About Yogi, with prejudice

Tavleen Singh’s indictment of UP CM is not backed by any facts.

Written by Mrityunjay Kumar | Updated: June 12, 2018 12:07:49 am
Palghar bypoll: Yogi Adityanath, Uddhav Thackeray face-off raises poll fervour UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. (Express file photo by Dilpi Kagda)

When political analysis ignores facts and relies solely on received wisdom, the result is something like Tavleen Singh’s ‘Bad news for the BJP’ (IE, June 3). Her entire argument is based on discredited notions and misleading shibboleths.

Her understanding of the situation in Uttar Pradesh is formulaic; it has little to do with the reality. Accordingly, the BJP is communal and the saffron-clad Yogi Adityanath is the very embodiment of communalism. Ergo, his appointment as the chief minister of the country’s biggest state was “a grave error”. Hence the fiasco of Kairana.

Unsurprisingly, Singh’s indictment of Adityanath is independent of empirical evidence. Consider this: “No sooner did he take charge than Yogi Adityanath concentrated on closing down businesses on which Muslims and Dalits relied for jobs. Meat factories and butcher shops were ostensibly closed for being unlicensed, but many licensed businesses suffered as well.”

The fact is that Adityanath ordered a crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses, not an anti-Muslim drive. There was some disruption, but then nobody can make a case for unlicensed butcher shops. After the initial hiccups, the meat business is back on track. Had it not been so, there would have been massive losses of jobs and livelihood. Nothing of the sort has happened. Instead people get hygienic meat and businessmen don’t have to fear the wrath of the authorities concerned.

Singh has slammed Adityanath for the “killings and attacks [on Muslims] in the name of ‘love jihad’”. She put the term under quote marks, thus questioning the genuineness of the concept. In her scheme of things, love jihad is the bugbear that bigoted saffronites like Adityanath have invented.

Wrong. Back in July 2010, then Kerala chief minister, V S Achuthanandan, had pointed out that Muslim fundamentalists in his state were increasing their influence by encouraging conversions. “They also persuade them (Muslim youth) to marry Hindu girls.” Is the veteran leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) also communal?

A few months before Achuthanandan’s statement, the Kerala High Court had also talked about “forceful” religious conversions in the guise of “love” in the state. It even went on to recommend to the government to bring in a law to prohibit such “deceptive” acts. The Economic Times (December 10, 2009) quoted the HC as saying, “Under the pretext of love, there cannot be any compulsive, deceptive conversion”.

By the way, it is not just the Hindu girls who are targeted; it holds true for Christian girls in Kerala. A couple of years later, India Today reported on the subject. “Love jihad in Kerala is part of global Islamisation project,” said the Global Council of Indian Christians.

By the way, every non-Muslim girl marrying a Muslim is not love jihad; for instance, the Kareena Kapoor-Saif Ali Khan wedding was not, for she had married of her own volition. But to say that love jihad doesn’t exist is being in denial. Unfortunately, most intellectuals refuse to accept this reality as it violates their ideas of secularism and “composite culture”. Tavleen Singh is among them. But simpler folk, untouched by the esoteric theories of intellectuals, see the reality as it exists. This is why the BJP and “communal” leaders like Adityanath find resonance among the masses.

Singh also finds fault with Adityanath’s administrative skills. “As someone who has travelled to some of the most dismal, filthy places in our ancient land, I can report that Gorakhpur is hard to match in terms of dirt and decay. An MP with basic administrative skills could have rectified much of this just from his constituency fund,” she writes. digitization

If this were the case, no part of the country would have remained dirty or underdeveloped because every nook and corner is represented by some MP who gets a constituency fund. The fact of the matter is that an MP is a lawmaker, not a decision maker; it is not his job to do administrative work. Further, even if an MP does have administrative skills, the results would depend on his relations with the state government. This, in Adityanath’s case, was almost always hostile to him and his ideology.

The problem with the likes of Singh is they are simply reluctant to see Chief Minister Adityanath’s groundbreaking initiatives. For instance, last year he ensured that English is taught in government schools from the beginning, thus ending linguistic apartheid. So far, children from the humbler sections of society, who generally go to government schools, lagged behind those from well-off families because of the former’s limited proficiency in English. For they, in the name of promoting the language and culture of the country, were earlier taught English from Class 6.

This year, Adityanath disapproved of the idea of shutting down madrassas. Instead, he favoured modern education in Islamic institutions. He favoured the same in Sanskrit schools. “We can think about modernisation of madrassas. Closing them down is not a solution but timely improvements should be considered. I also ask Sanskrit schools that besides imparting traditional education they should give computer, English, Science and Mathematics education to face competition,” PTI quoted him on January 18.

This is not a retrograde bigot speaking. But if somebody wants to see only bigotry in Adityanath — or, for that matter, in anybody else — they can cherry-pick their facts. Tavleen Singh has done just that.

The writer is media adviser to chief minister of UP

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