Ban, Religion and Inequality


As #bantheban banters the intelligentsia, the cause of pluralism and the idea of secularism faces quite an uphill task. On one hand, there is resilience, on the other hand there is resistance. The kind of secularism practised by the left of central ideology in the country portrayed a questionable dent in front of the world. The Shah Bano Case proved how temporary political interests can contradict the interests of the nation. The Congress Party played an important role in justifying its vote bank in the most populated state- consisting of Muslims, Dalits and the poor. Hence, people who today blame the Bharatiya Janata Party for all the woes and partisanship must look back and think about the intolerance that has had quite a lengthy history. In India in the past one year, communal tensions have increased- says the PMO report. Well, it will be extremely hard for the Prime Minister to disregard a report prepared under his sub control. But if we tend to talk about decentralisation of administrative power between the Union and the states- then law and order falls within the state list. And with 50% of the states being non BJP, can the Congress and the regional parties shed off their bit of responsibility in maintaining communal harmony? I see not.

Yes, there is a Hindu right and I must say an aggressive one in the Internet and Social media. Most of their views centre around a particular political figure attacking whom can bring you a respite from civility. But isn’t such a feeling born out of years of burning discontent and years of impeccable impression of a party entrenched excessively in two things- worshipping a specific dynasty and beholding multi-partisan politics of division more than cohesion. See for example the Entry of Asaduddin Owaisi and his AIMIM. I don’t want to crunch my word space by mentioning the party’s full name-but his choice of Seemanchal not only smacks of Muslim centred politics but also of opportunism and self-serve sanatorium. In the AAJ TAK PANCHAYAT, in Patna the Owaisi senior did not digest any qualms while confessing that he was not running an NGO, but a political party. The most vocal opponent of the entry of the Muslim centred party seems to be the party of C.P Joshi who already are hands in gloves with another Muslim constituency based political organisation called the Muslim league. Coming to the cause of the ban and its aftershocks, it is deeply astonishing how the mainstream media failed to excavate the meat ban brought about by the previous Congress Governments in Maharashtra. So, is there a sense of social untouchability attributed to the world’s largest political party? And how is it, that as such a state controlled ban is actually taking place in the financial capital in the country, that the mainstream media has no air space about it.

The statement of Mumbai Congress Chief, Sanjay Nirupam on NDTV was not only surprising, but inherently juvenile. On a question posed by Barkha Dutt, why is the Congress making such a hue and cry over an issue, it is itself responsible for, the “misogynist” leader says, “If the Congress had started a stupid occasion, why should the BJP continue it?” I sincerely hope, he is able to save his chair after calling his party by that name. And such is the theatre of the absurd nowadays, that even Shiv Sena has started to brand the business friendly prosperous Jains as “terrorists”. The continuity of the political system is an essential task, so is the need to come out of the veils of food, good or digital censorship. Bans from time immemorial have not served any right purpose.

Saif Ali Khan was correct enough to say, by imposing a ban on Phantom, the Pakistan Government has made it all the more important for ordinary Pakistanis to watch the film on pirated DVDs. The number of people who saw India’s Daughter exceeded twice the number that would have actually seen the documentary on the official broadcaster. Bans pave way to inequality at times, and on many an instance, inequality and visible partisanship brings about invisible bans. It is time to fight both, rather than injecting and inflicting suspicion and mistrust….