Evil under the sun | The Indian Express


We don’t need proof that the Gyanvapi Mosque is built on the ruins of a Hindu temple. Nor do we need proof that there is an Idgah built above the prison cell in which Krishna is said to have been born. What we need proof of is that we haven’t all suddenly gone mad. This could be the most difficult task of all judging by the hysteria over the “wrongs of history” we now hear daily not only from the acolytes of the Sangh Parivar, but also from people belonging to that despised English-speaking elite who Narendra Modi once scornfully dismissed as “Khan’s market gang”. I confess without the slightest shame that I belong to this elite and that I am stunned by the number of people I grew up with who are now fuming about how much they hate Muslims.

The sad truth is that once the genie of hate is unleashed, it is hard to contain. So it’s no longer about righting the wrongs of history or reclaiming ancient temples, it’s about how much we hate Muslims and how Islam is a religion that breeds murderous fanatics. In this surge of hatred against the “invaders”, all Muslims in India are branded as jihadists, whose punishment is the erasure of their culture, their language and their status as equal citizens.

It is not only the mosques that must be demolished and replaced by temples, the names of towns and streets must also be Hinduified. He has also started a serious campaign to erase Urdu, or at least prove it to be a foreign language. The message to Muslims who chose India over Pakistan in 1947 is that they made the wrong choice. They must now learn to accept that although they have chosen to remain Indians, they must now learn to live in India as lesser citizens.

This message is being relayed aggressively on social media and in prime time debates. In these debates on the wounds of history, it is the BJP spokespersons who speak fiercely of how the “invaders” wanted to destroy India’s identity. Last week I listened with amazement to a BJP spokesperson who failed to see the irony of quoting Allama Iqbal when she said the invaders (read Muslims) wanted to destroy the “hasti” of the India by adding “kuch baat hai jo hasti mitt-ti nahin hamari”. . In this verse, Iqbal talks about ancient civilizations like Greece and Rome having disappeared but India having survived despite the hostile tides of history for centuries. What has been forgotten in this miasma of hysteria and hatred is that the Muslim invaders remained, and their culture and history became part of the culture and history of India. It’s the Brits who are gone, but somehow, in the ‘new India’, the Brits are forgiven.

The Prime Minister finally broke his silence last week. In a confusing speech, he blamed opposition parties for using “little incidents of tension to inject poison” into the atmosphere. If Modi thinks the unrest and violence of the past few months were “small incidents”, then he is mistaken both himself and the country. They were not “small” and the opposition was not to blame. There is only one opposition party that has a national presence and the Congress proved during its “Chintan Shivir” in Udaipur that it has not even learned how to become a real opposition party.

What is happening, Prime Minister, is entirely because of you and your party. And it is in your hands and your hands alone to bring peace to our terribly divided land. What we need from you is a list of mosques Hindus want to turn into temples and an announcement that this is the end of it. You must then personally set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. May priests, scholars, historians of all faiths sit down together and reopen every old wound.

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It should have been done at the time of partition, but if we don’t start looking at the “wrongs of history” in such a commission today, we just had it. The Prime Minister may believe that his “new India” is doing very well, but that is not true. Not only is India not doing well, but it is in grave danger of completely veering off course and falling back not forwards but backwards into treacherous territory. If we don’t change course, there is not the slightest chance that India will become the powerful and self-reliant country that Modi thinks we are on the way to becoming.

We are not even close to being that country, and that is entirely because, in recent years, the Sangh Parivar agenda has taken precedence over what Modi says is the “central issue of development”. What we need now is political and religious leaders to prove they can be leaders when called upon to lead. It’s hard to remember a time when leadership was more urgent. We need religious and political leaders to immediately begin a process of healing and reconciliation. It is not just the wounds of the ancient past that need to be healed, but those inflicted in much more recent times. As for those who continue to spread hatred and violence, let them be warned that if they continue in this way, they will be locked up and tried for treason. This is the real “tukde-tukde” gang of India. They only hurt in a very bad time.


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