Letting Azad win
For 10 years, there’s been no serious Hindu-Muslim riots in India. It’s time to remove artificial ‘pro-secular’ schemes that communalize the atmosphere
Partition had been accompanied by ethnic cleansing and bloody riots. Remarkably, the first decade-and-a-half of Independence was largely free of Hindu-Muslim violence. This was in good part due to Nehru;s leadership. He helped make Muslims feel secure in a largely Hindu nation; at the same time, he kept the forces of Hindutva extremism at bay.
My own impression, based on travels around the country and conversations with a variety of Indians, is that this cooling of communal tempers in occurring independently and simultaneously on both sides of the spectrum. Hindus who once went along with the Ayodhya movement now see the futility of constructing a nation’s agenda around a single temple. Having witnessed (and suffered) the BJP in power in New Delhi, they know that far from being a ‘party with a different’, it is driven by greed and personal ambition.
Have Nehru and Azad then finally won the argument? Is, will, must, secularism be Indi’s destiny? It is too early to say. The social peace of the past decade, the shedding of reactionary tendencies by Hindus and Muslims.
For the sake of Hindus, Muslims, and India itself, these schemes must be withdrawn, or, through the pressure of democratic public opinion, be made to fail.
Adapted from HI March 16, 2012
Ram Chandra Guha, Hindustan