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KHULLAMKHULLA VIEWS

Why India badly needs political unity and polarization of Hindus

I use the term Hindu in all its vastness, expansiveness, and inclusiveness. It represents those who believe and accept that there can be a billion ways of looking at God or interpreting the ultimate truth and reality, all equally valid and acceptable. Every one of us who believes in this basic idea is a Hindu in my view. Those who debunk it and show me their religious books that say it’s their divine right to persecute and eliminate infidels like me either by killing or by conversion or total exclusion, I consider it my duty to defend myself ideologically, politically, and strategically against them.  

Now when I look at the political state of our nation today, I strongly feel that Hindus must polarize politically, sinking their caste, creed, sect, and regional differences. They don’t have to do it against any community or religious group. Their unity is essential for strictly ‘secular’ considerations and objectives such as –

1. To protect and preserve themselves and their beautiful ultra-liberal socio-cultural-religious ethos
2. To enure that the country is strictly governed by secular non-discriminatory laws that treat all citizens equally, irrespective of their place in the socio-economic order or their religious leanings
3. To protect the pluralist nature of our polity
4. To improve their lifestyle using just rewards earned through hard work
5. To live happily, healthily, and peacefully
6. To save their country from being turned into a battle zone by radical dogmatists
7. To protect the body and soul of Bharat Mata that shelters and nurtures them and gives them an identity

If Hindus don’t unite now, they should be ready to be politically and economically marginalized as a community in spite of their vast numbers. It has happened in the past. Hindus were politically marginalized, humiliated, exploited, and hounded for more than 800 years under the extremely oppressive minority rule of Islamist Moghuls and later by the British who also used the Christian Church as a political tool in their war of attrition, aimed at weakening and destroying the Hindu body politic.  

A handful of wily people ruled over the vast majority of Hindus, using the brute power of the sword and guns, turning them into second-class citizens in their own land. It will be a big mistake to take it as an empty boast or rhetoric if some Islamist politicians still nurse such ambitions and openly talk about these.  When I use the term ‘Islamist,’ I go by how various dictionaries describe it. In fact, I have a little more liberal view and interpret it as ‘Political Islam’. Please note a Muslim or a Hindu may not necessarily be political.  

The political polarization of Hindus is necessary to ensure India retains its essential Hinduness and survives as a liberal nation wedded to pluralism and the federal principles of democratic governance. It is also vital for its socio-economic, artistic, intellectual, and spiritual growth. A Hindu rule essentially promotes liberalism and openness and gives a fillip to various movements that help contain and reform fundamentalism of extreme kinds. It is a historically established fact and holds true even today.

Here is an example. The secularists, the Islamists, the Christian missionaries and a host of other Narendra Modi-haters and baiters who never miss an opportunity to demonize and denigrate him, will find it extremely hard to produce even an iota of evidence that he has promoted extreme Hindu religious fundamentalism in Gujarat.

So far, Modi has not been accused of making Gujaratis more religious, militant, and fundamentalist. He has not made them live by the ‘injunctions of Hindu dharmshashtras’. The Gujarat assembly has not passed a single law that in anyway promotes religiosity or religion. A ban on cow slaughter is probably the only exception, yet it has not declared Gujarat a ‘vegetarian’ state. It could have done it easily and probably that would have been as much in tune with Gandhian principles and ethos as a ban on 100% vegetarian alcoholic drinks in the state. I hope this does not prompt the secularists to brand Gandhi as a Hindutva icon. The Muslim League and the British certainly projected him as one in the pre-partition days.

Until a few years ago, Advani and Bal Thakre were also projected by certain groups as Hindutva demons, the way Modi is projected now. They were the Gabbar Singhs of Indian politics. The secularists and the Islamists used their names to drive fear and generate hatred in the minds and hearts of lay Muslims. The reality is that their governments did not promote extreme Hindu religious fundamentalism either. In fact, they went out of their way to prove to the minorities that they can practice their religion with greater freedom and space than ever before. The Shiv Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra even sanctioned additional FSI for mosques and madarasas.

In contrast, if you look at the behavior of the governments and political parties that swear by the principles of secularism, you come across the appalling fact that they actively promote religious fundamentalism and militancy through their acts of omission and commission, and they are found wanting when it comes to treating the citizens of the country equally in non-discriminatory ways. This has come to be known as ‘vote bank’ politics. The secularists indulge in it to come to power and stay there. Though there are many communities and sects in our country, the secularists don’t actually bother about them so much. They only focus on the Muslim community since it is electorally significant. Every so-called secular political formation competes vigorously to get Muslim votes and there is no limit to the extent they can go.

The Islamists use it as a tool to extract extra-ordinary and often unjustified political, religious, economic, and legal concessions. The secularist political formations went far out of their way to oblige them. And to convince the rest of our people that they are doing it out of a sense of justice, they invented arguments and alibis by instituting commissions and committees that came up with fantastic pre-meditated conclusions, reports, and recommendations. I am referring to the Sachar Committee report. It’s a phony and fabricated document designed to justify the vote bank politics of secularist political dispensations and the constant clamor and canards of the Islamists. It projects Muslims as a deprived and discriminated lot. I don’t see that around me. I find the number of Hindus living in penury alarmingly bigger. The Muslim community in India is thriving, prospering, and growing, probably more than anywhere else in the world. They live more confidently and assertively than their Hindu neighbors. If they are not in government jobs in large numbers, it simply means they don’t need those government jobs. They also wield enough political power to influence every decision of various secularist governments that are willing to bend backwards and even to perform somersaults for Muslim votes.

Look at how the Akhilesh Yaadav government in UP behaved after the murder of the Kunda DSP who was a Muslim. It went out of its way to please his widow, granting all her wishes. Yaadav even sacked a minister for no apparent reason other than the fact that the widow wanted it to be done. She had to be placated.  She also sought to be appointed as DSP in the place of her husband. Had she insisted, probably that could have been done too. The heir apparent and de-facto Yuvraj of the Congress party walked up to her house to express his sympathies and assure her of all possible support. Islamists like Maulana Bukhari and student leaders of the Aligarh Muslim University turned this into a kind of a litmus test of the state government’s commitment to their cause. There have been many instances of government officers getting killed in the line of their duty in UP itself. The state government didn’t respond in this manner with such alacrity. It’s obvious that the religion of the slain DSP made a lot of difference in this case. The entire politics of Mulayam Singh Yaadav depends on Muslim votes and the division of Hindu votes along caste lines.

The Muslim vote bank is determining the contours of electoral politics across India, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and a well-coordinated network of Islamists drives it. This network is getting emboldened day by day and now seeks political power for itself. The number of Muslim MLAs in the UP assembly is 63 today, roughly 16% of the total. There is nothing wrong if a community succeeds in increasing its share of political power. It has every right to do so.  Even if the community votes strategically, I don’t find anything wrong in it. However, if the community uses such political power to extract extra-ordinary concessions, it must not be allowed. There are several instances of this happening all over India as the competition for Muslim votes gets more and more intensified. Nitish Kumar’s seemingly harmless assertion that one has to wear the skullcap to prove one’s secular credentials is one striking example. Who knows he may suggest next that one has to eat beef to prove one’s secular credentials.

I am probably stating the obvious. I have to do it since I am not sure if we really understand the far-reaching ramifications of a particular development in the history of India, the Ram Janmbhoomi movement.

There are people who believe that Bhagwan Ram was born in Ayodhya exactly at the spot where the Babari Mosque was. I don’t know for sure though. I only know that a mosque amidst hundreds of temples in Ayodhya was incongruous. The spot must have been a very important one for Hindus and thus one of the generals of Babar got the mosque constructed as a permanent monument of the victory of Islam over idol-worshipping ‘kafirs’. It was an obvious symbol of Islamist persecution of Hindus. Yet, it is of no importance for me. It could have stayed there for a few more centuries and I wouldn’t have cared.

What was more important to me was the Ram Janmbhoomi movement since it became a rallying point for Hindu polarization and political unity. That was unprecedented. Had such a movement happened earlier, Islamist or British rule wouldn’t have lasted so long in this country. Unfortunately, political leaders like Vajpayee who were more concerned about their personal image among the Islamists, a typical Hindu trait, squandered the opportunity that could have done so much good to our nation and taken us out of the quagmire of vote bank politics and put us on the path of peace, prosperity, all-round economic growth, and global respect and glory.

Look at it in another way. If the wish of the Islamists and secularists is granted, the next Prime Minister of India will not be the one who provides good governance and pursues sound economic policies, unites the majority of Indians, motivates them to excel in their respective walks of life, is incorruptible, hard-working, visionary, and is not willing to appease this group or that to stay in power. He will be the one who blatantly panders to their overt and covert agenda, is a mediocre vote bank politician with a vision that rarely goes beyond sticking to power and who shows his willingness to wear the skullcap.

If the Islamists have not gone whole hog in pursuing their ultimate political goal so far, they have a strategic reason to do so. They still fear Hindu unity since it is the biggest obstacle to fulfilling their larger long-term political objectives. They have seen it happening in the Ram Janmbhoomi movement. They will not want the same to happen again.

And if you think that the Islamists, the secularists, and the Christian proselytizers hate and demonize Modi for what happened in Gujarat in 2002, think again and think a little harder. Modi haunts them because they believe he is the one who can cause the political polarization of Hindus yet again. This is driving them nuts. They have gone almost berserk in their attempts to stop him – from NDTV to CNN IBN and a host of other news channels owned, controlled, or coopted by them, sundry social activists, mediagogues, political pundits, and commentators have been put on the job.

Hundreds of conspiracies are being hatched at different levels to queer Modi’s pitch, malign and defame him, and puncture his balloon, presuming he is all set to conquer Delhi, even before his party has declared his name. He has merely addressed a few small gatherings, providing a glimpse of his vision for the nation and its people and an understanding of the problems the country faces.

His opponents use venomous, vituperative and uncivil rant to belittle his achievements and him. I hope they continue with their shenanigans. It adds to his stature and makes them look more and more like barking dogs in comparison who create ruckus as a cool and calm elephant walks the streets majestically. 

Modi is no more the kid who served tea at a railway station years ago. He is the rising and towering symbol of the political polarization and unity of Hindus and a panacea for many a ill that plague us today.

Rajesh Kumar Singh