Electoral politics is all about deploying ideology and everything else at the service of power and for gaining it, irrespective of what the constitution of a country might say. Recently this fact has been on display in India more clearly than ever before. An idea of Hindu supremacy as envisioned by the ruling BJP has of course resonated with the majority Hindu masses. Encashing it into votes and power has been a relatively easier part of how the right wing party captured the State. Now, the party feels it’s time for it to consolidate the fringe of diversity. But Hindutva obviously will not work with the minorities. So, after having won power in UP the party is displaying some ideological flexibility.
The Hindu nationalist party’s top man in Mizoram has said that if his party comes to power in the state next year, “There would be no ban on cow slaughter in Mizoram and other states in the region where there is a majority Christian population.”
Sounds logical, if the rule of majoritarianism is applied! One obvious question then arises that why is cow slaughter banned in Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir? If the BJP’s stance in northeastern states is a rule then what follows logically is even this kind of communal majoritarianism applies only if the BJP is ruling.
But, if the BJP is a ruling partner in Jammu and Kashmir why should the Muslim-majority character of the state be ignored for this rule, even though it has no basis in anything constitutional. Why is the BJP acknowledging the Christian majority character of a northeaster state but not a Muslim-majority character of Jammu and Kashmir? Part of the reason may be that its ‘members’ in Kashmir are not there for any ideological convictions or considerations, but just for securing crumbs of power from a ruling regime, whatever kind that may be.
The answer may also probably be two-fold. Islamophobia or Muslimphobia is passé, just like it was for the Jews a century ago. And then the BJP has often subtlety let it be known that as long as their idea of Hindu supremacy is accepted by all, their rule would allow a narrowed down cultural difference as a temporary favour until their supremacy is completely established.
This kind of a ‘favour’ would not come Kashmir’s way not just because the ruling dispensation in Delhi may have little to no acceptability here, but because the entire system of political patronage in which all other ‘mainstream’ forces exist may have little to no legitimacy either in the minds of the majority. So, something like the BJP is attempting in the northeastern states would not cut any ice in Kashmir, the beef ban has not worked in Kashmir notwithstanding.