When a riot occurs, who suffers the most?
The poor who are fighting with their empty stomachs,
or a daily labourer who is unable to find a job in a riot-torn factory, shop or a showroom,
or an auto driver who tries to educate his little girl through his profession but whose only lovely livelihood partner has been damaged and burnt by the so-called safeguarders of a religion,
or an office-going, law-abiding, secular and rational, modern valued, tolerant and diversity believer citizen who does want but is not able to go to their place of work (or worship) to earn their family’s only bread and butter due to roadblocks, curfew and the orders to shoot at sight,
or a policeman who wanted to but couldn’t protect his countrymen from the abuse of their fundamental rights including the right to life and liberty
or a civil servant with a so-called steel frame who ought to but couldn’t preserve and protect the basic tenets including secularism and justice of our nation’s spiritually religious text – the Constitution,
or a child – our future – who would find none of her friends in her neighbourhood from a community different from herself, so that she can write in her essays that she lives in a religiously tolerant and a culturally diverse nation,
or a nation with 1600 plus dialects, 22 plus constitutionally recognised languages, and the one who provides refuge to all the religious communities besides the unreligious ones (including atheists) in a subcontinent,
or a dream that has been envisioned by our founding fathers to make our country religiously tolerant, politically secular, scientifically modern, socially progressive and economically developed?
They all suffer,
but the worst sufferer is religion itself.
Because when you as a Muslim are involved in a religiously (read unreligiously)
fanatic activity you disobey the teachings of the great Prophet Muhammad and one among them is to protect your neighbour and their beliefs.
When you as a Hindu lynch a man in the name of protecting your beliefs, you forget the basic tenets of Hinduism enshrined in the philosophy of “ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti” (there is only one truth).
Politicians would do what they ought to do, the police officers would do what their political masters want to do.
So who could and should take this dream onto their shoulders?
Yes, ‘we, the people of India,’ must work religiously to preserve protect and promote the idea of India.
For this, we must not fear.
We must say it loudly and proudly that we are the sons and daughters of this great five-thousand-year-old civilisation which not just accepts but celebrate its diversity.
We must ask the questions which our ideologically based governments (whether left, right or centre) do not like to be asked.
We must demonstrate the true power, strength and value of our evolved unity in diversity by celebrating all the festivals of various hues and colours.
We must taste together the harmonious sweetness of sevai (vermicelli) during Eid, ghevar (a traditional sweetmeat) during Diwali and cake during Christmas.
We must hear the fusion of harmonious melodies of love and brotherhood of the bells chiming in churches, of the azaan from the mosques, of bhajans from the temples and of the guruvaani from the gurudwaras.
And lastly, as a true nationalists and true believers of our great religious principles, we must see a dream and work for it – to make a country where the minds of everyone are without fear and the heads are held high.