Political commentator Badri Raina has came up with a bizarre claim in an article for The Wire. While it is widely recognised that ‘intellectuals’ of a liberal hue spend an inordinate amount of mental effort to bolster the narrative of Muslim victimhood and strengthen the claim of Muslims to special rights and privileges, the author here has traversed into territory hitherto uncharted by any liberal ‘intellectual’.
In the said article, Badri Raina claims that he had the opportunity to converse with a driver who bore an “uncanny resemblance” with the self-taught Abraham Lincoln during a trip to Uttar Pradesh. This particular driver, according to the author, said something so utterly bizarre and preposterous that it could be said with a reasonable degree of certainty that the argument made therein came from the author himself.
The minutest functional part of his brain must have realised the atrocious nature of the argument and therefore, to save Badri Raina from utter embarrassment invented the character of an Abraham Lincoln look-alike driver to save him the blushes. Regardless, the argument in question is that Muslims (and Christians) apparently have a greater claim to India because they bury the dead while other communities choose to cremate theirs.
The driver supposedly said, “Dr Sahib, do you ever think about the reality that when you die, your ashes will be immersed in the Ganges, or some other water-body, and, in course of time, the waters will carry them beyond the territories of India into the sea; but when I die, my remains will be buried in our own mother earth and be mingled with it for eternity? So, I ask you, which of us has a better claim to the matrubhoomi?”
While any sane individual would have found the argument utterly inexplicable, Badri Raina found great merit in it, although the reasons are not specified. His enlightened mind appears to have interpreted the argument as something so self-evident that switching on the tube-light inside his head was enough for him to realise its truthfulness. However, to those of us who have not been fortunate enough to be blessed with such flamboyant intellectual faculties, the whole argument appears wacky.
As if in a spell of great intellectual clarity, Badri Raina declared, “I had never ever in my long life confronted this perception. The stark irony embedded in it suddenly made me feel an outsider to my own land—something of a tenant than an owner. It was as though I had been dispossessed of a claim trumpeted over millennia of a self-evident assertion and unquestionable truth.”
He continued, “I was hit by the thought that where my flesh and bone would not fertilise my matrubhoomi, Abdul Rashid’s would. What metaphysical rejoinders I could think up seemed puerile next to the earthy home truth Abdul Rashid had placed before me.” While the idea of fertilising one’s motherland with our own body would appear macabre to most, if we are to take Raina’s words to their logical conclusion, then the demand to hand over graveyards to farmers for them to grow crops would appear entirely legitimate.
Any person with an iota of a functional brain would dismiss such assertions without so much as a second thought. Therefore, naturally, senior leaders of the Congress party have found great merit in them. Shashi Tharoor said it was an ‘intriguing question’ and said, “Don’t those whose flesh and bones are interred in the soil of India, to become part of its earth, have a greater claim to the matrubhumi than those whose ashes are poured into rivers that flow into the sea?”
That Shashi Tharoor supports the idea of Muslims and Christians having a greater claim is not surprising at all as it was Manmohan Singh, Tharoor’s colleague, who as Prime Minister declared that minorities have the first right to resources in India. And naturally, given the conduct of the Congress party during the UPA regime, it can be said without any shred of doubt that when Manmohan Singh referred to minorities, the category did not include Jain, Buddhists or Sikhs.
The objective of the article was quite clearly to justify the refusal of the Muslim community to sing the Vande Mataram. However, in the process, Badri Raina had a Freudian Slip and revealed why liberals are so enthusiastic about providing citizenship rights to illegal Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar. It is because such people genuinely believe that Muslims have a greater claim to India than Hindus.
The only concern here is that a senior leader of the country’s largest political party, Shashi Tharoor, actually found merit in Raina’s argument. But then again, it serves to explain the policies of the UPA government and the rationale behind the blatantly anti-Hindu Communal Violence Bill perfectly well.