By Chandramohan Kakati
It is really a matter of serious concern that climate of intolerance over the years has caused immense damage to Indian polity. The whole world and more particularly the South East Asia boasts of Indian Civilization and its contribution to world peace. Most importantly, the Indus valley civilization and the Brahmaputra Valley civilization had indelibly imprinted in the psyche of Indian people to live with peace and amity leaving no room for religious hatred towards each other. Epics Ramayan and Mahabharat and the quintessence of Gita have always shown the path of non-violence of Indians from times immemorial and after oncoming of people having faith in Islam and Christianity, etc., Indian society has become a unified house following the tenets of Quran, Bible. People in various segments of society professing faith in other religions imbued with high ideals to live with love, compassion and harmony have always been influenced by the path shown by saints like Tulsi Das, Bhakta Kabir, Srimanta Sankardev, Guru k, Chaitydev, Sankaracharyya, etc. Are we not the proud descendants of these great Indian saints ? Can we now forget their high ideals including the path shown by Mahamab Mahatma Gandhi and Abul Kalam Azad and also Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Gafur Khan ? Not hankering after pelf and power, Mahatma Gandhi spent sleepless nights at Noakhali to cement the bond of friendship between Hindus and Muslims. But the recent happenings in the sacred soil of India have caused constertions amongst the peace-loving Indians witnessing hatred between the two communities which slurred the Indian society as a whole. During the rule of Mughals, rulers never called India as "Islamisthan' but 'Hindusthan' only and even the Britishers too, never dared to declare India as complete British Empire in true sense of the term and showed utmost respect to the cultural and religious ethos of Indian people.
Sacrilegious activities should always be viewed with supreme disdain and cowardly onslaught on the citadel of human decencies is condemble since we born as man and shall die as man. Here it comes to my mind what Guru k had said centuries back.'There is neither a Hindu nor a Muslim, but only man.' Our much revered saint Srimata Sankardev also made no attempt to force his religion on others but appealed to their inner feelings and moreso, he made no attempts to change the food habits of those (Muslim, Garo, ga, Jaintia, Kachari, Bodo, Mishing etc.) who became his disciples and thereby Sankardev earned the reputation of being a mentor of Universal Brotherhood. Truly speaking, there is no place for religious bigotry in India's composite culture. We are all proud products of ancient civilization basked in the humane love, affection and compassion touching the right chord to live peacefully in colourful diversity.
Before Dadri lynching incident many more stray incidents having commul undertone had taken place that include killing of rendra Dabalkar in Pune in the month of August, 2013, murder of Marathi writer Gobinda Pansare, renowned writer and Vice-Chancellor M. Kulburgi have tarnished the image of India in the eye of the world. Can we forget why Salman Rushdie being denied to participate in the World Literacy Meet that was held in Jaipur a few years back and recent disapprovat of Shivse to Gulam Ali of Pakistan to attend a function at Mumbai are some of the acts exposing sinister designs of the fatics. Ban on the novel of Salman Rushdie 'Satanic Verses' was also a clear case of intolerance by Congress Government about 27 years back. No government should tolerate such acts which vandalized the colourful fabric of Indian society. But at the sametime, it is better not to politicize the issues for larger interest of India's composite culture. Government at the centre should leave no stone unturned to rein in the perpetrators and bring them to justice. In fact, Prime Minister rendra Modi's stoic silence over the matter of growing intolerance is reprehensible which complicates the issues further inviting inevitable criticisms from all quarters. We cannot expect our respected P.M. to become a self proclaimed master of hype. If it so, his self-aggrandizement will definitely be reflective of his politics. Democratically elected Prime Minister in his day to day functioning should see that effective and timely steps are taken to curb any violence resulting out of action of the fatics so that liberty of the people is not jeopardized. Dictatorial functioning is not expected from him by the people of India. Against the backdrop of his enigmatic silence over the present climate of intolerance in the country, the remark of Martin Luther King Jr. is very much relevant to quote as follows : 'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.'…. Claiming to be a true follower of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabbhai Patel, P.M. Modiji should or ought to have expressed deep concern about the recent incidents of intolerance and meaningful action is taken to curb the malaise of killing of humans in the me of religion, gagging of freedom of expression and changing of food-habits. Cosmetic statement by Union Fince Minister Arun Jaitley while reacting to those who had since returned their tiol Awards cannot be digested by us and his comment will rather embolden the fatics of different hues to make the common people divide on commul lines. Irresponsible and controversial comments by some other Union Ministers and MPs of various political parties plus some adherents of RSS have fuelled the flame of distrust and disharmony which may engulf the entire country in the long run much detriment to the composite culture and common thread of unity in India.
Similarly, political parties and particularly more vociferous Congress should desist from politicizing the situation forgetting about so many ethnic and fratricidal killings that had taken place during the time of their long rule since Independence. What about the hapless Kashmiri Pandits ? Can they forget about the plight of more than 4 lakhs Kashmiri Pandits who had since migrated to Jammu and Delhi out of fear due to barbaric atrocities perpetrated on them and 11 thousand killed in the carge during that turmoil period. If I am not mistaken, only one family of Kashmiri Pandit returned to Kashmir valley as of now. That apart , killing of 4000 sikhs(in1984) in broad-day light in Delhi is a clear pointer to the carge during Congress rule.
We support the concern voiced by some Sahitya Academy Awardees and Padma Awardees against the present climate of intolerance after Dadri lynching incident and murder of three intellectuals which is no doubt a symbolic show, but ' am frank enough to mention that they remained silent over the years when similar incidents had taken place during the time of UPA regime and thus we smell a rat in the whole blame-game :…..
However, entire Indian population should guard against the threat to our common thread of unity in diversity, growing intolerance and infringement of freedom of expression and food-habits. Nobody expects that tolerance tussle escalates. Our vibrant Prime Minister rendra Modi should read the writings on the wall keeping in mind what Swami Vivekanda told : ' It is better to wear out than rust out.' Equally important, the massive mandate given by the Indian people should not be lost right of by Shri Modi remembering the beautiful words of Jimmy Durantee : 'Be nice to people on your way-up because you meet them on your way-down.'
The soul of India lies in tolerance.
(The writer is a former Deputy Commissioner)