Today, when a course correction is being attempted to restore part of India’s enviable ancient past, we have all kinds of protests and charges against the democratically elected government of the day. The resentment perhaps comes from the fact that if the process is successful, Hinduism will gain prominence and that unfortunately is not palatable to some in the country.
A common grouse of all detractors of current government is that Hinduism or Hindutwa as practiced by BJP promotes communal identity politics while the warped secularism that they believe in accommodates diversity and respects every individual’s relationship with divine.
Frankly these are loaded statements by critics that smack of communal identity politics aimed at preserving minority vote banks. Logically BJP has no need for such communal politics since it is a known fact that it gets mainly Hindu votes. In principle communal identity politics succeed when targeted at homogeneous minorities where the aim is to make them vote as a community. In case of Indian majority, given its diversity and lack of homogeneity, such politics can hardly be effective.
Other fears like the government transforming India into a Hindu majoritarian state that will increase Muslim orthodoxies are equally baseless. The fact is that India was secular, is secular and will remain secular in future too. This ethos is inbuilt in Hinduism and history proves this comprehensively. Was India not secular before the word ‘Secular’ was added to the constitution in 1976? Perhaps all that is happening today is that the majority whose identity and voice had been suppressed in favour of minority for decades, have realised that this nation belongs to them as much as it does to any minority. In this situation the culture and heritage of majority will invariably come to the fore. In a secular democratic nation, you cannot have restrictions on the culture or heritage of the majority but none on others.
Unfortunately, this is what was happening for many decades and some had taken this for granted and therefore their agony today.
The axiomatic truth is that India is a Hindu majority nation by miles because of its over 80% Hindu population. It is secular today primarily because the majority believes in secularism.
Minority interests, as required in a democracy, have always been safeguarded and it is no different today. Any increase in Muslim orthodoxies as seen today is more a worldwide phenomenon that started over three decades ago with the rise of Wahhabism. Any insinuations that the rise of orthodoxies in Muslims is because of any action of BJP government is just a figment of imagination. Hindu bashers like to pin it on the government because it suits their vested interests and not because of any conviction.
Hindu-Muslim riots have been a regular phenomenon in this country for last seven decades. However, there is a very defining difference between riots that one sees now and those in the past. Riots in the past were mostly localized and life returned to normal once control was established. Today any riot that takes place tends to get a pan India footprint as far as Muslims are concerned apart from involvement of foreign hand in many cases. The recent riots in NE Delhi are a perfect example of this. Riots in Kashmir invariably follow this pattern.
This change has come about mainly because Muslims have been misguided to oppose the current government as a community by painting the BJP led government as anti-Muslim.
Today many Muslim leaders have no hesitation to seek foreign help from across the border in terms of guidance or money to engineer riots. This is a serious matter for the nation and therefore the hardened attitude of the authorities. Is this wrong? Any right-thinking citizen would say it is not.
Has even one law or provision been made in last five years that favors the majority in any manner by excluding the minority? Have the rights of Muslims in the country been curtailed in any manner? Has anyone been denied to worship his preferred deity or follow his preferred religion? Perhaps the only issue that BJP bashers will come up with is the Citizen Amendment Bill (CAA) of 2019. But then that bill has nothing to do with Indian Muslims in first place. Given the current terror environment around the world and the pattern adopted by Muslim migrants in many parts of the world, no sensible nation will give an easy entry to Muslim migrants within its territory. The fictitious fears and apprehensions built around CAA by Muslims leaders and others are aimed at vote bank politics and to keep the insecurities alive.
Is India any less pluralistic than what it was five years ago? Are the fruits of development being denied to any citizen in the country because of his religion? Politicians in opposition may doubt the ‘sabka saath, sabka vikaas’ approach of the government but the hard reality is that on the ground citizens of all hues have benefited from it.
Enough has been written and said about the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A in the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and banning of Triple Talaaq. If one discounts political rhetoric and keeps vested interests aside, then no one can deny that these corrections were overdue and crying needs for the nation as a whole. It is a given that any Indian citizen who feels otherwise, particularly on the issue of J&K, will invite some harsh questions about his commitment to the nation.
Over the years starting from late eighties, there has been a major shift in the approach of Indian Muslim community as they have adopted an ‘in your eye’ approach when it comes to their religion, orthodoxies and physical identity as part of a worldwide phenomenon.
Surprisingly no one objected to this or termed it as communal identity politics for decades.
This deliberate and well-planned move had to attract a reaction from others at some point of time. In fact, it is to the credit of the majority that the reaction has been very nominal despite extreme provocations from time to time. If genuine secularism has to flourish, then it is as much the responsibility of the minority as that of the majority to work towards that end. Sadly, there very few takers for this logic among Muslim minority and their well-wishers.
While politics can be very unpredictable, the current environment in the country does favour BJP and a third term for the party appears to be a certainty. It may be prudent for all BJP detractors to understand that the majority voice will be heard increasingly in the years to come as the inevitable historical correction takes shape. It will be in the interest of the nation if Muslim community reinforces this voice. Rest assured any myth regarding Hindu dominance or India transforming into a Hindu Rashtra is unfounded. Any insecurities in this regard are all self-made and forced on the Muslim community by their own who want to exploit them to further their selfish agendas. The community has to see through this and see the reality, else it stands to lose out as India marches ahead towards a bright future.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.