As it happens, the world observed ‘Mental Disorder day’ just some days ago – on October 10th.
Within 15 days, we have been seeing plenty of evidence of mass mental disorders being exhibited in India: just witness the hysterical way so many are reacting to Amir Khan’s interview; which if viewed in its totality has nothing anyone should get uptight about! It is an even harsher encore of what was meted out to Shahrukh Khan last month when he spoke the dreaded word – intolerant.
What are all these protestors and severe critics of Amir, mostly BJP leaders, and their supporters, denouncing exactly? (And some more extreme ones going to the extent of cancelling the download of a e commerce portal just because Amir is part of their ad campaign!)
That Amir’s wife just asked him if their family should move to another country in view of the scary, intolerant attitude towards not just minorities but Artists and creative people too?
Amir mentioned this private conversation between them and qualified it as saying ” it was a disastrous statement coming from his wife”… he did not say they were seriously thinking of doing it or even that his wife’s mind was made up about it.
Compare this to so some celebrities threatening to leave the country for a petty thing like a flyover being built in front of their building – Asha and Lata sisters.
One doesn’t remember THEM being denounced half as harshly!
Do you see the Bipolar Disorder being exhibited here? Amir Khan is being castigated because his wife did some loud thinking of leaving India and settling abroad. But if Amir and his family leave India for good they would become NRIs wouldn’t they? And this is one group that PM Modi is wooing most ardently! His honeymoon period with Indians in India may have ended long ago, but this love story between him and the Indian diaspora grows in strength day by day.
So according to all Amir critics who flay him, and wife Kiran, for even thinking of leaving India, are all NRIs unpatriotic and traitors? Then why does Modi love them so much?
See how they descend to mass hysteria when anyone even talks about eating ‘beef’ let alone indulging in the act? Just remember the ink blackened face of a J&K MLA, and even if you don’t think of Dadri ( since it ‘happened in UP’ ) think of what happened at the Jaipur Art fest two days ago when some Artists tried to send forth a message in sympathy of the cow? They were kicked and pushed and dragged to the police station, without any cause being shown for it. The ‘Holy Cow’ has become truly the mascot of their aspirations to design an ‘India’ to their blue print. Which is a difficult, if not impossible act, and this is where the frustrations and the hysteria stems from.
The country they have inherited is not of their making
That is the simple crux of the whole problem they face today – and every time they come to power.
Just think back to India’s ‘modern history’. Who was at the forefront of India’s freedom struggle? No one can deny it was the Congress party. Who were the two most revered figures of the country in 1947? Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru… the Nehru legacy came down from Motilal Nehru’s name, who is a legend even today… think of Delhi and you think of ‘Motilal Nehru Marg’.
Go even before that, to India’s first ‘war of independence’ in 1857. The name that crops up is that of Bahadur Shah Zafar the last Mogul, who was declared the Emperor of India by the mutineers unanimously. There were many other Muslims like Mufti Nizammudin, Bakht Khan and Walidad Khan who fought valiantly and opposed the British very vociferously. And paid with their lives for it. There was one Pune Brahmin who also contributed to this movement: Nanasaheb Peshwa, son of Bajirao and Kashibai, but for some strange reason he has never been ‘claimed’ by the Hindutva brigade.
The role many Muslims played in the Freedom movement in the 1900s, that eventually got us independence, is also well documented. Most of them were with the Congress party, which eventually gave this party its ‘secular’ or let’s call it ‘multi religion’ flavour.
This is the party that overwhelmingly won the first elections post independence and formed the first government(s). It was this government that guided the nation’s destiny in those crucial first years and contributed a lion’s share to all that followed – including the making of the Indian Constitution.
It is also an unhappy fact that in those same early years the RSS and Hindu parties were looked upon as ‘radical’ elements and became more out of sync with national sentiment after Gandhi was assassinated by one of them.
So it is a no brainer that their contribution to forming the Constitution and charting the course for our nation’s growth was negligible.
Unfortunately for the BJP government now, it is this constitution they have inherited and are sworn to abide by.
Whereas, the RSS “Vision document” for Bharat is very different – and this would most certainly have been our constitution if their swayamsevaks had been at the forefront of our struggle for independence.
It is this, dilemma that leads to all the confusion and the fact that we get leaders, Ministers etc. who speak in ‘two languages’.
Their heart lies in one place, their head tells them they have to adhere to what they have sworn to follow.
This discomfort of the ruling party was highlighted at the debate on the Indian constitution that the Winter session of Parliament began with yesterday. What was supposed to have set the tone for the Modi led government and opposition working harmoniously to have crucial bills passed ended in acrimony, with Home Minister Rajnath Singh setting the tone and tenor of it, much to Modi’s obvious discomfort.
Rajnath Singh’s starting volleys prompted Sonia Gandhi to make the following statement –
“People who never had faith in the Constitution, nor had they participated in its drafting, are now swearing by it and are laying claim to it. They are now having a discussion on commitment to it. There cannot be a bigger joke than this,” Sonia retorted.
In a way, sarcastic as her tone was, she had put her finger on BJP’s source of discomfort.
She went on to rub it in by saying – “on the morning of 26 November 1949, when the Constitution was formally adopted, Dr Rajendra Prasad complimented Ambedkar by saying there could not have been a better chief for the drafting committee”.
She pointed out that Nehru was among the four stalwarts who guided the committee — the other three were Prasad, Sardar Patel and Maulana Azad. Of the eight committees of the drafting committee, the chairmen were either Nehru, Patel or Prasad. Azad was a prominent member of five of these committees. Sonia said ” the history of the Constitution, is very old and linked to the country’s freedom struggle and that it why it is interlinked with the Congress”.
A point that how ever hard they tried the BJP MPs could not negate.
What is the way out of this quagmire?
It should have been easy. It should have been apparent that Modi came to power riding on one and one promise only – the Development plank. He made promises like ” sab ka saath, sab ka vikas”. But clearly for the ‘Masters’ this was NOT the main agenda of the ” first Hindu government that has come to power after centuries of Rule by Muslims and then Christians”. It was to establish a ‘Hindu country’.
Naturally minorities were alarmed, but that was to be expected. They calculated that since Hindus are a majority in India, this agenda would be appreciated and endorsed. To their utter surprise it was opposed – even by many Hindus! They are trying hard to spread the RSS base to every nook and corner of the country, and succeeded upto an extent, but even now hardly have any presence in rural areas. The reason is simple – most Brahmins have moved out of villages now ( at least in Maharashtra) and you do still need the upper caste cadre to run it. That is one main reason it hasn’t been accepted by many Hindus and thus their desperate attempt to claim Ambedkar for their own.
Politics savvy as Indian public is, many have seen through the grand design of ‘restructuring the state’ to RSS ideals. A movement has already begun to take shape opposing this ‘saffronisation’ which is spearheaded by Dalit leaders and Communists. (As observers may have noticed, ‘leftists’ has become almost a swear word with ruling party politicians now). To BJP’s alarm even the beleaguered third front is getting revived and succeeded in Bihar.
Not just the caste, the state and language divide in our Majority religion was brought out by the arguments between BJP MPs and Opposition in Parliament. To a statement of Rajnath Singh, Opposition leader Kharge shouted out In the heated exchange of words, “Ambedkar and we are from this country. Aryans (referring to the Hindi heartland) came from outside. We are the original inhabitants of this land. Despite facing insults for 5,000 years, we have been here and we continue to live in this country.”
It remains to be seen whose side History and posterity will be on…
… Sunita Mudaliar Associate Editor