x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Politics is all about appeasement

With the marathon Indian elections coming to a close, it is time for politicians to determine whether their policy of appeasement fared well with an electorate that some observers believe has attained maturity.

With the marathon elections coming to a close, it is time for politicians to determine whether their policy of appeasement fared well with an electorate that some observers believe has attained maturity. A photograph on the website, anindianmuslim.com, shows Nafisa Ali, the Samajwadi Party candidate from Lucknow, offering puja at the Hanuman temple, while in another, Mohammed Salim, a senior CPI (M) leader in West Bengal, is seen paying obeisance at a Hindu shrine. There is also one of Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Samajwadi Party chief, who the post says "keeps getting flak for being pro-Muslim and for appeasing Muslims", eating the iftar meal wearing a skullcap.

Hindu politicians are often seen emerging out of mosques and dargahs (Sufi Muslim shrines) during campaigns, while many of those from the Muslim community head towards Hindu shrines to seek divine blessing - a phenomenon typical of the election season. A blog on the website also mentioned Aslam Sher Khan, a former hockey player and a Congress candidate from a Madhya Pradesh constituency, who visited a temple to seek blessing for his victory in the election.

"Once Varun Gandhi used to wear skullcap among Muslims" reads the caption of a picture of the lesser known grandson of the former prime minister Indira Gandhi, whose venomous attack against Muslims during the election campaign in March pitched him in the centre of a national controversy. An article on the topix.com website, titled "Rush hour for netas [leaders] at Dargah", revealed the names of some Hindu politicians such as LK Advani, the BJP leader, Ram Vilas Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party, who represents the Hajipur constituency in Bihar, and Sachin Pilot, a member of Congress and representative of the Dausa constituency in Rajasthan, visiting the famous Ajmersharif Dargah, in Rajasthan.

This is what politics in India is all about, and it is sad to note that politicians' only religion is power and greed, as a respondent put it. As long as illiteracy and poverty prevail, however, such "gimmicks" could help parties and individuals garner religious votes. Thus, the apathy of the educated class might continue to be a boon for such leaders.

 

smukherjee@thenational.ae