedoms are restricted to a certain level in spite living in the most tolerant country of the region. We do not have half the freedoms and rights that my fellow citizens in India enjoy. This is precisely why I was laughing when I read about the Porn Ban (It is banned here too) and the Beef Ban (Pork is hardly available here).
I have referred to the 4th estate respectfully as the media and not by the popular name you are called today… the “Presstitutes”. This is because you have a great responsibility in shaping public opinion. Use it wisely and do not go down the route where the public will start labelling you. The freedom you possess to write, question and engage is unparalleled in this world. Trust me, I live in a country where even the news that goes out to the public is censored. Use the power that you have to stop labelling political parties, let them make their own identity so that the public can make a wise informed decision.
In the words of Uncle Ben (Spiderman) – “With great power, comes great responsibility.”