POSTED BY Buzz ON Dec 27, 2011 AT 07:48 IST ,  Edited At: Dec 27, 2011 07:48 IST

Pratap Bhanu Mehta in the Indian Express:

Ashis Nandy once made the powerful point that communalism was not about the “facts of religion”. It was about its self-conscious use as a political tool, often by people who did not believe in it. Casteism, is also not about the fact of caste. It is about the use of caste to make three claims. First, that people have compulsory identities which they cannot transcend, ever. Institutions should act as if no one can be more or less than their caste. Second, the point of social policy is not to empower individuals to escape the deprivations of caste, but to trap them in it. Third, that the only possible test of the legitimacy of institutions is if they mirror social reality, not if they transform it into something better. All of the Congress’s actions, from its support of the methodologically dubious caste census to its policies on reservation, suggest that it has become casteist in this sense.

It has also become communal in the sense that Hamid Dalwai so presciently diagnosed decades ago. It perpetuates the idea of minority as a political category, so that it can keep them in its place and use them. And, in the context of the Lokpal bill, it has cynically used them again. The Congress has ruled India for more than 50 years. But if India is more unjust along caste lines, minorities are more marginalised, surely the Congress is to blame. What is it about its paradigm of politics that it can effectively help neither Muslims nor Dalits? The caste parties may have narrow agendas; sections of the BJP may be pathologically incapable of thinking beyond identity. But what is the Congress’s excuse?

POSTED BY Buzz ON Dec 27, 2011 AT 07:48 IST ,  Edited At: Dec 27, 2011 07:48 IST
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Daily Mail
Digression
29/D-89
Jan 02, 2012
10:25 PM

 A national level challenger party will have to be a secular party ....

There had been several attempts for it but none succeeded.

Why ? Why would people vote for a Congress clone ?

ANBanerjee
Newcastle, United Kingdom
28/D-23
Jan 02, 2012
08:59 AM

Ramki,

>> Even in a largely monocultural, homogenic democracy such as USA, the principal political parties essentially appeal to some big segment of population.

Both Democrats and Republicans do get substantial support from Blacks, Jews, Catholics, millionaires, union workers and people who run small businesses. In India caste based parties, Muslim parties and an RSS-affiliated party produce major distortions in our democratic secular fabric.

Anwaar
Dallas, United States
27/D-42
Jan 01, 2012
04:22 PM

Anwaar >> A national level challenger party will have to be a secular party that appeals to all segments of the population

Even in a largely monocultural, homogenic democracy such as USA, the principal political parties essentially appeal to some big segment of population. Repubs appeal to the well off, enterprenueral class, and generally the WASP segment while Dems appeal to working class, media employed (read the Hollywood limousine liberal types), racial minorities, and outlier groups (like Homosexuals, radical feminists, trade unionists) and liberal leftists.

In a poly ethnic, polycultural society like India, it is no surprise that political parties essentially represent either a particular ethnic group or a language group or a ideology. Or we have something like Congress which pretend to represent all people but actually are extended arms of a political dynasty.

Ramki
Delhi, India
26/D-41
Jan 01, 2012
04:15 PM

Anwaar >> A national level challenger party will have to be a secular party that appeals to all segments of the population

Forget having a secular party that appeals to all segments of the population. What about the laws of the land, do they first of all past the test of secularism?

We have Article 370 in constitution which itself is a unsecular law that gives extra privilege to some few million people in particular part of India only because their state happens to have a faith different from other states.

The same constitution allows people of some religions to have a separate civil code and people of some other religions to follow a common civil code. Is this secular?

We have a constitution does not prohibit laws that discriminate based on religion (such as the Communal violence bill proposed by NAC) and we have a legal framework that does not prohibit executive from making job reservations based on religion.

So to ask for secular party when we have a unsecular and perverted legal structure is to ask for a ship (to travel)  when you live in a barren desert.

Ramki
Delhi, India
25/D-122
Dec 29, 2011
07:38 PM

@Pankaj and Anwaar

What is wrong with government schools and what is so great about Christian schools?

Abhianv
lucknow, India
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