By M Ghazali Khan
Avery nihilistic and self-destructive thinking appears to be taking over some Muslims. ‘So what if Modi comes to power? What is it that secular parties have not done to us?’ They ask.
This logic and unthoughtful equation of BJP with other political parties would have made some sense if the issue was merely about anti-Muslim riots. But the problem is far more serious. As far as anti-Muslim riots are concerned, perhaps, as the experience shows, under Modi there will be complete peace and calm but this will be the tranquillity of a graveyard.
Although the Sanghis are masters of lies and deceptions, the ‘Gujarat Experiment’ has sharpened these skills even more. They use sectarian violence as a means to polarise the atmosphere, misguide innocent voters and grab power. Once in power anti-Muslim pogroms are replaced by oppression of minorities and Hinduization of schools and offices. Gujarat and other states where they have ruled in the past are glaring examples of it.
It’s worth looking at some examples of how the saffron brigade has implemented Hindutva agenda in the past. In this regard it should be remembered that not only during the tenure of BJP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh was the Babri Mosque demolished in 1992 but in his second tenure in 1997 he also imposed the singing of Sarasvati Vandana and Vande Mataram in government schools and colleges, a practice no successive government has been able to reverse.
The practice of Muslims being forced to participate in Hindu worship has not remained confined to schools but has reached in government offices too. This is how a friend working at a very senior position has described the situation, ‘I have observed a practicing and beard sporting Muslim head of a department take part in inaugural ceremonies being started with Hindu worship. He had to light the lamp, break a coconut, accept prasad and put vermillion on his head etc. The RSS and its Hindutva agenda has been gradually entering schools and offices. Muslim leadership is nowhere. It pains when we look towards the future of our younger generations and their future way of life.’
In 2000 BJP’s UP Chief Minister Ram Prakash Gupta, created an atmosphere of terror and harassment. In addition to taking several extreme pro-Hindutva measures he also tried to pass UP Religious Places Bill that would have made it impossible for Muslims even to repair or make even minor improvements in a mosque or madrassa without the permission of a commissioner.
In 2001 a Report of Group of Ministers, headed by L.K. Advani, on “Reforming the National Security System” branded Indian Muslims as a security risk. Following the commands of the Central Government, UP Government went a step further and issued a circular that said, “Every SHO will prepare a register of Muslims and Sikh families living in his perspective area; details of outsiders coming in his area should also be maintained and they be strictly watched…”
In 2003, when BJP was not even in absolute majority, Atal Bihari Vajpaee-led NDA Government honoured RSS leader V.D. Sarvarkar in parliament and unveiled his portrait in the Central Hall leaving all secular politicians making feeble protests.
No matter how much one hates Narendra Modi, the fact cannot be denied that he is an extremely clever and shrewd politician. He knows when to play a Hindu card and when to champion the cause of economic development.
When it suited him he cashed on the highly deplorable Godhra tragedy, allowed the parading of charred bodies of kasevaks, let his foot soldiers go around and commit worst atrocities with impunity against ordinary citizens who had no role in the burning of Sabarmati Express. But when he needed and wished to control the situation he did it in a remarkable manner even after as provocative an incident as the attack on Aksherdham temple and in the highly charged atmosphere of post Gujarat massacre 2002.
For as long as he was content with the Chief Ministry of Gujarat he continued to spew venom against Muslims, polarised the atmosphere, rode on the poisonous tide and succeeded in being elected as CM three times in a row. But as soon as he was shown the dream of Prime Ministership, a desire impossible to achieve without Muslims’ support, he turned secular.
In 2002 he justified the anti-Muslim pogroms in his state calling it a ‘reaction to an action’, taunted Muslims saying ‘ham 2 hamare 25’ and boasted his achievements saying, ‘We brought Narmada waters during shravan (monsoons), but the Congress would have wanted it in Ramzan.’ However, in 2014 in his election rally in Bihar he lamented the economic and educational backwardness of Muslims who, he pitied, were as poor as not to be able to go to perform Hajj.
