After a really long time, on a good weekend, finally I reached the fabled Usman Road and Ranganathan Street in T. Nagar. The place was nothing short of a concentration camp (may be a tad too exaggerative). The path leading from the sub-urban railway station to the main road was a suffocating journey. I needn’t have actually walked, I could stay there and the crowd would push me forward. “Soochi kuththan polum idamilla” as the saying goes in Malayalam. You don’t have a place to even stick a needle on the ground. One would assume, the saying was created keeping Ranganathan Street in mind.
And then my mind started thinking something really gruesome – about terror attacks. One assault would have triggered a massive disaster in the place. T Nagar commercial area is the most crowded place in Chennai, where people from all walks of life and economic strata go for their purchase. In Deepavali days, the crowd would be a lot worse. A terror attack would be fatal to one and all present there, considering the number of people who visit the place, the number of shops present there and the swelling crowd which also surrounds the main shopping region. Not only will the crowd be affected in an unimaginably horrifying way, but also the resulting stampede around the commercial area would cause further chaos. I was not able to stay there longer, with all these horrifying thoughts, and I left.
This is just one example, how in a perverse way, the Islamic terrorists have entered the psyche of Indian population. Everyday people are living in fear, if not in a blatantly explicit way, at least in the deep recesses of their minds. As depicted poignantly in “A Wednesday”, those travelling in sub-urban railways do not know if they are going to meet each other the next day. And why do we fear; just because a set of Muslim fundamentalists want to wage Jihad on non-Muslims? Is that it? I find it ridiculous that India, one of the most progressive nations in the world, with as much state welfare-ism and entitlement-based schemes a nation can have; a nation in which the discrimination towards its minorities, if not non-existent, is positively low; is subjected to such gruesome and inhuman acts. Not one citizen of India finds any justification as to why we, of all the people, who are here in a corner of the world, trying to mind our own business, trying to cope up with our irresponsible politicians, with more than half the population struggling to meet another day’s end; should suffer at the hands of some lunatics, just because they think they have been told to do so by some heavenly ordain. We don’t want yet another burden, thank you, we are miserable enough.
When situation in India reeks of such a terrorist threat at any point of time, is it abnormal that there is a sense of alienation and fear? Let us take RSS as an example. When Nathuram Godse got arrested in connection with Mahatma Gandhi’s murder, it was found that he was a member of RSS. RSS was subsequently banned by Jawaharlal Nehru and Savarkar was politically and socially ostracized by the ruling elites. None of the “national leaders” even attended the funeral ceremony of this nationalist leader. Did we see media preaching to others, asking everyone to be kind to RSS, because although Nathuram Godse may have been a member, he was not one at the time of the assassination and that there is a good possibility that the Sangh may not have had a hand in the Gandhiji’s murder? Did anyone preach that such a phobia is uncalled for? Did someone pinpoint the sheer scale of social work that RSS has been involving it in? Not then, not now. We only have self-indulgent journalists of the likes of Sagarika Ghose, trying to doubt what the Sangh conspires, even when they are helping the terrified North Eastern people to go back home. She asked “Why [is the] RSS [the] self-appointed protector of NE students? Where are [the] law and order, police and state machinery? What’s the hidden agenda here?” The same media shamelessly broadcasted how Muslim clerics and members from Muslim communities were helping these hapless Indians. This is not to be misconstrued that Muslims should not be shown by the media as kind-hearted accommodating people. Focus was not on the fact that North Easterners were leaving because they were being threatened by Muslim fanatics, but that since RSS is doing its very best to help them, i.e. since RSS being “overtly helpful” they must be cooking up some nasty conspiracy inside the Sangh Parivar National Instability and Saffron Terrorism Private Ltd.
At this point, let us, including the Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and every other people of all religions, let us ask ourselves as Indians, what is the Muslim leadership doing to allay the fear that they care more about the nation than about Jihad, than about what is happening to Muslims of other nation? Any topic which deals with such a question will be met with the standard response “Why should Muslims prove their patriotism? We need not prove anything to anyone. We are as much Indians as anyone is and we don’t need a certificate of Indian-ness from a bunch of right wingers.” A very admirable defence and it is to be appreciated. But remember that from time immemorial the onus lies on wrong doers to prove that they have straightened themselves. The onus is on Germany to say that they do not hate Jews, it is not the other way round, the onus is on Israel to prove that they don’t have a pathological hatred for Palestinian Muslims instead of other way round, the onus is on the whites to show that they are not racists, the onus is on Muslims to show us that they care for India most and religion later. After all it is not as if Muslims are a historically wronged group like the people from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The incidents which have been lately cropping up, reminiscent of the 1990s when the appeasement and the concept of Muslim martyrdom were at its peak, show that nothing has changed in 20 years, and if possible, it has worsened with the 8 year rule of UPA. Let us see some example.
“Jam ait-e-Ulema Hind or the JEU on Tuesday issued a fatwa against singing national song ‘Vande Mataram’ saying in their resolution that Muslims should not sing ‘Vande Mataram’ as it’s reciting is against the Islam. The resolution, which was passed at the Deoband national convention meet, says that Muslims should not sing ‘Vande Mataram’ as some verses of the patriotic song are against the tenets of Islam. The JEU leader said that the some of the line in the song is against Islam.” said a Times of India article. The sad part is that Hon. Home Minister of India, Mr. P Chidamabaram was right there on the stage when such resolutions were announced. Congress responded in its ever apologetic tone, reserved for appeasing Muslim anger since time immemorial, “This is a very sensitive issue. It is our national song. And there are also religious sentiments attached. Keeping in mind all these facts, the issue should not be made controversial” Standard argument is as given by Mr. Kamal Farooqui, SP leader and a member of Muslim Law Board: “We love the nation but can’t worship it”, and it follows the same mould as that of the leader of the erstwhile Samata Party, Syed Sahabuddin’s comment “I do not consider it devta.I respect it. I do not worship it.”
Written on 2nd October 2012
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