Politicians: back to old ways again



Not so long ago, it was widely presumed that, in a modernizing and fast-growing India, sickening religious clashes aimed at garnering votes would be a thing of the past. The western UP rioting, like those preceding it in Bihar, points to the opposite. “Communal polarization” has staged a comeback.

Worryingly, more riots could be looming, as India heads into a general election in 2014, analysts say. When such clashes happen, they tend to disproportionately claim more Muslim lives, according to Prof. Paul R. Brass, a leading India expert at the University of Washington.

Muslims make up about 18% of UP’s 200 million population, rendering them politically significant for that reason alone. Of the 403 state electoral seats, they are said to be influential in one-third. Statistics do show that parties have won elections by cornering sizeable votes from “low-caste” Hindus along with those of Muslims.

As political parties prepare for the rough and tumble of 2014, the right-wing BJP, the main opposition, has emerged as a key challenger. It increasingly began to appear that the polls would be fought on issues of a weakening economy, stubbornly high prices and a series of high-profile corruption scandals. Not religion. What then has changed?

A possibility is that parties invariably will find it very difficult to deliver on parameters on development. A series of opinion polls has suggested that although the Congress is unlikely to do well, the BJP isn’t gaining much either.

It is possible that politics of development alone, as being epitomized by BJP mascot Narendra Modi, wouldn’t be enough to bring the party to power in 2014. Therefore, the easier option is to play one community off against the other.

Driving a wedge between majority Hindus and Muslims, India’s largest minority of over 150 million people, tends to help all parties. Hindu nationalists have typically made use of this. In June, riots had erupted in parts of Bihar soon after the ruling JD(U) had snapped ties with the BJP.

“Secular parties too often tend to play a double game. First you create a sense of insecurity for minority and then seek to address them,” said Mohd Sanjeer Alam of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, India’s best-known political think-tank.

In UP, this strategy miserably failed, when a scuffle over eve-teasing, involving Hindus and Muslim youths, was allowed to spin out of control.

Research has also pointed to a correlation between stable economic development and social harmony. When India’s economy tends to flag, a restless Indian middle-class becomes prone to easy mobilization. In a recent study, political scientists Anjali Thomas Bohlken of the University of British Columbia and Ernest John Sergenti of the World Bank, using a statistical model, found that just 1% rise in India’s GDP decreased the expected number of riots by over 5%.

In Uttar Pradesh, Muslim anger at the moment is piling on the Samajwadi Party’s doorstep. “Never have I seen,” says Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind leader Mahmood Madani, “a government become so unpopular among Muslims in so little time.” For Muslims, the more political choices, the merrier. But now in UP, there could be one less party to choose from, Madani said.

That is less of a problem in a remarkably diverse democracy. The worry is that political parties have fallen back on devious old ways of communal polarization. “It’s back to basics,” Alam said.

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  • Oglipogli

    An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind..!!!

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    ad Reply:

    And what when you turn a blind eye toward activities Jihadists aka Pakis? Gandhism will not stand up against rabid dogs. The only solution is to cull them …all

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    Shakir Reply:

    tumhari gand man itna dam hai to kar k dikhao bharwoo

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    Arjun Reply:

    India acted once in 1971 and diveded you in to two it is time for India to act again Balochistan and Khybar pakhtoon are fighting for freedom India will free them

    Shakir Reply:

    here u have accepted what indian govt is denying since 1971. u must also accept that indian have killed thousands of innocent people in kashmir and inside india

    BVSat Reply:

    Love for your eye will leave you blind and the other guy with sight. Sounds fun? Take your Gandhian logic somewhere else. Won’t apply these days.

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    MMR Reply:

    Bull Shit. Tell this to the Americans and Israelis. They will tell you how they got Osama to the hell where he belongs. That is the only language these animals will understand. Grow up you are dealing with barbarians who deserve no mercy.

