Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #294 - Bengal is Dead.

The aim was to 'consolidate' the vote of one religious group to defeat the party which they said is aligned with another religion. It was not a plank for development but a religious hegemony.

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“our faculties seem to be making war upon us, as if they were resentful of the war made upon them by our vices.” ― Teresa of Ávila, Interior Castle


A herd without a plan on this planet for the well-being of all yearns for happiness in an imaginary place called ‘heaven’. A place no one has seen, no space probe has reported on and no telescope can look at. That is the prize of conformity.

Conformity not for finding the truth. For, they “know” the real story of the world. A story that starts and ends with them. A god, that runs the cosmos is somehow obsessed with inhabitants of one planet, and that too the ones who seem to pledge allegiance to “him.”

But who can question such absurdities when the prize for conformity is your most perverse imagination and punishment for not conforming is death. Brutal death.

Devices are conjured - cunning and sly - to bring about power for the victory of those who believe in this whole setup. Alliances formed. Obfuscations in place. And fanaticism at its peak. For those who will be on the spike the day after, there is a story. Lulling them into compliance. Into this repeating yet seldom believable level of hate and extremism.

When the day after comes, the lulled justify their own demise. How can they not?


Disbelief in the power of fanaticism

In December 1945, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, who became India’s First President wrote in his popular book “India Divided” that the “scheme of partition was impracticable.”

It is interesting to note that the First President of India was talking absolute nonsense just one and a half years before the partition as he tried to downplay the “two-nation” theory of Jinnah and the Muslim League despite their fanatic and overwhelming faith in it. And, execution.

How spectacularly clueless were those leaders?

The disbelief at the power of fanaticism and annihilation from its impact is an old affliction.

West Bengal result

The election results from West Bengal are out. While BJP has gained an unprecedented 46 seats in the state, Trinamool Congress has won the elections resoundingly. The losses of CPI (M) and Congress have gone into the hands of the BJP. But Mamata Banerjee has also gained two seats from the last time and is on track to get 213.

Of course, this means unbridled violence and persecution of those who were opposed to Mamata Banerjee. And the Trinamool mobs did not even wait for the full results. They have already started their action.

How did Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool score such a decisive win, despite such a huge show by the BJP?

Muslims are Kingmakers

Yahoo’s Amitabh Tiwari pointed out in January how the “Muslim voter” will play a key role in the West Bengal elections while pointing out that the state has 27% Muslims.

Muslim population in Bengal is more than 25 percent in the districts of Malda, Murshidabad, North Dinajpur, South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, Nadia and Birbhum. In three districts of West Bengal -- Malda, Murshidabad, and North Dinajpur -- the population of Muslims is higher than that of the Hindus. (Source)

Here is a map that clearly lays it out.

Tiwari pointed out how that whoever the Muslim community has supported, has gone on to win the West Bengal elections. (Source)

  1. The Left got 56 percent of the Muslim votes in 2006 and swept the state, bagging 233 of the 294 seats.

  2. In the 2011 and 2016 Assembly elections, the TMC got majority Muslim support and won both the elections back to back.

  3. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, TMC bagged 65% minority votes as the community felt Mamata is in much better shape to challenge Modi.

Over the years, the voting pattern of the Muslims has changed away from the Communists to TMC, possibly due to the verdict of the Sachar Committee and its impact. The Sachar Committee report showed how West Bengal was one of the worst states for Muslims to live in. (As are countries like Pakistan, but that never stopped the community members to seek such ghettoes")

To ensure that the Muslim voters back her, Mamata Banerjee has taken a lot of appeasement actions.

  1. Giving allowance/stipends to imams

  2. Providing free bicycles to girls studying in madrasas

  3. Making scholarships available to Muslim students (class I to X)

  4. Offering reservation to Muslim OBCs

  5. Banning the telecast of a drama series by controversial author Taslima Nasrin

  6. Making Urdu the second official language in districts where the Urdu-speaking population is more than 10 percent

  7. Increasing the tickets given to Muslims by 50 percent from 38 to 57 in state Assembly elections.

It is a direct attempt at communalizing politics. When you use freebies and incentives, not for the growth of the entire citizenry of the state, but to appease people of only one religion in the state, then that is politics of religion. Communal politics.

That is precisely what Mamata Banerjee was targeting.

Muslims.

When she appealed to Muslims to vote en-masse for her party.

Like we saw earlier, there is a strong backing of the Muslim vote behind TMC. And, this “consolidation of Muslim vote” has been progressively been in the favor of TMC.

Despite no development agenda to speak of, Mamata Banerjee’s TMC has repeatedly looked at religious division - using Muslim identity - as her mainstay.

Muslims vote for parties that appeal to their religious identity - which seeks a rule that aligns with the extremist views of their clergy. That is why from Shah Bano to the extreme opposition to Triple Talaq law (which was good for the Muslim women, but against the clergy pronouncements) - there is a tendency to go for Sharia type rule. There is also a strong opposition to bringing in the Uniform Civil Code and do away with the Muslim Personal Law.

