Who am I?

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I am not religious, but I don't mind calling myself spiritual. Religion, I believe, has, over the millennia, been used as a prop to perpetrate a lot of human suffering. Faith is what matters. I don't believe in the definition of God as a creator. According to me, my God resides within me. Some call it conscience, some call it the sub-conscious, some call it the soul. I don't mind calling it God. So by definition I am not an atheist or an agnostic, but by essence, I may as well be. My God does not reside in a temple, church, mosque or gurudwara. It is right here, within me.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why Do We Need To Support The Minority?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen anger in some of the middle and upper-middle class friends over the pseudo-secularism that Congress has debased themselves to, how their appeasement of the ‘minorities’ knows no moral bounds, and how it strips away the ‘majority’ of their rights in their own country. The anger is palpable and is bursting at the seams. This group of people want to do away with the current dispensation at the Centre and feel Modi will prove to be a panacea to their problems. Modi – with his ‘Gujarat model of governance’ will wave a magic wand and India will be propelled to the forefront of economic growth and prosperity. Are we naïve enough to believe that things can be so simple?

Firstly, Modi inherited a state that has always had a bright history of industrial growth. No, Modi did not wave a magic wand. The roots had been set, the base was there, and he built upon it. Kudos to him for that, and no one is taking it away from him. But in a country like India where at a time over 40% of the population lives hungry, is catering to the private sector enough? Does smoothing out an already well-set process make you God? As Amartya Sen says, a model of redistribution model is better suited for a country like ours. What about the 40%? Do we hear anything about Modi doing something to improve the village level development or the grassroots governance at the panchayat level? Has he made a dent on hunger and undernourishment or child mortality or women empowerment/education? Fact is, in all of the years when he has led Gujarat, the human development indices of Gujarat have not developed as much as his loyal supported would have liked to believe. Leading a nation is a whole different ball game.

The middle class people, who seem to have been the most bothered by the Congress’ style of garnering a vote-bank by appealing to the minorities and taxing the middle-class, are the ones who have turned towards Modi in the hope that he will lead India like no one else had. And this is the vote bank Modi is and has always been appealing to. We despise the ‘pseudo-secularism’ displayed by the Congress because it leaves us, the majority, with nothing. Where are our rights, we ask? Why do we have to live like minorities in our own country? And this is the very sentiment which plays into the hands of Modi.

But in all of this, we forget one essential thing. If a party at the center supports the minority community, what is the worst that can happen? Can the minority community, which naturally would have faced countless instances if injustice and inequity, suddenly become so powerful because of that support as to drive out the majority community from all its rights and positions of power? No, precisely because the minority community will always have less number. Now look at the other scenario, which Hindutva epitomises. What if the majority community, is given the immunity to drive the minority community out of whatever little rights it had, what would become of the moral fabric of a country like India which has prided itself in treating all religions, communities and castes as equal? Who would look after the minority community then? The majority will always have enough means to look after themselves. Who are we kidding? No one is taking away our rights. No one can, because our majority voice will always be supreme. But what of those who feel choked within our system whenever they go out to beg for their rights? What do they feel when they are denied rightful amount of government sponsored ration, or are spurned from government jobs, or are denied a promotion just because they are ‘overtly religious’ with their flowing beard, or when they constantly live in the fear that intelligence officers can come knocking at their doors, wrongly framing them in a terrorist blast which killed innocent Hindus? How many of us live in constant fear of being dragged into court for a little transgression of law? How many of us in the majority community feel we are being framed wrongly, or fear being raided in our homes any time of the day, or tremble to post online such an article as this without hiding our identities or making ourselves anonymous? Not many. Thus, there needs to be someone who takes the side of those whose voice is not as loud. Isn’t it better to have someone who stands by them in the name of secularity, even if it’s out of political motives, than to leave them to maulvis or religious ayatollahs who would invariably rise up if they are left alone to fend for themselves? What would become of our nation then? Total annihilation is what I foresee, that would make what happened during partition look puny in comparison. 

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