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The anti-CAA protests shall not appeal to the realists

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Samved Iyer
Samved Iyer
Eternal as evolution is, I cannot purport to have grown in thorough measure, and I am hopeful of augmenting my perspicacity in the company of beings far more erudite than me.

The minds teeming with the ideas of a social revolution and bodies high on hormones, may have been swept into the farcical anti-CAA protests and riots alike, but the minds of the realists have not succumbed to the influence of such hormones, and for good reasons enumerated as follows:

(1) The first is the duplicitous nature exhibited by the opposition parties. In the words of Professor Anand Ranganathan, the same Congress and the Left, who are now protesting, demanded the same CAA in 2012 and again in 2015. The BJP has also managed to unearth a 2003 video of Dr. Manmohan Singh requesting the quondam government to grant citizenship to Bangladeshi refugees. That they should backtrack is not only surprising, but also condemnable.

(2) Secondly, the appalling lack of sympathetic sentiment for the persecuted religious minorities and the desperation to project the CAA as anti-Muslim has not resonated well with the people. The very emphasis on “anti-Muslim” makes it evident that the protests served to further the political goals of vested interests. Eminent author and intellectual, Tarek Fatah, laments that the Left in general and the Communists in particular have incited the Muslims on the path of protests, and have thus used them as cannon fodder for their own agendas. It is difficult to not agree with him, for with illiteracy holding the Islamic community in a vice-like grip, how are the Musalmans to comprehend the nuances behind the CAA? I am quite prepared to say that a musalman engaged in the protests shall be clueless when posed questions as regards the manner in which the Act supposedly affects his citizenship or his community.

(3) Thirdly, the protesters have not protested on issues that matter. They have not questioned the government regarding the timing of the introduction of the Bill (later Act). There are studies available on the net that establish a link between high internal violence and low economic growth. The government, of course, must have anticipated the impending violence. Why, then, at times of low economic growth, should they have brought in the Bill, considering that the impending violence could, possibly, further affect the economic growth? The response given by Amit Shah to this unasked question was that the Ministry of Home Affairs could not delay its work simply on account of economic slowdown, which is, frankly, a worldwide phenomenon. In the words of the Chairman of the PM’s Economic Advisory Council, Bibek Debroy, reformatory steps would take at least eighteen months to result in changes. It is unwise to expect the MHA to keep its work waiting for that long.

However, the protesters could have done well to ask the government about its exclusion of atheists from the Act, who are similarly persecuted. Appallingly, no one from either the clueless protesters or the academia, bothered to pose this prudent question to the government. The protesters in general and the students in particular would, therefore, do well to concentrate on their studies. The utopian-ist notions of a Left-revolution are unfounded, and therefore shall not materialize, something I explain in my next point.

(4) Lastly, in the age of nationalism, one cannot hope to get away with the words, “Hinduon se azadi” in India. It would suffice to say that the people are not impressed with the provocative, secessionist and communally divisive slogan. In the words of Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the nationalism seen in India is that of confidence. The average Indian has seen his country achieve the feat of going up four ranks in terms of nominal GDP (#10 to #6) in five years. He has seen the Ease of Doing Business Index jump spectacularly. He has seen a government committed to national security, unlike in the earlier days when monthly bomb blasts were the norm. He has also seen a surge in his slandered faith, for a culture-rooted academia has taken shape. This is seen with the sessions held by institutions such as The Jaipur Dialogues, Srijan Foundation, Arth: A Cultural Fest, IndicAcademy etc. All these serve to explore India’s past, learn from it, propagate pride in it and analyse the factors behind its downfall. It is but natural for an Indian to thus feel renewed hope and confidence in the destiny of this country, and lead Indians to assert themselves on the world stage with their unique geopolitical interests.

What I intend to convey is that this resurgence is a result of constructive academic work and research into the past, combined with a strong government at the helm of affairs. The right-wing, is of course, prone to thinking along emotional lines, for nationalism is driven by emotion but given time, it shall, no doubt, emerge as a force of rationality. As I said, nationalism is driven by emotion, but to complete the sentence, it is prudent to note that nationalism is solidified only by logic, data and sources. Understandably, the right-wing would not want this resurgence to wither away.

Therefore, provoking the Right-Wing shall simply accelerate its inevitable growth. It shall serve as a formidable counter to the left-dominated intelligentsia and academia. To my mind, the youngsters are prone to riding on the horse of idealism, and thus find the notions of socialist revolutions very attractive. They may rest assured, however, that nothing of the sort could ever materialize, especially when the Right-Wing is in the stage of a veritable renaissance that cannot be stopped with the combined might of vested interests, either local or global.

In conclusion, therefore, it may be said that one should expect similar outrage with the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code, for a foe with vested interests utterly refuses to see sense. The protester on the streets is not the foe. He is an unwanted obstacle at best. The foe is the entity inciting the protester and providing him with incentives to do so. The incentive must be something of such significance that the protester is prepared to face the metaphorical bullet of the inarguably superior and organized forces of law-enforcement.

The foe is, therefore, embedded within the system, and can be weeded out only with the combined forces of government machinery and civil society. The right-wing should work in cognizance of the same.

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Samved Iyer
Samved Iyer
Eternal as evolution is, I cannot purport to have grown in thorough measure, and I am hopeful of augmenting my perspicacity in the company of beings far more erudite than me.
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