Communalism, Pseudo-Secularism and our Media

Varun Gandhi’s so called “hate speech” has become a prime time news for our media. Out of no where, Varun Gandhi has become a household name and has been certainly crowned as the poster boy. Since the day Varun Gandhi’s speech was telecasted in the media, this news has gained more and more weightage. The role of media has been such that they almost delivered their verdict before the EC in this case.

As I am developing some sense of Indian politics, what I have started to feel is that the term “secular” and “communal” should be debated in the perspective of Indian Politics. The “secular” political parties don’t have guts to stand for Hindus of this nation. And if anyone issues a “pro-Hindu” statement, he will be tagged communal. The precise reason what i feel is that in India, Hindus don’t vote as a “group”, their votes are divided. While Muslims have most of the time voted as groups. Thus, each and every political party tries to capture this group or as we more popularly call them, votebanks.

The paradox of the Indian political system is that it is fashionable and allowed to utter “anti-Hindu” or “pro-Muslim” remarks. Moreover, they are the only ways, one can prove his secularism. Mr Gandhi in his speech is believed to have said that,

“Agar kisi galat tatv ke aadmi ne kisi Hindu pe haath uthaaya ya Hinduon ke upar yeh samajh key ki yeh kamzor hain, unke peechey koi nahi hai… Hindu’on ke upar haath uthaaya, main Gita ki kasam khaake kehta hoon ki main us haath ko kaat daaloonga.”
(If some wrong elements lift a hand against Hindus, or think Hindus are weak and there is nobody behind them, then I swear on the Bhagavad Gita that I will cut off that hand).

He ended his speeches with “Jai Sri Ram”. He was basically referring to the few incidents of molestation and rapes of women in Pilibhit and no action having been taken by the administration against the culprits. As Kanchan Gupta of The Pioneer puts down in his column,

The ‘secular’ media hasn’t heard of Sonu Kashyap who was murdered on October 21 last year. “Five unidentified Muslims” were accused of murdering him. The administration did nothing. On October 23, anger turned into street protests, led by a former BJP legislator and Minister, Mr Ram Saran Verma. He was promptly arrested and since then has been detained under the National Security Act. Beesalpur police station in-charge Pervez Miyan brazenly defends the continued detention of Mr Verma.

Was Gandhi indeed wrong or has he just spoken the truth? He hasnt used words as harsh as minority. He has simply said “galat tatv ke aadmi”. If “secular” media and parties feel that he referred to the Bhagavad Gita and ended the speech with “Jai Sri Ram” was communal then i don’t have any arguments for that.

If BJP is blamed for igniting the fire of “communalism” in our country then the so-called “secular” parties are equally responsible for adding fuel to that fire. They have never left any opportunity to neglect the comments made against Hindus and have taken proactive steps if something was pro-Hindu. Our “secular” media also behaves like the “secular” parties.

Have you ever heard of an event organized in a bid to woo the Muslim community ahead of the Lok Sabha elections?
Congress had organised a rally in Jama Masjid Sector 20 of Chandigarh, highlighting its secular credentials. Nearly 23 Muslim organisations from the city have also extended their support to the party. Imraan Kidwai, chairman of the All India Congress Community, Minority Cell, said that if he had the power, he would issue a fatwa asking Muslims to abstain from joining the BJP. He said the Congress had never tried to change the Muslim personnel law. Is this not something against which EC should have taken action as well?

Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP has referred to Varun’s speech as provocative. But, the same party leader Mehbooba Mufti led the violent protest against temporary allotment of land for setting up shelters for Hindu pilgrims to rest for a while on their way to the Amarnath shrine. The same party has demanded the change of South Kashmir’s Islamabad district from the official name of Anantnag to the popular name of Islamabad. When BJP raised objections to it, they are being tagged as being called “communal”. Did any other party utter a single word? Why?

If a leader tries to identify with the Hindu gathering, he is considered communal but if the politicians addressing election rallies in Muslim areas wear skull caps and does everything possible to ‘identify’ themselves with the audience. That’s permissible. Why?