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    Shakir Reply:

    tum us wqt ka intazar karo jab taliban aa jaengy tumhari marny

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    Arjun Reply:

    hello Moran your father osma was k,i,l,led like a dog and thrown into the sea you have not learned any thing yet

    Dr.RAJ Reply:

    if only some follow what ever you say, then it is the non-violent who would go blind while the rogues will rule the world.

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    singh Reply:

    O Gandhi Kay chalay……go and preach this to pakis…..

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  • NSG

    well said …..

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  • Deepak

    Well said – Indian leaders and leadership is full of BS – nothing moves em. If India wants to be respected as a Leader it needs to take care of its own dirty laundry. Take lesson from israel and US – clinical attacks are the way forward, provided leaders understand the word “Clinical”

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    Avik Roy Reply:

    Unfortunately, most of our ‘leaders’ do not even know how to use a laptop properly. They do not know and not care about these web based discussions. Same applies to their secretaries. There is a huge gap between the private citizens that are web savvy and our politico-secretary nexus that are as web ignorant as the temple monkeys are.

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  • Magoma

    It is the task of the Government to respond. And if you have a Government, consisting of lawyers and politicians with unpatriotic attitude, ridden with Himalayan corruption led by not an original person from the land who would have some nationalistic feelings, this is to be expected. It is a tragedy that such a Govt is ruling for 10 years with the help of corrupt people and parties coming to power by hook or by crook. Still there are parties like SP who believes that organizations like SIMI is not a bad organization. When we have half of the voters BPL, what can a democracy do in this land.

    Unless there is regeneration of the nation through intense education including moral and ethical according to the teachings and message of Swami Vivekananda, there is not very much of of a quick improvement of the present situation.

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  • himalaya

    Not only USA, even China and Israel silently knock off high value enemies in other countries that attack their countries. Chanakya neeti also favours such covert operations; but present day Indian leaders are so timid.

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  • Oglipogli

    “Badle se badla nahi jaayega, Badla to barbadi hi laayega”…!!!

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    Pakorachai Reply:

    Well said….I shall come and f**k your mother. No “badla” ofcourse because it will take you to barbaadi.

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    Shakir Reply:

    tumhari mah ko choda ha pakistanion ny?

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  • Prakash

    Vir, covert action against who? Pakistan military? Isn’t that a war?

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  • koushikgrs

    whenever thereis a fight between 2 children in the class they may beat each other, but they will never go ask their parent’s permission for retaliation this is
    simple ,let our goverment not complicate matters when pakistan has dared to
    kill our fouji naujawan , we shall not keep quite no waiting,,let’s not think of consquence,it is this conquence that is creating fear in our leader’s mind not
    prompting for action, enough is enough Pakistan should be taught a bloody
    lesson of their life.

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  • Sameer

    Pigs deserves only shit…not fruits.. they never understand the value of our big heart.

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  • Mr. India

    Take out Hafiz, things will change on the ground soon.

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  • Raj

    Vir, Did Nira Radia dictate this story?

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  • johnD

    corrupt, discredited journos taking the easiest path to redeem themselves, “patriotism”, demonizing a fictional ‘enemy’ and war mongering!

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  • jagsharma

    Stop all trade with Pak and close the Bagga Border. No more cricket matches with Pak.

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  • Bharat

    Good analysis, Mr. Sanghvi. It is so sad that no humiliation, no matter how severe, stirs our leaders. Even the public would protest for a few days and then get back to focusing on their own interests. Nationalistic fervor is all but dead..woh kehtey hain na..”khoon paani ho gaya hai”. You are absolutely right about them only huffing and puffing..it is really very sad and unfortunate. Some of the comments (here) on using Gandhian approach are the most ridiculous ..they have their heads stuck in sand for the past 6 decades. How many eyes do they have to sacrifice before they become totally blind..more than two? ..there was the parliament attack, several bombings in cities, attack on Akshardhaam, 26/11, and on and on… Kab tak saho ge?

