BEGINNINGS OF A MODI-FIED WORLD VIEW:
M YUSUF KHAN (previously published in The Pioneer)
The recent poll results did not exactly gladden
the hearts of the minority community in Gujarat. Perhaps
they would have been happy to see Mr Narendra Modi and his
party defeated. However, in a democracy, the numbers count
and clearly these favoured Mr Modi. Should his victory be
a cause of worry to the Muslims in Gujarat and elsewhere
in the country, as is being suggested? How well-founded
are these misgivings? Some doubts and concern have also
been raised with regard to the future trend and the ploys
that might be witnessed in the coming Assembly elections.
These questions and doubts need to be examined dispassionately.
The minorities in India enjoy the same rights as the rest
of their countrymen. If there is an infringement, strong
voices are raised and remarkably so by the members of the
majority community. As long as this happens India's credentials
as a democratic and secular country is safe. However, this
is not to say that our society is discrimination free. But
then, is there a place in the world where grievances in
some form or the other do not exist? Acknowledging these
does not mean condoning these. We have to strive towards
better society which has no place for violence.
Coming back to the Gujarat election, it is no secret that
emotions rather than cold logic held sway. But then, it is
not just Gujarat, it is throughout the country that caste
and creed have become major factors to mobilise votes. Nonetheless,
instead of looking at the darker side of what has happened
in Gujarat, one should also look at the positive outcome which
has been ignored. Most Assembly elections are marred by violence,
booth capturing, misuse of state machinery and intimidations
and low turn out and so on. None of these were witnessed in
Gujarat. Is it not worth an acknowledgement? Agreed, there
were cases of stray violence but not at a scale to scare away
the voters. Can we say the same thing about the elections
held in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and J&K and some other states?
It is truly remarkable that the minority community took
part in the elections so enthusiastically and unhindered.
This is a good sign for democracy. The minority community
demonstrated that it is free to exercise its choice in the
electoral process. The Gujarati Muslims' decision not to
boycott the elections showed their maturity. As stated earlier,
democracy is about "quantity" and not necessarily
about "quality". Hence, with all due respect,
if Bihar is happy with Ms Rabri Devi, Tamil Nadu with Ms
J Jayalalitha and Rajasthan with Mr Ashok Gehlot, who are
we to question their choices?
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