Congress (I)’s landslide victory in the December elections is no surprise to those who are familiar with India’s political scenario and religious topography. In fact the result was a foregone conclusion from the moment Rajiv Gandhi announced the elections. No situation could be more propitious than the surcharged atmosphere of emotionalism resulting from the assassination of Indira Gandhi to capitalize on the inherently communal Hindu vote that constitutes eighty percent of the total electorate. Indira Gandhi had been assiduously striving to project herself as the champion and protector of Hindu religion. She had intuitively sensed that in the context of rapaciously corrupt politicians, degenerated administration, grinding poverty and growing dichotomy between the rich and the poor, her favorite game of gimmicks could dangerously recoil as had happened in 1977.
Therefore, to prove her credentials as the Durga incarnate, she masterminded the manipulations leading to the destruction of the Akal Takht and cold blooded massacre of thousands of innocent Sikhs, Earlier she had let loose the ravenous hounds of fundamentalists to inflict death and destruction upon the helpless Muslims in Assam who left 6000 dead in Nellie alone. Even the docile Christian missionaries in Mizoram, Meghalaya and Kerala were administered a ‘chastising’ dose for the voluntary conversions from Hinduism to Christianity.
It was through such a feigned charisma that she could hope to win at the hustings. After her death, the laboriously built image could only be preserved through Rajiv. His choice as her successor, therefore, became a political necessity for the Congress (1) and to project him as the rightful lineal descendent of the Durga, the ruling dynasty’s key men approved and allowed the holocaust against the Sikhs. It is significant that the only opposition stalwart to win the election is Charan Singh who had repeatedly advocated attack on the Golden Temple. All those leaders who had been pleading for a negotiated settlement with the Sikhs have been rejected by the Hindu electorate. The conclusion is both revealing and unmistakable. The majority community has firmly oscillated to a position where it would promote only the protagonists of the Hindu domination. Today Hindu communalism is not just the fashion but a singular qualification for patriotism.
To explain Rajiv’s victory in simple terms like ‘sympathy vote’ is to drift diagonally away from the truth. The truth is that he has steered to success steadfastly holding on the the swelling surge of uncompromising Hinduism. The elusive dream of democracy and secularism that was so ambitiously enshrined in the constitution lies shattered at the altar of intolerant communalism. The dream has met its inevitable fate, for democracy is a very fragile system and can flourish only in a society with a secular outlook and tolerant character, where there is no permanent majority. In India there is a permanent majority of eighty percent Hindus and consequently no party can hope to gain, political power without a demonstrative degree of appeasement towards it. Appeasement involves discrimination against and domination over minorities, thus making a mockery of both democracy and secularism. It is not the legitimate anxiety of the minorities to preserve and protect their identity that can pose any threat to India’s unity. It is the arrogantly aggressive attitude of the majority community that it is bound to spell disaster. Majority has to watch its steps and majority alone will be responsible for balkanization or disintegration. Rajiv must reckon with this reality if he has any real concern for India. that had taken sanctuary in the Golden Temple considered themselves, as did many other Sikhs, to be freedom fighters. Freedom that they fought for was one that many other parts of India were also demanding. This struggle for autonomy started out in a peaceful manner and turned to violence only due to the actions of the Indian police forces.
Sikhs the world over are proud of the fact that they have never raised a finger on any other people to change their religion or to control or rule them. The modern Sikh was born in the sixteenth century as a protector of religious freedom, who was being persecuted by the Mughal rulers. The faith of Sikhs does not allow them to stand back and let one strong religious group hurt or destroy another religious group.
Article extracted from this publication >>JANUARY 4, 1985