Communal Hate Serves NoneMarch 16, 2021
It was around 11 pm Saturday; I was taking a post-dinner walk when Javed, one of my close friends in Delhi, called me with a trembling voice. His tone scared me for a while. He was crying; I held my nerve and asked him what has happened to him? “Raju, you say, is being a Muslim a crime? ‘Muslim’ became an abusive word in India,” he asked. I tried to console him and asked why was he saying so? He told me his regular customer known to him for the last 10 years scolded him saying he is Muslim and he must be sent to Pakistan.
It took over 30 minutes for me to convince him that all is well in India. Just a few politically polluted-minded people are spreading hatred, and he must ignore them.
Let me recall an incident that defines Javad’s character. In 2009, I and Javed were working in a BPO called SRM Pvt Ltd in Delhi’s Khanpur. Once, we were discussing Indian values, one employee at the office posed a challenge- to recite ‘Mahabharata’s verse- ‘Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya…’, what surprised all of us that no one but a Muslim man recites the full verse and he was Javed. He is indeed a secular person, just like another true Indian.
Let’s come back to the point. His call disturbed my heart at the core. The call came minutes after I watched a heart-wrenching video clip in which a man is brutally beating a Muslim boy for drinking water at a temple in Ghaziabad. Severing water is the holiest act one can do. Our Indian values emphasize serving water-food too. Then, what led the accused to become so heartless. We must go to the root of the cause that is hate for a different faith.
Now, the question is, where is our country heading to? As a country, what is our aim to be a liberal, prosperous country like a true ‘Ram Rajya’ or Taliban-like state where religious frenzy dominates every think? According to mythology, in ‘Ram Rajya’, everyone was leading a happy life. ‘Ram Rajya’ asserts ‘Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah’ (May all be prosperous). Why do people who believe in ‘Ram Rajya’ ideology not understand the meaning of ‘Ram Rajya’.
Politically, India never rids of communalism from pre-Independence to post-Independence. Political parties never let the flame of communalism douse because it is always a win-win game for them be it is Left, Centre or Right. Congress, the party that ruled India for over 70 years, kept scaring voters of communalism, playing down the ideology of BJP and RSS. On the other hand, BJP struggled, rose, and is rising to ride the ‘Hindutva politics’. Under Narendra Modi-Amit Shah’s leadership, the party almost became formidable in the country.
Does it mean India was practically never a secular country? Strong ‘no’ because India at the core was and is always a secular country. The roots of secularism so deepened into India that Sultanate rules over 300 years, Mughal over 300 years, British over 100 years, could not have made India a communal country. These historic facts are testimony of the reality that Indian secularism is eternal.
India’s secularism must not be seen through a political prism. Socially, people in India, by and large, live harmoniously despite belonging to different faiths and religions.
In today’s context, social media and traditional media unfortunately are boosting polarization. Post 9/11 terror attack in the US, the global media and movies’ narrative- Muslims as terrorists played a key role to create ‘Islamophobia’.
Why We Should Not Fall Prey To Politicians’ Tactics- ‘Divide And Rule
In India, no one from any religion, either Hindu or Muslim, or any other faith is beneficiary of communal politics. Sachar Committee formed in 2005 found that the conditions facing by Indian Muslims were below that of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Unemployment, underdevelopment, and poverty hurt every religion, and they left none. Communal agenda is nothing but a diversionary tactic. To evade uncomfortable questions on report card on performance, the ruling party, usually, involves in such divisive politics.
I firmly believe India’s unity and social harmony should not be mixed with politics. Before deteriorating our relationships with people from different faiths, we must remember, politicians and parties come and go but we will have to live together here. In a hateful atmosphere, our children will never be safe. Communal hatred leads a person or group to any extend and ends up hurting social harmony. India will shine when secularism grows. A country can’t grow if its citizens are not united.
Let’s maintain and carry forward the great legacy of ‘Unity And Diversity and ‘Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb’. Remember, any division over based religion or caste leads the nation toward the civil war. I must be confident that no one in India wishes to throw our country into a ‘Civil war’-like situation.