[And If You Are An Indian, I Am A Proud Indian]
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. Indeed, as in Gujarat, life sentence for violators. OK.
From foregoing non-vegetarian food to accepting idol-worship on religious ceremonies in public places and offices, 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, aren’t we?
Those who wished to eat cow meat were denied this in the name of religious sentiments of the majority. But, due to this denial of cheap nutrition, are they subsidized? Should they be subsidized? The question doesn’t arise.
The cow worshippers leave their cows on the public roads causing great inconvenience – and even fatalities – to the traffic that includes minorities that don’t want the cow there. But can they have a say?
Now it has become the competitive Hindutva politics to ban non-vegetarian food during religious festivals like Navratra, Paryushan etc. Even meat, chicken and eggs are prohibited. But does the state - or the majority - compensate those who wished to eat these foods for the economic losses resulting from such irrational ban?
At least 200 million Muslims, around half as many from other minorities and at least twice that number of Hindus profoundly disapprove of several BJP leaders like Yogi Aditynath. Yet a section of Hindus feels elated upon foisting him upon UP. Rather than punishing him for fanning communal discord, he has been raised to the highest pedestal of power in the state.
What would they have lost by NOT foisting him? Very little. Did they have alternatives? Aplenty. So, why insist on him? ‘Because he is a macho Hindu who showed the minorities their place, fixed them, and asserted Hindutva supremacy.’
That is the language of a bigoted Hindu, not of an Indian committed to its constitution. Not of an elderly brother caring for the sentiments of the younger brother.
One after the other, the cops guilty of heinous crimes during Gujarat’s genocide of 2002 have been rehabilitated and rewarded. So much so that its current DGP is himself released on bail in the Suhrabuddin fake encounter case! The national President of the ruling party was called by the SC-SIT as an extortionist and banned from entering Gujarat for two years. Yet today he is the second or third most powerful man of India.
There is talk of the RSS Chief being ensconced into the Rashtrapati Bhavan. If not he, the Ram Mandir hero, or another like him may well reach there.
The growing menace of mobocracy has led to a situation like Pakistan’s erstwhile, infamous blasphemy cases. Just level an allegation against a minority member you don’t like - and the mob will lynch him. In UP even licensed meat shops cannot open without the cop’s protection. Love Jihad lynching, Akhlaq murder etc are the tips of this iceberg
These mobs are behaving merely like parochial Hindus, not like Indian citizens. Not surprisingly this is encouraging the Muslims, Sikhs, Christians to assert their identities rather than sub-merge them underneath the overarching, broad, unifying national identity. Any possibility of adopting a Uniform Civil Code now appears either distinct or dictatorial.
The Hindutva brigade is writing the script of divisiveness reminiscent of the pre-partition Hindu Mahasabha politics. The consequences can be drastic for the nation as a whole. And for its integration.
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?
You foist my sworn and proven enemies upon me and expect me to respect such leadership, and love my motherland? Sorry, you don’t care for my sensitivity. And I intend to ignore yours.
So, who am I? A proud Indian and a great friend of Hindus. But who are you? An Indian – or a Hindu?
But how will I behave? As a Muslim first, or as an Indian first? Depends on how you do. You decide - for me, for us, and for our dear republic.