July 31, 2005

Secularism exposed

In a space of four months, two prominent Shiv Sena leaders have left the
organisation and joined the Congress party. In April, Sanjay Nirupam
made the transition, and in July it was the turn of Narayan Rane. The
former was the Rajya Sabha MP of Shiv Sena, and as of date he is only an
activist for the Congress party. The latter was the Chief Minister of
Maharashtra in the Shiv Sena/BJP government some eight years ago. He
has been made a minister in the present Congress/Nationalist Congress
Party government, given a lucrative (from the point of view of
corruption) ministerial assignment.

While both were in the Shiv Sena the intellectuals had attributed all
sorts of adjectives associated with communalism to both the persons.
When the switch was made, these adjectives are conveniently forgotten,
and a new set of adjectives associated with secularism will be attached
to them. To these intellectuals, there is no need to explain the
switch, and there is every need to pretend that the previous adjectives
were never associated with these two gentlemen - unless, of course, they
switch their allegiance back to Shiv Sena.

Both the gentlemen were hard-core Shiv Sena activists, and one of the
strong attributes associated to them, by the intellectuals, was that
they were anti-Muslim, and that they would like to see ALL the Muslims
in India to be sent to an Islamic country. However, the Congress party
is projected, again by the same intellectuals, as a party which is the
protector and benefactor of the Muslims, at least in Maharashtra. So,
the two gentlemen will have to make special efforts to prove their
pro-Muslim credentials. Not that they really have to do anything
serious - they can just mouth the same inaneness that other Congress
leaders do, and that is enough for the intellectuals.

The entry of Sanjayji did receive a mild rebuke from the secular media.
However, the switch by Naryanji has been merely mentioned as a news
item, with no comment from the secular media. Of course, how the giving
of the ministerial position will be explained will be seen in the next
few days. My hunch is that the secular media will use the natural
clamity of the heavy rains in Mumbai as an excuse why they have not
remarked on the issue.

There have been all sorts of allegations bordering on criminality made
against Sanjayji during his Shiv Sena days. The same is also the case
with Naryanji, who has been accused of being involved in murders of some
local political leaders in the Konkan area. As with the case of the
others from Shiv Sena who have overnight become secular, all these past
sins will be pardoned.

For the intellectuals in India, secularism is a political concept.
Having coopted themselves with the political parties which they have
labelled as secular, they will find it impossible to fulfill their
dharma to the society, and analyse events in the proper perspective.
And this is the major problem for the society in India.

Ashok Chowgule

No comments: