To my country men, to gau-rakshaks (cow protectors) and to the silent intellectuals,
This April 14, will be the 126th birth anniversary of Baba Sahib Ambedkar, the legendary Constitution maker and an iconic Dalit leader. Prime minister Modi is all praises for him; see his previous year speech on the same occasion. Baba Sahib stood for equal rights for all, and also for safety to the minorities and the underprivileged. Modi has talked about the same commitment on various occasions. However, the brutal murder of Pahlu Khan in Alwar, Rajasthan and emerging of banal criminal acts based on the suspicion of cow slaughter should pain the conscience of a modern nation-state. Leaders and followers are not communicating well is it?
But, why does this banality of evil pain the conscience of a civilization? Why am I worried?
I am neither a Muslim nor an intellectual. According to Noam Chomsky in “The Responsibility of Intellectuals”, an intellectual is one who cares for the matters not associated with him directly and has some responsibilities. My problem is that I am a citizen of a diverse and civilized nation, a custodian of the idea called India and an equal stakeholder in all the decisions that are related to my mother land. My dissent may not matter to you but I will voice it against such designs. My dissent is against the fear of beef.
I and my family are Hindu by birth, cow worshippers and strict vegetarians. Let alone suspicion, we cannot agree to killing someone for killing ‘gau-mata’ (goddess cow). Life is God’s gift and nobody except Him has right to take it. I have some Muslim friends who care equally about our sentiments. We fear for their safety and their life.
Dear gau rakshaks, you have vitiated our atmosphere. You have tried to instil fear in us about your next target. Since you have no regard for the law, you are beasts of passion. You are Eichman in the making.
Dear intellectuals, I am not saying that you support the right or the left wing or are central in your arguments but you owe an explanation for these acts. Unfortunately, I have met few Delhi University students, or perhaps intellectuals as they write for the right and the government in various newspapers. I have no hope from you. You need time to come out of your casteist and communal mind. Your soul is not bad but is nurtured in a bad atmosphere.
Tomorrow, you may lead the right, so please try today to control your companions from committing such unconstitutional acts. You may not do so, it is not an obligation on you as you have less faith in Constitutional nationalism. Remember all right wing followers are not the same. But their silence is complicit in such barbaric acts. My problem is with that silence.
Dear centre, you are neither left like the communists nor right like the gau rakshaks. You are common men like me. You are the last hope for ending this despair. You neither defend the leftist violence in Kerala nor are you accused of separatism. Please speak up, you, the common man. Don’t let a handful few destroy your culture. I stand with you as do a thousand others like me.
When Baba Sahib talked about entering a life of contradiction, he was expecting you to take a stand whenever needed. I think time has come to take a stand. The idea of India as the Constituent Assembly saw it, is in danger; our diverse culture is in the gravest danger. Castles don’t fall from outside but from inside.
Mere words of anybody even those of God, spare Modi, cannot stop this. But moral force can. I stand against gau rakshaks. I stand with those in fear. I stand with Pahlu Khan’s family and the others who are aggrieved. I stand against the home minister of Rajasthan for his reaction that made a murder banal. I stand against the silence of our respected prime minister Modi. I stand for my culture, my country and my soul. I stand for peace, harmony and a beautiful future.