Indian Islam under threat
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Could the Congress government of Andhra Pradesh have locked him up only to avoid being reminded that his party was until just the other day a constituent of the United Progressive Alliance? For a party that claims only to ally with political parties of 'secular' bent, the Congress certainly chooses some very dodgy Muslim allies. And, this brings us to the distortion in the idea of secularism that the Congress Party has perpetuated for petty political purposes.
In the old days, when Congress governments reigned supreme from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Congress leaders did not need to make secularism a political issue. It was only after the Ayodhya movement in the nineties enabled the Bharatiya Janata Party to rise to new heights and coalition governments became the norm, that Congress ideologues discovered that one way to keep the BJP out of power was to label it 'communal'. It was a clever idea that has become a powerful political tool and in 2014, the BJP could find itself isolated by some of its own allies if it announces Narendra Modi as its candidate for prime minister. But, the success of the Congress ploy has tarnished the secular character of the Indian state. It has reduced the meaning of the word secular to a label attached to certain political groupings.
This is sad because it is the secular nature of the Indian state that has made India come together as a nation in a way that it never did in the past. It is because India is secular that freedom of worship has become a fundamental characteristic of who we are as a people. It is one of the things we can be proud of and the only reason why a man like Owaisi can get away with making speeches in which he sneers at some of the most sacred aspects of the idea of India. So if he is guilty of anything, it is vulgarity, ignorance and a primitive disdain for those who do not share his religious beliefs.
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