Pseudo-Secularism

Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Monkey in the Manmohan works

By Balbir K. Punj

What the Left thinks of the Government it supports at the Centre was evident from page three of the Hindustan Times (September 30) a day after the group preened itself on the “success” of the all India strike it organised to protest the so-called anti-worker policies of the same government.

The report in the newspaper gave graphic account of the vandalism the workers indulged in at the domestic airport in Delhi where they threw all the rubbish in the passenger lounge. Apparently the Prime Minister is being told by his allies that economic policy will be as they dictate it to be and not what the Government wants it to be.

And if Dr. Singh had any lingering hope that he would be allowed leeway on economic or for that matter any policy, the campaign Left is carrying on the Government’s vote in the IAEA against Iran, should settle the matter. This is, despite the Prime Minister repeatedly defending the vote saying India was acting according to its national interest.

The Indian Express has done a service to the country by listing all the votes that Iran cast against India at the OIC and in other international fora the consistent opposition it is displaying against India’s membership of Security Council and its refusal to condemn the terrorist attack on Parliament. How could it condemn the terrorist event when Iran is known to be the second largest financer of terrorism, after the Saudis? Iran is known to be behind Hizbollah terrorism in Palestine, for instance. Iran ruled by Shiite clergy that has a veto power in the government there on every decision, is a propagator of terrorism. And if it is seeking to build a nuclear weapon armoury there is every fear that such a weapon, once built, would be used to arm terrorists and threaten non-Islamic countries. Traditionally the Saudis as the claimants of “pure” Islam and Iranians advancing the same claim from the Shia side, have each tried to run the Islamofascism as per each of their interest.

Some years back Iran tried to take over the holy places of Islam in Mecca by infiltrating over 300 armed men into the mosque at the height of the pilgrimage season. The Saudis foiled the game and finally all the 300 were beheaded in a mass demonstration of Saudi brutality versus Iranian brutality. The question that is relevant at this juncture: why is Prakash Karat so determined to challenge the Prime Minister whom he keeps in power, on an external issue like Iran in which India only exercised its right to protect its national interest? Or for that matter on economic policy like airport privatisation? Why are Congressmen so scared of the Left that they are unwilling to defend their own Prime Minister? Is it because their loyalty is to 10 Janpath rather than to the Prime Minister of their own party? Or is it because this extra constitutional authority enjoys the Prime Minister facing the flak as it keeps him de-stabilised all the time and denies him space to consolidate his position within his own party?

The question that is relevant at this juncture: why is Prakash Karat so determined to challenge the Prime Minister whom he keeps in power, on an external issue like Iran in which India only exercised its right to protect its national interest?

The repeated attack on the PM on the Iran issue is clearly meant to unhinge the Muslim vote-bank from ever going back to the Congress fold in the context of the elections in Bihar now and the ones that would happen in West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, etc, in the next few months. In West Bengal, the Left has consistently supported Islamic irredentism, refusing even to acknowledge the fact of infiltration of this community from Bangladesh.

In Kerala, if the open championing of pro-Muslim causes helps gain even a small percentage of Muslim vote-bank shifting from Muslim League to the Left, it should help in winning the government back for the CPM-led front. It does not suite Prakash Karat that the UPA Government is toppled till after the elections to the State assemblies in early 2006. The communist strategy is to win Kerala also and meanwhile build up their strength as the champion of popular causes against the pain of globalisation that the UPA Government faces. CPM is also increasingly taking a strident oppositional role in foreign policy where the Islamic angle is prominent.

For instance, it is demanding that the UPA Government should drop its support for the peace process that is on in Palestine. This demand has embarrassed even the Palestinian Authority that is working with Israel to curb its own militants and put the latest accord into place. But the CPM is mindlessly insisting that New Delhi should have nothing to do with Israel—even Pakistan is now talking with Israel to the embarrassment of the orthodox Muslim constituency. But it is this constituency that the CPM (as well as the Congress) is targeting. Due to the administrative incompetence of the Congress Government in Haryana, the labour flare-up in the industrial hub of the State has landed a big bonanza in the lap of the communists. They are now actively pursuing a policy of destabilisation in Gurgaon-Faridabad industrial belt to consolidate their position—taking advantage of the UPA’s unwillingness to curb the disruptive activities of the communists in the name of trade unionism.

The countrywide protests against UPA using the internal fears of the PSU employees in key infrastructure like airports, banking, insurance, etc., works to the plot the communists have secretly hatched against the UPA. The final act in this drama will be played after the bunch of State-level elections coming year. The communists expect to emerge as the real force behind the central government in the next phase of this plot. No wonder Prakash Karat keeps up his attack on the PM even as Dr. Singh seeks recourse in the aparigraha of the Bhagvad Gita. Knowing he cannot get support against the Reds even in his own party, he would adopt Ganghiji’s idea of hearing, seeing and talking no evil!

(The writer, Rajya Sabha MP and Convenor of BJP Think Tank, can be contacted at bpunj@email.com)

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