Raza Habib Raja
I have written before also that for me India holds a special place in my heart and I feel connected to it emotionally. Besides that as a student of politics also, India for me is an enigma with respect to its ability to sustain a balanced combination of democracy, secularism and stability over almost seven decades.
It has to be understood that even in relatively homogeneous countries, these factors are difficult to combine and balance. And yet, India despite being so diverse and complex, has so far done well. It has not been a smooth ride but political will has always been there.
I sincerely hope, that in the zeal of voting incumbents out of power, the Indian populace does not lose track of what exactly differentiates India from Pakistan.
I sincerely hope that fears that Modi’s victory will seriously dent India’s social cohesiveness and commitment to secularism, prove to be misplaced. However, in order to ensure that it does not happen, the educated Urban Middle Class has to remain vigilant.
Many of the voters who are voting for Modi are voting for him for better governance and not for communal reasons. But at the same time, let me once again humbly remind everyone that BJP and in particularly Mr. Modi has a troubling communal past.
Yes, he is a good administrator and his Gujrat model has won praises. It is of paramount importance that the educated make sure that after becoming Prime Minister, BJP’s efforts are more towards improving the governance rather than appeasement of some of the hardliners.
In case if BJP wins a thumping victory, then those who call themselves as liberal/left and secular, have to introspect and find out the reasons.
It has become a fashion to just portray their loss of popularity , in terms of rising Hindu chauvinism, in India.
One must remember, that mistakes, incompetence and blunders of parties like Congress end up strengthening the alternatives.
More importantly, I would like to point out that for secularism to be effective, it needs to have something appealing for the majority as well. Over appeasement of the minorities, often undermines merit too much giving rise to feeling of alienation in the majority, who feels frustrated and begin to politically unite along communal lines.
One has to be careful here as secularism would require commitment from the majority.
I hope that liberal/left realizes that it needs to have a nuanced approach and keep sustainability factor in mind. Whipping communalism, by pointing again and again to Gujarat riots, can prove to be counterproductive. Likewise, although I am in favor of affirmative action and quotas, but at the same time, these need to be intelligently and rationally implemented without alienating the majority. Because if majority loses faith then frankly under the rules of democracy-which at the end is a number game-minorities will lose out.
Eventually, political parties represent economic interests of classes, ethnicities and religious groups. It is important that the right compromise is struck so the country can move forward.
Good Luck India.
I will be watching with bated breath the results of one of the most interesting elections of our life.