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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Hate not fear: How Muslims view Narendra Modi

Good piece, and good analysis about Muslims


Hate not fear: How Muslims view Narendra Modi
by Hasan Suroor Mar 11, 2014

Muslims may be forgiven for feeling slightly bemused by the current debate raging around the “Muslim Question’’ in the run-up to next month’s elections. It is riddled with flawed assumptions intended (with some deliberation, I suspect) to polarise and sex-up the political discourse.
 
 Meanwhile, the Modi factor goes beyond Muslims and this election. It has wider implications for the very idea of India we have to come to believe in. His brand of Hindu nationalism should worry anyone who believes in a pluralist and inclusive India irrespective of their religion. And that is a more important debate to be had than whether Muslims will vote for him.
 
And that is a more important debate to be had than whether Muslims will vote for him.
 
 

Hate not fear: How Muslims view Narendra Modi by Hasan Suroor Mar 11, 2014 #BJP #Hindu nationalism #LK Advani #Lok Sabha elections 2014 #Muslims #Narendra Modi #Politics inShare 135 CommentsEmailPrint Muslims may be forgiven for feeling slightly bemused by the current debate raging around the “Muslim Question’’ in the run-up to next month’s elections. It is riddled with flawed assumptions intended (with some deliberation, I suspect) to polarise and sex-up the political discourse.

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/politics/hate-not-fear-how-muslims-view-narendra-modi-1428605.html?utm_source=ref_article
Hate not fear: How Muslims view Narendra Modi by Hasan Suroor Mar 11, 2014 #BJP #Hindu nationalism #LK Advani #Lok Sabha elections 2014 #Muslims #Narendra Modi #Politics inShare 135 CommentsEmailPrint Muslims may be forgiven for feeling slightly bemused by the current debate raging around the “Muslim Question’’ in the run-up to next month’s elections. It is riddled with flawed assumptions intended (with some deliberation, I suspect) to polarise and sex-up the political discourse. Modi-Jammu-Shahid-Tantray The sheer electoral arithmetic is against Muslims when it comes to deciding Modi’s or his party’s fate. The way the debate is playing out there is the “Muslim factor” at one end of the pole and the Narendra Modi “factor’’ at the other with the entire campaign reduced to a “Muslim versus Modi” affair. No doubt, Muslims are a factor (haven’t they been a factor in every election in the past 60 years?) and so is Modi. But to suggest that the fate 170 million Muslims turns on the outcome of whether Modi gets to be prime minister is absurd. The reality is that however much Muslim wish, they can't stop Modi. If they could they would have stopped him in Gujarat long ago, and he wouldn't have gone on to win three successive elections after the harrowing events of 2002. The sheer electoral arithmetic is against Muslims when it comes to deciding Modi’s or his party’s fate. And he knows it. Otherwise by now he would have been down on his knees apologising for Gujarat riots and pleading for Muslim support. His fate will be determined not so much by Muslims as by his fellow Hindus. It is the millions of moderate Hindu voters who are going to give him the run for his money even, if in the end, they don’t quite succeed. Remember the campaign to hold him and his government to account for the 2002 riots has been led mostly by Hindu secularists and they have no intention of giving up. Forget the “M’’ factor. What he is really up against is the “H’’ factor. Another flawed assumption around which much of the Muslim-Modi debate is taking place is the so-called Muslim “fear factor’’. There is a general perception, fuelled by the BJP’ opponents who are trying to woo the Muslim vote, that the Muslim community is “scared’’ of Modi. It is argued that the Muslim opposition to him is prompted by their fear that they would not be secure under a Modi government. Muslims are said to be on “tenterhooks” at the prospect of him becoming prime minister. Given his Gujarat baggage, they are naturally concerned but there is no panic in the community. Muslims are not paranoid, and they're not spending sleepless nights thinking that come 16 May and they will have a wolf knocking at the door. But, yes, there is a deep sense of helplessness that they are not in a position to thwart his ambitions, and this has led to a stoic acceptance of a Modi premiership. Some are even planning to vote for him, albeit for purely pragmatic reasons (if you can’t beat them, join them); and more might follow if he and his party make a genuine effort over the next few weeks to reach out to them. Muslims don’t so much fear Modi as they hate him. I’m afraid there is no softer way of putting it, so deep is their anger over Gujarat. They are convinced that he aided and abetted the riots, and that violence on such a scale was not possible without his overt or covert say-so. They hate him for what they see as his indifference to Muslim suffering and anguish. And they hate him for his bullish refusal to show any contrition for what happened under his watch. The footage of Modi refusing to accept a skullcap from a Muslim cleric on the disingenuous plea that he doesn't believe in “identity politics” will, for many Muslims, remain an enduring image of his hardline anti-Muslim prejudice. But does it follow from this that they fear India will become a Hindu state under him? Or that he would “punish” them for not backing him? The answer is an emphatic no. Contrary to the Muslim stereotype –“alienated” from the national mainstream and “distrustful” of the majority community—most Muslims have sufficient faith in the inherent secularism and moderation of the vast majority of Hindus who, they firmly believe, will not allow Modi to run amuck. Even within the BJP there are enough sane voices which would oppose any attempt to turn India into another Pakistan, if for the simple reason that it is not in the BJP's own long- term interest to be identified with an overtly hate agenda if it wishes to prosper as a truly national party of governance. And it knows better than to pander to the ideology of one leader however popular he may be at a given point of time. Indeed, Muslims have been here before. Once they hated L.K. Advani (Modi’s original role model) with the same intensity for his role in the demolition of Babri Masjid. But when he became deputy prime minister and home minister, he was forced to give up his Hindutva avatar. Today, he is regarded as a moderate and a lot of Muslims would happily accept him as prime minister. Meanwhile, the Modi factor goes beyond Muslims and this election. It has wider implications for the very idea of India we have to come to believe in. His brand of Hindu nationalism should worry anyone who believes in a pluralist and inclusive India irrespective of their religion. And that is a more important debate to be had than whether Muslims will vote for him.

