By A Latheef Abbas
Published in The Companion
Election is the robust backbone of a democratic system. The representation of people in a democratic country is enabled with the regular election process by which people select their candidates and acknowledge their indirect participation in the government led by their representatives. In a multicultural country like India with the multitude of differences and the distinctions, the representation of the people by a common candidate will not possibly fulfill the needs and demands of the whole people who are living with multilayered pursuits and the conventions of communal divergence.
India is now passing through the very crucial political ambiance where majoritarian nationalism conquers the sensitiveness of plebeians and replace the values of democratic conduct with the fascistic, autocratic tendencies of the government. While welcoming each election, the minority issues need to be largely focused as the majoritarian communalism is gaining the ground by disseminating the anti-Muslim campaign of the Hindutva propaganda in the run up to the polls.
The professor of Indian Politics and Sociology at King’s India Institute, London, Christophe Jaffrelot, tells in his ‘Majoritarian State: How Hindu Nationalism is Changing India,’ that “Between 1980 and 2014, the number of the Muslim MPs in the lower house of the Indian parliament — and hence their percentage — diminished by more than half. This evolution is all the more significant as the share of Muslims in the Indian population rose during the same period. Consequently the gap between their proportion of the population (which rose from 11.1 to 14.2%) and that of their elected representatives in the loksabha (which dropped from 9 to 3.7% ) increased five fold, jumping from two to ten percentage points.”
The anti-Muslim campaign of BJP created a tendency of alienation with in the Congress party leading to keeping the Muslim leaders away from the main stream and fielding only those who conform to the majoritarian mentality. This trend, to the 2019 election, stands up with complete negligence of Muslim candidates from the election battlefield.
It’s true that the Congress party has been embracing soft Hindu motives since 1980s as BJP and RSS began their political propaganda of mobilizing communal votes of Hindus. The Congress party, which had nourished many intellectual and political Muslim leaders prior to independence like Badrudheen Thayyibji, Rahmathullah M. Sayani, Abul Kalam Azad etal, also nurtured the soft Hindu nationalist leaders in the post independent period. The exponent of Indian secularism, Mr. Nehru or the endorser of Socialist Secular republic in the constitution, Indira Gandhi were unable to even exorcise the soft communal leaders within the party. It was Congress which ushered in the pro Hindutva narratives the administration and tried to generalise and enshrine them in common sense as we happened to see the telecast of the series of ‘Ramacharitham’ and the headlong and impetuous passage of the cow-slaughter ban, which has social, economic, and cultural dimensions to be contemplated at large.
Now Congress has been following a feet forward in appeasing Hindu majority, as BJP heads up four steps in this regard. How long these tendencies would be followed? ‘To the torpedo of democracy,’!!
Even in Kerala, the strongest secular state of India, Congress followed the northern style of alienation of Muslims from the battlefield by fielding only one candidate in a conventionally stronger left constituency. As the voice for Muslims in parliament become diminished, the real impact will affect on the enduring existence of democratic system of India. With the Muslim voices being silenced in the political realm, the country has to bear the burden of their deplorable conditions. Ambedkar’s insistence on gaining political power to the backward and oppressed community of the society deserves here much more attention to be thought of. What is next? Let’s await for the climax, Indian politics has been shooting so far.!!