By Aditya Aamir
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in election mode. A picture doing the rounds on Monday, July 16, 2018, tells it all. To sense what Modi is thinking and is up to, look at the Opposition. The picture shows a galaxy of out-of-power politicians lined up on stage with right hands held high. The camera focuses on Rahul and Sonia Gandhi but there is also Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav; Ajit Singh, C Babu Naidu, Sitaram Yechuri and other opposition stalwarts nobody will fail to miss in a crowd!
But missing from the picture was Mamata Banerjee, and that probably because Modi would be in West Bengal on Monday to “sound the election bugle”. You can also sense ‘Modi in Election Mode’ when you hear him utter the ‘M’ word, which is as often as when Rahul Gandhi utters the ‘M’ word. Both have an affinity to spell out M-U-S-L-I-M at appropriate times, which in Modi’s case is soon after Rahul Gandhi utters it without benefit of a “piece of paper”.
There is no mixing of tongues or a slip of the tongue. The Congress President may slur on a Kannada word like he did during the Karnataka Assembly Elections but ‘Muslim’ is ‘Muslim’ even in Kannada and Tipu Sultan is just the sort of man Rahul Gandhi can sit across a table with. You don’t need smoke-signals from the past to read that.
To return to the present, Modi jumped on Rahul Gandhi when the Congress chief reportedly said that “Congress is a party for Muslims”. Now, there is a difference between Muslin and Muslim. One is a fine cloth, the other is a fine man or an assertive woman – a Nikah Halala fanatic or an anti-triple talaq feminist.
The gist is Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi have apportioned between them the Muslim, divided the Muslim on gender lines: Men for Congress, women for the BJP. The M-bloc stands sliced. If aliens are watching from Andromeda Galaxy, which they must be, they’ll see the divide, the crevasse. Even Omnipotent Allah did not see this one coming!
Narendra Modi, like Arnab Goswami of the Republic, has joined the feminists. He is believed to be destroying the “evils” in the believer: Triple-T and Nikah-H. Pushed to the brink, the Muslim clergy is reacting with calls for Sharia courts and, in the extreme, another Partition! This when Jinnah is already with his back to the wall in Aligarh Muslim University.
Another gist is ‘Divide and Rule’ is not a Congress patent. Scratch the skin and the BJP is not very different from the Congress. Especially, when elections are getting closer by the day and Acche Din never came. Also, giving Modi “breaks” are Congress leaders such as Shashi Tharoor with his make-or-break ‘Hindu Pakistan’ condemnation of the BJP.
Like said every time a Congress leader utters the ‘M’ word, there’s an equal and forceful ‘M’ reaction from the BJP. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who occasionally lends her voice in defence of the party, was the first to question Rahul’s alleged “Congress is a party for Muslims” comment. With precedent set, Modi went to Azamgarh in UP and asked: “Is Congress only a party for Muslim men?”
“What about Muslim women?” he asked. With another Parliament session about to witness a spree of adjournments, Modi was reportedly laying the foundation for another attempt to appease “oppressed” Muslim women. Muslim-appeasement, too, is not a Congress patent.
That said, Muslims face a Quranic-test: To be or not to be. Hamletian uncertainty has injected melancholy in the Muslim mind. And ‘Moses-Modi’ has divided the waters. In a not-yet ‘Hindu Pakistan’, there is a morbid fascination for the Muslim. With Shashi Tharoor explaining ‘Why I’m A Hindu?’, the obsession becomes all the more a compulsion!
Of all the 26, ‘M’ was the alphabet this past week: ‘Modi’ for sounding the election bugle with the ‘M’ word; ‘Muslim’ for being the centre of political preoccupation; ‘Mamata’ for being the next grand alliance satrap to get Modi barbs; ‘Mumbai’ for getting devastated by rains; ‘Maryam’ Nawaz for going to jail with a smile and ‘Macron’ and ‘Mbappe’ for being the stars of FIFA World Cup 2018.
One scored with the ball, the other had a ball. And in Andromeda and other galaxies there are aliens who are looking at ‘M’ the ‘Man’ with interest. ‘F’ the ‘Feminist’, can wait her turn! (IPA Service)