Asghar Ali Engineer
The CD controversy in U.P. election has proved once again, if any proof is needed, how much BJP hates Muslims. BJP's anti-Muslim record has touched new heights. How can any politically responsible party taking part in democratic election and taking the oath for secularism, can produce such propaganda stuff. The CD is full of hate for Muslims and uses a very derogatory language. The only parallel one can find is Nazi's hate of Jews, no other example can be found.
It celebrates any anti-Muslim measure or judgement. Recently when the single judge of Allahabad High Court declared Muslims in U.P. as not being a minority, the BJP spokesperson immediately welcomed the judgement as refutation of Congress party's 'minorityism' and vindication of BJP's stand. No other party welcomed the judgement and all other parties except the BJP criticised the judgement as unfair. The Judge had simply pronounced the judgement, which was not even relevant to the petition before him and he had not even given reasons for the judgement he delivered. The judgement was even against what the Supreme Court had held in TMA Pai Foundation judgement.
Right from post-independence days Muslims have been considered as constituting a minority, though they are the largest minority. No one had ever expressed any doubt about it. The Supreme Court had held that any religious community less than 50% in number shall be deemed to be a minority and any all India -minority will also be deemed to be minority in any state. Also, as claimed by the honourable judge of Allahabad High Court, there are no such references in the Constituent Assembly debates to prove that Muslims are not a minority in U.P. or any other state of Union of India.
Before all these matters were taken into account, the BJP immediately welcomed the judgement and treated it as vindication of its stand on minorityism. One can tell the BJP that, whether the Congress indulges in minorityism or not BJP certainly indulges in anti-Muslimism. It whole-heartedly welcomes any anti-Muslim measure most enthusiastically.
In fact during the entire campaign for Ramjanmabhoomi BJP and many of its individual members like Sadhvi Rithambara and others indulged in a most vicious anti-Muslim campaign. Cheap rhetoric of all Muslims being 'Babar ki Aulad' (Babar's children) was indulged in without any restraint. Uma Bharti and Rithambara used most abusive language against Muslims throughout Ramjanmaboomi campaign until Babri Masjid was demolished by a frenzied mob and when the Masjid was demolished BJP leaders hugged each other in joy and celebrated the day as a day of Diwali. Crackers were burst, especially in UP throughout that night.
Until today the Sangh Parivar celebrates it as 'Shaurya Divas' (day of bravery) whereas the rest of the country observes it as a tragic day in the history of secular India. And all this after the leaders of Jan Sangh, which was re-christened as Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) had taken a vow on Gandhiji's Samadhi to follow the principles of Gandhian socialism and secularism. Soon after taking this oath in 1980 it started its anti-Muslim campaign describing constitutional secularism as pseudo-secularism and accused the Congress of indulging in 'minorityism' and fought subsequent elections on those slogans.
I sincerely advise BJP leaders to rename the party BHP (Bhartiya Hindu Party) as it always excludes Muslims from people of India. Had it been sincerely Bhartiya Janata Party, it would have never adopted such anti-Muslim attitude towards Indian Muslims. Thus Hindu Mahasabha is more sincere in its ideology as it clearly designates itself as Hindu Party caring only for Hindu interests. And to this extent Hindu Mahasabha leaders disagree with BJP because the important word 'Hindu' is missing though it claims to be looking after Hindu interests.
The BJP leaders are trying to disown the CD in question only after the Election Commission took a strong stand on the contents of the CD and said it is likely to promote disharmony between religious communities and issued a notice to BJP as to why action should not be taken against it. We congratulate the courage and principled stand taken by the Election Commission on this issue. It was long overdue. Many prominent citizens have petitioned the Election Commission to de-recognise BJP as a political party as it always indulges in campaigns which endanger national unity and integrity.
