“Yes, minorities are the most neglected beings in this country who have to struggle for justice and equality in a country more than anyone else belonging to the majority sector. We stay in a nation where some of the most influential organizations like RSS who intrudes in the functioning of the nation have not yet accepted the secular constitution as a rule book to be followed.”
“Terrorist spotted”, is what I heard in response to my logics and perception and those sleek fingers pointing towards me, during this discussion on the status of minorities in our society.
The article 14 of the constitution says that: “the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
Does being a minority in a Hindu dominated country takes away my right to question if these articles are merely engraved on the pages of the respectable constitution or are they literally implemented?
The history recites the whole story of India being declared as a secular nation by nationalists like gandhiji and Jawaharlal Nehru despite of the continuous pressure from organizations like RSS and Hindu mahasabha to make it a ‘Hindu rashtra’. The statements displaying dissatisfaction by some extremists can be read on a daily basis in newspapers like ‘Panchjanya’.
Then from where does the term ‘religious minorities’ found its existence in a country that swanks about it being secular?
Inaya ateeq, an English honors student of Aligarh University feels that “problem begins when division begins into Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, and Zoroastrian.”
“Was I the only one to consider myself as ‘Indian’ before being ‘classified’?”- questions she.
“Indian sentiments for religion dominates to give rise to chauvinism”- says mayank bharadwaj, an engineering student of Delhi who being a secular Indian speaks about the failure in the system in seeing the various religious groups as equal.
When religion dominates, it suppresses the minorities. It is in fact the perception and ideology of the people that elevate the bar of the religion in the majority-minority graph.
In the language of law and constitution, a religious minority is commonly a group of people who are statistically less.
As per the law of nature majority will every time overpower the minority but that in no way can justify the struggle of the minorities for ‘equality’ in a secular country.
But where does the root cause of the problem lies?
Another socially active student of Aligarh finds that the problem with our country is that minorities do not have a stand in this religiously heterogeneous country. We have leaders who represent the ‘communities’ rather than their ‘issues’.
There is an unequal representation because government wants it. The concept of minorities is fanned by the political parties to support the propaganda of “divide and rule” with the objective to fill up the vote banks. These players of politics widen the gap between different sections of the society in turn inculcating hatred for another section.
Religious violence which is frequent sight in India is the best example that depict the discrimination on the part of minorities.The Gujarat riots of 2002, where 58 people mainly constituting of Hindus were brutally murdered but no evidence utterly could claim the Muslim extremist groups responsible for the riots. Few weeks later the response to this was even more brutal when 2000 Muslims were slaughtered to death. Very expectedly the authorities preferred to stay passive. In spite of cooling the matter, concept of Hindu nationalism was brought up by the party in power. Narendra modi, CM of the state veiled the entire massacre by tagging it as ‘natural act arousing out of the criminal tendencies of the inhabitants of Gujarat’.
the incidences that disgrace the sentiments of the minorities in India are reported on a daily basis.
‘Sana than Sanstha’ challenges to eliminate the minorities from the country by 2030 and make it a sheer Hindu Rashtra. Saturation point of the patience is attained when the prime minister who chants the slogan of “sabka saath sabka vikaas” finds it more substantial and necessary to express his grief upon the death of Asha bhosle’s son and steps back in a matter of national interest where he refrains from giving any statement where as if Assaduddin owasi tries to give voice to the minorities, it is taken as an act of anti nationalism and is asked to shift to Pakistan
“Love jihad, ghar vaapsi, sampoorn hindu rashtra, and hindu-sthaan” are the terms that has gain heed in the past few days which actually questions the very existence of the minorities. These political games in no way lag behind in creating disruptions and distress among the ‘Indians’.
I village blacksmith, mohd. Akhlaq was brutally lynched on the supposed suspicion that beef was cooked in his home.
“Such lynch mobs are not spontaneous reactions to rumors. They represent a planned, systematic injection of communal poison into the very fabric of the Indian society and the sole purpose of this poison is to promote the politics to transform India from a secular into a Hindu rashta”- says Anirudh vyahut, a student of mass communication from the university of Hyderabad.
Looking at the perspective of the minorities, it is the fear of losing their identity in a pseudo secular country that they switch to communal riots which are in fact the expression of the aggression that has burst out after reaching a saturation point in delaying justice to them. Ultimately they are declared as terrorist or anti nationalists even if they speak anything against the majority.
The question to be asked in the dadri lynching case is ‘will they equalize a man’s life to that of the beef in the name of religion’?
The most shocking response then comes from the government where the murder of an innocent was declared as an ‘accident’. The prime minister preferred to stay quite when the whole country was expecting a justification to this act.
The Supreme Court’s decision to hang yakoob memon, the culprit in the Mumbai blast case, who although surrendered himself, was opposed by the secularists like Markandey katju. The execution of the decision even after the firm opposition justify the objective to satisfy the sentiments of the Hindu majority.
The murders of Indira Gandhi case are still not punished.
Satbhavna express’s culprits ought to be hanged till death as per the laws and decisions taken in the past incidences but instead the country is very well working upon the principle that justice to the majority is to be delayed(ultimately denied) while justice to the minorities is to be denied since the majority has to rule and hence dominate.
Demographically, 80.5% of Indians are Hindus while Muslim constitute only 13.4% , Christians with a population of 2.2% and other religious groups with 3.9% of Indians as per the census of 2011. According to this division the Muslim and Christian sectors lies below the poverty line. “this sectioning of the society by considering certain minority groups as weak can never abridge the gap”- says faraz mirza, a young mind.
On one hand India embrace the definitions of ‘secularism’ and ‘liberalism’ but actually it is indeed discriminating against the religious minorities.The disintegration of the nation will lead to its instability sooner or later. So walking on the path that says “united we stand” is the only way out to maintain harmony. We can progress only by promoting religious inequality.
(The writer is a student of English at Aligarh Mulsim University. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)