State vs Hindus – how Indian politics has destroyed the notion of ‘secularism’

A wise man once said “When you are used to privilege, equality seems like oppression.”

Was reminded of this brilliant quote yesterday when a speech by Prime Minister Narendra Modi evoked hysterical outrage by the so-called left-liberals. The outrage was caused by a statement where he demanded equitable rights for Hindus and Muslims: 1) for electricity during Ramzan and Diwali, and 2) Fair distribution of land for cremation and burial grounds.

This comes on the backdrop of blatant appeasements schemes that have been directed at the minority community by Samajwadi Party, including of electricity distribution (read this report). To any sane mind, what could possibly be objectionable about demanding equal rights?

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However, sanity and logic has been the first casualty of new age Indian politics, especially in the post-Modi era. The speech resulted in him being portrayed as communal and divisive and he was accused of stoking religious fires. Many ironically went on to imply that this demand was at loggerheads with Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas, while it was not, as is evident from this report. The irony would be comical if the implications had not been so tragic.

This brings us to the question of how did we get to a situation where asking for equal rights for Hindus leads to a person being branded communal? More frighteningly, HOW did we get to a situation where we even NEED to ask for equal rights? Wasn’t that a guarantee when the word SECULAR was added to the constitution? How did it come to pass that minority pandering is blatantly encouraged while liberals scream bloody murder when equal rights are demanded by Hindus?

Have we been ignoring small, innocuous sounding appeasement signals for far too long? Or is it because our left-leaning media has been economical with portraying the truth all this while? Or is it because of political correctness of a large Hindu population?

There have been innumerable instances in the past when desperate minority appeasing statements have been made by the politicians and our secular-liberals have turned a blind eye. UP election reminds one of Mulayam Singh Yadav who was the Chief Minister in 1990, during the Ram Janmbhoomi movement.

Very recently, in the run up to the elections, Mulayam admitted that ordering the firing which killed 16 Karsevaks was very painful for him but it was necessary to “maintain the faith of Muslims”. He went on to state that he would have ordered the killing of even a larger number of Karsevaks to allay the fears of Muslims at that point of time.

Let it sink in that a former Chief Minister, who is currently in active politics, could get away unquestioned by admitting that he ordered the killings of Hindus solely for the purpose of allaying the fears of Muslims. Contrast this with the outrage created when Narendra Modi spoke about a hypothetical puppy coming under a car wheels. That the “Idea of India” gives precedence to an imaginary puppy over actual flesh and blood Hindus killed in firing by the State is a sign of the times we live in.

Who can forget Manmohan Singh’s statement from the ramparts of the Red Fort about minorities, especially Muslims, having the first rights on the India’s resources? Was he termed communal and divisive for that hugely provocative, not to mention unconstitutional, statement?

Innumerable other policies like RTE (which allows the freedom to ‘minority run schools’ not to admit poor students, who would often be underprivileged Hindus) and control of temple administrations have a patently anti-Hindu agenda, which the allegedly Hindu government at the Centre has been unable to touch. And add to that recent announcements like that of Telangana government to provide financial assistance only to drivers belonging to the minority communities, as if Hindu cab drivers are all affluent.

Politicians across the spectrum, including Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal have also often made openly minority appeasing statements. One could afford to ignore these statements as vote gathering tactics, had these statements been restricted to politicians. Situation is worse.

It is unfortunate and dangerous that even our judicial and law enforcement systems have been bitten by the appeasement bug. Or even more frightening is the scenario that these politicians have managed to create a situation where these agencies, which are supposed to be the backbone of a just and harmonious society, have been emasculated to this extent.

Recently an RTI application was made to find out what action had been taken on the court order regarding the use of loudspeakers in places of worship. The RTI revealed that Mumbai Police is avoiding taking action against mosques as they fear a “potential law and order situation”. Again, one sees no hue and cry that our law enforcement agencies have been rendered impotent by fear of a particular religious group.

Similarly, in a recent ruling, Mumbai High Court passed an order allowing the slaughter of goats in housing societies. So if you are a Hindu or for that matter anyone who is put off by the spectacle of an animal being dismembered in your building premises, there is precious little you can do about it.

By far special government schemes offered by the State to minorities were accepted by most Hindus all along, our “Secular” State notwithstanding. There have been mild questioning voices every now and then but by and large the Hindu community has been in consonance.

This longstanding equanimity has however led to a situation where a large chunk of Hindus find themselves pushed against a wall. The impact of appeasement has now begun to hit closer home and the threat has become more existential as vote bank political pitches reach higher crescendos.

When demanding equality in a “secular” country has begun to be deemed as “communal”, what hope does this largely peaceful community have, in the face of blatant appeasement driven politics? Is this going to prove to be the point of inflection for Hindus at large? Or will we continue to bear the cross of “secularism” at our own cost?


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