Communalism Repository | February 14, 2005

On Keeping One's Eyes Open

by Mukul Dube

I have been asked why I "continue to waste time and energy" on the Hindu Right even after it suffered a resounding defeat in the general election. I hold that only the blind among us can fail to see that the Hindu Right is down but not out. Over the last several years, it has systematically planted its people in positions from which they can exercise control over, or can influence, the daily affairs of the country. It has set up institutions which appropriate public resources and use them to further its divisive and essentially mediaeval agenda. Finally, let us not forget that the several states in which the BJP still rules can be likened to the typically small sites of origin of carcinomas which spread rapidly and unstoppably.
More important by far, the Vedic Taliban has filled with poison the minds of millions. We breathe a foul mixture of suspicion, fear and hatred. We no longer see that what our country needs are such things as food, industrial development, health care and education. Instead, we pour on to the roads when some ranting demagogue howls that the arrest of a man on suspicion of murder is an attack on Hinduism. In both the Babari Masjid matter and the Kanchi Sankaracharya one, the law, which is the underpinning of all civilised societies, has been used as a stick with which to beat others, it has been bent and twisted into a shield behind which to hide, it has been kicked about like a ball in a game which has no rules.
My priorities, though, have been changing since the general election of 2004. The most important one by far is to see what the Congress, leader of the UPA government, does and does not do. Changing the chairpersons and the governing bodies of institutions is certainly a beginning, but it must remain a mere cosmetic exercise unless the numerous infiltrated termites are dislodged not just from the wood-work but from the very foundations of those institutions.
Then there is the matter of promises made but kept only on paper. A law, POTA, which is no longer on the statute books, continues to be used in Gujarat against the minorities. The UPA is silent on the question of compensating those who may have suffered on account of this law, which it called Draconian and amenable to misuse in justifying its repeal, and on the related question of punishing those who may have misused it.
Not only is justice still denied to the victims of the horrors of Gujarat 2002, more injustice is being heaped upon them. This is despite the fact that the BJP and its allies have been replaced at the Centre by a coalition which makes loud noises about secularism. It is my conviction that these noises are hollow; and I shall seek to adduce evidence and formulate arguments to explain my position.
The NDA got away with all manner of hogwash because no one challenged it. Now, unless the UPA is kept aware that it is being watched, it will only sit back and fatten itself in the way in which its dominant partner did that so successfully for so long.

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