Open Letter to Modi: Post-Election, we can talk

Shriman Modiji,

At the very outset I want to restate what is already known to you and all your supporters: that Muslims (except very few) are not going to vote for you in the coming elections. And this is not merely on account of you; it is primarily due to the ideology of BJP and its family. And if the ideology of BJP remains the same, you can rest assured that they will never vote for BJP. Your presence at the top has of course only added fuel to the fire, as Muslims perceive you as the most dangerous player of the team that you represent.

Having said that, I strongly feel there is an urgent need of dialogue between BJP ideologues and Muslims. This alone can bridge the gap that exists between the two biggest communities of the country and can help them in finding a common agenda which both of them can work upon.

This dialogue must ideally begin immediately after the elections, irrespective of whether BJP comes to power or not. Muslims will of course not want to see BJP coming to power. But to be fair to the country, if your party fails to emerge victorious despite the most high-pitched campaign this country has witnessed since Independence, it will not be due to the Muslim factor but on account of lack of support by the majority of Hindus. If you have not been able to gain power for long since Independence, this again is primarily because the majority of Hindus do not support BJP’s ideology. Instead of asking people “to give us 60 months in return of 60 years to Congress,” you should better ask yourself why your party has failed to win the confidence of the people of the country. Ideally, this question must haunt you even before the elections and also if you win them. But, if you lose, this question will certainly not let you sleep. If you cannot win the confidence of Hindus, how can you win the confidence of Muslims and other minorities?

Muslims, of course, have much bigger reasons to feel aversion for the Sangh ideology. I want to quote below a few paragraphs that I had written about the basic flaws in Sangh ideology and also about your contribution to the feeling of aversion:

“Everything about BJP is farce. From ideology to practice, it is drowned in deception. Religion is an important part of human life; it must in fact be the most important. Secularism in the Indian context is not the negation of religion but synthesis of religious values enshrined in different religions. Every community in India has the right to practice and profess its religion. I do not agree with those who want separation of religion and politics. Negation of religion as such means total negation of the goodness of religion and the moral values that are associated with it. What is bad is not the religionaisation of politics but politicisation of religion, which often breeds communalism. If BJP had been preaching religious values enshrined in Hindu Dharma, there was nothing bad about it. If it had been fighting for the rights of Hindus, even then it would not have created much of a havoc. The problem with BJP is that its definition of Hindutva, in practice if not in theory, is based on its aversion of Muslims and everything that is or can be made to look linked to them. They are not interested in introducing the Hindu vision to the constitution but in demolishing Muslim personal laws. They are not too much fond of building temples; they are more concerned about demolishing mosques. They love singing Vande Mataram not because of its inherent beauty but because it irks Muslims who find it hard to eulogise the land instead of the Creator of the land. Even if they do not read their scriptures with any regularity, they would want to impose it on Muslim students. They are not concerned about saving Hindu lives from fellow Hindus; they derive some sort of pleasure if Muslims are killed. They are not campaigning for bringing comforts to their fellow religionists; they are more interested in teasing and harassing Muslim populace. Even their hatred towards Pakistan is based not on nationalism but on hatred because Pakistan is a Muslim country. They count only the Hindu dead or displaced. The Muslim counts hardly bother them. When talking of Gujarat riots, they will shout about the deaths in Godhra, the blame for which they have put on the heads of Muslims without any proof, and would not want to count the dead in the riots that followed. They forget that even for the deaths in the train whoever the killers or the victims, Gujarat government was responsible. First it failed to protect the Kar Sevaks, and then allowed their deaths to be used for the carnage of thousands of Gujaratis, most of whom were Muslims but also included some Hindus. In Kashmir, they will keep counting the number of the Brahamins killed, which does not cross even a few hundred mark, and would keep mum on the killings of more than 40000 Kashmiris.”

The media is doing everything to help you. It is overplaying the recent BJP attempts to appease Muslims and downplaying your recent outbursts against Muslims. The national media and to my amazement even the Muslim media has remained tight-lipped on your outburst against meat marketing and exporting, what you described as “Pink Revolution”. Several times, you have spoken negatively about the facilities provided by the government to the meat exporters without telling us what these facilities are. When you or your folks talk of “terrorism” being a grave threat for the country, it almost always means “Muslim Terrorism”. You forget that more than 95 per cent of the deaths in India in terrorist attacks have been caused by terrorists who are identified as “Hindus” in the Indian constitution. Sometimes, you talk of Naxalites to counter the Muslim-specific allegation because you regard Naxalites and other leftists as the enemies of your self-styled Dharma. Of course, the Tamils and Aseemanands do not weigh much in your calculations.

