Mr. Modi seeks "Congress
Ever since the "purely
cultural" RSS floated its front political
organization, the Jana Sangh, in 1951, right-wing Hindu communalists have
been accusing the Congress of playing "vote bank" politics,
to wit, seeking Muslim votes.
The success of this tactic has
been to obfuscate the more monstrous fact that the Jana Sangh and all its
subsequent incarnations have had but one purpose in mind-to
consolidate Hindu votes! Whenever this has been pointed
out, the RSS has argued that chasing after Hindu
votes does not tantamount to communalism or "vote bank" politics
but to strengthen "nationalism." One recalls how as early
as 1927, Nehru had foreseen that majority communalism would
be sought to be projected as "nationalism" and minority communalism as
"communalism." Regrettably, after Nehru, Congress regimes
have been too pusillanimous to voice that perception both
for fear of losing "Hindu" votes and because the Congress has always had
closet communalists within its ranks.
In recent history, it is in
Gujarat under Narendra Modi that the RSS thesis has been sought to be
projected and practiced with gusto. Wretchedly, though, the enormous
plurality of the Indian polity and the fundamental
non-sectarianism of the mass of Indians has almost always
repudiated this thesis. Reason why to this day right-wing Hindu
political/electoral fronts of the RSS have never succeeded in garnering
more than some 29% of the franchise at any national election.
Given that Muslims hardly ever vote for these fronts, the
conclusion is obvious that 70% or more Hindus have never voted for them!
Thus the BJP's long career of seeking allies among other political
Who would have thought that even
a Narendra Modi would one day be obliged, the Gujarat carnage
notwithstanding, to make a pitch for Muslim votes. Yet this is precisely
what we have witnessed during the recent BJP conclave at Patna in Bihar.
A compliment, if you like, to "Congress vote bank" politics!
Except for the despicable fact
that Modi and the Gujarat government have had to take recourse to criminal
subterfuge to inaugurate this new career. It has been discovered that
Gujarat government posters claiming to showcase Gujarati Muslim women
seated at computers and gleefully hammering away at
modernity and prosperity were infact stolen from a website of the
much-maligned Shibli College located in much-maligned Azamgarh
(heretofore christened by the BJP as "atank garh.")
Thus two crimes have come to be
committed by the paragon of uprightness, Modi, atonce: one,
cheating, culpable under Section 420 of the IPC, and violation of
copyright laws. We understand that, not surprisingly, the matter is
sought to be taken to court, as it ought to be.
The larger crime ofcourse
devolves around a Goebbelesian attempt to hoodwink the nation's
electorate into believing a gross untruth. In any Anglo-Saxon or
European democracy, this would have been sufficient cause to debar Modi
from electoral politics. Indeed, his imagined counterpart
there would have both apologized and resigned. Trust Modi and the BJP,
however, to seek to brazen their way out of this treachery to befool
the Indian citizen.
Interestingly, the treachery
having now been found out, what a fine compliment is thereby paid by the
Hindu-Hriday Samrat to the Muslims and their educational institutions in
Azamgarh, and their fine work at educating Muslim women in modern areas of
knowledge revealed to the country at large. This, it must be
said, is a most salutary fall-out from the low-level cunning attempted by
Modi and the Gujarat government.
And this cunning is of a piece
with Modi's unrepentant attempts within Gujarat to hide the interminable
facts about official complicity in the massacres of 2002, and in the
countless "encounter" killings thereafter. With the Supreme
Court supervised investigations into those episodes of criminality now
under way, it is to be hoped that the edifice of lies upon which Modi's
government has thus far sought to survive, if not thrive anymore, will
equally crumble into the dustbin of India's contemporary history. Just as
fact after fact related to terrorist acts committed by Hindu organizations
now tumble out of the closet to full view.
The hope that Indian democracy
will yet mature into something non-sectarian and noble if its institutions
are allowed to function freely and without fear and prejudice may not be