Tathagata Roy: Intellectuals? new bugbear


Liberals and secularists must be celebrating, for they have got a new demon— Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy. Left-libber demonology is always in need of some bugbear so that they can keep wraps on their own doctrines that promote Muslim appeasement. Not that Roy is new to the saffron party, but he is in the limelight because of his appointment as Governor. Much to the delight of the self-appointed guardians of modernity.

There seems to be a sense of déjà vu. Well, didn’t we say that BJP rule would spell the rise of bigots? Here is a notorious Muslim hater, and he has been elevated to a Constitutional office. It is like all the discredited Leftwing theories have been given a lease of life.

So, Roy is castigated no end; his tweets and writings have been dug out; he is portrayed as a fanatic rumor-monger whose hatred for Muslims is pathological. It is time for reality check.

In one of his ‘offensive’ tweets, he congratulated the BJP’s UP unit for highlighting the issue of love jihad. He said, “We in West Bengal must perhaps do the same to save hapless gullible Hindu girls.” Roy’s tweet would have been objectionable had love jihad been a figment of ‘communal’ imagination. But former Kerala chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan said in July 2010 that Muslim fundamentalists in the state were trying to increase their clout by encouraging conversions. “They also persuade them [Muslim youth] to marry Hindu girls.”

Now, being a leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Achuthanandan is ipso facto ‘secular.’ A few months earlier, the Kerala High Court had found indications of “forceful” religious conversions under the garb of “love” in the state, and asked the government to consider enacting a law to prohibit such “deceptive” acts (The Economic Times, December 10, 2009). It quoted the HC as saying, “Under the pretext of love, there cannot be any compulsive, deceptive conversion.”

In September 2012, India Today reported about the fears of Christians in Kerala. “Love Jihad in Kerala is part of global Islamization project,” said Global Council of Indian Christians. In 2009, the magazine said, the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) had stated that more than 2,600 young Christian women were converted to Islam since 2006. The KCBC’s Vigilance Commission for Social Harmony had called Christians to be on guard against the phenomenon.

So, it is not just ‘communalists’ like Roy who are concerned about love jihad; communists, the judiciary, and Christians are also worried.

Roy also wrote that “30-40 years from now Bengali Hindus will have to start packing their bags from this state-just their great-grandfathers had to, from erstwhile East Pakistan and Bangladesh.” His reasoning is simple: their numbers are increasing in the state, and the situation is likely to continue as politicians are determined to appease the Muslims.

In these politically correct times, it is blasphemous to make such remarks, so he is maligned. It is instructive to note here that he is being maligned not for spreading lies but for speaking the truth.

In January this year, the government released a religion-based census, which revealed that Muslim population in the country rose by 24 per cent between 2001 and 2011 against the national average of 18 per cent. Further, Assam with 34.2 per cent Muslim population and West Bengal with 27 per cent were the two states after Jammu & Kashmir (68.3 per cent) with the highest proportions of Muslim population.

In Assam, the Muslim presence increased from 30.9 per cent of the state’s population in 2001 to 34.2 per in 2011. In the case of West Bengal, the respective figures were 25.2 per cent and 27 per cent. Big increase was also recorded in other states: Kerala (from 24.7 per cent to 26.6 per cent), Goa (6.8 per cent to 8.4 per cent), Jammu & Kashmir (67 per cent to 68.3 per cent), Haryana (5.8 per cent to 7 per cent), and Delhi (11.7 per cent to 12.9 per cent).

In short, Tathagata Roy was not fibbing or spreading scare; the percentage of Muslims in the population of West Bengal is rising. And it has been secular rise in every sense of the word since Partition: from less than 1951 to over one-third in 2011.

At the same time, the Hindu presence in Bangladesh has been decreasing: from 22 per cent of the total population in 1951, it has come down to 7 per cent.

Our intellectuals ignore or downplay these facts, and they denounce anybody who does so. Therefore, it is not surprising that Roy is being roundly condemned by the grandees who lord over public discourse.