Is this not Muslim Nationalism?

A Nationalism that is openly targeting the “Hindu parties.” The identity that comprises Muslim Nationalism is not benign. It has been anti-Hindu - as was seen during the Partition, and later in those countries where Hindus were killed, persecuted and thrown out. (please read -  Issue #269 - Demonizing CAA and NRC Laws in India!)

Yet, the analysts repeatedly talk about BJP playing “communal politics” and rooting for “Hindu Nationalism”.

As for Bengal, this may have been the last chance to save it from its demise. Before Civilizational Desertification sets in.

market corner: 10 quick bytes

  1. Tech Mahindra, Reagene to file patent for molecule that potentially attacks coronavirus - more

  2. Exports up 197% YoY in April; trade deficit widens to $15.24 billion - more

  3. Big Bazaar aims to double online sales contribution, helped by express home delivery service - more

  4. FPIs turn net sellers after 6 months; withdraw Rs 9,659 crore in April - more

  5. India Inc's foreign borrowings jump 24 percent to $9.23 billion in March - more

  6. Centre says 1.22 bn doses needed to inoculate people in 18-45 age group - more

  7. Wall Street major Blackstone betting big on India-its most profitable market - more

  8. GST collection for April of Rs 1,41,384 crore sets new record - more

  9. Government sets food grain output target at record 307.31 million tonnes - more

  10. Non-food credit grows 4.9% in March 2021: RBI - more

nota bene

Nun found dead in a well in Convent: A 42-year-old Kerala nun was discovered dead on Friday in a well inside the convent she was residing in. The incident happened at the Pious Workers of St Joseph’s Convent at Kureepuzha in Kollam, under the Anchalummoodu police station limits. The deceased nun has been identified as Mable Stephen alias Leya, a native of Karunagappally. According to the police, the nun’s body was discovered inside the well by other residents of the convent around 8 am on Friday morning. After the nun had failed to turn up for the usual morning prayers, a search had been conducted. (Source)

BJP wins Naxalbari: In Naxalbari, which gave rise to the Maoist movement, the BJP has won comfortably. The Left Front’s ally, ironically, the Congress itself, has come at third position after the Trinamool Congress in second place. Anandamay Burman, the BJP’s candidate from the constituency, had over 58% vote-share as of the time of writing this report. TMC’s Rajen Sundas had only 28.65% of the votes, the difference in votes over 70,000. INC’s Sankar Malakar, part of the Left Front, secured only 9.58% of the votes. (Source)

BJP Office set ablaze by TMC: A BJP office in West Bengal's Arambagh region has been set ablaze as violence breaks out even as counting continues for Assembly elections in the state. TV9 journalist Anindya Banerjee who posted a clip of the arson said that TMC has denied charges of its involvement. Earlier, as per reports, the BJP's office in Kolkata in Hastings was gheraoed soon after trends emerged in TMC's favor. (Source)

Mahindra launches “Oxygen on Wheels”: Mahindra Logistics, a subsidiary of the billionaire Anand Mahindra led Mahindra group has launched a project called "Oxygen on Wheels" to help solve the problems in the transportation of oxygen to the places of need, reports Hindu Businessline. The company has for now rolled out the project in Maharashtra's Mumbai, Thane, Nashik, and Nagpur, and is planning to expand the project through the country by leveraging on the support of its dealership network and by engaging with local administrations. (Source)

COVID mutant could evade immune response: A forum of scientific advisers set up by the Indian government has told authorities about minor mutations in some samples of the coronavirus that could "possibly evade immune response" and require more study, a leader of the forum has told Reuters. However the advisers said while they were flagging the mutations, there was no reason currently to believe they were expanding or could be dangerous. Scientists are studying what led to the current surge in cases in India and particularly whether a variant first detected in the country, called B.1.617, is to blame. The World Health Organization has not declared the Indian variant a "variant of concern," as it has done for variants first detected in Britain, Brazil, and South Africa. But the WHO said on April 27 that its early modeling, based on genome sequencing, suggested that B.1.617 had a higher growth rate than other variants circulating in India. (Source)

video corner: Meaning 3.0

Jamie Wheal's latest book "Recapture the Rapture: Rethinking God, Sex and Death in a World That's Lost Its Mind" discusses what will replace the old preoccupation of religion as life’s meaning.

Jamie Wheal calls it the “collapse of meaning.”Religion provided Meaning 1.0 and modern liberalism was Meaning 2.0 - now he looks for Meaning 3.0

In order to reach Meaning 3.0—which Wheal says is a blend of traditional religion and modern liberalism without the promise of an escape—we need to focus on mending trauma, reconnecting with inspiration, and connecting better with one another.

I don’t think I agree with him completely the way he means it, but his thinking is quite interesting. Because what he is describing is actually the realm of Sanatan Dharma. Just watch, listen and think.

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