Anyway any party, which publicly proclaims 'Hindutva Agenda' cannot be a secular party which it professes to be. Hindutva or Islamism in political arena for that matter cannot be in conformity with secularism. Secularism is basically a political doctrine. All political parties have to conform to secularism as a political philosophy and Election Commission requires all candidates filing nomination to take oath of secularism and political parties also have to declare their allegiance to it. How then can a party proclaiming "Hindutva" doctrine be accepted as secular? It defies common sense.
The BJP often quotes one Judge Supreme Court Judgement that "Hindutva" is a way of life. It may be so but it cannot be a political way of life as our political way is nothing but secular, devoid of, or neutral to, any religious way of life or doctrines or interests only of one religion or followers thereof.
How can building a Ram Temple be the agenda of a secular political party though uniform civil code and abolition of Article 370 are quite secular in nature? Building Ram temple, howsoever desirable for any religious organisation, can certainly not be a political agenda of any political party operating within the secular framework of our Constitution of which secularism is the fundamental pillar. It is a Supreme Court judgement in Golaknath case that secularism is fundamental structure of the Constitution which cannot be changed even by another Constituent Assembly.
The CD produced by the BJP (its denial carries no conviction as during its release function senior leaders like Tandon and even BJP president Rajnath Singh were allegedly present) for its U.P. election campaign once again proves convincingly that it is not a secular party and is basically anti-Muslim in character. It uses very derogatory words for Muslims saying therein they marry four wives and produce 35 pillas (puppies), a derogatory Hindi word for unwanted children.
The contents of the CD are not very surprising. The Sangh Parivar even otherwise has been regularly propagating that Muslims have four wives and produces 25 children (the slogan goes: as against the family planning slogan of "hum 2 hamare 2" (we two, our two) "ham panch, hamare pacchis" (we five, our twenty-five). Vishwa Hindu Parishad had taken out Ekatma Yatra in 1985 across the country and during this Yatra had distributed hundreds of thousands of such pamphlets.
How absurd is this propaganda that every Muslim has four wives when the male-female ratio in our country is 935 female for 1000 male. And central Government survey conducted in 1997 shows that Muslims are at the bottom of those who practice polygamy. Muslims practicing bigamy or polygamy are just 5.2% whereas 5.8% upper caste Hindus have more than one wife. The tribals, dalits and Jains have an even higher percentage of bigamous or polygamous marriage.
It is also wrong to say that no Muslim practices family planning and has a lot of children. In 14 states family planning among Muslims is higher than among Hindus. In Kerala family planning among Muslims is 64% as against just 35% among Hindus in U.P. In Pondicherry too family planning among Muslims is to the order of 85 per cent. This kind of cheap propaganda that Muslims have four wives and produce 35 children does not behove an all India political party which aspires to come to power at the Centre.
Also, BJP claims to be the most patriotic of all parties. How can BJP be patriotic when it hates the largest minority of the country which is nearly 140 million in number? Mr. Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat always talks of five crores of Gujaratis' asmita and makes it absolutely difficult for Muslims to live a life of dignity and security. Even today Muslims in Gujarat are living as secondary citizens and most of the villages in Gujarat declare proudly "you are welcome in village…in Hindu Rashtra."
It is unfortunate that even the Union Government has never taken notice of such sign boards in hundreds of Gujarat villages. And on top of this, a textbook of 12th standard teaches its students that fascism is better than democracy as in fascism the leader can take right decisions while in democracy it is not possible. It is also well known that the Sangh Parivar, particularly the RSS admires Hitler.
And one knows relationship between the RSS and BJP. BJP cannot defy any of the RSS dictates. Who knows this better than Mr. L.K.Advani who was removed as president of BJP just because he expressed his opinion about Jinnah in Pakistan. Do we need any more proof for declaring BJP a non-secular, fascist and minority bashing party. Can our democratic secular political culture allow such a party to function within the parameters of our Constitution?
It is high time the Election Commission takes serious notice of all this and takes appropriate action under the People's Representation Act so that our democratic and secular culture remains unpolluted.