Gather around, ye right-wing majoritarian folk driven to kill and maim for your religion you do not really understand. Bring your political troubadours, your Pied Pipers who lead you by the nose as they do bovines they claim to worship, have you bring up water from their well of opportune hate.
Let’s talk about the ‘Republic of India’, whose birth and Constitution we celebrate every January with a show of arms, much parading of troops and shanghaied school students, and raising of the flag.
The Constitution which announces us a ‘Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic”, where “We the People of India” undertake to secure for all citizens the following:
“Justice, social, economic, political;
Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
Equality of status and opportunity; and to promote among them all
Fraternity, assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.”
Now tell me, hand on your heart: Are you a patriot? Or unpatriotic? Are you a true nationalist? Or merely a pseudo-nationalist, full of false promises and dangerous bluster? Are you the seditionist?
Because I, an absolute nobody and yet a proud citizen of an India guaranteed to me by our Constitution, accuse you of tearing the fragile fabric of India. You, who claim to be better than Muslims (and, certainly, Muslim radicals); Christians (and Christian evangelists); those who profess any other religion, Dalits (even though you foist a pet Dalit presidential candidate who has remained silent through several recent atrocities against Dalits, much like the Opposition’s knee-jerk presidential candidate, a cipher); untouchables; liberals; pseudo-liberals; secularists; pseudo-secularists; the Leftists; the Centrists; the moderate Hindu Right; free-thinking media; regional parties; the Chinese; Africans; eaters of beef; believers in the Constitution; anyone not you.
Because this is what you have become. Traitors to the ideals of your country. Traitors to your Constitution. You are the threat du jour to the idea of India.
I understand many of you don’t really care much for the Constitution, certainly the words “socialist” and “secular” inserted in the Preamble by amendment in 1976, along with “integrity”. Frankly, even I don’t.
“Integrity” seemed paranoid — one would think the ideal of “unity” would suffice.
“Socialist” was so twee even for 1976, even with its socialist-minded government, and especially after two-and-a-half decades of a stifling command economy that corrupted the term ‘for the greater good’. India’s greatest depredations against its own people in the name of ‘development’ and ‘integrity’ occurred then.
“Secular” seemed desperate, as if we were afraid of the frailties of grand religions practiced in our country, concerned that we would need reminding that preachers and practitioners of religions who often recommended hate were so often those who claimed to be professing religions of peace.
Concerned, that those in majority who implicitly carried a sacred trust of humanity and good citizenship on behalf of those in minority, would forget their place and would need reminding of that sacred trust with a well-intentioned word. This was eight years — a lifetime — before 1984, when we learnt of the dangerous effect felling of large trees would have on certain communities.
Then again, one would think the Constitution and its guarantees would suffice against that reign of error and terror, or a renewed reign of error and terror that was already in place by this time last year, the journey to the peak of spurious nationalism already well begun before spreading depredations of gau rakshak, before a call to arms, before an off-with-their-heads at anyone, even those practicing, peaceable, proud Hindus — real Hindus, to my mind — who raised a voice against the juggernaut.
What then differentiates you from those you claim to be fighting against, the mad mullahs, the jihadists? Please understand once and for all, the Muslims of India chose to remain in India out of their belief for India. Radicals and religious perverts certainly exist among them — dangerous radicals and religious perverts, drawn by the twisted allure of those who seek to warp Islam beyond recognition. There is also a dangerous silence there. You would understand. You are becoming them.
How much blood do you need to establish Hindu Rashtra — your Caliphate, if you will? To establish the command and control structure of your political parties? How much extremism is enough? Would you sacrifice the socio-economic well-being of India, fought for, worked for by citizens — patriots — of all religious and social persuasions for sixty years? Even by so many among you?
This is not a call to arms — that is your specialty. It is, in the paraphrased words of the man we like to appropriate at will and jettison when our small work is done, a call to non-violence and productivity in deed as much words. It is a call to attitude: to stand up and be counted as Indians.
If this country doesn’t suit you, why don’t you then if you wish, to use your own language, go live in Pakistan if it will have you, or any other country for that matter.
It’s all right, it’s just a figure of speech, you know. You are here, for better or worse. After all, India is your home. Our home. But please, leave India to those who believe in its Constitution (and constitution). Leave it to the real patriots.