Sectarianism, Extremism vs Development

Had this been an occurrence in a monarch-led state, or in territories of present time that regard treachery as a heinous misconduct, the holders of Pakistani and Lashkar-e-Taiba flags during protests led by separatist leaders of J&K would have learned what sedition can cost you. It is only and only the tolerance of Indian egalitarian and secular setup that bears such immense dishonor of the country, also when the same hails from a state which bags extensive perks and subsidies than the rest. This debate now seems interminable; hence our stress on correcting social flaws may not lead us to the desired path. Then where should the focus lie? In all views, and also after noting the delivery of the union government in past one year, amicable resolution of long-lasting casteism/ extremism is development. For sure, radicalism pouring in from outside the borders of India is to be fought using strategic and tactical plans, but what about the disliking in the hearts of many Indians for their own nation? Some have placed growth on stake to gain illicit pity incentives for their caste and some have fallen prey to minds and culprits who divide Indians on religious lines.

Had there been no significant and visible change in prevailing conditions after the BJP assuming power at the center, this debate could have been groundless. However, the growth in industrial output and decline in inflation in the past one year are substantial grounds to back the government, rising above the likes of caste/ religion. Many more in this respect are positive revisions; the way world is betting on India’s planned growth and benefits reaching the last man in the queue, the BJP’s core ideology, more than 15 crore bank accounts in 9 months and social security schemes at such economic rates has been a decisive feat, and we all indeed are clear winners. On the contrary, imagine an official of a bank, asking for your caste/ religion and then rejecting your application because you hail from a minority community; this is an infringement of our fundamental rights, and so is the case when we pick candidates on religious lines and discard others as they decline to grant special status to our community.

Isn’t it is a sheer failure that post six decades of independence, our political parties are bound to devise strategies for polls in view of caste/ religion statistics of state, and not as per their own capability to take further the development model of previously ruling party? Did you ever think why contestants are picked not in light of their competence and past delivery, but on the basis of their caste and standing in public, which in many cases comes from force and coercion? Why paperwork during meetings of committees of political groups just talks about the percentage of Muslims, Christians and Hindus in different constituencies, and not about the factors holding the pace of growth and likely modus operandi in case the group is voted to power?

The census of 2001 says that Bihar has a sizeable percentage of Muslims, 16.5 per cent and the same would have surged until now. This percentage, we all would agree, forms a part of election planning and campaigning, right from drafting of manifesto to picking up ministers after the win. Why Nitish Kumar parted ways with Modi, why Manjhi could attain the office of the CM, why Lalu, even with enormous allegations of jungle-raj, was able to rule the state from 1990 till 2005, why gunda-raj and corruption in functioning of the government became the trademark of Bihar politics, are all backed by dominance of casteism and rigidity in the outlook of Muslims. Pure downfall in Indian politics could not be other than the incident when RJD appointed an Osama Bin Laden look-alike for campaigning in 2005 polls and wooing Muslim voters. Is this what Indian Muslims crave for? Then why acres of land to build world’s largest Hindu temple in the state of Bihar came as donation from Muslims? This instance of communal harmony has come up in May, and is bound to script a changed story in the upcoming legislative elections.

In West Bengal, where Muslims constitute more than quarter of the population, milieu is no different. Illegal immigration from Bangladesh and the tag of ‘safe haven’ for militant organizations has deterred this further. Gap between Mamta and Modi, and setback of cooperative federalism are the resultants. While Modi endorsed federalism in WB and in Bihar he urged people to shed casteism and pursue the path of Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Didi in Bengal and the Janata Parivar of Bihar are contesting on the same old lines of caste and religion, a propaganda that has left these two states in severe despair, bound to ask for compensations and grants from center. Is this the achievement of intellect Eastern Indian states? No one other than politicians luring voters on communal grounds ate the resources of these states, acknowledging this obvious fact is imperative.

When we supposed that a wave of change has struck the Indian political system after a group of protestors decided to jump into politics to clean it, dreams crudely shattered when this new party, contesting Delhi elections on moral grounds, approached Muslim religious leaders and picked candidates not on merits but on caste terms. You pick up a state/ UT and in no way can politics there be free from the clutches of sectarianism. In my view, the state of Kerala, with 20% Christians, 25% Muslims and 55% Hindus, puts forward a distinct status. Kerala has highest human development index rating among all Indian states, highest literacy rate and sex ratio, enlightening the strength of unity and unbiasedness. On the flip side, UP with 79% Hindus and 20% Muslims, is battleground for politics of appeasement and casteism. This prestigious region that has given 8 Prime Ministers to India is categorized as a poor state, isn’t it a shame? Both states will go for polls in a year or two, but in a dissimilar way. In Kerala, the BJP is eyeing its entry basis the acceptability of party’s ideology among the educated; this can become an example of winning a mandate on development agenda and not hatred. In UP, polarization will be at peak; hence voters are to have the will to save the state.

Remember, till the time our political masters think of policies aimed at castes/ religions, anticipated development of Indian states remains unattainable. It is high time that we allow these men to focus on bettering the economic status of ours and not govern us basis our social diversity. Flags of Lashkar in Kashmir were a slap on our face; schemes for just a few are a loss of all; aid to terrorists/ perpetrators is a risk to our security; in all aspects it is the general public that bears the burden of politics of appeasement. To reap the real benefits of living in a country, which accords supremacy to its people and not to the rulers, rising above caste and religion is must and sought for.