By : Inamul Haq
Finally, India’s election is over, and BJP led by Narender Nath Modi, has made a clean sweep of majority seats. Celebrations were held across the country till midnight. The other parties like the Indian National Congress and UP Gathbandan did not win the favour of people even on gandhigiri or caste politics and identity. On what manifesto, was the 2019 election fought in India? According to sources, unemployment rate increased during the first regime of Modi and, it is noteworthy that the figures show such an increase after 45 years. The worsening conditions of farmers across India was also a big issue which surfaced throughout the campaigning of the 2019 election. Education, demonetization, GST, water, roads, electricity and people friendly schemes were some of other issues raised as well. While the manifesto of Congress denoted all these issues, BJP’s was only based on national security and the repeal of Article 370.
This time the Indian election 2019 was the signal of division. Supporters and advocates of BJP believe that the alternative of winning the election is to divide the people on the name of religion, rather than caste and identity. In the darker depths, this election was at ease with a particularly virulent brand of nationalism. In different rallies, BJP leaders spoke against Muslims, by calling them outsiders, traitors, anti-nationals. They made it openly known that only BJP can sweep ‘the Muslim menace’ away from the country. On WhatsApp university, videos were made under the theme of Hindu-Muslim and this theme remained a part of the conversation in the circle of friends, either in school or playground. Religion-based bullying is rampant all over India. BJP did not remain confined on the division, but they have started to hiken ultra-nationalism among the people. Ultra-nationalism seems to reach its heights when Kashmir issue is discussed, and BJP seized the opportunity to bank on the conflict in Kashmir, reaping a huge success among its supporters and even their non-supporters. Militarization took the upper hand. According to political analyst, Tanveer Alam, the rhetoric espoused by Modi and BJP has also intensified violence in Kashmir and post - Pulwama attack on 14th February, changed the election discourse. Pakistan involuntarily was dragged into it. Soon after government responded with threats against Pakistan followed by an air strike in Balakote region. In retaliation, Pakistan shot down two Indian aircrafts from which a wing commander namely, Abhinandhan, was taken into custody. Later, PM Imran Khan made the decision to release him as a peace gesture. This issue was politicised by the Modi government and even crossed the limits by called Indian army as Modiji ki Sena. The air strike on Pakistan and banning of Jammat-e-Islami and JKLF, detention of Yasin Malik and other separatists evoked a ultra-nationalism euphoria among the people, that only BJP can save the country. On the other hand, parties like Congress and communist parties of India were known collectively and derisively as the Lutyens club and pseudo-seculars raised the spectre of Hindu terrorism, when BJP gave ticket to the Malegaon accused Pragya Singh Thakur from Bhopal, who cursed Hemant Karkare and later announced the man who assassinated Gandhi, Nathuram Godse, a ‘patriot’ (Deshbhakt). Whatever drawbacks and shortcomings obvious during the 5 years BJP ruled the nation, left no impact on the voters. Instead they felt incarnations of God in Modi, whom they believe can give them Kashmir and destroy Pakistan, a sentiment Modi successfully instilled in the people and which influenced them to come in large droves to re-elect him.
In recent times other countries have seen a significant shift politically with secularism getting the centre stage. The trend being; people rejecting religious fanatics and voting for secular forces. The best example is Pakistan, where a global terrorist Hafiz Sayed also contested in the elections. However, he was defeated as the rest of people know that he will spread venom against the minorities and these forces can further weaken the economy of the country. In Malaysia, for instance, the multi-racial population united to end the 61 years of ruling by BarisanNasionalparty mainly due to racial politics being used as a weapon to divide the people and for the former prime minister being involved in the 1MDB scandal which points at a high level of corruption. It is interesting to note that 70 % of the population of Malaysia is made up of Malay Muslims, same as the former PM. Yet, they decided to reject him. The people both majority and minorities united and voted against him to save the country from further destruction. Similarly, during the recent presidentialelections held in Indonesia, president Joko Widodo was re-elected. The president is known for his secular ideology and supporter of the LGBT community. He defeated Prabowo who is known as a religious fanatic and was against the Chinese minority and LGBT. The supporters of Prabowo started riots that turned violent, in the country. The fact remains that the majority of Muslims chose a secular leader as opposed to a religious one. However, in India alone, there is hardly scope for secularism. It is indeed not an exaggeration to say that secularism is facing a imminent death, if it is not altogether dead, in the New India. The majority, project themselves as minorities should and feel threatened by Muslims and Christians, whose population is increasing. The election of 2019 proved that there is no need for employment, education, development, research and better conditions of the farmers. The primary ‘need’ of the country is merely what is termed as, national security and whatever that is done to achieve this is justified, including destruction of Pakistan and controlling Kashmir with claws. Besides, the country has to prove that nation remains first, and other problems can be resolved by constructing Ram Mandir in Adhoya and repealing Article 35A and Article 370 from Kashmir.
The prevailing situation, is a harbinger of what lies ahead for India and its people , in the next five years.
By : Inamul Haq