Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Agitations should not be aimed to tarnish the secular image of India


Amid a deadly pandemic, India witnessed unprecedented levels of agitations in the recent years. There is a scope for dissent and disagreement in a democratic establishment.  Multiple agitations sprung up on various issues in the country that invited international attention and intervention as well. An essential feeling of being arm twisted by a pressure group with its most delicate weapon, the religion, is the situation that the country is dealing with at present. There were instances of arm twisting in India in the past too.  The recent agitations in the streets of India are an exposition of how vulnerable can the idea of secularism in a democracy be when it comes to the unity of any particular community. Beginning from the streets of Udupi of Karnataka, the drama in the name of religious fundamental rights continued to stay in the eye of the storm across the country. Brouhaha went on for days to what the country witnessed during the CAA protest and other deliberate agitations that took place with the unscrupulous backing of the veiled liberals, intellectuals and a section of the media. Radicals came out in the open with the same victimhood narrative to grab exposure. Planting girls in the veils in the front, as usual, the same radical, liberal, left nexus with a deliberate homework and planning, executed what they wanted. The idea was to force the administration to kowtow, if not, at least to keep the issue burning to the extent of attracting the attention of the international agencies to jump in with secular narratives to teach India. This is just a trailer. The real show is anticipated. This is an experimentation and testimony of the unity, which in turn, is trying to shake the conscience of the rest of the population. The hijab rumpus gained ample support from the double standard politics, which frequently nibbles on to what they call a minority vote bank. A bigger game plan that has silently been hatched for months and executed in a well articulative manner; as it is possible in a country like India, where democratic values become the liability of the majority. To reiterate the reports, the whole game plan started with some girls, who from the minority community, made a beeline in tune with a right-wing student organisation by being a part of its rally, and subsequently got apprehended by the Campus Front of India cadre and convinced and canvassed to stay away from the right-wing. The cadre could further induce the girls to become instrumental in implementing its sinister agenda of disruption in the name of religious rights.

The allegation of discrimination of girls in hijab, which is reported to have begun in November 2021, could successfully be enhanced into the level and reach and attention that it gained today. It was not only the agenda that someone in the media alone would fan into flames, but the left-liberal lobby holding hands with the islamists could achieve it hiding behind the veils. As usual, narratives were fixed on religious rights. The fight appeared to be against an administration, blamed to have been audacious to challenge the religious rights of the citizens as enshrined in the constitution. The victim card that they play from the parliament to the public platforms and to the streets is straightforwardly supported by the lobby, who since 2014, has been jobless and out of the corridors of power. The agenda is to deliberately blow issues out of proportion and tarnish the secular image of the country internationally and lamentations of victimhood being played out to people across the country and outside. The easy way, according to them, is to catch the emotionally vulnerable groups such as farmers, women, students and the illiterate people from the economically backward communities. The intent is to create chaos and confusion hiding behind burning tyres and vehicles in the streets and systematically executing mob violence to mob lynching. Finding joy in creating anarchy in a country which in itself is a package of compulsions and complexities is a new normal. Religious, political, economic and social disparities shaking it day by day, the country is seen to be panting and wheezing heavily. Deliberate disruptions to test the bargaining power in a democratic setup by force and turning the judiciary into a mere scarecrow, the agenda is well administered by the lobby.

Jumping into conclusions and throwing a hat of support in haste in the pretext of constitutional validation will be a dangerous folly. Before doing anything of that kind, the whole theme of drama should be thoroughly gone through and understood as how all these events unfolded into an ugly storm. To become a sympathiser of the feminine rights to cover their head as a gesture of protecting their religious rights appears to be harmless. But the demonic intent behind it, surreptitiously planning to divide the country in the name of faith should not be easily neglected. It is easy to blindfold our eyes. But the reality will be so cruel by then, as we open our eyes, the values that this nation practiced and preserved for ages, accepting and accommodating all the diversities with open arms that had flown into its courtyard, will disappear forever, turning this into a dark space of radicalism. A patriarchal mechanism, capturing the market of spirituality in its fist, ordains its cohorts to believe what they enforce as right. Visuals from the lands of radicals are horrifying examples of a mind-set that the same patriarchy whitewashes in the name of faith. Staggeringly, religions show the audacity to go beyond the space of authority of the judiciary and dictate as to what a secular country such as India should follow. It is a start and a message that this impulse is sending, that the political parties who once joyfully nibbled on to the minority vote bank need to watch on as to how the emergence of a consolidation forming in the horizon, which would be fully communal in nature. All the parties who were seated in the lap of the minority vote bank with their pseudo secular double standard would be slowly evicted. Expect a new party emerging nationally to consolidate the cause of a particular community, stretching in all directions of the country, becoming a bargaining force in the days to come. Issues such as hijab, calibrated to that extent will flourish unboundedly gaining support. Everything that stands for being national will get communalized and disparaged. Perpetuating patriarchy to the extent of anarchy is the reality. That which is anti-national will gain acceptance and be rated as credible. Crying for the essence of being Indian will be ridiculed. Clergies will dictate as to what this country should run like. By choosing faith between faith and education, a generation is sending signals of radicalization. Reforms aiming a transformation leads to affluence and peace in the society.   Any faith for that matter, if reluctant to embrace reforms, would dangerously hit and collapse on the wall of modernity. Religions that walked on the path of reformation eradicating anomalies, would remain rejuvenated and continue to survive overcoming difficulties. Hinduism has always been open to reforms and probably this character of assimilating modernity must be the reason that it survived centuries of terrible invasions and their nasty effects. Christianity too made efforts to shed practices that they thought were obsolete to a modern atmosphere. Before fuelling violence in the name of faith, there should be independent reasoning on everything that creates distrust and unrest in the country. Creative reforms are indicators of peaceful coexistence.

(Author is freelance journalist and social worker based in Kerala. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at [email protected])

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