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  • Amit

    It was an epic failure of India to let Pakistan acquire nuclear weapons. It could have stopped it by hook and crook. I believe the fault lies with so called foreign policy experts. And now that we have been caught between the rock and hard place, we are still playing a defensive game. What is needed is a policy to further break up Pakistan. Obviously it is a country which is created on Hindu hate instead of other factors like nationalism that is common with other countries. So it will be foolish to expect a change in attitude of people from across the border.

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  • raina

    This all started in 1989 when 10 lakh kashmiri Hindus were forced to flee the valley their homes burnt so that they can not come back spine less Indian Govt and Indian Army watched and did nothing India will pay a heavy price for this mistake at that time it was ISI strategy

    1 make kashmir 100% Muslim area
    2 Bring terror to streets of India from Kashmir
    3 bleed India to death till it diintegrates

    India has been lucky because of 9/11 USA and Nato landed in Afghnistan this kept ISI and Pak army busy now USA is withdrawing means attntion will be on Kashmir now
    we Indians ( hindus) are weak and clumsy pakistan is ruthless as a nation they will definitley hurt and bleed India

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    AK Reply:

    Who is winner and who is loser? Compare the two countries. India is rich and Pak is broke. One billion people’s outrage is a constant stressful pressure on entire Pak leadership. I strongly support India’s maturity in foreign policy. It shows tolerance, patience, humbleness and forgiveness.

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  • anil

    This is first time Vir Singvi wrote something that makes some sense.

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  • Shamir

    What an immature article , jingoistic to its roots to say the least . In this recent border incident it was first india who killed a pakistani soldier and remember sanghvi, india is not USA

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  • Joey15

    Well said. Thank you for writing this article. What we need is not full scale war but retaliation enough to take out the terrorists hiding withing Pakistan territory. That will silence them enough. Or so called leaders need to see the movie ‘Munich’ and take a lesson.

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  • prem

    India “ please help Pakistan to /Destroy or kill it self ! you will save a newly born Baby to survive ? please stop the suffering innocent people of Pakistan. The people of Pakistan today are blood thirsty murders.

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  • nisant

    i remember making a comment when first this new broke out that india is going to act all angry and then that’ll be it, and as you can see nothing happaned…typical indian. btw, i am an indian.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ajil-Philip/1366882224 Ajil Philip

    How bout India send its own drones over the border, drop some ordinance and keep quiet about it…. They’ll think its American drones and not bother….

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  • Ramesh Kumar

    ONLY FULL SCALE WAR CAN ENSURE LONG TERM PEACE.EUROPE HAS NOT GONE ON WAR SINCE 1945.DONOT ALLOW INDIANS TO BE HUMILIATED BY KAYANIS OR HAFIJS ETC.HOW MANY HEADS MUST BE CUT BEFORE INDIAN GOVT REALIZES THEY ARE OUR BOYS.HOW JUMPY WAS SALMAN KHURSHID WHEN HIS WIFE WAS CHARGED WITH SOME CORRUPTION CHARGES BY KEJRIWAL.IT WAS ONLY A CORRUPTION CHARGE.

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  • Manik

    Wow and this is call a journalism. But will India. Govt. listen as they do not have a balls and when you have mafia and criminals in control of a country, the people will play a price. It’s a shame to be an Indian since indeed we have become a banana republic.

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  • Jai-Hanuman

    This is India and Indian.
    Focus of the Month is India-Pak relation. Delhi incidence was last month’s episode and people have forgotten that and moved on.
    Just wondering what would be the enext month’s food for thought.

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  • AK

    The answer offered by many hawks on the Indian side – that we should impose sanctions on Pakistan – is counter-productive. If we stop people-to-people contacts, stop issuing visas, curtail the dialogue process, and reduce our engagement with the civilian establishment, it will make no difference to the Pakistani army. They have no respect for the politicians and the civilians anyway and they don’t give a damn what India does to them……………………..