BJP leaders always need some Muslim villains to sustain their anti-Muslim psychological warfare; and if they don’t find any, they manufacture them. During the last few years, they took the name of Afzal Guru so many times that the people of the country perhaps knew him better even than their President and ministers. None in India happens to remember who killed Rajiv Gandhi. They did not talk of 1984 riots till 2002. How can they tolerate Hindus being punished for killing Sikhs? They started making it an issue only as a propaganda tool to target Congress after 2002. Nobody is reminding them that the 1984 riots were the result of the brand of majorityism which Hindutva Parivar has been propagating since Independence, or to be more precise, since Partition. In the face of Sikh militancy, this brand engulfed Congressmen too. But I am sure, if the identity of rioters is fully disclosed, many of them will be recognised as the fathers of those who are the active BJP protagonists today.

You have recently unfurled another flag of Hindutva. You vowed to take back every Hindu from any country of the world, if he or she happens to migrate to India. And of course you would expel every Muslim from the land of the country whatever the reasons of his migration, even if their human rights have been violated in their country of origin. Not only Bangladeshi Hindus are welcome and Bangladeshi Muslims unwelcome, you may be thinking in terms of preempting any possibility of Myanmar Muslims migrating to India in the face of extreme levels of persecution there.

I can also not understand how “secular” people including Muslims can be so appreciative of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Of course, he might not have been as dangerous a bowler as you. But of course, he was a member of the Hindutva team, a kind of all-rounder who can do something or the other in all matches. Vajpayee was also a shrewd captain. He let the blame of Babri Masjid demolition stick to Advani. He expressed anguish in the evening of that black day of India’s history when Babri Majid was demolished. But he never expelled Advani and others involved in the act from the party. Advani became his Deputy Prime Minister. He only reminded you of “Raj Dharma” in the wake of Gujarat riots but did never punish you. Neither were you dismissed from office nor expelled from the party. Advani has now settled into the shoes of Vajpayee. If you become Prime Minister, sooner or later, you will step into the shoes of Advani. Hopefully, you do that before presiding over any countrywide riots that can ensure you the highest post in the government till you are alive or till a new faster bowler emerges in the rank of Hindutva.

Once the elections are over and the dust has settled, BJP and Muslim leaders must begin the dialogue. I strongly believe that ways can be found out to minimise the differences and to come to a common programme. The overwhelming majority of Hindus, including Sangh activists, and Muslims are religious people. Theologically, they may be on different pedestals, but in terms of moral and social issues, similarities outweigh differences. All religious people love God, are keen to be morally right and believe in family values. The overwhelming majority of Indians disapprove of drinking and gambling (BJP has been instrumental in banning them in their states), nakedness, sex outside marriage and practices like prostitution, promiscuity, pornography and homosexuality. Yet all these vices are being promoted by market forces in violation of the natural inclinations of the people of the country. There are many other issues like economic disparity, inflation, corruption and rising crimes, which can unite the two communities. Both Hindus and Muslims are witnessing rapid Westernisation of the people with unease. If religion-based groups come together against the forces that are commercialising these vices and give up communalism and sectarianism, India can set an example for the whole world. It can show what true peace is. The need of the hour is the unity of all religious communities to unite against the forces of Westernisation. In particular, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism have to come together, as they are the four big religions of the world in terms of followers. Of course, other religions should also be taken along. In the Indian context, Hinduism and Islam are the religions that have to take lead in working together for the common cause of comprehensive peace. In addition, both communities have to recognise each other’s genuine needs, and when the question of justice comes, communal considerations are to be kept aside.

I am sure if we start talking about these issues, the distance between the Hindutva organisations and Muslims will shrink. BJP can then hope to play a more effective political role in the country. But it must understand that the route to political unity passes through social cohesion, and political successes do not necessarily come instantly. If it fails to recognise the truth, it will quickly lose its credibility.

Seeing the nature of the proposal, I am not enthusiastic about the prospects. But I still feel it is an exercise worth attempting even at the risk of failure. Frankly speaking, if your style of functioning is kept in mind, the risk is pretty big. But the realities of India will hopefully make you realise that the progress of the nation cannot be ensured unless the two communities learn to believe in each other. Once the Hindutva Parivar starts seeing Muslims as equals, hatred will replace love.

With thanks
An Indian Muslim
 Dr Javed Jamil is a thinker and writer with over a dozen books and can be reached at

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 April 2014 on page no. 2

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