Sena’s Baptism To Secularism Shows This Word Has No Relevance Now; It’s Time To Consign It To The Dustbin

Sena’s Baptism To Secularism Shows This Word Has No Relevance Now; It’s Time To Consign It To The DustbinAaditya Thackeray at the residence of Sonia Gandhi to invite her for the swearing-in.
Snapshot
  • Just seven years ago, Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray had questioned Sonia Gandhi’s loyalty to the country.

    Today, his son and grandson have teamed up with his bete noire, puncturing all his years of ferocity.

    The ‘tiger’, it appears, has finally been tamed and baptised.

“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength”

These are the three slogans of the party which runs a totalitarian state in George Orwell’s highly acclaimed dystopian novel “1984”.

In Orwellspeak, if one were to describe India’s opposition parties (pun fully intended) led by Congress in one slogan, nothing better than this: Communalism is secularism.

Seeing the opportunistic alliance of far right party Shiv Sena (SS), far casteist Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and far Left Indian National Congress (INC) unfold in Maharashtra, with the only goal to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) out of power, one can’t help but conclude that it’s really time we lit the bonfire of secularism.

This word lost its meaning for all practical purposes long back. Now, let its pyre burn.

Let there be no doubt that from now on, if anyone, least of all the Congress party and its ideological bedfellows, uses secular-communal mumbo jumbo in political discourse to differentiate themselves from their electoral foes, they are a fraud of the highest order.

With due apologies to Orwell, the word ‘secularism’ has now no meaning, except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable to leftists’.

The Congress party is up in arms at the moment because BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur called Nathuram Godse a ‘patriot’. Rahul Gandhi in high bluster yesterday called Thakur and Godse ‘terrorists’.

Of course, his ‘secularism’ a.k.a. ‘opportunism’ doesn’t permit him to reserve the same admonition for Shiv Sena, which had showered praises on Godse, and showering him with the same honorific status of ‘patriot’ saying that unlike Sonia Gandhi, he hadn’t come from Italy.

Just seven years ago, Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray had questioned Sonia Gandhi’s loyalty to the country.

“She is a foreigner. What love will she have for this country?,” he had asked in 2012.

For Rahul Gandhi, maybe coalition dharma of “secularism” is above respect for his own mother.

Also, the deafening silence of the mainstream media on Sena’s views on Godse is not to be missed.

It’s hounding Pragya Thakur, but has maintained a secular silence on the Sena. Godi media, anyone?

This is the same Shiv Sena which demanded that voting rights of Muslims should be revoked. That was just four years ago. Written by none other than Sanjay Raut, who is now hailed as a ‘kingmaker’ by leftists. Just last year, this same person proudly boasted that his party workers had demolished Babri Masjid in 17 minutes.

But his fierce opposition to the BJP is enough to wash all his communal sins away — for an alliance with Sonia Gandhi’s Congress is nothing short of ‘baptism’.

Earlier this year, before the general elections, Shiv Sena prodded the Modi government to follow Sri Lanka’s example and ban burqa in the country because it posed a threat to national security.

The BJP opposed the demand. But thanks to Congress embracing it, no one will put Sena in the dock anymore.

The milder BJP will continue to remain communal while the party far right to it has suddenly been rehabilitated only because it cheated the BJP and put the Congress back in control in India’s richest state.

And what to even speak of litany of ‘communal’ statements of Balasaheb Thackeray spanning over decades. When Rajat Sharma of India TV asked whether he and his party had a hand in the riots in Mumbai, he shot back saying it wasn’t Sena’s hand but leg. In 1998, Justice B N Srikrishna's report had named Bal Thackeray ‘as the man who directed the violence in the January 1993 phase of the riots.’

He was arrested in 2000.

More than 900 people had died in that frenzy, only marginally lower than the figure in 2002 Gujarat riots.

But Narendra Modi will continue to be a merchant of death for the Congress ecosystem, while Thackeray’s Sena is now the torchbearer of democracy.

Apart from the shamelessness of the media cronies which are in godi (lap) of Congress, what is also not to be missed in this whole charade is the cheering support for SS-NCP-Congress alliance from the Muslim community, who, until last month had no love lost for Sena.

One can go on and on and write a tome on Sena’s history of communalism of the past three decades and before that, its dalliance with regional chauvnism. Sena has been on the far extreme of the BJP for as long as one can remember.

But none of that matters. It has now been baptised as ‘secular’ by ‘divine’ powers vested in Sonia Gandhi’s Congress. Secularism is whatever she says.

But “we the people’ can not play along in her political charade. It’s time to consign this facade to the ash heap of history.

Arihant Pawariya is Senior Editor, Swarajya.
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