In the upcoming West Bengal elections INC aligned itself with Indian secular front(ISF). Yes, the same ISF supremo, Abbas Siddiqui, who wanted 50 crore Indians to die from ‘Allah virus’ (COVID 19). I consider this as an epic step of “Talibanization” of INC, which it has been doing under grabs of “SECULARISM”.

Talibanization is synonymous with “Mullah/Maulvi appeasement

Lets analyze the below aspects

  1. Look back at history as how INC started its Talibanization process
  2. Where does INC stand now, how far it may go.
  3. Impact of such policy on INC in a long term and what should INC do.

As far as first point is concerned, I would divide the INC history in the below phases.

Early INC days:

After the creation of INC in 1885, the INC was headed by Englishmen, and then by Indians like Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The leaders at this time focused increasing participation of Indians in governance, demands for home rule etc. The question of secularism had not come at this point of time. Hence, this period is not important for this topic.

Gandhian Era:

In the Gandhian era, the question of secularism raised its head. He defined secularism as “sarvadharm samabhava” i.e. “all regions are equal” and tried to be equally close to all religions. However, some of his actions spoke otherwise. For e.g.

  1. He supported the Khalifate movement which had nothing to do with India.
  2. He supported the Moplah Massarce of Hindus and Christians.
  3. He did not play a neutral role in Bengal during the partition riots.
  4. He pressed hard for a 20 km wide road connecting Pakistan and Bangladesh, though Nehru and Patel struck this down.

I would argue that Talibanization of INC started during this reign. People call this “Appeasement” but I think “Talibanization” is a more appropriate word.

Nehruvian Era:

Nehruji did follow a different principle of secularism. He kept himself equidistant from all religions.

For e.g., he did not attend the inauguration of Somnath temple, not did he attend the inauguration of any mosque or Church. He did not celebrate Diwali, nor did he organize Iftar parties.

Though he did not impose Uniform Civil Code, he ideologically supported it. He passed the Hindu Law Code Bill (amidst fierce opposition from Hindu fanatics).

During this era, we can say that the polity was actually secular. We can call this “Nehruvian Secularism” – aloofness from all religions.

Indira, Sanjay and Rajiv Era:

During this era, the principles of Nehruvian secularism were razed to ground. Lets see how secularism was blown to pieces during this era.

  1. Establishment of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB): AIMPLB has always been filled with hardline Clerics. It made a systematic attempts to make Muslims follow Shariat. This destroyed all chances of reform among Muslims (as was now happening among Hindus and Christians). AIMPLB is now establishing Shariat courts all over the country, to ensure that Muslims never adopt a secular law code.
  2. Starting the elaborate policy of minority appeasement: In this era, INC neither did follow Gandhiji’s definition of secularism “nearness to all religions” nor Nehruji’s definition of secularism “distance from all religions”. For e.g. Gandhis never celebrated Diwali/X’mas, but organized well publicized Iftar parties. This clearly indicated the Gandhis’ leaning towards Islam and zero regards for other religions.
  3. Bollywood became openly anti-Hindu and investment from dubious sources started flooding the movie industry.
  4. Shah Bano case: In this case, Supreme Court took a progressive stand for reform in Muslim personal laws, but Rajiv Gandhi passed a law nullifying the SC judgment. This was done solely to appease Islamic clergy.

In nutshell, in this era, INC completely discarded its secular credentials and became a party appeasing the Mullahs, Maulvis and Qazis. In this process, INC did not side with the progressive elements of Muslim society, but with the regressive elements who wanted to keep Muslims backward.

Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka Era:

The process set in motion by Indiraji and Rajivji were continued with more vigor. For e.g.

  1. INC completely sided with the Islamic clergy during the period. Their lawyers vigorously defended the evil practices like talaq-e-biddat, Nikah Halala and polygamy in Indian courts.
  2. During this time controversies on Muslims reciting Vande Mataram, Yoga being un-Islamic etc. became prime time news on media, with lots of hours being dedicated to discuss these topics.
  3. Establishment of Shariat courts was expediated.
  4. Concept of “SAFFRON TERRORISM” was incubated. Even Rahul Gandhi went ahead and said that “Hindu terrorism is dangerous that terrorist groups in Pakistan
  5. INC started to openly ally with Radical Muslim Parties like ISF, AIUDF etc.

At this point: INC is absolutely not a secular party. It cannot be said to be a Muslim party either, as it is not working to improve the condition of Muslims. It is siding with the radical elements in the Islamic society who want to keep Muslims backward.

Hence, INC has should be called a “Talibani” party.

For e.g. between AIMIM(Owasi) and ISF (Abbas Siddiqui), I find AIMIM more progressive than ISF. AIMIM at least spoke for eliminating Hajj subsidies and spending that money for educating Muslim girls. Whereas, ISF speaks about “Getting independence for his homeland” and “Allah Virus” . INC is not siding with AIMIM, but with ISF.

How far INC will go with this policy. Answer is: Time will tell.

What will be the long term impact of such policy:

  1. All non Muslims will dump INC.
  2. Later, when awakening will happen among Muslims themselves, they will dump the INC. No community will remain in slumber for ever.

In Nutshell, such a policy will be suicidal for INC. INC should go back follow the ideas of “Nehruvian Secularism” in letter and spirit if it wants to revive.

DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.