Skip to main content

Common thread of Modi, political Hinduism, nationalism? 'Contest' of ideas isn't over

By Salman Khurshid*
Losing the 2019 election and that too in a somewhat extreme manner has confronted us with unexpected challenges: Our leadership has naturally taken it very hard and to heart but with suggested options that we cannot imagine or contemplate. Hopefully the emotions will settle soon and give us the direction to pick up the pieces and march again.
What is more intriguing is a clear difference in perception amongst some who believe Narendra Modi trounced us for good (or bad really) with an overwhelming majority of Indians choosing Hinduism over a variety of secularists and others who give the winner his due but no more than he deserves.
In other words, there are muted complaints about machines manipulating democracy. Then why are the voters not pouring out into the streets to protest, they are asked. They respond with why is there unprecedented silence in the streets instead of great celebration?
Whatever might be deep, hidden truth inside the little chip that makes the EVM so powerful, if so many people say ‘nay’ or have reservations, why is the establishment so fixed on them? The simple proposition is not that the EVMs were fixed for Mr Modi but that they can be fixed. The world believes that. Why do we not listen?
Perhaps democracy is changing in pace with changing society. We are told repeatedly that we are unable to read that change. May be that makes sense, but what sense do results in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh make? No explanations about bi-polar voters or successful implementation of direct cash transfers, housing grants and toilets can convince about the extent of the sweep.
The fact is that each part of the landscape had different factors, but a common thread of Modi, political Hinduism and nationalism. We might have lost in the numbers game but the likes of Amartya Sen still believe that the contest of ideas is far from lost.
Salman Khurshid
I was amazed that a commentator in a leading daily described that thesis as absurd. Wonder if she will ever discover how comforting it is for us lesser mortals to know that the brightest Indian has such little value in contemporary India for speaking his mind.
We have a long and perhaps treacherous road ahead with time enough to put our house in order and once again tell our story.
For the present, in defeat but unbroken, we do not hesitate to say that we cherish Hindu religion in its majesty and beauty; there never was and never will be any reason for a true Hindu to believe that any other religion, least of all Islam, is inimical to Hinduism; that after decades of Partition and a series of remarkable Indian Muslim leaders, there is no reason to believe that patriotism and nationalist fervour is any less their right than of their compatriots.
India’s beauty comes from diversity that is non-negotiable. On delivery and performance even the BJP skirted data or fudged it. These are issues on which the last pronouncement of the Indian people has not come, no matter the extent of the current mandate.
Our leader has done his parliamentary duty in congratulating the second term Prime Minister but he has also affirmed his resolve to fight for the idea of India. We shall wait in anxious anticipation, committed to marching behind the leader, willing to bear any hardship or pain.
What other choice do we have having been told Hindus no longer vote for non-Hindus and Muslims do not vote even for Muslims because Hindus do not vote for them? Whatever happened to patriots and true Indians in whose name the election was fought? 
When we return to Indians voting for Indians it will be time to contest again. It will be sooner than many people think, the doomsayers might eat their heart out. Till then we must battle for the hearts and minds of India.
---
*Former foreign minister, senior Congress leader, Supreme Court advocate. This article has been written as a "letter from a Congress person, defeated but unbroken"

Comments

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Haridwar Swamis lead Khudai Khidmatgar peace march in Delhi 'riot affected' areas

By Our Representative
A Khudai Kidmatgar team, which visited the riot-affected regions along with Swami Shivanand Saraswati and Swami Punyanand, has insisted that India's true heritage is the lesson of ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam', and it is the responsibility of all to carry froward this legacy. Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1930, also known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar is claimed to have been revived by young Gandhian activist Faisal Khan in 2011.