The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019: Or How Amit Shah Battered the Opposition like a Seasoned Boxer
Commentary

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019: Or How Amit Shah Battered the Opposition like a Seasoned Boxer

Sandeep Balakrishna

Sandeep Balakrishna

Amit Shah, once again, performed on the floor of the Parliament like a seasoned boxer at his combative best, smashing, pounding and battering a bunch of runty baloneys into helpless submission and groaning protest. This is the sum and substance of the passage of the much-needed and long-awaited Citizens (Amendment) Bill (CAB) by an overwhelming majority of 311:80. The rest is mere detail.

Arguably, Amit Shah is the most decisive Home Minister that India has seen after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, an unforgivable and unfortunate delay of sixty-nine long years of which fifty-five were punctuated with dark smudges of the extended misrule of the Congress party. It can reasonably be argued that Amit Shah is endowed with a tremendous advantage that the Sardar lacked: the unstinted and all-encompassing support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. When we read the volumes of the complete correspondence of Sardar Patel and related material, it becomes clear that a fair chunk of his time was occupied in fighting with and chiding his doofus boss, and serial blunderer, Nawab Nehru.

Indeed, Amit Shah landed the sucker punch at the precise moment when he directly and correctly accused the Congress of causing India’s partition on religious lines. It was a spectacular moment in which Amit Shah outdid his own record of Parliamentary debate which saw the abolition of the nation-wrecking Article 370. Millions of Indians like me never thought we would see this day in the Parliament.

The Congress didn’t even have a cogent response let alone an informed critique despite being repeatedly challenged by Amit Shah. For a fundamental reason of its own making. It is the same reason why it has been reduced to a slobbering, nationwide mess resembling a junkyard of political wreckage. Since the time Nawab Nehru slithered his dynasty into the body politic of India under his cloak of phony democracy, the Congress gradually grew into an extraordinarily well-oiled deal-making machine that imbibed all the worst practices of the likes of Ceil Rhodes and the East India Company, thoroughly interested in governing India but engaged full time in perpetuating its hold on power. The obvious consequence: India became the only country in the world where the ruling party transformed national security into a subject of debate. Or to use a Biblical idiom so that the current President of the Congress understands it better, the gift of her party and government to this ancient civilization is this: “Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to a desolation” (Luke: 11.17).

And so, by passing the CAB, the Narendra Modi Government has only restored the Sanatana civilisational Deity back into the Sanctum Sanctorum.

There is really not much left to analyse the passage of the CAB: the Home Minister’s speech was as thorough as it was effective. In passing, we must note a basic fact: citizenship = security; security that the state guarantees at the levels of the individual, family, community and nation. Thus, when Arun Shourie, in 1993 asked at the end of a brilliant chapter whether we’re a country or a waste-paper basket, back then, the answer was “yes.” Or the other question, “are we at all serious about surviving as a country?” Back then, the answer was “no.” And cited the note of the then Minister of Internal Security, Rajesh Pilot who stated that “we are not able to sort of count the [illegal Bangladeshi immigrants].” And more searchingly, asked, “These ministers will save our country? This Parliament will save our country?” The answer to this last question today is a resounding “yes.”

However, one must grudgingly admire the tenacity and commitment of the Congress party and its secular friends in doing a fine job of defending Jihadi nations like Pakistan better than they do themselves. On the floor of the Indian parliament. However feeble their defence might appear. Their bleating opposition is almost Pavlovian: all it takes is for Amit Shah to just utter the name of the state religion of our three neighbours and they rise up from their chairs in outrage. So, that then is the other definition of secularism and minority rights: Pakistan Apologetics. A rinse-and-repeat of the same dog and pony show that they enacted during the Article 370 debates. And who leads this show? To borrow a Churchillian phrase, the show is led by a sheep in sheep’s clothing, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Congress Party’s leader in the Lok Sabha, a name we hadn’t heard in the previous Lok Sabha, the permanent fall guy. That in itself shows the extent to which Congress has imploded: the fact that the Congress doesn’t have even someone of Mallikarjun Kharge’s stature to head it in the Lok Sabha.  

