Intro: Christians have turned too 'fussy' about the so called 'minority rights'. There assertion is different from mere 'rights' and that's what is uncomfortable about it.
It is certainly a trial by fire for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The examination and scrutiny of the Modi Government is so ruthless and opportunistic that in its garb the Congress leaders have been trying to get away with their long 60-years of rule or misrule.
Unfortunately nobody ever examined the performance of other Prime Ministers like H D Deve Gowda, who made guest appearance in the corridors of power in Delhi solely because there was a Marxist-inspired conspiracy against Atal Behari Vajpayee in 1996.
“Hum sarkar nahi bacha pa rahen haen kyon ki sabse zyada tang aap ne lagaya (It's your party's machinations that I am bowing out of office because of numbers),” Vajpayee had told CPI-M veteran Somnath Chatterjee in Lok Sabha during the now popular debate of 1996.
Cut to Modi regime's one year, and one has many yardsticks to analyse it. One way is to look at what has happened to the Congress party in these 12 months. Rahul Gandhi's party has not only lost power in crucial states like Maharashtra and Haryana, we now have 'Congress mukt' Delhi and Nagaland too.
In Nagaland, eight Congress legislators have deserted the sinking ship and joined T R Zeliang of Naga’s People Front (Chief Minister of Nagaland) ministry sharing power with a 'BJP Minister'. Naga People’s Front-the main partner of the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN)-is also part of the NDA led by the BJP at the Centre Congress also remains zero strength in Sikkim.
Next comes what has happened to the armed-chair Indian intelligentsia's pet issues like SECULARISM and the welfare of the MINORITIES.
In the run up to the polls last year, Arun Jaitley, a key member of the ‘Team Modi’ then and also now, during the height of election campaign had said, “The efforts of opponents to create scare about Narendra Modi (among minorities especiallyMuslims) are not working”.
BJP’s renowned Muslim face, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also dismissed the ‘hate Modi’ phenomenon and had said, “People of India and that includes Muslims know it pretty well that a decade of sustained efforts by Congress through CBI, NGOs and disgruntled police officials like Sanjeev Bhatt could not link Modi to the riots of 2002″.
But 2015 is different. The anti-Modi campaign seems to be working now as there's not only a fine combination of 'fear' and 'hatred' about Modi among the minorities, there is also a good amalgamation of Christians in the entire paradox.
Thus, according to me, the worst part is that the Christians have turned too 'fussy' about the so called 'minority rights'. There assertion is different from mere 'rights' and that's what is uncomfortable about it. During last year, the fear card about Christians and re-conversion row was played up by media in a way that made Christians develop 'weakness'. They are trying to be “neo-Muslims”—feeling threatened and more 'isolated' than Muslims.
Unfortunately, this neither has been Christian temperament globally, nor a part of Indian history and the community. I think Quota Raj or appeasement offered to Muslims over the years has been a factor. And I think the issue got flared up because of a motivated campaign by some quarters among Christians. Identifying themselves as a community who would vote for Sonia Gandhi irrespective of Congress’ performance was another mistake a section of Christians made in few states.
As a result an impression has gone from Christians that, a corrupt and grossly inefficient 'Congress under Sonia or Rahul' is better than Narendra Modi. I have no answer whether Congress is 'better' but n overwhelming Christian majority have voted for the BJP in the past even in Christian-dominated states like Nagaland.
BJP has alliance partners in a Christian-majority state like Nagaland and since 1990s they have shared powers in Meghalaya and also Nagaland.
In 2003 Nagaland assembly, BJP won 7 seats out of 60 while they lost power in Himachal. Christians voted for BJP even in
Kerala because they feared Muslim hegemony and Love Jihad. The recent comment by a key member of judiciary against conducting Chief justices’ conference on Good Friday was also not in good stead. We forget In America, where around 98 per cent are Christians, Good Friday is not even a public holiday. As reported by Times of India, on this issue, Justice KT Thomas said” Isn't religion something that we should adjust? In the Gulf region, Sunday is a working day. Aren't the Christians adjusting there? It is the Christians of India who are there. They are conducting the worships on Fridays instead of Sundays. So when they go there, they can adjust. Can't they do it here?
Before one concludes, let us learn about what is the common Hindu perception about Christians and especially the missionaries? Generally Hindus believe Christians have mixed charity and missionary works like health camps with conversion. Only a community based soul searching can answer these questions.
I suspect and I stand subject to correction-the common Christians have played into the hands of a section of their own community who made the most of anti-BJP rhetoric and RSS bashing. This was during Vajpayee’s tenure also.
This is where, I think, the Christians are going wrong. From what we draw from the past, the Indian Christians have a strong history of being Indians first.Where the problem lies-The community has almost put themselves in bracket with another minority community, who has been historically over sensitive to their 'non Hindu origin'. On the other hand, even Catholic Christian institutes in the past, in 1980s and 1990s, as I know from my St Anthony's days in Shillong and later in Nagaland, used to have cultural programmes like Bharatnatyam where Christian performers offered flowers to Goddess Saraswati. For long, Christians in India have been an integral part of Indian society. Saraswati was not Hindu Goddess but much respected Goddess of Learning. This fact is changing today?
But for this nation to remain a nation, it has to be secular and democratic nation. As the beauty of this country is that upholding these ideals it has come a long way, however hard they may try, the various separatist factions trying to create chaos will not be able to affect the integrity of this nation neither today, nor in the times to come.
Nirendra Dev (The writer is a Special Representative with the Statesman & also author of books Ayodhya: Battle for Peace & Modi to Moditva—An Uncensored Truth)