Secularism is a facade
By Manmath Deshpande
Has secularism been reduced to a political gimmick? BJP is not the only party that the Congress calls ?communal?. Whenever parties compete with each other for Muslim votes, they call the opponents ?communal?. For example, in Uttar Pradesh the Congress is desperate for revival, for which it badly needs Muslim votes. Therefore, it calls the Samajwadi Party ?communal? for having a ?tacit alliance? with BJP. Sensing that the Congress may get a few Muslim votes, the Samajwadi Party takes pains to point out that it has included S.S. Vaghela, an RSS man for 40 years, and TRS? A. Narendra in the Union Cabinet who was a former BJP MP and a VHP man.
In Bihar, RJD, LJP and Congress all need Muslim votes. As Congress did not dare to attack Lalu directly, it made LJP attack Lalu and allied with LJP to get anti-Lalu votes. But both Lalu and Paswan call each other anti-Muslim. As a typical example of how secularism is just a political gimmick, let us take LJP. When LJP was with RJD in the Lok Sabha there was a serious danger of BJP and JD(U) getting Muslim votes. Hence, Lalu lauded Paswan saying he had left the BJP after the Gujarat riots. But in the Assembly polls he said that Paswan had left NDA not because of the riots but because Pramod Mahajan got the portfolio he wanted!
The truth is that no party in the country is really against Hindu nationalists called ?comunalists?. The Congress has S.S. Vaghela and Sanjay Nirupam, NCP has Jaisingh Gaekwad, SP supported Kalyan Singh, RJD MP in the last Lok Sabha signed VHP'sRam temple support pledge and what not.
What is forgotten is that as per the figures given by Congress? MoS for Home Shriprakash Jaiswal in Parliament 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed in the riots. India Today in its issue (April 15, 2002) says: ?A young Hindu went to Himmatnagar area of Ahmedabad to do business and was found dead, eyes gauged out… In Ahmedabad violence broke out when Muslims in Danilimdi area were attacked by Muslims on March 17.? In April 22 issue, it says, ?Police saved 2,500 Muslims in Sanjeli North Gujarat on 1st March 2002.? Forgotten are these things. In 1984 about 30 per cent people killed were not Congressmen. For the deed of two Sikhs the Congressmen murdered 3,000. Whereas in 2002 for the sin of 2,000 Muslims 790 were killed in addition to 254 Hindus.
The Congress has S.S. Vaghela and Sanjay Nirupam, NCP has Jaisingh Gaekwad, SP supported Kalyan Singh, RJD MP in the last Lok Sabha signed VHP'sRam temple support pledge himself and what not.
If minorities are oppressed in India why do Muslims dare to commit crimes like Godhra, the Solapur riots of 2002, the Marad massacre, etc. How do they dare to start riots always? Can anyone imagine Hindus in Karachi murdering Muslims returning from Mecca? The Madan Commision appointed by the Congress in Maharashtra to probe the riots said that riots are invariably started by Muslims. If Muslims are oppressed then how come two crore Bangladeshi Muslims live in India? Will they want to come to India?
How come the pseudo-secularists never dare to teach secularism to minorities? It is the minorities who need sermons on secularism most being fundamentalist. Is it possible for any Hindu procession whether Durga Puja or Ramnavmi or Ganesh Chaturthi to pass from any Muslim area in India without being stoned or assaulted?
How does Manishankar Aiyar dare to talk of secularism despite the Congress supporting the Muslim League? The Muslim League which partitioned India, murdered 10 lakh Hindus and Sikhs in 1947 has even today a constitution which says that only Muslims can be members of that party and has a party flag closely resembling the Pakistani flag? In fact, whenever the Congressmen raise the issue of ?secularism? they should be whipped a hundred times for supporting the Muslim League and saying they oppose commnunalism.
But then, is secularism only against communalism? In what way is casteism better than communalism? Is not casteism the thing that has plagued the Indian society for a thousand years? Is it not necessary to speak against it? Are people like Lalu, Mulayam, and Mayawati secular or are they medieval-minded casteist people? Does secularism mean condoning casteism? Does the Congress say: ?Sangathit Hindu, Samartha Bharat?? In fact in the Gujarat Assembly polls the media and the Congress both tried to play the caste card making the Dalits and Adivasis vote as that and not as Hindus. If it is assumed that they were fighting communalism, was dividing the society on caste lines better? Why can'tanyone abuse the Congress for dividing the Hindu society on caste lines?making a Brahmin-Dalit-Muslim combination?
The Congress has played the Shah Bano card to show its ?secular? colours. It promised to rebuild the Babri Masjid but now it does not dare to support it. Secularism is not a license for fanaticism of minorities. It puts equal responsibilty on minorities to respect Hindu religion. But these pseudo-secularits have defended the sins of 2,000 Muslims of Godhra, and what not.
Remember February 1998? The deadly blasts of Coimbatore? The Congress had said then that the RSS conducted the blasts. At a time when India wanted the US to declare Pakistan a terrorist state, the Congress and its pseudo-secular allies defended the ISI of Pakistan and others. Now the ISI men are in jail. Why can'tanyone raise this issue to embarrass the Congress? The Congress also has Ajit Jogi, former Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, who had said that tribals are not Hindus.
In what way is casteism better than communalism? Is not casteism the thing that has plagued the Indian society for a thousand years? Is it not necessary to speak against it?
If at all, the Congress and its allies are against RSS, why is that the RSS or for that matter the Bajrang Dal or the VHP has not been banned in any Congress-ruled state or even in Leftist-ruled West Bengal?
Secularism does not mean anti-Hinduism as interpreted by the English-speaking elite pseudo-secularists. Gurucharan Das, a pseudo-secularist himself, wrote in The Times of India in May 2003: ?I was reading an ancient Vedic book when a friend came and said??You haven'tembraced Hindutva have you?? I was left wondering: Is reading an ancient book ?communal??? The pseudo-seculars are hell bent on destroying Hinduism. When the Shiv Sena searches for percentage of Marathi-speaking people in the Legislative Assembly, it is parochialism. When the percentage of Muslims is sought, it is secularism, isn'tit? Taslima Nasreen was not given Indian citizenship despite her request to Sonia Gandhi, Shivraj Patil and others. These people'strue face should be exposed. Let us destroy the credibility of pseudo-secularists by attacking pseudo-secularism.
(The writer can be contacted at ?Anand Vilas?, Chitale Road, Dhantoli, Nagpur-440012.)