Nearly ten years after the horrific Gujarat riots, another Indian state - Uttar Pradesh, was convulsed by a riot between two communities – Muslims and Jats. It has been estimated that 30 people or more have lost their lives and many have lost their belongings in this violence. I feel sad and sorry for all the innocent Muslims and Hindus who have lost everything and become a refugee in their own country.
Post independence, India has had her share of inter-religious violence, but the one in 2002 was the most severe and received widespread television coverage and lots of criticism. Consequently, it was assumed that such kind of violence will be eradicated from India, but another riot erupted in Muzaffarnagar, which has exposed the weakness of the ruling party of the state. A television sting operation was recently telecasted wherein local police officers have confessed on camera unawares that, there was pressure on the police force from the state capital to go slow in their effort to save populace in distress. It has been revealed that an elected representative made arrangement to get his own voters and his own co-religionists massacred with the intention of coming out as saviour later. The Chief Minister, who does not do anything to save the lives of innocent Muslim by taking proactive and stern action, dons the skull cap while visiting Muzaffarnagar, which is ironical.
Post Gujarat riots, most national parties including the Congress, Samajwadi Party, Left Parties etc. had hounded the BJP and refused any electoral alliance with the party, dubbing it to be communal and which BJP has carried this tag ever since. Congress lead UPA government at the centre is being propped up with the support of Samajwadi Party that is ruling in Uttar Pradesh. So, in a way the Congress party has taken no action on Samajwadi Party, which it should have done. The sanctimonious Left Parties had sent a delegation to Muzaffarnagar and rested the onus of riots on BJP. However, the most brutally exposed party is the Samajwadi Party. The mask of secularism has certainly come off on them. Referring to themselves as the messiah of the minority, Samajwadi Party does not appear to be hesitating in sacrificing their own voters at the altar of electoral gain.
Ever since Mr. Narendra Modi has been projected as the prime ministerial candidate of BJP, many intellectuals, opinion makers, and analysts have prophesied dooms day scenario for the pluralistic Indian society. It has been projected that under Mr. Modi, minorities will be bludgeoned to submission. It is important to note that despite India practicing pluralism for the last sixty years, we see Muzaffarnagar happening in 2013. On the other hand, in Modi lead Gujarat, we have not witnessed any political violence in the last ten years. So much so, minorities have voted for BJP in the last assembly and local body elections.
Does this imply that we need to change our approach? A pluralistic India, at peace with herself, is a must. At the same time, we cannot ignore the idea of a progressive India, that is healthy, educated, disease-free and corruption-free. We need to have India as a country who takes pride in her self-esteem. If Indians, irrespective of caste, creed, culture and religious beliefs, can devote their energy for a brighter future, then they will not spend their energy fighting with each other. Communities will be engaged in creation of wealth and not in competing against each other for the limited crumb of an ever-shrinking pie that government of India has to offer. That is what my idea of India is! I hope that the young of India subscribes to such vision. So far among the different leaders and parties, only Mr. Modi has projected a vision of creating a system that empowers citizens. Whether he will deliver or not, we will only know when he comes to power.