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Forget Bharat Mata, When Will The BJP Chant The Slogans That Really Matter?

11/04/2016 8:26 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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CHENNAI, INDIA, A young Dalit girl draws water from a pond in her village. In the Indian caste system, a Dalit, often called an untouchable, is a person who does not have any varnas. Varna refers to the Hindu belief that most humans were created from different parts of the body of the divinity Purusha. The part from which a varna was created defines its social status for issues such as who they can marry and what jobs they can do. Dalits fall outside varnas system and have historically been prevented from doing any but the most menial jobs. They are also known as outcastes. Traditionally, they were treated as pariahs in South Asian society and isolated in their own communities, to the point that even their shadows were avoided by the upper castes. Discrimination against Dalits still exists in rural areas in the private sphere, in ritual matters such as access to eating places and water sources. It has largely disappeared, however, in urban areas and in the public sphere.

The land of the holy cow has taken its holier-than-thou attitude up a notch.

I refer to the "Bharat Mata ki Jai" fiasco that has hijacked the headlines in the Indian media for weeks now, shoving other important issues like world terrorism out of the limelight.

The story won't go away partly because of RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat's dogged persistence in insisting on complete compliance from all Indians.

"Now the time has come when we have to tell the new generation to chant "Bharat Mata ki Jai. It should be real, spontaneous and part of all-round development of the youth," Bhagwat said.

His comments raised a few eyebrows but the most volatile reaction came from AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi who said he won't chant "Bharat Mata ki Jai" even if a knife was put to his throat. As if on cue, Shiv Sena sang its usual hit song "Go to Pakistan."

The BJP really needs voters to stay stupid and complicit. They don't want independent, free-thinking individuals because frankly, they will be too difficult to fool and govern.

The controversy refused to die after AIMIM MLA Waris Pathan's suspension from the Maharashtra Assembly for refusing to chant 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'. One would hope that the Congress would be the voice of sanity but no, they joined the circus too.

But the party is just getting started. Now jumping on the bandwagon are the people of India's largest seminary, Darul Uloom Deoband, which has just issued a fatwa stating that Muslims should refrain from chanting the slogan as it against the basic tenets of their religion.

In the fatwa, the seminary stated that there was no doubt that India was their nation and that all Muslims love their country, but "we cannot worship the country. Muslims cannot worship anyone other than (God). In that slogan, Bharat has been called equivalent to a goddess."

The BJP has already established itself as a sanctimonious, judgmental, joyless Hindutva group but now it seems to have completely lost the plot.

This seems to be a desperate attempt to wrestle control over the people of India, who seemed to getting louder and more vocal in their protests. These are the "anti-nationals" who have been in the news. The students, the activists and some journalists who are expressing their concern over the BJP's politics.

The BJP knows it has no answers to the questions that the country and Indians worldwide are asking. Where are the fancy plans of 'development'?

The BJP really needs voters to stay stupid and complicit. They don't want independent, free-thinking individuals because frankly, they will be too difficult to fool and govern.

They can't dominate the rich who are marching to their own anthem which goes something like "Audi, Gucci, Prada, Rolex, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Jai Hind for the flights to these shopping destinations." The government caters to the rich because they grease the corrupt systems.

So they are going after the poor and the middle class. It's a game of intimidation and control. They ask the masses to be "national" and be subservient.

Because the BJP knows it has no answers to the questions that the country and Indians worldwide are asking. Where are the fancy plans of 'development' and acchhe din? What has improved? When will change come?

What about basic human rights? India has the largest population is the world without access to clean water. Water Aid, an international charity, says that 76 million Indians don't have access to safe water.

When will the BJP chant the slogan "Clean Water for All"?

According to a study, a woman is raped every 30 minutes in India. Every two minutes, a woman is a victim of a crime. India has learnt nothing from the Nirbhaya gang rape. Sickening and shocking rapes continue. On 23 February this year a woman was raped in a hospital near the capital of the nation just hours after she gave birth by C-section. On 8 March a 15-year-old girl was raped and set on fire.

Improve India and citizens will want to sing about its greatness because no government should have to force its people to do that.

When will the BJP chant the slogan "Safety for All Women and Children"?

And then there are the other issues of homelessness, pollution, disease, education, health insurance, human rights violations and poverty that need to addressed. Those are just a few examples.

I think the BJP, who have become the self-appointed guardians of "nationalism" and "patriotism" have spectacularly demonstrated their ability to divide the nation.

Now, they should re-evaluate their agenda and focus on uniting the nation. Improve India and citizens will want to sing about its greatness because no government should have to force its people to do that.

Make India great and the world will pay attention and maybe they will want to salute India with "Jai Hind." Maybe.

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