31 July, 2021

For Uniting To Win, They Ring The Division Bell

The Hindutva strategy of bringing social ­animosities to the surface is making even its rivals play along

For Uniting To Win, They Ring The Division Bell

Politics makes surprising things happen. Even Narendra Modi can cite the Bible. It happened in Kerala, of course, on March 30. The prime minister was addressing an election rally in ­Palakkad, a district that hosts some of the high passes that take you across to Tamil Nadu. His point of reference was Judas, the arch figure of betrayal in biblical lore. And who did Modi wish to compare him to? The LDF government in Kerala, who else? The ironies that abound in Indian democracy today exceed the fact of the Hindutva icon citing a Biblical character, one who had betrayed Christ for a few pieces of silver, to a party that has spent decades trying to speak a godless politics. Till recently, of course. Because divinity, and the ways in which society ­approximates to it, is a political issue these days. The prime minister, on the campaign trail in poll-bound Kerala, also raised the Sabarimala temple issue, slamming the Pinarayi Vijayan government on its handling of the agitation following the Supreme Court verdict allowing the entry of women of all ages. Lord Ayyappan and Jesus...

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