I am a great fan of Shoaib Daniyal and his revisionist approach to history, from finding the benevolent benefactor of India’s masses in Aurangazeb to uncovering the evil communal tyrant in Bankim Chandra Chatterjee… So, when I woke up to find this article in Troll, thoughts came flooding into my mind…
Suddenly, I realized that Mr. Daniyal’s way of thinking can be extended to understand how, by comparing Modi to Hitler, Indian liberals are showing that there is no place for a democratically elected leader in India’s politics.
Let’s take Mr. Daniyal’s article bit by bit:
“In August 2015, New Delhi’s Aurangzeb Road was renamed APJ Abdul Kalam Road by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. On the surface, this was done because Aurangzeb wasn’t a very nice man – or so goes most of popular Indian history. Of special note are his policies that supposedly discriminated against non-Muslims and his support for puritanical religion: a special tax on non-Muslims, temple destruction banning music and so on. So terrible is Aurangzeb’s image in modern India that not only Hindutva ideologues but even liberals and some left-wingers came out in support of the renaming.”
For decades, liberals across India protested against the actions of the RSS. On the surface, this was done because RSS aren’t very nice people – or so goes most of popular Indian liberal discourse. Of special note are their policies that supposedly discriminate against non-Hindus and support for puritanical religion: support for Uniform Civil Code, equal status for Kashmiris with rest of Indians, beef ban and so on. So terrible is the RSS image in liberal circles that not only Congis but even mediawallahs and lots of intellectuals came out against the RSS.
“Now, after Aurangzeb, the BJP has set its sights on Akbar Road, another street in Lutyens’ Delhi…..the party’s national spokesperson, Shaina Chudasama – who, in a rush of enthusiasm, declared that Akbar was like Hitler.”
Now, after RSS, Indian liberals have set their sights on Prime Minister Modi, the elected leader of India. Liberal organization Awaaz, in a rush of enthusiasm, fused the Om Symbol with the Nazi Swastika and showed Modi wielding a sinister sword:
Let’s read Shoaib Daniyal’s article further:
“Aurangzeb and his great-grandfather Jalaluddin Akbar are the Cain and Abel of popular Mughal history. Even while Aurangzeb is reviled, his great-grand father Akbar shines through as an embodiment of the Idea of India: a broad-minded, catholic ruler who united the large parts of the subcontinent under one flag and also happened to be Muslim….. That even Akbar is now being targeted shows just how far to the Right India has moved. From now, practically no Muslim can stake a firm claim to be a part of the country’s historical pantheon – not even if you were one of the country’s most powerful emperors in all of its history.”
RSS/Hindutva on the one side and ordinary Hindus/democratic elections are the Cain and Abel of our political system. Even while RSS and Hindutva are reviled by liberals, acceptance of ordinary Hindus and their democratically elected leaders used to be an embodiment of the idea of India. Modi is a Prime Minister who received 170 million votes but also happens to be a Hindu. That even Modi is being cast as a Nazi shows just how far to the left Indian liberals have moved. From now on, no Hindu can stake a firm claim to be a legitimate Indian Prime Minister – not even if you have won the largest democratic mandate in the entire history of humanity.
“Akbar made alliances with Hindu Rajputs, who were the backbone of his army – even at Haldighati, Akbar entrusted his forces to a Rajput, Man Singh (who has his own Delhi road).”
The elected BJP governments have made alliances with Muslim National Conference and PDP in Kashmir. Even while picking an Indian President for the first time, the BJP picked a Muslim, Dr. AP J Abdul Kalam (who has his own Delhi road).
“Jalaluddin, it seems, even left formal Islam, founding a religion called the Deen-e-Ilahi, angering the Muslim clergy – a grudge held till today by conservative Muslims.”
Modi it seems even gave a slogan of “Pehle Shauchalaya, fir Devalaya” (Toilets first, temples later), angering many conservative Hindus, a grudge held by many even today…
“However, in spite of these spades of liberalness, why is Akbar in the cross-hairs today?”
However, in spite of winning the largest democratic mandate in human history, why is Modi being called a Nazi today?
“The answer is simple: the powerful demand to strike out Akbar Road shows rather clearly that the move to rename Aurangzeb Road had very little to do with the character of Aurangzeb itself. …any Muslim ruler simply has no place in the popular historical imagination as an Indian anymore.”
The answer is simple: the powerful demand by liberals to label Modi as Hitler has very little to do with the size of Modi’s mandate. Any Hindu ruler simply has no place in liberal imagination as an Indian anymore.
“While Akbar and Aurangzeb are attacked for their faults – an easy enough thing to do given how different modern values are from medieval times – Pratap is let off. Temple destruction is a hot topic of debate but untouchability and caste is silently forgotten. Tsunamis of uninformed outrage crash onto the internet over the Mughal treatment of Hindus but there is pin-drop silence on the Rajput treatment of Dalits.”
While RSS and Modi are attacked for their faults – an easy enough thing to do given that neither of them has imposed Emergency, the Dynasty is let off. Beef ban in Maharashtra by BJP is a hot topic of debate but beef ban imposed by Congress in entire North India is silently forgotten. Tsunamis of uninformed outrage crash onto the internet over BJP’s treatment of Kanhaiya Kumar, but there is pin-drop silence on the hacking to death of Bajrang Dal worker Prashant Poojary in Karnataka.
“In the end, the personal qualities of the icons India choses is hardly the matter here – it is their religious community. India is simply hurtling towards becoming a mirror image of Pakistan. Pakistan’s Muslim nationalism disallows it from accepting non-Muslims into its popular historical pantheon. The country literary begins its history from the time Islam enters Sindh….”
In the end, the personal qualities of the icons Indian liberals choose is hardly the matter here – it is their religious community. India is simply hurtling towards becoming a mirror image of Pakistan. Pakistan’s Islamism disallows it from accepting non-Muslims and democratically elected leaders into its political pantheon. Indian liberals begin India’s history from the time Jawaharlal Nehru became Prime Minister and conceived the idea of India…
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