By Amulya Ganguli
The initial reluctance of the Delhi police to book the saffron activists for their anti-Muslim hate speech, and the center’s certification of sedition laws before the High Court, are typical signs of authoritarianism. If left unchecked, such official attitude will pave the way for an intolerant pro-Hindu state.
The only saving grace at the moment is the judiciary, which is why the police have had to overturn their previous clean sheet on hate mongers and may even put some of them behind bars. The verdict on the sedition case is still pending. But there is little doubt that the government will fight tooth and nail to keep it on the statute book, given its usefulness in harassing critics.
However, what these events show is the fine line the nation walks to safeguard its democracy. There is little doubt that any misstep will usher in a totalitarian regime. The danger is all the greater because, aside from the judiciary, there are virtually no bulwarks against a precipitous descent into autocracy.
While parties like the Trinamool Congress, DMK, Congress, CPI(M), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Aam Admi Party (AAP) are likely to resist authoritarian tendencies, there are others like the Janata Dal ( United), the Biju Janata Dal and the YSR Congress that will meekly accompany the BJP.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi threatens to take on the BJP, but is a lone ranger. Furthermore, his past bonhomie with the BJP may cast doubt on his future plans.
Similarly, the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen has been accused of being the BJP’s “B” team, although its leader, Asaduddin Owaisi, has harshly criticized the saffron party. But his Muslim background makes “secular” parties wary of associating with him for fear of alienating Hindu voters. Jinnah’s ghost still haunts the Indian political scene.
That leaves few credible challengers for the BJP, leaving it in an open field. Furthermore, the challengers themselves do not always inspire confidence due to their many flaws. Mamata Banerjee, for example, lacks sophistication. The DMK’s MK Stalin is also a provincial figure who can only speak Tamil. The CPI(M) is confined to Kerala, having squandered its previous strongholds in West Bengal and Tripura, and the RJD to Bihar.
Right now, the AAP seems capable of giving the BJP a chance in states outside the Hindi belt, like Gujarat. But the AAP’s ideology is vague and opportunistic in its politics when it comes to taking a strong stand against the BJP’s harassment of minorities. As its pro-Hindu slogans suggest, the AAP is careful about its stance towards the mainstream community.
As far as the BJP is concerned, therefore, it appears to be well on the way to a Hindu rashtra. Given current political trends, the RSS can look forward to a successful centenary celebration in 2025 with great glee. What seemed unattainable in the years of Nehru and Indira Gandhi is now apparently within reach.
In the context of the establishment of a Hindu rashtra, the existing difficulties with regard to inflation and unemployment will seem minimal and even inconsequential. What the average Hindu will care about is the possibility of achieving a dream where minorities – Muslim and Christian – are totally marginalized, unable to exert any influence in the fields of music and film, as Muslims have done for a long time. , or in the fields of education and a westernized lifestyle that have been associated with Christians.
It is no accident, therefore, that there is a dispute over the substitution of Hindi for English as the link language and attempts are being made to drown out the sound of azaan – the Muslim liturgy of prayers – with loud chants of Hindu religious invocations. It is also no accident that bulldozers are being deployed to destroy supposedly illegal Muslim shops and establishments, as these mechanical monsters often create fear among passers-by.
The hesitation shown by the Delhi police to act against the hate mongers until the judiciary intervened is not seen in the broadcast media which is full of saffroned bloggers and anchors. They seldom miss an opportunity to praise the ruling dispensation and criticize their opponents. Not since the emergency have such large sections of the media been so accommodating, except for a few notable exceptions. Whether it’s the police, the bureaucracy, or the media, therefore, authoritarianism is rampant. (IPA service)
BJP publication faces little challenge from rivals now in national politics appeared first on IPA Newspack.