Pathologically communal. Or, back to basics? A more apt, better or worse description of the mind of the Prime Minister of India cannot be found, who is presently busy wooing the electorate of Uttar Pradesh to his side.Let us also be clear: it is the default setting of the party he is leading with his friend Amit Shah in charge.
This time, he is reported to have pleaded in the name of equal treatment and non-discrimination that a cremation ground should be constructed in a village where a burial ground has been built and electricity should be distributed equally between communities. The Telegraph reports that he furthered his argument by saying,“If electricity is provided there in Ramazan, it should also be given in Diwali,” “If a kabristan (burial ground) is built in a village, then a smashan (cremation ground) should also be constructed there.”
“There shouldn’t be any discrimination. It is the duty of a government to be unbiased. Injustice shouldn’t be done to anybody… it should never be on the basis of religion or caste or class.”
Kabristan has been a sensitive issue in the villages of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh since long. More than a dozen incidents of encroachment and small scale violence were reported from Bihar in the year preceding the 2015 assembly election. The BJP and the RSS have always tried to keep this issue alive. Muslims have legitimately demanded boundary walls around the burial grounds as Hindu idols are put there or attempts are made to carve out a thorough fare through it in the pretext of creating short cut routes which ‘ll save time. This wall offends the Hindus: this land is officially made out of bounds for them. RSS has played on this feeling of deprivation very successfully.
It is, therefore, very clear to the constituency of the PM and the BJP, which community is being discriminated against. The myth that has been nurtured in our minds since our childhood that it is the Hindus who are made to suffer and Muslims benefit at their cost. There was a feeling, if I recall my childhood days in Bihar that Hindus do not get adequate supply of water in Holi and have to suffer cut in electricity supply even on the day of festival of light, Diwali whereas Muslims get unhindered supply of water and electricity in the days of Eid and bakr Eid. Totally unfounded but Hindus believed in it and still believe it.
The Prime Minister was taking cue from his minster Piyush Goyal,who in the initial days of elections in UP had alleged that electric wires bypass Hindus. Reporting the press conference of Piyush Goyal, The national Herald quoted him, “BJP MP Sarvesh Kumar had lodged a complaint with Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) about discrimination in distribution of power connections on the basis of religion in Moradabad. After inquiry these charges were found to be correct.”
The national Herald later talked to A N Mishra,a top official in the electricity department of the UP government who rubbished Goyal’s charge. He said, “There is no hop, skip and jump when electricity flows through conductors. There is no mechanism by which you can give electricity to Muslims and deny the same to Hindus.”
But this straight talk from this senior officer did not deter the PM to use electricity again to make a communal argument.The Prime Minister speaks in generic terms. He and his part knows that Hindus suffer from a strange sense of envy when they compare the state treatment given to them with that to the Muslims.
Piyush Goyal put it very crassly when he alleged,“BJP has always been saying that SP thrives on appeasement of Muslims. It gave different compensation to Hindus and Muslims—the Muslims got more money while Hindus did not even get half of it. This is on record and anyone can verify it.”
Compensation is another sensitive issue with Hindus.You go to the violence hit areas of Bihar,Gujarat,Western Uttar Pradesh or anywhere, you would find Hindus complaining that Muslims have been treated royally by the government and they have been left high and dry.You would also be told that if a Muslim Police Officer dies his relatives get jobs,crores as compensasation money whereas the families of the slain Hindu officers are left to languish.
It is not surprising, therefore that the Prime Minister, whose name is Narendra Modi is consistent in his communalism. It works through a ritual of repetition and does not lose heart from the fact that it has not clicked on certain occasions. From the most recent past we remember the election speeches of the Prime Minister in Bihar.Let us compare them and see the consistency of communalism.
Apart from demanding a Shamsan for a Kabristan, he hinted that Muslims are the main beneficiaries of the state schemes. He said in the same speech, “Ask a Dalit in Uttar Pradesh and he will tell you that he is not getting his rights because these are given only to the OBCs. Ask an OBC and he will say that Yadavs are enjoying all the benefits. A Yadav says the family members of the Samajwadi leaders are hogging the advantages (government-sponsored benefits), and the rest goes to the Muslims.”
He had charged the Nitish Kumar government,in similar language with favouring Muslims,taking away from them their rightful claim to give it to Muslims.
It was a white lie but he said it unabashedly,and repeated it even when there was an uproar and figures were thrown at him “These leaders(Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad) are making a devious plan. They are conspiring to take away five per cent reservation of dalits, mahadalits, backwards and extremely backwards and give it to a particular community,” he alleged. “I come from an extremely backward class and understand the pain of having been born to a poor woman. I will not allow this to happen. I pledge to protect the rights of dalits, mahadalits and backwards,” he said.
Calling this a sinful plan (‘paap ki yojana‘), Modi said: “Nobody will be allowed to take away your reservation and give it to any other community in pursuit of their vote bank politics.”
Rape and murder of the daughters and mothers is what the SP government is doing,is another charge of Modi. If you put it together with his friend’s pledge to stop the river of blood of cows, buffalos and oxen and instead have a river of GHEE flow, punish a particular type of mobike-riders who harass our daughters by forming Anti Romeo Squads and the strategy becomes very stark.
Modi and his party failed miserably in Bihar. Their communal strategy failed to mobilise voters to their advantage. Why is he then speaking this tired language? Those, who think in narrow instrumentalist way, believe that you it is only success that drives your instinct.But there is something called ideology, which you inculcate, you are trained in, you believe in, which is your world view,which makes you what you are.
Ashis Nandy, a social psychologist, understood this mental or psychological make up long back, when nobody would have dared to suggest that the man would one day rule India. He told his colleague, Achyut Yagnik after interviewing Modi, who was only a Pracharak of the RSS the, that he had just met a textbook fascist.
After Narendra Modi took over as Prime Minister of India and everybody was dying to believe that he had changed, that he had come on an inclusive plank of development, Ashis Nandy was interviewed again. He was asked by the correspondence if he would like to comment on his earlier understanding and description of the man. Nandy said in an unwavering voice that he still stood by his professional conclusion.
It is not that desperation has drove the Prime Minister towards. Communalism. “What can the poor man do if the idiots do not understand his appeal for development, he has to speak in language they understand.” This argument you ‘ll come across in the elite gatherings. They would like us to believe that the man and his party is for development,but for this noble mission they need power. Power in this country comes only through elections. Since the so called castiest and secular parties have practised only a language of caste and religion, there is no option for this party and its leaders but to take recourse to this communication strategy. Everything is fine, no one is discriminated against once they come to power. Look at Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan: absolute peace and high speed development! Are Muslims not getting a part of this?
It is this logic which is keeping our liberal Modi and BJP seekers from even raising their eye brows. No notice from the election commission, no edits. Meanwhile the anti-minority communalism keeps getting repeated, keeps getting accumulated, its roots go deeper and deeper in our social psyche.
- Scroll, February, 2017