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Focus:
Are Muslims really 'our blood and flesh'?
By Prof. Ram Puniyanai (Bombay Uni.)

At the annual convention of BJP held in Nagpur, Bangaru Laxman ( Aug. 26, 2000) the new BJP president was at his chivalrous best when he proclaimed that ‘Muslims are blood of our blood and flesh of our flesh’.

Noble sentiments indeed! Ironically before he made this generous proclamation he visited the memorial of the second supremo (Sar sangh chalak) of RSS, Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, who is his book (Bunch of Thoughts) has elaborated how Muslims are enemies of Hindu nation and also given the tips of dealing with the internal enemies.

Golwalkar is deeply appreciative of the Nazi methods of dealing with the threat to the "Nation’, example of Hitler’s tackling Jews (gas chambers and all hat) is cited with great adoration. This major ideologue of RSS even currently is regarded as the guiding spirit of RSS ideology.

Also while making public his pious intention vis-ŕ-vis the biggest minority, Laxman forgot to mention that similar (blood of our blood) treatment should be meted out to the other community, the Christians.

This omission may have been a conscious one as probably how can you call somebody as the flesh of your flesh at a time when your own real flesh (affiliates like VHP, Bajrang Dal etc.) are thrashing them through and through.

Laxman went out to say that with BJP rule, anti-Muslim violence has come down. The unstated part of this sentence may have been that it has come down because the target for violence has shifted to another minority, which also finds a mention in the above said ideologues’ listing of inner enemies.

The unstated par of the statement may also have been that Laxman and his associates cannot thrash two minorities at a time, so this respite for the worshiper of Prophet Mohammed.

One of the major campaigns of BJP’s predecessor, the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, was ‘Indianization of Muslims’.

This intimidating assault on the minorities was premised on their assertion that in this ‘Hindu Rashtra’ Muslims are foreigners and so they need to be Indianized. The methods for this Baptism in Indianization were very unique. The hatred was systematically spread against the Muslims by Goebbelsian techniques. Muslims are not loyal to India, they are ISI (Pakistani Intelligence Services) agents, they are polygamous, they produce more children, Muslim kings destroyed Hindu temples and they spread Islam by force of sword.

All these concoction were in due course supplemented by more innovative one’s like Muslims are a pampered minority.

They could successfully project a poor, marginalized minority having high-rate of illiteracy and unemployment, having ratio among those living below the poverty line ---- as the one’s own have been appeased by successive Governments.

BJP was also successful in popularizing the weak secularism of Congress variety as pseudo-secularism and BJP’s minority bashing variety as the real secularism.

This communalization of social space formed the base on which anti-Muslim violence stood for decades. With Advani taking over the reigns of BJP, the matters were taken to higher pitch and BJP led Ram Janam bhoomi campaign resulted in worst ever communal violence.

With Babri demolition the first circle of Hindu nation building came to fruition and BJP became a strong party to reckon with, thanks to its elite vote bank built through anti-Muslim hate campaigns.

The assault of BJP and its family members (fondly called the Sangh Parivar (SP) by them) on the Muslims, ghettoized them physically, mentally and emotionally. With BJP manipulating to capture power at the center, the threat perception amongst Muslims started going up as BJP began to communalize education and other cultural institutions and practices in a subtle and blatant way.

It also undertook the non-constitutional path of Constitution Review with the aim of doing away the secular character of the state and the protective provisions for minorities and weaker sections of the society.The sword of Kashi and Mathura controversies has been kept alive though temporarily relegating them to the back-burner for tactical reasons. All this has given a clear message to the Muslim minority about the real nature of the long-term agenda of the BJP in unambiguous terms. Muslim Response to BJP: In the face of the motivated and sustained violence, the Muslim community started becoming more and more inward looking.

Though the Congress and the state machinery also played quite a role in aiding and abetting the Sangh Parivar-led hate politics, large sections of Muslim populace did realize that it is the BJP which is the prime mover of the anti-Muslim tirade.And over a period of time they started ‘tactical voting’ to defeat BJP with the hope that that is the best option for them.

Despite initial vacillations it became very clear to the Muslim community as to what the real intentions of BJP vis a vis their community are. Their alienation from BJP on increasing and by now barring some show pieces most the Muslim community has realized the dangers of BJP to the social, economic and political survival of the minorities in general and Muslims in particular.


Why this olive branch now?
It is not the first time that such pleasant sounding sentiments are being proffered from the stable of BJP.

A couple of years earlier, after the Babri Demolition, in their conclave held at Goa, BJP did make overtures to Muslims. But since their real intentions towards minorities are more than clear to the minorities such bouquets in which the thorns are hidden inside are unlikely to work. So why this (current) show of bon homie?

Last three general elections have shown that BJP is stagnating at a particular support. As a matter of fact in the last general elections their voting percentage has come down by close to two percentage and so BJP is out to think of new ways of winning over some sections of the population.In this direction, their affiliates have been unleashed in Adivasi areas to target the Christian missionaries to win Adivasis to the BJP fold. The second measure, which seems to be being initiated by Laxman, is to woo the section of liberal Hindus, who are perturbed by the anti-Muslim stance of this Hindutva party.

BJP knows that it is impossible for it to win over minorities after whatever treatment they and their Parivar is meting out to them. It is likely that the mask of such noble sounding sentiments may win over a section of liberal Hindus. This is another deceptive mask which BJP is desperate to acquire in order to acheive its agenda of Hindu Rashtra.
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