December 6, 1992 demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya is considered to be the foundation of the divisive, communal politics in India. Since then, Muslims have been carrying the burden of defeating the communal forces. In this tactical voting which is not even acknowledged by mainstream political outfits, Muslims have lost their political representation.
With the rise of despotism and attack on dissenting voices, in the name of nationalism and the attack on marginalized and weaker sections of the society, definition of authoritarianism holds true for the present Indian state under the rule of the right-wing BJP and its leader Narendra Modi. It may be said that with the rise of Hindutva forces and Narendra Modi’s escalation, political space has been shrinking since May 2014 for Muslims, but the irony is that the liberal space too has been shrinking for Muslims in India, just to appease the majoritarian outrage.
Today when general elections are a month away, political parties are forming coalitions to get the magical number to form the government. But the lines on which the coalition is happening at the national stage, it’ll push the democracy into a two-party electoral system, right versus the rest. It is obvious to understand that such a coalition against the BJP will make Muslims the untouchables in Indian politics. In this ‘right versus rest’ contest, knowing the BJP’s anti-Muslim image, the only thing for which each political section will be competing would be on the extremities of being a hardcore Hindu. In such a ‘right versus rest’ situation, Muslims will inevitably stand with the group other than the right and then no political party would be interested in taking up the Muslim issues, wasting their time and their pro-majoritarian image.
This fear of detachment can be understood in the light of 19th-century political thinkers Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill who popularized the tyranny of majority notion. This tyranny of majority notion which refers to a situation, in which the majoritarian enforce their will on the disadvantaged minority through the democratic process, can very well be understood under the current political dispensation in India and the reason behind treating Muslims as the untouchables in Indian politics.
Since the demolition of the Babri mosque, in the name of secularism and by creating an environment of fear around the Muslim voters, these secular leaders have been inevitably restricting Muslims’ political representation.
The electoral cycle may change the government and the head of the state, but there is a little hope of any change on the ground. This can be seconded with the lynching incident which happened even with the change in the state government in Rajasthan and the NSA imposition on Muslims in Madhya Pradesh. Any party may come in power and replace the right-wing BJP, and but the way Muslims have been treated in this authoritarian regime it seems almost impossible to defeat the BJP-RSS in their agenda of hate, polarization, and majoritarian outcry.
By Sadiq Zafar
Email address: [email protected]