Gujarat elections

Gujarat elections

Back to Muslim bashing

By

Faraz Ahmad

Even a child could tell you that Gujarat elections are impending and how? Inspired by earlier successive victories, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindutva Sena led by General Amit Shah, Brigadier Yogi Adityanath and a host of other colonels and majors like Sangeet Som, Ananth Hegde and Vijay Rupani have started firing their mausers in the direction of that eternal rogue enemy, the Musalman.

The terms of the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assemblies were ending shortly and the new assemblies were to be constituted before the end of December and as in the past the Election Commission was expected to announce the dates of polling of these two states simultaneously any time early this month and so for more than a month now both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh are virtually in an election mode, never mind if the former Gujarat cadre bureaucrat Achal Kumar Jyoti waited for the BJP to seduce the voter with a surfeit of goodies before finally succumbing to all round criticism and announcing the polling dates for the state, bringing into immediate effect the Model Code of Conduct for the respective governments. There is a Congress government in Himachal so it has to be restrained first from announcing any last minute sops to its state voters. In Gujarat it is the Government of the Prime Minister’s beloved nationalist party the BJP so it needed a special protection which required another fortnight or so to sink into the voter’s mind the significance of bringing back the BJP to power.

Yogi Adityanath never hesitant to draw his gun was the first to shoot from the hip at that eye sore to the Hindutva brigade that huge white marble ‘monstrosity’ the Taj Mahal. Yogi dismissed the Taj Mahal as alien to Indian heritage and took it off the newly designated heritage sites of UP. Why? Yogi did not say this in so many words but obviously because it was built by a Muslim monarch.

But what Yogi left unstated, his lieutenant Sangeet Som the hero of 2013 Muzaffarnagar pogrom of Muslims stated filling in the blanks by virtually demanding its demolition saying it was a built by traitors. Sangeet Som can be excused for his ignorance when he mixed up Shahejehan who built the Taj with Aurangzeb whose mother Mumtaz Mahal is interned in that mausoleum. For they don’t make these insignificant hair splitting in the RSS shakhas. But one wonders who was Shahjehan or even Aurangzeb traitors to? They were the monarchs of their time. Who could they be traitors to?  Perhaps with his limited understanding what Som wanted to convey was that Taj was built by a Muslim king and Muslims are all traitors to date and thus Taj was built by traitors. So the message was loud and clear: Beware of the Musalman. And while the Modi government turned a deaf ear to these war cries, pretending these were coming from some other planet, the one time Bajrang Dal hero Vinay Katiyar revealed to us his great academic research that Taj Mahal was actually a Hindu Raja’s temple to Lord Shiva called Tajo Mahal, which if not demolished should at least be appropriated and restored to the Hindus.

This is election time and the message has to be drilled into the mind of the voter, that the Musalman is a traitor, a threat to the poor Hindus and so vote only the BJP which alone can protect the poor Hindus.

Next came the minister for Skill Development, Ananth Kumar Hegde who has honed his skills at Muslim bashing for many, many years now warning the Karnataka government  against celebrating the memory of Tipu Sultan, the Mysore king who died in the battle field fighting the British all alone even when his troops fled.

That too did not suffice so Brigadier Vijay Rupani took command of a third front accusing Ahmed Patel the Political Secretary to the Congress president Sonia Gandhi of being mixed up with Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) responsible for all the sabotage activities in India. It is still unclear by what stretch of imagination he established the connect between Ahmed Patel and ISI. But who cares about these minor details. Who would know better than the chief minister and once he pronounced Ahmed Patel, ISI, then he is ISI. After all Ahmed Patel is a bloody Muslaman and all Musalmans with the exception of A P J Abdul Kalam are traitors, said India’s Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma much earlier.

The latest goal was fired by none other than the Prime Minister himself who pronounced former Home Minister P Chidambaram and the entire Congress party as traitors because Chidambaram had the audacity to suggest restoration of autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) at a time when the Modi government after fighting pitched battles with Kashmiri militants for a year and a half, has finally come round to realize that it is necessary to talk to the disenchanted Kashmiris.

For Modi, Chidambaram committed a blasphemy by pleading that the Kashmiris be given the autonomy provided in Article 370 of the Constitution. Who has bothered to read Article 370 to know that J&K does enjoy a special status by virtue of its accession and that autonomy has over the years been snatched away progressively from the people of Kashmir and the best way to counter the Pakistani propaganda and campaign is to grant greater autonomy in a gesture of reassurance. The Kashmir valley has been on the boil since Mehbooba Mufti formed a coalition government with the BJP on 4 April, 2016 and all the force used by the Modi government has not been able to quell the uprising. Finally the Prime Minister himself held out an olive branch this Independence Day from the ramparts of Red Fort and now his Home Minister Rajnath Singh has appointed an interlocutor to negotiate with the agitators. Why resent if the former Home Minister of the country, the only efficient and competent one in our living memory, is offering some sane advice? But no, Kashmir means Musalmans and that kettle has to be kept on the  boil till the Gujarat polling is over.

Each instance shows the desire of Modi and his Hindutva brigade to turn the Gujarat elections yet again into Hindus versus Muslims issue. Gone is all the big talk of development, of the great feat of demonetization of the midnight tryst with the GST. None of that finds any mention in the speeches either of Modi or his lieutenants. Remember Kabristan versus Shamshan debate Modi set off in UP elections and reaped a bonanza. So why not try this one here too.

Well it might succeed and we better keep our fingers crossed. But then in Delhi the debate was between Ramzadon and Haramzadon. In Bihar it was about the Pink revolution, implying slaughter of cows but it failed to work. But let us not count our chicken before they hatch on December 18.

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