That role has been supplanted by the Mohammad Ali Jinnah of “independent” India, Asaduddin Owaisi who tore the copy of the CAB right on the floor of the Parliament.

Which brings to the real question. Of implementation. In his monumental work, Vindicated by Time: The Niyogi Committee Report on Christian Missionary Activities, Sita Ram Goel mentions an everyday, observable and verifiable reality: both Madhya Pradesh and Odisha had passed legislation outlawing missionary conversion and proselytization activities. However, in practice, it was near impossible to implement it owing to one or more or all of the following features characteristic of our bureaucracy and law enforcement: poor education, ignorance, ineptitude, sloth and corruption. Sita Ram Goel mentioned this enormous obstacle as recent as 1997 but the period he in which he places the obstacle is as far back as 1967-8. But over this long interim, this shoddy record of our bureaucracy has only grown thicker and bulkier. So, the real question that the Narendra Modi government has to ask itself, the real impediment it has to surmount is this: how to teach something as fundamental as patriotism and civilisational values to our bureaucracy?  

As we see, the response has been swift and immediate. The former IAS officer, Church stooge, a pioneer of the Gujarat Riots Cottage Industry, and an Indian vassal of breaking India forces, Harsh Mander tweeted this yesterday:

Or this tweet by Zafar Sareshwala who long ago revealed his true face as a committed Tablighi who had successfully practiced al Taqqiya, pretending to be Narendra Modi’s most vocal Muslim supporter.

In plain words, the tweet is representative of a characteristic strength of a vast swathe of the Muslim community. Their level of constant preparedness, their understanding of bureaucratic and legal processes and their grasp of the innate power of lobbying as a group as opposed to the fragmentary approaches of assorted Hindus barely united on any cause of civilisational vitality is truly admirable. I distinctly recall reading an interview in the 1990s featuring former HRD Minister Arjun Singh where he mentioned that Muslim groups would approach him with thorough preparation and have their demands fulfilled whereas Hindus would barely display any knowledge of how government and bureaucratic processes worked and would therefore fumble. The point might be arguable and open for discussion but it has a fundamental grain of truth in it.    

It would be a mistake to view the CAB as merely a law or something related only to citizenship, immigration, and asylum. In reality, it is perhaps the last but a historic push towards civilisational recovery. Which is a fact that almost all opponents of the CAB intuitively recognize when they holler that the CAB will turn India into a Hindu Rashtra. The hollering must be unmasked for what it actually is: just the latest attempt to browbeat and bully Hindus into feeling bad and ashamed about themselves. Instead, Hindus would be better served by following Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya’s eternal caution:

When I increasingly noticed that the tolerant spirit of the Hindu society has been mistaken for its weakness, it has filled me with immense sadness. Each time the Hindu society has extended its cooperative hand, a corresponding measure of response has not emanated from the Muslim society. I am uttering these words after a lifetime of deep contemplation. Till the time the Hindu society does not strengthen its own condition and plight, there will be no solution for the Hindu-Muslim problem.

There are two urgent and important duties before the Hindu leaders of our society: the first duty is towards their Matrubhoomi; the second is towards their Dharma, culture, and their brethren. The immediate need of the hour is the fact that the Hindu society should organize itself as an unified whole. No group or section of the Hindu society is exempt from this duty. This calls for selfless service on the part of the last Hindu, done in a spirit of devotion to the Matrubhoomi. It is essential to forget distinctions of Jati and Varna. All Hindus must symbolize the ideal of Hindutva in their own selves and come forward for the protection of their eternal Hindu culture even if it means sacrificing their lives…

It is beyond even the imagination of Hindus that one community in the same country will have to prepare itself for a violent clash with another community. Muslims have all along misused this deep-rooted mental outlook of Hindus.

To drive this truth deeper, we can cite the example not of Pakistan but of Bangladesh. When it was created in 1972 with India’s help, it was a secular state. In just 16 short years, it declared itself as an Islamic state. The kind of nightmare that the Hindus woke up to ever since is well-known.

Which makes us echo Amit Shah’s question: is it even conceivable that Muslims will be persecuted in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan? If they aren’t, what makes them flood India illegally, in millions?

The CAB is the first step of a first step. True civilisational recovery requires the vision of a Rishi.  

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