Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Eliminate the cancer of the communal politics.

Dhirendra Sharma

A woman candidate Mrs. Haseena Akhtar, 45, was gunned down,   late night on Friday, April 15, 2011, at the Panchayat elections, held in J & K.

After Haseena Begum’s  murder, almost  ten candidates had   withdrawn  their nominations from the democratic  Panchayat  elections, held for the first time after ten years in Kashmir.

Haseena Begum was a Muslim, and a free citizen of   Indian  Republic,  resident of J&K State.  She did carry any weapon, and threatened any one.  She was picked up from her small home at midnight and made to tender apology. 

 Even though she expressed regret for contesting in the village Panchayat election, the hapless Haseena was shot dead, not by the Indian soldiers but by  the Muslim separatists.  “Shaheed” Haseena Akhtar had   carried the Cross for Secular Democracy defending the human rights to life and liberties.

A few weeks earlier, in Pakistan, Mr. Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Punjab, and Mr.Shahbaz Bhatti, the Minister of Minorities, were also assassinated for their commitment to the democratic rights of women, and minorities.
Though divided we are but following the futuristic paradigm we cannot allow any further regional or communal divides in the sub-continent.

All SAARC States are in dire need of doctors and teachers, - not preachers of hatreds and leaders of crimes and corruption.

I recall the life of Frontier Gandhi Badshah Khan, who at the time of partition, stood for the unity and brotherhood.  Badshah Khan suffered eight years prison term at the British Raj, and to our wonder, he spent  18 years of jail in Pakistan, a country claiming Islamic fundamentals.    Badsha Khan’s worthy son Dr. Wali Khan too suffered long term imprisonment under the Islamic rule in Pakistan. 

The Badshah had willed not to be buried at a place what he considered as “the naapak soil” meaning dirty ground. The “majaar” the tomb of the Frontier Gandhi is located beyond  the Khyber Pass, inside the Afghani soil.

Do we need to recall the killings of Dr. Mujibur Rahman and his family, and thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims, by the Army of the Islamic Republic, not by the Indian Army?

Sub-nationalism   and regional exclusive politics have no future in today’s cyber world order.  Past politics of divide and rule,   and partition notwithstanding, the exclusive regional or communal   identity, in Kashmir or    in Talangana    can not be considered as the basis of democratic governance these days.

Javed Akhtar once said that, To justify and legitimise undemocratic system you need religious fundamentalism”.  That Fascism and fundamentalism have one thing in common – both believe in the total usurpation of the basic rights and civil liberties of citizens.  The fundamentalist of all colours have their own version of history, and culture, own interpretation of religion and nationalism.

Given half a chance, like the Taliban, the Sangh Parivar will also start putting women in their place.   “Behind all the pretensions of defending culture,  religion and nation, the real agenda is to legitimize an unjust and an exploitative, outdated social -political (cultural) system,” confirmed the poet  Javed  Akhtar.

In 1946, the communalists had initiated civil war in Neokhali, and Calcutta witnessed a great killing frenzy. They had threatened to turn India into desert demanding partition.  Today, regionalism and fundamentalist politics are threatening   the democratic cultural fabric of the Indian sub-continent.

With Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Nuclear missiles, the chauvinists of all colours can really turn the entire Sub-continent into an atomic desert lasting thousand years.  History teaches not to repeat the mistakes.   Any further concession to the communal provocateurs will further engulf the continent into the Middle Ages.

 In the democratic regime, civic services, and health and schools include students, irrespective of gender, caste, race or religion.  One can note that in life saving treatments, blood groups are identified, but not, caste, region or religion And there is no exclusive blood group that can divide us between Kashmiri, and non-Kashmiri, Shia, and Sunny, Sindhi, and Baloch, or Hindu and Muslim, or Jews and Arabs!

Legal luminary, Nani Palkhivala, in his book “We, the Nation” describes how the Parsis came to India, in the year 936A.D, as “The boat people”,  the people who crossed the seas in unsafe boats as refugees”.

Formerly they escaped by seven ships from their homeland Iran, when their country was conquered by the Islamic invaders.  Today, the Parsi, despite their numerical irrelevance, (c. 80,000) are proud citizens of India. They were, in the forefront of Freedom movement.  In times of Independent struggle, they had been leaders in financial and industrial developments.  Yet, the powerful Parsi community (micro minority) had never demanded a separate State,  or a special quota in privilege of  justice.  There had been no Commission to quantify discrimination against the Parsi minority. But they had   contributed philosophers, scientists, writers, poets, music maestros, and reformers who spoke in languages belonging to different ages, regionsand religions.

In  20th  century, the western powers,   with a sinister design, created  three   independent  political entities, based on racial and religious basis - Israel (Jewish) ,  Pakistan (Islamic) and  East Timor (Christian).  In the 21st century, however, we cannot, and must not allow the disruptive forces to hold the Republic to ransom.    

There is no other way but to explore the means to eliminate the cancer of the communal politics.

Dhirendra Sharma is an eminent scientist from Centre for Science Policy/Concerned, Dehradun 248009 (India).  He has a website www.psaindia.org

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