Cow politics is different from beef politics. And that forced our dear PM to speak up. How? Let me explain.
Even though in numbers, beef eaters can be found more amongst dalits and upwardly mobile Indians who love their medium rares in Europe, the BJP campaign was aimed at Muslims. It played on the stereotype that Hindus pray cows and muslims ate them. Only Muslims were murdered and hounded. No matter what we say, after love jihad and few mad dog nationalism campaigns, beef campaign was a success. It deepened the divide and scared the Muslims.
The cow politics is different. It was a logical extension from the dead meat to the live animal. It was a logical extension from oppressing the other religion to the ‘other’ inside the religion. Hindu supremacists see all others apart from brahmins as enemies or lower beings.
Emboldened by scaring the Muslims, the next logical target were dalits. Haven’t they been living oppressed for thousands of years? BJP didn’t exactly foresee a national coming together of dalits.
Also, an international community that has become immune to violence against Muslims, frowns a lot more at dalit oppression. The west sees this as a peculiar form of Indian racism and has always been critical of it. Unlike Indian right wingers who worship Trump, even American right won’t look kindly at caste oppression. The international rebuke came swiftly. Modi spoke. As easy and reprehensible as that. The man is not a leader of this nation, he is a circus tiger to the world.
But will all this change anything in national politics? Even though Muslims have defended dalits and Sikhs have defended Muslims etc etc in sporadic incidents, there is no one minority vote basket. The dynamics are infinitely more complex and will vary from state to state. The current focus is on UP and in coming days whatever you see can be traced back to that black belt around the nation’s neck.