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It is not the success of the majoritarian extremists as much as the government's weakness that is keeping this costly charade going.
By Firdaus Ahmed, The Milli Gazette
Published Online: Oct 01, 2012
Print Issue: 1-15 September 2012
The cat is out of the bag. The gameplan of extremists subscribing to cultural nationalism, Hindutva, is so simple, as to make them appear simple minded. Alternatively, they think others are simple minded; else they could not have been so transparently deceptive.
The game plan is one of deception. This has been well known among those watching them over the past half a decade at least. In the run up to the last elections, when they suffered under the delusion of regaining power, they conducted a bombing campaign against metros - Delhi, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai etc.
The tell-tale signs they left behind were stark - if only the blind will take a look. Take the inexplicable recovery of bombs in Surat for instance. Their more brazen use of disguise and Chaplinesque efforts at terror elsewhere are too well-known to recount. The case of raising the Pakistani flag in Hubli is a mild example. Their strategy was to make it look to the gullible media as though this was handiwork of the Indian Mujahedeen, IM. The organization was itself a useful invention to serve their ends.
This did not help them in winning the elections, but it did throw many off their scent. They succeeded to the extent of manufacturing a constituency that believes that terrorism perpetrated by Muslim extremists is a graver threat. Using this as a spring board, they have started off their campaign for New Delhi 2014. Their latest series of actions, bespeaks of a similar, if more ambitious, gameplan.
They took advantage of the social media-induced collective reaction by the minority to the happenings in Assam. While the doctored images of atrocities from the east have been spread by sources of equally extreme persuasion in Pakistan, as claimed by the Union home secretary, there is ambiguity surrounding the origin of threat messages to north-easterners. It is taken by default as originating from Muslim sources. However, that these could well have their dubious parentage cannot be discounted.
The advantages that accrue for them are legion. They get to paint the minority, already on the defensive, into a corner. They manage to give an ethnic conflict an all-India communal colour, thereby heightening the perception of threat of the Muslim “Other” that they have so studiously manufactured over the past decade. They can keep the government on the backfoot, one that is already under pressure on multiple fronts including the political fight with the opposition baying against crony capitalism.
How have they exposed themselves? Firstly, the RSS was too sprightly in cashing in on the SMS episode. They were all over TV screens on railway platforms out to defend the North Eastern citizens fleeing the southern capital where the BJP rules. Secondly, the bomb blasts that fizzled out in Pune are another give away. As the Pune police let on, these were the handiwork of mischief makers. Surely, this was a sign of exultation on the departure of the Union home minister. Third, the infiltration by agents provocateurs of the mass solidarity gathering in Azad Maidan on 11 August in the hope that police over-reaction would lead to a bloodbath, can be spotted in their belatedly ruing the police’s uncharacteristic but praiseworthy professional handling of the situation. Lastly, the “encounter” deaths in Batla House earlier and the custodial murder of Qateel Siddiqui, have helped clean up their tracks. The case on the bomb blasts can safely be closed in public memory with the “perpetrators” eliminated.
The government is surely not oblivious. It is, however, too much on the ropes to be able to launch a counter-attack. The ruling party does not have the political resources for turning back the tide of deception-induced, media-fanned suspicion of the minority. It also cannot take the extremists head on since it would damage India’s diplomatic position that Pakistan is at the root of all of India’s ills. Therefore, it is not the success of the majoritarian extremists as much as the government’s weakness that is keeping this costly charade going.
If the government is not going to do its job and the Hindutva-inspired extremists are going to keep up their momentum, there is little for those targeted to do than to keep their fingers pointed at the culprits. This is an effort to such an end. Doing so is necessary lest 7 Race Course Road be usurped and the “idea of India” subverted come 2014. There is no question of going silently into gas chambers.
But, more consequentially, the Qur'anic injunction of excel all in good works makes more sense, since the mud that they sling will then simply not stick.
The author blogs at subcontinentalmusings.blogspot.in