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Home» Opinion» Politics» Religion opium for masses secularism for govt

Religion opium for masses; Secularism for Govt

V.N. Balakrishna | April 07, 2014, 01:32 PM IST
religion opium for masses secularism for govt

Ahmedabad :

With stakes extremely high in 2014 elections the no-holds-barred slugfest of parties has made Election Commission run for cover while the defaulters brazen it out.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar addressing a rally in Jalna said Narendra Modi needs to be “treated in a mental hospital” for talking “rubbish”, while a BSP candidate Haji Yakub called Gujarat Chief Minister as a “barbarian”.

To cap it all Congress president Sonia Gandhi too stirred a hornet’s seeking "secular votes" (whatever that means) while addressing a delegation led by Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari at her residence. Sonia Gandhi declared, “One of the main reasons I entered politics was to safeguard and promote secularism.”

Can Congress tout itself as the Joan of Arc of nationalism when Indian society is riven by caste and quotas? Is Muslim welfare possible without Hindu support?

“Sonia has insulted democracy by treating Muslims as a herd to be led into the butcher house of divisive politics by traders like Imam Bukhari,” tweeted Shahid Siddiqui, noted journalists and chief editor of Nai Duniya.

UPA’s welfare schemes have barely reached the poor Muslims and the Congress, adept at passing the buck, has blamed the states for its lack of proper implementation. “We will find new ways to better implement our programmes,” Sonia told the delegation.

However, Sonia Gandhi’s insidious secular politics came in for trenchant criticism from none other than the younger brother of Shahi Imam, Syed Yahya Bukhari who dubbed Congress as “most communal.”

“I totally oppose the decision of the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid of supporting the Congress party and the reason is that honestly if you ask any Muslim in the country, the Congress party I believe is the most communal party,” Yahya Bukhari said adding “Muslims say that BJP is communal party, yes it is. But when BJP attacks the minority, it attacks from the front, Muslims save themselves but Congress always backstabs them.”

Congress faces rout if opinion polls are anything to go by.  Litany of corruption, unbridled price rise and plain malfeasance has led to a kneejerk of reaction making Congress cross the secular Laxman Rekha in approaching the Shahi Imam. The faux pas could be the brainchild of Sonia’s confidant Ahmed Patel for which nation has given its thumbs down.

Congress is finding hard to convince average Muslims youths who have been attending in large numbers Modi rallies in Uttar Pradesh. At Bulandshehar (UP) Modi accused Congress of "ruining" the lives of Muslim youths by playing the secularism card while neglecting development saying “not a single penny has been spent for their upliftment despite announcement of packages.” 

Secular bogey is fetching diminishing returns and Congress knows it. When Modi speaks of development or employment generation or decreasing crime rate the Congress swiftly counterattacks with its bulwark of secularism as argument.

Ironically secularism originating from Latin word sacularis means “earthly” not spiritual. Jawaharlal Nehru brought it as fifth wheel to give Muslims illusion of safety knowing well no peace-loving Hindu can be oppressor of anyone. Today an aam admi or literati wonders what secularism is all about.

Sonia Gandhi must understand secularism has no religion. Modern society deserves a truly secular state, a state that lets a person alone to practice his or her faith.

Let Mahatma Gandhi’s famous words be the guiding beacon: “I swear by my religion, I will die for it. But it is my personal affair. The State has nothing to do with it. The State would look after your secular welfare, health, communications, foreign relations, currency and so on, but not your or my religion. That is everybody’s personal concern!”

 

 

SS/AB

V.N. Balakrishna

V.N. Balakrishna

The author is a senior journalist with a career spanning three decades in national English print media. With a decade long experiences in both TOI and Indian Express he had also served as Gujarat Bureau Chief of IANS enjoying himself writing in-depth stories of public interest and politics. He had also worked as Chief Editorial Advisor in the Commissionerate of Information, Govt of Gujarat. Based in Ahmedabad he is keenly interested in Carnatic music, sports and yoga. He can be reached at vnbalakrishna@gmail.com

 

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