Narendra Modi’s ‘hunkaar’ rally at Patna was marked by the demise of two decades long communal peace in Bihar, as a series of low intensity bombs went off. In another time and in a different context such an incident might have appeared catastrophic but these blasts failed to cause the kind of public frenzy that the perpetrators were expecting and the media was hoping for. As loud mouth TV anchors took the stage, thundering, shrieking and screeching they were greeted with yawns; TRPs did not shoot through the ceiling. Most of us heard the news, shrugged our shoulders and went on with our business….’another political stunt’. Our politicians cut a sorry picture today. They more and more resemble a mediocre stage artist, already past his prime and struggling to capture the spectators’ wavering attention. Aware that he cannot pull anything new out of his hat, he does what he knows best, repeat the old tricks and hope that the spectators, though bored, would keep watching the shows for want of another option.
Coming to the ‘incident’, who did it? This is a whodunit thriller that interests none. Have we not already seen too many of these stunts? Did Nitish do it to discredit Modi? Or was it the other way round? Nitish might have done it to prove that Modi’s arrival caused communal disharmony. Modi might have done it to consolidate Hindutva votes against jihadist terrorism. There was another similar whodunit thriller two months back. Who caused the Muzaffarnagar riots? Congress? To prove that communal forces threaten the unity of our great nation or was it BJP trying to prove that non-BJP ‘sickular’ parties have caused more riots? Some angels came and whispered into Rahul Gandhi’s ears that Muzaffarnagar muslim youth have been approached by the dreaded ISI to recruit them for terrorism. Defeat BJP’s Hindutva politics or our muslim youth would run into the arms of foreign powers that seek to exploit our divisions! Modi ji felt that Rahul Gandhi’s statement was irresponsible and an affront to the Muslim youth who are as patriotic as the Hindus. But Modi ji!, did not some angels whisper into your ears as well, some years ago that some ‘disturbed’ muslim youth in Gujarat had ISI links? Following which young Ishrat Jahan’s had to be deprived of her life for the sake of larger good. Meanwhile a mullah from Lucknow, who looks like nothing much changed for him in the past three centuries decided to make a cameo appearance. He spoke on the behalf of the entire Muslim community, commenting on every political party at length and educating the community about where its interests lie. The media informed us that this Mullah saheb is quite liberal and because he carries the burden of the millions of Indian muslims’ fates on his shoulders, he frequently feels the necessity of commenting on politics.
Does this confused maze of arguments and counter-arguments, accusations and counter-accusations interest us? Are we not already tired of this hackneyed plot? This whodunit mystery bores,not because we already know the identity of the culprit behind these blasts and riots, like any thriller, in this drama too the perpetrator keeps changing. Whether Congress did it or was BJP responsible remains as much a mystery as it was before, We are in fact bored not because the identity of the guilty is predictable, it is rather the predictability of the plot itself that wearies us.We have had too much of savoirs of secularism vs wreckers of secularism. Please let the windows open and a fresh whiff of air rush in to cure us of our boredom. Congress is corrupt to the core, but is BJP free of this malady, except in the wishful thoughts of the diehard supporters.
That nobody is certain about the identity of the perpetrators of the Muzzaffer Nagar riots and the blasts at Patna is a result of the fact that either of the sides, self proclaimed custodians of secularism and the revellers in the glory Hindutva could benefit out of it. We all understand that causing riots and blasts could backfire for either of the two sides meaning that neither of the two is certain about the positive or negative outcome of these stunts. Not only does this reflect that both the supposedly antagonistic camps are shooting in the dark, clueless as to what tactics would work for them, but this also shows that both have much in common between them. Congress would be much alarmed if BJP did not raise the outcry of Hindutva and likewise BJP would lose its favorite whipping dog if Congress did not appear to be ‘sickular’. One cannot pose as the savior of the minorities if the other stops acting as the aggressive ‘other’ of the Congress; to be precise, both need each other. It is this old and hackneyed plot of the Indian politics that bores and frustrates us.
This old familiar language of politics hangs like a dead weight upon our shoulders, hindering us from setting any new agenda. For past two decades Indian politics has been marked by a mindless and mechanical repetition that does not brooks anything new; while us, the silent majority have been reduced to passive observers of this shadow boxing between these ‘intimate’ enemies. Insofar as the economic policy is concerned; the questions of livelihood, employment and inflation, there is precious little to distinguish between the two sides except vacuous claims and counter-claims of securing high economic growth and strong/weak leadership. As if the very fact that one person is an introvert and the other a pompous loudmouth could make or wreak an economy. We are yet to come across a forceful argument about the alleged distinction between Congress’s ‘socialism’ and ‘Namonomics’, unless of course one is naive enough to believe that words and boastful claims carry the magical power to determine the fate of an economy. The toiling masses of this country need today, perhaps more than any other time, to shed their passivity and set the terms of politics on their own, to rid themselves from this absurd and mind numbing repetitive politicking that ails us.
By Pranshu Prakash