What is your idea of India? The author of this article has an idea of India as, if you take it as face value, a pluralistic society where everybody gets his or her rights and a fair share of opportunities. I use “face value” because sometimes people don’t actually mean what they are saying. You get the idea from this blog post that has been written in response to the above article.
The problem with India is, conceptually the ideas floated by those who gained power immediately after the British left, are pretty good. A secular, pluralistic society where there is no one single dominant religion and everybody gets to live in harmony and peace. The problem was in implementation and exploitation.
Ideal conditions need to exist for certain concepts. That’s why, in economics and other subjects, sometimes definitions include “keeping other factors constant”. Let those constants change, the definition begins to dismantle.
The same goes with the idea of secularism and pluralism. From the beginning, for the convenience sake, let me use a clichéd expression, “founding fathers”, thought that the dominant religion in India – Hinduism – may end up subjugating every other religion even to the extent of dividing the country further. In some cases the evidence had already begun to manifest. But these evidences are open to perception. Some say that it was nationalism, and some say it is fundamentalism. I need to read history – unbiased history – in order to have a clear picture.
This tendency to create a secular and pluralistic country triggered a new phase of divisive and communal politics. Minorities were constantly kept in the loop of suspicion and fear. The religious and political leaders among minority communities exploited this, and also, even political leaders outside of these communities started sowing seeds of communal hatred in the name of providing protection and keeping the “counter”-communal forces away.
The same template was used to divide even the majority among different castes and sub-castes. Not only this, a great divide between the North and the South was created by an effort to impose Hindi upon South Indian communities. In no way these exercises were carried out to create communal and regional harmony. These exercises were carried out to keep the big country perpetually simmering with discontent, disharmony and insecurity.
It was like, they first consolidated different kingdoms and riyasats under the aegis of a big, single nation, and then they divided its different parts and communities for exploitation and political power.
A big part of this conspiracy is keeping the minorities, especially the Muslim community, under a perpetual state of insecurity. This conspiracy is carried out at 3 fronts: political, religious and intellectual.
The 1st link in the top paragraph is the example of the intellectual conspiracy that has been going on for the past 5-6 decades. Muslims are targeted, Muslims don’t get enough opportunities, Muslims are legally persecuted, Muslims are discriminated against, Hindus never get punished for killing Muslims, etc.
I’m not saying that we live in a just society. Most of our problems originate from the fact that our justice system is all screwed up. Just a couple of days ago there was a judge in the news for killing his wife for not giving birth to a boy. Every school kid these days knows that father’s chromosomes are responsible for the girl child, and not mother’s. The culprits of the Bhanwari Devi case in Rajasthan were acquitted by the judge because he believed if you meddle with the affairs of the upper castes they are bound to react. Such are the judges we have. So you can very well understand the quality of our justice system.
But it is screwed up for everybody, not just for Muslims. So if you say a Muslim is discriminated against, with an effort, I can show you 20 Hindus who were discriminated against. The discrimination is all pervasive, it’s just that in the case of Muslims, because it suits particular political interests, it is blown out of proportion. This is certainly not my idea of India. Journalists like Shoma Chaudhary certainly don’t belong to my idea of India, because people like her don’t fight for justice, they simply pedal communal paranoia and phobias and act as an instrument in the hands of politicians who want to keep the country divided perpetually.
My idea of India is certainly pluralistic, and secular, of course. But it is for everybody. There is no majority and there is no minority. There is justice for everybody. Even if there is no justice, people don’t fight for Muslims and Christians and Hindus. People fight for Indians. So if a Muslim is discriminated against by a Hindu, instead of saying that it is a religious problem, I make it into a criminal problem. In my idea of India, human rights are not just for terrorists and extremists, they are also for their victims. For me, it will be like, one Indian is discriminated against by another. And the person who is discriminating must be punished not because he or she is discriminating against a Muslim, but a fellow Indian. This, is my idea of India.
In my India, these outdated ideas of Muslims versus Hindus don’t exist.