Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Where is the secularism? Part II

Long time back Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, the poet of Vande Mataram, had told, "Tumi Adhom Hoile, Ami Uttam Hoibo Na Keno", which translates into English as, "If you're inferior, why shouldn't I be superior". Prakash Karat might hate this statement, because that speaks against communism and perhaps sows the seeds of inequality. 

There are two ways of bringing equality among these two sides - superior and inferior. One, you improve the 'inferior' and two, you drag down the 'superior'. The first option is hard, but the second one is very easy. It's very sad that many people take extra effort to resort to the second option to downgrade many aspects of India – secularism being one - just to give a feeling that we're also as bad as the rest. 

Well, this has reference to the concept of secularism in our country as propagated by most political parties and the media too. It has become a fashion for a group of people, who think that they are the only secular people in this country and the rest are just a bunch of irrational, insensitive, illiterate, parochial and communal thugs, to dig up isolated acts of intolerance and disharmony and highlight them every time the country sees an act of terrorism perpetrated by a minority community thinking that highlighting some bad things about India or a majority community might make the perpetrators of terror feel happy because that would equate them to the also-equally-bad-Indians.

A classic example is the article written by Arundhati Ray in the aftermath of last year’s Bombay Terror Attacks on 11/26. She has a lot of sympathizers. She and her crusaders want to always bring up Narendra Modi, Indian Army's violation of human rights in Kashmir, VHP, BJP, Veer Savarkar and what not - as if all these can justify a young Muslim to get angry and frustrated to the extent that he finally takes arms and become a terrorist. This not only demeans the stature of Muslims in India, but also brings disgrace to the secular credentials of India. 

No community can be branded good or bad on the basis of a few people involved in acts of violence and terrorism. This holds good for all communities, majority or minority. Any act of terrorism is equally condemnable and can’t be justifiable by any other act of deprivation or intolerance. The isolated cases of violation of human rights of the Indian Army (if at all these allegations are true) in Kashmir or any isolated case of Hindu fundamentalism (media always searches for this) can’t be justified reasons for Muslim terrorism. 

The so called secular parties have to stop calling Muslims minority and start treating them as any other Indian. Factually also, very few Muslims in India are of Arab or foreign origin. They have been Indians all along for thousands of years and suddenly calling them minority is very unfortunate. If most of the terrorists happen to belong to any particular community, let’s not brand that entire community as terrorist, but at the same time let’s also not try to be sympathetic to them just to appease the community they belong to. A terrorist doesn’t belong to any community and nothing can justify an act of terrorism.

Let’s call spade a spade. Let’s take a pledge to bring to book the actual perpetrators of not only the Gujarat carnage, but also that of the Anti Sikh carnage in Delhi. But at the same time let’s also not be oblivious to the statistically biggest ever genocide with tacit support of an elected government (Muslim League) in Indian subcontinent on the "Direct Action Day" in Calcutta on 16th Aug, 1946 which killed more than 4000 people belonging to the minority community, that’s the Hindus in the undivided Bengal province, in just seventy two hours. If we want to forget the past and move on, that’s also a good thing. But then we should forget everything and not selectively things that suit exclusive purposes.

Seculairsm ceases to exist when either there’s an appeasement or intolerance of any community.  Secularism ceases to exist whenever any community is denied a social justice. Secularism ceases to exist whenever you treat a particular community especially with a motive. Secularism ceases to exist whenever you hurt the sentiment of any community knowing that they will never protest. Secularism ceases to exist whenever you take any particular community for granted. Secularism ceases to exist whenever you call an Indian by names like Muslim, Hindu, Dalit, OBC, SC, ST, Bengali, Tamil, Oriya or Marathi. Secularism has a very simple meaning – to feel from within that we all are just Indians and India is just a “vast sea of humanity”.

Today is the 149th birth day of Rabindranath Tagore, the person who lived and wrote and died only for a truly secular (not the other misconstrued type of secular) and unified India. Let’s pay our homage to him on this day to raise above all fragmentation and exclusivity and strive to attain his idea of a secular India, of which he said - "Here I stand with arms outstretched to hail man divine in his own image and sing to his glory in notes glad and free. No one knows whence and at whose call come pouring endless inundation of men rushing madly along to lose themselves in this vast sea of humanity that is India. Aryans and Non-Aryans, Dravidians and Chinese Scythians, Huns, Pathns and Mogols all are mixed, merged and lost in one body" - that's the body an Indian!!

Let’s our mantra be – No Appeasement and No Intolerance. The only thing we don’t tolerate is any threat to the very concept of India!!

No comments: