Watch out for the deeper game plan
By Faraz Ahmad
Jyoti Punwani (The Hindu, September 19, 2013) has hit the nail on the head today asking what if Muslims for Narendra Modi’s Jaipur rally had not turned up in their traditional skull caps and their women in the burqa (veil)?
As she pointed out, Muslims have had to bear the brunt of discrimination and being singled out because of their skull caps, their beards and the veils of their womenfolk, be it Bal Thackeray in Mahashtra/Bombay or our latest PM aspirant Narendrabhai Damodardas Modi. Bal Thackeray poured venom on Muslims, specially mentioning ‘Dadhi, Topi and Burqa’ describing all such beings as traitorous Pakistanis and singled them out for atrocities during the Dedcember 1992/January 1993 anti-Muslim pogrom in Bombay.
In his public speeches Modi has identified Muslims with Pakistan by subtly calling them ‘Mian Musharraf.’ In his last Sadbhvna Mission fair of 2011, ostensibly to extend a friendly hand to Muslims, he made a big show of inviting Muslims but when a Muslim made a gesture of offering him a skull cap, he immediately resiled in full public view. Yet in the Gujarat Assembly elections the BJP claimed that a good section of Muslims voted for the same Modi!. It defies logic, but there has been no attempt by the TV channels running Modi campaign day in and day out to explain how come even after that open show of disdain for the Mian variety, the Mians developed an inexplicable love for the Butcher of 2002?
Thankfully for Modi no opposition exists in his state. The official opposition, the Congress party in Gujarat, is in tatters and so badly fragmented that it behaves more as His Majesty’s (read Modi) Loyal Opposition what with the Ahmed Patels and C P Joshis, all beholden to Modi’s biggest corporate strength, Mukeshbhai Ambani.
Only the other day while addressing a rally in Pune, Modi hit out at Muslim women’s Burqa evoking a very note worthy derisive full throated laughter from the Sanghi audience listening to him attentively. Modi’s strength is his derision of Muslims, with the epithets Paanch, Pachis (they are five and produce 25). Only the highly communalised Sanghi or closet Sanghi variety can possibly fall for Modi and I am not too sure about all of them either. Still suddenly there is this great rush to buy Topis, Dadhis and Burqas for the Muslims, make them wear these pointedly and then make them sit in the front row for the TV cameras to sharply focus on them and thus create the impression that a good section if not all Muslims have accepted Modi and he is no more perceived as a divisive figure as Arun Jaitely has tried to convince us recently in the Indian Express Idea Exchange programme that Modi as PM would be different from Modi the Gujarat CM. Ah well!
The Indian Express also carried a five column story yesterday about Modi’s Sadbhavana mission of Tuesday, his birthday inviting 2,200 Muslims, (how did the Express reporter know the exact numbers?) all with Topi and Dadhi coming all the way to Gandhinagar Town Hall to greet Modi on his birthday and having forgiven Modi. Modi too hinted why like Hitler, he is making a pretence of a public gesture towards the Topiwallas, because he announced that “The next general elections are perhaps the most awaited general elections in the history of India.” The Express report clearly pronounced that the Muslims are anxiously awaiting the next elections to vote Modi for PM. So be ready to vote for me.
Jaipur is not alone. Similar Topis, Burqas and if I may add Dadhis, are being bought in larger quantity for Modi’s Bhopal show and so on and so forth. It was left for former Gujarat chief minister Suresh Mehta to expose through an RTI how the area officers were being made to make bulk purchases of these Topis and Burqas and of the beards as well. Actually Modi is not original here either. After the demolition of Babri Masjid when Narasimha Rao became highly unpopular with the Muslims and needed to repair his secular image, he contracted Maulana Jamil Ilyasi to buy up Topis, Dadhis and Sherwanis to go and meet Rao.
Why, what is the purpose here? Obviously to claim that Muslims have been won over. Even if Gujarati Muslims, out of exasperation may be willing to buy peace with this Fascist, can anyone imagine Muslims in UP or Bihar voting for Narendra Modi? That too after the Sanghis and Modi’s factotum Amit Shah have demonstrated their intent to polarize the coming elections on sharp communal lines, a taste of which we got in Muzaffarnagar where they successfully tore apart generations of camaraderie between Jats and Muslims. No. Then why this charade? The only plausible reason appears to be that the Sanghis have made big plans to selectively rig the next elections and claim that even a section of Muslims, say 20 per cent have voted for Modi. Towards that end we will soon see the surveys and analyses being animatedly argued on TV channels on how a good section of Muslims disgruntled with the secular parties have gone over to Modi who symbolizes a new Hope. Let us see who leads first, Arnab Goswami or Rajdeep Sardesai or Yogendra Yadav or Shekhar Gupta? But let me forewarn this public display of Topis, Dadhis and Burqas is coming as a precursor to large scale scientific rigging by manipulating the EVM through their select Sanghi poll officials at marked polling booths and once the polls are over these same fellows will gloat, “I told you so.”