    So why is it counter-productive? We as Indians shouldn’t care of what **** millitary thinks, we should stop watching movies with **** singers/actors and stop watching cricket matches

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  • Jack

    India is run by sonia behanji, manmohan Pappu and other jokers
    What action you can expect from them

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  • Avik Roy

    I think Indian politicians including MEA do realize that covert operation is the call of the day, however, they just do not have the necessary resolve to act. We have been seeing this aggressive Pakistani stance since last 60 years, despite Bangladesh. Though once upon a time India did operate bravely and cut that nation into two, it seems so unreal now.
    Vir Sangvi is absolutely right about our leadership. However, how we can get rid of these inactive and brainless lot that will be replaced by a more proactive ones is a million dollar question today.

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  • Guest

    One has never fully believed the fairy tale thàt India’s covert capabilities in Pakistan were degraded by I. K. Gujral in a fit of Punjabi large heartedness and that these have not been rebuilt and strengthened in light of so much that has happened in the world since then. Just yesterday a lot of bombs have gone off. If either the first or the second theories in the column is correct, General Kayani should pick up the phone and speak to his Indian counterpart and express regret, not for the killing, which is an act of war that both sides indulge in, but for the beheading, which shames and stains the uniform of a professional soldier.

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    barneyfife Reply:

    You’ve got to be joking if you think shame is felt by a Muslim (military or not) for commiting a beheading (or any other atrocious act for that matter).

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  • Peter

    Vir, the fatass, when did you get time to write something against the madam and her PM. Didn’t get your cut this month??

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  • Singh

    Only Hari Singh Nalwa and Ranjit Singh can kick their a**…….these dhotiwalas have no balls……..Hari Singh conquered Kabul and Ranjit Singh had Lahore as his capital and Jagjit Singh Arora kicked their a** and created Bangladesh…….

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  • Raja

    For a butcher class it makes no difference to behead a human or an animal. It took forever to hang 26/11 culprit. That is the state of our country and its politicians who are weak and are only concerned about their “ghotals” and political seat.What will it take for this impotent government to wake up

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  • s ramji

    Best things is to hire someone in Pakistan to end the fugitives in Pakistan. there should be enough persons to do the job or money. It has to be an international tender. If America can do it why not we?

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  • prashant saxena

    sadly, beheading as a form of adding insult to injury is not unprecedented in the Indo-Pak conflict. In fact old timers would remember the Gurkha regiment as the prime culprits in this regard. I met a Bengali Colonel Saheb who had received a Maha Veer Chakra after he beheaded a couple of Pakistanis. So, rather than lamenting he transgression of the Geneva treaty, we should condider who should be beheaded on their side. The Colonel of the Regiment of the Baloch regiment? The CO of the 29 Baloch battalion? His children? Those would all be valid targets. The only aim would be to inflict severe and unacceptable damage, to prevent recurrence of such an incident.

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  • Sanjay

    What is the role of Islam in this?

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  • Argo

    Have anybody seen the movie Munich cant we do such thing with these dawoods and saaeds hiding in some pakistani den ??

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  • TheHinduNation

    Very sensible and balanced article by Vir “Radia Gate” Sanghvi for a change. Hes right, no point in empty chestthumping, actions speak louder than words. If we could have our own Seals taking out and beheading Hafiz Saeed, video record it, and later broadcast it. Imagine the message it will send to all enemies of India, including Pakistan. The keyword here is IF….

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  • Arghya

    We have one problem against covert actions. Pakistan is far closer to us than to the US. Now a days, drones are available dime a dozen from so many rogue countries in the world. So if we launch a drone attack on Pakistan, tomorrow they will launch one on the Raisina Hills. Whatever is said about Indian politicians, one thing is true that they are mortally scared of dying. So they will not take any risk which may kill their own ilk.

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  • hassan

    if we have power and courage we should alsa make a covert action

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  • barneyfife

    So unfortunate that your neighbors are uneducated barbarians lacking any sort of civil society.

