Post Mortem

In the guise of ‘One Nation’: Politics of ‘Exclusion’ and ‘Inclusion’

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/15/2019 10:36:48 AM IST

 By having brute majority does not mean bulldozing, heckling and throttling those who have contrarian views. Lack of required numbers in the opposition does not mean to abuse the democratic institutions and organs of governance. Instruments are meant to enforce rules and regulations and shall never be used to take advantage and to realize sectarian and divisive ends. Introducing bills that are crucial and critical for the citizens and legislating bills one after another in fast tracks to suit the vision and mission of the ruling party by ignoring and throttling the majority of populace and democratic norms at super-speed is bound to re-bound and obviously collide.  BJP since 2014 keep hoodwinking the electorates under the garb of ‘development’ and Post-2019 is clouded with heavy and intense push pushes towards Hindu Rashtra.  

Segments of populace and electorates lay their trust on PM Modi. With his clever rhetoric, promising and appeasing narratives, PM Modi managed to sway the electorates in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the electorates in return reposed their faith in his leadership with thumping victory resulting in huge number of seats. NDA under the leadership of PM Modi-02 formed the government and thus embarked on a pitch of arrogance and engaged in acts of bulldozing those who raised their voices and questioned the Government’s policy and programs and if need be putting those irritants behind the bars using diverse pretexts so that their voices and presence be silenced. By its sheer arrogance the current Government tabled a number of bills and thus legislated within a short span of time, and the recent one is Citizenship (Amendment) Bill-CAB. 

In the name of majority CAB has been used to protect the Hindus who fled to India from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh to escape religious persecution. If it is all-embracing and non-discriminatory everyone would have welcomed as it that resonates the heart beat of India, while on the other CAB is rather selective in its approach that excludes Muslims and others. The government is in hurry and so failed to put forth logical arguments and cohesive logic in it. Why only these three Islamic countries and why not others such as Sri Lanka and Myanmar? Therefore, CAB has bundles of contradictions and negations. Further, why did CAB fail to accommodate all communities that suffer religious persecution?  Why 2014 as its bench mark and what then is the basis? In addition, why selective exclusion and inclusion of NE states?

The “majoritarian” notion of religion-based subscribed by RSS-BJP and other right-wing fundamentalist political parties’ views citizenship through that prism which is the soul and heart of less than 40 per cent of populace; the rest share a different idea of India which is inclusive and accommodative. CAB is indeed discriminatory and exclusive, and thus challenges the idea of equal and inclusive citizenship premised in the Constitution. To realize the “majoritarian Hindu Rashtra” the ruling dispensation cleverly introduced CAB to include the Hindus and in the process excluded Muslims in particular. Contrary to their expectations the outcome of the exercise undertaken in the guise of NRC in Assam turned out to be different story and to accommodate millions of Hindus, RSS-BJP used CAB.  The masses and those who have been watching the games being played by BJP-RSS particularly the chief sevak and his double speak and double game turned out to be an aura of open defiance and the impacts have been horrifying that became evident in the last few days in Assam and other parts of Northeast India.

CAB and NRC should be seen as intertwined that compliments each other. The explanations offered by Home Minister Amit Shah should not be taken at face value but to be nuanced and de-coded. The duos want to transform this country to a theocratic state that justifies their brand of “Majoritarism”—premised on exclusive, divisive and sectarian principles. PM Modi said the smooth passage was “Landmark day for India” and “the proposed law will be recorded in golden letters.” The ways with which CAB was introduced and pushed in such hurry and jubilation that followed with the passing of CAB reminds of Thomas Paine’s famous quote: “When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.”  

The vision of transforming India as Hindu Rashtra by RSS-BJP is increasingly getting contested and nakedly exposed as the days go by. Two nations were born in the year 1947: 1) Islam-based Pakistan and 2) Secular ideals based-India. After seventy two years the current dispensation BJP wants India to be “Hindu” nation. Similar scenarios we have witnessing in many parts of the world. In the name of skewed nationalism and protectionism, far-right nationalist political parties keep arousing nationalistic passion winning elections and forming governments. BJP, in such a scenario is not an exception. As German philosopher rightly point out: “Populists are in the end different elites who try to acquire power with the help of a collective fantasy of political purity.” In tune to this, the recent move by BJP in particular has created ripples and furor particularly in the Northeast which RSS-BJP thought as their bastion which is now wilting. 

