Questions for my liberal friends—Part-I
To my very dear liberal friends,
I know you’ve been under a spell of Congress propaganda (and I know you would accuse me of likewise, putting Modi in place of Congress). But I whole-heartedly believe in you. You are liberal for a reason. You’ve been a rationalist and a skeptic all your life. You think you have a right to question everything which others may consider as already set in stone. And I concede you that right.
Let me repeat this to you once again—You are liberal for a reason. So, using all your God-given rational faculties, please feel free to use/adapt the below-mentioned questionnaire that you should be posing to your other liberal friends or Congress Party representatives. I’ve no problems if you do the same to any of the Modi Bhakts or to any spokesperson of the BJP. Because as I said, I have a tremendous belief in your ability to reason logically and factually.
To my very dear Modi Bhakts/right wing friends,
Your left liberal friends aren’t as bigoted as you think. Those poor things have only been presented with one narrative; which is that Congress is the sole saviour of India, and its secular, democratic traditions—its Indianness. It’s high time you presented them with a counter point of view so that they can assess for themselves who’s speaking the truth and who’s not. Don’t expect their beliefs to change overnight. Expect nothing in return. They’ve supported the Congress Party for decades. So, it’s unlikely anything would change at all. But it’s your duty to at least plant a seed of doubt. So that the next time they hear the beaten-to-death Congress narrative, they may be able to question it critically.
That said, here is a list of questions to challenge the Congress narrative.
Congress is a party of the educated whereas BJP is a party of illiterates. Different versions of this: How come you as an educated person support the BJP? Or a more balanced version: BJP is a party of ignorant bigots whereas the Congress is a party of educated bigots.
You: Do you really think Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi Vadra sound educated? Have you watched that famous Rahul Gandhi’s interview with Arnab Goswami in 2014? Or, any of his recent speeches? Does he come across as educated or logical or intelligent or rational?
Your liberal friend: Well at least he has a degree from Cambridge. Narendra Modi cannot even speak English properly.
You: Let’s not get into what kind of degrees Sonia, Rahul, or Priyanka possess. But are degrees everything? Is speaking good English the only thing that’s important in India? What about having a vision for your country? Do you think Rahul Gandhi has the vision to lead India? Have you ever watched any of Narendra Modi’s TV interviews and how he responds to questions so spontaneously, and sincerely, if I may add?
This will inevitably lead to the second part.
But BJP indulges in communal right wing Hindutva politics. I like Congress Party’s liberal attitude.
You: That’s what the Congress Party says. But do they really believe in it? Give them specific instances. Is minority appeasement liberal? Remember, when they tried to pass the Communal Violence Bill where Hindus couldn’t be victims of riots! Is that liberal? Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Muslims had the first right to India’s resources? Is that liberal? (Do not forget to smile) Isn’t that what Pakistan too stands for and practices officially? Rahul Gandhi has formed an alliance with the Indian Union Muslim League in Wayanad. Now that’s the same Muslim League that partitioned India, the same Muslim League that wants to impose Sharia on all of us. Is that being liberal? Ask them: Do you know how Sharia deals with “non-believers” like you and me?
Also ask them: What’s wrong with defending the Hindu faith and civilisation? A religion (or a way of life) that gives you the flexibility of either believing in God or not believing in God. And allows you the freedom to debate both points of view openly.
This will lead to the third question.
Communal incidents of violence have gone up since 2014. They may even quote some statistics. Minorities are feeling unsafe in India. So many celebrities are coming out and speaking in the open for the first time. And many variations of the same.
You: Remind them that no major riot has taken place since the BJP came to power in 2014. Lynching and communal incidents of violence were happening even under the UPA’s watch. The 1984 massacre of Sikhs was the worst organised mob lynching in India since partition. But the Lutyen’s journalists were neither crying then nor now. Why?
Many incidents of violence weren’t communal in nature. Use Junaid Khan’s example. Even the Delhi High Court had concluded that his killing was because of a seat sharing dispute and not because of his religion. So why do Lutyen’s journalists and Bollywood celebrities still call it a case of communal violence?
Also tell them: It’s okay to discuss intolerance. But then also discuss why Ram Lingam was left to bleed to death in Kerala when he opposed forcible conversion to Islam? Why was there no outrage? Also mention Ankit Saxena’s murder by his Muslim girlfriend’s family members. There are hundreds of cases like this where Hindus have been killed by Muslims. So, ask them why there is no award wapsi movement in such cases.
As for minorities feeling unsafe, tell them that India is one of the safest places for minorities and that Muslims are much safer in India than in any other Islamic country like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, or Saudi Arabia. If they don’t believe you, ask them to speak to any Indian Muslim who has ever spent some time in Saudi Arabia.
This will open up a flurry of counter-arguments.
So, why has BJP fielded Sadhvi Pragya, a terror accused? Doesn’t this prove they’re terrorist/ terrorist sympathisers themselves?
