Philip wrote:Yes,perhaps I was flippant about the " yellow star",apologies.But, the demand often seen in the media that minorities ( read Muslims) , should display their patriotism since the nation is subject to Islamic terror primarily from Pakistan is counter-productive.Indian Muslims voted with their feet in 1947. True, the Saudis and Pakis have spent vast sums trying to indoctrinate our Muslims with Wahaabi and jihadi fundamentalism which their own community should be more pro- active in preventing it from taking root. But treating the entire community with suspicion is not on. The state should give greater assistance to the community in preventing external forces from their insidious designs.
Philip, when you say "media" are you referring to Television or Twitter? Because I don't see much in the online Indian English language press that suggests that Muslims are being broadly treated suspiciously or being asked to prove their patriotism. I see some suggestions of it on Twitter, but to my mind it doesn't rise to a broad anti-Muslim sentiment, rather it (to me) seems more like an anti-anti-Hindu sentiment. As to TV, I can't say.
When you say, the "state should give assistance" against insidious designs of external forces, what exactly do you have in mind? Do you mean, for example, blocking Saudi money and giving taxpayer money instead? If so, how do we justify spending taxpayer money on a religion (beyond what is already spent for Haj & other minority entitlements) and how do we justify blocking donations from a country like Saudi with which we have friendly relations?
Similarly the constant clarion calls against Christian EJ outfits.True some of them are obnoxious and attempted conversions for mercenary gain is the pits.Most Christian nations are not bothered at all about its own citizens embracing Hinduism.We've large numbers of foreigners mainly westerners thronging our popular religious leaders at their centres. Hindu temples are all over the place in the " Christian" west. Prince Charles and Boris J visited our main London temple .There was a news item that the RSS will prevent the erection of a statue of Christ in Karnataka where a Cong. politico is behind the move. Frankly Christ doesn't need a single statue put up,but Christians following his teachings of love instead! However,
how would this read in the Christian west?
Well, ancient and medieval history of Christianity in India is what it is, and we may describe it as "checkered" what with the Inquisition in Goa etc. But overall, Christians from the heritage of that period can generally be considered well-settled bedrock Indians. But in the 20th & 21st centuries, there has been a pronounced trend of conversion to Christianity entailing violent breaking of ties with the culture of the motherland, starting with attacks on Hindu gods and murthis, and always featuring a stubborn and contemptuous self-segregation of the converts from the heathens. Coupled with massive financial resources, acquisition of real property and control over means of production, can we really consider this trend a healthy one?
I don't see how this type of conversion in India can be seriously equated with "mellow" and affluent Westerners exploring their spirituality by dabbling in Hinduism with varying degrees of seriousness.
I do not understand why the current govt. does not have a healthy interaction with various entities and parties before bringing in controversial legislation resulting in national protests ,and only after the chaos, starts engaging with Muslim imams,etc. There seems to be an indecent haste in pushing through legislation,railroading it through the houses instead of greater transparency at the outset.The ABV style was never contentious. There were no nationwide demos during his era. He was a universally popular PM , perhaps the most popular ever.
We don't know for a fact that there weren't back-channel discussions with various interested parties prior to the introduction of the bills in question. In any case, it's the government's political prerogative to manage its legislative agenda as it sees fit, is it not? We can second-guess, it's a free country, but we are not the professional politicians here. At least judging by the exaggerated, mendacious and destructive response to what is, after all, a merciful law that brings relief to genuinely oppressed people, I would be inclined to question the value of a priori "taking all stakeholders into confidence" as they say.
Firefighting isn't the answer and intolerance of an opposite viewpoint isn't being democratic. Are we an "inclusive India" or a narrow sectarian state? These are very serious Qs that need to be debated transparently and allowed to be so dispassionately.Right now intolerance is rapidly on the rise. The HM has just said that any " anti- national" citizen will be jailed.But what is the definition of "anti- national" and who determines that an individual is such? The courts,political parties,the police or the mob? Is holding a contrarian viewpoint in a democracy which we proudly proclaim to the world that we are the largest, " anti- national"?
We have to step back from the brink
otherwise lawless forces will plunge the nation into anarchy and disaster.
I agree 100% on the importance of free and open and transparent debate. Are we having such a debate or did we ever, post-1947, have such a debate? Was it ever possible to obtain the information needed to have a proper debate, or have the leeway to address delicate questions with sensitivity and honesty?
I suggest that the answer is no. And further, that what you are calling "intolerance" is a consequence of proper debate being systematically and deliberately inhibited for generations on end. It may be that one man's intolerance is another man's struggle to open his mouth and say something coherent when he has been shut down for a very very long time.
I also agree that the consequences are going to be bad. But this is where we are today, it's a result of past national karma. From my pov, it's the price the country pays for suppressing a free and honest airing of differences (the suppression, IMO was done mostly with good intentions and could be justified in the short term, but there is no free lunch.)
Coming back to the international conclave in India and the galaxy of visitors attending,a key state Bangladesh isn't. It is a vital neighbour,almost an ally until just recently, our closest neighbour cooperating with us on almost allissues.A neighbour which has resolutely persisted in punishing pro- Paki terrorists and war criminals. One must ask why.I'd mentioned some time ago that we should aim to work out with BD a corridor within its territory further south of the narrow existing vulnerable Siliguri corridor," chicken's neck" that is the lifeline to the N- East giving us a second secure route in times of crisis. Nepal could've been given a port as an EEZ in W.Bengal for easy transhipment of its trade. BDesh did it instead.Our FP has often missed the wood for the trees. Sanitising the neighourhood from our enemies China and Pak should be our top priority.The Chinese are squatting in Lanka in large number just a few dozen miles off our vulnerable southern underbelly. Has the ignored sentiments of the Tamil / Dravidian polity in S.India by indifferent N.Indian babudom encouraged the pro-active majoritarianism being carried out against mostly Hindu Tamilians in Sri Lanka by pro-active Sinhala- Buddhist fundamental outfits and the current regime ? Has this dereliction of duty towards ordinary Lankan Tamils ( not pro- LTTE Eelamists)
cost us the island to the Chinese? Some years ago I asked a senior diplomat with experience of the island why the obvious was being ignored by the MEA.His reply was that " sadly Delhi thinks differently" from the south.The rumours of a plan to decimate Dravidian combined political strength by bifurcating Tamilnadu into 3 states ( divide and rule) to suit the ruling party, is if true going to be another massive controversy with scary consequences unknown.
Sadly we've failed to give as much importance to this vital fundamental to our security,securing the neighbourhood than lofty ambitions with nations afar. Just look at the agenda.The conclave is to discuss the Gulf and " Libya" Libya is already a done deal ! Putin and Erdogan have together ( without the US or west/ EU which created the havoc in Libya,killing Gadhaffi,etc., and have worked out a ceasefire with the two warring parties .
Frankly ,how more important is Libya to us than the Taliban and ISI in Afghanistan,Rohingya crisis in Burma, Paki terrorism in Kashmir and the Chinese occupation of Tibet ,occupation by force of islands in the ICS,militarising them and inroads into Sri Lanka and the IOR?
No dispute from me that there have been major and entrenched flaws in thinking and outlook by our rulers that harmed us in forging constructive relationships with neighbors. Again, to me, those flaws owe themselves in part to an unexamined culture in which silence and passivity are rewarded and openness and questioning are punished.
Ages ago, when I read V.S Naipaul's "India: a Wounded Civilization" I was offended and angry. Now, it seems that "wounded but hopefully on the mend" is not a bad metaphor for India today.