The benefit of having many friends is that you become a firm believer in the power of conviction. The sheer strength of conviction is admirable, the underlying idea be damned.
So, on one hand, there are friends high on secular-nalin who believe SP, Congress, TMC, JDU, RJD are the guardians of secularism. For them, Imam asking Muslims to vote for Congress and TMC is secular, illegal immigration from Bangladesh doesn’t happen and Indian Mujahideen doesn’t exist. Haven’t had a talk about Riyaz Bhatkal with them, I am sure they’d either say he is vapor or some RSS man in disguise.
Don’t ever get into an argument with them unless you want to be called fascist, communal and a regressive pest out to drive away minorities and make India a Hindu Rashtra.
On the other hand are friends high on nationalism. For them, Nehru’s real father was not Motilal but his Muslim gardener, every dark skinned Muslim pulling a rickshaw is a Bangladeshi and Kejriwal is Ford funded, CIA prompted B team of Congress launched to keep India from achieving its Aryavarta glory.
An argument with them means bringing upon you extreme patronisation deserved, perhaps rightly, by fools who get taken in by Kejriwal’s antics and who fail to decipher the grand design to eliminate Hinduism from mother earth.
There is victimhood in both narratives and an eagerness to get back at the other for past sins – centuries of plunder, conversion and temple destruction on one side and decades of upper caste Hindu conspiracy to keep Muslims subjugated on the other.
Thankfully, the average man on the street is much smarter. That’s the reason he is able to live, work and do business with those of the other religion despite what the wise men with bright halos, especially of having left their careers to do social work, NGO ishtyle, say.
The shrillest component of this debate is the fear mongering targeted at Muslims. Congress, SP, BSP, TMC, JDU, RJD, MIM – every stalwart on the secular side tries to scare Muslims into running into their arms for mere survival. It works very well for them too – a scared person doesn’t ask questions. For example, “Why am I still backward despite secular governments all these years?”
Fear of survival is a low hanging fruit, tastes damn sweet and soon metamorphoses into the Crown of Secularism. Ask Neta ji or Laluji or Didi ji. Or ask Nitish.
Good thing is, if you grab it with a loud enough bang (like Neta ji did when he ordered firing on karsevaks in 1989-90 or Lalu did when he arrested Advani midway his rathyatra, same time), you and your progeny can continue enjoying the sweetness for decades and a lot of your indiscretions will be forgiven. Like watching lungi dance while riot victims shiver in Muzaffarnagar camps or their kids freeze dead.
Come election, call someone a goonda, talk about chopping people to pieces, stoke the ungrateful oppressive majority narrative by proclaiming that only one community fought in the Kargil war and you are good for another five years.
No, the idea is not to hand out a Certificate of Secularism to Modi, me not qualified enough and neither did Soniaji ever approach me for it. The idea is to stress that this survival discourse is not helping anyone – when fear mongering is the currency, it needs to be sold to both the sides and the questions of education, health, jobs, roads, electricity and growth recede in the background.
As for how well the survival fares, check the stats – how many riots in the past 10-20-30-40 years under which party and how many deaths. Congress would win by a mile. Even then it can take the moral high ground, “Modi talking secular is like a dracula protecting a blood bank”. That’s the power of fear mongering.
The seculars have traded in blooded, and yes, in minority blood too. They all are equal here – secularism is no differentiator.
Sachar Committee report tells us that years of fear peddling have not benefited minorities. The time has come to ask them what else will you do apart from keeping Modi out.
What is on your agenda that will help Abdul mistry’s son get on Facebook instead of repairing bikes?
[Image courtesy: http://whatsup1.com/hindi-poem-on-communal-harmony.html]