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Election 2014

If the BJP wants Modi's critics to leave India, why does it want them to go to Pakistan?

In demonising Indian Muslims as a strategy to win elections, the BJP is an heir of the Muslim League.

Contrary to popular perception, the Partition was not an event that took place in 1947. It is a continuing process, one whose echoes become clear in times of contestation such as the 2014 general elections.

The Bhartiya Janata Party's Lok Sabha candidate in Nawada in Bihar, Giriraj Singh, is unrepentant. He knows his party is trying to project a soft image of Narendra Modi, but he's in no mood to apologise for his remark that all Modi's critics will have to go to Pakistan after Modi become prime minister in a few weeks. His statement only exacerbates fears that a Modi government will be intolerant of dissidents, branding them as anti-national, or seditious. The idea of expulsion from the country suggests how extreme this intolerance could get.

But why Pakistan? Why didn't Singh just say Modi's critics would have to leave India and allow them to choose their own destinations? What Singh really meant was that Muslims would have to go to Pakistan. If he had said as much, though, the Election Commission would have come down heavily on him for so obviously violating the model code of conduct for the elections, which stipulates that candidates cannot spread communal disharmony in their campaigning. But without demonising Muslims, there's no way the BJP can win Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. They know no other trick. We heard Amit Shah's speeches in western Uttar Pradesh recently. This election is a fight for honour and revenge, he told Jats as he defended people accused of fanning riots in Muzaffarnagar. For BJP leaders to resort to such tactics, there must really be no Modi wave in UP and Bihar.

Their strategy is simple: demonise Muslims, raise issues that set the terms of the political campaign on Hindu-Muslim lines, and scare Hindus into voting for the BJP. In the absence of such polarisation, Hindu voters would be divided along caste lines, supporting caste-based parties such as those led by Lalu Prasad Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Mualayam Singh Yadav or Mayawati. For the BJP, the Muslim is the new Hindu rakshasa. If all Muslims were to leave India, for Pakistan or wherever, the BJP would have to invent another enemy to prevent Hindus from seeing identities other than their religion as important.

Singh told the Economic Times that he could not see anything wrong about his statement. “Is it not true that Pakistan is using all its resources to prevent Narendra Modi from becoming the PM?” he said. “Even within the country, there are people with Pakistani mindset who are opposing Modi and their proper destination would be Pakistan, which is their political Mecca-Medina." The use of the words "Mecca-Medina" there makes it clear who he is talking about.

The BJP may officially 'disapprove' of Giriraj Singh's statements but there's little more it will do because it needs to the polarisation on the ground. It would seem that Modi is trying to re-invent himself as a nice man. He hasn't used the word Pakistan much in recent speeches and interviews. But in the past, he has also deployed Pakistan to suggest that Indian Muslims are the enemy within. Whether or not he was responsible for the 2002 pogrom in Gujarat, he certainly did use the violence to polarise the electorate. That year, he dissolved the Gujarat assembly and called early elections to capitalise on the charged environment. Presenting himself as a Hindu hero in a state that had just seen an anti-Muslim pogrom, he repeatedly targeted Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president at that time. To make clear what he meant, he described the Pakistani head of state as "Mian Musharraf". More recently, he described Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi not as "yuvraj" as many have, but by the Urdu word "shehzada". Both mean prince, but his attempt at polarisation is implicit in his word choice.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah would be proud of the BJP. After all, the BJP is still battling Jinnah's enemy, the Congress. The BJP agrees with Jinnah and the Muslim League that Hindus and Muslims cannot live together, that they are two different, irreconcilable nations. One worships the cow and the other eats it, Jinnah complained – and even today the BJP manifesto frets about cows. "Necessary legal framework will be created to protect and promote cow and its progeny," it says. Muslims may be killed, but cows will be protected by law. It did not occur to Jinnah and it does not occur to the BJP that the cow can be both worshipped and eaten. The two are not mutually exclusive ideas. Of course, logic must not be allowed to come in the way of the politics of polarisation.

If there are any Indians who have the "Pakistani mindset", it is the BJP. The BJP and its politics is what makes Pakistanis declare that Jinnah was right to have demanded Partition. The BJP shares with the Muslim League the belief that it is acceptable to use violence to attain power. The violence in Calcutta on Direct Action Day in August 1946 was followed by anti-Muslim violence in Bihar later that year, which was seen as precipitating the creation of Pakistan. The death toll in Bihar was said to be between 5,000 to 10,000. Bihari Muslims began to leave for the Muslim-ruled states of Bengal and Sindh for fear of their lives.

