Sunday 10 July 2022

Any phobia based on faith is toxic (The Sunday Guardian)

Just days after the killing of two Hindus in India as retaliation for posts backing a former BJP functionary, as a diversion, marches took place in some US cities calling for an end to “genocide of Muslims” in India. Even websites supportive of the claims of the marchers show that from 2015 to 2018, there were 48 attacks on Hindus or Muslims in India, of which 34 were attacks on Muslims and the rest were on Hindus. Each murder of an innocent caused by hate for those of another faith is an act of terror, and merits the severest punishment available in law. Only prompt action by state agencies in every such situation can stop the fires of hate from burning away at the fabric of unity of our people. Interestingly, the charge of hate towards Muslims was also levelled against Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, who introduced the reforms that changed India. Rao lost in the 1996 Lok Sabha polls through sabotage by those in his party loyal to Sonia Gandhi. He made the mistake of obeying the counsel of then Finance Minister Manmohan Singh, and rejected the plea of scientists that another round of nuclear tests be conducted so as to ensure a safe and reliable deterrent against a particular nuclear weapons power that actively indulged in hostile behaviour towards India. The patriotism of Manmohan Singh is unquestioned, and it was his genuine belief that the sanctions that would be imposed on India by a vindictive Clinton administration after a nuclear test would extinguish the economic recovery that the reforms introduced by Rao had generated since 1992. It is probable that going ahead with a second series of tests of nuclear devices at Pokhran may have ensured that Rao secure a second term, which would surely have been an improvement on the political upsets that followed until 1999, when A.B. Vajpayee secured for the NDA a comfortable mandate in the Lok Sabha polls of that year. This was the consequence of the favourable public reaction caused by the retaking in an army-air force operation of the Kargil heights from the Pakistan military, not to mention Pokhran II in 1998. At that time as well, months before the tests took place, there were repeated warnings from the US, Canada, Australia and UK of the crippling effect that their sanctions following the nuclear tests would bring. Swaminathan S. Aiyar warned in the Economic Times that the US and other sanctions would finish off the Indian economy. This appeared on the front page on the same day that a front-page report by the present writer appeared in the Times of India, that such sanctions would not have a significant impact on the Indian economy. It was the Times of India that later events proved right, not the Economic Times. After Pokhran II, President Clinton, weary from unsuccessfully arm-twisting PM Narasimha Rao to hand over Kashmir to Pakistan, not to mention scrapping the nuclear and missile program, finally began to take India seriously as a major power, much to the dismay of the Indiaphobes in his administration.
Narendra Modi has secured a majority for the BJP in two consecutive Lok Sabha polls, and seems on the way to a hat-trick in 2024. Is this why there are several within the Democratic Party who have bought the false narrative being peddled that India under Modi is a cauldron of hate towards minorities? Or that those minorities who have not yet been genocidally disposed of are in mortal danger of meeting the same fate? This is the falsehood being peddled by the Sino-Wahhabi lobby in the US, and eagerly picked up by a section of opinion makers in the US. Most are upset that the Sonia-era visas have been cancelled of those who used to come to India during the days of the UPA and hold public meetings in which they and others abused in unprintable language divinities sacred to Hindus. Their example is now apparently being followed by filmmaker Leena Manimekalai, who (judging by a tasteless poster featuring her film) appears to have no knowledge whatsoever of the significance of the manner in which the feminine gender is sought to be empowered through the depiction of Shakti (strength, energy) in the persona of the female deity that has apparently been traduced and caricatured in a documentary. This was to be screened in Toronto by the Aga Khan Foundation, much of whose revenue comes from citizens of India or those of Indian descent who are among the most tolerant and syncretic of human beings in the world. Such an attitude of tolerance and moderation was evident in the decision of the Foundation to cancel the screening. Whether Hinduphobia, Islamophobia or Christianophobia, all such phobias are alien to a civilised mind. Pride in one’s faith is normal, mocking another is not.

Any phobia based on faith is toxic

No comments:

Post a Comment