With brute majority the present dispensation is getting indulged in bulldozing politics. RSS-BJP is in hurry and by all means wants to make India as a Hindu Rashtra. RSS-BJP is keen and think that with this brute majority is desirous of making India into Hindu majoritarian that certainly disregards and undermines secularism trampling upon individuals’/community’s dignity, freedom, humanity and basic rights. As of now the ideological battle lines are between two ideas of India—Inclusive Vs Exclusive; Accommodative Vs Divisive; Secular Vs Theocratic. The lines are clearly demarcated and RSS-BJP is moving at a faster pace to realize their ultimate dream of translating their idea of India into “Hindu Rashtra”. Accordingly, the ruling dispensation with their brute majority and shrewd floor management has been demolishing articles that come in their ways, amending bills that favors—all as part of their games. 

The passage of CAB and NRC has fundamentally changed the idea of India. Particularly those in NE look at or view CAB further marginalizes and alienates the indigenous communities who    have their distinct cultural, ethnic and customary habits. BJP is playing the vote bank politics and regional parties too have joined the mainstream. So, the indigenous communities do not want any outsiders to settle down in their locales because their resources and jobs of the indigenous communities have been robbed off. The indigenous communities feel that those outsiders by and large take control the administration and political spaces due for them and also take over the political and administrative space by the outsiders. CAB has further opened up the old wounds and deepened the crises. This is an unnecessary legislation being brought in only to satisfy the jingoistic and hyper-nationalistic mind-sets. The intent of BJP supported by some regional parties to bring about this legislation is to further polarize and divide the Indian society on religious grounds. The cost we are going pay is huge. We have been witnessing in the past few days what is going on in NE and other parts of the country and we are going to witness more such things as part of the impact of CAB and NRC on the citizens at different levels. 

Post-CAB fiasco portrays a scenario that those in some pockets who voted for BJP feel seemed to have been let down and thus dejected and disillusioned and openly express that all these happenings could be seen as a consequence of giving BJP the brute majority to form this government. Brute majority is like extending absolute power. Power ought to be moderated and should be prudently used. The current government seemed to have taken for granted the citizens and governance. A tiny minority less than 40 per cent should not trample on the rights of the 60 per cent and vice versa. CAB experimentation by the BJP Government at the Centre has badly punctured the image of India within the comity of nations for having used religion to determine citizenship. The United Nations, the United States of America, European Union and others came out strongly on CAB. BJP is trying to evade and passing on comments as if it is not bothered or affected, but in reality concerned and worried. 

We are part of the global commodity of nations and so rhetoric, theoretic and narrative alone would not suffice, but the ways the nations are governed and how the citizens treated. One cannot brush aside by saying “it is none of their business” to intervene in the internal affairs of any nation and so on. Every country is the signatory of the UN’s covenants and convention on certain essential charters. Bulldozing the minorities and ethnic communities on the basis of religion and creating an atmosphere of fear and hatred shall never be tolerated. 

The present government is more than worried because their public relations exercise thus far done seem to have been badly hit. People are not fools and can easily discern who is who. Once again a glaring reminder to all of us that the basic structure of India is laid down in the Constitution rooted in secularism that illumines the core values such as equality, freedom, justice and dignity. 

The cardinal principles shall never be abrogated or tampered with. They should never be bulldozed be it the State or whoever it may be. These are inalienable, indivisible and inviolable. No political power has the right to take away these rights since they are engrained and entrenched in each and every person and therefore the obligations of the state or governments to respect and thus abide by. If constitutionally given provisions and rights enjoyed by the citizens violated, citizens should defy be it hyper nationalists or jingoists by using constitutional means and methods. The era we live is horrendous and horrifying depicting the darkest periods that we have been witnessing in the Post-Independent India.   History has taught us many lessons and let us be vigilant.  Brushing aside the current development shall never be the answer, but by all means be responded in order to protect democracy, secularism and constitutional rights. Contest narratives: “Go to Pakistan or North Korea” because India is our country and we are the citizens. 

Dr. John Mohan Razu

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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