(Secular Perspective June 16-30, 2012)
Recently BJP President Shri Nitin Gadkari said, in the BJP
Executive Committee meeting in Mumbai, a few days ago, that we should try to
woo minorities to win forthcoming 2014 General Elections. He gave example of
Goa that we wooed the Christian minority there and won the Goa
election. We, therefore, should try to woo Muslims too, in the country, to win
2014 General Elections.
Mr. Gadkari, who is a RSS appointee as President of BJP
should know the difference between winning Goa, a small Union
Territory election and the General
Elections in India
as a whole. Also, Goa has some specific problems whereas India as a
whole with 15% Muslim population is very different proposition. The two are far
from comparable. Also, Goan Christians’ attitude towards BJP is not the same as
Muslim attitude towards BJP. And BJP’s sins against Christians in Goa are not
the same as BJP’s sins against Muslims in different parts of India.
In 2014 BJP is desperate to come to power. In last General
Elections BJP got 19% votes and the Congress got 27% and the Congress formed
UPA II Government with the help of its allies. Thus between Congress and BJP
there was difference of 8% votes and BJP is desperate to make up this
difference and if it can get a section of Muslim vote it can make some
BJP’ mathematics unfortunately depends again on communal
concept. It thinks Muslims and Hindus are homogenous communities and they vote
on communal considerations and not on the basis of their regional, linguistic
and class interests as it happens in a democracy. It incited hatred against
Muslims throughout post-independence India on the assumption that it
could polarize voters into Hindus and Muslims and Hindus will vote for the BJP
and it will come to power. However, it never happened and BJP remained outside
the charming circle.
It then merged with the Janta Party under the leadership of
Shri Jayprakash Narayan and took a vow for Gnadhian secularism and socialism
and vowed never to resort to communal politics. However, under dual membership
controversy its members in Janata Party refused to resign from RSS and
ultimately Janta Party Government under Morarji Desai leadership fell and BJP
once again resorted to communal politics with vengeance.
It was during this phase that it raised the issue of
Ramjananmbhoomi-Babri Masjid controversy during late eighties and polarized
Indian population along communal lines as never before. Its vow not to resort
to communal politics was thoroughly exposed. It was nothing but sheer
opportunism. Its secularism was thus very short lived. There was no genuine
change of heart or in other words its decision was not based on inner
conviction but merely on political tactics.
The BJP never misses any chance to attack any scheme or
project which can benefit Muslims even remotely. It has been opposing
implementation of Sacchar Committee scheme under its well-known theory of
appeasement of Muslims and year after year Narendra Modi Government has been
refusing to utilize scholarship amount sent by the Central Government for
Muslim children under the pretext that his Government does not believe in any
‘religious discrimination’ in dispensing scholarship amount.
Also, the BJP Governments in M.P. and Karnataka have passed
stringent laws against cow slaughter which is directed mainly against Muslims
and police will have one more weapon to harass them. I am not saying that
Muslims should eat beef; they should renounce it voluntarily as
Jami’at-ul-Ulama-i-Hind also has advised them but anyway all cannot be
compulsorily stopped from doing so and even if they do not eat the police will
harass them. The law is very very stringent and even dalits who too, eat beef,
are opposing it and in Hyderabad
University these dalit
students even organized a food festival and ate beef in the University Campus.
The M.P. Government also has passed such law but also has
been introducing Hindu rituals in schools like Surya namaskar and others
and hardly cares for any religious sensitivity of minorities. Thus wherever it
comes to power it imposes Hindu rituals over other religious minorities. Not
that there is anything wrong with Hindu rituals but question is of others
religious sensibilities and of imposition against will.
Also, the Sangh Parivar has hardly love for democracy. In Gujarat Hitler has been glorifies in textbooks. In
Rajasthan when BJP was in power in class XI text book of social science is
Fascism was glorified and it was stated that fascism suits India as a
fascist leader can take right decision at right time. It is utterly shocking
but true. I myself drew Mr. Arjun Singh, the then Human Resources Minister’s
attention to it and he could not believe that such a thing has been included in
the Rajasthan text book.
