Kasganj events: How nationalism is being misused to polarize society with an eye on 2019 election
On the eve of the festivals the Police in Maharashtra particularly in city like Kalyan tries every inch to maintain the communal harmony and the social stability. No stone is left unturned to secure the peaceful environment. In the meetings convened by the police plenty of opportunities are provided to create the better chemistry between Hindus and Muslims with the greater expansion of interaction cutting across the barriers of caste and creed. The police on the eve of festivals is quite categorical in convincing the people that any communal trouble is not in the national interest.
The police efforts to inspire the confidence of the people to celebrate their festival in the peaceful environment have drawn the massive admiration. However, no such efforts are needed on the eve of celebrating the national festivals like 15th August or the 26th January to restrain the potential trouble shooters. The social fabric is never threatened on the occasions of celebrating the national festivals like Independence Day and the Republic Day.
However, saddening it is to note that the holy occasion of 26th January is not even spared. This is what has happened on 26th January at Kasganj in U.P. where the Muslims were occupied in celebrating the Republic Day. The chairs were spread and the tricolor was to be unfurled. In the presence of all this there surged the crowd equipped with lathis, rods, sticks, and other weapons towards the participants of the celebration of the Republic day.
There was provocation all around antagonizing the people. Soon the antagonism descended into bitter confrontation. The whole incident looked to be part of the conspiracy with the allegations flying thick and fast that the Muslims were antagonized by anti-Pakistan slogans. Their patriotic credentials were questioned. It is totally unacceptable to see that Muslims are ever displeased with anti-Pakistan slogans.
In the melee one Chandan Gupta was shot dead which resulted into the total collapse of law & order. There are different stories set afloat concerning the tragic killing of Chandan Gupta. The Samajwadi Party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav said that Chandan Gupta was killed by Hindus. One top official of the U.P. government said that Chandan Gupta was not killed by Muslims and had to bear brunt of her bold talk. In further elaboration it is pointed out that accused Salim was not present on the scene of the alleged crime. It is for the U.P. Police to investigate the matter and unearth the truth.
It is for the U.P. Police to find out whether it is Salim who killed Chandan Gupta or Kamal Sonkar. However, notwithstanding the efforts to fathom the truth the fact of the matter should remain that no soft corner is to be shown to the culprit and the real culprit should not be left scot free.
Concerning the allegations that Muslims in Kasganj were Provoked by the anti-Pakistan slogans they are open to dispute and distances away from the truth. The creation of Pakistan is the catastrophe for Indian Muslims. The creation of Pakistan notwithstanding the multiple reasons including Jinnah’s intransigence to carve out a new nation spelt infinite trouble to Indian Muslims.
Maulana Azad tooth and nail opposed the creation of Pakistan. Moulana Azad with his patriotic credential intact while stoutly opposing Pakistan emotionally asked the Indian Muslims as to who would offer prayers at Delhi’s Jama Masjid who would spread the chadar or pay floral tribute to shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti and what would be the plight of Taj Mahal and other monuments on the eve of partition.
With reference to the splendors monument like Taj Mahal there were pernicious attempts to paint it as a Hindu monument which failed. Then there was the aggressive talk of demolishing the Taj Mahal. It’s difficult to pull down Taj Mahal as it churns out a large chunk of earning. However, with failure of the pernicious efforts to damage the Taj with misplaced bravado the new event is created pandering to the saffron hue and color despite the fact that no namaz is allowed despite it being the Muslim Mausoleum. Those implementing the saffron agenda at Taj Mahal are asked would Muslims be allowed to offer namaz at non-Muslim places of worship. It is the case of arm twisting of the powerful over the weak.
Those linking Indian Muslims with Pakistan should not forget that in Jammu & Kashmir Muslim cops are very often killed at the hands of terrorists.
It’s easy to whip up anti-Muslims sentiments in the name of Pakistan. It’s like giving the bad name to the dog and killing it.
