IF YOU ARE A HINDU, I AM A MUSLIM
Saturday, 08 June, 2013
M Hasan Jowher
Cow slaughter is an unforgivable crime for most Hindus. For Muslims and Christians it is perfectly normal and ethical. Yet the latter are expected to forego beef to show solidarity and sensitivity towards the ‘elder brother’ that the Hindus are in India. The decisive argument can be: what do you lose if you DON’T eat beef? Very little. Are alternative foods not available? They are. Hence no cow slaughter.
From foregoing non-vegetarian food to accepting idol-worship on ceremonies the minorities tolerate and suffer a good bit of discomfort for the pleasure of the majority – all in the name of good brotherliness. After all we are all fellow Indians.
At least 200 million Muslims, around half as many from other minorities and at least twice that number of Hindus profoundly disapprove of Narendra Modi. Yet a section of Hindus is hell bent upon foisting him upon the nation. Rather than punishing him at least for failing to protect our lives and properties, he has been hailed as the Samrat of Hindu Hriday.
What do they lose by NOT foisting him? Very little. Do they have alternatives? Aplenty. So why insist on Modi? Because he is a macho Hindu who showed the minorities their place, fixed them, and asserted Hindutva supremacy.
That is the language of a Hindu, not of an Indian committed to its constitution. Not of an elderly brother caring for the sentiments of the younger brother.
Here is a man whose close confidants: ministers and senior police officers are in jail and on bail, on serious charges ranging from extortion and murder in fake encounters, to genocide; who has thwarted every move of the Governor and the High Court to appoint a Lok Ayukta; who is so arrogant that every former chief minister and both senior most patriarchs of his own party are alienated from him. Two statutory commissions are looking into gross failure of law and constitution in his state during his stewardship. And here is one who is widely accused – at least in the perception of most Muslims – as being behind a gruesome genocide.
His mere photograph evokes unpleasant memories for so many. They profoundly resent his sight and sound. By foisting him upon them are Hindus not effectively alienating such a large population?
What could be the consequences? My grassroots work amongst the Muslims convinces me that some of the young victims who witnessed the 2002 barbarity will take to terrorism having failed at every forum of justice. Personally I will issue a call for civil disobedience. The nation will stand polarized vertically. I won’t be surprised if separatism is fanned amongst the aggrieved sections.
His voters are behaving merely like parochial Hindus, not like Indian citizens. Not surprisingly they are encouraging his opponents to assert their identities rather than sub-merge them underneath the overarching, broad, unifying national identity.
Modi acolytes are writing the script of divisiveness reminiscent of the pre-partition Hindu Mahasabha politics. The consequences can be drastic for the nation as a whole.
I love my country and all its people, and abide by the laws our Parliament frames. I hold the Indian constitution and its various institutions sacred. I also happen to like sherwani, biryani, Urdu, shaeri and a lot more of my Indo-Islamic heritage. Yet, I can’t buy property where I like, have a leader who represents me, look up to the state to protect me. How long will my loyalty remain intact? How long will yours under these circumstances?
Far from punishing Modi you are rewarding him. And you expect me to respect him and love my motherland? Sorry, you don’t care for my sensitivity. And I intend to ignore yours.
Some activists including I, Chunibhai Vaidya, Girish Patel, Mallika Sarabhai etc have signed an electronic petition requesting Modi to execute an affidavit before a magistrate. Here lies the test of his innocence.
So who am I? A proud Indian and a great friend of Hindus. But how will I behave? Depends on how you do. You decide – for me, for us, and for our republic.