India’s democracy is at stake

Tariq A. Al-Maeena

My columns on the recent events in Kashmir have prompted a flurry of letters, some supportive of my views while others vehemently opposed to them and accusing me of being ignorant on the subject as I am not an Indian. 

While that is a fair enough charge in terms of my nationality, I have studied some subcontinent history and would venture to say that I write it as I see it based on historical facts. However, it is time to allow Indians to vent their opinions and provide some more insight. One such response to my writings was from Habib who writes:

“The recent happenings in Kashmir have motivated me to write the following:

“I was born in Barabanki a small town near Lucknow, the capital of United Provinces (a Hindu majority province) in British India some 87 years ago. I remember living for some years in Agra (the 1940s) where my father was the District Commissioner. After retirement, he decided to move to Aligarh for the sake of our education as five of his children were still in school, although our hometown was Meerut.

“I completed my education in Aligarh in 1951 when I did my B.Com This meant that I lived in India up to the age of 19. India acquired independence from the British in 1947 and Gandhi was assassinated by an RSS (Modi’s party) man. So, I witnessed the first four years of India’s independence living in India.

“It is my candid opinion that Hindus generally suffer from an inherent hatred of Muslims which is passed from generation to generation. My reasoning for this is because of the Moghul rule over India for over 500 years. The Moghuls ruled India well and left India still with a Hindu majority who are constantly being reminded of what the Moghuls left behind in the form of forts and other monuments. Modi makes his independence speech from the Red Fort in Delhi built by the Moghuls. Of course, there are exceptions, but my remarks are for the general masses of Hindus who are in the majority in India and have been aroused by Modi.

“Modi is a very shrewd person who established himself in Gujarat as a Muslim hater having taken thousands of innocent Muslim lives, including houses being burnt with Muslim families inside. Today Modi is the PM of India and will continue to be so till his terms come to an end but he has managed to sow the seeds of hatred which will bear fruit in the future.

“He has abrogated the Constitution of India which describes India as a Secular State. He has created an atmosphere of treating Muslims as second-class citizens who are assaulted, raped and killed every passing day in India. There is nobody to check or control these activities as the majority of Hindus support him.

“Having taken the recent action on Kashmir, the majority of the Muslim population will soon be turned into a minority as the rich Hindus from India will acquire property in Kashmir and are also keen on marrying beautiful Kashmiri girls. Their dreams come true!

“Kashmir was the only political problem between India and Pakistan which was supposed to be resolved by bilateral negotiations. There have been earlier discussions between the two countries and there was a Simla Agreement. Also, there are two outstanding UN resolutions regarding Kashmir still waiting settlement. However, with one quick action Modi has bulldozed past history and changed the lives and the future of Kashmiris without consulting them.

“What options do the Kashmiris or Pakistan (another party to the problem) have to the dispute simmering for the last 72 years? Besides taking the matter to the UN Security Council, the time has come for Imran Khan and the Pakistan Army to take some difficult decisions.

“This is my personal feelings as of today and I hope and pray that this matter gets resolved without much bloodletting – Habib”

These are words spoken by an Indian who cares deeply for his country but is disturbed by the trend toward fascism that he has witnessed in recent times. India’s democracy is at stake, and no amount of denial is going to brush over that fact.

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