Compromising with Communalism

The Congress Government in Madhya Pradesh has invoked the National Security Act to book three alleged cow slaughterers in the communally sensitive Khandwa region. Invoking an anti-democratic law like the NSA to deal with alleged cow killers is nothing but an attempt to keep the cow enthusiasts and cow vigilantes in good humour. This is against the avowed stand of the Congress. For about a year or so, the Congress leadership was showing an inclination to resort to soft Hindutva, apparently to blunt the edge of attack of the champions of hard Hindutva of the saffron brigade. Rahul Gandhi’s frequent visits to temples and highlighting his Brahmin caste, the decision of the Kamal Nath Government to open one thousand gaushalas and taking other measures for the welfare of the cow, fall into a pattern. It indicates the eagerness of the Congress to keep the Hindu population in States ruled for long by the BJP in good humour.  Former chief Minister Digvijay Singh has already criticized the use of NSA.
Using NSA is a wrong step. The Congress can win the people’s trust and confidence only by adhering, under all circumstances, strictly to the values it has all along championed, namely, an open, democratic and secular polity that makes no discrimination between citizens on religious grounds. Particularly at a time when general elections are a couple of months away and the BJP is doing everything to polarize the people on communal lines, the step taken by the  MP Government cannot be called anything but regressive and counter to Congress policy. The leaders of the Grand Old Party of India should realize that hard Hinudtva cannot be resisted by soft Hindutva. It will be beaten hollow by hard Hindutva wallahs any day.
If the Congress does not retrace its steps, it will allow itself to be cornered by the saffron brigade and forced, little by little, to renege on the values and ideals it has championed. The battle against communalism, be it not forgotten, claimed the life of Mahatma Gandhi. And sections of the Hindu right are still ‘observing’ the death anniversary of the Mahatma by shooting his picture with a firearm. The Congress will have to stand firm against these rabid communal elements. It can dilute its stand on communalism only at its own peril.

Friday, 8 February, 2019