It should be remembered that the first ever drama of ideological change and being Muslim friendly was performed by the Sangh Parivar in the post emergency elections of 1977 after which L.K. Advani came to occupy a post as important as the Broadcasting Minister. During this period the RSS managed to penetrate government offices, occupied high offices, Hinduized the set up and brainwashed the common man.
The impact of this brain washing was witnessed during Advani’s so called Ram Temple Movement that was participated in by senior retired police officers and bureaucrats.
The joining of retired army officers in this fascist party, their involvement in anti-Muslim terrorism and the training provided by them to the so-called Kar Sevaks to demolish the Babri Mosque, as has been exposed by the Cobrapost.com is before everyone to see. The joining in BJP by Mumbai’s former Police Commissioner Satiya Pal Singh and former Army Chief VK Singh is a sad commentary on the poison BJP and the Sangh Parivar has spread.
Those who have forgotten Advani’s terror or were too young at that time to remember it, this his is how the celebrated British writer William Darlymple had reported from Delhi, ‘In the German winter of 1929 it was the political failure of the Weimar Republic and the onset of hyperinflation that ushered in the rise of National Socialists Party. In the winter of 1990 a similar course of events has brought to prominence the Hindu fundamentalist Bharatiya Janata Party (or BJP). In the 1984 election the BJP took only two seats. Last year they took 88. When Chandra Shekhar’s rag-tag government falls (and few expect it to survive much beyond the spring of 1991, most commentators predict that the BJP will sweep the whole northern India… The man behind BJP’s rise to power is L.K. Advani… BJP’s revolution has been preceded by a mysterious distribution of tens of thousands of inflammatory cassettes… The cassettes openly encouraged anti-Muslim violence: “Our Motherland cries out for succour, cries out for martyrs who will cut the [Muslims] enemies of the nation to pieces” says one I found in a market near my house. “We cannot suffer anymore the descendants of Babur [founder of the Mogul dynasty]. If this means a blood bath, then let there for once be a blood bath”… In Delhi drawing rooms fascism has become fashionable; educated people will tell you without embarrassment that it is about time the Muslims are disciplined—that they are dirty and fanatical, that they breed like rabbits. While chattering classes chatter, others take direct action. As I write, Old Delhi is in flames as Hindus and Muslims battle it out in the streets’. (The Spectator, 8 December 1990).
Like Modi refusing to apologize for Gujarat pogroms, Advani never expressed any remorse for his crimes and for leading frenzied mobs that torn down the Babri Mosque.
However, in the following years he adopted the posture of a moderate politician. In order to prove his secular and moderate credentials he praised Mohammad Ali Jinnah and called him a secularist, a deadly sin—also committed by his friend Jaswant Singh and for which both have been made to pay—because that did not go well with the RSS. Advani’s effort to please Pakistan as well as Indian Muslims by praising Jinnah is also a proof of how the Sangh Parivar looks at Indian Muslims.
The worldwide condemnation of his 2002 pogroms, denial of visas by US, Germany and UK and criticism and denunciation by non-Hindutva masses of the country has taught Modi and his brigade that violence cannot help them for long.
If the unthinkable really happens and Modi comes to power he will surely wear the mask of secularism and become even more moderate than he is pretending to be at the moment and will try to act to be holier than the holiest. However, behind this moderation he will continue the Hindutva agenda with far more vigour than his predecessors.
His Gujarat experience and Congress’s soft Hindutva, being practiced since 1947, has taught him important lessons. Hard Hindutva sugar-quoted by soft-Hindutva will be far more dangerous than BJP’s Gujarat or Muzaffarnagar experiments the impact of which will be felt throughout in the future.
English version was published on Caravan Daily.com and Milli Gazette
Urdu version, published in Jadid Khabar and other Urdu newspapers, may be read on https://goo.gl/8h5RDZ