Saturday, March 22, 2014

BJP and secularism

In this post, I want to talk about the perception that we carry about BJP. And by the way, this perception not only talks about BJP, it teaches us what secularism means. It tells us that the India is a developing country. It tells us India as a county has no hope. Hope can only be given to sections of society by treating them differently, at the cost of the others. A zero sum game essentially.

"Vajpayee is good, but the party is not" was the general perception. "BJP is good, but Modi is not" is the perception we are being sold now. Advani, who couldn't become the PM, because of this perception, suddenly becomes a saint. But I think in reality, it is not so much about people.

"They did stupid things before coming to power, but they did really well after coming to power", a friend of mine was saying. The stupid thing was obviously a reference to the Ram Mandir. I do believe that the evils of the past should be left to rest. I do believe that religion is a private affair that will look ugly if not silly if brought to road. In fact I did also believe that the exploitation of the Islamic innovations on India are just a paragraph in history books, that are rightly followed by tones of good they did. I did also believe that the epics are just myths and fiction has no relevance in real world. Things like an existence of a bridge to Lanka or an underwater city near Dwaraka are just a coincidence. My younger cousins go a step further. They believe that Harry Potter is more real than Ramayana (since the former is written later and by a Brit, may be) and (Chota) Bheem is a cartoon character. It was hard for me to understand why my grandfather stopped following sai baba, after his statement on Ram Mandir.

But my biggest surprise was the Allahabad High Court verdict on the very issue of Ram Mandir, when even a right wing liberal like me has given the judgement that there is no place for a temple there.
May be there is a reason that these thoughts find more validation in real courts. May be there is a reason why Modi gets a clean chit, and Lalu gets punished in these real courts. Or may be Salman Khurshid is right when he said in London that courts and EC are overdoing.

I would like to believe that secularism doesn't mean you reserve yourself from speaking for yourself if you are the majority. If I have so many apprehensions talking and writing about these, I don't blame Muslims or other communities, to carry this negative perception and a few conservatives either getting offended or exploiting it.

If there was an easier way, and this could be done away with a BUT, like, BJP is communal, but they are the only alternative, I could have left this to rest. If Vajpayee can talk about Bhagawan Ram in the parliament, and deliver a corruption free government, I think it's an 'and' not a 'but'. If Modi can work for 15+ hours a day, not to make money for his next 15 generations, I think it's more than just his ego.

Its a simple 101 that a riot or a communal clash happens when two communities are involved, and how come, it is always one party that represents the wrong. On the other hand, if there is a political party that you treats different religions differently, or treats different castes differently, that represents secularism or pluralism for us. Even a party like 'All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen' is not communal, forget the parties coming to power taking their support. But a party that allies with Bhartiya Janta Party have to think twice. Such is the state of affairs, and we are too very righteous to call it hypocrisy.

Did you notice that, you don't see BJP showing favoritism a lot, in their manifestos or otherwise. That is the reason they talk about development, and not communalism. Did you notice that Vajpayee's government built roads, not temples. Did you realize that the tough decisions taken by NDA are things like Kargil war or Pokhran tests, not dividing a state though a parliament blackout.

And yet, we see that BJP has to fight these perception battles, while we are happy to buy everything that is sold to us about this very perception. Finally, I believe that religion should be left as a private affair. And I see that it is the congress (including this B Team of AAP)  that is not letting us do that. They to be are the biggest threat to the secular fabric of our country, not the BJP.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Are you also 'boxed'

Its hard to explain how and when it started. But how far we have come as a country in supporting the things that do not matter - is shocking.

India is probably the only country people fight to be (called) backward. Reservations etc, have successfully turned India into a bunch of vote banks. And they will keep doing so! I always thought that this populist polarization is the worst thing that can ever happen to the country. But last couple of months/years, our negligence has allowed the political parties to take this absurdity to a whole new level. Here are a few examples-

Vote banks have become such a norm that Congress has given a new state (Telengana), on a verbal promise from TRS (who can get some 10 MPs), that they will merge with them. After the shameless division, the congress has audacity to float the pitch in the rest of the Andhra Pradesh, that they will include a (kapu) community in BCs. This would apparantly give them 20% of the votes. Taking hint I guess from the blatant act of malice, recently one of my friends has been hinting the idea of starting a political party that would voice the (sizable number of) Telugu's in Karnataka.

Oh, wait - its not just one state. Jayalalitha, is all set to release the assassins of the former prime minister- just before elections. That will give her the much needed people's support to take the same chair whose honor she is happy to let go off. The ripples are felt up north, in JK there were protests demanding an explanation for hanging a Terrorist that attacked the parliament.

A riot 12 years ago, is still the biggest thing when it comes to how we vote, even though that was the last time a riot took place in Gujarat. How much did we care to understand the steps taken by this person we blame to control those, and make sure they never happened again?

Even a match of cricket is not left alone, when it comes to political gains. "Everyone has a right to support a team they like", Sashi Tharoor goes on record to lick the boots of a few extremists who control a some votes. (Celebrating when your country looses apparently is not provocative)

If you are a normal Indian news follower, at this point, I am pulling our the communal card or at the best being one sided, ignoring the BJP that is sitting on the other side of the fence. So let me give you one more. AAP, who says communalism is the biggest threat, has wakf board promotion in their agenda and backs khap panchayats.

But guys, frankly, if any of the points I made above have hurt your sentiments, its only because you have been successfully 'boxed' by the 65 years of evolution of the 'divide and rule' doctrine, our own guys adapted from the colonial rule and eventually mastered. For those of you who are not offended, you don't have a good news either. You are also boxed as 'the rest'. They know that we have to solve every *other* problem thrown at us (most of which do not matter). We have come to a point that, any fringe issue can become a mainstream. And rest of the mainstream just doesn't care.

What about corruption that is been happening every year? (Yedurappa - check. Lets move on?).

Talking about national security is out of context, so let me not even mention it. The terrorist attacks are like bad monsoons, lock ourselves down in our house, watch TV, eat popcorn, make a few phone calls. When were they ever an election issue? (But we watched 'The Wednesday' - check. Lets move on?)

What about our own jobs (forget that of our children)? We are good as long as Uncle Sam and his country can get some cheap work done, without actually saying so. What next?

Should we always be happier giving alms to a beggar than not having to have one in the first place. Shouldn't our mindset towards what is right be altered, if not changed? Its either that someone is super smart, or a lot of us are just dumb. But the subtlety at which our thought process is being manipulated should be admired. This quote from 'The Matrix' sounds so apt - isn't it time that we wake up?
Have you ever had a dream, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?