The Supreme Court recently came down heavily on the Congress for utterly denigrating an important institution like the CBI and treating it like a caged parrot for its narrow political interests. However a much greater Institution has been abused by the Congress and treated much worse than a caged parrot. Secularism, an ethos which defines the fabric of India, has been mercilessly trapped by the Congress for decades. The party makes this parrot squeal loudest whenever it needs to hide its original voice of corruption, mis-governance & communal dishonesty.
Decades of Communal Hypocrisy
The roots of Secularism truly strengthen when the State let’s all faiths be celebrated in plurality but ensures the spirit and act of Indian-ness pervades universally thereby diminishing the perceived differences among communities. However, since the British days, it was this Indian-ness which was sought to be systemically weakened under the guise of Secularism, consciously creating boundary walls between Hindus, Muslims, Christians and other faiths by innocuously allowing non-uniform Civil Code as well as other mischief’s like separate religious electorates periodically. Nurturing these religious clefts allowed them to loot the country for centuries without a true combined resistance from Indians & culminated in the partition of India.
The Congress seems to have, almost as successfully as the Brits, continued this treachery with the philosophy of Secularism. Long after the Raj times, the Civil Code remains almost unchanged, National security compromised for communal concerns, inter-religion trust at its bottom & a spirit of Indian-ness still struggling to express itself in the powerful punch that a 1.25 billion united fist should pack!
Impact of Such Secularism on the Largest Minority Community
The biggest casualty of this communal hypocrisy has been unfortunately the same community, which the Congress claims to protect, the Indian Muslim. These people who chose to step ahead as Indians rather than moving to Pakistan in 1947 are yet to get their true inclusion.
The damning indictment of this comes with many points of the Sachar Committee report on the state of minorities. It shows that despite the purported Secularism of the Indian State for 66 years since its Independence, of which Congress ruled for almost 58, the representation of Muslims in many Governmental Institutions like Civil Services, Defence Services, Assemblies, is much less than their population. Economic mobility has eluded a large section of it. Educational infrastructure has consciously stayed away from their areas.
Then what has the Secularism parrot of Congress been doing if the Muslim community is still to benefit from India’s progress? The parrot squeals only selectively as directed by its master. It squeals to covertly strengthen the more conservative elements rather than the liberal voices in Muslims. It squeals consistently to not allow educational infrastructure in Muslim areas making them send their children to the only option available – Madrassas. It squeals to wrongly delay capital justice for years because the convicted terrorists are from this religion. It squeals to downplay the threat of vast unaccounted for illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, which will eventually not only damage the Indian state but even the actual Indian Muslims.
Divide & Create Vote Banks
The impact of this dangerous Secularism has been two-fold and equally damaging on both the folds:
a) On one side, for the Muslim community itself, the continuing lack of opportunities, support, development & educational inclusion makes it develop a quasi-ghetto outlook, not to mention the feeling of vulnerability, despondency and fear.
b) On the other side, for the other communities, the continuing raking up of symbolic issues leaves them with a perception of wrongful appeasement in the name of Secularism, not to mention the feeling of mistrust & anger.
A combination of these two sides generates a vicious cycle, which further widens the perceived boundaries between religious communities rather than bridging them, which should have been the honest purpose of secularism, if followed in its true spirit.
Thus generated insecurity among minority tends to manifest itself in a cohesive allegiance, during elections, to the particular political force, which ironically, has brought about this insecurity in the first place.
In British times, it was known as ‘Divide and Rule’. In our times, it’s popular as ‘Vote Bank’ politics.
Questions that the Muslim Community Should Ask
If secularism means protecting & respecting every community, why does the Congress make a big cry only on the 2002 Gujarat riots while saying or doing nothing on the 1984 Sikh massacre or the persecution & exile of lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits from their homeland? What is the Congress’s true agenda behind such selective anguish?
If Congress actually has an honest soft corner for Muslim community, why has it in the last six decades done hardly anything to improve the lives of the most impoverished among Muslims? Does it see them only as loyal voters & believe that any economic development may take them into middle-class, thereby less prone to vote, thereby less useful to the Party?
If Muslims decide to vote on governance, development & give a chance to some other formation in the coming election, will it not bring Congress out of its complacency to not take the community for granted, while putting the obligation on other parties to respect the mandate from Muslims too and create a more inclusive chart ahead? Won’t this jolt be actually beneficial for the society rather than just continuing to be exploited as vote banks?
In essence, can the coming Lok-Sabha Elections be the first step to liberate the parrot of secularism from the cage of the Congress & let it fly to every community and joyously squeal the beginning of a true Indian-ness?