Sonia Congress Brand Secularism!
date Wed, May 13, 2009 at 4:36 PM
subject Congress secularism
The most bandied word in India by the politicians is SECULARISM. Before one even dissects this word one should shed the biases and prejudices one has. It seems almost impossible to release secularism from its present hijackers and objectively dissect it. Two important prerequisites for this objectivity are:
1) secularism is not the monopoly of any one political party.
2) secularism is not anti-hindutva.
It is ridiculous to note that the Congress party thinks that secularism is its monopoly. It has gone still further in giving itself the power to transform all those who ally with it the tag of secularism.
Any party/person who stands with the Congress is baptized as ‘secular’—and any party/person who stands with the BJP is communal. If the NDA (U) allies with the Congress than it is secular. If it allies with the BJP it becomes communal.
Narayana Rana was communal-but the moment he joined the Congress he became secular. It looks as though secularism is something which only the Congress has and only those who ally with it can be secular.
Against this it becomes extremely an onerous task to even define secularism. But can be understood if we analyze whether the Congress is secular.
Secularism is without bias and prejudice for or against a community, creed and caste. Secularism is objective, scientific in approach and above all stands impartial.
Secularism is not something which a person/party carries as a badge but is revealed only in the works and actions of that person/party. So a political party cannot become secular simply by thumping its own chest and proclaiming that it is secular. It needs to be proved.
As Mr Manmohan Singh said of his governance ‘the test of the pudding is the eating of it’. The test that the Congress is secular must be seen in its secular governance. In its various programs and its openness to all people irrespective of caste creed and region. Parties/persons who are secular will have no vested interest in governance.
If one has to review the performance of the Congress from this angle its mask of secularism will be torn apart and its can be perceived as the most communal party in a parliamentary democracy–be it in the Centre and the States. It is evident that the Congress was far from secular—Its whole approach was based on an appeasement policy labeled as ‘inclusive’ development with the sole objective of garnering the Muslim votes.
So it was sheer vested interest and greed for power that was the guiding and deciding factor in its whole governance. The Congress’ perception was thus jaundiced. It was visually handicapped in its outlook of India. Could not view the people of this country as citizens—as Indians but saw them as Muslims, Christians, and Hindus/north/south. To make it an variable to easily quantify— majority and minority—was inserted and this became the guiding index in its approach.
The basic premise for secularism thus evaporated from the Congress Party when its whole approach to governance is communal—based on religion. No matter its shrill trumpeting that it is the secular party and all those who stand with it are secular. The extension of secularism into politics thus became all pervasive—in spite of the media also tagging it as secular forces the reality picture thus became a ‘maya’.
There can be apologists who feel that the yardstick of Minority is valid because it denotes weakness—less clout, constantly under the threat from the majority etc and hence calls for special protection, and concessions. In the Indian reality this perception is valid as far as the Scheduled castes are concerned. But even that has slowly undergone a change. The Scheduled caste leaders keep the Scheduled castes in oppression and in poverty because they are the barters for their own power. It is in their powerlessness of the large section of the Scheduled caste people that that the SC leaders gain power. And it is in the pauperization of the larger section SCs that the SC leaders gain wealth. This is not a political statement but stating a fact that is very much in evidence. Take for example Mayawati—a simple distribution of all the money she has accrued and the huge amounts she is spending on massive structures with domes and stupas for Kanshi Ram, Ambedkar and herself will just wipe out the poverty of the Schedule caste in UP.
This kind of aggrandizement is not only sheer arrogance but also a negation of the rights of the scheduled castes by their own leaders. So who is sinning against them today—but their own leaders? True they were oppressed and denied equal rights but if under the leaders like Mayawati and Paswan the same situation continues then there is something basically wrong not only in the past but in the present. It seems that these leaders want to keep the Scheduled castes perpetually a downtrodden people.
Yet ours is the only Constitution in the world which has put in black and white our sins of omission and commission against the Scheduled Castes and has urged all the governments to change this situation. But after 59 years we still stand on the same plane and fault the nation as having deprived the Scheduled castes of their rightful share.
