To say that I’m unhappy with these election would be an understatement. I sit very apprehensive and extremely upset at what’s been going on in my country in the name of elections. How can these elections be called ‘free and fiar’ when hundreds of voters’ names had been found missing from the electoral lists; when Right Wing mafia together with the goon brigades have been found holding sway in constituencies; when a terror accused had been put up as a candidate to be a future member of the parliament; when many important leaders and supporters of the Right Wing parties had started celebrating their so called ‘win’, much before the election results came through; when the Election Commission of India couldn’t take a stand; nah, couldn’t be perceived as an independent government institution because of the so very obvious tilts and biases in its functioning; when thousands of my countrymen have already started asking a set of vital queries along the strain: Who voted for the BJP? Why would anyone vote for candidates who did nothing at all in terms of the so called development?
I’m writing this just hours after I heard Narendra Modi’s lengthy speech, which he gave in the Parliament on Saturday evening. I was left simply aghast to hear him relay his concern for the minorities of the country! As an Indian Muslim, I have never ever felt so suffocated and threatened and disillusioned and apprehensive, as I have been since the summer of 2014, when the Modi government came to power. the news of lynching or hounding Muslims kept the society and Muslims in particular shocked and sacred. Never before in the history of India, the Muslim population has been so very blatantly bypassed and discriminated against.
Also, can we forget Mr Modi’s track record – the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 and the series of the state sponsored attacks on the Muslims of his home State, Gujarat? Can we overlook his silence on the killings of 2002 and also on the subsequent killings and lynching of the Muslims in Gujarat and in the other places of the country? Can we overlook the third-class communal comments passed by his ministerial colleagues on the Muslims of this country? Can we forget the terror-dripping statements of the likes of Pragya Singh Thakur?
Can we overlook the statement by Maneka Gandhi that if Muslims of her constituency don’t vote for her, they should not expect her to help them out in various spheres? Can we tolerate the way our children are bullied and forced to follow Hindutva dictates in the government run/aided schools of the BJP ruled states? Can the Muslims forgive this Right-Wing government, for steadily and systematically diluting their culture and their very identity?
The basic reality is that, from now on, the RSS will be in direct control of the governance. And this would mean that the minorities of this country will have to sit all too subdued and quiet otherwise their lives and livelihood would be in severe danger! One doesn’t have to be an investigative journalist to state this; after all, all that one has to do is to read books on the RSS and that would be enough to relay what lies in store for the Muslims and Christians and the other minorities of the country.
In fact, from last evening, I have been re-reading a recently launched book of A G Noorani- The RSS – A Menace To India ( Left Word), where he has very thoroughly unmasked the RSS and its designs! To quote from it – “India is battling for its very soul …The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ( RSS) is the most powerful organisation in India today; complete with a private army of its own, unquestionably obeying its leader who functions on fascist lines on the Fuehrer principle…The RSS is at war with India’s past. It belittles three of the greatest builders of the Indian State- Ashoka, the Buddhist; Akbar; the Muslim ; and Nehru, a civilized Enlightened Hindu. It would wipe out centuries of achievement for which the world has acclaimed India and replace that with its own narrow, divisive ideology.”
Noorani also exposes the RSS strategies - “This book shows that the RSS is much more than a threat to communal amity. It poses a wider challenge. It is a threat to democratic governance and, even worse, a menace to India, the India which the nation strove to establish. It poses a threat to its values. In the last few years India has been battling for its very soul.” To further quote him– “The intensification of Hindutva has acted, as intended by its followers, to divert attention from the fact that almost half the population of India is at or below poverty line and is denied even the most basic rights and amenities.
Instead of working towards providing these rights and amenities to the tribals and the Dalits, the focus has been shifted to the irrelevant question of the right to convert. The hype surrounding the issue of who are indigenous Indians and who are ‘foreign’, basing this identity on the false premise of whether they follow a religion which indigenous to the subcontinent or is west Asian in origin, has led to the most inhuman and unethical behaviour on the part of groups claiming to defend Hinduism and is directed towards those labelled as Muslims and Christians.”
I’m ending this column on a painful note …Yes, I sit apprehensive and worried and forlorn, wondering what’s in store …what’s next…what lies ahead …how dark would the shades of gloom get!
Leaving you to ponder on this verse from A G Noorani’s book – ( in fact, the Introduction of his book starts with this particular verse)
“Jab Gulistan ko lahoo ki zaroorat parhi, sub se pahle hamari hi gardan kati/
Phir bhi kahte hain hum se yeh ahle chaman, yeh chaman hai hamara, tumhara nahin.”
(When the Garden needed blood, it was our necks that were first slit/
Yet the ones in the Garden tell us, this Garden is ours, not yours.)