With these golden principles did the people of India adopt, enact and give to themselves the Constitution of the World’s largest Democracy. And this very Democracy, watered with the blood of numerous free souls, embarked on its journey with yet more blood thirst, this time for a section of its own population, the successors of those who had won this nation with their own blood in the first place.
The Muslims of India, who had fought a common enemy as one with the rest of their Indian brothers, put their trust in this oneness and compassion for their brothers. They stayed back in India even when another nation was created by their brothers in faith and belief. They placed their trust in the secular ideals promoted by the founders of the nation, and expected for themselves the same honour and dignity that all the other Indians enjoyed.
And all the golden dreams were instantly shattered, to be broken yet again and again, in the form of communal riots, religious discrimination, hate crimes and other forms of hostility. All the institutions of the country joined hands – be it the Indian courts, the law enforcement agencies, the Constitution, the successive governments or the Military and the Police. The Muslims of this Democratic, Secular Republic were discriminated against on all levels and in all fields of life, so that the largest minority, or the second largest majority for that matter, had to live in their own country as second class citizens.
The escalation of anti-Muslim violence during this month of September inevitably reminds one of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who had left the world during this very month in 1948, but only after giving the Muslims of the subcontinent an identity of their own. This is what the Muslims of India get, having rejected his Two Nation Theory in favour of Hindu-Muslim Unity. This highly desired unity could never show itself, except at times of elections, when some parties try to win Muslim sentiments for the sake of their votes. The presumed ‘Unity in Diversity’ of India has left the Muslims with a few choices, to ultimately choose the least bad option. The Congress Party of India, the successor of the Indian National Congress, had been preaching Secularism all along, and had naturally ruled the country for long initially. The Bharatiya Janata Party then arose as the saviour of the majority Hindus, and totally ignored the Muslim votes in favour of the Hindu ones. The Congress had little hope in the face of the Hindutva agenda of the BJP, therefore, to counter its popularity among extremist Hindus, it occasionally flirted with the Muslims to ensure their votes. But, since the Muslims, large as their number might be, still remain a minority, no political party can ever have any hope while ignoring the Hindus. The Congress, therefore, with a view to keep the balance between its pro-majority and pro-minority stances, has occasionally committed great atrocities against the Muslims, in order to assure the majority, time and again, that in spite of their apparently secular agenda, they have not forgotten their brethren in faith.
Thus, the Muslims of India are reduced to a political tool in the hands of the several political parties, with the same game being repeated on the state level as well, only this time between smaller regional parties. In this tug-of-war for power and hegemony, the winners frequently change faces, while the Muslims remain the only losers. The game of the stick and the carrot continues, and the Muslims, though capable of being a large power due to their sheer number, end up like a pendulum between the major national parties. Their fate, at the best, is to select the least bad, and to remember individual favours by any particular party for years together. If one of the major parties wrongs them, they can unite to punish it and bring the other to power, only to reverse their choices again when their newly elected one also chooses to tyrannise once it comes in power. Their numerical strength is wasted in choosing between ‘the bad’ and ‘the worse’.
With the Lok Sabha elections due in 2014, the political game is being played well. Uttar Pradesh, one of the largest states geographically, with an abundance of natural resources, a steadily growing economy, which is again one of the largest in the country, in addition to its historical and hence tourist importance, is the dream of all the political parties, including those of the national level. With its unique demographic scene, UP also features one of the most complicated political scenarios in the country. The Hindus, though the vast majority, are divided into a strict caste system, with the scheduled castes being the most numerous. This makes the Muslims, though a minority, an equally strong voting power, due to the internal divisions among the Hindus. The two largest national parties have hardly any hope of ruling the state, with regional parties appealing to the sentiments of particular castes and, therefore, winning their votes en bloc. Much then depends on the Muslim and urban Hindu population, which is sometimes the leading factor in tilting the scales to a particular side. This makes the state a fierce battlefield for all the national and regional parties to play their own games, with the Muslims usually paying the price of a game they have nothing to win in.
The current ruling party in the state usually depends upon the votes of a particular caste among the Hindus. It has very little to expect from the rest of the Hindus, whose affections are already reserved for the BJP or other regional parties of their own castes. In such a scenario, it is very important for the SP to win more Hindu votes, especially when the BJP, alongside the VHP, is furthering the saffronisation of UP. The party, therefore, is trying to flirt with all the sections of the Hindu population, by playing a card that appeals to all, irrespective of caste. They are already plunged deep in this game, to the extent that the Old City, about a kilometer away from the residence of the Chief Minister, was immersed in violence, and the CM was content with accusing the opposition parties, while his government was busy ordering a probe to look into the deaths of black bucks in the Lucknow Zoo.