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/politics/hate-not-fear-how-muslims-view-narendra-modi-1428605.html?utm_source=ref_article
Hate not fear: How Muslims view Narendra Modi by Hasan Suroor Mar 11, 2014 #BJP #Hindu nationalism #LK Advani #Lok Sabha elections 2014 #Muslims #Narendra Modi #Politics inShare 135 CommentsEmailPrint Muslims may be forgiven for feeling slightly bemused by the current debate raging around the “Muslim Question’’ in the run-up to next month’s elections. It is riddled with flawed assumptions intended (with some deliberation, I suspect) to polarise and sex-up the political discourse. Modi-Jammu-Shahid-Tantray The sheer electoral arithmetic is against Muslims when it comes to deciding Modi’s or his party’s fate. The way the debate is playing out there is the “Muslim factor” at one end of the pole and the Narendra Modi “factor’’ at the other with the entire campaign reduced to a “Muslim versus Modi” affair. No doubt, Muslims are a factor (haven’t they been a factor in every election in the past 60 years?) and so is Modi. But to suggest that the fate 170 million Muslims turns on the outcome of whether Modi gets to be prime minister is absurd. The reality is that however much Muslim wish, they can't stop Modi. If they could they would have stopped him in Gujarat long ago, and he wouldn't have gone on to win three successive elections after the harrowing events of 2002. The sheer electoral arithmetic is against Muslims when it comes to deciding Modi’s or his party’s fate. And he knows it. Otherwise by now he would have been down on his knees apologising for Gujarat riots and pleading for Muslim support. His fate will be determined not so much by Muslims as by his fellow Hindus. It is the millions of moderate Hindu voters who are going to give him the run for his money even, if in the end, they don’t quite succeed. Remember the campaign to hold him and his government to account for the 2002 riots has been led mostly by Hindu secularists and they have no intention of giving up. Forget the “M’’ factor. What he is really up against is the “H’’ factor. Another flawed assumption around which much of the Muslim-Modi debate is taking place is the so-called Muslim “fear factor’’. There is a general perception, fuelled by the BJP’ opponents who are trying to woo the Muslim vote, that the Muslim community is “scared’’ of Modi. It is argued that the Muslim opposition to him is prompted by their fear that they would not be secure under a Modi government. Muslims are said to be on “tenterhooks” at the prospect of him becoming prime minister. Given his Gujarat baggage, they are naturally concerned but there is no panic in the community. Muslims are not paranoid, and they're not spending sleepless nights thinking that come 16 May and they will have a wolf knocking at the door. But, yes, there is a deep sense of helplessness that they are not in a position to thwart his ambitions, and this has led to a stoic acceptance of a Modi premiership. Some are even planning to vote for him, albeit for purely pragmatic reasons (if you can’t beat them, join them); and more might follow if he and his party make a genuine effort over the next few weeks to reach out to them. Muslims don’t so much fear Modi as they hate him. I’m afraid there is no softer way of putting it, so deep is their anger over Gujarat. They are convinced that he aided and abetted the riots, and that violence on such a scale was not possible without his overt or covert say-so. They hate him for what they see as his indifference to Muslim suffering and anguish. And they hate him for his bullish refusal to show any contrition for what happened under his watch. The footage of Modi refusing to accept a skullcap from a Muslim cleric on the disingenuous plea that he doesn't believe in “identity politics” will, for many Muslims, remain an enduring image of his hardline anti-Muslim prejudice. But does it follow from this that they fear India will become a Hindu state under him? Or that he would “punish” them for not backing him? The answer is an emphatic no. Contrary to the Muslim stereotype –“alienated” from the national mainstream and “distrustful” of the majority community—most Muslims have sufficient faith in the inherent secularism and moderation of the vast majority of Hindus who, they firmly believe, will not allow Modi to run amuck. Even within the BJP there are enough sane voices which would oppose any attempt to turn India into another Pakistan, if for the simple reason that it is not in the BJP's own long- term interest to be identified with an overtly hate agenda if it wishes to prosper as a truly national party of governance. And it knows better than to pander to the ideology of one leader however popular he may be at a given point of time. Indeed, Muslims have been here before. Once they hated L.K. Advani (Modi’s original role model) with the same intensity for his role in the demolition of Babri Masjid. But when he became deputy prime minister and home minister, he was forced to give up his Hindutva avatar. Today, he is regarded as a moderate and a lot of Muslims would happily accept him as prime minister. Meanwhile, the Modi factor goes beyond Muslims and this election. It has wider implications for the very idea of India we have to come to believe in. His brand of Hindu nationalism should worry anyone who believes in a pluralist and inclusive India irrespective of their religion. And that is a more important debate to be had than whether Muslims will vote for him.

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/politics/hate-not-fear-how-muslims-view-narendra-modi-1428605.html?utm_source=ref_article

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