The Current Political Dispensation is scary, but a hollow opposition makes it the lesser evil.
At the outset, I must admit to being carried away by the Modi-aura, and a deep-seated hatred for Congress being at the heart and mind of my political views
Ever since I began to understand politics, I’ve been taught that the Indian National Congress (INC) has fostered corruption, religious appeasement, and a subversive anti-nationalism, all this in the name of liberal ethos and secularism. For long, I believed it, and a part of me still does. This, over years, drove me to form opinions, reinforcing my current realisation that we choose to see nothing but black and white; that we overlook the grey, and succumb to political necessities, just like those we call leaders do.
While I knew, the current political dispensation wouldn’t transform existing realities, I hoped to see a change in direction. I expected to see a shift in approach. As three years have elapsed, there is no doubt there has been a lot more than a mere deviation. There is meaty evidence to suggest that the stagnancy of status quo is the last thing the Modi government can be accused of. But has it been for the better or is it orchestrated vengeance against 67 years of a political ideology that is today seen to be laidback, myopic, and even a masquerading of sorts.
The answer to this lies in identifying the thin — at times, almost blurred — line separating the two major political parties — The BJP and INC. Let’s begin with the secular-communal narrative, which is currently the subject dominating the media discourse. Cow vigilantism has brought to fore the masked support of the ruling dispensation to soft Hindutva. While the party in power at the Centre cannot be directly accused, acts of those emboldened by the change in Delhi, point to a frightening-fueling of reactionary sentiments. Unabated lynchings remind us of what’s on offer if the owners of nationalism come back to power in 2019, which is the most plausible assumption considering the realities that look us in the eye.
To this grim reality, what does the opposition respond with? What moral ammunition does it bring to the discourse? To the dismay of many peace-loving Indians, the answers are no more than a bankrupt reactionary rhetoric and a shunting of reformist voices within the Muslim community; both equally dangerous. The left, on the other hand, is slipping into a quicksand of confusion and fast fading into irrelevance. Amidst losing the little support that remains, India’s grand old party’s unstated yet evident policy of outsourcing it’s ideology to the left, is a harbinger of a namesake, insignificant opposition era perpetuating for years to come.
A close look at the opposition’s last moment raising of concerns w.r.t. GST, and a fragile, uncalibrated response to Demonitisation-which in my view was a mixed bag — holds a mirror to its incapacity to draw any attention from those disgruntled by the economic decisions in question. Also, it is evident that the opposition’s secularism is no more than lip-service and anti-majoritarian hyperbole. If the opposition parties were truly secular, their reaction to AIMIM’s hooliganism in not allowing Taslima Nasrin to visit India, Mamata’s appeasement of the Wahabi radicals and many other Islamic fundamentalist acts should have been an unequivocal, vociferous condemnation. But, it wasn’t and there’s no surprise in it.
A truly secular society, ideally, would react to fundamentalism of every religion with unprejudiced words and actions that suggest a genuine concern. Unfortunately, we don’t have a single untainted political outfit in this nation, which to my mind, has been inherently accommodating. Despite many shortcomings, India has stood out from the world; partly for its religious tolerance, but mostly because of its sheer willingness to accept change.
To utter dismay of a mostly peaceful majority, their aggrieved voices are being flown into thin air. Their concerns are being dismissed with utter disdain by those who tom-tom the tolerance mantra. A nightmarish Hindu-Pakistan is the most foreseeable manifestation, if this disregard for the majority persists among the left, and if the support to violent Hindu-fringe persists among the right and the ultra-right, which unfortunately finds a significant voice in the party that claims to own definitions of patriotism.
A Crescendo of alarms are being unheeded is surely a sign of the dark days ahead. But a young India, diverse yet robust offers a glimmer of hope.