One area of empowerment was the Reservation policy—both in education and in employment. This has been hijacked by the creamy layer. The benefit of this policy does not percolate down. Another reason is among the different sub sects of the SCs—the Pallars are mostly landed and educated—while the Pariyars (scavengers) and the Arunthatiyars (cobblers) continue in the same misery and poverty. It is not that the SC leaders are unaware of it but they are least bothered to see that the Reservation policy benefits reach all. The whole process can be superimposed on the Most Backward and Backward castes.
It is communal politics that have kept the country’s population growing in its backwardness. The well of have siphoned all the benefits. Even Mr P Chidambaram in a TV channel accepted that he had benefited from the Reservation policy! Most of the IAS officers have used to benefit their own families.
It is thus a case in study when the same is extended towards the religious minorities and make them a show case for ‘inclusive’ development. Minority concept is not only a numerical concept but it denotes powerlessness, economic, political and social. The size of the community connotes a disadvantaged position against the majority it reveals a helplessness to compete, to face the constant threat from the majority. In certain countries this is true especially in our neighborhood countries. But in India it is not so. Minority is strength. Except for the numerical size the minority concept does not have the other concomitants.
It is interesting to note that a minority group can hold a majority group to ransom. It depends on the empowerment of the people than the numerical head count of the people. For example a single gun touting man can hold to ransom a whole group of people and instill fear in them. Numerical strength is no longer valid.
The power of bargaining—the leverage the minority holds and also the ability to activate global concerns and lobbies counts and we can safely determined that the Muslims and the Christians in India are more powerful in this respect— and do not suffer from any of the disadvantages that impinges on a minority people. Vastness and large numbers in today’s world is no longer a sign of power. At the press of a button the whole globe can be destroyed. Who controls that button –in that single individual all power is concentrated.
Except for the Arts 29 to 30 which granted the Religious Minorities rights to manage and administer their own education institutions the question of reservation on par with the SCs was never mooted by the Founding Fathers. But now Congress has brought in this divisive factor in other areas of employment, and other programs.
It has been a thoroughly communal outlook and communalization of governance that the Congress has been pursuing for the past five years. But had succeeded in projecting itself as the secular party thanks to the support of the electronic and print media.
Starting more Islamic institutions, funding the madrasas, increasing the subsidy of the Haj, setting up of a separate ministry with a separate budget all are not only communal in its inception but in the very process has communalized every aspect of the polity.
Now the line is demarcated in the political scenario. One side stands the Congress and the other side the BJP. All those who line up with the Congress become secular and all those who line up with the BJP become communal. The dance of democracy is over and the finale is being rehearsed. If the BJP is fishing for some catch, the Congress is poaching. That makes no difference for the conversion to secularism and to communalism becomes immediate.
Even a handshake makes a thoroughly secular person as Nitesh communal! But if he joins the Congress who is desperately wooing him he becomes secular. Remember the DMK one whose very political basis was on separatism was with the NDA when Murasoli Maran died and the allurements offered was not enough to appease the DMK it joined the Congress—and was converted as a secular party.
First the branding of Modi as communal and a murderer is a bit stale and will boomerang. If the Gujarat riots has made him communal then the 1984 Sikh genocide has made the Congress doubly communal and a fascist party. But that has to be buried states our Manmohan Singh who is in a permanent state of muddle.
You touch Modi you become communal that’s the litmus test. The big fight gives us insights into this comedy of errors. The bugle has been sounded by the secular captain ‘all those who want a secular government come and stand by me’ (where is Manmohan Singh—a caricature of his is also held aloft behind Mrs Sonia Gandhi).
Of course with the bugle call the allurements will be distributed in the dressing room. Those who are non communal will stand alongside with the ‘secular’ Congress. And one needs to quickly put on the communal spectacles to watch Lalu, Paswan, Mayavati, Karunanidhini, Karat et al as secular.
And there stands the captain of the BJP-LK Advani on the other side—he cannot thumb his chest because already the communal tags have been affixed on him and the whole array of NDA allies. But there is time for ‘conversion’ and it is so easy-step across the line and you become secular. This is the concept of secularism and communalism in India today.
Why dissect further and go to the root of the meaning of secularism. The Congress has a special vocabulary encyclopedia—one should get it and decode. Renunciation, secularism, communalism divine right, and India’s triumvirate (Nehru. Indira and Rajiv) monopoly—all these concepts/words and more one should learn and digest to become relevant to secular INDIA and the dance of democracy.
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,