For a few years now, we have heard the term ‘pseudo-secular’ being used to describe people who oppose BJP and RSS.
What in essence it means maybe different but what they elaborate is this – people criticise only Hindusim and give a free pass to other religions, especially Islam. There are other dimensions to this as well. One is the conversion angle. One is a terror angle.
How much truth is there in this? Are people who are being labelled as ‘pseudo-secular’ really such biased?
It is difficult to estimate because, we need to go through all the documents, all speeches, writings and TV shows to accurately understand where each stand.
So here is an alternative methodology.
Social media is a tool which is being used by leaders and parties to take a stand, bypassing the media. It reaches us directly. Terrorism is one angle where there have been widespread and vociferous differences between both sides – people who label and who are labelled. I have taken to Twitter and find how many times a person has used certain key words. And once the words are used, in what context are they being used. Also,
To describe Hinduism: Hindutva, RSS
Compared with: Islamic, Islamism and Radical Islam
Note: I am mindful of the fact that the word ‘Islamic’ can be used with Cuisine, Architecture, culture, dressing, science, growth, insurance, banking etc. This keyword is used only to get the tweets so that the context can be analysed.
Parties sampled: BJP, Congress, Trinamool and CPIM through their official handles.
Politicians sampled: Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor
Other people: Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai (They are taken because they are labelled more and hated by the other side.)
I agree that the methodology is crude and as I said, only way is to ascertain is to go through all that they have spoken, written and questioned so far, which, for a practical purpose is impossible.
Consider this exercise as sample survey which News organisations do after elections. A sample few thousands being representative of whole of India. Here, the assumption is Twitter is representative.
CPIM on Hindutva, RSS:
CPIM on – Other keywords:
Congress on Hindutva, RSS:
Surprisingly, this is the only tweet, pre 2014 and none after that.
Congress on other keywords:
Here is the kicker.
Trinamool on Hindutva, RSS:
Trinamool on other keywords:
Rahul Gandhi on Hindutva, RSS:
This tweet can also be considered as opposing all assortment of ideologies. But the point which is raised by people who label perfectly suits here – naming one but never naming the other. To be fair, RG has not taken the name Hindutva, like the Congress. Also, this is the only tweet he has put out in English.
Rahul Gandhi on other keywords:
Shashi Tharoor on Hindutva, RSS and other keywords:
The problem here is the false equivalency. Why can’t one be rejected standalone? Why should one always use Hindutva to reject and condemn the other side of fanaticism? But he has an exception as shown below. In other cases where he uses the word, is always quoting someone or generalisation.
Also, he makes the same distinction like I did on the usage of the word in my Note above.
Now lets come to two people who are abused every day for every tweet of theirs:
Barkha on Hindutva, RSS:
There are many more tweets on issues related to Hindutva. But for the lack of space, just the topmost results.
Barkha on other keywords:
She doesn’t believe in Islamic Terror or Hindu Terror as a phrase but will use Hindutva. Interesting. More interesting are below tweets. Read the highlighted words.
Rajdeep on Hindutva RSS:
Rajdeep on Other keywords:
What we make out of these tweets by Rajdeep is unto the individual. He names the terror by religion but seeks false equivalency at times.
BJP on Keywords:
If there can be anything based on tweets, here is the cherry on top, the BJP. The same group which is supposed to be true secular or true Sanatanis or the only true lot who speak the truth.
If we apply the definition of what a pseudo secular will mean, then even the BJP is blind on one angle of it.
It is interesting that the left in India is not alone.
Presenting the PM Candidate (?) in UK elections from Labour Party.
The liberal parties and people should understand that liberalism is on the right of life, liberty and property. And on an important issue that the world is facing today, political correctness or political blindness or political opportunism cannot be the way forward.
Think. And, take a stand.
Because, what we are up against is a different kind of risk, which you cannot compare with number of people killed by lightning.