You: Thank your liberal friends for asking this question. Tell them: The NIA has already given her a clean chit. Tell them how Hindu terror was a concocted lie by the likes of Digvijay Singh. Ask them if anything justified her being subjected to such horrendous torture. Request them to wait till the courts exonerate her of all those trumped-up charges before putting any label on her.
Your liberal friend: But she hasn’t yet been acquitted by the courts? She’s still on bail.
You: Fair enough. But why aren’t you then protesting against Shashi Tharoor who too is an accused in the murder of his wife Sunanda Pushkar?
Your liberal friend: But I don’t support Shashi Tharoor.
You: Great. But your liberal media still hails him as a celebrity. He’s invited to talks, conferences, and lit fests. Liberals still swoon over his impeccable dictionary-distilled Oxbridge English. So why Sadhvi Pragya was debated for days but Shashi Tharoor given a clean chit? Is it because Sadhvi Pragya in her saffron robe speaks in Hindi while Shashi Tharoor speaks in His Master’s Voice with a twang? Why is Sadhvi Pragya guilty until proven innocent while the same rule doesn’t apply to Shashi Tharoor?
Inevitably, the discussion will then turn to Gujarat riots.
What do you think about Godhra? Who was behind it? Why wasn’t it controlled in time? Who was responsible?
You: Again, thank your liberal friend for bringing up this issue. Remind him that the courts have established that a Muslim mob had set fire to a coach in the Sabarmati Express burning 59 women and children alive. Tell them that the Supreme Court too upheld the conviction of a number of Muslims in this case but how it is still being reported in the media as a case of accidental burning. Remember how some enquiry conducted in Laloo Yadav’s time (as he was then the Railways Minister) held, so shamelessly, that the karsevaks had themselves set the coach on fire killing their wives and children. So much so for liberalism.
As for Narendra Modi being responsible, tell them that the Supreme Court found him and Amit Shah both not guilty but the liberal media still considers them mass-murderers.
Your liberal friend: But didn’t Narendra Modi deliberately delay deploying the army so that more Muslims could be killed.
You: Tell them that during investigations, it was found that Narendra Modi had called the army on 28 February 2002 at 4 p.m. the very same day the riots broke out. So, the responsibility for the delay has to be placed at the doorsteps of someone else, including may be the army which has a well-established drill for seeking sanction for all such deployments. Also point out that the man who said Modi had called the army on 1st March was one Lt. Gen (Retd.) Zameeruddin who was later appointed as the vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University by the then UPA regime, and who named his memoirs, “The Sarkari Mussalman”. Do we need to say anything more?
Also mention that the Gujarat riots of 2002 weren’t the first riots that erupted in Gujarat. Gujarat has had a long history of riots, with the most brutal riots happening NOT in 2002 but in 1969 (which went on for months) and in which 660 people were killed, 1074 people were injured and over 48,000 lost their property. The Congress was the ruling party then and nobody can remember who the chief minister was. But why the liberal media never discusses the 1969 riots the way they discuss the 2002 riots is the moot point.
And finally, this brings to my favourite question.
Isn’t democracy in danger under BJP? So many artists, journalists, and celebrities are coming out in the open to speak against Narendra Modi. This has happened for the first time. All the institutions have been compromised.
You: Choke with laughter. Your liberal friends have had a good laugh on Sanghis and illiterate BJP MPs. Now it’s your turn to return the favour. Tell them that you’re dying to answer this question and express your surprise—what took them so long to come to this?
Then ask them: In which dictatorship, do you have journalists, politicians, comedians, and celebrities abuse the head of state in conferences, lit fests, and news channels 24 x 7 x 365 days in a year? China? Russia? North Korea? Saudi Arabia? Or their favourite Nazi Germany?
Also ask them: If Narendra Modi is really a dictator, why is he letting Priyanka Gandhi instigate children to abuse him and then say “Haawwwwwwww” covering her mouth, “Yeh wala nahin. Yeh achcha nahi hai.” Again, have a good laugh. What kind of dictatorship do we then have?
And remind them that the very party that is screaming “democracy is in danger” today is the one that had imposed emergency in 1975.
Your liberal friend: I’m opposed to Indira Gandhi, but mark my words, Narendra Modi too will impose emergency Indira Gandhi style in the second term. (Yes, I did have a friend saying this actually!)
You: If Narendra Modi wanted to impose emergency, why does he need to wait till the second term. Every dictator knows that they only get one chance to fool the people. Hitler was elected democratically but no elections were held in Germany thereafter from 1933 to 1945. If Modi is so keen on continuing his dictatorship, why is he foolishly fighting elections holding five rallies a day over the length and breadth of India? Especially when he does run the risk of losing elections and thereby losing power?
[TO BE CONTINUED…]
An author who has written thirty books, six of which centre around Kashmir — You Can’t Kill My Love: A Kashmir Holocaust Love Story, Still Missing…, Kashmir is Free and Kashmir Thinks It’s Free (co-authored with his father Dr. Arun Kumar (IAS) Retd.), the Outsider’s Tales and a non-fiction memoir Unmasking Kashmir/The Outsider’s Curse (co-authored with his mother Sonali Kumar (IAS) Retd.) You can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org