The balloon of “development” has finally burst. What has come out is the flame of terror and turbulence. There is of course a lot for the selected few to roast their bread in the flame. The corporate agenda is in full show; but in bigger show is the Communal Agenda. Those who were hoping that BJP will be a changed party and Modi a changed leader once they come closer to power have been proved wrong. The closeness to power has in fact strengthened their resolve to remain in power after getting it. And a party based in hatred can only think of hateful ways to do so. They know it pretty well that communal riots in India pay. They have put enough ammunition in the manifesto to ensure that the riots take place. Mandir will be built in Ayodhya; Uniform Civil code will be applied; 370 will be scrapped; Kashmir Pundits will be given “justice”; Madrasas will be “modernized” – what can be better recipe for riots and terror in India? Polarization will reach its peak and this will sustain the march of Hindutva. This is the ultimate goal.
On the economic front, there are enough dishes to bring saliva in the mouth of the big corporates. There is a talk of privatization of all the major sectors and foreign investment is welcome. There is a talk of poor but obviously the Modi formula of removing the corruption is enriching the already rich further in the hope that some of the wealth generated will slowly trickle down to the poor. Obviously this will further increase economic disparity. How will Modi control inflation is not clear.
If we compare this manifesto with the one Congress released, there are many remarkable differences. It can be seen that though Congress can be blamed for inaction, it cannot be blamed for dangerous intent. Not only the Congress manifesto did have anything that would threaten the minorities, it was also clearly more people-friendly. It supported business but without monopolization of wealth in a few hands. Welfare schemes too were in greater supply. It did not just talk of revising the health policy but promised to bring “Right to Health”. It can be blamed for slow and defective implementation of minority schemes but it at least accepted the fact and promised to give renewed impetus to minority developmental programmes. The only thing that BJP is boasting as its “Muslim Vision” is the promise of “modernization” of madrasas. Only a naïve can be fooled by this. Obviously in the name of modernization, BJP will attempt to destroy the character of traditional Islamic institutions.
When Congress released its manifesto, everyone including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and PM Manmohan Singh were keen to answer the questions from Press. On the other hand, Modi did not entertain any question. This shows that the “brave” cannot face difficult questions. He believes in one way communication. His self-obsession and the obsession of BJP with Modi is surely going to hit the nation in a big way.
What should the secular forces do now? There is no need to panic; no need to help the BJP’s game plan to bring Hindutva to its peak just before the elections. Secular forces need not counter it aggressively through words; the best way will be through the ballot. Creating angrily at this juncture will only help their cause. Let the elections be held first. Let the nation reject the Manifesto of trouble, terror and turbulence, If they win, their agenda is to be confronted through cooperation of all those who believe in secularism, the rights of religious minorities and justice.
* Dr Javed Jamil is a thinker and writer with over a dozen books including his latest, “Muslims Most Civilised, Yet Not Enough” and “Muslim Vision of Secular India: Destination & Road-map”. Other works include “The Devil of Economic Fundamentalism”, “The Essence of the Divine Verses”, “The Killer Sex”, “Islam means Peace” and “Rediscovering the Universe”. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 91-8130340339.https://twitter.com/javedjamil