BJP rivals shooting off-target
Rahul Gandhi has been deliberating extensively on the difference between Hindu and Hindutva and the good and bad of it
Rahul Gandhi has been deliberating extensively on the difference between Hindu and Hindutva and the good and bad of it. Hindu is good for the country and Hindutva is bad, he said, addressing public rallies of late. In the same breath, he went on to define India as a Hindu country not to the surprise of many. Of course, he has been immediately slammed by the NCP and the AIMIM for the remarks. The latter reminded him that India belongs to all – Hindus, Muslims etc.
Rahul Gandhi also confirmed that Mahatma Gandhi was a Hindu and Nathuram Godse a Hindutva element. Since 2014, Hindutva has been ruling the country, he added in a generous measure. Whether this heir of the once powerful Gandhi-Nehru family willy-nilly attempts to expose the nation to his stimulative intellectual capacities with an intent to establish his dominance among the anti-BJP forces, or does so with an ulterior motive of rendering a disservice to the Opposition which prefers to keep his party at bay in its alternative political plans is a matter of conjecture. But he sure does serve BJP's interest by distancing both Hindus and Muslims from his party.
It would be difficult to judge who is happier today with Rahul Gandhi's antics – the BJP or someone like Mamata didi who is attempting to replace the Congress in the national political ethos. The debate over Hindu and Hindutva is unending because there is no definition of the word 'Hindu' itself that is universally acceptable. The BJP knows the Achilles
Heel of the Opposition well and keeps taking pot shots at it often to provoke it further to get entangled in this whirlpool of debate. The more the Opposition prefers to take on the Hindutva instead of the BJP, the more it distances itself from the Hindus. This talk immediately makes them more anti-Hindu and Muslim friendly. The interweaving of religion and politics in the modern State has become the rule and strict institutional separation between the two is the exception. That we cannot see the difference between the two – the State and the religion – could simply be established by the fact that we all have our religious holidays as State holidays in all the countries. Governments do get involved in religious activities by subsidising or funding Haj tours or Manas Sarovar yatra or even by strengthening their infrastructure around such religious places in the name of promotion of tourism. We have arguments against these practices not seeking complete withdrawal of the State from these operations but to force the State to create a level playing field and by protecting minorities' religious rights.
Just as identity politics have become relevant to society nowadays, religious identity politics too have become essential for the welfare of the politicians. Enlightenment does not come easy to anyone. It requires a lot of intellectual and philosophical upheaval within. Seated beneath the Bodhi tree (the tree of awakening), Siddhartha became deeply absorbed in meditation and reflected on his experience of life, determined to penetrate its truth. He finally achieved Enlightenment and became the Buddha. This enlightenment was not a two-minute noodle process. It was a tapasya for a few years. Rahul also needs a few years of quiet meditation to understand the nuances of Hindu-Hindutva-BJP and fight it credibly. The anti-BJP Opposition needs mature and intelligent leaders to lead it.