Monday, September 28, 2009

An Open letter to Mr. Bandukwala

Mr. Bandukwala has writted an article titled "To Defuse A Train Of Gunpowder"
In the article, he writes:
It would surely have been better if the Gujarati Hindu leadership, whether political, business, intellectual or religious, had taken a moral position, introspected and expressed remorse. But that is akin to asking for the moon ...

Repeated appeals were made by Muslims to eminent Hindu godmen to recognise the fact that Muslim women were raped and killed to the cries of Jai Shri Ram, using trishuls which were blessed by Swaminarayan sants. Many women who survived speak of Durga Vahini women egging their men on ...

Mr. Bandukwala, while I agree with the points you have made, I would like to make a larger point. Let us move away from the specific context of Gujarat 2002. Let us talk about riots in general. How easy is it to provoke a "muslim mob" into a riot? My feeling is that it is not very difficult and if some hindutva extremist group wants to create a communal divide, they can spark a provocation into a riot almost at will. All they need to do is to offend some sentiment etc. My question to the Muslim leadership is, what are they doing about it?

I wish that people like you who have a public platform to express your views can look at issues beyond Gujarat 2002 and appeal to all Muslims that killing innocent families in a riot is unislamic and inhuman. Even if there is a communal riot that is going on, Muslims should protect the innocents of both Muslim families and Hindu families from the communal mobs (from both sides). Can you please use your public platform for propagating this? And also urge the Muslim religious leadership to make this a persistent theme in their speeches etc? Is that akin to asking for the moon? If you can do this, that will have a much larger impact than what you are doing to bring the perpetrators of Gujarat 2002 to book. Even the RSS may then be forced to make a statement that their cadre also will help/protect innocent Muslim families as well as innocent Hindu families in a riot. That would be path-breaking.

God and the question of religious diversity

Assuming that God exists, one often wonders about God's attitude towards various religions in this world. Does God approve of some or one religion(s) over the others? If that is the case, is it unfair, given that each one of us are born into different religious (or non-religious) backgrounds? I suppose, God is behind all people, based on their desire/willingness for truth, values etc. Mere birth in a religion or professing a religious identity should not be a major issue. Religiosity is sometimes expressed in very negative ways. A man who shouts 'Allah-ho-Akbar' before blowing up innocents or a violent hindutva murderer/rioter shouting 'Jai Shri Ram", or a crusader with a cross on one hand and a sword on the other etc may all belong to a 'religion' but God is not behind them. On the other hand, God is behind every one who has desire/openness for truth, values, moral standards etc. If God is just/fair, all such people will be led/helped on the path of truth and righteousness.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Question for RSS/VHP - support murderous mobs or innocents?

A simple question for RSS/VHP is this: if a murderous hindu mob attacks an innocent muslim family in a communal riot (like say, Gujarat 2002), whose side they will take? Will they try to protect the innocent family in question? The answer is obvious, for in all likelyhood, they themselves are part of the mob itself. The RSS/BJP should become a party that protects and fight for justice all innocent citizens regardless of religious labels. Only then it will have any moral feet to stand on. Whether a murderous hindu mob attacks an innocent muslim family or whether a murderous muslim mob attacks an innocent hindu family, one should fight for the rights/justice/well-being of the side that is innocent. That a basic human value.