‘Muslims have 150 countries to go to, Hindus have only India’: Gujarat CM / 'Insects Out & Squirming Means Medicine Works': BJP Secy on Protests

NB: I write this primarily for the young protestors of today, as well as those who might be confused by the governments (and the Sangh Parivars') propaganda. Its is necessary to see how ill-informed, illogical and deceitful this propaganda is, because it is being propagated by responsible persons bent upon creating more tension in Indian society. High officials of state do not normally create hatred among those who have given them a mandate to rule. But that is what we have come to expect from this government. This is the most cruel, deceitful and brutal government of India that I have seen in my life. And they mistake their cleverness for wisdom. I am posting these comments to help my fellow Indians see through this poisonous atmosphere.

Kuryad vidvams tatha saktas cikirsur lokasamgraham - The disinterestedly wise ought to desire the holding together of all being..(Bhagwadgita III 25) . Evil, I think, is the absence of empathy: Captain G. M. Gilbert, US Army psychologist , Nuremberg trials, 1945-49. 

In my youth (most notably in the year 1968) there was another worldwide uprising. One slogan from the Berkeley campus remains relevant today: If you don't like the news go out and make some of your own. The current upsurge in India is the biggest since 1974; and it also resonates with a mass movement for action on global warming, for democracy and human rights everywhere. (Incidentally, in 1974, Jayaprakash Narayan asked serving IAS and IPS officers to disregard illegal orders: this was the trigger for the Emergency). All political action is not submerged in issues of identity - look around you and see that there are other movements too. Hong Kong and the Climate Strike, for example. Remember that the HK popular protest has faced off a totalitarian regime.

 We need to overcome divisiveness - remember, the politics that seek to play upon the worst human instincts, toward blind hatred and prejudice - are leading us toward extinction. Not toward military glory, nor national greatness, but massive pollution of water, soil and air, death and destruction. Give it up, it will not lead to a bright future, but only darkness.

The Gujarat CM's observations illuminates the Sangh Parivar's view of the world: nations are identified by religion, and anyone of xyz religion can or will be at home in a country whose religion is the same as theirs. This is nonsense, and flies against political reality. (And do we even needto comment on his arithmetic: 150 countries for Muslims to go to? Really?) Would a Christian from Nigeria be at home in say, Mexico? (presuming he/she were allowed to come and camp there?)  Why has the Trump administration debarred immigrants from Latin American countries (most of whom must have been Christians) from seeking refuge in the USA? Is the UK's choice of Brexit an example of Christian solidarity? Doesn't it indicate that languages and cultures are more important determinants of nationality than religion?

 If there were any Islamic religious solidarity why would the Turkish government ruthlessly oppress Kurds? Why would the Kurdish resistance fight against ISIS? Why has the Saudi goverment launched a bloody war against Yemen? Are all these countries' borders open to any Muslim from anywhere? Why are there 2.3 million Hindus in the USA? Why has the Hindu share of the US population doubled in 10 years?

The utterances of our leaders have reached the depths of vulgarity and shamelessness. They regularly refer to members of religious minorities (especially Muslims) and all those who criticise or oppose them as sub-humans. The Home Minister of India referred to illegal migrants as termites during this years election campaign (he was then president of the BJP). The BJP Gujarat Secretary refers to opponents of the CAB as insects. This kind of language is typical of Nazis and racists.

Our Prime Minister, no less, tells us we can recognise protestors by their dress. (There are lacs of demonstrators who cannot be identified by appearance: see this young man show his Hindu sacred thread to a policeman). Why have they lost all shame? Why have they discarded even the pretence of decency? Is this the Sangh Parivars' preferred culture? Is this the civilisational revival that appeals to their followers?  To show you the difference between decency and meanness, between a truly great man and these petty tyrants, read this moving letter by a father to his newborn daughter: Baldev SinghMann: ‘My darling daughter!’ And this letter by the 1995 Nobel Prize Winner for Literature: Advice to the Young

