As a Pluralist Indian American Muslim, I am a big follower of you two, the greatest orators of our times, and earnestly looking forward to hearing a powerful message of hope and inclusion on this Republic Day.
Mr. Prime Minister, I admire you for saying that, even though I am not your Chamcha (sycophant) blindly praising or even worshiping you, I am pleased to take a critical approach towards your policies with the intent of preventing you from falling from grace. I will keep you on your toes.
Since you made that statement, a few rogue elements are hell bent on throwing your bouquet into gutter; your legacy is on the line. You can go down as the greatest Prime Minister of India or finish your term as a another promiser and talker, the choice is clearly yours, indeed, you alone are the driver of your legacy.
We hope you have not given the explicit permission to anyone to destroy India’s social fabric that includes but not limited to pushing, accusing, and maligning India’s fellow Citizens who are not Hindu. But your silence is really bothering us all, yes all of us Indians. We need clarification today, did you permit anyone to do what they are doing on your watch?
Indeed, your dream of sab ka saath and sab ka vikas can be achieved in your first term with the following steps;
1. Today, on this Republic Day, let India’s flag be hoisted together with fellow Indians who are Adivasis, Atheists, Bahá’ís, Bos, Buddhists, Christians, Dalits, Hindus, Jains, Jewish, Muslim, Sikhs, Tribals, Zoroastrians and every Indian representation. Reach out and bring them together to the Red Fort, and let them together proudly hoist our Tiranga, then go ahead and give them a hug, it will speak million words of your good intentions. It will generate the spirit of sab ka saath on a social basis.
2. Declare that India is God’s own country, and is represented by every race, nationality, ethnicity, language, culture and religion. We see God as one, none and many; and in every form; male, female, genderless and non-existent, being and non-being, nameless and with innumerable names, and as Indians, we should not be biased towards any one. Aspire for an India that the world can emulate; a pluralistic democracy where every one can eat, drink, wear or believe whatever he or she wants to in her pursuit of happiness.
You can institute a pledge, that every public office holder from the Peon to the President of India and everyone in between must take and live by it. Violation should disqualify him or her from holding the public office. Let it be monitored publicly.
- I pledge allegiance to India, one nation that stands for liberty and justice for all.
- I pledge that I honor and treat every Indian with "full" dignity.
- I pledge that all individuals would be treated on par.
- I pledge that I will treat all religions with equal respect, equal access and equal treatment.
- I pledge that I will oppose any act that treats any Indian less than me.
- I Pledge that I will work for an India, where every individual can live with security and aspire for prosperity.
- I pledge that I will protect, preserve and value every inch of India and every human soul in India
As a powerful Prime Minister, if you just speak up, it will make a big difference. Take a look at the other world leaders who spoke and have made the difference as examples;
President Obama made a bold statement about accepting the same sex marriage - that one single courageous act changed the nation. The antagonists suddenly found themselves going along with it, and state by state the same sex marriage is becoming the law of the nation. We still got ways to go, but it was his singular stance that eliminated the apprehensions and fears of fellow Americans who are Gays, Lesbians Transgender and bisexual men and women.
You have an opportunity to mend, what Swami Vivekananda had missed; to give hope to the nation and explain and practice the full meaning of Vasudhaiva Kutumbukum. We hope you would pave the way for an inclusive India, where we don’t make any distinction between one Indian and the other.
YOUR STATEMENT ON THIS REPUBLIC DAY
“My dear fellow Indians, you are, yes, everyone of you is an Indian and that is all it matters to me, as your Prime Minster, I am here to make sure, you have equal access to justice, employment, schooling, loans, housing, health care, food, places of worship and retirement.” You can count on me, and together let's build an India where every one of you is comfortable with the other regardless of what you speak, believe, eat or wear. "
What is Pluralism? We have crystallized the definition of pluralism to, “respecting the otherness of the others and accepting the uniqueness of each one of us”. Pluralism is nothing but an attitude of live and let live, and it is applicable in every aspect of life including culture, society, religion, politics, gender, food, ethnicity, race and other uniqueness’s.
We need to prepare ourselves for those eventualities to prevent possible conflicts, and lay a good foundation for nurturing goodwill and effective functioning of the societies. Exclusive communities will become a thing of the past. If you live amidst others, you must also respect the otherness of others, as you expect them to do the same for you.
You are who you are, and I am who I am. As long as we don't mess with each other’s space, sustenance and nurturance, and mind our own business, we all will do well. If we can learn to respect the otherness of other and accept the God-given uniqueness of each one of the 1.27 billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.
Pluralism is not a set of rules, it is simply the attitude of live and let live religiously, politically, culturally and socially. We are committed to building cohesive societies, where no human has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of a fellow being.
I am indebted to my motherland for making me who I am, and want to find joy by returning her favor. The song from Pukaar, pukaars me. “Jis dharti ne mujh ko janam diya, my usi ka pyar paa raha hoon, Jitna bhi mujh se hosakay, my us maa ka udhar chuka raha hoon.” My interest is seeing a cohesive India, where no Indian has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. That is the free India I dream of, and am committed to do my personal share of the work towards that goal through my writings, speeches and actions.
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is frequent guest on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major newspapers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in several links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are atwww.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.