Congress-led coalition: a stooge of Islamists?

By Moorthy Muthuswamy, May 2004

The general anti-incumbent nature of the recent election results and poor voting levels point to a lack of trust in leadership, and by extension, the democratic system. The majority of voters have yet to witness competent governing – defined by improving living standards and security, with an India under an increasing onslaught by Islamists.

This paper addresses on what it takes to provide leadership and discusses the issues that will give an indication of whether the new coalition taking the reigns of power in New Delhi can provide governance and security.

Articulation as the leadership attribute

While leadership abilities of an individual may be defined by several attributes, the ability to articulate a vision and ideas dwarf over everything else. Let me elaborate.

The role of a leader is to lead a nation in a certain direction. To do that he/she needs to convince a whole lot of people to follow his/her lead. Without this prerequisite, a nation simply couldn’t act as a collective to mobilize itself to solve its problems or bring prosperity to its people. The ability to articulate is an indication of a leader who has given substantial thought to these issues -- a necessary requirement of leadership.

India’s ability to bring prosperity and security to its masses rests on overcoming the escalating Islamic terrorism that is a massive drain on its finances, energy and focus (When are India and Pakistan ready for peace?). It is hardly a surprise that none of the leadership thus far has been able to put down the ongoing Kashmir Muslim insurgency -- as I have yet to come across a single national-level leader who has articulated how he/she is going to tackle this issue (Mandate for Indo-Pak peace settlement). I am also yet to hear how they would institute reforms and create wealth to bring the masses out of the crushing poverty.

Even though some progress was achieved under the deposed NDA regime, it still lost the elections due to the inability of its leaders to articulate the inter-linked economy-security vision and wealth creation to all Indians. NDA had played down the security issue -- a fatal mistake -- when over 40% of the Indian population, according to an India Today poll, had indicated terrorism as the issue of most concern to them.

Initial tests of governance

With a new coalition consisting of Congress and possibly the Left parties taking over power at the Center, some important decisions it may take initially may well decide India’s future course and the fate of crores of Indians.

Given the reliance of bringing economic prosperity to tens of millions of Indians on winning the very costly war on terror imposed by Islamic fundamentalists, the litmus test of the new coalition is how it deals with religious fascism.

Even before taking control of the government there has been an increasing talk among the Congress-led coalition members about increasing the compensation of Muslims affected by Gujarat riots and making across-the-board reservations for them from jobs to education. While enforcing justice and uplifting poor is certainly a welcome idea, in the context of attributes of religious fascism this is a very dangerous proposal. Let me explain.

Duplicity and injustice

The details of the attributes of religious fascism are discussed in an earlier publication of mine (When are India and Pakistan ready for peace?).

For the purpose of articulating my arguments I will just point out that, in regions where Muslims have power through majority status, religious fascism has successfully worked to totally marginalize non-Muslims. This is found to be true even in India’s only Muslim majority state of Jammu & Kashmir. Even in regions where Muslims are a minority, religious fascism has repressed Muslims from progressing and continues to feed them retrogressive and violent ideology -- undercutting India’s secular, democratic and plural outlook. It was hardly a surprise when a community of Muslims burnt a train coach full of Hindu men, women and children in Godhra, Gujarat. This led to the now well-known retaliations on Gujarati Muslims.

Even though Muslims are a majority in Kashmir, this religious fascism-controlled region has reserved a lion-share of opportunities for Muslims. While limiting Indian control and property rights, it is colonizing the rest of India (The woes of Jammu and Ladakh, India, the Kashmiri colony). It even managed to drive away most non-Muslims from Kashmir valley -- over 300,000 of them. Most of these refugees have lost their properties, livelihood and are languishing in refugees camps without adequate compensation, while religious fascism doesn’t allow them to return to their lands. This fascism-controlled Muslim majority state of India is being subsidized at the expense of regions of India where most non-Muslims live. This is among the important reasons why many Indians, including majority Hindus, remain poor and their opportunities limited.

The duplicity and injustice here is that of ignoring the plight of non-Muslim terror victims in India and regions where most poor non-Muslims live while increasingly cave into religious fascism to subsidize Muslim populations, compensate them or implement reservations for them at the expense of non-Muslims. With religious fascism already controlling Pakistan and Bangladesh, and consolidating in Kashmir, this would be nothing short of an Indian government acting as a stooge of Islamic fascists to wage a form of warfare on "infidel" Indians. It is worth reminding here the context of India being the only land where non-Muslims can live in safety and dignity -- in light of partitioning of India in the name of Islam in 1947, and the subsequent massive non-Muslim ethnic cleansing from all Muslim majority regions to India.

Society organizations must act

What should be realized is that religious fascism that controls most Indian Muslims is solely responsible for their backwardness and the ongoing jihad in many parts of India, including Kashmir. Hence, compensation or reservation doesn’t really solve the root cause -- it only emboldens and rewards fascism and takes opportunities and resources away from many deserving non-Muslim Indians, including ones from poor and middle class. Clearly, there is no mandate for any elected regime in power to undertake such a step of increasing reservations for Muslims or increasingly compensating them. This proposal undermines the economic and even the long-term survivability of non-Muslim Indians. This is a critical human rights issue for non-Muslim Indians. 

In fact, the appropriate step to help Indian Muslims would be to dismantle power structures of Islam that sponsor and sustain fascism. Thus, the Indian community/political organizations have legitimate grounds to initiate and conduct a civil-disobedience movement until such fascism-driven measures are withdrawn or the regime in power removed. If not, this may initiate an irreversible dance of fascism’s victory march in India.