Millennium Post

Communal means to violent ends

Even as the Congress-led UPA tries to go on a ‘legislative overdrive’, trying to fit in the Communal Violence Bill in the winter session of Parliament, Rahul Gandhi fumbles again with his ill-delivered speech in which he contends that some of the Muslim youths in Muzaffarnagar were contacted by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency. The Gandhi scion’s nth faux pas, especially after his comment that the poor in India need the ‘escape velocity of Jupiter’ to get out of poverty trap, comes in poor taste, especially since the UPA is trying hard to sell the plank of secularism to its increasingly disenchanted supporters and uncertain voters alike. Rahul’s latest fiasco indicates that he has little else to offer beyond the usual harpings on his dynastic connections and family sacrifices. Rahul’s immature remark has rightly enraged not just the Muslim brethren in the riot-ravaged UP, but in fact has managed to irk the traditional Congress allies, who have been left gasping for political air after their purported face of alliance blundered his way into the battlefield of rallies and rhetoric. Essentially, the latest gaffe on the part of Congress vice-president points yet another finger at the escalating panic within the UPA camp that is losing out on the conventional Muslim vote base with ill-conceived statements that fare no better than Narendra Modi’s notorious ‘burqa of secularism’ and ‘puppy’ analogies, equally obnoxious in the crassness of their sound and ostentatious in the basis of their claims of speaking for the Indian majority.

Evidently, both the Congress-led UPA and the main opposition BJP, among other political formations, have left no stone unturned to give every tragedy, a strong communal colour, despite adopting varied stances to the deeply unfortunate and avoidable incidents. While Rahul seemingly has put the ‘patriotism of Muslims’ in the dock, Narendra Modi has reduced them to subhuman entities, who are, habitually and naturally, at the receiving end of the social spectrum. Both the Congress and the BJP have been browbeating the other into rhetorical submission, displaying a shocking insolence by acutely personalising the poll campaigns in the run up to the assembly and general elections.

Name-calling and ad hominem attacks have become routine features, with Congress depicting Modi as maut ka saudagar and BJP positioning Rahul as a shehzada born with a silver spoon massively disconnected from ground realities. What remains constant in this theatre of rabid communalisation, to paraphrase a major television journalist, is the political narrative of terror. While the so-called secular parties, including Congress, among others, blame the saffron camp for polarising the elections and dividing the country along religious fault lines, the opposition, led by the BJP, would accuse the UPA dispensation and others for barefaced ‘minority appeasement.’ To quote a recent New York Times edit piece, Modi is a ‘divisive technocrat with a disturbing record of intolerance’, while Rahul is nothing but the  ‘inexperienced scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family.’ Evidently, the violence over communalism does not only come from the blasts and riots that take a toll on the national well being, but also, more grievously, from our ill-thinking leaders whose chief aim is to reach or retain the seat of power.
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