12th December 2004
In his Sunday Express review of Mani Shankar Aiyar’s just released book: Confessions of a Secular Fundamentalist --- Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes:
‘Does secularism, however one defines it, elicit popular enthusiasm and allegiance? If it does, what explains the fact that we are constantly anxious about its future? Why does it continually need to be defended against politically potent opponents? On the other hand, if secularism is in serious danger, what ground do those who defend it occupy? If secularism is the position of common sense morality in India, why does admitting allegiance to it take the form of a confession, as if there were something unusual about it? If it is not common sense morality, what gives secular fundamentalists confidence that they are right?’
The reason Mani Shankar Aiyar is bending backwards in defense of ‘Congress Secularism’ is that he and his Congress party both are specimens of classic hypocrites ---- as even though they swear by secularism, they had never been able to do without all their insidious, inhuman and anti-people communal practices of managing their politics as well as state governance while ruling India for over 40 years through clever manipulations and subterfuge.
Thousands of communal riots over 4 decades are stark testimony of their double-dealing. They are over-reacting now, as they feel the communal Hindutva brigade is stealing their thunder. The Brahmins in both camps with their duplicitous scheming are now threatened with Mandalites and Regionals gradually but forcefully taking over state power as if drawn by the inevitable pull of gravity.
In just one week of Maharashtra’s Congress Chief Minister, announcing that his new government will not stick to its election promise of granting full rights to all slums that dated back to year 2000, and they will start demolishing 2000 huts everyday, mysterious fires have erupted in predominately Muslim hutment areas of Bandra, Kurla and Jogeshwari. This is the new version of Congress Gujarat. Thousands of Muslim families were thrown out with nothing but the clothing had one them. In Jogeshwari, timber and furniture trade of Muslims was completely destroyed in the fire.
The difference between Congress/NCP targeting of Muslims and that of the extremist BJP, is the subtlety and finesse that Congress has fine-tuned as an art-form as how to attack Muslims after they had reaped the benefit of their vote bank contribution to their victories. Their very subsistence level survival is routinely wiped out to keep them in perpetual dependence and poverty.
The local Muslim MLA in Bandra, Baba Siddiqui, elected twice in a row, has arranged big show of cooking community meals on the site for the benefit of TV coverage, as if Congress is ever helping out Muslims.
Even the media is just reporting the gory details of the fire and the victims without highlighting the criminal act of organised arson, that is all of a sudden unleashed on selected areas of Muslim majority.
Congress can very easily spread the rumours that it is the handiwork of opposition. But those who have studies Congress’s psuedo-secular ideology and its inherent bias against bias, will not buy that excuse.
Congress had lost Muslim votes on its then Prime Minister’s duplicity in Babri Masjid. It should have learned the lesson. But alas old habits die-hard! All they have chosen is to put out wordmongers like Mani Shankar Aiyar to defend their bogus brand of secularism.