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.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Strange Minority Aggression

The minority politics in the country is getting curious. The church is behaving as if it has a divine right to proselytise. As if it is part and parcel of the special minority rights. And an Archbishop. As if he is a special envoy of the Holy Roman Empire in the zenith of its glory. And for some representatives of the Muslim community, every act of the internal security apparatus is lawless, biased and designed to discriminate and condemn them. Look at the reactions of the Vice Chancellor of Jamia Millia, the residents of Jamia Nagar, Azamgarh and even cine actress Shabana Azmi. Do the minorities believe that they are super citizens? A hang-over of the past when they were the ruling class and the majority Hindus, the deprived second class citizens? In a democracy there is only one law and the law must apply equally to every citizen.

Archbishop Barnard Moras of Bangalore behaved in a strange and uncivilised manner when the Chief Minister of Karnataka B S Yeddyurappa went to see him as part of his mission to restore peace and amity in the state. But the Christians are on an offensive. The Bishop berated and shouted at the Chief Minister in front of the whole world as if to show his contempt to the elected ruler of the state. The Chief Minister kept his cool. He was a picture of humility and forbearance. It did not behove a priest, who is a Godman to get into such a rage, and berate the Chief Minister of the state in full public view. Obviously, the Bishop had rehearsed the drama well in advance and wanted it to be relayed all over the world over the media. Perhaps he wanted to show the world that Christians were under attack in BJP-ruled states. This is politics, not religion. The provocation came from evangelists. The blasphemous literature they distributed was reported widely in the press including Deccan Herald, a leading daily of Karnataka. Other than isolated incidents of localised vandalism in which both Christians and Hindus were involved, there was not a single instance of organised violence in Karnataka. There were any number of provocations on Hindus in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Jammu and Kashmir where Hindus suffered huge losses and even made to flee. But no Hindu leader ever misbehaved with authorities the way the Bishop displayed his misdemeanor. The situation in Karnataka was never so grim that the Bishop should have behaved in so crass a manner.

Similarly the Vice Chancellor of Jamia Milia says that he will use taxpayers’ money to defend terror accused. Is it an admission that the Central University, fully under the Union HRD Ministry has become a haven for jehadi terrorists? And stranger are the kinds of reactions greeting the arrest of terror accused by the police. Some of them even characterised the martyrdom of the police officer as “fake”. What is this mindset that cannot distinguish between a national calamity and their sectarian loyalties? The VC says he will fight the case for the suspected terrorist students with public money. This is outrageous and unlawful.

These actions strike at the idea of India and harm the country immensely. Simultaneously some parties jump to grab any chance to curry favour with the minorities and promote their fanaticism and separate identity. Look at the manner in which the Janata Dal(S) leader Deve Gowda is trying to vitiate the situation in Karnataka. There were more attacks on churches in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, but the DMK and the CPM are in the forefront accusing the BJP of not protecting minorities. In fact, the BJP record in maintaining inter-religious harmony is much better than any other so-called pro-minority parties. Sensible sections of the minorities acknowledge this. But there are elements too willing to be pawns in the political chessboard.

The BJP is ruling in seven states and is sharing power in four others. The recent Orissa and Karnataka clashes involving Christians are aberrations. In both cases as in Gujarat in 2002 the provocation came from the minorities.

India is the only country that has always protected the minorities. But the definition of minorities in India is strangely distorted. Here the minorities are better off than Hindus and were the ruling class for centuries. It is the Hindu who faces an existential problem with petro-dollar, terrorism, infiltration and proselytisation undermining his number. The Christians are in majority in four states, the Muslims in one. Is it not a fact that where minorities are dominant they don’t accommodate any other community? Hindus are the only people in the world who believe in the oneness of God and equality of man.

India is the only country on earth which he can claim as his own. The minorities have to appreciate this Hindu angst. The vote bank politics has deprived Hindu his status.

This is at the root of the tension in places where conversion is tearing apart the social fabric. In states where the minorities are in majority their tyranny has totally subjugated the Hindu. Compare this with the Hindu response where they are in majority.

The BJP has walked an extra mile to reassure the minorities and take them into its fold. But the response has so far been limited. If pseudo-secular politicians and fanatics gang up in this fashion what will be the future shape of Indian polity?

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