Karnataka: Miles To Go Before I Sleep…


DR SAMINA SALIM | Clarion India

IT is a typical weekend morning, a Darjeeling brew, cats snuggling at my feet, and birds chasing squirrels in the backyard — a relaxing milieu. I looked at my phone and browsed through the messages in the family WhatsApp group and saw the joy there over the Karnataka elections.  The excitement seemed odd as none of my extended family lives anywhere close to the southern state. To tell you the truth: I have no stake in Indian politics, but I am elated as well. I am thrilled that the potion that Hindutva laboratories delivered to its consumers spilled to a failure.

I have often expressed my frustration and written about my discontent at the fall of pluralism in India, but eventually stopped writing because I realised it does not matter. The NCERT deletions were the last blow, and I could not write any more until today. I am hopeful again. I feel every effort counts, every word matters. Call me foolish, but I am hopeful once again for the future of India.

BJP faced an overall loss in Karnataka, but the architect of the “hijab ban” Yashpal Suvarna won. His win is however insignificant in the face of the victory of Kaneez Fathima, the fearless hijab-clad Congress candidate from the Gulbarga North constituency. The Karnataka electorate rejected those who professed the politics of “hijab”, “halal”, and “Jihad”. Perhaps people in Karnataka have understood that hate is a self-destructive phenomenon. Muslim voters in India must understand the significance of the power of their vote, it’s imperative their complacency and disengagement come to an end. The division of Muslim votes over petty issues needs to stop. Muslims should think beyond small gains, build coalitions and think outside the box breaking the Muslim stereotype. 

A lesson for Hindutva lobby is that what works in the Hindi heartland or other Saffron strongholds may not work elsewhere. Although assembly elections are no indicators of parliament outcomes, they offer a very telling premise. In 2019 Congress was wiped out in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan in Lok Sabha elections, barely six months after winning the assembly elections. So BJP’s defeat in Karnataka bears cautionary jubilation for others.

The electoral verdict in Karnataka should not, however, be rushed as the beginning of the end of the BJP in assembly or the Lok Sabha elections but be treated as a reminder that the waves, no matter how high they rise, ultimately crash. BJP is not invincible. For many like me, India is an ideology threaded with secularism and multiculturalism. If India fails, the entire subcontinent fails. India can still become a model nation which countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh can emulate after. I am cautiously hopeful.


Samina Salim, Ph.D., is Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacological & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Houston College of Pharmacy. She was born in Lucknow and raised in Aligarh and moved to the United States in 1999. The views expressed here are author’s own and Clarion India does not necessarily share or subscribe to them.

Cover photo: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during a road show ahead of the Karnataka assembly elections, in Chikkamagaluru, on May 02, 2023. — IANS/Twitter

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