As much as I can remember, the fiercest rioting and arson in Kerala have happened on political agendas rather than anything overtly religious. Here again, it was the Communist parties with their militant trade union ideologies that always used to find itself at either ends in these clashes. However, unlike in many other parts of India it used to be the youth cadres of the Communist parties and RSS (and not BJP) which used to engage in these political battles especially in the northern belt of Kerala. (there are various theories linking the origin of the Communist movement to protect the trade interests of the Muslim merchants, but that is not my subject here)
Another aspect worth mentioning is that while all minority communities had their political representations either explicitly like in the form of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) or tacitly like the Kerala Congress for Christians, I cannot remember any mainstream political party enjoying special patronage from the majority Hindus. (Though BJP used to contest elections, it never really received the political mandate from the Hindu community)
However, I see this trend changing and the lines blurring between political and religious ideologies. The impact of religious orientation influencing political expressions have entered these half-informed public debates like an uninvited participant. I see a worrisome trend of non-Hindus mostly occupying the anti BJP quadrant and Hindus moving closer to the BJP narrative, though by-and-large they are spread across all sides of the allegiance spectrum.
Why is this surprising (for me)?
Instead, in our unfathomable urgency to get noticed, loved and liked, we have become active participants in this socio-religious-political circus through Social Media platforms that provided us with a convenient gateway to exercise this political brinkmanship.
- If we stop being hypocritical and accept what is right and call out what is wrong without being biased along stated positions and religious grounds
- If we stop heckling for our part of the benefits and subsidies-pie defined by our ethnicities, religious or caste based identity
- If we question our religious moorings and political beliefs knowing very well that they don’t have the answers
Will the electorate vote for the politics of convenience/alliances, of religious appeasement or of short term benefits? Or will a new hero emerge who will lead our hope towards a collective consciousness?
Irrespective of the outcome, will you stop to introspect where your choices will lead us to.