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How many times Indians will be divided for political gains?

Rasping up his backward caste identity for the second consecutive day at several rallies in Uttar Pradesh, where polls are due to vote in 33 constituencies, Modi accused Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra of caste bias and insulting lower castes. Interpreting Vadra’s comment, the BJP leader was indulging in “low-level politics” as a reference to his lower caste origin. Countering Modi’s heightened pitch for the backward and Dalit votes in the state, where caste identity is crucial in voting, Mayawati challenged him to disclose his caste and reveal what he had done for the welfare of these sections. If Narendra Modi actually belongs to a backward caste, then why has he not disclosed his caste? As elections are heading towards conclusion, leaders are becoming crazy by playing the emotional, religious, caste and sentiment cards to take advantage. Modi has taken advantage of every sneer, from ‘Chaiwala’ to ‘Neech jati’.

The madness of dividing people on the basis of their castes should be stopped. What counts at the end of the day is whether a candidate for the post of the Prime Minister of India has the requisite qualities to give a clean, efficient and corruption free government, can the country see develop without regional imbalances, and not whether he/she belongs to any particular caste. Will BJP stop this type of tactics for their benefit by exploiting the uninformed common people’s age old weaknesses, for the sake of votes? BJP is playing Hindutva cards and that’s why other parties openly support Muslims. Parties choose candidates based on majority of caste in that particular constituency. India should focus on the skill development, education and job readiness for all poor people. Again, general schemes targeted towards groups of people only lead to official corruption. There should be contracts between individuals and government for mutual commitment to make the upward move.

India is moving from backwardness to semi-backwardness. It cannot develop advance thinking unless caste politics is linked with the elections and voting. Indians need to come out of narrow parochial thinking. Powers of internet, media and easy travel in India and abroad have spurred this broadening of our mindset during the last decade but we still need to go a long way. It’s the Lok Sabha election which is getting everybody on their toe for almost everything. Political perpetrators do not believe in any faith, caste and creed. The Sangh is against all minorities irrespective of their religions. It’s their anxiety to get back in power to hold the supreme office of a country makes them pat everyone’s back. Nevertheless, everyone has to taste their own medicine like Advani is going through these days. Even after 67 years of Independence, caste system is still prevailing in India.

On the other hand, Muslims are willing to concede even to support BJP, if their basic needs are met. Muslims want what they are owed as Indian citizen’s access to schools, jobs, housing and fair and equal opportunities, freedom from discrimination, due investigative and unbiased legal process. Muslims’ grievance and welfare reduces it to a mere political talking point for political parties as election approaches. Nothing concrete has been done in all these years for education, upliftment and welfare of this community. Muslims ask for educational boost, that’s all they require. However, most of parties shower mere tokenism and stereotyped gestures to win the Muslim votes, not their actual betterment. This article should read “Nation Unity” rather than Hindu unity.

The biggest cancer which is making this nation weak is casteism. It must be eliminated from the root. Modi and Jagjivan Ram are the signs that if you give chance to anyone, there is always a jewel, like Obama. If you divide people for political reasons, then horrible results come out. Hinduism is the most democratic religion which exists on this planet, where their believers have option to do what they feel. Caste has not always been as stratified as is being portrayed now. Caste identity has been mobile and fluid, and ‘lower castes’ have not always been low or poor or oppressed. They have contributed much to the beauty and tolerance of Hinduism. Many saints venerated since times immemorial by Hindus belonged to this strata. This kind of crude and conspicuous language should be absolutely unacceptable in a civilized and educated society. The government uses words like “backward”, “scheduled” etc. The BJP reaped rich electoral dividends thanks to the communal polarisation but the likes of Mulayam Singh and Mayawati started gaining after the mid-nineties’ caste polarisation. The Modi juggernaut has gained rapid speed and it will be difficult for the caste based parties to counter the BJP unless there is a joint fight.

The common man is moving ahead of these issues and is bothered more about his/her livelihood, economic prosperity etc. Look at the younger generation, today. Barring odd instances in rural areas, the atmosphere in schools, colleges have changed. In an IT company / Global / Indian MNC, no one practices caste based selection etc. The employees do not even bother on such issues and there is good harmony all around. It is only when we step into Government institutions/PSUs etc. these come into play or when politicians drag these issues for their political benefits.

Casteism worked successfully for politicians these years. The marginalisation of the majority had created an introspection of the disunity within the community and the outcome of it is what is palpable now. The inbuilt secularism in their belief system has made the Hindus vulnerable to much exploitation.

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 14 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazine Beyond The News (international). She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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