What is reassuring about today’s Congress-I!
--Sheeba Aslam Fehmi
There may be numerous complaints against Congress led UPA-I&II, regarding the issues of economy, policy implementation, governance, inflation etc. but one fact that is reassuring for the minorities of India is that none of it is targeted against minorities in particular. The anomalies are secular and creed-blind. Compare it with the Gujarat since Feb 2002 to this date- targeted killings, maiming, lynching, arson, loot, gang rapes, witch-hunting through state police/intelligence, arrests, fake encounters, fake terrorist attacks, fake intelligence reports indicting Muslims, continuity of refugee camps in the absence of compensation, no resettlement of the displaced, non-compliance of Muslim specific schemes of Central government in response to the Sachar Committee findings; all this happening exclusively to the wretched Muslim minority in Gujarat since the ascendance of Narendra Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001.
Narendra Modi claims of highest (?) rate of growth and good governance in Gujarat during his tenure, at the same time he evades the questions of Muslim victims of 2002 pogrom. His message is simple and loud that ‘yes the Gujarat model of growth and development sans the equity and justice to the minorities is the way to enforce and consolidate his Hindutwa base’. He has almost succeeded in making us believe that the Hindu majority of this multicultural country rejoices the partisan governance, complete absence of justice and unfair treatment meted out to its minorities, but for the numerous game-spoilers like IPS Sanjeev Bhat, Advocate Mukul Sinha, Activist Teesta Setalvad, Danseuse Mallika Sarabhai, Journalist Ashish Khetan, Editors Shoma Chaudhury-Anirudh Bahal and numerous others who have been there as the safeguards to the rampant persecution of Muslims in the state of Gujarat and who were able to play their conscientious role because the Sonia Gandhi led UPA was there at the center.
As a North Indian-UP walla Muslim I have been brought up on the regular dose of anti-Congress-ism of my Communist parents. The tumultuous and uneasy days of Babri Masjid controversy in the late 80’s and the gory aftermath during RSS sympathiser PM Narasimha Rao’s (satirically regarded as BJP’s first PM of India) tenure primed the anti-Congress sentiment in almost every Muslim household of India. The hatred towards PM Rao’s act of giving sufficient time to build a Temple at the demolition site is still fresh in the memories of Indian Muslims. However, the Congress High command Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s ascent to the helm has been a healing effect due to her non-partisan politics. The national politics of Congress-I is far more secular in its approach during the leadership of Sonia Gandhi since 1998. For me, alike many other educated, concerned and secular Indians this fact trumps all other larger and lofty concerns of political economy, capitalism and working class revolution, for the time being.