How the Congress Manufactures Intolerance
With the early winter march to Rashtrapati Bhawan on Tuesday, Congress wielded its brahmastra on a government elected with a huge popular mandate. Leading from the front was the President and Former De facto PM Sonia Gandhi, and to her right strode the heir to the empire, Rahul Gandhi. The good old party faithfuls (Sibal, Antony, Hooda and others) trod along dutifully on those familiar roads. It made an interesting sight – after resorting to all means possible to malign the name of the PM and the current government, the Congress party walks in protest to the office of a former loyalist.
The PM is faced with opposition forces that now tantamount to a composite of every single political party in India. The politics behind it is quite an eyesore – every time an election is in the offing, old foes turn friends and devise ever new reasons to call the PM ugly names.
With fiery words and highly charged speeches, the only agenda is to vilify Narendra Modi. Reconciliation between bitter enemies of the past was shamelessly staged in the face of Bihar elections. While Lalu Prasad Yadav shook hands with Nitish Kumar, a new ally was found in Arvind Kejriwal.
This boat set sail with self-assurance, leaving behind Congress to hanker at the shore. So what was Rahul Gandhi to do except practice his skills at oration (he hasn’t gotten any better; Bangkok trip, no help). And so, the Congress interestingly agrees to watch from a distance and transfers its vote bank to the Nitish Kumar alliance, while trying to find new roads to be back in the game.
And it unsurprisingly finds its way into prominence by brandishing the tag of ‘communality’ on the PM, and advertising his ‘intolerance’. The new word becomes a rage amongst media personalities, reverberating acceptance by the entire opposition and their ‘faithfuls’ (if intolerance really exists, they are equally, if not more, responsible).
In almost 60 years of electoral dominance in post-independence India, the Congress party has planted its instruments in the various strata of society. It has patronised artists, writers, researchers and academicians alike over the years. And who knew that this loyal bunch of elites would one day be returning the favours, though it hardly seems difficult to guess now?
Here is a troubling situation for a nation that has aspirations as high as ours. The party which boasts of Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Azad and others is right now the biggest hindrance to its progress. So parochial is it in its approach that it would resort to all means to ridicule the electoral result even if it means maligning the name of the country.
The PM and his cabinet is noticeably engrossed in its ambitious projects for India, but our Ivy educated elites and others from Congress seem to be blind to it. They forget one simple thing, the man of the hour has one religion and its name is India.
Starting in 2013 when Narendra Modi came across as a formidable force, winning elections one after the other, with each party losing power, the only alternative that the opposition found was to gather forces and present a united front. Will the PM lose? I doubt it.
All one would have liked to say on the award returning “protest” is well-reflected in words of Tavleen Singh, who wrote,’…..the writers, historians, filmmakers, artistes and scientists who have joined the award-returning protest say that they are protesting because they believe that freedom of expression is under threat. What a bunch of old frauds these ‘intellectuals’ have proved to be…….”
Says Tavleen Singh,” The Prime Minister has been called a fascist, he has been charged with being complicit in the murder of Mohammad Akhlaq, he has been reviled by his political opponents and each word said has been given full and faithful coverage in the media. ”
Who fueled the fire?
Is it the Media?
Rajdeep Sardesai in his book writes: “At the Mumbai Press Club debate, ad whizz Piyush Pandey got it right—‘Media didn’t create the wave, it simply rode on it.”
Is mainstream media really the fourth pillar of democracy? Let’s see.
The media has been reduced to a reckless business, an unfathomable TRP consuming furnace in which ethics have turned to ashes. Relentless screaming to attract ever more TRPs and eyeballs, is the only rule to play by. It also in essence looks like the sulking Prince who has been shunned and longs for his days of glory. Truth be told, the English media is worse than the vilest of politicians.
What about the ones returning awards? To cut a long story short, returning awards on the pretext of a non-existent intolerance is plain absurdity. India has surely seen worse times–indeed, intolerance has always been a hallmark of Indian Politics under Congress regimes.
To describe the situation perfectly, what come to mind are the words of Austrian-British philosopher and Professor Sir Karl Raimund Popper on the paradox of tolerance. The tolerance paradox arises when a tolerant person holds antagonistic views towards intolerance, and hence is intolerant of it. The tolerant individual would then be by definition intolerant of intolerance.
Crying foul at every instance and trying to make a game-on-blame out of everything that comes its way, the Congress Party is the real culprit. It is being divisive, fueling intolerance and losing its political move, yet again.
Should the PM Respond?
Be it Dadri or beef the controversy, senior ministers of the PM’s cabinet have made clear their stand on it.
With Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley time and again reflecting that the opposition is acting out of vested interests, it is amusing that more clarity is being demanded of them.
The media has failed to do its duty and didn’t give adequate coverage to these speeches, nor to the Mann Ki baat address of the PM which categorically addresses intolerance. But responding to everything that the Congress (which by the way is not even Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha) protests against, would likely become an avoidable distraction in the short run and political suicide for the present government in the long run.