OPED

The violence against religious minorities has been on the rise during last few years. Many a reports tell us not only about the overall rise in the violence but also about the portents of violence orchestrated in the name of Mother Cow and nationalism in recent times. It has increased the insecurity among the religious minorities to no end; leading to ghettotization, which has started affecting the social fabric in very adverse way. It is in this background that the efforts of Jamiat-e-Ulama Hind to start youth clubs for self defense have to be seen and assessed whether this is the right step?

Maulana Mahmood Madani, the chief of the organization while telling about the efforts of his organizations gave an outline of the things to come. As per him the motto of the initiative is “to make youths capable of dealing with tough situations and help the country whenever there is a situation of crisis. He said that the outfit will provide training to the youths just like the Scouts and Guides.” Reacting to this the likes of Vinay Katiyar and spokesmen of RSS related organizations said that this may promote violence and that this is an attempt to copy RSS model, but it will not work. While Madani focused on the training like that of Boys Scouts and Guides, the self defense logic may lead it to an unwanted direction.

Many a spokesmen from Muslim organizations have opposed this step of Jamiat by saying that Muslims have full faith in justice system and that giving safety and security to the citizens is the duty of the state. It’s undeniable that the feeling of insecurity among the Muslim and Christian community has seen an unprecedented rise; with the coming of Modi Sarkar to power. As such it has been RSS and its progeny which introduced the training in wielding lathi (baton), guns in a systematic way. RSS shakhas began with lathis in their shakhas. The question is that time the major problem of Indian society was with the British rule. Could they have used lathis against British? No way! It was primarily for the use within the society itself.

From last few decades the Bajrang Dal and Durga Vahini have been given training in guns as well. All this has been done in the name of self defense! What comes to one’s mind is that in post independence period we have the rule of law with Indian Constitution as the fulcrum of our values. Here we have police, judiciary for protection and justice. So what justifies the program of RSS combine in so called arms training? RSS is very fascinated with arms and every Dusshera day they worship armaments. They have an exhibition of armaments. There are reports doubting whether the police have information about these armaments with RSS, while they do hold license for that. While talking of non violence; RSS has glorified the arms and indulged in training the young boys and girls in these weapons.

On the top of this RSS affiliates have undertaken Trishul (trident) distributions. These trishuls, which have been distributed times and over again; have contributed to rise in hate sentiments. Trishul has religiosity associated with Lord Shiva and is blunt; while the trishuls distributed by these groups have sharp edges like knife. Legal positions apart; such ‘self defense’ organized by communities is a negative phenomenon.

Dilemmas of Muslim community and organizations like Jamiat are well taken. What should be the role of minority organizations in such troubled times? There are Muslim organizations which are opposing Jamiat’s move. Community’s plight cannot be saved by training some youths in techniques of scouts and guide, neither in copying the methods of RSS combine. What is needed is to call for proper implementation of justice and policing mechanism. Most of the communal violence reports tell us about the partisan attitude of the police and the lax attitude of political parties is the main reason for violence going up and up. Justice has not been delivered in 1984 anti-Sikh massacre; it might have given the major boost to the culture of impunity. In Mumbai Sri Kirshna Commission report was not implemented, boosting the trend of where criminal can get away, innocents suffer and justice is denied. In Gujarat violence, post Godhra, which took place right under the nose of the most efficient chief minster; nearly two thousand Hindus and Muslims were done to death, while state was accomplice in the violence.

The Jamiat leadership should think whether they are going in the right direction. Good intentions alone are not enough. Let’s identify the core cause of violence. It’s the Hate manufactured in society. Hate in turn has peaked to mountainous heights due to the misconceptions about the minority community enhanced lately due to abuse of social media in a systematic and planned way. Islam has been demonized as violent religion and Christians are looked down as converters. In Gujarat the travails of the likes of Teesta Setalvad, foremost human rights activist, tell us that getting justice is a humongous task. The need to counter the divisive propaganda done by our TV channels, done through section of media and spruced up by social media needs to be countered. The perceptions about our medieval period, freedom movement and all inclusive nature of Indian nationalism need to be taken far and wide.

What is needed is a broad alliance of those concerned about the security and protection of human rights of all. Right to life has lately been compromised heavily. All those working for preservation and promotion of rights of citizens need to come to uphold the basic Indian ethos of pluralism and the core values of Indian Constitution. Jamiat like organizations will do better by focusing on training the youth in the abilities to counter Hate by spreading the message of peace and love, by training them in countering the prevalent misconceptions against religious minorities and against weaker sections of society.

