Before the 2014 Poll results, I asked a friend (belonging to an ostensible minority), what his opinion was of Modi coming to power.
He said if he were to take a chance and dissolve Modi of his responsibility of 2002, after all, what politician has made it to the upper echelons of the Indian political system without blood on his hands (collateral damage, as it’s often referred to), what worried him is the sense of entitlement so deeply entrenched with us as people, through our systems of class, caste and religion, would permeate through the system of law and order and take the fore.
The current socio-political climate is a direct reflection of that – where belonging to a minority is again being at threat, where the man next to me feels like he has the right to fuck with me solely due to the fact that he’s part of a larger number.
Communal violence in the country is up by 25% in the first five months of 2015, according to Home Ministry data. Now, there are a lot of divisive arguments about whether the current socio-political sentiment of the nation is communalist or not. There’s an inherent fallacy in that statement – one that’s engineered in order to detract from the real issue at hand.
Apart from the lengthy, politicised rhetoric spewed across multiple national news channels, the reality is that India is inching towards what has always laid dormant in its belly – intolerance. Intolerant those not of the same caste, intolerant of those not belonging to the same sex, intolerance of those not belonging to the same religion. Given the right fodder and the ugly monster rears its head again – as characterised by the spate of murders of Indian writers, the Kannada language scholar M.M Kalburgi or the murder of Govind Pansare, committed to debunking superstitions in the rural heart of India, in 2013. As characterised by 47, 064 committed against a woman every three minutes in the country. As characterised by the 47, 064 crimes committed against Dalits in 2014 alone.
Focussing on communalism is detracting from what’s really happening – a government that insists on telling you what you should watch, what you should listen to, what you should eat and who you should love.
The fact is, us as a nation, for all our rights and duties, remain fundamentally intolerant towards anything that doesn’t fit our immediate idea of what is. Where the trend that’s shaping up is along the lines of what should be – a line of thought that is an immediate threat to any ideal of democracy.
‘Muslims can continue to live in this country, but they will have to give up eating beef…’ is a statement made by Manohar Lal Khattar, CM of Haryana, a country with a history entrenched in violence, mob mentality and of course, enjoying the majority rule of BJP.
‘Lynching a person merely on suspicion of eating beef is absolutely wrong…’ is a statement made by Tarun Vijay, the BJP president.
The implication of these statements is an implication made to 175 million Muslims. Claiming India’s progress lies in its Majority rule is laying claim to the fact that every other minority, its beliefs and practices included, is subservient to the claim of the larger number.
Modi has largely remained aloof on this issue. One reasoning could be that his focus remains on the growth and economic development he promised on his resounding campaign trail. But, he can’t push through reforms without electoral gains in the upcoming state elections. And, Modi can’t achieve those gains without enlisting the more hardline, larger in number RSS factions of his party.
Another, even grimmer reasoning is that deep down, he truly believes India’s for the Hindus. And, as the leader of the country, his continued silence on this belief only strengthens it.
BJP’s past, and unfortunately, it’s legacy has been the ability to lend a sense of misplaced power to the common man where it becomes okay to decide that the belief of a larger group is more important than the collective belief, where breeding a culture of violence and fear is only continually allowed by the Centre’s non-reaction, where I have to think twice for posting this lest I be slandered as being ‘one-sided’ solely because I belong to that ostensible minority.
As a country, we’ve had a history of every action igniting an equal and opposite reaction. The recent incidents have compelled over 400 intellectuals to return their Government granted awards. But, the question is, why does regional jurisdiction only come into play where it’s more convenient to pass on the responsibility? Why are we, as a society, okay with an impotent, ineffective Centre with its glossy news coverage and non-comment on any of the communal incidents that have taken place between May ’14-present day? Are we waiting for the inevitable, are we waiting for an eventual retaliation of the voice oppressed, the voice left without a recourse, so that the state-sanctioned violence can finally be justified? The biggest mark of a state’s failure is when its own people take up arms against it if Kashmir, the North East & Central India is anything to go by.
The International Press is more clued into the Centre’s propaganda than we seem to be. The point we all seem to forget is the farmer in the village doesn’t care for what religion rules the country as long he’s getting his three square meals a day. A sense of suspicion and paranoia is only given birth to by henchmen with vested agendas by using tangible means to suit their vote bank politics. But, that was the last that was expected of an educated, liberal community as we, the city-slickers, claim to be. And now, that the intolerance has started affecting closer to home, that’s when we’ve started bristling our feathers in indignation.
For a country contingent on politics of convenience, voting BJP into power is turning out to be quite inconvenient, eh?