Why the BJP is obsessing over Shaheen Bagh

One of the things Arnab managed to do with his Fox News style of anchoring was that he forced all other channels to follow suit. Somewhere in the early 2000s, it became clear to many journalists that in order to compete on the TRP front, they will have to hop around like monkeys.

Something similar is happening in politics. By going full steam communal, the BJP is forcing other parties to at least try and cater to the majoritarian Hindu base. It is for this reason that Arvind Kejriwal feels the need to chant the Hanuman Chalisa during a media interview and that the Congress feels the need to pursue something that has been called "soft Hindutva".

The trick here is obvious. The BJP wants to drag everyone into the game that it knows it is best at playing. The game of pandering to upper caste Hindus and their understanding of patriotism being indistinguishable from Hindu-ness. So if you are wondering why the BJP is going deeper and deeper into hate territory, the simple answer to that is that they have seen it work.

It worked when they managed to turn Shaheen Bagh into something other parties are hesitant to touch. AAP hasn't visited the protests because from day one, the BJP has created a narrative that shows peaceful protests against oppressive policies of the government as somehow being anti-India and traitorous. Members of the party have spread outright lies about the protests to such an extent that they have gotten even anti-CAA people to call for an end to the protests at Shaheen Bagh. The BJP's narrative has managed to make an advantage look like a liability to its opponents.

The solution? I think you can't beat a monkey at games that can only be won by hopping around on trees. You can't win any game whose rules are being decided by your opponent. You can't be more communal than the BJP. The BJP knows this, so it is asking you to try. It knows you will fail. It is right. Decent people do fail at being indecent.

The answer to this challenge is not to back down. It is to redouble your support for those at Shaheen Bagh and for everyone protesting against the CAA-NRC-NPR. The BJP will try to stigmatise your support by calling you names. Let them. It is what they are good at. Let them play to their strengths and allow yourself to play to your strengths. There is absolutely nothing wrong with standing with those who are fighting to keep India secular. There is absolutely nothing wrong with supporting those at the receiving end of violence.