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Seeds of poison planted long ago

Author: JS Rajput
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: February 11, 2014
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/oped/seeds-of-poison-planted-long-ago.html

Politicians masquerading as self-styled secularists but really surviving on treating an entire community as hostage to their whims and fancies merely for minor electoral gains, must be shown their rightful place

 The most venomous seeds ever planted in this country must owe its nurturance, care and protection to whatever is still left of the 1885-born grand old political party of India that persistently lays claim of having given India its freedom. It never accepts that it trampled on the very first principle of democracy — to respect the majority view.

 It has never apologised for having deprived Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel of his due: His name was recommended by 13 out of 16 Provincial Congress Committees and Jawaharlal Nehru was not unaware of it. Yet, the latter never offered to step aside. Those who are never tired of eulogising how great a democrat he was could also give a thought to this episode. The dynastic heir-claimants to the legacy, and hence the right to rule, just cannot  persuade people to forget and forgive the damage they have inflicted upon the democratic principles and the miseries forced upon the citizens, particularly the weaker sections and the minorities.

 In the aftermath of Partition and the historically unprecedented transfer of population of the country, it was the foremost responsibility of the Government of the day led by the Congress to strive hard to re-establish social cohesion and religious amity. Instead, Nehru followed his whims and fancies. The greatest icon of pragmatic secularism, Subhas Chandra Bose, and the INA that he created, have never been given their due.

 Personal views and likes and dislikes for individuals persistently overshadowed objectivity in Nehru’s vision. When Purushottam Das Tandon was to fight the election to become the Congress president, Nehru wrote to him: “Your election would mean great encouragement to certain forces in India which I consider harmful”. To Nehru, Tandon was “some kind of a symbol of communal and revivalist outlook”. He never liked Rajendra Prasad either. Both Tandon and Prasad understood India, its ethos and its culture far better than Nehru did.

 Whatever the ‘secularists’ of today may like to propagate, the fact remains that the seeds of communal distrust were sown when the essential provision for a secular state mandated in the Constitution to have a Common Civil Code was ignored in Nehru’s times and ever after. The Hindu Code Bill was enacted, without touching the Muslim personal law. Why? Were reforms not needed there? Who has suffered because of the reversal of the Supreme Court verdict in the Shah Bano case? Was that not a communal act that brought misery to thousands of Muslim women?

 People of India are mature enough to discriminate; they know the communal and the  secular, they know who exploit secularism to the extent of befooling communities and people. Recall the ‘Maut ke saudagar’ remark, which was responded to by the electorate of Gujarat. Now the entire country is busy analysing who are the real culprits of sowing the seeds of poison and doing ‘zeher ki kheti’. It rings the bells of people’s analytical memory, and many recall the famous statement of the Prime Minister: “Muslims have the first right to national resources’.

 Seeds of poison are sown when a Union Minister writes to State Governments that cases against Muslim youths be handled speedily and separately, that none from the community be victimised. The seeds are sown when the State Government of Uttar Pradesh issues a circular for the withdrawal of cases against suspected terrorists, who happen to be Muslims, unilaterally. The seeds of poison are sown when two girls, from similar social and economic backgrounds, are discriminated solely on the basis of religion; one getting certain privileges that are equally necessary for the other. They live as neighbours, come to school as friends, learn together, play together, but are separated for ever by the Government through such injudicious acts that decimate the social fabric forever.

 Apart from the weakened social fabric, the worst sufferer of the communal policy of the self-proclaimed secularists has been the Muslim community. If the predominantly Muslim-dominated areas were provided functional elementary schools that teach in the mother-tongue, provided for with necessary infrastructure and teacher support, the community would have moved far ahead of its current miserable existence — even after the severely-hyped Sachar Committee and Ranganath Misra Committee reports.

  The foundation of India’s dignified existence shall remain unshakable so long the diverse religious communities retain, and continuously strengthen, mutual trust and social cohesion. Together, these must ensure ‘equal respect for all the religions’ as the only way to peaceful living.

 Those masquerading as self-styled secularists but surviving on treating an entire community as hostage to their whims and fancies merely for minor electoral gains, must be shown their rightful place.

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