Politics of Appeasement

The brand of politics that is adopted and religiously practiced in India is characterized by no less than politics of appeasement. Even before the seeds of partition were sown and the groundwork for eventual division of India was on its way the appeasement of Muslims were on the cards. The role of Muhammad Ali Jinna is notable in this context. Had it not been so, large areas namely Jammu & Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh of our own country would not have been measured by the same yardstick as that of controversial Gaza strip in middle-east. This great country of ours was divided in a religious line yet a large number of Muslims decided to stay back in their country of birth, i.e. India. The history was fine till this part. But then came the bomb-shell that is the politics of appeasement in the shape of a reservation policy. Every large political party is vying each other to give a great chunk of opportunities to the Muslims, ostensibly to upgrade their status. It’s true that a sizable population amongst the Muslims is staying in a miserable condition for several decades. And the literacy rate among this particular section of the people is dismally low. But an equal number, if not more, among the Hindu community is staying in an identical situation. Ironically their plight does not attract the attention of our political bigwigs, be it in the form of showing largesse in Government job or in financial assistance. Nor even an attempt was made to provide free education to the poor masses, lest they become literate enough to judge by their own to whom they should elect. In fact no political party worth its salt has truly taken a step by earmarking a percentage of jobs for these hapless Hindu people as they are steadfastly doing for their Muslim counterpart. Only the other day even the Andhra Pradesh Government went a step ahead by reserving five percent of government jobs for the Muslims and, as expected, a Government Gazette notification came as a natural corollary. Thanks to Public Interest Litigation by yet another political party activist to the Supreme Court came to the rescue. Honorable Supreme Court of India promptly reversed the politically motivated decision. There has been an uneasy calmness amongst the political heavy-weights since then to circumvent court verdict by political armamentarium that are used in such desperate circumstances by imposing its overriding influence in court decisions. The setback notwithstanding, efforts have shown no sign of weaning.

The largesse of Government in the form of Haj subsidy, that is liberally doled annually almost as a ritual for 15% population, is well known to all but no such provision for the other 80% population who professes Hinduism, that too in their own country. And there are as many as 52 Muslim countries all over the world but there’s not even a single country that provide Haj subsidy for their own brethren. If this is not an ideal example of robbing Peter to pay Paul what else can it be defined as? In India Muslim population has gone up from 10.7% in 1951 to nearly 14% in 2001 census, Hindu population, on the contrary has come down from 87.2% in 1951 to 80% in 2001 census. Yet the Hindus are branded as fundamentalist by secular Muslims. And our political stalwarts adopt a ‘see no evil hear no evil and speak no evil’ attitude. This is an ideal example of politics of appeasement. By saying so I certainly do mean that our Muslim brothers and sisters should not get their legitimate dues. They certainly should and as a responsible citizen it is our bounden duty to ensure a principle of equality and not a differential treatment with a singular sinister motive. An outburst of love and fellow-feeling for the minority usually manifests around the time of general and regional elections and those the political game-planners in a desperate bid to woo the gullible end up announcing some extra quota or reservation for a selected group.