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.
This article captures in words what liberal Hindus like me feel, but we are helpless against the crazy RSS/BJP zealots because we don't have a unifying leader/organization.
""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.
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