With an eye on elections to eight state assemblies slated for the current year and to Lok Sabha in 2019, the merchants of hate and political mercenaries are out with their divisive knives. Recently, Maharashtra, one of the most progressive states of India, was sought to be pushed back by 200 years. Facts were twisted and history mutilated by those who have aptly been termed as members of the "Break India Gang", to manufacture angst among Dalits against rest of the society.
The gang, on its destructive spree, enjoys overt and covert support of Congress, whose newly anointed president, Rahul Gandhi, has outsourced political initiative to mercurial Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani. This adventurism on Rahul’s part is reminiscent of a similar informal tie-up his father Rajiv and his grandmother Indira had with Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in 1980s.
A little flashback. In 1980s, young Bhindranwale, surrounded by heavily armed goons, would spew poison against Hindus and the Indian state, camouflaging it as Sikh grievances, while ensconced in the safe confines of Golden Temple in Amritsar.
His vicious enterprise, too, had tacit Congress support. Rajiv, as the then party’s general secretary, termed Bhindranwale a “sant" (saint). Is Rahul following in the footsteps of his father and grandmother? Rahul and his cabal are desperate to dislodge Modi from power.
The entire support base of the Congress is gasping for breath. Strict enforcement of law has effectively cut the flow of funds – running into several hundred crores annually – from abroad for NGOs that either indulge in illegal conversions or sponsor agitations to block development projects at the instance of their foreign masters.
There is an eerie similarity between the modus operandi of Bhindranwale and Mevani, which includes identifying fault lines in the system, use them to generate real and imaginary grievances in a group (based on caste or creed identity), and manufacture angst in the target group on the basis of distorted facts.
Bhindranwale had an informal arrangement with Pakistan. Mevani talks about a tie-up between Dalits and Muslims. Can it work? May be for Muslims, surely not for Dalits.
The Muslim League tried it, prior to the partition. Joginder Nath Mandal, a Dalit leader, fell in the trap, became a temporary chairman of Pakistan constituent assembly and later served as the new state’s first Minister for Law and Labour.
Within a few years, he returned to India broken, because he found himself helpless in combating the anti Hindu/Dalit bias of Pakistan administration. In an Islamic society, a Dalit is a "kafir" and has to suffer ignominy and insecurity like any other non-Muslim. Nearer home, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is the only university in the country which denies reservation to Dalits in jobs and admissions.
Irrespective of the obvious contradiction in the Dalit-Muslim alliance, Mevani will continue to peddle it to the Dalits, and the gang, with Rahul’s support, will try to sell it as a “progressive” idea. When this formula was last tried, the League got Pakistan, and the Dalits, near annihilation in the new country.
Can the outcome be different this time? It is pertinent to recall that the Indian Constituent Assembly was dominated by caste Hindus and they agreed to reservation in an effort to undo the historical injustice done to the Dalits.
Subsequently, the quotas, initially for a period of 10 years, have got extended several times. Independent India has seen many Dalits occupying highest of public offices. Mayawati, a Dalit, became a Chief Minister of the most populous state of India in 1995. Ramnath Kovind, a Dalit leader, adorns Rashtrapati Bhawan. The list is endless.
A false binary – Dalits versus rest of the Hindu society – has been sought to be built on the basis of twisted facts and falsified history. What is the history of the 200-year-old Koregaon war between invading East India Company and Maratha forces?
The British Army consisted of people from various communities, and not just the Mahars. Similarly, the Peshwa Infantry too had soldiers from various communities, including from so-called low castes. How does it then becomes a Mahar against Peshwa battle instead of a British versus Indians battle?
Like that of Bhindranwale, Mevani's construct too is false. But will Rahul see through the charade or continue to fall for the distorted narrative fraught with all possible risks for him and the country?