Category :- English Bazaar Patrika / OPED

The recent debate around ‘no confidence’ in the Loksabha (21st July 2018); brought to fore the policies of the Modi sarkar. Modi Sarkar has failed the country on most of the counts, control over corruption, bringing back black money hoarded in foreign banks, and failed the electoral promises like 15 lakhs in every body’s account, creation of employment for youth, controlling the rising prices, solving the agrarian crisis among others. The points raised by Rahul Gandhi leading the debate did hit the nail on the head. Some other issues, which also need to the highlighted relate to the increasing hate and violence in the society; increasing intimidation and marginalization of religious minorities in particular.

These are well outlined in a report, which has been ignored by major section of media. This refers to the report by civil society groups, brought out on the occasion of completion of four years of Modi Sarkar. Appropriately titled, ‘Dismantling India’, the book is edited by eminent activists, John Dayal, Leena Dabiru and Shabnam Hashmi (Media House, https://www.amazon.in/Dismantling-India-4-year-Report/dp/9387298396/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1532308099&sr=8-2&keywords=dismantling+india) The report is remarkable as it has essays by writers and activists engaged in issues related to national integration and communal harmony. Twenty two writers, who will be dubbed as 'Pseudo seculars' by the ruling party have recorded the policies of the Modi Government in a meticulous way.

This report draws a broad canvass of the happenings of last four years of Modi rule. The issue of concern, where foot soldiers-lynch mobs, have become very active and have created havoc has been well documented. These mobs look to be spontaneous but are well organized. They get activated by subtle and overt encouragement from the powers that rule. They take law into their hands as they know that they will get away with it. This report, well compiled by the editors focuses on this aspect of the Modi Sarkar, where the myths, biases stereotypes are being promoted; giving encouragement to people to take the law in their hands and to unleash the violence and intimidation against weaker sections of society.

In this report, in a very sensitive and in-depth manner, the authors collective, well known for their concern for preserving the ‘Idea of India’, take the stock of the status of civic rights, human rights and the increasing fearfulness in the society. The articles relate to all aspects of our social life, culture, promotion of divisive Hindutva politics, the culture which is promoting darkness, and opposing the very values which are the foundation of freedom movement of the country. Just to give few examples from the long list; John Dayal in a hard hitting, piece; ‘Lynching and other Consequences of Hate’ shows the mirror to the society on the issues of rising violence. Violence is not spontaneous, it is an outcome of spread of misconceptions and the consequent Hate imposed on the society. There are articles which tell us that during last four years how the Hate against religious minorities is being promoted and is creating an atmosphere where social space is getting communalized in a deeper manner leading to what Harsh Mander calls, ‘Republic of Hate’.

When our Prime Minister talked of plastic surgeon in ancient India, planting elephants’ head on a boy’s head, one could imagine that the ruling dispensation is out to promote blind faith and glorify the past, this glorification of past tells us about the presence of Pushpak Viman, Wi-Fi, TV and what have you. Writers duo Gauhar Raza and Dr. Surjit Singh list all these hilarious sounding pronouncement from our leaders, and tell us that the matter is not just about the statements, our science policy, our funding in matters of science research is diverted away from areas which will focus on the research on the issues related to people’s issues. Panchgavya (a mixture of cow’s dung, urine, milk, curd and ghee) is getting a major funding for research under a high level committee! The whole tradition of scientific Temper promoted by our first Prime minster Nehru and enshrined in our Constitution is being given a go by for such laughable policy of this government.

The education system is being communalized at a very rapid speed, the curriculum of education to promote an obscurantist view of society, to glorify Hindu kings, and to demonize the others’ is part of the agenda of Modi Sarkar. Keran Gabriel brings forth a lucid elaboration of the same. K. Satchidanandan disturbed by assault on our plural traditions emphasis on upholding the diversity of the country in his ‘The Idea of India: The case of Plurality.’ Goldy George draws out attention to the much neglected section of Adivasis in, ‘Adivaisi in Fascist regime.’, while Kavita Krishnan is highlighting the worsening of attacks on women, in her, ‘’Worst ever attacks on Women’s autonomy and rights.’ At the same time the policy related to media and judiciary and its impact of our national ethos makes a very disturbing read

That’s not all. Editors have done the painstaking job of compiling the data on crucial issues of attacks on civil society and freedom of expression, attack on education, Hate and targeted violence against Muslims, violence against Christians, dalits, lynching’s in the name of Cow and attacks on women. This tabulation of incidents is an invaluable resource to understand the trends taking over our nation. In a way this report while it presents an in-depth picture of the political scenario of the day, brings forth the fact that BJP is a ‘party with a difference’, as it is guided by the politics of Hindu nationalism as enunciated by its parent organization, the RSS. BJP during last four years of its rule has done massive damage to the ‘Idea of India’, which needs all preservation and promotion. Surely this volume is a must read for all those engaged in preserving Human rights, preserving Indian Constitution and committed to the idea of secular democratic India.

Category :- English Bazaar Patrika / OPED