Political leaders often speak in code. Their followers are expected to pick up the signals and take action. Over the years, the Bharatiya Janata Party has developed its own coded language, with Narendra Modi certainly as one of its best practitioners. As a campaigner, in the last as well as in previous elections, he perfected the art of using the mot juste to put his message across—Miyan Musharraf, baby producing centres, biriyani... These were all barely concealed euphemisms for Muslims and the most loyal BJP followers didn’t detest it at all.
During the last Lok Sabha elections, a BJP candidate mentioned that those who were opposed to Narendra Modi would all have to leave for Pakistan after the elections. Why Pakistan? Well, it is because that is the homeland of Muslims.
However, the situation has changed after the elections. Narendra Modi has taken a vow of silence and has issued instructions to ministries to keep pesky journalists away. Senior ministers and former spokespersons currently members of the government, prolix in the extreme at one time, have suddenly run out of opinions to express in public.
So not only do we not get any explanation of the many U-turns that this government has taken, whether it is on Aadhar, the Henderson Brooks report or the opening up of FDI in the insurance sector, we get no comment on the small Hindutva bush fires that are breaking out all over the country. A Muslim techie gets murdered in Pune by a mob simply because he was wearing a skull cap, a minister in Goa declares the prime minister will create a Hindu Rashtra, the curriculum in Gujarati schools gets an injection administered by Dinanath Batra, whose collected thoughts include some radical theories about how to beget a child (pray to Mother Cow). Add to this the thuggish behavior of an MP from BJP ally Shiv Sena, who, unhappy with the quality of food, shoves a chapati down the throat of a hapless canteen manager, who happened to be a Muslim observing Ramzan. The frightening thing is not just that these things are taking place but that there is no condemnation issued by the highest quarters of the land. One statement from the prime minister or any of his colleagues would send a sharp message to any potential trouble-maker that no attempt to create communal tension will be tolerated; in the absence of any such assertion, one can only assume that nobody sees anything wrong in all these recent unfortunate events.
Not all infractions are of the same seriousness. The nutjobs who want pubs banned in Goa are not in the same league as the killers of the young techie in Pune; the xenophobic and racist Batra model of history, which informs us that everything from cars to stem cells were first invented in ancient India, is limited only to Gujarat so far. But there is a pattern that is emerging—an attempt to redefine the nation and to move it away from the secular and inclusive entity it has been so far. Crazies existed in the past too—‘Historian’ P.N. Oak used to write about how the Taj Mahal was actually a Hindu temple, but no one took him seriously. Batra has official backers and his history lessons are now being incorporated into the syllabus.
Such official benediction is nothing less than a dog whistle to the devoted believers. Each gets the signal to do his bit for the larger cause. While a Batra wants to alter the history books, a Muthalik is also determined to tackle the pub-goers. Both want to impose their own version of the Hindu culture on the rest of the country, to redefine the contours and the detailing of Indian nationhood in the shape of the Hindutva mould. Whether it is in the garb of introducing schoolchildren to the glory that was Bharatvarsha or banishing ugly western influences, the end game is the same. Every time the state looks the other way, the whole nation should be struck with fear.
One of the observations made by pundits and analysts is that the Modi government has continued with several of the UPA’s policies, especially on the economy and foreign affairs. Supporters who had vocally backed Narendra Modi as the completely new broom who would sweep away archaic economic management are now disappointed—this is just old wine in a new bottle, they say. But that is a red herring. The real changes are coming in social, educational and cultural policies, which are vastly different from earlier governments. Here, the Modi government and its followers have a very clearly defined agenda and they are in a hurry to implement it. This is not a five-year plan but a very long-term game. The troops were already in place; now they have been swung into action. The silence now begins to make sense.
Sidharth Bhatia in his column Pawns on the Board cites four instances to claim there’s a pattern emerging. But, just as it is someone's secular right to assail everything Hindu, it’s Dinanath Batra’s right to assert everything Hindu.
G.A. Mistry, on e-mail
No one can cure Sidharth Bhatia of his BJP phobia.
Madhukar Nikam, Hyderabad
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
""Not all infractions are of the same seriousness."
Let Modi get on with the Hinduisation of India without further excuses and delay. People are starting to get impatient.
"The frightening thing is not just that these things are taking place but that there is no condemnation issued by the highest quarters of the land. One statement from the prime minister or any of his colleagues would send a sharp message to any potential trouble-maker that no attempt to create communal tension will be tolerated; in the absence of any such assertion, one can only assume that nobody sees anything wrong in all these recent unfortunate events."
Er...you mean aggressive Muslim attacks on Hindus in India? You mean Christian aggression in India?
"Whether it is in the garb of introducing schoolchildren to the glory that was Bharatvarsha or banishing ugly western influences, the end game is the same. Every time the state looks the other way, the whole nation should be struck with fear."
We are not. So?
SC hinted that a situation has arisen where there is no leader of opposition but it also questioned the government whether any selection can be fair without the leader of opposition.''
WHAT WAS FAIR FOR 67 YEARS WHY IT CAN'T BE FAIR ANOTHER 5 YEARS ??
CAN SC GIVE DIRECTIVES TO SPEAKER ?
Modi government cannot keep Lokpal act in cold storage, Supreme Court says
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has criticized Narendra Modi government for keeping the Lokpal act in limbo for a long time.
The apex court has said that an important law like this can not be kept in cold storage. SC has also asked the government for its view on the selection panel comprising the Prime Minister, Speaker of Lok Sabha and leader of opposition in Lok Sabha.
SC hinted that a situation has arisen where there is no leader of opposition but it also questioned the government whether any selection can be fair without the leader of opposition.
>> ‘Historian’ P.N. Oak used to write about how the Taj Mahal was actually a Hindu temple, but no one took him seriously. Batra has official backers and his history lessons are now being incorporated into the syllabus
A Congress leader used to claim that Aurangzeb had the Varanasi temple destroyed to save the honor of a Hindu queen, and Congress gave him party presidency.
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT