There is lots of brouhaha about secularism and communalism in our country and for the non-political layman it might be quite confusing. Actually it is a racket being run by political parties. Take for instance the BJP. It espouses the Hindu cause, or at least that’s how it has gained its prominence. The notorious Rath Yatra culminated into Babrimasjid demolition and this gave the BJP its permanent place in the annals of right-wingism, even internationally. The Gujarat riots further added to the saffron extremism tag. But that’s a different story.
Secularism in our country is confused with minority appeasement. Always criticize Hindus, always mollycoddle Muslims, always keep the ashes of casteism smoldering and there you are, a blue blooded secularist and liberalist. So that’s why, despite being the most communal party in the country, the Congress gets to accuse the BJP of communalism. Highly casteist and communal parties like Samajvadi Party, RJD, JD(U) and such are constantly striking up “secular” alliances to keep the “communal” (read the BJP and its tributaries) from coming to power.
If you carefully study the patterns of the recent decades you will find that the BJP is the least communal party simply because it doesn’t believe in majoritism and minoritism. Gujarat is a good example. Under Modi both Hindus and Muslims are prospering. The BJP doesn’t fight elections with slogans like reservations for Muslims and lower castes and freebies for the poor. They promote all-inclusive growth that can benefit every section of the society. I’m not claiming whether the party really means it or not, but at least that is what they constantly communicate. Having said that, if you care to do some study, all BJP-ruled states are far ahead of other states.
In all other states where the Congress and other secular parties are ruling, the Muslim community is in doldrums. Recently Mulayam Singh Yadav claimed that the Muslims have contributed the most towards the growth of the country. The government ruled by his son gives compensation to families of terrorists just for votes. With Muslims constituting more than 12% of the would bank in U.P., they are certainly a force to reckon with.
According to this Business Standard article the condition of Muslims is worse than SC/ST especially in the states ruled by the so-called secular parties. Why is it so? Why is it being claimed that even while the right wing communal forces have been kept away, Muslims in India are worse off than they were at the time of partition? This is because these “secular parties” have been taking the Muslim communities for a ride ever since the word secularism became fashionable. Neither the secular intelligentsia not secular parties are interested in actual growth because when real growth happens, people get ample space to think, and when they start thinking, they start asking questions and they start expecting more. These mediocre intellectuals and political parties cannot afford this.
I am actually surprised when the BJP representatives don’t protest vociferously upon being called communal and even right-wing. This is the only party in the country that is actually not communal. It might not be secular in its representation and vocalization, but it is certainly secular in spirit.