In the month of March this year, a surprising development took place across the political center of India. Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest was chosen as the Chief Minister of India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh. Not many people knew about Yogi Adityanath. After the news was received across social media sites, many old videos of Yogi began to surface. In one of the videos, a speaker is seen asking Hindus to rape dead Muslim women. This is extremely horrifying. In another video, which has lakhs of views on YouTube (which Yogi would not have expected, of course, except for appearing as an unpleasant surprise), he warns Muslims of ‘Love Jihad’- the word used for interreligious marriages. He warns,”If you take one, we will take hundred; If you kill one, we will kill hundred.” A large crowd claps and answers loudly and merrily to his calls.
Yogi is fast. He is furious and vindictive. He wants to silence people. He knows all the “languages you would like to be answered with”. This rage rarely makes him a statesman.
Yogi and Indian Muslims:
The times are grave for all the Indian Muslims. What do I mean by this? I mean that an extreme right wing is in power. I also mean that democracy is being crippled and threatened. This is documented by Yogi Adityanath himself saying that when India becomes a Hindu Rashtra, Muslims will become second class citizens and that right to vote will be taken away from them. This, according to him, will hamper the communalization of politics in India.
This, however, should not be treated as a novel thing. Congress party has done no better. A slow persecution of minorities has continued for a long time now. Ghettoization of Indian Muslims is a fact. And generally, what has happened in Pakistan is no inspiration to all of us. But at least they are direct in declaring their country as an Islamic State, as Dr. Dibyesh Anand remarked once. They are not riding on the hollow notions of secularism. Pakistan, of course, has to face equal criticism, which is debatable in a separate article. To shorten my point, the great Saadat Hasan Manto comes to help,”Human beings in both countries are slaves, slaves of bigotry, slaves of religious passions…”
Certainly, disappointment is not the answer. Sadness should not take away anyone’s purpose and aspirations. All of us need to believe that we are as much human as anyone. We all carry a voice and our voice matters equally. The participation of Indian Muslims in the administrative system of India is important. Shyness cannot help. In 2012, a meager 3℅ qualified the prestigious IAS. In 2013 again, 3℅ made it to the civil services. In 2016 as well, the percentage remained around 3 percent. (Source: The Milli Gazette- May, June, 2016)
The share of Muslims in Indian politics is prominent. But sadly, the participation is dismal. The political action is not collective, but separate.
Indian Muslims need to identify their true leaders. They have miserably failed to produce someone like a B.R.Ambedkar. Unless life becomes better for the minorities, there can be no peace in India.
Yogi and Kashmir:
Some days ago, famous Pakistani writer Mohammad Hanif said that Modi was God’s gift to Pakistan. I revise his words in the context of Kashmir and say that Yogi is God’s gift to Kashmiri leaders.
There’s no one denying the effect the right wing government in centre can have in Kashmir. Our case, the case of Kashmir has kept the ‘Common Kashmiri'(to use the much hyped phrase) busy, hopeless and suspended for decades now. Prospects of a resolve to the issue are more remote than ever. An ugly right wing is at the helm of affairs in centre. I will not draw history because I would be losing my point. I believe that there are certain things at this juncture for all of us to observe. We all understand that Pakistan has a Muslim identity. India is not for from officially declaring itself as a Hindu Rashtra. How can we, as Kashmiris, be able to restore our identity. Kashmiri identity, I mean to say. Or will our leaders(both Mainstream and Hurriyat) prolong their differences resulting in the erasure of our identity?
The developments are alarming for Kashmiri leaders. At this stage, we should not display “politics of submission”. On the part of Mainstream, there is complete submission to India’s central policies and on part of the Hurriyat, there’s complete submission to Pakistan’s directions. The policies are more obscure and less analytical. When National Conference contends that their motive is to reclaim the position of 1953, how clear they are in their objects is self-evident and self-explanatory. How PDP’s “Self-rule” has become a ridiculous joke is also known to all of us. The Hurriyat has never come up with a significant document that could at least enlighten its own subjects of the models we could live under.
When all of us cry cultural aggression, what does that mean?
It means that we strive to restore our own identity. It means that we stay away from bigotry and religious passions. It means that we seek justice for Wamiq Faooq and Tufail Matoo. It means that we demand dignity, equality and justice for all. It means that we all carry out a march and seek justice for the mothers, wives and children of the disappeared. It also means that we condemn Nadimarg, Gawkadal and Chattisinghpora massacres in the same breath. It also means that we come out of our homes and fearlessly advocate the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits.
PS: Do we qualify to unite as a people? How much we are able to throw away the disagreements between us will define who we are. It’s easy to be selective, but it’s hard to be just and reasonable. Let’s endure hardships and be just and reasonable.
Excerpts published in GK newspaper :