Jinnah was happy to see the suffering of those Bihari Muslims. "Nations are built through sacrifices and I am really proud of the Bihari Muslims who have sacrificed so much...They have certainly shown the goal of Pakistan nearer," he told refugees in Karachi in February 1947, some months before Pakistan came into being. The 1946 Bihar violence had vindicated Jinnah and the Muslim League. Giriraj Singh and the BJP continue to perpetuate this mindset.

In the 1946 elections in Bihar, 40 seats had been reserved for Muslims. The Muslim League won 34. Bihar chief minister Sri Krishna Sinha attributed this to violent electioneering and fear-mongering by the League, about the safety of Muslims should Pakistan fail to come into existence. Today, it is the BJP that indulges in such violent electioneering and fear-mongering.

Sardar Patel and the top leadership of the Indian National Congress agreed to the creation of Pakistan when Lord Mountbatten told them that the British departure from India could not wait until the Congress and the Muslim League arrived at a consensus. Fearing that the Congress would perhaps fail to get control of the Indian union, they agreed to the formation of Pakistan. According to Patrick French's book Liberty or Death, Patel said that Jinnah could have the “diseased limbs” that were the eastern and western flanks of India. Amputation was the need of the hour. The lust for power created an agreement on Pakistan between the League and the Congress. What the BJP is doing to gain power doesn’t make it very different.

The Bihar Muslim League said that Muslims would not migrate out of the province  only if the Congress government led by Sinha created separate pockets in each district for Muslims. What was once a Muslim extremist demand is today a Hindutva goal. The BJP and its associates have used riots to ghettoise Muslims. In Gujarat, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal protest every instance of a Muslim buying a home in a “Hindu area” and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia even demanded that one Muslim be evicted for daring to do so. The Modi government in Gujarat has a special law to prevent Hindus or Muslims from selling houses to people of the other community in areas deemed disturbed”.

By contrast, if anyone has an “Indian mindset” – the mindset that believes different people can live together – it is embodied in the Indian Muslims who chose not to migrate to Pakistan. Papiya Ghosh and others have documented how thousands of Bihari Muslims returned to Bihar just before 1947 even as they could see the coming of Pakistan, because they found no efforts were being made to resettle them. In addition, thousands returned after East Pakistan became Bangladesh, since Bangladeshi nationalism didn't seem to have place for them.

Against this rancorous backdrop, it is heartening to see that the burden of saving the idea of India from Jinnah's Hindu inheritors is not that of the Indian Muslim alone. On Twitter, the hashtag #ModiSendMeToPak found humour as a way of responding to Giriraj Singh. Most responses are by people who have Hindu names and are Modi critics. Tweeted one person, "I heard kebabs are amazing there."
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As corporate India changes from strait-jacketed to stylish, here’s how you can stay on-trend

For men and women, tips to make your office style game strong.

Office wear in India tends to be conservative. For men, the staple blue or white shirt and dark trouser arranged in a monotonous assembly line has been a permanent feature of the wardrobe (a tactic shrewdly administered to ensure minimum time is spent shopping). For women, androgynous work wear has been ever reliable and just as dull.

But camouflage is of no use in the corporate jungle anymore. The Indian office is no longer a place for dull, unthinking conformity, it is a place that expects vibrancy in thought and action. With a younger workforce and a greater mix of multinationals and jobs, there is a greater acceptance of edgier trends. Men are stepping away from their blues and greys and women are reshaping their workwear to be more interesting and distinctly feminine. As corporate India is proving its mettle on the global stage and to itself, it’s also growing confident in expressing individuality and style in the formal work environment. From clothing to office décor and fashion accessories to work tools, the workplace is becoming a place to display merit as well as taste.

Work clothes have shed their monochrome and moved into the light of technicolor. Bright colours have steadily become popular as Pantone’s annual colours of the year show us. For the corporate warrior who wants to be stylish here is our pick of trends worth considering.


Statement jacket. A statement jacket is one that doesn’t merely stand out in a crowd, but blows it open for you. How do you recognize one? You’ll know it when you see it. Most statement jackets have a non-traditional color. They could also have subtle prints on them if you want to go funky.