Fascism and Nazism are strongly anti-minorities and highly
intolerant of religious pluralism. Such text books are anti-democratic and go
totally against our own cultural traditions of pluralism and tolerance. It is
anti-constitutional too. Also, the Sangh Parivar has been inciting violence
against Muslims since the day one of independent India. It has accused Muslims of
being not loyal to India
and being pro-Pakistan. It treats Indian Muslims from Kashmir
to Kanya Kumari and label such accusations the whole community which is grossly
With horrible massacres like Gujarat
in 2002 Narendra Modi refused to take any responsibility, let alone express any
regret and apologies to Muslims for what happened with them in that state. He,
on the other hand, expects Muslims to forget and go ahead. Instead of
apologizing he pretended to promote what Modi calls sadbhavna (communal
harmony) and he sat on one day fasts in several districts of Gujarat.
Muslims of Gujarat refused to fall for his pretensions and despite all efforts
they did not take part in his sadbhvna rallies except the Bohra
Muslims whose head Syedna Muhammad Burhanuddin is placating Modi for his
personal vested interests (The Syedna has huge income from various mausoleums
and waqf properties in Gujarat which goes unaccounted).
Now Narendra Modi’s rival Mr. Sanjay Joshi is accusing him
of organizing communal riots in Gujarat in
2002 to retain his chair. Mr. Joshi’s supporters put up a poster which said “I
am an RSS member, I don’t sell purchase land, I don’t do genocide for power, I
don’t change my color for power (reference to sadbhavna rallies)….The
supporters of Modi all were wearing Sanjay Joshi mask on their faces as
Narendra Modi’s followers did (wearing Narendra Modi masks) on the eve of last
Gujarat assembly elections.
Keshubhai Patel, the former Chief Minister has also come out
and attacking Narendra Modi and is appealing to his Patel biradari to rise
against Modi and defeat him in coming assembly elections. This is the condition
of BJP which one claimed while the Congress is a party with differences, BJP is
the Party with difference. Now the shoe is on the other foot. It is the BJP
which is a party with differences. It is as corrupt, if not more, as
Congress. It supports Anna to defeat ‘corrupt Congress’ and Anna and his team
obliges BJP by targeting only the Congress and keeping absolutely mum about
corruption in BJP.
Whatever if BJP is desirous of Muslim supports it has to
first of all apologize to Muslims and the nation for demolition of Babri Masjid
and allow Babri Masjid to be reconstructed at the plot where it once stood.
Also it should compel Narendra Modi to apologize to Muslims for organizing
their genocide in Gujarat in 2002. Also the
BJP should convince the nation and Muslims that it would not resort to
communalism and communal violence and would not betray the nation this time
round in any case.
This also cannot wash away BJP’s sins but at least pave way
for reconciliation and we altogether – Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians,
tribals and all others can raise our Indian nation and make it peaceful and
prosperous. It should also apologize to Christians for organizing riots in
Kndhamal district, Orissa Then only we can become a true nation without any
distinction of religion, caste and creed.
The minorities then will surely give BJP a chance to come to
power and prove its worth and that unlike in seventies it would not betray its promise.
And if BJP really apologizes the minorities would magnanimously forgive and
forget all that happened in the past and go ahead. This is what happened in South Africa
and Satya is very much part of our Indian culture and forgiveness too
is our precious heritage. If at all BJP is proud of our rich cultural heritage
it should not mind following this course.
A superficial approach like promising Muslims to salvage their waqf properties as suggested by Shri Nitin Gadkari will not attract Muslims to the BJP fold. For more than 60 years they have suffered at the hands of BJP and its politics of communalism. Only salvaging waqf properties is not going to do the trick. And let BJP leaders be also reassured that the Congress will also be not be able to use fear of BJP to get Muslim votes. Its communalism will also be exposed and it will also have to work hard to woo Muslims. It would then be real competition between two great parties to bring about great unity and solidarity between all people of India – the ultimate goal of our politics. Long live our nation and our unity!
Centre for Study of Society and Secularism