India is facing a strong backlash & blowback from within as well as the Arab world, days after two spokespersons of the ruling BJP Nupur Sharma & Naveen Jindal made controversial remarks on Prophet Muhammad during LIVE TV debate & Twitter. Slew of Islamic nations in the Middle East including UAE & Saudi Arabia came out to lodge official protest against India.
Though India has dismissed the organised outburst by the Organisation of Islamic cooperation (OIC) as unwarranted and unjustified, India’s global reputation has indeed taken a beating. The Islamic nations ganging up against India and BJP spokesperson in particular gives an impression that something wrong has happened. The controversial comments may have been made in the heat of moment as two speakers were aggressively defending their faith but MEA’s description of the statement as coming from ‘fringe elements’ made even bigger damage.
But, the bigger question is the aggressive posturing of right-wing ideology and how it can suddenly leave the nation in an imbroglio. The mess that emanated from TV debate created a global furore. However, it’s must not be seen in isolation. Today, the highly acrimonious & vitriolic debates have enough room to create an embarrassment.
The rhetoric and relentless aggressiveness of the right-wing has only emboldened lately as the central govt hasn’t bothered to rein in them, as a result, this aggression has turned nasty.
Plethora of issues like controversy over halal meet, row over namaaz in the open, arrest of professors/university students over sedition have gone a long way in driving a communal wedge between the communities. The rough rhetoric and bigotry has only increase the bad blood between two communities. Nupur Sharma & Naveen Jindal put forward their aggressive views and got censured & suspended by the party. However, this is simply not enough if the ruling party & government doesn’t want to get red faced again. For real course correction, action will have to be taken at all levels. The motor mouths have to be reined in while the overzealous leaders must be cut to size.
Political analysts believe that the hardened Hindutva has done wonders for party and has been its vote-winning strategy for sometime. Therefore, the party will find it difficult to exercise restraint, rather pushing the envelope may be the mantra going forward. BJP espoused welfare politics but also pushed hard on issues appealing to Hindu voters, hence the overwhelming results barring a few states like West Bengal & Delhi.
In the recently held Assembly elections, BJP grabbed power in 4 states but it came only after top leaders fired up in the high-octane campaign. It is early to gauge the damage by Prophet remarks row but the rabble-rousing will come with its own aftereffects. Costs can outweigh benefits – both domestically & internationally. And, therefore, the party may be at advantage doing a rethink of its hardline Hindutva.