The secular political brigade in India have found a new ally in ‘THE ECONOMIST’- A weekly newspaper/magazine that claims to provide ‘authoritative insight and opinion on international news, politics, business, finance, science and technology’ and is known for its neo-liberal political agenda. Lately, it has joined hands with the political chorus ‘STOP NARENDRA MODI’. And while doing so the magazine though has deplored the so called ‘dog-whistle politics’ propounded by BJP’s Prime Minister candidate, the reputed weekly has recommended ‘ the government led by Mr. Gandhi as a less disturbing option’ for India and its future.
‘Dog-whistle’ politics refers to the use of code words or phrases conveying different meaning for different social groups.
Political speeches, posturing and nuances are always tricky in a complex democracy like that of India. In the pre-independence period the real Gandhi used the term ‘Ram-Rajya’, which was perceived by pro-Pakistanis at that time as the Hindu agenda. Will it also be considered by the self-proclaimed protectors of liberal democracy as ‘dog-whistle’ politics?
For the last 67 years, ‘highly recommended’ and ‘less disturbing Congress’ has been garnering votes in the name of ‘secularism’ and ‘poverty eradication’. Because of its commitment to secularism, the Congress leadership has been sitting on a pile of riots, and has created ‘Hindu-phobia’ in Muslim minds. While doing so, it remains secular even if they ask or votes in the name of religion and caste, or meets the Imam of Jama Masjid to give an open call for communal voting.
In 1984, the same party had justified the killings of more than 8000 Sikhs by saying “when a big tree falls, the earth shakes”. It is responsible for promoting dynasty politics in the name of democracy, and poverty eradication still remains a distant dream in its rule. Add to that, Congress is a silent facilitator, for being hand in glove with the big and small parties in India for thriving on vote-bank politics by creating divisions on the basis of caste, region or religion. It is unfortunate, that despite all this, the dual message of the Congress does not disturb the International media as much as Modi.
Similarly, many manifestos are thrown to the public in the General Election 2014. Since independence, from basic amenities to moon everything is promised in these manifestos. But a wide gap still remains between the actual campaign and the agenda enlisted in the manifestos. This election, there is a unique addition in the manifestos that includes an invisible agenda ‘SAY NO TO MODI’, and can be termed as another kind of ‘dog-whistle’ politics.
Since ages, Indian culture has been truly democratic and secular because of its deep roots in the Hindu civilization. And the International media needs to understand that India is a matured democracy that has retained its democratic structure despite political ups and downs. And that it can remain ‘democratic’ or ‘secular’ only till such times it remains connected to its roots. Therefore, instead of joining the ‘stop Narendra Modi’ agenda, the international media should understand and analyse the definition of secular India from Indian point of view and not the European one. Otherwise, there prescription will also be perceived as ‘Dog-whistle’ politics.