Column

India began as a plural democracy; respect for diversity was the core value. The provisions of safeguards for minorities were in built. These safeguards were formulated by the Constituent Assembly’s committee on Minorities headed by Sardar Patel. Seven decades down the lines where do we stand in matters of security and economic welfare of the religious minorities. Most of the inquiry commission

India currently is in the grip of ‘constructed Hate’. This in turn has led to violence against vulnerable sections of society, particularly religious minorities and dalits. As such one understands that love is a natural phenomenon and Hatred is generally a phenomenon constructed around misconceptions about the targeted sections of society. These targeted sections of society have to bear the brunt

Netaji Subhashchandra Bose’s birth anniversary was marked by various events this year (January 23). His portrait was unveiled by the President in Rashtrapati Bhavan. It was declared that his anniversary will be celebrated as Parakram Divas (Bravery day). Railway Minister announced the renaming of Howrah-Kalka Mail as Netaji Express. Mamta Bannerjee in contrast stated that his anniversary will be celebrated as Dehs Nayak Divas (National Hero Day). Through word of mouth propaganda and the social media BJP and company is spreading the falsehood that Congress did not honor Bose and that Bose supported Hindutva.

As per the recent communiqué from Chief Minister of Haryana M.L. Khattar’s, the Government of Haryana has decided to change the name of Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan Hospital in Faridabad to Atal Bihari Vajpayee Hospital. So far we have witnessed the name changes by present ruling dispensation aplenty. Most of these changes involved the changing of names of roads/cities, which had names of Muslim rulers. Aurangzeb Road was changed to APJ Abdul Kalam, Allahabad to Prayagraj, Mughal Sarai to Pundit Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Faizabad to Ayodhya. In recent elections in Hyderabad the UP Chief Minister Adiyanath Yogi said name of Hyderabad should be changed to Bhgyanagar. Shiv Sena, which was a long time ally of BJP, has been calling for name change of Aurangabad, Ahmadnagar, and Pune among others. While Shiv Sena has woken up to electoral advantages of name change from Muslim rulers names to Hindu rulers lately, BJP is adept to this game and playing it to the hilt. Its major propaganda has been against Muslim Kings (Temple destruction, forcible conversion, oppression of Hindu women etc.) and reflected on the present Muslim community.

Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020, passed by UP on 27th November 2020, has set the ball rolling. On one hand many other BJP ruled states like MP and Haryana are activating their machinery to bring in similar law in their states and on the other at social level many interfaith couples are being subjected to harassment, some of the Muslim men in particular

Word ‘anti-National’ has been more in vogue form last few years. Simply put all those who are criticizing the RSS and its progeny are labeled as anti-National. As fountainhead of Hindu Nationalism RSS is becoming stronger, it has been trying to link patriotism and religion. While hailing Hindus for their loyalty to this nation, the subtle hints are being circulated about Muslims in particular that they are more loyal to Pakistan. In cleverly worded articulation, (HT Jan 02, 2020) the chief of RSS, Mohan Bhagwat said that Hindus are patriotic by nature due to their religion. He also twists a sentence of Gandhi to state that Gandhi’s patriotism had its origin in Hindu religion, “All Indians worship motherland. But Gandhi said my patriotism comes from my religion. So if you are a Hindu then you will be an automatic patriot. You may be an unconscious Hindu, you may need awakening, but a Hindu will never be anti-India.”

Indian Constitution gives us the right to practice, preach and propagate our religion. To not to follow any religion is also a matter of right for the individual. Now in our country as we are facing declining GDP, worsening economic situation, rising prices-unemployment-farmers suicides and currently farmer’s agitation, some of our state Governments are more worried about the interfaith marriages and conversions. Some of them are busy putting forth the laws to prevent conversions. As such conversions have been nagging issue since last few decades but currently they are being attributed as the goal behind inter faith marriages. BJP ruled states and particularly UP, are busy formulating the laws to punish those who are involved in the process of conversions. Parallel to the efforts of state Governments, the vigilante groups are having a gala time harassing couples to ‘save their religion’!

In the process of formation of the nation one of the major pillars is the concept of Fraternity. The words, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity are flagship of French revolution, the revolution which overturned the feudal system,

From last three decades or so the debate comes up intermittently as to whether Congress and BJP are two sides of the same coin. Many political parties; time and over again; have been taking up this formulation as a justification for Third front, which is away from BJP and Congress both. In previous Bengal elections Congress-Left coalition did come up but could not muster a victory against Trinmool Congress. Currently such a choice is posed by many dalit parties and lately such a formulation is being proffered by AIMIM, Asaduddin Owaisi’s party.

Recently binge-watched a six part mini series directed by Mira Nair on Netflix, titled “A Suitable Boy”, an adaptation of Vikram Seth’s novel of the same title. And while I am neither a movie critic or reviewer, nor a fan of watching series with a backdrop of the post Independence era, I was still moved to write about it. To lay down my emotions on paper with nothing but words. It isn’t extra-ordinary, or brilliantly amazing, neither the characters are made to grow on you nor the plot is meticulously twisted, then what was it, you may ask.