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Narendra Modi’s anointment lifts Hindutva curtain


Written By: HarunurRashid
19/09/2013 19:15 19/09/2013 19:14
International

So the play of Narendra Modi aka Na Mo is on. And if he finally makes it to Delhi, which is very likely to happen, India’s secularist mask will receive a sudden jolt for the second time in the last 66 years of independence. The most jubilant section of Modi’s backers are the RSS and given their track record it can be safely assumed that Indian minorities are headed for the worst of times with the ‘butcher of Gujrat’ dictating terms from the Delhi masnad.

Narendra Modi, BJP

Modi’s candidature announcement left Advani speechless, Sushma stunned and other middle-of-the-line followers unnerved. Obviously, Na Mo is riding on the crest of popularity with his 200 plus seats and the Hindutva philosophy providing enough wind in his sails. There is no reason why Narendra Modi should not be congratulated on his getting the ticket to Delhi.

I know he is a fundamentalist and that’s what I like about him. There is honesty in his fundamentalism and that’s what I admire in him. He wears the red tilak and is proud to show it off in public. He goes round the ritual fire during puja seven times and does not make any secret of his love for Ganapati.

Contrast it to Nehru who had a secular Constitution in place and yet when the waiting priests wanted him to go round the homagni (puja fire) he did it not unwillingly (vide Freedom at Midnight). And don’t forget that was a part of the official ceremony. With that, however, secularism took a back seat – what remained on paper was a sham, a political pretence, or rather a ruse to ensure minority vote bank.

The Congress has used the secular card ever since they came to power in 1947. And what did they do for the minorities in India? Read the Sachar Report and you will understand why the Muslims wanted a separate homeland of their own. Mr Kuldip Nayar was given a grand reception at the Bangla Academy auditorium during the launching of his book, Beyond the Lines. He is reported to have said he still does not understand why India was divided in 1947. I will tell him why.

In the Writers Building there are, so the report goes, only four Muslims in the higher echelons of the bureaucracy. And interestingly, they are not Bengalis, but Muslims from Delhi. Maybe, the report is wrong. But will he care to find out how many secretaries to the PB government are there from among the Muslims of West Bengal who represent a little less than one third of the population of the state? The same question was raised by the famous Indian historian Amalesh Tripathi at a Bangla Academy meeting in the early 90s.

My answer was – had we Muslims been on a level playing field educationally and economically in 1947, the Muslims of East Bengal would not have been swept off their feet by the religious card. For the subaltern Muslims in Bengal the division of India was more an economic necessity rather gaining a political flag. I hope that explains why we Muslims opted for Pakistan in 1947. And we were not wrong, at least the Sachar Report is a testimony to that. For we Bengalis in East Bengal it played an accidental historical card. Had there been no division of India, there would not have been any Bangladesh.

It seems the popular tide is inordinately in favour of Na Mo so much so that even an unwilling patriarch like Advani could not take a stand against it. I do not believe that the majority Hindus have found in Narendra a saviour who could tame the Muslim minorities and build for them a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. At least his initial speech after anointment does not bear any hint of that. Nor do we get an idea that he is going to start another war with Pakistan. But it is perhaps true that the public tired of UPA corruption and a creaking Manmohan was looking for a ‘he-man’ which they found in Narendra Modi.
 

There are however a few problems which the Indian public should weigh before they finally cast their vote for Na Mo. First, Modi’s track record as the ‘butcher of Gujrat’ will completely alienate minority sympathy for Modi regime if there is any. Who will the Muslims in Gujrat vote for? Modi, of course. Not out of love or admiration but fear. Modi will never command the respect and sympathy of the Muslims in India – this much perhaps even Kuldip Nayar would not disagree with.

Secondly, he may drum up support in his election campaign by strong anti-Pakistani tirades but a PM Modi (if elected) will never be able to take over bridge-building with Pakistan where the Congress will have left off by the poll time. Kashmir or no Kashmir, peace with Pakistan is a necessary condition for the economic boost which has given India a membership of the BRIC club.

Thirdly, the US view of Modi is far from positive. He has been denied US visa several times and unless there is a major change of heart in the White House, he may not be visiting the US during his tenure as Indian PM. That sends another message to the Nuclear Club. Will the exclusive club consider Nuclear arsenal safe in Modi’s hands?
 

The worst damage Narendra’s coming to power will do is to Indian democracy. It will create a cleavage between the majority and the minority and with that the inclusive character of the electorate will be lost.
 

Maybe, secularism is a mask, but it is a necessary mask for India which has never been a single country or a single nation until the Mughals brought almost the whole of India under Delhi’s control.


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About HarunurRashid

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  • Name: Professor M Harunur Rashid
  • From: Dhaka
  • Nationality: Bangladesh
  • Profile:

    Professor Harunur Rashid is a Cambridge Gradute, former professor of North South University, now Teaching English at International Islamic University Chittagong(IIUC), Dhaka Campus. Contributing as an Associate Editor of The Independent and former DG of Bangla Academy.

    Contact: mharunursra@yahoo.com

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