Appeasement is part and parcel of politics all around the world, and India is surely no exception. Our politicians are notorious for their blatant appeasement of minority communities, even if that puts the security and integrity of our nation in jeopardy. But what has happened recently in Godhra is a glaring testimony of how the same minority communities are hand in glove with such scheming politicians, and wouldn’t hesitate to reward them for their unflinching loyalty.
In a absurd, but not an entirely surprising move, the local Islamic community in Godhra, under the banner of Muslim Ghanchi Samaj, not only felicitated 14 independent councilors who did not back the Bharatiya Janata Party candidates during the recently concluded municipal polls, but also rewarded them with motorcycles for their unflinching loyalty.
Godhra needs no introduction. A small in the Panchmahal district of Gujarat, this town became notorious for being witness to the inhumane carnage of 2002, where on 27th February, 57-59 kar sevaks were locked into S 6 coach of Sabarmati Express and burned alive by a mob of Islamic rioters, triggering the savage riots that engulfed the entire state of Gujarat, killing Hindus and Muslims in large numbers. The riots are also known as Godhra riots due to Godhra being the starting point of this carnage.
To quote Firdos Kothi, president of the Muslim Ghanchi Samaj, “These councillors have always shown solidarity towards our minority community and have never been communally biased towards us. All the community members came together today to thank them and vowed to reduce crime, improve girl child education and work towards communal harmony.”
This is neither the first time such things have happened, nor is this a novelty in Indian politics. We all know the way politicians in states like Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh have wooed voters from specific communities, with subsidized products, freebies, televisions, and the list goes on and on. The only difference is that instead of the politicians, it is the voters who have done the job, in a novel case of role reversal.
Usually people bribe politicians to get their work done, but in this case, the politicians are being bribed / compensated openly for their political preferences. BJP might not be the right choice for everyone, but blind hatred of that order that one openly rewards a politician for not supporting BJP on religious lines, is definitely more worrying than welcome. How much does one have to hate a party or an individual to gift its enemies motorcycles?
Interestingly, of these 14 independent councilors who were rewarded with motorcycles, only one returned his motorcycle. To top it all, he is not from the Muslim community either. His name is Sanjay Soni, and apart from returning the motorcycle to the community, he also donated Rs. 11000/- to a fund for children’s education.
The trouble with such a blatant show of reverse appeasement is that the plight of the community will not be taken seriously enough. Every community has genuine grievances, but in light of the surrounding circumstances, such actions would only undermine the genuine nature of the community’s grievances. Perhaps opposition politics has reached a new low in India, with certain sections of society going out of their way to appease politicians for not backing a political party they don’t think too highly off.