DELUDED: The elite liberals in the country have been disproved. The Modi victory is a clear sign that the idea of India has changed from a secular republic to a Hindu dominated country in the last five years. (In pic: The Khan market in Delhi continues to be the country’s most expensive retail location)
BY RAJAN NARAYAN
Whatever excuses the liberals and the liberal media, including Goan Observer, may offer, the fact remains that Narendra Modi’s BJP has improved on its performance, securing more than 300 seats on his own. Which means that over 70% of the country has voted for BJP. This is not possible by EVM tampering or money and muscle power alone. We have to accept the fact that Hindus are asserting themselves and ensure that they are not converted into fundamentalists. India is Hindustan, not Hindutva!
I and most liberals whom Modi described as the Khan market set, grew up in the strong belief that India was, is, and will continue to be a Social Democratic Republic. Indeed, in the Constitution India is defined as a Social Democratic Republic. What does this mean for the citizens and voters in the country?
Under the Constitution it means freedom to worship whichever god you wish to. It includes the freedom to eat whatever meat you want to — goat, buffalo, chicken, pork or even a meat of the ‘holy’ cow — although traditionally Hindus have avoided beef and Muslims have avoided pork. The main conflict is over beef. Neither Hindu gau rakshaks nor Muslim fundamentalists have objected to the eating of pork. If you go to the Club Vasco in Goa you will find people of all religion, including many Hindus and Muslims, having sausage pav along with their drinks.
Our Constitution promises freedom of expression. What does it mean? It means a citizen cannot be arrested for forwarding a photoshopped image of Smriti Irani after she won the election. Or a cartoonist can’t be put in jail because he made fun of BJP leaders who insisted that a Muslim leader should end his speech with Vande Mataram.
The Constitution guarantees freedom of movement. Which means that nobody within India is bhaile. This is important because in Assam the BJP government has created a registry of citizens. Part of the reason why this was done was because a lot of Bangladeshis, both Muslim and Hindu, have crossed the border into Assam. In violation of the right to equality and freedom of movement the BJP is throwing out the Muslims and is retaining only the Hindus so that Assam will be a Hindutva state. The primary reason why Mamata Banerjee suffered such a severe setback in West Bengal was because of the polarization of the state along communal lines.
What are the reasons behind the Modi earthquake which has converted a Secular Democratic Republic into a Hindutva state? Social media and sections of the press still committed to democracy and secularism, offer many excuses. Among the main reasons attributed for the victory of Modi is that the EVMs were rigged and the Election Commission (EC) was biased. It is the matter of record that one of the three election commissioners, Ashok Lavasiya, did not approve of the blind eye turned by the EC to breaches of code of conduct by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. There are also reports that EVM machines were substituted.
In our own Goa we have reports of members of the minority community being offered a bribe not to vote. Datta Prasad, who was the general secretary of the BJP, reportedly stopped a member of the minority community and sent her back saying that he would pay her `10,000 not to vote. There is of course a lot of manipulation and fake news in the social media. The BJP, which was the first party to use social media as a weapon in the 2014 elections, has become expert at it and can monitor its performance and trends right to the election booth level.
But the most interesting story on social media is how the BJP used Amazon and Flipkart in a big way to bribe voters. Bribing voters has become much easier with online shopping. You want to give a family with a lot of votes a washing machine or even a flat TV? Order it on Amazon and no one will suspect the delivery boy as an agent of a BJP. Even packets of money can be sent through a courier. It is claimed that the BJP set up fake courier companies in many parts of the country, particularly Amethi, Rahul Gandhi’s constituency, to bribe voters. It makes no sense that Rahul, who has been winning the constituency in the last three years by a large margin, should suddenly lose to Smriti Irani in Amethi which has been nursed by Priyanka Gandhi.
If Rahul is such an unpopular person, how did he win by over 4 lakh votes in Wayanad in Kerala? The simple answer of course may be that UP is controlled by Swami Yogi Adityanath of the BJP and Kerala is a Congress state. It is also alleged that the Modi gang has terrorized Muslims in the name of gau rakshaks. In fact two days after the results were announced another case of violence related to gau rakshaks was reported in UP where a Muslim was assaulted for transporting beef.
A major factor in the massive victory of the BJP is claimed to be his appeal to the nationalist sentiment. In other words the people of India see Modi as the only person who can defend the country against Pakistan. Right from the beginning of the campaign the BJP has been speaking about the tough leader who will protect the country. A leader who has the will to order surgical strikes. A leader who has the determination to order the air force to stick to its schedule even though the weather was bad and the air force suggested it was not the right day for an attack. Modi who apparently has become an expert on weather, claims he told the air force that it was good there were clouds as the Indian fighter aircraft could escape Pakistani radar. Never mind that this made him sound like a joker. It is entirely possible that the poor and the illiterate who constitute 70% of the population actually believe in Modi’s cloud theory.
Let us not forget that the minorities which include the Muslims and Catholics account for only 16% of the population. Of this the Muslims account for 14% and the Catholics less than 2% of the population. Electorally they are a problem because they are concentrated in some areas. UP for instance has a large Muslim population which comprises almost 30% of the voters. Which is why Swami Aditiyanath has been frightening Muslims into not voting and staying silent about the atrocities of gau rakshaks. Nobody of course cares about the Catholics but in Goa they are very important as they account for about 25% of the population. If Sardinha won from South Goa it is because Salcete taluka, which accounts for half the Parliamentary votes, is 80% Catholic.
It may be unfair but the perception is that the poor Muslims and perhaps even Catholics do not follow family planning as much as other communities. That is part of the propaganda against Muslims in states like UP with “hum panch, hamara pachpan” repeated again and again with reference to Muslims. It is also a fact that during the virtually 60 years of Congress rule, the government favoured the Muslims. Perhaps the ban on the triple talaq would have not been passed in Parliament if the Congress had been power.
But if nationalism is the primary reason why Modi not only came back to power but returned with a larger margin, why did the BJP lose in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In Tamil Nadu the DMK won 27 of the 30 seats with the remaining going to the Congress. Similarly, in Congress-ruled Kerala it was a clean sweep for the Congress and the BJP did not get a single seat. Are the people of Tamil Nadu and Kerala less patriotic than the rest of the country? Are the people of Punjab, where the BJP fared badly in a Congress-ruled state less nationalistic than the people of the states where the BJP won?
What seems to have happened is that during the last five years that they have been in power the BJP has changed the idea of India in the heartland from that of a secular, democratic State to a Hindu state. The BJP would like all Muslims and Christian to call themselves Hindu-Muslims and Hindu-Christians as the former deputy CM of Goa Francis D’Souza called himself. The idea is to force them to acknowledge that India is primarily is a Hindu state. That the minorities, primarily the Muslims, should admit and acknowledge that India is a Hindu state. That they cannot demand but can only request. That the minorities are less equal citizens of the democratic republic of India.
We cannot give up the fight. In fact we have to fight even harder if we want to preserve democracy in the country. The day after Modi’s victory he declared that minorities are part of the country, that they would get equal treatment and that he would not tolerate any violence or discrimination against them. We do not know whether he means it or not. It is for us to force him to protect and preserve the Constitutional right of equality of all faiths in the country. We have to acknowledge that there is a change in the mindset of the country that the Hindu majority has started asserting themselves and we have to ensure that Goa does not become another Nazi dictatorship.