The Going Gets Tougher by Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam (JUNE 15, 2012)

Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam on the newly discovered love for secularism in NDA

We are passing through interesting times. Interesting and intriguing. The best show going on is the newly found love for secularism in the NDA, announced from the rooftops by the illustrious Mr Nitish Kumar himself.

The Bihar Chief Minister, who has been comfortable supping with the devil all these years, finally discovers that angels too exist in the polity. After being chummy and paly with the hate-spewing Hindutva votaries, and ruling Bihar on their support, accepting some of their most insidious agenda against Muslims, Mr Kumar decides that a part of BJP is not secular enough, whatever it means.

These people are capable of all kinds of volte face and every variety of sommersault. Remember Mr LK Adavani’s Ayodhya rath yatra and the murder of hundreds of Muslims all along the yatra route? By staging the nationwide massacre of Muslims and demolition of Babri Masjid, Mr Advani gave secularism a bad name. He abused it as “pseudo-secularism”, and virtually banished it from India.

However, the same Mr Advani, who with his track record of monumental communal violence should have been the most unsuitable for judging someone else’s secularism was, in years to come, to declare Mr Mohammad Ali Jinnah a secular person.

The debate over secularism has been restarted by the same old gang which tried to uproot it from Indian soil. The debate is not at all about secularism, but about power. Power game inside BJP: one side led by Narendra Modi, another by BJP leaders opposed to him.

Mr Kumar is the front of one faction of BJP, which is likely to support Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential election instead of PA Sangma, the official NDA candidate. And all this is not about secularism. All sections of BJP are equally unsecular, including the faction with Mr Kumar.

Secularism is so popular today with the right wing that even RSS has claimed to be secular. So, what do we make out of it? Nothing. Just ignore this dishonest debate by pseudo-secularists of the new vintage.


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