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Secularism's rage boys

Secularism's rage boys

Author: Balbir K. Punj
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: December 11, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/221903/Secularism%E2%80%99s-rage-boys.html

The dormant Ram Janmabhoomi issue is back in the limelight thanks to the Liberhan Commission's report. The report will of course be long remembered for its howlers and contradictions. But it has also brought into focus the warts that continue to distort the face of ageless, pluralistic Indian society in the name of 'secularism'.

For 'secularists', December 6, 1992, the day the disputed Babri structure was brought down by frenzied kar sevaks, was truly the darkest day in the history of independent India. The State Governments run by the BJP were sacked. Several Sangh Parivar organisations such as the RSS, the VHP and the Bajrang Dal were banned. Pulling down of a 500-year-old decrepit structure was, and still is, equated with the collapse of rule of law, rape of the Constitution and crumbling of the Indian secular edifice.

This contrived view of secularism was amply visible during the debate on the Liberhan Commission's report in the two Houses of Parliament. The gist of the passionate arguments put forward was that the demolition of the disputed structure was in fact demolition of all that is noble in Indian society.

Why are such hysterical responses reserved only for issues such as the demolition of the Babri structure, which appeal only to fundamentalist sections of the Muslim community? The rest of the problems plaguing the country are either met with deafening silence or at best muted responses on the part of the 'secularists'.

India, since independence, has seen many gloomy moments. In 1962 we suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Chinese. One section of the 'secularists' (Jawaharlal Nehru and his Defence Minister Krishna Menon) let the country down through their sins of omission. First, the Nehru-Menon duo ignored all the warning signs about China's aggressive designs. The Army was deliberately deprived of proper arms and equipment. On the other hand, the other set of 'secularists' (read Communists) extended the invading Chinese their welcome and support.

Indian history is replete with such sordid examples. Mrs Indira Gandhi, with the help of the CPI, sought to extinguish the flame of democracy by promulgating Emergency in 1975 in the wake of an adverse judgement by the Allahabad High Court. Lakhs of innocent civilians were jailed and tortured. The Emergency, which lasted for 19 months, remains a blot on Indian democracy.

One of the most shameful chapters in our country's recent history is the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits and the destruction of numerous Hindu temples in the Kashmir Valley at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists. More than two decades have passed since the beginning of militancy in the Valley but half-a-million Pandits continue to be refugees in their own country. Nothing tangible has been done to rehabilitate them in their homeland. Could there be anything more scandalous?

Over two crore Bangladeshi Muslims have infiltrated into India over the past three decades. Barring a few deportations, all of them have made themselves comfortable and most of them have even managed to register themselves as Indian voters. As a result, the demographic character of several parts of the country has undergone a sea change. Does this "demographic invasion" (to quote from an Assam High Court judgement) prick the conscience of our 'secularists'? Is it not disgraceful that foreigners have a say in electing our members of Parliament and legislatures?

Maoists, financed, trained and inspired by the Chinese, with the help of self-styled civil society activists, are holding seven Indian States to ransom. Apart from carrying on with their senseless violence (including Taliban-style beheadings), they have managed to put all development activities on hold in the areas under their control. The poor, in whose name they claim to operate, are the worst sufferers. They are running an anarchic state within the Indian state. A part of the establishment has no shame in joining hands with such elements for political expediency. Are they embarrassed about their anti-national conduct?

For the last decade, Chinese-inspired terrorists groups have been calling the shots in Manipur and have nearly succeeded in alienating a State of 24 lakhs from the Indian mainstream. Mr Okram Ibobi Singh, the Congress Chief Minister of the State for the last seven years, has been charged by the Army of making heavy cash contributions to the separatists as a part of his private 'peace' arrangement. The writ of the terror outfits runs to such an extent that even the singing of the National Anthem and the National Song and the use of Hindi have been banished from the State. Has any 'secularist' expressed any remorse or concern over this reprehensible development?

Kerala and several other parts of India have fallen victim to what is being termed as 'Love Jihad'. Young Muslim men, fired by religious zeal and funded by Saudi money, are enticing young Hindu and Christian girls. Lured by the allure of a flashy lifestyle (which is used as bait), the innocent women fall in 'love', convert to Islam and end up as slaves of the terrorists. Last Wednesday, a Kerala High Court judgement brought out the details of this racket and called upon civil society and the Government to act immediately. Did one hear any echo of this scandal either in the media or in Parliament?

The list of such shocking instances where India has been put to shame is endless. It is borne out of divisive politics of minority versus majority which the Congress and other 'secular' parties practice.

The innate fear of the Hindu community among Muslims, which is fanned by a certain section of the Indian polity, has created congenial conditions for fundamentalist ideas to take root and grow. If a section of the Muslim community has gone on to embrace terrorism, should not the Congress accept part of the blame for following divisive politics?

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