 It is blatantly false to say the people cannot be victims of persecution if they share a religion with the oppressors. Pakistan's history of full of examples of its government persecuting Pakistani Muslims - the prime example being the run-up to the emergence of Bangladesh. Were not East Pakistanis (both Muslim and Hindu) murdered in thousands by the Pak military? (Some readers have accused me of ignorance or dishonesty as regards the 1971 East Pakistan genocide. Actually I lived through that period and left the Naxalite movement in protest against the CPI(ML)'s refusal to face reality. Those who wish to study the matter further may read the world famous report by the former Assistant Editor of The Morning News, Karachi, that first exposed the genocide. Indeed, the Pak Army deliberately targeted Hindus; but they also attacked Bengali Muslim supporters of the Awami League, Dhaka University students, intellectuals and ordinary people in their thousands. After it was all over, Bihari Muslims were slaughtered by Awami Leaguers and others. It was a horrific episode; why should we justify the motives of our government by deliberately falsifying the known facts from 1971?) Did not the Khalistanis murder Sikhs who opposed their politics? Was not Mahatma Gandhi murdered by a Hindutva fanatic whom some of the Sangh Parivar still revere as a great patriot? And here's something to read in case readers wish to think about Kashmir.

Nations cannot be identified by the religious affiliation of their citizens. The UK is headed toward break-up, because sooner or later, Scotland will attain independence; and Northern Ireland will merge with the Irish Republic. Christianity will not keep the UK united, just as Islam could not keep Pakistan united. The Tsarist Empire of the 19th century was held together not by religion but by loyalty to the Tsar. After its mid-century decline evident in the Crimean War, the government adopted the policy of Russification; meant to impose Russian language and Orthodox Christianity upon the peoples of the multi-ethnic empire. This attempt signified an internal weakness, and led to greater tensions, which ended in the collapse of the Empire in 1917.

 Any attempt to impose religious homogeneity as a determinant of Indian citizenship, and political uniformity upon Hindus to satisfy the moronic utopia of the RSS is bound to lead to social and political disintegration (the real tukde-tukde gang are the people in power). The RSS says it considers the entire Indian population to be Hindu: suppose all of us are not agreeable to your definition, then what follows? Violence and intimidation? (note the tone of ownership). Why should we love only India's forests and rivers, and not the Amazon, the Pacific, and the Arctic, all of which are in terrible danger from global warming? Is there Hindu air, Hindu water, Hindu earth? Why do you persist with this nonsense when the earth is on fire? We cannot nationalise God. Niether can we nationalise the air, the oceans, and time itself -  and we are running out of all three. India does not need to follow the (failed) European concept of homogeneous nation-states. (More on this failure may be read here).

Aside from arguments about identity, consider this: in a country where corruption is so widespread, at all levels, imagine what will happen when millions of poor people are asked to produce documentation of residency etc. The whole scheme will become, in this analysis (with which I agree), a sinkhole of corruption. (I would use the term extortion). In addition, it will become the Indian version of Pakistan's infamous blasphemy law: once someone is accused of being an infiltrator, their life will be in ruins.

All this leads one to think about the motives of the government. Why have they done this? And their hatred of criticism is glaring. In September this year, Mr Modi went to the USA and shouted Abki baar Trump sarkar at a rally; but at home, a German student is asked to leave the country for holding up a poster.

I salute all the protesting students and youth, ask them to reach out and make alliances with people young and old, with workers and peasants, families and friends. Remain non-violent, stand up for inclusive democracy, non-violent protest and a more humane and sensible economy. Try and meet and give moral and material help to people who have been injured or traumatised by police action. Many will also need legal assistance.

 A cautionary word: do not let ‘isms’, icons and partisan loyalty hinder united action. There are bound to be differences about capitalism and caste, community and gender. Bhagat Singh, Ambedkar, Gandhi, Nehru, Subhas Bose etc., were great personages, but no one is or was infallible. We may carry on a debate whilst remaining focussed on the issues before us. Democracy and socio-economic reforms are for living people, not those who have gone. Remember them, but do not attach their names to yours. Think for yourselves. This is my considered advice after decades of political activism

 Keep making news of your own! The world is watching

The Compass We Lost  

Love at work - Mahatma Gandhi's Last Struggle  

Bapu tujhko salaam

Soutik Biswas: Rare pictures of the last 10 years of Gandhi's life


Anil Nauriya: The making of Gandhi in South Africa and after

Martin Luther King on Mahatma Gandhi: "My Pilgrimage to Nonviolence", September 1958

Do our leaders want to certify political assassination?

ANIL NAURIYA: Manufacturing Memory

The Supreme Court, Gandhi and the RSS

The Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi: Inquiry Commission Report (1969)The Abolition of truth

Ayush Chaturvedi: Main Gandhi ke saath hun // Samar Halarnkar: In the time of Godse, a search for Hindus who will stand with Gandhi

Rabindranath Tagore's essay on the cult of the nation

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