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Majoritarian agenda

Majoritarian agenda
Highlights

A church in downtown Delhi is torched, triggering protests by the peaceful Christian community for the last three days. When one ‘sant’ is arrested after five devotes die in a hold-out in Haryana, another ‘sant’ in Jalandhar fortifies his ashram to defy arrest. Every Hindu-Muslim marriage is termed “love jihad”.

If his ministers and lawmakers continue to make provocative statements and attempts at ‘saffronising’ the society persist, Modi would be losing the overwhelming public support he enjoys

A church in downtown Delhi is torched, triggering protests by the peaceful Christian community for the last three days. When one ‘sant’ is arrested after five devotes die in a hold-out in Haryana, another ‘sant’ in Jalandhar fortifies his ashram to defy arrest. Every Hindu-Muslim marriage is termed “love jihad”.

The official data may show an overall de- cline in communal violence in the last six months, but all is certainly not well in the country. The govern- ment and the ruling BJP will deny it vehemently, but divisiveness among communities, with or without statistics to show, is very much on and thriving. Contributing to it in no small measure is the rise of the political right and a majoritar- ian agenda that is sought to be enforced on the nation through official diktats and cultural policing.

After inducting one ‘sad- hvi,’ Uma Bharati, who prefers sadhus to experts in cleaning of the Ganga, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inducted Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, a first-termer. Her claim to fame – and notoriety, since she is involved in many brushes with the law in the past – is as a “katha vachak,” narrator of stories from our mythology. That talent should have taught her not to be abusive in her public utterances, but, on the contrary, she has thrived on it, winning an Assembly poll in 2012 and entered the Lok Sabha this year.

Her asking people at a Delhi rally to decide whether they are “Ramza- ade” (children of Ram) or “Haramza- ade” has triggered protests. The gov- ernment and the BJP distancing themselves from her remarks and her reluctant regret have not calmed anger. The opposition is united in seeking her dismissal – which is not to happen.

To her defence comes an- other minister, Giriraj Singh of Bihar, whose communal utterances even be- fore being sworn in as a Lok Sabha member should have deterred Modi from inducting him in his team. Questions are being asked whether Modi approves or condones all this. He has disapproved of her remarks, sarcastically asking lawmakers “not to address the nation” and be careful in their public utterances.

One hopes that this general warning will be taken seriously and abided by. But then, among the people who should be exercising caution is his confi- dante and BJP chief, Amit Shah. Modi is perceived as doing well on many fronts, mainly diplo- macy. Some of his government’s deci- sions, despite the “U-turns” that the Congress is alleging, have had posi- tive bearing on the nation.

It is not us to caution him, since it is all too evident, that if his ministers and law- makers continue to make provocative statements and attempts at ‘saffro- nising’ the society persist, he would be losing the overwhelming public support that yielded a parliamentary majority and victories in many States. Past experience has shown that public perceptions do matter and it would not take long for the groundswell of support, silently or under public protests, turning into groundswell of resentment.

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