There is a political organization in our country (driven by a fundamentalist ideology) which has been in power for sometime now. It talked about ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas’ (Support for all, Development for all) but has fallen woefully short on both counts.
There is no point in talking about development because our economy is riddled with very serious problems after five and half years of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s rule. Be it the sliding GDP numbers, the astronomical rise in Non-Performing Assets (NPA), the horrifying economic disaster a.k.a. Demonetisation, the shockingly ill-thought of and abysmally implemented Goods and Services Tax (GST) – a system that led to a drastic fall in tax collections, the unimaginably level of high job losses which were not seen in the past 45 years (whereas our Prime Minister had promised two crore new jobs every year) and so on. Since I am not an economist, I am only referring to the news reports and data present in the public domain.
Now let’s talk about their promise of ‘support for all’. First, that ‘All’ does not include Muslims. And Second, a promise like this was never meant to be fulfilled because many members and supporters of this political party (who are wrongly categorized as fringe elements because they actively drive the party’s decision-making process) do not believe in supporting, or even considering Muslims, as citizens of this country (or even as people). Some of those members even want our country to be free of Islam.
If you think I am exaggerating, then you better hear it from the horse’s mouth.
The promise of prosperity replaced by the reality of bigotry
Their top leadership could not have expressed their vitriol towards Muslims so openly. Back in 2012, when they started their campaign for the upcoming elections, they had to mask their hatred for Muslims to have any chance of winning a majority in the parliament.
So they came up with a better mask, one that would be acceptable to all, and they called it development. They bandied around the supposedly astounding record of their Prime Ministerial candidate, who was the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, as a proof that he is exactly what our country needs. The massacre of Godhra was conveniently forgotten by one and all as voters made a decisive choice in his favor.
They also had to avoid bashing Muslims so openly because of India’s relations with the Arab nations (who themselves are no angels and have done more harm to the followers of Islam than anyone else).
Power reveals your true nature
But if one thought that BJP would reform itself after forming the government, they were proven wrong by the ever-increasing cases of lynchings in the name of cows and an alarming rise in hate speeches. Although there are countless examples, I would suggest that you watch videos like this to gauge the extent of what the Indian people, especially Indian Muslims, are dealing with.
The recent legislation of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) and the proposed legislation of the National Population Register (NPR) and its big brother i.e. the National Register of Citizens (NRC) have brought the animosity that BJP has towards the Muslims out in the open. From the Prime Minister’s veiled reference towards Muslims by his shockingly communal and blatantly inaccurate statement of identifying protestors by their clothes to the polarizing slogans being raised by members of BJP inciting mob violence to the even more abhorrent and prejudiced behavior being displayed by ministers belonging to the party, it is clear that knives and swords are out in the open and they are specifically looking to target members of a particular community.
Hatred has limited dividends
BJP is promoting this divisive agenda against a particular community for two reasons. First, most of their members, including the top management of the party, endorses this hatred. As we have seen above, their loathing of Muslims is limitless and they will use every possible means (from demonizing them to spreading misinformation through a pliant and supine news media) to manipulate our citizens to accept that idea. And their project has succeeded in some ways. Many of their supporters and sympathizers have been polarized and converted into a hate-spewing mob who sees Muslims as the reasons for all that is wrong in our country.
And Second, this kind of communal propaganda has won them several elections in the past few years. But like everything, propaganda also has an expiry date. The recent defeats in state elections and the massive protests that are ongoing against the divisive trio of CAA, NPR and NRC have proved that our government has met its match in the form of a defiant public who is unwilling to back down and is unafraid to show them the mirror. All of this is taking place in spite the unfathomable cruelty being displayed by the police and the excessively restrictive measures being taken by the government in the form of internet shutdowns and curfews in various parts of the country.
It is time for the BJP and its decision-makers to either step back and contemplate or face a barrage of protests from the very people who had elected them.
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