Many people are gloating over the state election results of Tuesday that saw the defeat of BJP governments in three states.
In my opinion, however, the only effect the assembly election results will have is to reduce lynching of Muslims a bit, though it is wrong to assume that such incidents will be totally eliminated. India is still a semi-feudal society, and as I have repeatedly pointed out, communalism is always latent in it, only awaiting some catalyst to bring it to the surface.
Today, most Hindus in India are communal, and so are most Muslims. It is only when we create a fully industrial society that the poison of communalism will disappear. Secularism is a feature of an industrial society, not a feudal or semi-feudal one.
The state election results will have no effect on the real problems facing India—massive poverty, huge unemployment, appalling child malnourishment, widespread farm distress, almost total lack of proper healthcare, good education for the masses, etc.
These problems cannot be solved within the present system of parliamentary democracy, for in such a democracy, the political leaders have to appease and appeal to feudal forces—such as caste and communal vote banks—to win elections, whereas the national interest requires destruction of these forces.
To take the country rapidly forward requires an alternative system in which there are genuinely patriotic and modern-minded political leaders who do not have to bother about elections, but are determined to rapidly industrialise and modernise the nation, as China has done. So whether Congress wins elections or BJP wins, it matters little. Our politicians have no genuine love for the country, but are only interested in power and pelf.
I had mentioned my apprehensions about the BJP’s response to likely election setbacks in my recent article Indians, prepare for the coming storm and can only repeat them. The BJP will not give up power easily, and the coming Lok Sabha elections will be like the historical wars for the Delhi Sultanate in which no holds were barred and rivers of blood flowed as rivals sought to claim the throne.
The BJP thrives on communal riots, for that is the only way the party knows for increasing its votes from its ‘captive’ upper caste Hindu vote bank, which, at 20 per cent of the population, is clearly insufficient to win many seats.
It is not difficult to stoke the communal fire since India is a semi-feudal country and the fuel of communalism is always present in it, only waiting to be ignited by some spark. So, we are bound to witness widespread communal riots and incidents in the coming months.
Also, a war with Pakistan on some issue is bound to whip up communal passions, and our leaders may well resort to that option too. The fact that both countries have nuclear weapons will not deter desperate men.
So, dark days are ahead.
By Markandey Katju
Justice Markandey Katju retired from the Supreme Court in 2011