Remaking India of our dreams

Remaking India of our dreams

Remaking India of Our Dreams, MV Kamath, Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The poor Muslim of Uttar Pradesh was realistic. So he stayed on in India, unwanted, uncared and unloved.

The poor Muslim of Uttar Pradesh was realistic. So he stayed on in India, unwanted, uncared and unloved.

Imagine what would have happened if Muzzafarnagar had been in Gujarat, and how Chief Minister Narendra Modi would have been dealt with. Our vicious English media would have jumped at his throat and named him as a villain of all sorts, naming every imaginable reason why the killings went on. Some 43 people, Muslims obviously, were killed, over hundreds wounded and some 43,000 Muslims fled their villages and turned homeless in Muzaffarnagar. No apology has been sought from Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav so far, though it is known that advance warnings had been given to him of likely communal riots. What is painful to note is that between his accession to the Chief Ministership of Uttar Pradesh and now, upward of 50 communal incidents have dented Yadav’s reputation.

But then he is no Narendra Modi. In Godhra several thousand Muslims had got together to burn the Sabarmati Express coaches and succeeded in burning alive over 50 innocent Hindu women and children. In Muzaffarnagar trouble started when a Hindu girl was allegedly accosted by a Muslim boy. The girl’s two brothers thereupon thrashed the Muslim boy to death. In turn, the two brothers were killed by an irate Muslim mob. What is wrong with the Muslim community in Mazaffarnagar? How much more barbarian can one be? But one of the local Muslim leaders is supposed to have told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who visited the area: “Why did you and the Congress Party and Jawaharlal Nehru stop us from going away in 1947? We have been reduced to strangers in our own land”. That is stuff and nonsense. Neither the Congress nor Nehru asked Muslims to vote for Pakistan. The Muslims did it on their own. In Uttar Pradesh, 54 out of 61 Muslim seats voted for the Muslim League – and partition, despite Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s clear early warning that it would lead to alienating Muslims from their Hindu fellow countrymen.

Nobody listened to the Maulana. The reason was simple: the Muslim elite might have left in toto, but the poor had to stay put because Pakistan wouldn’t have been able to give them a decent livelihood. The poor Muslim of Uttar Pradesh was realistic. So he stayed on in India, unwanted, uncared and unloved. In a very revealing article by Samaralankar, a Bangalore-based journalist, one gets a realistic picture of the situation in Muzaffarnagar. As he put it: “The Hindu street still regards Muslims as lapsed conquerors, latent Pakistanis who create energetically, keep their women in burqa, shun education, propound jihad and vote en masse for whoever appeases them. Similarly, the Muslim street believes Hindus to be devious and cowardly, but who discriminate against them, use State power to cow them down and label them as terrorists and Pakistanis….these are not issues discussed in civil society, but it is the truth”.

It may not be the whole truth, but it tells a lot. Meanwhile, our secularists, sickening to their very depths, have been pointing fingers at their pet enemies, the BJP, propagating false stories about Muslim atrocities to worsen the communal situation. So far not a single positive step to stop violence has emerged. It is easy to talk of old hatreds and new reactions. No analysis is available of the number of unemployed among both Hindus and Muslims and of the actual prevailing social conditions in the district.

The government merely arrests MLAs for alleged communal provocations. In the circumstances this old-timer has a few suggestions to offer to re-do an ancient society. Thus, a whole new public organisation should be formed by private interested parties to run social service in the affected areas, a ‘social monitor’ should then be appointed to serve in each village or a closely-knit group of villages with specific aims and objectives.

The duties of the so-called social monitor should be as follows: (a) Stay put in each village, make it a point to visit every time home, Hindu or Muslim, just for casual talk, but essentially to understand what problems such as unemployment, are faced by each family. (b) Encourage casual Hindu-Muslim get-togethers on a small scale in one’s own home, so that some sort of ‘Friendship’ slowly accrues over the years. (c) In order to fight unemployment, give to each family three to four charkhas (spinning wheels) and free cotton and encourage them to be productive. The young and the old can be trained also in weaving. This is being done in jails with remarkable success. (d) Provide each family free seeds for growing vegetables, fruits and flowers so that they can make maximum use of such limited space as they have in their possession. More importantly, arrange for marketing. (e) Arrange to provide sports paraphernalia such as footballs, cricket bats and balls to children and encourage Hindu and Muslim children to play together every evening (f) Arrange story-telling evenings for children below the age of ten or twelve, separately for girls and boys, to propagate values and a sense of Hindu-Muslim unity. (g) Provide picture books in the local language whether Urdu or Hindi, to children so that they can read them in their homes. The books should be attractive and should carry a distinct message. (h) Make it a point to soften up anger over any incident and seek to get tempers lowered whenever the occasion for it arises. It should not matter who was responsible for creating tension. (i) Always maintain a cheerful mood, always be available to anybody, at any time, for whatever reason and (j) finally, show that one is above and beyond any caste, creed, community and religion, and is free of prejudice. Surely, our secularists can raise funds for such a worthwhile cause, to employ, say, a couple of hundred ‘social monitors’ and send them to the villages after due training. Don’t expect them to work wonders. It will take time, maybe a few years, to build a new society of our dreams. But something has to be done – and done fast – to prevent communal tensions in rural areas, but, more importantly, to build a new mindset that shuns violence, seeks peaceful solutions to inter-religious differences and makes Uttar Pradesh a communal paradise. It should become a model for all States. And thought to this plan should be given by not just secularists but by all political parties in the larger interest of the nation. It can be done and it should be done, the Lord be praised.

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