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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 4 January 27, 2024

BJP spokesman pronounces Modi as ‘King’ and India a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ | Faraz Ahmad

Saturday 27 January 2024, by Faraz Ahmad


Make no mistake, India is no more a Secular, Socialist, Democratic Republic. It is pronouncedly anti-secular (the word itself is an anathema to PM Modi and his party the BJP), so is the mention of socialism which raises the saffron brigade’s hackles the moment you mention it. And Democratic? A leader who in his 21 years of being in the government has not once taken a direct question either in the legislature or in a press conference, can by no stretch of imagination claim to be democratic?

It is now a declared Hindu Rashtra. And if you don’t believe me, please read what the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national vice president Abhinav Prakash wrote on January 22, the day of consecration of the Ayodhya Ram Lalla temple through Prime Minister Narendra Modi, carried by The Indian Express in its January 23 edition.

It is no more the critics of the BJP and Modi who debunked as political the whole Ram Janam Bhoomi movement, which began with the V.P. Singh government accepting Mandal Commission report in November, 1990, then demolition of Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992 and finally the consecration of Ram Lalla idol in the under-construction temple in Ayodhya on January 22 on the strength of a very questionable judgment of the Supreme Court of India.

Prakash wrote, “The struggle for Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is the most consequential movement in the history of India after independence. It as not just a religious movement but also a political and social mobilisation against the post-colonial power structure where Brown sahibs had simply replaced erstwhile foreign rulers”

As is his won’t, the BJP leader clearly pronounced India as a Hindu Rashtra henceforth. He wrote, “The consecration of the Ram mandir in Ayodhya is not just a religious ceremony but also symbolises the ‘return of the King’ the reclamation of the sovereignty of the Hindu Rashtra.” And to leave no ambiguity about who is the King he implied, Prakash very subtly pronounced Modi as ‘King’ writing, “In the moment of despair, to find hope and to wage the struggle against the insurmountable odds, people rally around their king. And rallied around their king they did… …against the post-colonial elites.”

That this is no more the Democratic Republic that Babasaheb Ambedkar and other Constitution farmers bequeathed us, was implied in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at the Red Fort a day after the internationally publicised significant consecration ceremony to mark the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose describing it as ‘Parakaram Divas’. Modi said, “Since the announcement of Parakaram Divas, Republic Day celebrations had widened to begin from January 23 to Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary on January 30. And now the auspicious festivities of January 22 have also become a part of this festival of democracy.” So, we are now called upon to celebrate with festivity rather than mourn with penance and sadness the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by Nathuram Godse. But that’s what the Bhopal MP of BJP Pragya Singh Thakur who had issued a certificate of patriotism to Gandhi’s assassin implied when she issued a certificate of patriotism to Godse, presumably for his act of murdering the Father of the Nation.

The BJP/RSS have all along been two faced. On the consecration day, both Modi and RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat made some conciliatory noises, evidently for headline purposes. But just two days before Bhagwat was his original self, justifying the demolition of Babri Masjid and building the Ram Lalla temple repeating the Sangh manufactured history saying, “The history of our Bharat is the history of continuous struggle against the invaders for the last one-and-a-half thousand years. The attacks from the West in the name of Islam only brought complete destruction and alienation of society. To demoralise the nation and society, it was necessary to destroy their religious places; hence, foreign invaders also destroyed temples in India. They did this not once but multiple times. Their aim was to demoralise the Bharatiya society so that they could rule over Bharat unhindered with the weakened society,” Bhagwat said adding. “The demolition of Shri Ram temple in Ayodhya was also done with the same intention and for the same purpose.” Never mind that for all the Sanghi hype the Supreme Court which eventually granted this land for the Ram Janambhoomi temple found no evidence of any destruction of a temple under the rubble of Babri Masjid nor did it justify that act of ”vandalism” What was the RSS chef then doing, but inciting a section of ignorant Hindu youth against Muslims? And he did, causing motor-cycle borne youth with saffron flags, deliberately entering thickly populated Muslim areas, using abusive language to provoke and humiliate Muslims whom at the peak of the movement Uma Bharti had described “Babur ki Auladon (the progeny of Babur) in Kalindi Kunj in Delhi. In several towns of Maharashtra and many other BJP ruled states, but more specifically in chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s area of influence, in the suburbs of Mumbai, confident that the Muslims who dare confront them will be punished by the BJP government. And so they were t with their shops and dwellings demolished by the Municipal authorities of Mira Road, Thane and Bhayandar all in the vicinity of Mumbai. To demonstrate the Sanghi administration muscle the demolition spree extended to Musllim dominated areas of Mumbai not affected by any communal tension, such as the Muslim shopkeepers and pavement vendors of Mohammad Ali Road and Ebrahim Rehmatullah Road in South Mumbai.


We were still little children living in the walled city inside typical Muslim dominated Mohalla Chitli Qabar, when our family help would take us out for a walk to the Ramlila Grounds, for the wonderful Ramlila mela, presumably still held there. Sometime later we moved to government quarters of Timarpur where the Ramlila was held every year, in a long park across the road to our quarters. Every year, we would cross the road and sit on the dusty mats along with other children of our neighbours to shout with gusto ‘Jai’ when Hanumanji would come on stage and say, Bol Siyapati Ramchandra ki Jai, Bole Sita Mata ki jai, Bol Lakshman Bhrata ki jai and the most enthusiastic ‘Jai’ was reserved for the last when Hanumanji would say, ‘Bol meri poonchh ki jai.’

I have to recall all this to underlie two things. One, that there was no coercion in participating in nine-day long Dussehra festivities. Two, that most Muslims of walled city either took themselves or sent off their children to enjoy the Dussehra mela at Ramlila grounds. In fact my parents recalled that as little children both my father and mother would be taken by their respective fathers, otherwise strict Muslims, to witness the ‘Dussehra Chowkis’ is what they were called in Allahabad where they grew up.

When we grew into teenage and were in Allahabad once for a family occasion, we would sneak out to watch a late night movie pretending we were going for Dussehra and that excuse worked. All this is to remind the BJP that what BJP spokesman Abhinav Prakash described as “post-colonial power structure” of “Brown Sahibs” in which Muslims participated spontaneously and more enthusiastically in Dussehra festivities, without the coercion of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ with saffron flags because in that true democracy of ‘Brown Sahibs” no one forced anyone to say ‘Jai Shir Ram’ forgetting the old natural greetings: ‘Jai Siya Ram” or Jai Ramji ki’ so common and prevalent in our times.

But both Modi and Bhagwat realise that that syncretic culture of ‘Brown Sahibs’ does not incite the ignorant youth to garner votes for Hindu Rashtra in the coming elections.

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