Hinduphobia: The Neo-Secularism
   20-May-2019
It (the voice of India) has endorsed a new kind of leader in the shape of Mr Modi. He is from the lower castes. He is not a natural English speaker. He has no truck with the secular and socialist traditions that shaped Congress. But, more important, that voice has announced a new kind of India. In the old India the poor were there to be helped, when the elite remembered to do so or when they needed to seek or, in effect, to buy votes. The middling classes were taken for granted and sometimes snubbed. The new India, most observers agree, is not interested in handouts, and refuses to be snubbed. Instead it wants the obstacles it sees as impeding its aspirations swept away” –India: another tryst with destiny, Editorial, The Guardian, May 18, 2014
To many, whether The Economist or Time magazine commenting on the elections with a cautionary notes for voters, actor turned politician Kamal Haasan linking political assassin of Gandhiji - Nathuram Godse - to his Hindu identity, many missionary and Islamic groups coming out openly to support parties that would defeat Modi, Urban-Naxals playing their narratives of democracy in danger, some media giants attempting to invigorate caste divisions and Rajasthan Government removing a chapter on Savarkar from text-books etc may be different strategies by different players. In reality, they are part of the same grand-strategy to create the ‘Hinduphobia’ – of which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is just a symbol. If at all 2019 election campaign is to be analysed, it has to be seen in this form of Neo-Secularism.
 
Just before 2014 elections, ‘secularism’ was the buzz word which is completely missing from the entire election discourse. Not just the self-proclaimed intellectuals, artists, historians and bureaucrats etc of the Lutyens gang but their international voices also then played the ‘Secularism in Danger’ narrative. In the earlier avatar of secularism, playing vote-bank politics, discriminating against larger Hindu identity through legal and policy instruments so that more and more people dissociate from the same, divide them on caste and regional lines etc were the common strategies. As this flawed version of unfit borrowing of terminology called ‘secularism’ from the West backfired, what is now practised skilfully and with entire networked might is Neo-Secularism in the form of ‘Hinduphobia’.
 
Here the attempt is not just to appease so-called minorities or discriminate and divide the larger Hindu identity but to denigrate the Hindu identity by branding it as intolerant, regressive, violent and therefore, anti-democratic. The 2019 campaign is the culmination of all the narratives played from the results of 2014 elections.
 
Whether national or international, media groups have their own freedom to analyse and comment on democracy of Bharat. As a part of this freedom what they try to do is actually preaching what is good for the common electorates and what are the benchmarks for democracy. The film industry or other intellectuals definitely have a role to play in democracy and perhaps they have been most vocal in the last five years. Still, they are crying of ‘free speech in danger’. Their selectivity about the issues and intellectual hypocrisy of not terming what happened in Sri Lanka as terrorism while labelling anybody who is Hindu as terrorist is problematic.
 
The Congress hypocrisy and double standards of temple tourism on the one hand and demonising Hindus on the other hand has been exposed many a times. Though Congress is believed to have critically analysed the failure of 2014 and tried to play the Janevudhari card conveniently, removing a chapter on Savarkar from textbooks or Rahul Gandhi insulting the freedom fighter time and again just because he articulated the book ‘Hindutva’ is another sign of ‘Hinduphobic’ mindset.
 
By the time this edition is published, the voting for General Elections 2019 would be over. Media and political pundits would be analysing data and discussing exit polls. Various numbers would be thrown to us and numerous political strategising would be carried out. While doing so, we should not forget that the central theme of campaign by the entire opposition alliance (formal and informal) has been creating Hinduphobia. Modi is the symbol and outcome of rise of Bharat on its eternal Hindu identity that believes in acceptability and respect. The same identity also knows how to protect that inclusivity and multiplicity of truth from the violent, colonising, monopolistic aggressions. Irrespective of the election outcome, this assertion of the national identity is the fact and everyone will have to deal with it.
@PrafullaKetkar