Thursday, December 13, 2018

"There goes our last..." India and the imagined secularism

Congress President Mr Rahul Gandhi in a temple in Madhya Pradesh

How many of us remember the movie Ice age 3, where the Dodos are shown loosing their "last female" and the "last melon," one of the Dodos could blow the whistle saying "There goes our last female", "the last melon." The frustration was there but the the whole fun filled scene could transcend the frustration of the the Dodos and spectators kept looking at Sid the funny sloth!

This anecdote, I find quite apt in explaining what we are experiencing today in India especially when BJP has lost significantly in the Hindi heartland. Mr. Gandhi says "we defeated BJP today, we will defeat them in 2019 Lokesabha polls too" (click here). Of course, those who were looking for some respite from the fast intolerant India are happy. At least these results have given numerous people to grasp some air in their lungs, in their mind too. The kind of fast and furious Hindutva and monolithic cannonical approach will definitely face stiff challenge after this result. Or will it?

Congress predecided Rahul Gandhi's temple visits in each of the poll bound states. A simple googling will show the kind of pro-Hindu image propageted by Mr. Gandhi in poll bound states. For example in Rajastan Congress declared that Mr. Gandhi will be visiting three temples (click here). Ajaj Ashraf argues that Congress is desperate to remove the "anti-Hindu" label (click here).

While I wrote on the kind of alternative Mr. Gandhi gave by hugging his opposition and challenging the masculinity of the Parliament (click here), the temple visits has been a parallel development of Congress's strategy. Whether to term it soft Hidutva, is questionable, as I find each form of mobilisation of primordial identity carries the potential to turn violent, aggressive and intolerant.

India struggles to find its way to go beyond such identities, secularism whether as "Sarba Dharma Samabhaba" or separation of state from religion seems a distant dream.

Somewhere a few of the dodos continue to echo "there goes..." secularism - our last resort.

1 comment:

  1. Good analysis, the word secular will be redefined soon or later.