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  • pankaj#1

    Zia;
    As per your standard, you have done better here.
    But, you did not forget your pet grouse, Modi and BJP. Very clearly, this Muzaffarnagar riot was engineered by SP/ Azam khan but still you did not forget Modi?? Why???
    Gujrati muslims, who bore the burnt of 2002 riots( cause? again Signal Falia based Muslims and that mindset, Hindus suffered too). have move on and are with Modi. But, rest of the India still shouting Modi, Modi.
    If you have real interest of Muslims, nay, it should be now INDIANS, say truth.

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    engrich Reply:

    Muzaffarnagar riot was engineered by SP/ Azam khan
    submit any proof.otherwise accept that lie is staple food of you jansanghis.

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    pankaj#1 Reply:

    Bhaiyye,
    bahut dinon ke baad aaye ho. What kind of proof you want. just let me know. I will GIVE YOU THAT PROOF.

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  • Ni2

    Let us harbour no doubt what so ever about the aim of RSS/BJP – to destroy all notions of modern democratic India. It was formed for that very purpose and over the last 88 years, its tactics may have varied, but its strategic objective has remained the same.

    RSS’s ideological project is to replace modern Indian Republic with a rabidly intolerant fascistic Hindu Rashtra. It invented the concept of “vote bank politics” by sharpening communal polarisation, it has learnt that it is unlikely to get much support from the Muslim voters, but it has much to gain by frightening Hindus into its sphere of influence. The RSS believes that a homogenous Hindu community is a prerequisite to its fascist project which is manically obsessed with Muslims and other religious minorities, It therefore believes communalism has a role in consolidating mass base for the extreme right.

    Amit Shah knows that Narendra Modi’s chance of becoming the PM partly depends upon the BJP winning substantially in the UP. To that end he has started to roll out the Gujarat Model of using terror of communal violence to consolidate Hindus and to build an invincible vote bank for the BJP.

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  • Sumit Bose

    Zia Mian, what could possibly be your motive for this mataam over community based voting?
    It has been on ever since independence from the Brits.
    Can you please explain why the Muslim League, that was primarily responsible for not only partitioning the country, but its “branch” in Pakistan, was responsible for the largest extirpation of humans perhaps since the dawn of history of civilizations; yet in Kerala , in two muslim majority districts always in unbroken succession has sent in ONLY Muslim League candidates.
    The interesting fact is that for nearly 15 years the MP from that district was one Banatwala, a Gujarati convert who spoke no Malayalam!
    There was absoloutely no “security” issues for the muslims of that district, rather the few Hindus and Christians were the ones to subjected to brutal insecurity. there.
    The quintessence is that Muslims will ONLY vote for Muslims, barring a few exceptions.
    This coming elections are going to be very interesting, because, the usually fragmented Hindus are appearing to coalesce into a voting block, and that puts up all the alarm flags for the political parties that thought had their calculations as reliable as mathematical formulas..
    This event, if it does occur even marginally, totally emasculates and subsumes the Muslim block vote, and that is very troubling to this Mian,

    The tap of preferential dollops the Muslim community has been inured to would run dry.

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  • Devraj

    You say they call you Muslim and feel that you are not being addressed as Indian First – A grouse coming from literate Muslim , Sounds good… But fault lies at your end – how many on your side (i.e. – educated Indian Muslims) do really come out to speak on national , inter-community issues….What do you have to say for those who put religion first – nation second or maybe further down when asked to commit . what ever happened in muzzafarpur (2013) , Gujrat (2002) , Delhi(1984) e.t.c is an example of Demoncracy / democracy..
    Instead of the commentary , It would be better to come out in public and create space for dislodge , discussion and support the one who seems to be crusading the line which connects with you. Let the nation see and hear the voice of a citizen and not a minority commentator.

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  • abhi

    I you chose same parties the outcome will not be much different. We all had high hopes with Akhilesh but it turned out to be more of government ran by Ajam Khan and Mulayam Yadav.

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