Asghar Ali Engineer

(Secular Perspective April 16-30, 2007)


The CD controversy in U.P. election has proved once again, if any proof is needed, how much BJP hates Muslims. BJP’s anti-Muslim record has touched new heights. How can any politically responsible party taking part in democratic election and taking oath for secularism, can produce such propaganda stuff. The CD is full of hate for Muslims and uses very derogatory language. The only parallel one can find is Nazi’s hate of Jews, no other example could be found.


It celebrates any anti-Muslim measure or judgement. Recently when the single judge of Allahabad High Court declared Muslims in U.P. as not being a minority, the BJP spokesperson immediately welcomed the judgement as refutation of Congress party’s ‘minorityism’ and vindication of BJP’s stand. No other party welcomed the judgement and all other party’s except the BJP criticised the judgement as unfair. The Judge had simply pronounced the judgement, which was not even relevant to the petition before him and he had not even given reasons for the judgement he delivered. The judgement was even against what the Supreme Court had held in TMA Pai Foundation judgement.


Right from post-independence days Muslims have been taken as constituting minority, though most major one. No one had ever expressed any doubt about it. The Supreme Court had held that any religious community less than 50% in number shall be deemed to be a minority and any all India -minority will also be deemed to be minority in any state. Also, as claimed by the honourable judge of Allahabad High Court, there are no such references in the Constitutional Assembly debates to prove that Muslims are not a minority in U.P. or any other state of Union of India.


Before all these matters were gone into BJP immediately welcomed the judgement and treated it as vindication of its stand on minorityism. One can as well tell BJP that the Congress whether indulges in minorityism or not BJP certainly indulges in anti-Muslimism. It whole-heartedly welcomes any anti-Muslim measure most enthusiastically.


In fact during the entire campaign for Ramjanmabhoomi BJP and many of its individual members like Sadhvi Rithambara and others indulged in most vicious anti-Muslim campaign. Cheap rhetoric of all Muslims being ‘Babar ki Aulad’ (Babar’s children) was indulged in without any restraint. Uma Bharti and Rithambara used most abusive language against Muslims throughout Ramjanmaboomi campaign until Babri Masjid was demolished by a frenzied mob and when Masjid was demolished BJP leaders hugged each other in joy and celebrated the day as day of Diwali. Crackers were burst, especially in U.P. throughout that night.


Until today the Sangh Parivar celebrates it as ‘Shaurya Divas’ (day of bravery) whereas whole country observes it as a tragic day in the history of secular India. And all this after the leaders of Jan Sangh, which was re-christened as Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) had taken a vow on Gandhiji’s Samadhi of following principles of Gandhian socialism and secularism. Soon after taking this oath in 1980 it started its anti-Muslim campaign describing constitutional secularism as pseudo-secularism and accused the Congress for indulging in ‘minorityism’ and fought subsequent elections with those slogans.


I sincerely advise BJP leaders to rename the party as BHP (Bhartiya Hindu Party) as it always excludes Muslims from people of India. Had it been sincerely Bhartiya Janata Party, it would have never adopted such anti-Muslim attitude towards Indian Muslims. Thus Hindu Mahasabha is more sincere in its ideology as it clearly designates itself as Hindu Party caring only for Hindu interests. And to this extent Hindu Mahasabha leaders disagree with BJP because the important word ‘Hindu’ is missing though it claims to be looking after Hindu interests.


The BJP leaders are trying to disown the CD under question only after the Election Commission took a strong view of the contents of the CD and said it is likely to promote disharmony between religious communities and issued notice to the BJP why action should not be taken against it. We congratulate the courage and principled stand taken by the Election Commission on this issue. It was overdue. Many prominent citizens have petitioned the Election Commission to de-recognise BJP as a political party as it always indulges in campaigns which endangers national unity and integrity.


