By Seema Mustafa
July 19, 2011
I have known Dr Subramanian Swamy for decades. While always a maverick on the extreme right side of the fence, he used to exercise some restraint in his writings. It was thus surprising to see his by-line on an article that is not just totally bigoted and communal, but speaks of a paranoid and senile mind.
The language that the politician who heads the one-man Janata Party has used is reprehensible to say the least and I am sure there are laws in this country that can be invoked to take him to task for inflaming passions through complete falsehoods.
The Mumbai police are no closer to solving the Mumbai blasts today than they were when the terror attack took place. A poor grocer has died while being questioned by the police in custody with his shocked family attributing it to torture.
But instead of writing responsibly at this sensitive point in time, a politician who claims to be a legitimate representative of the people pens an article hurling accusations at Muslims, insisting that their goal is to kill Hindus in a “Halal fashion” and take over India unless the “Hindus” react and act against the Constitution of India and the laws of this democratic land.
Swamy’s article has drawn absolutely excellent responses from the people of this country, mostly non-Muslims, to put him and his exhortations in their place.
But even so he reflects a minuscule mindset that delights in provoking violence by trying to consolidate the natural anger that stems from a terror attack. He has tried to use the moment not to unite the people through a language of peace, but to rouse passions by putting together a senseless tirade against Muslims and Islam.
The Hindus, he keeps insisting, are the targets. But when blasts take place in crowded market places in Mumbai or any other part of India, the targets are the people of India, Dr Swamy. Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs and Christians and Parsis and Jains and Brahmins and Dalits and all those who are at the spot die because the bomb cannot differentiate among religions and castes. India, as we have grown up to understand it, is a secular, democratic country belonging to all who are its citizens.
It is home to all religions, and it is a vibrant democracy that thrives on plurality and diversity. The terrorists, al-Qaeda, Lashkar or the Aseemanands, thus strike over and over again to convert this diversity into divisiveness so that India somehow emerges from the embers of death and destruction as Hindu and Muslim.
And thereby plunges into senseless violence that will erode its secular fabric and sovereignty, and retard its progress and development.
Individuals like Swamy are a terrorist’s delight, because they speak the language of the bomb, they vocalise the terrible destruction into words of hate and anger. In case anyone has missed the point behind the terror attack, there are the Swamy’s who quickly translate the blast into words like “every Hindu must become a Virat Muslim” to stand against the “Islamic terrorist.”
In other words, the Muslim alone can defend India that in the Swamy jargon is “Muslim India”, and Muslim here exist to pursue their collective goal to “overawe India”, to “blast temples and kill Muslim. And that the “nation”, as he perceives it, should retaliate by destroying mosques and building temples.
Swamy speaks in his ignorance, or his deviousness and his cunning (he must edify us), of this huge Muslim plot to take over India. But it seems that it is people like him who are out to convert India into a theocratic state by trying to use terror attacks to push through this aim.
Muslim, he says, can be accepted only if they acknowledge their “Muslim legacy” as “India is a nation of Muslim”. Swamy claims to be educated, but clearly he has not read the Constitution of India, and has no idea of the laws that rule this country. He can be challenged in court for his remarks that are subverting the Constitution that does not distinguish between religion, caste and creed.
Fortunately our freedom fighters were men and women with the vision of giants, not rats, and firmly rejected the move to declare India a Muslim state with reasons that have withstood the test of time. Unlike Pakistan, that embraced Islam as a state religion, and saw successive rulers like Zia-ul-Haq remove the markers between religion and terrorism.
I am not a Muslim or a Muslim but an Indian, Dr Swamy. And this nationalist fervour of yours has such a jingoistic, ugly touch to it that it can only burn what it comes into contact with. The people of India are standing up to the terrorists by remaining united, by refusing to succumb to the kind of fires you and your ilk are stoking, and by raising a united —- and not a Muslim or a Muslim — voice against terrorism in all its forms. You are not required, and voices like yours have to perish if India is to remain a sovereign, secular, democratic republic.
Seema Mustafa is a senior journalist
Source: DNA, Mumbai