20 April, 2014


I find two strange and concurrent phenomena in the churning leading up to 2014 Lok Sabha elections:

a. Indian polity has decidedly moved towards the right. Hindutva influence is evident. Consider, for instance, that almost every major politician has felt obliged to not only perform a puja before filing her/his nomination, but also to publicize it. For the world’s largest democracy claiming to make strides in science and technology this trend in the beginning of the 21st century disturbs me as a rationalist. And should bother the youth.
b. On the other hand, most politicians and political parties – with the probable exception of the Tamil Nadu - are openly courting Muslims. Secularism is not in dispute though its definition very much is. Coupled with the fact that Muslims have been on the receiving end of discrimination and even communal riots under almost every regime, this is intriguing.

I also see to my utter bewilderment how pathetically some of the tallest of our scholars, thinkers, activists, anchors, editors, artistes, industrialists, generals, bureaucrats et al have crumbled before the onslaught of mobocracy. It is as if they were only waiting for a cue, that one by one, so many of them spinelessly stooped to appease the emerging power, at the cost of the values they claimed to honour before.

At another level I am tempted to ask Muslims to ponder how come they landed in such a pathetic situation that 18 crore of them can be ignored in Indian polity. That the majority of this country can choose someone the Muslims almost universally and totally detest, is something Muslim leadership needs to answer, too. And to the devout Muslims I would pose: how come Bush, Blair and Modi all survived almost all the battles they were to face after their manifestly anti-Muslim crusades.

Even today, despite all surveys and indications to the contrary, I – almost valiantly – hope that either the Congress will lead the next government, or at least the NDA will fall short of numbers to be compelled to find a more acceptable candidate by common consensus. Yet, if Modi still assumes the Prime Ministership of India, and manages to sail through the political turmoil, he will soon embark on measures designed to gain international acceptability. No more concerned with the approval of the Indian voter, he will proceed to claim global recognition. This may well lead him to attempt holding out an olive branch to the Kashmiri separatists and to Pakistan. To appease the Hindutva he may force a ‘resolution’ of the Ram Mandir issue and go for its construction.

All in all we are headed towards very uncertain, indeed, unnerving times. May India as a nation, and Indians as a society, survive unharmed. And may innocent blood never spill to satisfy personal ambitions of fanatics and cunning politicians.

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