Against this backdrop it is relevant to quote what Magistrate Raghvendra Vikram Singh has said. He said “It has become a “trend” for some to enter Muslim localities by force, raise anti-Pakistan slogans and then create ruckus”.
Maintaining that the social fabric of the country is being torn apart by fringe elements Singh said, “Such fringe groups are coming up in every part of the state, taking the same ugly route to instigate people of the minority community by forcefully entering their locality in the name of nationalism. These people don’t care about the fabric of our mixed culture and brotherhood”.
The statement of the Bareilly District Magistrate is the silver lining in otherwise dark clouds. The clouds are further darkened with the BJP coming to power. The rise of provocative communalism is very much witnessed in U.P. thanks to the communal politics practiced by U.P. C.M Yogi Adityanath. The U.P C.M failed to curb the forces out to polarize the society in the name of religion.
Worse still it is to note that the Muslims despite bearing the brunt of the riot had also to face the heat of the Police as suggested by the findings of the independent inquiry committee. Minorities or anyone else for that matter can never be safe when law fails. It’s the duty of Police to restore law without any prejudice or bias.
In contrast the track record of his counterpart in Maharashtra the C.M Devendra Fadnavis is fairly comfortable though its different matter that he did not accommodate a single Muslim in his cabinet. Its Hamlet staged without the prince of Denmark.
It’s the incessant targeting of minorities that drew the ire of the 67 IPS and IAS officers who wrote a letter to the Modi government drawing attention to the worsening plight of the minorities on one pretext or the other. The letter was published in Indian Express in which the former IPS and IAS officers expressed their deep concern over the rise in the communal politics accentuating the communal clashes. The game of communal one upmanship with the sinister proportion and design is condemned by the former IPS and IAS officers in contrast with the silence of the “caged parrots” of the political parties.
The letter also referred to the incident of Satna in Madhya Pradesh where the singers were prevented from singing the Christmas carol (song). The letter also gave account of unsavory incidents of communal nature.
Mr. Novel Salve a social activist from Kalyan in Maharashtra condemning the Satna incident in Madhya Pradesh said that the constitution has given rights to the minorities like Christians to practice their religion. No one has the right to violet the very basic tenets of the constitution.
In this context it is worth quoting what Mr. Shabbir Alam studying CCIE at ACIT Mahim, Mumbai said that Muslims are weak due to their lamentable lack of presence in the administration. The administration is power. The Muslim bigwigs lecture Muslims to join the IPS and IAS cadres without realizing the bitter fact that the discrimination is practiced down the line where the Muslims are not accommodated either in residence or services. However, the scenario is not that bleak as there are secular forces who believe and practice Justice and oppose all sorts of discrimination.
However, notwithstanding the uncompromising stance of certain section of society with the communal forces the fact remains that situation has come to a stage that there would not be any other Dilip Kumar, Mohd Rafi, Naushad, Mehboob Khan, Sahir Ludhyanvi, Majrooh so on and so forth. However, despite the viciousness of the environment the other side of the coin should not be lost sight of. There is the counter narrative that there are Shahrukh Khan, Amir Khan, Salman Khan and Saif Ali Khan. They equally experience embarrassment the moment they utter some word over some controversy.
They cannot sing the different tune which means some sort of trouble.Sometimes these Bollywood khans are to bear the brunt despite their secular ethos and cosmopolitan culture. The fact also remains that it’s due to the environment full of prejudices there is the shrinkage of Muslim celebrities whether in Bollywood or any other walk of life.
In the cities the liberal environment plays the restraint over the communal influences unlike the villages. It is also for the Muslims to see that they also remain more disciplined as the disciplined living minimizes the risk.
However, villages like Kasganj in U.P. are susceptible to communal forces. The whole vicious environment plagued with the pernicious efforts to polarize the society in the name of nationalism is with an eye on 2019’s election. It is for the secular forces to come up with the counter narrative to defeat the communal forces. The road to success only lies in unity of the liberal and secular forces. Otherwise the scenario is doomed.
*Based in Kalyan, Maharashtra