Opinions

Dark clouds ahead under Modi 2.0

As an Indian Muslim, I have never ever before felt so suffocated and threatened and disillusioned and apprehensive, as I did from the summer of 2014, when the Modi government came to power.

To say I’m unhappy with these elections would be an under-statement. I sit very apprehensive and extremely upset at what’s been going on in my country in the name of elections. What ‘free and fair’ elections have been these when lakhs 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 Parliament! When the who’s-who in 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 institution because of the so very obvious tilts and biases in its functioning! When thousands of my countrymen have already begun coming up with 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?

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I’m filing this column just hours after I heard Mr Narendra Modi’s lengthy speech, which he gave in Parliament on Saturday evening. I was left simply aghast to hear him relay concern for the minorities of the country! As an Indian Muslim, I have never ever before felt so suffocated and threatened and disillusioned and apprehensive, as I did from the summer of 2014, when the Modi government came to power. Yes, every single day came in news of lynching and hounding and killing of the Muslims of this country; not to overlook the discriminations and injustices against them. 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 terror attacks unleashed on the Muslims of his home state, Gujarat? Can we overlook his quiet on the killings of 2002 and also his quiet on the subsequent killings and lynchings of the Muslims in Gujarat and in the other locales of the country? Can we overlook the third-class communal comments passed by his ministerial colleagues on the Muslims of the country? Can we forget the terror-dripping statements of the likes of Sadhvi Pragya Thakur? Can we overlook the narrow-mindedness of the likes of Maneka Gandhi when she had so very blatantly bared her inner most thoughts, along the strain, that if Muslims of her constituency don’t vote for her they should not expect her to help them out in the 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 Muslims forgive this Right-Wing government for steadily and systematically diluting their culture and their very identity? Above all, can Muslim ever forgive the Babri Masjid destroyers…after all, that destruction paved the way for the rise of the fascist forces in the country and with that the very unleashing of the worst forms of poisonous communal propaganda against the Muslims? Where is that halt to the rise of divisiveness spreading out, to the very partitioning, along the set Agenda?

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The basic reality is that, that from now on, the RSS will be in direct control of governance. And that would rather too automatically mean that the minorities of this country will have to sit all too subdued and side-lined 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 of the country.

In fact, from last evening, I have been sitting re-reading this just-launched book of A.G. Noorani, The RSS – A Menace To India (Left Word), where he has so very thoroughly and completely un-masked 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 organization in India today; complete with a private army of its own, unquestionably obeying its leader who functions on fascist lines on the Führer 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, the civilized and 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 which Indians are indigenous and which are foreign, basing this identity on the false premise of whether they follow a religion which is 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.)

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