IN THE NAME OF MA­HATMA

Alive - - Editorial -

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi seems to oc­ca­sion­ally have stings of con­science and blurts out against the Hin­dutva agenda of Sangh Pari­var. Such an oc­ca­sion was when he re­buked the cow-vig­i­lantes who lynched Mo­hammed Akhlaq in Dadri in Au­gust last year. Then he said the gourak­shaks were 'anti-so­cial' el­e­ments run­ning 'shops' in the name of cow pro­tec­tion.

Af­ter Prime Min­is­ter's rep­ri­mand, it was ex­pected the BJP state gov­ern­ments and their po­lice would act against the cowvig­i­lantes. But noth­ing of the sort hap­pened; lynch­ing and killing of Mus­lims in the name of beef-eat­ing or trans­port­ing cows con­tin­ued quite of­ten. There were even some grum­blings in the RSS camp against Modi re­buk­ing the Gourak­shaks.

And now, Modi had an­other bout of the st­ing of con­science and woke up to the truth. This was at the Sabar­mati Ashram in Gu­rarat es­tab­lished by the apos­tle of truth and non­vi­o­lence, Ma­hatma Gandhi. Ad­dress­ing a pub­lic meet­ing at the Ashram, Modi said: "What are we do­ing? Cow pro­tec­tion and cow wor­ship are some­thing that Ma­hatma Gandhi spoke about... Killing of peo­ple in the name of gaub­hakti is not some­thing Ma­hatma Gandhi would ap­prove. Vi­o­lence never has and will never solve any prob­lem."

The im­me­di­ate provo­ca­tion of Modi's out­burst was the killing of Ju­naid Khan, a 15-year-old on a train in Haryana. The boy, along with his brothers, was com­ing back from Delhi af­ter shop­ping for Eid. Some Hin­dutva en­thu­si­asts de­manded their seats which the Mus­lim brothers con­ceded. But their anger against the Mus­lims did not sub­side; they beat them, pulled Ju­naid out of the train and lynched him ac­cus­ing of hav­ing eaten beef.

If only some lib­eral sec­u­lar in­tel­lec­tu­als and the fee­ble po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion had protested the lynch­ing, Modi would not have minded. But com­mon peo­ple, es­pe­cially the young all over the coun­try ris­ing in protest un­der the tagline #Not­in­my­name con­demn­ing the in­ci­dents in In­dia's cities, wor­ried Modi.

Mean­while, atroc­i­ties against Mus­lims by Gourak­shaks had con­tin­ued un­abated. The BJP- ruled state gov­ern­ments un­der RSS in­flu­ence were par­tial to the Gourak­shaks and en­acted more rules against Mus­lims sus­pected of beef eat­ing.

Sec­u­lar In­dia, un­like Is­lamic state of Pak­istan, is not a Hindu Rash­tra. It is a demo­cratic re­pub­lic. It has mil­lions of Mus­lims, a size­able por­tion of pop­u­la­tion scat­tered all over the coun­try. They can­not be pushed into the Ara­bian Sea or the Bay of Ben­gal. Nor can cre­at­ing an­other Pak­istan is fea­si­ble. Co­ex­is­tence is the only so­lu­tion to In­dia's Mi­nor­ity prob­lem for which the Con­sti­tu­tion has made enough safe­guards.

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