BJP propaganda: Divisive as Usual in 2024 Elections

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Ram Puniyani

For majoritarian Nationalism communal, divisive propaganda has been a major plank for increasing their hold in the electoral arena through promoting Hate. The module of Hindu nationalist politics has been centered on two major planks. One, glorification of the ancient past, the era when values of Manusmriti were the social norms, and two, the distortion of History, particularly of medieval one. Here the temple destructions and conversion to Islam by force have been the major falsehoods.

On this foundation they have been adding other issues through their vast network. So far Babri demolition was used to propagate that Mughal rulers destroyed Hindu temples to humiliate the Hindus. It has been a major key of their falsehoods among others. Adding on to this during current general elections (2014) eating of meat has been twisted to intensify the same track.

Recently one visual of Tejaswi Yadav eating fish on 8th April was circulating. The Navratra, Holy month of Sawan as per Hindu calendar, when many Hindus hold that non veg should not be consumed, began from 9th April. Unmindful, that the barrage was unleashed against Yadav for insulting the feelings of Hindus by eating non veg during holy month of Savan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to have mastered the art of twisting facts, using communal historiography to intensify the hate, communal propaganda. He seized this ‘fish given’ opportunity with both hands. He recalled that last year Lalu Yadav and Rahul Gandhi cooked and consumed meat during this holy month. In a shrewd way he combined meat during savan with the destruction of temples by Mughals, “When the Mughals attacked here, they were not satisfied with defeating the ruling king, unless they broke the temples and destroyed the places of worship. They found enjoyment in that. In the same way, by showing the video in the month of Sawan, they want to provoke the people of the country with the Mughal mentality.”  As per him the videos were uploaded by his political rivals for ‘vote-bank’ politics!

The issue of temple destructions by kings has been extensively researched by outstanding historians like Richard Eaton among others to show that temple destructions were also done by Hindu kings as well. Muslims kings also gave a lot of donations to Hindu temples. Kalhan’s classic Rajtarangini describes that Raja Harshdev, a Hindu King of Kashmir, appointed a special officer to uproot the idols of Hindu Gods, those made of Gold and Silver, from Hindu temples. Aurangzeb gave donations to Hindu temples as well.

In the game of sectarian nationalism, truth is the biggest casualty. Interpretations based on such communal mind sets are far away from the reality of social affairs. As Indian Nation Congress released its Election manifesto, Nyaya Patra, (Justice Proclamation) based on affirmative justice for weaker sections of society, Modi was prompt enough to state that this manifesto has the imprint of Muslim League of yore. Others from his cabal have also mastered this art of using dog whistle. Yogi Adityanath in an innocuous looking sentence stated that the criminal in UP will have to face Jail or Jahhanum. (word used for hell in Islamic tradition). He also brought forward the issue of Haji Malang, a shrine close to Mumbai being claimed to be a Hindu shrine, Malang Gadh. This is on the lines of Baba Budan Giri Dargah campaign which gave strength to BJP in Karnataka, three decades back.

Adding on to these Mr. Modi is spreading a fear that if the INDIA alliance comes to power it will redistribute wealth to ‘Infiltrators’. By this he is giving a signal that Muslims who have come from BanglaDesh will be given this wealth of ‘others’. “In the same breath he says that “Congress will give your wealth to ‘those with more children’ “In both these headlines the hint that Congress wants to appease Muslims is clear enough.

 The ‘scare of infiltrators’ was exposed when NRC was conducted in Assam. Out of 19 Lakh people who did not have proper papers 13 Lakhs were Hindus. The claim was that there are corners of Bangladeshi infiltrators (Termites in Amit Shah’s Words). As for those having more Children, the latest fertility rates reveal that these are declining among Muslim women and at present on average a Muslim women’s rate of fertility is marginally higher than the National average among Hindus. And if current trends continue they may become close enough soon.

One is reminded of the propaganda of Hindu right that Dr. Manmohan Singh had stated that Muslims have the first right on national resources. This was in the aftermath of Sachar Committee Report 2006, when the committee showed that the economic, social and political condition of Muslims is worsening over the years. What he had stated was totally different. He had said, ““I believe our collective priorities are clear: agriculture, irrigation and water resources, health, education, critical investment in rural infrastructure, and the essential public investment needs of general infrastructure, along with programs for the upliftment of SC/STs, other backward classes, minorities and women and children.

How the Hindu right wing is capable of distorting the facts to suit political propaganda becomes clear in most of these instances. Spreading hate against Muslim and condemning those who dare to talk of affirmative action on rational grounds is a strict no for this political formation thriving on divisive politics.

Over the years its propaganda tools have become sharper and its mechanisms of spread well in place to the extent that they can concoct a narrative which demonizes the religious minorities, Muslims in this case. It constructs an anti Hindu image for those sticking to the norms of democracy and values of the Constitution. The powerful media is at present backing this party to hilt and is creating a ‘social common sense’, which is totally opposed to the plural ethos of India which have developed over a period of centuries, culminating in the greatest ever mass movement in the World, our freedom struggle.

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Disclaimer: BJP propaganda: Divisive as Usual in 2024 Elections - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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