Singh a Song
By Mubasshir Mushtaq
One does not know whether Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, September 29 Malegaon bomb blast accused, did 'sing' or she is made to sing but Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has already chosen to sing a song. The singer is none other than a Singh who firmly believes that his ability to sing a song of 'cultural nationalism' will save his party. "Those who believe in cultural nationalism," said Rajnath Ram Singh, BJP president, referring to Sadhvi "cannot ever take to terror."
One does not understand Singh's definition of 'cultural nationalism' but he has been an inconsistent president of a party which claims to be truly "nationalistic." Is he the same Singh who sung the "terrorist" song immediately after the so-called 'encounter' at Batla House? Why did he sing a different song after the arrest of Sadhvi? Is it because of the difference in religious affiliation of those who were killed at Batla House? Or did 'acquaintance' prompt him to defend Sadhvi? The widely-circulated picture of Singh with Sadhvi does not incriminate him but as we say in journalism: A picture speaks a thousand words.
One must note that like the accused of the Batla house, Sadhvi remains an accused and not a "terrorist." A terrorist tag can only be accorded by a court of law.
Sadhvi has created so much confusion within the BJP. Initially, BJP disowned her when it was revealed that she was once a part of its student-wing, Akhil Bharthiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). BJP changed its official policy the moment Uma Bharati joined the strange enigma of Sadhvi. Uma Bharati was merely a political trap; Singh easily succumbed to it. After all, Singh and Bharati share the same saffron soul with varying degrees.
BJP's state of no-acceptance no-rejection of Sadhvi makes its case ambivalent.
A president of a nationalist political party should always stick to one song on a one theme no matter whoever may be the target audience.
BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad thought Singh's song was not enough and decided to write the whole script. His utterance was a good example of hysteria's triumph over common sense. "Why this lead (the alleged involvement of Students Islamic Movement of India in Malegaon 2006 cemetery blast) has not been followed in the 2008 blast?" Prasad asked.
Mr. Ravi Shankar should at least know that the motorcycle used in the blast was registered in the name of Sadhvi.
L.K. Advani, who has responded cautiously to Sadhvi episode, must take notice of his party's official ignorance.
Meanwhile the response of the saffron Hindutva groups has been highly intolerant. The rabid display of the 'majoritarian nationalism' or to put it more precisely 'mobocracy' went unnoticed in the mainstream media. Thousands of the saffron souls protested outside a Nasik court on November 3 where the accused were brought for the trial. They carried placards, chanted highly provocative slogans and openly defended Sadhvi and other army men allegedly involved in the Malegaon blast.
India, being a civilised democracy, gives a right to defend an accused. I am glad that Indian Muslims have never ever done such a protest outside a court. Indonesia, the largest Muslim country, did not witness any such protest when Bali bomb blasts' Muslim bombers were executed on the order of the country's highest court.
Nathuram Godse is dead but his legacy of hatred still thrives on. Himani Savarkar, Godse's niece and president of Abhinav Bharat – the organization allegedly behind the Malegaon blast – has advocated an eye for an eye theory. "If we can have bullet for bullet, why not blast for blast?" she has asked. She has even advocated that Indian Muslims should go and find a Muslim country to live!
Post-Independent India was infected with caste and communal riots. Now the bomb blast is an easy and alternative way to infect the body of India. It has begun to bleed with sickening regularity. Do we Indians realise that the war is no longer across the border? It is being fought within. China and Pakistan are not our biggest enemies. Our biggest enemies are fellow Indians who are striking at will wearing the cloak of anonymity.
Sadhvi episode has highlighted one crucial fact in Indian context: Terrorism is not a Muslim specialty. The bomb blasts in mosques in the Marathwada region (Nanded, Parbhani, Purna, Jalna etc.) were indeed carried out by Hindutva fanatics but government and intelligence agencies ignored it lest they antagonise the majority community. Army men's involvement in the Malegaon blast should not come as a surprise. Our intelligence agencies do have people who share the right-wing ideology. Those who have followed the Nanded 2006 blast will agree that the role of India's Criminal Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been highly controversial and biased.
Initially ATS suspected that SIMI was the behind the Malegaon blast. The ATS knew it from the day one that the killer motorcycle belonged to Sadhvi but yet they continued their combing operations in Muslim areas of Malegaon! The sudden 'right-turn' in the investigation was a result of Muslim resentment across the state of Maharashtra. Dozens of Muslim corporators belonging to Congress-NCP had sent their resignations directly to chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and home miniter R.R. Patil.
With elections round the corner, a dual-theory is being propagated by political pundits. Batla encounter was carried out to pacify Hindus and Malegaon arrests were made to "appease" the Muslims! Congress is being accused of playing a dual game.
A murmur has begun to develop in Muslim mohallas that Congress is indulging in a psychological war of perception management. Is Congress playing a game with Muslim sub-consciousness? We can't say with certainty. But at the same time it can't be ruled out. There is at least one reason to suspect. ATS is yet to apply the draconian MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) although they have slapped it on Malegaon blast accused of 2006. It is still being "considered."
Quite a Muslim question: Are there two set of different laws for two different communities? That's a question which Vilasrao Deshmukh needs to answer.
The Muslim vote will depend upon his answer and not mere lip-service as his government has been doing for the last 9 years. Sri Krishna Commission report is just the tip of an iceberg. The iceberg of genuine Muslim issues may sink Vilasrao's political boat.
This time 'nine days wonder' trick will not save Congress-NCP government.
A question worth-debating: Can Muslims of Maharashtra sing a different song