Technicolor socks. Multicolored socks (or hipster socks as they are known in some quarters) peek out every once in a while and brighten things up in the workplace. From polka dots and caricatures to geometric patterns, you can choose a pair to suit your mood or your workplace. A great way of telling people you don’t take fashion rules seriously (except these ones).

Plaid: Well played is well, plaid. Great for your 9-to-5 and even performs well after. Plaids, in shirts and jackets, are perhaps the most versatile tool in the corporate warrior’s armory, and straddle the fine line between formal and casual effectively. They’re also age-resistant meaning a young buck in his twenties can rock them as much as your seasoned forty-plus campaigner. Plaid, though Scottish in origin, has an Indian connection too, in the Madras checks that became popular all over the world after the World War.

Inside collars and cuffs. If you like to keep it classy but still a little edgy, nothing does it like contrast or printed insides of your collar and cuffs. After the work day, when it’s proper to roll up your sleeves, it even adds a touch of evening character.

Coloured Shoes. Alternate your staid blacks and browns with variants like burgundy, light buttery browns and ashen blues. Play with moccasins, tassel loafers and lace-ups. Go beyond leather and try suede and maybe even canvas. But do remember to take a quick course in matching.


Floral prints. Flowers are back (though one could argue that they never went out) and now they’re storming the bastion of your office. Even the traditional Indian paisley is making its way into formal wear. With the prevalence of digital printing, with a little hunting, you’ll even find beautiful florals in watercolour style.

Scarves. The first rule of wearing scarves is to rid yourself of the notion that they are to be worn only in winter. A colourful scarf paired with a monochrome top works wonders. A dozen online videos will teach you to wear it in a dozen ways. Plus, it always comes in handy when the thermostat isn’t to your liking. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw wears scarves frequently, and is a great example of how you can use it strikingly.

Pants. Yes. Pants. Experiment with different styles and you’ll be surprised how they can really spruce up a boring look. Silhouette is everything when it comes to pants. Choose from high-waisted, wide legged, pleated to ankle length pants and what not! The best part is offices rarely prescribe silhouettes, so you can always get by with some style even if your workplace demands a uniform.

Houndstooth. The houndstooth pattern is at the sweet intersection between casual and formal and can be worn to make a splash in either occasion. Whether its jackets or a dress or a simple top, a houndstooth pattern is incredibly versatile.

Chic suits. A sharp suit is a must for a modern professional’s wardrobe. And please don’t even look in the direction of black. Pastel colours or even greys with patterns are great options for suits. Uncoordinated suits are also a great option depending on how edgy you want your office attire to be.


It isn’t enough to be well-dressed in the modern workplace. A good professional is known by his or her tools and how they carry it.

Designer laptop sleeves. Your high-precision instrument deserves a cover chosen with as much care. Black Neoprene is out. Pastel monochromes, geometric patterns and bold designs are very much in. Different materials like cotton, leather and even paper are a great option.

Natural fiber or leather bags (yes kill your black synthetic one now). Briefcases are ancient and black messenger bags are done. Go for a color variant or a subtle pattern. Pay attention to the different leather finishes. Adding a few nicely done metal trims can make all the difference. But convenience and ease are top priority. If you travel a lot, get a stylish strolley and thank yourself later.

Commute pack. The urban corporate needs to be productive at all times, or at the very least, needs to be accessible. A modern commute pack should include wireless headphones, a USB battery pack (power bank) and a wire/gadget organisation pack just so that you’re always prepared.

Machine. We’ve all showed off our latest smartphones. Your work machine is way more important. And like in smartphones, a good laptop is no longer only about performance. The specifications must be top-notch but it has also become an expression of your personality. It can up your style quotient and significantly impact your experience.

Source: Dell
Source: Dell

The Dell XPS 13 is one device that achieves excellence in both form and function. With a virtually borderless infinity display that maximises screen space, and measuring a super slim 9-15mm, the Dell XPS 13 is an unalloyed delight. A sixth generation Intel® Core™ processor and the latest Intel HD graphics gives cutting edge performance for 18 hours and 14 minutes per charge—the longest battery life in any 13-inch device. The Dell XPS 13 epitomises the ethos of the modern day corporate warrior—chic and smart. To make even more of a fashion statement, you now get a free TUMI laptop sleeve worth Rs. 9000 with your XPS notebook purchase (offer valid till 31st October). For more information about the Dell XPS 13, see here.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Dell and not by the Scroll editorial team.

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