Dr. Manmohan Singh’s comments that “The Indian Muslim has first legitimate right on Indian resources” is not communal. Why?

No doubt that hate-speeches and derogatory remarks/speeches are a part of Indian politics, which needs to be curbed at any cost. But then, their should also be a debate on pseudo-secularism. In order to preserve their vote banks, it can be seen that our political parties can go to any extent. But is this really good for our nation? The media is solely responsible for transforming the “speech” of Varun Gandhi to a “hate-speech”. The yardstick is different for a Hindu fanatic and a Muslim fanatic; though both are an equal threat to this country. It is high time to understand that communalism and pseudo-secularism are feeding each other and our media should also be more responsible. They must ensure that they are here to give opinions and not to pass their judgments.

8 thoughts on “Communalism, Pseudo-Secularism and our Media

  1. I agree with what you say. Communalism exists in all spheres, even places it can’t be seen.

    But with all due respect to your views, “relating to a Hindu gathering”? There is no such thing as a Hindu gathering. And now that almost any public gathering is televised, live or recorded, that holds even more true.

    Communalism is a threat to the integrity of this country, especially given our turbulent past. You can’t counter communal tension with more communal tension.

    Threatening to cut off the hands of those who attack Hindus might sound very heroic, but it spoils communal harmony. Fullstop.

    And I disagree when you say that raising your voice for HInduism brands one communal. There are renowned yoga gurus and spiritual leaders in India who have never been accused of communalism. In fact, people from very many communities hold them in high respect.

    This is because they speak up for what is GOOD in Hinduism. They don’t play out the “Hindus are victims of other communities” line. They glorify all that is good about our culture.

    Hinduism is an all-pervasive religion. It is at the very roots of India and enables us to be home to such vast diversity. Hinduism believes that all religions are true. Hinduism has no place for intolerance. How are people like Varun Gandhi doing Hinduism any good?

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  2. Since when criminals started being Hindus and Muslims? Please read Indian Express on Varun Gandhi’s lies and his attempt to polarize Pilibhit constituency on communal lines.

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  3. This is classic strawman defense.

    I might have made a 100 statements, 99 of which may not contain any thing objectionable, and I am still guilty if my 1 statement contained something objectionable.

    All you have proved is 1 of the 100 statement is not objectionable, you have 99 others left. To say he did not say anything objectionable, you have to show all of the statements he made.

    Of course the onus of proof lies with the one making accusation, but it is you who is making the larger accusation that media is wrongfully charging him.

    I have myself not seen/heard his full speech, or any part, other than this one sentence, but I have been told by friends that it did go and said those “hands” are muslim “hand”.

    You need only once to equate the hand to muslims, and go on talking for hours about how you will crush the hand, it is still a speech about crushing muslims.

    You do that and you deserve what he got.

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  4. Hi,

    This is very well written. The debate is not solely on what Varun Gandhi’s speech contained, the larger issue here is that the so called Secular parties in India are taking advantage of the situation.

    For some reason these parties and the media are able to convince people that anything that is said or done “pro-minority” is right and is needed. Somewhere in between all this the Hindus who are supposed to be having a majority, always having to be on the compromising end..

    Why is it that when a minority does something incorrect it’s not considered communal but if the same was done by the Hindus, the matter is blown out of proportion and all the gyan on communalism steps in..I believe if India really wants to be a secular party, then the parties should not be favouring any community.The fact that these parties try and gain sympathy votes just speaks volumes about the discrimination they still hold in their minds.. If the parties are confident then the only mantra for all of them should be- Survival of the fittest..

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  5. For all the people who think that they are secular just because the oppose BJP, think again. No party in India can be secular.

    Howsoever communal BJP may be, they can’t stoop so low as Karunanidhi. Karuna said
    “Who is this Ram? In which Engineering College did he do his engineering that he built the Ram Setu?”
    Next he said “Ram is a drunkard”.

    I am dead sure that even communal BJP can’t touch this level howsoever hard they try, since a section of self-declared intellectual secular idiots would shout at the top of their voice.

    All those who call BJP as communal, why are you quiet at Karunanidhi?

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