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.

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