Anyway any party, which publicly proclaims ‘Hindutva Agenda’ cannot be a secular party which it avows to be. Hindutva or Islamism in political arena for that matter cannot be in conformity with secularism. Secularism is basically a political doctrine. All political parties have to conform to secularism as a political philosophy and Election Commission requires all candidates filing nomination to take oath for secularism and political parties also have to declare their acceptance of it. How can then a party proclaiming ‘Hindutva’ doctrine be accepted as secular? It defies common sense.


The BJP often quotes one Judge Supreme Court Judgement that ‘Hindutva’ is a way of life. It may be so but it cannot be political way of life as our political way is nothing but secular, devoid of, or neutral to, any religious way of life or doctrines or interests only of one religion or followers thereof.


How can building a Ram Temple be agenda of a secular political party though uniform civil code and abolition of Article 370 are quite secular in nature? Building Ram temple, howsoever desirable for any religious organisation, can certainly not be a political agenda of any political party operating within secular framework of our Constitution of which secularism is the fundamental structure. It is Supreme Court judgement in Golaknath case that secularism is fundamental structure of the Constitution which cannot be changed even by another Constituent Assembly.


The CD produced by the BJP (its denial carries no conviction as during its release function senior leaders like Tandon and even BJP president Rajnath Singh were allegedly present) for its U.P. election campaign once again proves convincingly that it is not a secular party and is basically anti-Muslim in character. It uses very derogatory words for Muslims saying therein they marry four wives and produce 35 pillas, a derogatory Hindi word for unwanted children.


The contents of the CD are highly surprising. The Sangh Parivar even otherwise has been regularly propagating that Muslims marry four wives and produces 25 children (its campaign puts it as ham panch, hamare pacchis – we five our twenty five). Vishwa Hindu Parishad had taken out Ekatma Yatra in 1985 across the country and during this Yatra had distributed hundreds of thousands of such pamphlets. 


How absurd is this propaganda that every Muslim marries four wives when the male-female ratio in our country is 935 female for 1000 male. And central Government survey conducted in 1997 shows that Muslims are at the bottom of those who practice polygamy. Muslims practicing bigamy or polygamy are just 5.2% whereas 5.8% of upper castes Hindus practice bigamy or polygamy. The tribals, dalits and Jains constitute even higher percentage of bigamous or polygamous marriage.


It is also wrong that no Muslim practices family planning and produces host of children. In 14 states family planning among Muslims is higher than that of Hindus. In Kerala family planning among Muslims is 64% as against just 35% among Hindus in U.P. In Pondicherry too family planning among Muslims is of the order of 85 per cent. This kind of cheap propaganda that Muslims marry four wives and produce 35 children does not behove an all India political party which aspires to come to power at the Centre.


Also, BJP claims to be most patriotic of all other parties. How can BJP be patriotic when it hates the largest minority of the country which is nearly 140 million in number? Mr. Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat always talks of five crores of Gujaratis’ asmita and makes it absolutely difficult for Muslims to live life of dignity and security. Even today Muslims in Gujarat are living as secondary citizens and most of the villages in Gujarat declare proudly ‘you are welcome in village…in Hindu Rashtra.


It is unfortunate that even Union Government has never taken notice of such sign boards in hundreds of Gujarat villages. And on top of this Rajasthan text book of 12th standard tells its students that fascism is better than democracy as under fascism leader can take right decisions while in democracy it is not possible. It is also well known that the Sangh Parivar, particularly the RSS admires Hitler.


And one knows what relations exist between the RSS and BJP. BJP cannot defy any of the RSS dictates. Who knows this better than Mr. L.K.Advani who was removed as president of BJP just because he expressed his opinion about Jinnah in Pakistan. Do we need any more proofs for declaring BJP as non-secular, approving of fascism and targeting minorities? Can our democratic secular political culture allow such party to function within the parameters of our Constitution?


It is high time the Election Commission takes serious notice of all this and takes appropriate action under the People’s Representation Act so that our democratic and secular culture remains unpolluted. (Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai, E-mail:

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