I have been maintaining the argument for quite some time that the major reason for keeping the atmosphere in the country constantly charged with emotions is to keep the attention of the people away from the Second Round of Privatisation, which is being pursued by the Government. The media, which is nothing but an extension of the forces of economics, especially the corporate, is playing its game to the perfection. Every day, they find one remark or other other by one leader or the other, and come afternoon, the debates start. One channel after the other invites panels of individuals expected to have a go at one another. There are allegations and counter allegations and shouts and counter-shouts against each other, and the temperatures in the country keep running high.
Communalism is the most potent heater to ensure rise in temperatures with caste politics and the recent debates on nationalism providing the additional heat. The debate on nationalism is also being purposely sought to create doubts about the Muslims of the country. BJP, RSS and VHP spokesmen do not forget to take the names of Afzal Guru, Yaqub Memon, Kasab and Hafiz Saeeds in single breath. They forget the names of Thenmozhi Rajaratnam, also known as Dhanu. V Sriharan alias Murugan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan, AG Perarivalan alias Arivu, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Nalini, the killers of the Former Prime Minter of the country, Rajeev Gandhi. Some of them may already be planning to make temples in their names. They are already eulogising Godse. And of course they will never remember the names of Aseemanands. And the names of those responsible for the riots after Babri Masjid destruction, Nellie in Assam and hundreds of other riots will never surface. They also do not know the names of the leaders of Naxalites, Maoists and other organisations, which are responsible for more than 95 per cent of terrorist related deaths in the last three decades. If the Left makes a comeback, they will be quick to label them leftists forgetting that they are Hindus according to Census.
In personal matters or the matters related to communities, they have to be assured freedom. If things will be imposed, there are always dangers to the unity. The real unity comes not through symbols but through actions that make all the countrymen healthy, prosperous and peaceful.
The latest issue is the controversy around the slogan of “Bharat Mata ki Jay”. While Assaduddin Owaisi cannot be condoned for using a public platform and using inflammatory rhetoric to say what could have been said in simple words, the hullabaloo against it smacks of some on-going ill designs to provoke riots. While it may be right that there seems to be no reason why “Bharat Mata” can be called Haram in Islam, the truth remains that such symbolisations and exaggerated venerations are the part of the Hindu and not the Islamic culture. It is not that metaphors are not there in Islamic literature. Wine is called “Ummul Khabaais”, the Mother of Evils. Quran compares wives with farms indicating that wives are the source of the survival of the mankind; the more you care of them the better will be the results. But Islam and Muslims do not like a culture of bowing the way Hindu culture does. For Hindus, cow is mother, country is mother. For us our real mothers are the mothers and inanimate objects cannot take a position over them. In Islam, God alone is worshipped, and Muslims bow to none but God because in the universe, human beings are second to none but God. Every other object is meaner than a human being. So there is no question of bowing before them or giving them any hint of sacredness. For Muslims, Sun, Moon, Stars, Land, Nation and animals — all are made to be subservient to mankind, and they worship not them but their creator. For Hindus, all these are sacred worth worshipping. In Hindu culture, touching the feet of elders is prevalent; Muslims prefer to pray for everybody, younger or older, through Salam, the prayer of peace.
The question is not: what is wrong in saying “Bharat Maata ki Jay”. The Question is: What is wrong in saying simply Bharat ki Jay or Jay Hind or Jay Bharat? What is the logic in comparing the land to the mother and in insisting on any one logic? Someone may say: Why not Bharat Pita, especially because in Hindi grammar Bharat is male not female. “Bharat achha (not acchi) desh hai”. The bigger question is: Will this country be run only according to the traditions and culture of one community. Do Muslims not have the right to have a say in deciding the symbols and songs of the nation. If the unity of the nation is the ultimate aim, its objectives, its symbols, flags, anthems and its common laws will have to be such as do satisfy all the groups in the country. They should be such that everybody not only feels proud of them but enjoys using them. If the words used in them create doubts in the minds of some people owing to their convictions, it will serve no purpose. In personal matters or the matters related to communities, they have to be assured freedom. If things will be imposed, there are always dangers to the unity. The real unity comes not through symbols but through actions that make all the countrymen healthy, prosperous and peaceful.