Mr. Narendra Modi- love him or hate him, but one cannot ignore the fact that his win is anything but an ordinary one. Today many politically liberal ‘intellectuals’ fear that India will now see religious polarization under his rule. Some even argue that the world’s largest democracy is entering the most sinister period since independence. Of course, Modi is divisive, but for a common man, continuing with the corrupt Congress sycophants who think they are entitled to rule as long as they chant “Congress is Gandhi” and “Gandhi is Congress” was not an option. Unfortunately, Mr. Kejriwal-led Aam Admi Party (AAP) did not seem ready to govern this country at least as of today.
Let us be clear that in ethically and linguistically diverse country like India, if the government promotes majoritarianism on the basis of “religion”, it is fundamentally wrong. But again, it is also true that in the name of secularism, if the government pleases lunatics of minority groups, that is equally wrong. How can we easily forget Congress Party’s Shah Bano Begum Case? Abandoned by her husband, a 62-year old Muslim woman asked for alimony, and won the case at the Supreme Court, but her alimony was denied as the Indian Parliament reversed the judgement. The entire so-called “pseudo secular” Congress government went against an abandoned Muslim woman to please Muslim extremists. Of course, intellectuals may argue that it was done to conserve Muslim Personal Law, but is it not a classic case of the lunacy of allowing religious considerations to influence government policy, in the name of “secularism”.
In terms of flaming communal violence in the past, Bharatiya Junata Party (BJP) and Congress (like almost all other political parties in India) have very similar histories. What perhaps worries my liberal friends about Modi rule is that Congress, in principle, have cleaner core founding principles whereas much of BJPs philosophy stems from the ultra-right Hindu group. But more than philosophy, practice is what makes or breaks a nation, and even my liberal friends can’t disagree that, in reality, even so-called secular Parties have not acted “secular”. There are countless examples of violence targeting the minorities under so-called secular Party-led government (recent ones being Muzzafarnagar riots, Assam riots) , but liberal friends seem to be obsessed with debates on ideologies of the Parties, not their actions. Reality is, almost every government, either Congress or BJP, have let the minorities down. Recently, a Muslim auto-driver in Gujarat shared with me, “Not only Modi, even those Parties who claim they care for us want us to remain suppressed and discriminated.” Later, another Muslim tea-vendor near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh expressed, “Even my Dalit neighbors are getting government jobs due to “reservation” quota. When will the Party that claims to support Muslim apply such a policy? Congress talks about us only during elections.” Additionally, it is no secret that Muslims have fallen badly behind Hindus in recent decades when it comes to education, employment and economic status. What surprised me is why liberal intellectuals see it as a problem “now” while the minorities are systematically failed by the Secular Parties as well. Religious sentiments are a real concern in India, and all Parties have used it; some use Muslims as vote banks, some others use Hindus. Worse, politicians have twisted the concept of secularism so much in India that it has lost its meaning.
Obviously, whenever I raise my above mentioned concerns, my liberal friends see me as someone who is defending Modi’s actions. Invariably, conversation goes back to the 2002 riots and how he, as a state leader, was engaged in it. They accuse me of being a fascist, an extremist or a bigot, and they pity my ignorance. It does not matter to them that I, like them, am also disturbed about Modi’s association with Hindu lunatics. At the same time, I am also disturbed seeing other secular Parties exploiting minorities in the name of secularism. Call me a naive, I am okay with that, but now, as Modi is the next Prime Minister of India, I’d like to believe that Modi is sharp enough to know that he cannot rule India on the basis of religion. More important, Modi is an individualistic, and puts his own ambitions and image above that of the Party or other groups associated with the Party. I’d like to believe that Modi will now be interested in building his own ‘legacy’, and thus ‘development’ will be the catch-word that he would aspire to be identified with. Second, I strongly believe that Modi is exaggerated as a threat to Indian democracy. He is not Hitler, mainly because Indian democracy is strong enough to withstand anything he does. Even the Congress Party that suspended the Indian Constitution and ruled as dictators in the 70s were thrown out within a few years. Anyone that understands the complexity of Indian politics knows that Modi cannot govern India by the autocratic methods as many are suggesting. Thirdly, not all those who support Modi are chanting “Har Har Modi” and are mesmerized by him. Many of us are vigilantly watching his next steps.
People of India have given Modi and his party a resounding mandate in a free and fair election. Indian people have not spoken, they have shouted that they are ready for a change. All they care about at this time is the economic growth of this country. Modi promised that, based on that, he is elected, and now it is time for him to deliver. Modi might try to play ‘religious’ politics if he fails with his economy plan. But trust us, while Indians are fascinated with a “hero-like” figure, at the same time, if the so-called hero does not deliver, Indians have capacity to make him a zero in no time as well. So, trust the democracy, trust Indians, and let us move on! But let us stay alert and engaged..!