Do Indians have a choice but to vote BJP out and protect the Constitution?
India was an example of how in a nation, various castes, religions, races, cultures and ethnicities could peacefully coexist. This aspect of India is under threat on many fronts.
The BJP government led by Modi has attempted to alter the social fabric of this nation. Our Constitution guarantees equality, liberty, fraternity and celebrates diversity. The current ruling dispensation, beholden ideologically to the RSS, threatens us by its promotion of Hindutva and the superiority of some over the others.
Lately, Amit Shah’s comments on the NRC, classifying Muslims and Christians as infiltrators, are conclusive proof of the xenophobia and intolerance promoted by the BJP. India was an example of how in a nation, various castes, religions, races, cultures and ethnicities could peacefully coexist. This aspect of India is under threat on many fronts.
Dalits and Muslims are being lynched with impunity, the citizenship of minorities who have lived in India for decades is under threat and the patriotism of anyone who raises a voice against this is being questioned. The BJP-RSS combine, led by Modi, would like to do away with the Constitution that underpins our nation and holds our society together and transform India into a Hindu Rashtra.
The way to go back is to vote the current ruling dispensation out and give our Constitution primacy again. Our Constitution lays the foundation upon which to build a civil society. We must reaffirm the values that the Constitution holds and elect a government that respects and enforces these values. Any party that wins has to guarantee protection of the Constitution.
If the BJP wins the elections, India, as we have known it, which guarantees equality for everyone will be tampered with. Hindu Rashtra will not just make the non-Hindus suffer, majority of the Hindus too will suffer. They will face a kind of inequality which they cannot even imagine today. The imaginings of a non-secular state and what it could possibly produce is something all media people should lend their minds too. Imagining of a non-secular India will really help people think about why they should not vote for BJP this time. But that exercise has not been done.
Has anyone thought what will happen to women? What will happen to Dalits? Non-Hindus are going to be second-class citizens. We have this blasphemy law in Pakistan that is used against anyone who speaks rationally. So, we will have an equally vindictive law. I don’t think we have really understood what we are going into. Theirs is such a narrow dream of power capturing that it is also self-defeating. This path that India has taken is a jolt for those democratic South Asians who are fighting for more democratic rights in their countries. So long as India was a secular democratic country, it gave them a strength to fight for it. It’s not a betrayal for Indians, but also all South Asians.
I don’t think India’s electorate has a choice but not to vote for the BJP.
(The writer is an activist and founder of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan)