A media report quoting the original litigants in Ayodhya Ram Temple issue asked if the Ram Temple was the biggest issue in India.

Certainly it is not. And it should never be.

A God, be of any religion, never allows violence in His name. And so, the multitudes of us, who indulge in violent activities in His name, are not his followers but traders of His name for our own benefits; for our own selfish agendas. Politicians acquire the highest place in this category of traders, the mercenaries of Faith. And millions of us act as their stooges, the idiots!

Fortunately, it has not been an issue for over a decade now.

Unfortunately, in the prevailing political circumstances of the country when moral corruption has shadowed the ethical politics completely, it can emerge as ‘the principal issue’ or ‘one of the principal issues’ anytime.

The cocktail of religion and politics in the run up to the upcoming ‘big’ assembly elections and the parliamentary polls – the rush to appease the minorities to fool them again to secure their vote and the emergence of Narendra Modi as the most popular national leader and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)’s prime-ministerial candidate – has started creating bitter taste.

The ‘polarisation war’ has begun. The ‘politics of polarisation’ is going to make the cocktail of ‘religion and politics’ taste even more pungent in the days to come.

Though, seeking a wider ‘perceptive’ acceptability, even beyond India, the BJP is not going to play the religious card openly in the elections, and even Narendra Modi is not going to be verbose about exploiting the religious sentiments, but in a heightened religious atmosphere with overemphasis on minority appeasement, a mere presence of Narendra Modi is enough to polarise the Hindu votes, given it gets the ‘push’ to stir the majority sentiments. And certainly, the Ram Temple could be an issue to begin the process to give the ‘push’.

And the rest of the job of carrying out acts for the ‘push’, like ‘84 Kosi Yatra’ or ‘rallies and protests for the Ram Temple’ or ‘Kashi’ or ‘Mathura’ or ‘anti-Hindu violence in J&K’, can be done by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS) or Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) or some other Hindu outfits.

Construction of Ram Temple or any such religious demand is just a tool to push the electoral politics along the religious lines and may not have significant impact but when aligned with the polarising persona of Narendra Modi, may well serve the purpose of aligning and uniting the divided Hindu votes.

Like always, it will not lead to the work leading to the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, but Narendra Modi’s emergence in national politics and his emphasis on UP makes it different this time.

Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and NDA strategists think so. And Narendra Modi thinks so. And by the political mood of the nation, it seems logical, if looked at in the context of a sociopolitical analysis.

So, he is going to address four rallies in UP in October with clear reports that he will be contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Uttar Pradesh, too. And there would be many more ‘religiously aligned’ events lined up as the elections near.

Winning UP or scoring a significantly enhanced performance in India’s most populous state with maximum number of parliamentary seats is crucial for the BJP. And so the BJP and the NDA’s strategists would do all to rake-up the issue of construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya, once again, like they have been doing in the past, before every election, to align the Hindu sentiments, on religious lines, against the caste and class divide.

And if that happens, that would be unfortunate, for us, for the nation, once again.

But, equally detestable is the minority and the caste appeasement politics.

What is the way out then?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/


What Narendra Modi is doing is akin to tapping the neglected votebank of the majority Hindus.

Indian politics has had absolute shades of minority appeasement. The politicians enjoying the riches of a fractured majority votebank have crossed limits many a times in appeasing the minorities, clearly at the cost of promoting communal divide in the country.

It is foolhardy to ignore this fact. I am confident that I am free from religion and caste biases and I am not writing this because I am a Hindu. I am writing this because I am an Indian first. Hindus, Muslims or people of any other religion or faith are equal citizens of India and there must not be preferential treatments based on religious lines, as the politicians have been doing, to a particular religion.

In a democracy with staggering number of poor people, that India is, the only criteria for preferential treatment can the social and economic conditions.

If the BJP has to come to power and if Narendra Modi has to become the next prime minister of the country, they need something to mobilize the votes that can match the huge (but not enough, as it may depose the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government but may not guarantee the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) the 7 RCR) anti-incumbency against the Manmohan Singh led UPA government.

And for an alienated votebank, largely unaware of its rights and the power of its vote, that can be achieved through polarisation of votes on communal lines.

Polarisation of votes on the communal lines is the only factor in the prevailing sociopolitical circumstances in the country that can unite the majority Hindu votes divided along the different caste and regional lines.

It is not that only Narendra Modi is realizing it. Others, too, realize it but they would never be sure of getting returns as they, till now, have played the communal card of the minority appeasement politics and have no experience on dancing to the tunes of majority appeasement.

While Narendra Modi of the day is creation of the communal card of the majority appeasement politics! An intensifying ‘communal Vs secular’ debate benefits his style of politics.

It is true, the BJP did reap the benefits of the religious politics by exploiting the majority sentiments on Ram Temple issue to become one of the major political forces in the country but it doesn’t hold that ground anymore. On the other hand, Modi, though trying to reach out to the Muslims or other votebanks in recent times, has carefully continued with his Hindu hardliner image.

But, in the prevailing circumstances, the BJP is not going to play the religious card openly in the elections, and even Narendra Modi is not going to be verbose about exploiting the religious sentiments.

But, mere presence of Narendra Modi is enough to polarise the Hindu votes.

And the rest of the job of carrying out acts, the ‘push’, like ‘84 Kosi Yatra’ or ‘rallies and protests for the Ram Temple’ or ‘Kashi’ or ‘Mathura’ or ‘anti-Hindu violence in J&K’, can be done by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS) or Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) or some other Hindu outfits.

Modi has proved his identity as an efficient election manager in uniting the fractured Hindu votebank in Gujarat. He has, for the first time in the Indian political history, successfully sustained the majority appeasement politics by combining it with a pro-development agenda and its efficient execution.

It is true what he has been able to achieve politically in Gujarat cannot be applied for the rest of India. But the alternative premise is also equally possible that it can be applied to the rest of India.

What happens will only decide the next course of drama in the political arena of India and that leaves the doors open for extensive and wild experiments, at least, till the outcome of the next parliamentary polls.

In other words, ‘what is going to be and what is going not to be’ can only be tested on the timescale and the immediate point of reference for this on the timescale is going to be the next parliamentary polls.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/


They all are from the same lot, exploiting the religious sentiments of this or that population group to further their political agenda.

Their only goal now is to manage somehow their presence in the power corridors and they can go to any extent for it.

The common man, be it a Hindu or a Muslim or a Sikh or a Christian or a Dalit or a Forward Caste or a Backward Caste, has been reduced to nothing but a pawn in their hands to manipulate the System to make their sub-System dominating over the larger System versioned and put in place 63 years ago by the Indian Constitution.

The poor, the dependent and the weak, from every religious and caste group face similar problems of survival.

But fools they are!

They are so easily duped by the politicians, year after year, election after election, in the name of religion, in the name of caste, in the name of regionalism.

And every political group, be it the so-called seculars and the so-called communals, have equally contributed in propagating this treacherous machinery.

No political outfit in India is secular and the whole debate surrounding the ‘secular vs communal’ controversy is a big lie. The nation has seen religious riots during rules of almost every political outfit.

Communal or secular – it’s a game of political manipulation that is fought on perceptions. It’s like pizza – the base remains the same, only the toppings vary.

Creating perceptions – to manipulate us!

Manipulating perceptions – to rule over us!

Perceptions, to keep us occasionally hallucinating that the good days would come.

Perceptions, to shows us the bare minimum of what was required to be done asking us to base our aspirations on that bare minimum, that proves nothing more than a mirage in the end.

Perceptions, to tell us they are working for us.

Perceptions, to tell us what they say and make us see is right.

Perceptions, to tell us we do not have alternatives but to follow them.

Perceptions, to kill our genuine perceptions.

And they all, communals as well as seculars, are united in this.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/


Battle for perceptions dear! Perceptions!

It was naturally a political Yatra, no two opinions about that and the mileage that was sought is already in, even if it could not take off yesterday.

If Narendra Modi is the prime-ministerial face of the largest opposition party, the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), one must be prepared to come across such developments.

Modi is the most skilled politician in India who can most efficiently exploit the elements of the communal politics for political gains.

And he is right on the job. This ‘84 Kosi Yatra’ that was to begin yesterday was just an element in the grand scheme of the things Modi would be working on.

The debate whether Narendra Modi or BJP are behind this Yatra that has religious and spiritual significance for Hindus or not is irrelevant. The promoters, the mobilizers, all come from an extended family and share same ideology.

Irrespective of the outcome yesterday, everyone is talking about it, from media to political pundits to politicians. And given the developments of the day, there are clear indications that efforts are afoot to deepen the row. Let’s see what happens today.

But one outcome is assued – expect more of the chatter. And a growing chatter midst a deepening religious row would naturally add the group, the majority Hindus, in the chain of communication, the ultimate aim of such Yatras and events and this Yatra may be just the beginning of many more such measures.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu outfit that is aligned with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS), has announced this Yatra that, to begin from Ayodhya and to pass through six districts of Uttar Pradesh. VHP leaders, though detained yesterday, categorically said the outfit was going to go ahead with the Yatra.

Whatever be the developments ahead, a deepening row would certainly scale-up the stature of Narendra Modi and the BJP. Handling it is not going to be as simple as Akhilesh Yadav would be thinking.

In fact, his condition is more precarious. The best scenario for him would be to allow the Yatra to happen. In that case, nothing much on communal line would move. Raking up the RamTemple issue before every election doesn’t produce return anymore. But the blind rush to appease the minority Muslim votes blocked possibility of this option.

Now, if the row over the Yatra deepens and some untoward incidents happen today and in next few days, it may push the people to think again for the RamTemple and so, on the religious lines. And if that starts happening once in India’s most populous state, the work of Narendra Modi would become much easier.

And, even if anything like that doesn’t happen in this case, the state response already taken is enough to tell more such Yatras (or similar events) in future may produce the desired result because ‘when the situation flares up is impulsive’ that no one can predict.

Also, even if the chatter grows only, it will help strengthen the persona of Narendra Modi as the sole Hindu leader who cares for the majority sentiments. In India, perceptions still play a major role in deciding the electoral outcomes.

Communal politics of minority appeasement has been the dominant practice in Indian politics.

Narendra Modi is taking a different line by pushing for the communal politics of majority appeasement, something that he has successfully tried in Gujarat.

What is going to be and what is going not to be can only be tested on the timescale and the immediate point of reference for it on the timescale is going to be the next parliamentary elections.

For now and the time till the next parliamentary elections, it is going to be the time for the intensifying battles of perception!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/


Ironically a rueful fact in a democracy – electoral politics in India is dominated by votebank appeasement. This votebank politics has some inherent traits.

Hindus, the majority votebank (80%), are divided and sub-divided along different caste and sub-caste lines and caste is still the major factor in deciding whom to vote for. Though, the widening base of the middle class does act independently (and so positively) of this caste prejudice sometimes, it is still a long way to go before the country can see a democratically healthy electoral process based on issues of human development.

Over the years, to exploit the caste sentiments, politicians have worked overtime to make the fissures go deeper in the fractured Hindu society by promoting caste-based politics.

On the contrary, with the minority votes, the situation is different.

They vote in pockets, more or less uniformly distributed. This pushes politicians to go to any extent to attract the minority votes. And in this minority lot, Muslims count for the biggest votebank and, so are the biggest attraction for the manipulative practice of the votebank politics.

(Now, it is matter of yet another debate if the appeasement of minorities and the subsequent votebank politics has done any good, either to the minorities, or to the overall social fabric of the country, or to democratic spirit of the country.)

The fractured majority and the consolidated minority – the paradox sums up the essence of the votebank politics in India – a paradox perpetuated by the exploitation and over-exploitation by its political class – at the cost of the democratic spirit of the Republic.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/