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Systems matter, not Communities

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By DHIRENDRA SHARMA

The issue is not the ‘Majoritarian Modi State’ against Minorities; but that of Democratic Governance against Communal Politics. Some critics of the Modi Government have raised the issue why, during the last five years of its governance, the minorities have felt alienated in India. And they ask ‘the fundamental question’: Why do minorities (Muslims) feel alienated in contemporary India?” Historical factors notwithstanding, it is irrational political reasoning to justify the communal mistrust and Islamist violence as self-defence or revenge against majoritarian Modi rule. In the 21st century Cyber Age, the Nation-State and Theocratic State are the two main factors leading to the trust–deficit among the peoples that have lived together for centuries. In fact, communal violence is indicative of the ever widening gap between Scientific Democratic Governance and age-old religious belief systems. The question is not of the majority (Hindus) versus minority (Muslims), but the poor quality democratic governance over the long years of communal vote-bank politics. Afghanistan and Pakistan, e.g., the South Asian neighbouring and other Muslim majority states have been engaged in the sectarian Shia- Sunni killings of fellow Muslims for centuries. In India, however, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was the President of the Republic when the Indian Parliament was attacked by the suicidal Muslims shouting Aazadi, seeking the ‘freedom’ to practice the Islamic Sharia in Kashmir. Karl Marx had warned against communal politics by saying, “Religion is the Opium of the masses’, as no religion stands for a non-discriminatory social order. But Democracy is a scientific, non-discriminatory secular political system, standing for Social Justice and Equal Rights for all, irrespective of gender, caste, class, language, region or religion. This author has met many ‘aazadi fighters’ in Kashmir who said, “Without fighting, we got Pakistan, now, by fighting, we will turn India into an Islamic state. (Hans ke liya hai Pakistan, ladke lenge Hindustan.) Today, techno-scientific systems are secular, as the ATM does not ask your caste or religion. There is no exclusive blood group of the Muslims or Hindus that requires distinct health services or a separate minority public transport system. Though divided we are, we need to begin with the assertion that the South Asian peoples share not only geographical space but also a common history and culture. South Asia is an inseparable entity, multi- lingual and multi-religious. The people of the South Asian community must give up fighting for exclusive regional, linguistic or communal sectarian identities. Since India and Pakistan have stocked-piled some 200+ nuclear warheads, in the 21st century, we shall live together or perish together. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, during the last Republic Day Parade (2019), ordered all the states’ floats to be dedicated to Gandhiji’s message of Peace and Social work. NaMo had repeated the Upanishadic mantra: ‘The World Is One Family’, and ordered the Youth to fight against poverty, not each other.

(Author is Convener: Campaign for South Asian Democratic Union.)