Opinions

Tough times ahead for minorities under Modi and Shah

The one big worry that seems to be coming up after these election results is this: what’s going to happen to the country, and to us, the inhabitants of this land?

There’s this serious worry, more so as Amit Shah took charge as the Union Home Minister of India. Not to be overlooked the fact that during his electioneering he made sure to state that he would introduce the NRC (The National Register of Citizens) in other states of the country. Well, relaying that after watching and witnessing the sheer disasters that the NRC has dragged along and heaped on the people of Assam, he is making sure of heaping similar disasters on the inhabitants of other states as well.

They would be made to stand in long queues or squat in those dingy corridors to go proving their genuine citizenship! Instead of roti, kapda aur makaan, they will get nightmares! Tell me, how can a tiller or a farmer or even a daily-wager go proving his or her citizenship! What papers or paperwork or ‘proving material cum documents’ can be expected from people who sit semi-starving, on the brink of death. What genuine documents can be expected when there’s very little genuineness in the very governance and in the very governors – all those who are said to be governing this country.

In fact, the inhabitants of the country have every reason to sit wary and worried; after grasping traumatic backgrounders to the hundreds and thousands of the affected families in Assam. Stress-related diseases and premature deaths and the virtual destruction of lives and livelihoods hold out. Divides and distrust between the communities are growing by the day; they are so very busy unsettling each other. So where is the time and energy to see the sheer havoc heaped upon them by the government of the day!

There is worry in the Kashmir region too. Needless to add that ever since the BJP joined hands with the PDP to form the government in that state (which lay dissolved and over with, last year) the Kashmiris were wary of each move of the BJP’s top brass. I recall the local Kashmiris telling me that with the BJP expansionist designs they could face similar fate as that of the Palestinians …Whilst keying in these words, I’m reminded of the grave apprehensions that the Kashmiris have been talking about since the news of the setting up of Sainik colonies in the Valley had first come up. They’d told me they considered the establishment’s plan of the Sainik colonies as a ploy to get Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS) workers to reside in the Valley. They voiced their concerns that in the coming years, local Kashmiris could be pushed here and there and the RSS cadres will be given their prime areas. “Look what a lasting tragedy took place in Palestine… the Palestinians were driven out of their homes and lands, and the Israelis are in total control forever …we also are aware of the fact that Israeli agencies are working in Kashmir and that compounds the situation for us.”

Needless for me to focus on the fears and apprehensions compounding for the minorities in the country. Wherever I go meeting Muslim families, the one big worrying question that spontaneously comes up is this: “what’s going to happen to us, what’s in store for us, for our children, for our future generations… we realize that under the Congress governments there wasn’t much done for us in terms of jobs and education but at least that feeling of security was there …we knew that we and our children would be able to survive in our country …that feeling is now missing and there’s only and only scare of what next! Would we be treated worse than animals or ordered to get out?”

In fact, it’s not just the Muslims or the Christians who are coming up with the “what next…will we be left to survive or is doomsday just round the corner for us?” Even sane voices from other communities are voicing their concerns. They do realize that if the already disadvantaged and the bypassed communities are further pushed to the wall there are bound to be reactions and counter-reactions. The end result would lead to disasters…yes, disastrous consequences are bound to follow.

Interestingly, last week , the two taxi drivers - one from Ethopia and the other from Somalia, whilst driving me to my destinations in London, realized I’m a sari-clad Indian and with that threw one question after another on what will happen to my country after these election results? No, both seemed in little mood to get distracted by Trump’s visit to the U.K. They seemed to sidekick him, wanted to waste no words for him. Instead, they focused only on the Indian scenario. They told me that they had been following the election news and the connected commentaries and realized that with the Right-Wing government in power in India, it would get ‘bad for the ‘people of India’! In fact, I was left rather taken aback to hear their negative views on the Modi government.

I was also taken aback to hear the worried reactions of the Indians I met in London. None of them seemed to be happy by these election results. This brings me to write that why just focus on Indians’ reaction in London! The day the election results were announced I was commuting by the metro from Gurgaon to New Delhi, and within the capital city from one end to the other, by autorickshaws. And I didn’t see any of the usual signs of cheer! Rather strange levels of gloom spreading out. Nah, unlike the cheer spreading out after the 2014 election results, this time, in 2019, there was an eerie quiet. I wonder why!

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On this Eid…

As I am filing this column, it happens to be Eidul-Fitr and also the World Environment Day, so this brief message from Amir Abidi, the Gurgaon-based activist-cum-educator, seems rather apt to tuck in here, in this column …To quote him: “Eidul-Fitr translates from Arabic as ‘the festival of the breaking of the fast’. It is a celebration which traditionally takes place over a three-day period. The festival of Eid holds great importance in Islam and is a time for loved ones and communities to come together.

 …Reflecting on a verse from the Holy Quran, one is humbly reminded of Allah’s reassurance that with “every difficulty there is ease” (Qur'an 94:5-6). At another place the message is “Truly God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves” (Qur’an 13:11)… As I was driving back after Alvida Juma prayers with my son and nephew on May 31, 2019, I passed by a plant nursery and the idea to celebrate a Green Eid struck us. This will mean planting saplings with my family as their Eidi this year and in years to come Insha Allah. Eidi is a token of love that we give to those who are younger to us in the family to mark our gratitude and celebrate the successful completion of the month of Ramzan. What could be a better thanksgiving than paying a tribute to the Creator of this world by caring for His creation?

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said “Allah has not created anything more noble than intelligence”. He also said “Planting a tree is continuous charity (Sadqa-i Jaariya)”. So this Eid, to mark the World Environment Day, apart from enjoying the sheer siwaiyan, I urge you to join me in planting trees as Sadqa-i Jaariya wherever you are. Wishing everyone GREEN Eid Mubarak!”

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