By Arun Srivastava
While Narendra Modi is yet to be absolved of charges and get a clean chit from the oppressed people of the country, his supporters and advisers have launched image makeover and relation building exercise. This arduous exercise has been taken upon by Some TV channels. They have been enacting the role of conduit between Modi and the Muslims. The process of taking Modi to Muslim community has in fact accelerated after Modi winning the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Modi is a known Muslim hater but it not does mean that the “Prime Minister Modi” should continue to pursue his hatred against them. After the 2019 victory it was expected of him that he would bring about fundamental changes in his stance towards Mulims. But this proved to be wrong. Instead of trying to reach out to this huge population, Modi is in fact waiting for the initiative to come from their side.
In his first public address after winning the 2019 verdict, he had jibed at secularism and secularists. NJo doubt it was a word of caution for minorities. Throughout his speech, Modi crafted an image of himself as a Hindu ascetic. This image of the selfless Hindu ascetic devoted to the nation has been carefully cultivated by his supporters and the BJP.
With the view to break the glass-ceiling the editors and anchors have been virtually performing the task of P R for Modi. Under a normal situation it is tough to get all the senior Muslims clergies at one place. But this can be done by the TV channels. The primary task for TV channels has been to use their privilege to mollify the emotions and sentiments of the Muslims. While they have been projecting the pre-2014 violent incidents as the worst form of deliberate attempt by the criminals to gag Muslim voices, they have been depicting the post-2014 occurrences as aberrations. These people have been projecting lynchings as simply cases on crime and not an organized repression on them. The fact is most of the lynching cases were carried out by goons championing Hindutva. A closer look at the lynching incidents that took place would reveal that they were part of conspiracy to punish Muslims.
There is one major difference between the present killings and the bloody clashes that took place before 2014. In the past the clashes revolved around occupancy rights of lands and on the issue of assertion of rights. But post 2014 incidents are primarily aimed at terrorizing the Muslims and force them to accept the supremacy of RSS and Hindu philosophy.
An insight into the social changes that took place during last five years would reveal that the Muslims in India have been living in uncertainty, fear and marginalization. What scares Muslims is the feeling that this is a person who doesn’t have much respect for them, for their lives and for their future. The message was sent by Modi himself by refusing to wear the skull cap just after his victory in 2014 lok sabha elections. What struck fear in the minds of Muslims was his stand on 2002 Gujarat pogrom.
Indian Muslims, like African-Americans, are marginalized members of a culture they have done so much to shape. Little doubt the secular forces could be held responsible for not encouraging Muslims to move ahead and get empowered. Their protective umbrella simply worked against their interest. Muslims often complain that they are constantly looked upon with a great degree of suspicion not only by certain sections of society but also by governance structures.
Often Muslims are clubbed together with the dalits. While the dalits strived to reach education to their sons and daughters, the Muslims preferred to put the blame on the government for their miseries. It is indeed a matter to value that Muslims in recent times have on their own emerged as a major entrepreneurs. The social and economic scenario has drastically changed. The liberal Muslims are now sending their kids to public schools for higher education.
True enough this changed situation has been at the base of Hindu zealots hatred towards Muslims. They nurse the view that the Muslims would acquire say in the policy making. With Hindus nursing this feeling, the BJP used it to consolidate its grip on the Hindus. Muslims fear Modi for sheer reason that India will become a Hindu state under him. He would “punish” them for not backing him. India is home to roughly 172 million Muslims – the third-largest Muslim population in the world. Since 2014, when Modi came to power, tensions between Muslims and Hindus have increased in large parts of the country.
Anti-Muslim bigotry has been normalised in the democratic process of the country under Modi. It is an attack on the Constitution, not merely on the Muslim community. Muslims are usually slapped with terms like ‘anti-national’, ‘Pakistani’, ‘terrorist’. Modi has been targeting Pakistan simply for terrorizing Muslims. Modi’s averseness towards Muslims could be understood from the simple fact the BJP has not fielded Muslim candidate in the Lok Sabha election. Sad enough the marginalisation of Muslims is happening through the democratic processes.(IPA Service)