Ironically, the left in India poses as a secular front while it systematically practises the most cynical and egregious form of communal politics…the classical example of which is Mamta Banerjee of the TMC in Bengal. Banerjee has effectively collared in on the 30 % Muslim vote-bank in Bengal by giving it no development while simultaneously handing it generous “packages” – ranging from job quotas to hard cash for radical Madarsas and Imams. Muslims in Banerjee’s Bengal are retained desperately poor and backward, the nefarious criminal elements within that community are given a free ride in Bengal and in return they organize en masse community votes for her. On 13 and 14 December 2016, Muslim mobs attacked and looted Hindu shops and houses and set them on fire in Dhulagarh in Howrah district of Bengal following an altercation between Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi processionists and local Hindu residents who were observing religious rituals. Dozens of Hindu homes were burnt and destroyed and then were set ablaze by non-local Muslims. The mainstream media initially reported the incidents sparsely and the state government denied any incident of communal riot in Dhulagarh. Dhulagarh is neither the first nor an isolated example of communal politics in Mamta´s Bengal – Kaliachok and Malda riots being the others that have occurred in the recent past. While police who reached Dhulagarh were attacked by bombs and prevented from stopping the non-resident Muslim rioters, the state continued to refuse it as an incident of communal issue. If such communal violence had broken out in a BJP governed state, the media would have front-paged it and justifiably so for days. The award-wapsi intellectual brigade, the Dadri supporters and most of India´s secular media remains ignorant of the fact that they have consequently generated a bigoted image for themselves by their conspicous silence on the issue and such others. In the Dhulagarh incident, coverage by the media was sparse and Mamta Banerjee went ahead and filed an FIR against the very journalists who attempted to report the incident !!!!. Taking advantage of the history of such events in the recent past , the RSS has organised a meeting in Kolkatta and initiated its moves to cash in on this “Hindu frustration” in Bengal and work towards saffronzing it . Thus Mamta through her consistent communal politics has conveniently extended the rope for the RSS to further its Hindutva politics in Bengal.
Politics is a nuanced game of perceptions and the left, centre-of left and secular fronts in India have a responsibility to be not perceived as anti-Hindu or partisan in either its narrative or actions…in which it seems to have severely failed. Hindutva politics and religious sentiments find fertile grounds in the minds of lay-hindu proletariat owing to this failure of the left to be inclusive of the Hindu needs, and in consequence the rise of right radicals in India as the Messiah of the Hindus – it is as much a result of this strategic failure of the left as it is of the manipulated Hindutva sentiment that the right tends to readily use. If the secular fabric in India has to be maintained and the growth of right Hindu radicals in India contained, the secular left has to re-learn to shed its partisan communal politics and accommodate Hindu needs alongside and be perceived as an “all comprehensive” front. If one may recollect from the past, the rise of BJP as a national power through the “Ayodhya sentiment” has as much to do with the virulent Rath Yathras of Advani as it has to do with Rajiv´s appeasement of the Muslims through overturning of the Shah Banu verdict.
What the Congress and its communal allies (who derive their political sustenance only by keeping Hindu-Muslim division alive forever) cannot stomach is that the BJP has kept India relatively riot free since 1996, something that never happened from 1925 for 75 years, the worst and with the most bloody riots happening under the Congress rule. One of the greatest political successes of the UPA government has been its Goebbelsian demonisation of Modi using the singular Godhra-Gujarat riots, but this over-used narrative has served as a strategic pitfall from which BJP continues to “cash in” – the Hindu retribution for Godhra. With un-restrained illogical Modi-bashing and reactionary politics becoming a national sport in India, and Modi´s rather calm temperament – “don´t bother keep working strategy”, it encourages the Hindu right to simultaneously construct and fuel a counter-victim-hood narrative that is supplementing the Hindutva movement effectively. Modi´s achievements however small or minuscule therefore is expected to strategically appear more pronounced and amplified in the backdrop of these petty narratives generated by the left, and is setting the stage to help BJP in its popularity in the coming national elections. Hence, it is imperative that India realise that we cannot afford the likes of Mamta nor petty reactionary politics , neither in Bengal nor elsewhere giving away our grounds to the RSS for furthering Hindutva proletysization.
India´s secular fabric and its guard against the growth of the radical right has to be re-established and its onus will depend on the parity of narratives that the secular left will generate, or how inclusive of Hindus it will be perceived as…least the Hindutva forces will push the non-partisan Hindu into its fold claiming to be their Messiah. Is that what we hope to achieve ?