The God, the Prophet, and the Book
By Ankit Sharma
Yesterday was a momentous day in the history of the Indian republic, for we saw the dawn of a new religion in the central hall of parliament, as the Prophet from Gujarat pronounced the hypostases of God, Gandhi and Modi, exhorting his followers to steadfastly follow the book of this new faith: the Constitution of India.
Frankly, this reminded me of the meme in ‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’ of a delusion taking an extreme turn where the protagonist starts believing he is being guided by the soul of Gandhi. So filmy, no?
And sure enough… what do we see next? The biggest mass conversion exercise ever, scenes of teary-eyed followers of this Prophet singing Hallelujah and seeking deliverance from tyranny and sin.
(Ok… that was the sarcasm part.)
On a more serious note, as much as Prime Minister Narendra Modi deserves appreciation for his ethics, honesty and efficiency, and unremitting works conducted with quiet determination, all the points he wants others in his team to imbibe, the in-your-face Gandhism is getting a wee too much for comfort!
We have had enough of this PDA towards ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi in the last five years and it has become cloying now! Looking at their constituency, people did not invest their faith and hopes in the Bharatiya Janata Party in order to rediscover Gandhi and his ideas. Everything about this purported saint sate upon Indians as the ‘father of the nation’, is in the public domain and those particularly inspired with his personality can repeat his ‘experiments with the truth’—culpable by today’s criminal code—at their own peril and land in jail!
The very concept of sole allegiance to the constitution is flawed. The constitution is not a book set in stone. At any point in time it should reflect the will and the aspirations of those it is supposed to serve. The Indian constitution with several of its provisions retained from colonial times and more than 100 amendments made to it since it came into force, some of which were inserted without following due process, is hardly a book to look upon as infallible and pledge unswerving loyalty. (Is there such a book or any creation of human intelligence that can be regarded as such?)
The Constitution of India in particular is a deeply flawed document which was not an organically developed ideation of the Indian people of themselves. It is essentially a forged set of doctrinal principles based on foreign sociological premises which is inadequate safeguard of the equitable rights of the Indian people. Rooted in the colonial narrative about native Indians, which was motivated and defamatory in nature, the constitution is grossly discriminative against the majority Hindus. The prejudices inherent in it disempowers the Hindus in influencing governance and policies that determine their fate.
By all means the framers of the constitution recognised its shortcomings and therefore incorporated checks and balances and mechanisms for its modification within its scope. But till now Prime Minister Modi has proved wanting in the will and intention in taking that recourse and initiating long-required amendments, especially those that confer to the Hindus long-denied constitutional guarantees. No matter what the assumption behind it, a discrimination is to be viewed only as a discrimination, even if it is enshrined in the constitution, and Narendra Modi’s obsession with the written word has started to border on blind faith now.
Mr. Modi repeated the maxim coined by him ‘sabka sath sabka vikas’, but this neglects the question where ‘caste Hindus’ figure in his scheme of things, those who have been left without a political voice in the last 7 decades. His proclamations to uphold the constitution (not as it should be, but in the form it is presently) do not reflect a will to address, for example, the plight of those left disenfranchised because of the provisions of article 35A? Are they not included in the ‘Janata Janardan’ so oft referred to by PM Modi?
One would admire Mr. Modi for his magnanimity for saying that he stands with those who voted for him as well as those who opposed him. While he has been indeed remarkably generous with his vitriolic, even out-and-out pernicious political opponents, one may remind him that ‘charity begins at home’. He has come down unduly harshly on those from his own party who voice the angst of large sections of the beleaguered Hindu majority of India. His recent extreme denouncement of Sadhvi Pragya Thakur for ‘blaspheming’, with a simple statement calling the man who shot ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi, Nathuram Godse, a ‘patriot’, is a case to the point. And this in a party which supposedly stands against a personality cult culture and mocks the Indian National Congress for curbing dissent and dynastic politics! He could have demonstrated grace and some balance even if he felt that Sadhvi Pragya had erred in her utterances. The incident of arrest of eight persons in Surat (a BJP-ruled state) for feting Godse on his birth anniversary is a disturbing precedent.
If Narendra Modi’s speech yesterday in the Parliament is meant to set the tone for days to come, let us be prepared for more moral science lessons on Gandhi and other favourite icons like Ambedkar, more toilets and more of the trite stuff that marked his first tenure, all but a vision of an evolved Indian nation and society in the future.
For the rest of us, who stand for Indian civilisational values, dharma and rational inquiry, brace up for being branded kafirs in the new cult order!
Mr. Narendra Modi in the Parliament on Saturday, May 25th, while attending a session of the coalition alliance which won a comprehensive mandate at the recent parliamentary polls. (Source: DNA)