Friday, March 01, 2013
Theocracy Via Democracy
By Vidya Bhushan Rawat
Consolidation of ‘majority’ community after careful vilification of minorities at different places have resulted in massive mandates both at the Centre in 1985 as well as in Gujarat post 2002. Such trends are dangerous but continuously being used by political parties for their own purposes. India cannot afford to repeat them as it would only be at the cost of peace and stability of the country.
A fatal incident on this day exactly 11 years back in a nondescript town of Godhra in Gujarat changed the face of the state and misused by the ruling elite of the state for its political purposes. On February 27th, 2002, S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was burnt by the miscreants killing 59 innocent travellers in the train. It was a heinous crime which jolted everyone who listened and saw the eye witnessed account. After that what happened in Gujarat is a blot to the democratic governance anywhere in the world. It was said that that the Godhra’s carnage was instigated by the Muslims and hence the people had a right to ‘teach’ them a good lesson. For days the state of Gujarat forgot its ‘rajdharma’ and allowed the anti-social communal elements solidly supported by the state and its administration to butcher and kill Muslims all over the state.
The state machinery abdicated its responsibility to act as a protector for all the people living in the state irrespective of their religion. Instead, its leader had a field day, vilifying Muslims and instigating the goons and thugs of the Hindutva variety. In the next fortnight we saw the worst kind of slaughtering of innocent people in Gujarat with active participation of the state authorities in connivance with the political thugs who were out rightly spreading hatred for their political gains.
Over three thousand Muslims were killed in the so-called ‘communal riots’ which were nothing but organized pogroms by the state. Gujarat state was systematically isolating Muslims and the power elite there communalized the entire operation. The relief camps tell the story of the fear in the minds of Muslims. The goons were given political protection and some of them became Ministers too but since they were so called upper caste Hindus hence nothing matter. Contrary to this, Muslims were targeted by the police and arrested for reacting.
There is no doubt that the incident of Godhra was carnage of innocent people yet it is the duty of the state to investigate the incident impartially and protect the people. You cannot allow the Muslims of Ahemedbad, Baroda, Bharuch and elsewhere to be killed by the religious thugs in the name of ‘retaliation’ for the Godhra carnage. It is sad that the Indian state has allowed itself to be hijacked and communalized by such majoritarian tendencies where any crime committed by a criminal belonging to minority community is painted as the ‘activity’ and ‘thought’ of the community and hence to ‘rectify’ the champions of ‘Hindu nationalism’ must take to street and teach them a lesson. Gujarat incident of a communalized state is not the only one in the history of India but it continues with our selective targeting and leakages of the information through media to vitiate the atmosphere. Prior to Gujarat we saw the state managed pogrom of Sikhs in Delhi in the aftermath of her assassination by those who happened to be Sikhs. The goons this time belong to the Congress Party but in their faith and belief they were not different than the thugs of Gujarat who killed Muslims in the Post Godhra carnage. For years, every Sikh in Delhi had to bear the brunt of being a ‘terrorist’ and traitor who felt happy when ‘Indira Gandhi was assassinated’.
For years the majoritarian tendencies find ways to violently oppose the assertion of the minorities and marginalized and tag them. The duty of a secular state is to handle these issues with great sensitivity and utmost impartiality. But in these cases and later on many other occasions, Indian state actually turned out to be a Hindu state which has to ‘honor’ the sensitivity of the ‘upper castes’ but react violently to the reactions and assertions of minorities and marginalized. One can compare these things with violence against Muslims in the aftermath of Ayodhya demolition in 1992. There have been communal disturbances in different parts of the country including Mumbai but the perpetrators of these riots only got legitimacy through manipulating our electoral system. The so called majority people got power and prestige and legitimized their anger in the name of ‘national’ ‘sentiments’ or people’s consciousness but our jails were filled with Muslim youths in the name of terrorism.
It is shocking what our home minister admitted in parliament the other day replying to question raised by some of the members of parliaments such as