India is passing through a very tough time in terms of its national integrity.
Indian Mujahideen – the indigenous Islamic group – has tried its best to wreck as much as it could with a very blatant attitude. And they tried their best to hire the top techies – Yahoo software employee – to help them out as well. Although a lot of gang members were caught, still the entire menace has not gone away. Series of blasts happened in Assam and IM again put their stamp on it.
On the other hand, in Orissa and Karnata Hindu parties got into the act of attacking Christians after one Swami was killed by Maoists, who were ostensibly hired by the local Christian gang. The churches and priests, nuns etc. In some areas, the Christians retaliated and in some a local group brought out some provocative booklets which started more violence.
If that was not enough, a few Hindus got together and detonated bombs in Maharashtra with a Lt Col. in the Indian Army being the main brain behind getting the explosives.
There is another big issue that is being created by Raj Thackeray where he has grown to a point that he is very tough to stop now. He has set in motion a process that will surely lead to more violence and disintegration.
What is happening in India?
I think there are a few things going on:
1. The communal elements have gained strength on the back of totally unruly and absolutely unscrupulous elements. These elements have followed the path of doing whatever it takes to hold on to their seats. This was started with petty aims in sight.. but soon “manageable” and localized play of communal and caste violence was undertaken by the parties who prided themselves in the practice of secularism. As they did so, a precendence was set!
2. Ever since the independence, the majority community (a large number) has had a grievance which has been pooh-pooh’ed by the self appointed secularists. The secret trial of Nathuram Godse to obstruct any airing of the truth from his side and using him as a ploy to completely decimate Jan Sangh as a credible political power and thus creating a virtual dictatorship. In the years there-after, the history, the symbols and the curriculum of India was harmed beyond any semblance of objectivity!
3. From 1948’s thoroughly incompetent handling of the fight back by the Indian Army from Srinagar, where Nehru placed more emphasis on the British General than the Indian head of Army at that time – to the freeing of 90,000 prisoners after the 1971 war and then letting Pakistan not only create the nuclear capability but also letting it create a mess of terrorism while we completely took the eye off from the major states and played politics with our own people! The fights with Pakistan and the related polarizaton of the population – specifically religious – and our leader’s blind eye and apathy kept quietly creating and feeding an anger that was not visible on the surface but very deep seated!!
4. The backlash from all these perceived and real grievances was terrible and at a big scale when LK Advani undertook the Rath Yatra. It opened a new chapter in the Indian politics and made BJP a viable party. But the 3rd front and the communists who had not only sold India to China and other enemies ever since their creation were trying their best to get a crack to get back in. That crack was created via GOdhra and the subsequent riots. As bad as the riots were, they werent the first both in scale and barbarity.. yet, they became the poster child of what flaying Hindus and Hinduism, while worse atrocities (1984 massacres) went without any real criticism.
5. Meanwhile the politics in the Western India had used dissatisfaction and anger from repeated and terrible bomb blasts to tap into the Hindu anger to create Governments in Maharashtra and Gujarat that took power from that anger. The Communists and the Congress aimed at those states to target not only Thackeray but also Modi. Thackeray and his ilk have been unruly idiots who have wanted to play the game without rules and simply hold onto their power. To that goal they have alienated the entire nation. Modi, on the other hand, despite the massive criticism and opposition has gone on to just concentrate on his work and make sure that his Government was doing a good job in his state.
6. While I make fun of Thackeray – Shiv and Raj – it has not escaped me that they are neverthless tapping into a regional anger. If the Malegaon blasts were bad, the chances that this anger of Maharashtrians could become a caste or worse, religious war fare are very high. If that really happens, the reversing of the tide will prove to be very tough. It could even lead to a civil war!!
7. Not only will the anger boil over on the west but the way the minorities have blatantly used the external forces to hurt the internal and national interests, the anger and hurt in the rest of the country will also be difficult to handle.
While there is no reason why morons like Shiv Sena or Raj Thackeray should be encouraged, but everyone of us needs to also appreciate that there is a inbuilt anger – and it is fairly large – that they are able to tap.. which has changed directions from religious pride to regional pride. If we push it away by saying it is “NOT RIGHT” then it does not mean that the related grievance is either immoral or not there! It is THERE! There HAS been a deteorioration of Marathi power in Mumbai – and has been played around with. But, that decay has not necessarily happened at the hands of North Indians… but the Maharashtrian politicians THEMSELVES!! These unscrupulous elements have gone on to use their power to create more mess.
THAT is where the Marathis find themselves.
Hindus have a similar story.
The very FABRIC of Mumbai and India is dependent on the foundational ethos of common Maharashtrian and Hindu who have welcomed others and have been honest in their own criticism and urged and prodded their own to more tolerance and acceptance. The same quid pro quo may not have been possible IF the tables had been reversed!! At least the evidence does point to it very clearly in Bihar and Islamic countries to that reverse intolerance!!
There are two paradigms to look at the world:
– the world SHOULD behave like “so”… it is so BAD… things should improve or they should be finished.
– the world IS like “so”… let’s engage with it and see how we can improve things.
We have been for FAR TOO LONG been looking at the issues in India with the former paradigm. It is neither useful nor mature and does not behoove the old people like us to be so. Let us go over to the other paradigm – and engage, understand and work to help each other. It is the only way that we can all succeed.