Need for a national politics, transcending majority-minority discourse
“If someone feels as a national he should cease to think in terms of minorities and majorities. After all, this dichotomy has a restricted purpose in parliamentary democracy. We cannot extend it to plague our entire national life.”
— Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya
In the context of the above prophetic statement, there is a need to analyse the rampage of competitive communalism among the political outfits and State governments in the name of secularism. There is an attempt to subjugate national politics and identity through a new wave of minoritism.
If we start from the South, amid the constant brutal attacks on the Hindu leaders, the State Minority Commission of Tamil Nadu is considering a ban on Hindu religious functions in Muslim dominated villages. The State government has proposed reservation for Dalit Christians but at the same time supported the move of cancelling the lecture of Amina Wadud, an American scholar who has spoken widely on women’s role in Islam. She was supposed to speak at the University of Madras and the reason given for cancellation was ‘concern about maintaining law and order’. Telangana Rashtra Samithi has started playing its Muslim card before creation of Telangana. Mr Sharad Pawar suddenly feels that Muslims feel alienated because of the ‘terror tag’ and therefore their reaction is obvious. Does not he know that when Pakistan was created there was no ‘terror tag’ and yet there was a feeling of alienation then? For that matter, Muslims are in majority in Kashmir valley and still there is a feeling of alienation.
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar has epitomised politics of competitive appeasement. The ruling party in Uttar Pradesh is protecting all anti-national activities and releasing people from jails, just because they belong to a particular community. In the suspension of Durga Shakti Nagpal’s suspension episode also there was a tacit competition between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party to take credit for being ‘messiah’ of minorities while saving the illegal wall constructed around a mosque. Taking a cue from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan too transferred an IPS officer Pankaj Choudhary, who was the Jaisalmer SP until last Friday, for allegedly reopening the file of history-sheeter Gazi Fakir, the father of local Congress MLA Saleh Mohammad.
Jammu and Kashmir, which is the ‘crown of secularism’ for many, has seen the worst kind of carnage in Kishtwar where the Hindus have no minority rights and none of the secularists is ready to speak on behalf of them. With his new found status of pure secularist, Mr Nitish Kumar has given away ‘sufficient opportunity’ to the Omar Abdulla government ‘to handle the situation’. The Trinamool government in West Bengal has left no stones unturned in adopting the Left plank against the Left while mobilising violence, while going further, Ms Mamta Banerjee has announced reservation for minorities in higher education on religious lines.
The Congress Party, which has established this trend of ‘communal’ politics in India, is fighting with these regional outfits for its original ‘pseudo-secular’ brand by granting minority status to 7,727 educational institutions in seven years beginning from May 30, 2005 till March 19, 2013. Almost half of them [47% – exact number is 3,621] — were granted permission in last two years i.e. 2011 and 2012. As if that was not enough, in an anti-constitutional move, it has granted minority status to as many as five State funded universities.
The irony is the confidence among these political outfits about consolidating minority vote-bank in their favour through the policy of appeasement. The question that is to be tested is, are they confident enough that there will not be any ‘national’ politics possible, as envisaged by Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, against their politics of competitive communalism?