Is ‘Divide and Rule’ The Politicians’ Mantra?

By Anush Garg:

“WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens.” These are the opening lines of our constitution which we adopted on 26th January 1950.

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Keeping these constitutional words in mind, I think that the politicians of India don’t really live in a democratic republic. They might have been chosen by the people but they think that they are not answerable to the same people. No public appearances, even our Prime Minister does not care to speak to the people on subjects of national concern.

According to the ethics of democracy in India, the government has a duty to support various rights of the people. But the fact is much of the population does not enjoy the rights because of the fact that literacy and employment are both hard to find in backward areas and remote villages and therefore people continue to live in the dark. The only right which has been offered is the ‘Right to Vote’. Once elected, the MLA’s and MP’s make the most of the power and prestige, which makes them addicted to get re-elected. This whole cycle makes the Indian politicians hungry for power and this thirst causes them to divide the commoners on the basis of caste, creed and religion.

Many politicians make speeches on subjects of hate and religion and hide themselves behind the curtain of Freedom of Speech and Expression as provided by our constitution. They themselves forget that the constitution which has given us the right to express ourselves has also provided some restrictions. Hate speeches in a public gathering is an offence under Section 153 (a) of IPC*. I believe that a hate speech by the politician, where he divides the listeners on the basis of religion or their place of birth, is not welcome.

*According to the Indian Penal Code 153 (a): “Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc. and doing acts prejudicial to maintain harmony.”

A fresh case which is in the media is that of Akbaruddin Owaisi and honestly, I had never heard of him till his recent hate speech. Also, he has already been booked for six different cases in the past. He is the floor member of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) and was elected as an MLA in 1999. During his political career, Owaisi made a number of controversial speeches. In some he used Urdu words such as katil (murderer), beimaan (dishonest), darrinda (monster), and dhokebaaz (cheat) for the former Prime Minister, P V Narsimha Rao. In December 2012, Owaisi made fun of Hindu festivals, and said “We (Muslims) have only two festivals; they (Hindu) have so many – one every 10 days.”

Five years ago, he and his supporters had physically attacked the Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen who is noted for her logical islamist comments and articles. She was billed as anti-islamist by Owaisi and his followers and the legal case is still pending in the court.

But, the most recent controversial speech was made by him on the 24th of December, 2012 when he was addressing 25,000 Muslims in the town of Nirmal in Andhra Pradesh. In the two-hour-long speech, he tried to brainwash the Muslim listeners to hate the Hindu community. Immense public outcry and demands have forced the authorities to book him under Sections 143 and 156 of CrPc where he is not allowed any further public appearance.

Immediately after his hate speech, he fled to London for ‘medical treatment’, as told by his brother. However, he was arrested on the 8th of January, 2013 and is expected to be produced before a court in Nirmal owing to his hate speeches.

In his latest speech on the 24th of December he even supported Kasab and other terrorists who attacked the Taj Hotel in Mumbai; he also supported Tiger Memon and the Mumbai Blasts during his speech. He told the listeners that it was revenge which Tiger Memon accomplished on behalf of the Muslims.

Approximately 100 years ago, when the British ruled India, they practiced the concept of ‘divide and rule’. In my belief, the politicians are playing the same game even today. They are dividing people on the basis of religion and caste and ruling them. The MPs and MLAs often come up with novel ideas of reservation quotas and win elections to gain power. But in the long run, the reservation/quota system is not for the benefit of the country or its people especially while the nation is still developing. The politicians are generating hate amongst us, and directly opposing secularism.

A few years ago, Raj Thackeray, in Mumbai’s Azad Maidan stated: “Everyday 48 trains come to Maharastra from UP, Bihar and Jharkhand. Who are these people, where do they go?”

This forces me to raise this particular question: Is every citizen not allowed to travel to any part of the country or state? Such hate speeches show the shallow and irresponsible mindset that our politicians have. The same politicians who should be responsible for maintaining peace amongst their own constituents.

I have something to say to our leaders: If a young girl from Mumbai posts something on Facebook about the death of politician Bal Thackeray, the police arrests her in no time to please those in power and for showing the superiority of their own beliefs over the law of the land. The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh has stated “Anyone who hurts sentiments will be dealt with as per law”. I believe that this statement is only politically and legally correct to avoid dealing with the matter immediately and to save his position. This is typical when a politician is involved and it takes decades when it comes to the legal procedure.

Making hate speeches while earning money and fame at the same time, dividing us on religion and language will not work anymore. We Indians are now connected; we have come together and will not give in to their ways. We must not forget that ‘an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind’

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