Hearing a journalist’s petition filed for taking action against a Delhi politician for, allegedly, having made a hate speech, whereby he called upon people to boycott a particular community, Supreme Court made many telling observations.
One was, “where have we reached in the name of a religion, what we have reduced religion to is tragic ….”. Then referring to the alleged hate speech the court remarked, “statements are really very shocking for a country that is to be religion neutral .”
Over the period of time, signals were loud and clear that something has terribly gone wrong with India’s social ecosystem. The Court has confirmed it : “climate of hate prevails in the country .”
There are reasons for the Apex Court to say s . In summer we had to face protest of West Asian countries over a remark made by a spokesperson of a political party which they found derogatory to the Prophet.
There were violent protests within the country as well which resulted in loss to the property and death of an innocent tailor in Rajasthan. We are reminded of last year’s defeat that Indian Cricket team faced at the hands of Pakistan Cricket team, in the ICC T20 Championship played in UAE.
Many Indian fans singled out a player of a particular faith as a fall guy and trolled him with most derogatory comments. When his captain stood by the trolled player the so called ‘nationalists’ didn’t even spare him, and choicest abuses, as also threats to molest his two year old daughter, were hurled on him.
It will do lot of good to the nation if we hear what UN Secretary General, Antonio Gutterres recently told the gathering at Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai. He said: “Diversity is a richness that makes your country great.
That understanding must be nurtured, strengthened and renewed every day by practicing the values of Gandhi: by securing and upholding the rights and dignity of all people, especially the vulnerable: by taking concrete action for inclusion, recognising the enormous value and contributions of multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic societies; by condemning hate speech unequivocally.”
India claims to be a Vishvaw Guru - a global leader - whom people around the world look up to for ‘guidance’. For that to happen it has to be shown, as Secretary –General says, whether India has “increased investment in an inclusive, pluralistic, diverse community and society.”
India, according to him, is in a position to highlight “values and vision of a developing world. It has to renew the commitment to pluralism, sensitivity, empathy towards different religions, languages and cultures: celebrate diversity and not be afraid of it.
RSS Chief, Mohan Baghwat has opened up to the Muslims and expressed faith in the values which are foundational to the India’s constitution.
RSS ideologue Ram Madhav, in a piece written in the Ideas Page of a national daily of 22 Oct, has appreciated the efforts of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) - the Muslim Organization of Indonesia, and Muslim World League (MWL) of Saudi Arabia who are fighting the extremist elements in Islam by emphasising that Islam “understands the existence of religions as a universal design that must be celebrated, since difference, diversity and multiplicity are characteristics of human nature .” It is in the interests of the nation that the Sangh Parivar members get the right message.
Supreme court is not alone in raising the question: thousands of the concerned countrymen have the same question.
These remarks are bound to resonate in the hearts and minds of a vast majority of the country, men and women, who have unwavering faith in sound human values the nation is founded on.
Who genuinely feel concerned on how the surrounding atmosphere is getting communally polluted. Nonetheless, one has hope in the Court when it asked police to take action on its own, without waiting for a n FIR to be lodged - when hate is spewed; or else be ready to face charge of contempt of the Court.
It is more essential that our conversation is purged of the communally toxic vocabulary if things are to be set right .
Having seen what the fundamentalists brought her country to the, Pakistani writer Fahmida Riyaz’s pain drenched lines addressed to us may have a relevance :
Tum bilkul hum jaisey nikley
Aab tak khan chupay thay
Woh murkhta who gamand
Jismein hum ne sadian gwandhi
Akar pohanchey dwaar tuhari
Are badhia bhut badhia
(You have become exactly like us: where were you so far: the foolishness and hubris which consumed centuries of our lives have finally reached your door : stay felicitated )
In Rishi Sunak’s elevation to the post of PM, the British have expressed faith in multiculturalism and appreciated talent , unmindful of parochial considerations .
We may detest Britain for promoting colonialism but it has shown the world its capacity to carry a Colony borne person - of different faith - to a lead position. It is sometimes good to follow a colonial power rather than condemn it in a zeal to parade “ hyper nationalism .”
B L SARAF, former Principal District &Sessions Judge
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.