Kharge’s Aryan Jibe: When It Comes To Bashing BJP, Even Racism Is Fine With The Congress

Kharge’s Aryan Jibe: When It Comes To Bashing BJP, Even Racism Is Fine With The Congress

When Kharge comes out with a starkly racist statement specifically mentioning that “aap bahar se aye hain (you are an outsider)”, no one thinks this is an outrage.

An interesting thing happened to the debate on “intolerance” a few days ago. It proves that when it comes to bashing the BJP, no norms apply. To fight “communalism”, casteism has so far been the preferred weapon. Now you can add racism to the “anti-communal” arsenal, and not one worthy liberal called this out. No Lutyens “liberal” spoke out against this “intolerance”.

The occasion was the debate on Babasaheb Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary, and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, speaking in the Lok Sabha,  thought he would use Ambedkar to take a side swipe at Aamir Khan’s statement the week before that his wife, Kiran Rao, had asked him if they should leave the country due to rising intolerance. “However much Dr Ambedkar may have felt discriminated against by the social system of the country, he never thought of abandoning the country,” Rajnath Singh intoned.

That’s when Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge deliberately distorted Singh’s statement and brought in his racist comment, and no one called for its expungement. What got expunged was Kharge’s promise of a “bloodbath.”

“Running away? Dr Ambedkar was amool niwasi (original inhabitant) of this country. We (Dalits) are the original inhabitants of this country, we are not the ones who will run away; we are the ones who defend this country. For over 5,000 years we have been facing violence and discrimination and have stayed put,” The Hinduquoted Kharge as saying.

Kharge is certainly wrong to assume that violence against Dalits was a 5,000-year phenomenon, when it is possibly the unfortunate legacy of the last 2,000 years when caste became rigid and oppressive. But even assuming he was right, does this make Kharge’s own racism kosher?

Here is a video clip of this part of Kharge’s speech.

The video shows him going ballistic, alleging that “aap bahar se aye hain…ye Aryan jitney bhi hain, wo bahar se aye hain.”  Kharge’s speech implied that the BJP and its social base represented the Aryans, who were outsiders to the country. It should be news to his “secular” allies like the JDU and RJD, for they too are similar “outsiders’”.

Even though the so-called Aryan invasion theory is now under challenge, the point is not about whether Aryans were outsiders and Dravidians were earlier residents of current-day India. It has been proved beyond doubt that the ancient north and ancient south Indian types had mixed freely during the Vedic age, and today there is no real racial difference between the northern Indian and the southern one, despite the difference in skin pigmentation. (Also see Aravindan Neelakandan’s piece on the topic: Vedas, Smritis and Ambedkar)

And yet, Kharge fished out the old Aryan-Dravidian divide to lambast Rajnath Singh’s comment on Ambedkar.

Now consider what would have been the so-called “secular liberal’s” outrage if Singh had talked of Islamic invaders ruling India, or immigrants from Bangladesh being treated as outsiders today. He would have been hauled over the coals for such narrowmindedness.

But when Kharge comes out with a starkly racist statement specifically mentioning that “aap bahar se aye hain (you are an outsider)”, no one thinks this is an outrage.

The irony is that many of the regional parties aligned against the BJP are often north Indian parties, while national parties like the Congress and CPM have a political presence both among alleged “Aryans” and “Dravidians”.

Maybe, Rahul Gandhi and his mom ought to ask Kharge whether he thought them to be outsiders too.

The bottomline is simple: racism is not racism if used against the BJP. So much for the principled stand against communalism.

Jagannathan is Editorial Director, Swarajya. He tweets at @TheJaggi.
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