Truly there has been a change in India over the past couple of years. The language of hatred and intolerance is on the rise. The minorities feel they are no longer a part of the fabric of this great country. It seems as if Gandhiji’s legacy is being buried.
Murders, lynchings and attacks over petty religious or social issues are on the rise. Political activists belonging to fascist organizations are arming their fanatical followers. Recent television footage shows thugs armed with rifles and machetes roaming among crowds at political rallies.
Hate-filled organizations like the RSS and its equally rabid offshoots spew violence. They talk as if India belongs to them only. Churches have been burned, people who have allegedly eaten beef have been lynched, false encounters have been reported and innocent people jailed. Even Gandhi and Nehru are being reviled.
However, the Indian Constitution stands firm promising equality and freedom to all. Among the minorities Muslims, Dalits and Christians have suffered the most and in that order.
However, they should not feel aggrieved and resort to foolhardy tactics that will play into the hands of the fascist leaders of the RSS and other splinter organizations the majority of whose followers are illiterates.
Muslims are part and parcel of India, its heritage and its political and economic history. So let them not be alarmed and be defensive. It is their home and they should have faith in their Constitution and political process and invest their hearts, souls and minds in India. These words were relayed to Muslims in America, who along with others are passing through a crisis of uncertainty, by Mike Ghouse an activist who focuses on tolerance and understanding. He is the Executive Director of the American Muslim Institution in Washington, DC.
Muslims in India should not indulge in self-pity or grovel in mortification but shed victimhood and connect with the overwhelming majority of Hindus who are secular and want India to be in the forefront of the community of nations. They have to act and work hard and focus on education, raising awareness and instilling a sense of well-being in their community. In a secular society, nationhood comes first no matter what faith one belongs to. Muslims should inculcate the importance of inclusion and act and feel as one with all. They should also remain cool and calm in the face of provocations and not resort to violence.
They should shun ignorant mullahs and self-serving politicians from their own ranks. Education is the key to success along with physical and mental well-being. Let them focus on that and ignore the current political rhetoric which if translated into action will only bring doom. The Constitution of India is a pillar of support. Let them use it. And remember that neither Muslims or others of different faiths are minorities but are full-fledged citizens of a nation that can be an anchor of peace and prosperity.
India belongs to all!
Raise the flag and shout with a full voice – Jai Hind !