Friday, November 22, 2013

Can India become a Hindu Rashtra and Is there a danger of Modi becoming a modern day Hitler???

The optimist in me answers no to both the questions, however the danger of one or both happening is distinctly possible.
Hinduism has been defined by the supreme court and by the first real international representative of the religion , in the form of Swami Vivekananda, as an ethos or a way of life. This is very well expressed as a sanatana dharma,  a code of ethics, a way of living through which one may achieve moksha (enlightenment, liberation). The religion evolved from the Vedas which are author less books, passed on from generations through the spoken and the written word culminating in the Vedanta or the end of knowledge. The upanishads and the last one the Bhagavad Gita, are the end or epitome of real knowledge. The adherents of this faith never seeked to proselytize or conquer or subjugate others. The absence of a single universal teacher or papal structure allowed the Hindu to evolve from lowest forms of worship to the highest discovery of the presence of divinity in all of creation. While such a lofty and liberal world view is desirable, the practitioners of any religion distort and destroy it's true meaning and create divisions in the name of religion.

In an imperfect world, divisions in the name of community and caste abound. Along with human greed for power and money and erosion of values, the political class perpetuate these differences in the name of political strategy and actively perpetuate these divisions. The history of this nation is replete with these action reaction sagas. While some are lauded as master strokes of political strategy, most of them have resulted in tragic consequences. A Muslim League created by a sidelined petulant Jinnah, led to creation of a moth eaten Pakistan. The role of a power hungry Congress leadership led to the sidelining of the Father of the nation and riots on an unimaginable scale. The nation scarred by the trauma of partition resolved to mould itself as a democracy and heal the wounds of partition by adopting democracy and deemed to have no discrimination on the basis of religion or caste. But, tragically it did not adopt a uniform civil code and it made positive discrimination for the lower castes a policy. These were enshrined as temporary measures to be reviewed every decade. The genesis of minority appeasement came from the constituent assembly not allowing a Hindu Law which looked on child marriage as desirable but widow remarriage as undesirable. The practice of Sati was abolished. All these measures were opposed by the Jan Sanghis who are now BJP. So while undesirable religious practices among minorities like many wives, oral divorce, no adoption etc were allowed the Hindus were made to follow what virtually amounted to a uniform civil code. The politics of minority appeasement reaped rich electoral dividends for the Congress, which ruled for most of the early years post independence. The rest is history.

Coming to Modi and his mentor turned foe Advani, they have both honed double speak and outright lies into an instrument of policy. They have used the masks of an inclusive Vajpayee and plank of good governance as masks to hide their real aims to make India a theocratic Hindu Rashtra where the rest are second class citizens who will be compelled to accept the rule of the majority. The subversion of history in text books, intolerance to artists who are critical to Modi, bumping off of innocents in the name of encounters, stalking of women by illegal means, subversion of police and judiciary to such an extent that SC transferred all riot cases to special bench of Mumbai HC, hounding and destruction of political rivals both within the party and outside are just some of the very serious allegations which Modi and his cohorts face. No answers are given or sought to these questions by the middle class and upwardly mobile classes of India. They would like to believe that these are minor aberrations as against the shining India dream, which they feel Modi represents. The ghettoisation of the  Muslims in Gujarat and the infamous analogy of the puppy under a truck for the riot victims are not trivial issues. Of course he aided and abetted by corrupt, foolish and inefficient Congress, pursuing a path of minority appeasement and soft Hindutva.

However, I have immense faith in the Indian electorate and democracy to believe that the voters verdict will be good for this nation. The country has gone through the dark days of dictatorship in 1975 and the post Babri Masjid demolition riots. I hope that the capitulation of the people and the media of '75 and the communal violence of the 1990's will never be repeated ever again.

Even as we ready ourselves for the elections of 2014,we must choose an alternative non BJP non Congress alternative. A small number of effective MP' s with a visionary patriotic honest outlook can steer the nation on the correct path of inclusive growth free of corruption, communal discrimination and caste based politics.

Dr Vispi Jokhi