Sir, I’ve sent you a telegram. As you head to Kashmir, en route to Korea. We haven’t seen you much in India lately. In fact, I get the feeling that you’ve taken on the mantle of External Affairs Minister. Well, it’s largely because everytime we see you, you’re either bonding with the head of some South-east Asian country or jawans in Srinagar, or Putin in South Extension I follow you on Twitter, and today your big message is that we should all practise Yoga. So here’s why this communication’s urgent how about stopping some of the conversions about to take place in India?
Sir, the 12th anniversary of Babri Masjid/Ram Janmabhoomi agitation passed last week. You’d think we would be past these communal tensions. But the seeds of hatred have been sown. The dangerous bloom of bigotry remains. The greatest aspect of this country has been our secularism, and the world welcomes you because they believe you run one of the biggest democracies in the free world. But that’s a charade, right? There’s the saffron brigade who feel they have your support. So the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) has demanded that Chief Minister Fadnavis ban loudspeakers in all mosques in Mumbai. The Muslims are facing mass conversions in Agra, while Christians face the same fate in Aligarh at Rs 2 lakh a pop. Your Union minister lady separates ‘ramzaadon from haramzaadon” in hate speeches in Parliament. And then there’s Madame Swaraj who feels it’s her birthright to declare the Bhagwad Gita the ‘national scripture’.
So, before you head to South Korea, here’s my thing, sir, take it or leave it.
The faster you disengage from this ‘evil’ the better we will all feel. These people seem to hitch themselves to you, because they feel you won’t clamp down on their extremism. You will just look the other way. That you are pro-Hindu and anti everybody else. What matters is you are now the Chief Operating Officer of my secular country.
You led your party to victory and you are undeniably in the ‘hot seat’ but you sir, are now not just the Bharatiya Janata Party. And the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the VHP and the Bajrang Dal need to know that. You aren’t Hindu Right or a hardliner. You are as Hindu as you are Harijan. You are Bodo, you are Bengali, you are Bawa. You are Maharashtrian. You are Malayali.
You are Tamil Brahmin. You are Syrian Christian, you are Saraswat Brahmin, you are Sunni Muslim, you are Sikh, you are Sindhi. You are Kucchi, you are Kannadiga. You are Jain, you are Jewish. You are an all-encompassing Indian, in the most versatile, multi community country in the world. And you need to let them know this reality.
You need to rap them on the knuckles, you need to reign in the hate-mongers. You need to remind all of us that in India, religion cannot and shouldn’t rule. I appreciate that our rupee needs a higher conversion rate in the world market. But there are domestic conversions to tackle first.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62 @gmail.com. The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.