Monday, August 30, 2010

The Secular Nation That We Are II

Initially named as Indian Communalism this write up was composed at least two and a half years back. And my present day views have changed to a huge extent. However I put this up on my blog to share with my readers and friends, not just a view but also a transition, of which I am the product.
Anything about a countries political scenario has to have a resemblance with the country’s CONSTITUTION. And when we talk about Indian communalism the constitution itself is questioned. It is an interesting fact that the country that boasts of being secular in the international forum did not define themselves in the same way till 1976, which is till thirty years after independence. And funnily even after the forty-second amendment the word was mentioned only in the preamble and nowhere else. So does it reflect some kind of hypocrisy that a country was based on principles of secularism and did not have the word in their constitution for thirty years, and when it was finally introduced the word was singularly restricted within the ambit of the preamble only? These facts are enough to give rise to a sense of insecurity and confusion for many who still loves to think that “Mother India” loves all her children equally.
But the sense of pessimism has been encouraged again and again. Sometimes through the Sikh riots and sometimes through the incidents like Babri Masjid. And horribly enough even with India stepping in the 21st century with a never before economic growth rate elections in India can be easily won by playing the “hindutva” card. Narendra Modi a person who brought so much development to the state of Gujarat was not assured by his hard work but was satisfied with the knowledge of strategic communal politics in order to ensure that he will be called back in the state legislative for the next five years again. In very vivid words it is a matter of shame how the legislature and the politicians have been cheating the common Indian for a prolonged period. Corruption and all other issues are undoubtedly black spots on the nation but compromising with the very principles on which the nation was built is simply unacceptable. More so when the compromise is invited on grounds of humanitarian ethics.
The only places where a lot of communal harmony could be seen are places like Goa , West-Bengal, Kerala and Tripura and few more. What is to be noted in this regard is that barring a few exceptions these states have never recorded much of communal violence. But while highlighting on the peace procedures, one can easily make out the amount of communalism hidden. In Bengal for instance a large amount of discontent is growing within the mass as the government in order, not to disturb the peace has given unofficial relaxations to the religious minorities. For example the police department will make sure that no Hindu festivals use sound boxes after a time span, where as the complaints regarding the namaaz readings on mike round the clock has gone un-attended. So this is a clear situation where the government trying to portray secular ideas end up giving rise to communal dis-satisfaction.
It is indeed a rosy picture to see that a Sikh Prime Minister who was sworned in by a Muslim President is ruling the nation which is massively Hindu dominated. It gives people a sense of superiority when someone says India still has a bigger Muslim population than Pakistan which separated from the mainland with an intention of raising an Islamic nation. But the key point to be addressed is, are we doing enough to safeguard the principles that once encouraged our freedom fighters to risk their lives for the liberty. A time is coming when people will start recognising that their constitution shows them what they want to see and sheds of its responsibility after that without truly believing in them. The only hope is even if the legislature, the politicians and the executive keep on showing traits of communalism in their actions, the common Indian is still secular from deep inside.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Elections to wash the "June-Sin"

The present situation in Kashmir is unlikely to pacify due to a certain speech by the Prime Minister. However it was heartening to learn that the Indian Authorities are making an attempt to calm the boiling blood of the Valley.

In an Urdu speech broadcasted on the 10th of June in the Valley, the Prime Minister is seen to have come out in the open for the first time since 11th August. Some Credit has to go to Mr Jaitley, the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, who unequivocally criticised the Prime Minister for his "Conspiracy of Silence" on the issue ever since 11th June, in the morning, on the floor of the House. The least that can be expected from the leader of the government, while regular curfews have become a way of life in a part of the country is some concern and an attempt to solve the issue. And silence hardly encourages any of these steps from being taken. However even though two months late, but finally the Prime Minister has come out in the open and have issued a statement regarding the situation in Kashmir. As some would say "better late than never". Cant comment on the validity of such excuses when it comes to the responsibilities of the nation on its Prime Minister though!!

However the "Late Speech", a welcome effort, from the Prime Minister bases itself on two major contentions. Firstly he proposes the idea of early Local Elections in Kashmir to bolster the faith of the population on its government and secondly he wants to encourage the Kashmiri youth into Indian Politics, through the youth wings of different political parties enjoying some sort of relevance in Kashmir. Even though it is a welcome effort by the Prime Minister but it portrays his failure to understand the cause behind such mass uproar.

Certain Facts to this Effect:

  1. It all started when a 17 year old local lad named Tufail Ahmed Mattoo died on his way back from the Friday prayers after being hit by a tear gas shell shot by the CRPF on June 11. ( Does anybody remember the Jalianwallah Masacre?)
  2. June 12th Rafiq Ahmed Bangaroo beaten to death by CRPF near his residence.
  3. Sopore witnesses brutal murder of Shakeel Ghanai and Firdous Khan aged 17 and 18 years respectively on June 25.
  4. 22 year old Bilawal Ahmed Wani shot in Sopore just two days later.
  5. A day later, Tajamul Bashir(20) and Tauqeer Rather(9) were killed in Delina and Sopore
  6. Following day CRPF firing kills Ishtiyaq Ahmed(15), Imtiyaz Ahmed Itoo(17) and Shujat ul Islam(17)

Ten young kashmiris murdered in less than 20 days is the ground reality in Kashmir and the Prime Minister wants to involve the Kashmiri youth in politics. The dead surely cant join and so goes their interest if any, and for the ones who are surviving them are surely not encouraged by the reality. May be they still cannot appreciate the factual situation in a rather ignorant way, the privilege to which lies only with the Prime Minister.

And more importantly the State needs to understand that elections can't wash away the sin committed by this disregard towards Human Blood. It is an earnest request that, the irresponsible field commanders of these CRPF regiments be brought to justice immediately as that is the only way that some faith could be reposed in the Valley.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Secular Nation That We Are

Citizens heavily rely on the Preamble of the Indian Constitution atleast when it comes to the "secular nation" issue. Actually thats all they have to rely on, to be honest. Gujarat and its 2002 genocide surely does not help the secular argument and nor does the recently passed Karnataka Anti Cow Slaughter Bill. Infact the presence of right wing parties like that of BJP in the Indian Parliament itself is enough to portray how secular India is.

But unfortunately for pseudo secularists even the Constitution shys away from talking about any secular principle elsewhere apart from the non binding part that we have already exaggerated much due to lack of alternatives. Rather it would be interesting to study Article 290A of our Constitution which obligates certain States to reserve funds for Trusts taking care of Hindu Temples. OH I AM SO SORRY!!!! Thats supposed to be ok, because according to practice in the Indian Courts a Hindu would mean a Jain, Sikh and Budhists too. Who cares if they dont like being tagged under another religious identity just because they are not comfortable, ultimately no one will dare raise their voice against our practice and even if they do it will just be another of those ruthless suppressions of freedom of speech and expression which would highlight the headlines of certain dailies for a few days untill the issue loses its sensationalising aspect with time.

So much for the love of our Constitution and its principles of equality and non-discrimination on religious grounds. After all we are supposed to be a "Secular Nation" .