Syed Zafar Islam
try to pit Hindus against Muslims in India should be aware of the damage that
they are doing by chipping away at the natural unity between the two
communities. India has excellent relations with all Islamic nations ranging
from the United Arab Emirates to Iran to Saudi Arabia.
Modi is not only popular in these countries, he is the recipient of prestigious
civilian awards in three Islamic countries. Clearly, they don’t consider him
anti-Muslim as portrayed in Time magazine. Our economy is one of the fastest
growing in the world and the reforms begun by Modi are beginning to kick in.
deny that we have problems between the two communities. We do fight but we also
make up. Yes, there is a divide between us but it’s not been exacerbated by
Modi. He has, in fact, tried to remove fears about the majority community from
Muslim minds, something which was assiduously promoted by the Congress and
other so-called liberal parties.
We are a
multi-faith, multi-lingual society. We have Left fundamentalists and religious
bigots in our midst. They were not produced and nurtured by Modi. This is our
collective problem, not Modi’s alone. Modi has undertaken the task of uniting a
divided country but this is a work in progress.
minister is not a divider-in-chief. It is baffling how anyone can say that
Hindu-Muslim relations are at an all-time low during Modi’s tenure. This is a
serious allegation not backed by logic.
I am an
Indian Muslim, born and raised in the midst of Hindus. I can say with authority
that relations between the two communities are nowhere near as dire as is being
made out. It is not good enough to focus on only small areas where religious
violence has recurred over decades. Muslims have joined the Bharatiya Janata
Party in droves because of Modi. He has undertaken various measures to bring
them into the mainstream. His government has launched several affirmative
programmes for religious minorities.
Modi’s revolution before the last general election. I come from a milieu which
was nurtured on the apprehension that if Muslims didn’t vote for the Congress
or self-styled secular parties, the Hindus would make them second-class
If Modi had
been such a divider, Hindus and Muslims would not be living together as we do
today. We still fight as siblings do. We still share hopes and we dream
together as Indians. Indian Muslims have not been sent to Pakistan or thrown
into the Indian Ocean or the Arabian Sea. We share our cultural heritage with
the Hindus. Modi promotes this.
safer here than the Shias and Ahmadiyyas in Pakistan. We are better off here
than Muslims are in many other countries. Not that there have been no problems,
as I mentioned. EM Forster refers to this in his A Passage To India in the
early 20th century. There are numerous other authors who have chronicled those
tensions. Were Muslims not killed in riots in the pre-Partition days? Were
Hindus not hacked to death by Muslims in those days?
There is no
denying that there have been unfortunate incidents of lynchings carried out by
anti-social elements in the guise of cow vigilantes. It’s also true that most
of the victims were Muslims and lower caste people. Modi has more than once
cautioned those involved in cow-related lynchings saying they were not the true
followers of the dharma. He warned people to not fall prey to such monsters and
their claims about protecting cows.
the past, when Muslims were used only as vote banks, the Modi government has
seen to it that all the government-sponsored schemes, such as Ujjwala reached
the poorest and most disadvantaged in the Muslim community. Around 22%
beneficiaries of several such schemes are Muslims.
sweeping generalisations about divisions between the two communities are based
on ignorance. And it beyond comprehension to say that there is a conspiracy of
silence on the part of the prime minister and his government when it comes to
justice for Muslims.