Sunday, April 27, 2014

Aakar Patel: Hatred and Hindutva // MARI MARCEL THEKAEKARA: True Beginning Of Our End

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Pravin Togadia has said things that threw the Narendra Modi narrative off, but only for a couple of days. Togadia gave a neighbourhood gathering in Bhavnagar a few tips on how to get rid of a Dawoodi Bohra who bought a property in their area. One way was to do what had been done in others parts of Gujarat, which is to declare the area disturbed. The other way was just to muscle in and kick the occupants out. They could be kept out, Togadia said, through fear, and this was done with the help of the Bajrang Dal, the lumpen end of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Togadia said the offended neighbourhood could also create the atmosphere of a riot which would compel the government to take their side. And they could harass the Muslims by spitting on them and pelting them with tomatoes. There was outrage in the media when the video was shown, and the Election Commission, which governs India in this period, asked the police to act against him. Modi condemned Togadia obliquely, by tweeting: "Petty statements by those claiming to be BJP’s well wishers are deviating the campaign from the issues of development & good governance."

This was good and decent of Modi, though I wish he had been explicit about who he was condemning and for what. It is not the throwing off of his campaign that he should have been concerned about but the fact that such a thing had been said. But more about that later. The history of these two men, Togadia and Modi, is that both were rising at the same time. Togadia is Modi’s junior in the RSS in terms of age but at one point, during the heat of the Babri Masjid campaign, Togadia was a bigger national figure than Modi. His thuggish manner (Google his name to see how many times he has got himself into trouble – and gotten away – by doing exactly the sort of thing he did last week) kept him in the headlines.

This changed after 2001 when Modi became chief minister, and particularly after 2002, when Modi became the Hindutva hero. Togadia is from the powerful Patel community, who is the primary voter of the BJP in Gujarat, and its primary donor and supporter among expatriate Indians. This is why the majority of BJP ministers in Gujarat have been Patels. Today the leader of the Patel community is indisputably Modi, who is not a Patel but represents their aspirations best. The rivalry between the two ended long ago, and today Togadia is, as Modi said, merely an irritant.


I’m interested in talking about something else, which Modi did not tweet about. What sort of state in India has two decades of Hindutva rule produced where it is easy for Togadia to say what he did in a public gathering? What does it say about Gujaratis in the rule of Modi that they do not want as their neighbour a Bohra, one of the most peaceful and most enterprising of all Gujarati communities, because he is also Muslim?

Why did that neighbourhood in Bhavnagar feel so offended at a Muslim living next to them, that they applauded Togadia’s insane advice? This is the issue Modi should have addressed instead of his banal tweet expressing irritation that his campaign narrative was being inconvenienced. These things Togadia said are exactly in line with the values the RSS spreads and which Modi himself spread in his decades in that body in Ahmedabad. It was Modi who called Muslim families ‘Hum paanch, hamare pachchees’. What happened to his pitch of development and good governance at that time? He can hardly disown Togadia now only because he doesn’t want the spotlight away from him. What Togadia said and did is merely reaping the hatred that Modi himself has helped sow.

Why did that neighbourhood in Bhavnagar feel so offended at a Muslim living next to them, that they applauded Togadia’s insane advice? This is the issue Modi should have addressed instead of his banal tweet expressing irritation that his campaign narrative was being inconvenienced. These things Togadia said are exactly in line with the values the RSS spreads and which Modi himself spread in his decades in that body in Ahmedabad. It was Modi who called Muslim families ‘Hum paanch, hamare pachchees’. What happened to his pitch of development and good governance at that time? He can hardly disown Togadia now only because he doesn’t want the spotlight away from him. What Togadia said and did is merely reaping the hatred that Modi himself has helped sow.

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/hatred-and-hindutva-togadia-is-as-modi-said-merely-an-irritant-1499181.html



MARI MARCEL THEKAEKARA: True Beginning Of Our End
Our school books carried a mantra on the very first page, ‘India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and my sisters. I love my country. I am proud of its rich and varied heritage.’ A mantra that led us to believe in earnest that indeed all Indians—Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Sikh—are our brothers and sisters.

I wonder now, will secularism soon become a dirty word in India? It’s frightening how by saying something crass loud enough and often enough, a small coterie can succeed in drowning out all sane voices just by virtue of their bombast and by tedious repetition. It happened in Nazi Germany. Repeating a lie often enough can change the discourse, obliterate the truth. Till you are left confused and stunned by the new reality. The new manufactured truth. Noam Chomsky talked about ‘manu­facturing consent’ or media and market forces combining to successfully change the truth. This seems to be happening in the secularism-communalism debate.

I’m referring, of course, to the divisive forces seeking to drown out the reasonable ones by calling them anti-Hindu. With a name like mine, I wondered if I would be taken seriously as a writer, fighting with mere words, a quixotic battle for India’s future. For our children and grandchildren and future generations. Often enough I’ve had abuse thrown at me on my regular blog, of the ‘go back to Rome’ variety.

I’m not merely outraged and angry. I’m livid. I have never felt like a minority in India. Never felt the need to cry foul. Never been remotely interested in fleeing to the West for ‘better opportunities’ as was the trend from the ’70s onwards. Yet when some rabid politician asks me and ‘my sort’ to go to Pakistan or Rome, it’s time to talk back. I’m not good in a shouting match. But at least I can write.

My children grew up in an extended Hindu family. My grandfather was a Kurup from Kozhikode. But do I need, at this point, to wave these credentials in order to be listened to? I hope not. We, India’s Christians and Muslims, Parsis and Jains, Jews and Sikhs, are but a minuscule percentage of the vast population of like-minded Hindus, who have voted out the BJP. And yes, let’s say it out loud, the alliance of bullies, who, emb­oldened by a perceived electoral victory, are crawling out once again, to threaten to evict Muslims from their homes or deport all dissenters to Pakistan. Note, not dissenters to the Constitution or the law of the land—but dissenters to one man—Modi! Only Hindu­tva forces, to me the antithesis of pure Hinduism, are allowed to stay. So all the Hindus who don’t agree with Modi, the RSS, the BJP and the Hindutva they propound are advised to pack up and get ready to leave... 
read more:
http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?290454