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Thursday, June 13, 2013
EDITORIAL: Mr. Narendra Modi, you have a choice
Published at Indian Muslim Observer, June 4, 2012
Narendra Modi is one of the most loved and hated politicians of India. He is the Chief Minister (Equivalent of State Governor in the US) of Gujarat, touted as one of the most industrialized states of India. He is loved by those who prospered and became wealthy, and hated by those who cried out for help, but got none.
In the Gujarat Mayhem a decade ago, both the criminals and victims were ethnic Guajarati. A majority of them did not like the death and destruction of fellow Gujaratis. Nearly a thousand of them were killed and several thousand were displaced and still living in the refugee camps.
No decent Gujarati should be offended with the reporting on rampage, it is not about them; it is about the criminals among them, regardless of the religious label they wear. Religion does not permit one to murder others. It is an embarrassment and a dark part of their history.
During the communal riots in Jabalpur in the early sixties, both Muslims and Hindus were killed in the mayhem. I wish every father in India, teaches the following lesson to his kids, as my father taught me. He told us that the "individuals" are responsible for the bloodshed and not the religions; he was very clear. He said, you cannot blame the nebulous understanding of religion and expect justice. The individuals responsible for disturbing the peace should be punished under the law, and a resolution to the conflict must result by serving justice. He said you cannot annihilate, kill, hang or beat a religion, then why bark at it? It is not the religion, it is the individual bad guys that are the problem.
Crime is always committed by the individuals, and each individual must be brought to justice to restore faith in the society. When you believe that your rights will be protected by your government, you feel safe and secure and that is how you build cohesive societies.
It is disappointing to see the depletion of humanness among a few vocal fellow Indians. They have no empathy for the pain and anguish of families who were massacred in broad day light in Gujarat. It is a shame that a few of them even justify it, and a few others believe that the victims deserved it. Indeed, it is an assault on the sense of morality of all religions.
The long term well being of the individual and the society hinges on the morality of the people and not the wealth and economic prosperity. No nation has ever lasted on the basis of economic prosperity alone, it is the collective morality and adherence to the justice for all that defines the idea of a civilized nation.
This piece is written in Indian context; hence, a self introspection for the Indians and Indian Americans may be necessary with the following five questions.
1. Am I communal (sectarian) minded person?
2. Am I capable of seeing another Indian as Indian without the religious lens?
3. Do I blame others and not jettison my own share of responsibility?
4. Do I feel bad, and not speak for fear of offending friends?
5. Do I have a moral chip in me?
No society attains long term prosperity while oppressing a minority amongst them.
A “few” Hindus have rejoiced the massacre of fellow Gujarati Muslims, shame on their humanity and shame on them to call themselves Hindus. A few Muslims find it difficult to reconcile the situation, shame on them for not listening to their own religion. God declares in Quraan, that the dearest among you, is the one who forgives. It is not easy to do that. A few Muslims rightfully want nothing but punishment, I wish they rather seek justice.
We have a choice to correct the situation, to begin with, at least in our own hearts.
An appeal to Chief Minister Modi
Dear Mr. Narendra Modi,
You have a moral responsibility to the well being of every citizen of Gujarat, whether they personally elected you or not, you still represent them.
Your fellow Gujaratis were massacred under your guardianship, and I hope your humanness is alive to feel their pain and anguish.
Mr. Modi, you have many choices; one among them is repentance, the praischit, and I urge you to seriously consider it. It is the Michami Dukadam of your life, that is seeking forgiveness and forgiving others for any grudge you may harbor against others. Right now, you have a choice to start your spiritual and political life with a clean slate.
This means making good with the people who have suffered under your leadership; it will bring Mukti (salvation) to you. The other choice is to resign and show the strength of your character.
Your moral character in the only sustainable legacy you can leave behind, and not the wealth you create for a few. Gujarat has been around and will always be there with or without you, and I hope you are humble enough to see it.
You may consider working on earning genuine respect from every Gujarati, particularly the downtrodden living in the refugee camps. Uplift their lives. You will be uplifting a huge moral burden of fellow Guajarati and fellow Indians. Your honesty and integrity will be transparent in how you handle the situation.
As a leader of one of the industrially advanced states, you have a duty to establish Gujarat as a state that respects law, where justice will be served to every Gujarati, whether they live in a Jhompdi (Huts) or the castle. Every Indian should feel safe, as the law would take care of the wrong doers. You need to express your courage to speak up and follow dharma, the right path.
You can begin by mustering the courage to apologize to the citizens of Gujarat and restore their lives and bring justice to them. It will bring peace to every Gujarati and every Indian. It takes a man to do it, and I hope you are man enough to do it and turn things around for the 16000 men and women living in refugee camps. Do them good, restore their life and earn their goodwill. Once they see the results of restoration of a genuine man, they will forgive you and support you and, they will stand up for you, if you stand up for them.
I am not sure if you are aspiring to run the national ship, or the ones who benefit from it want to prop you up, either way, you have the responsibility to fellow Gujaratis.
Your chamchas may not care if you did not get the visa to the United States, but you may want to remove the ugly stain from your character. The Hindus and Muslims are willing to help you, provided you are willing to do the praischit. The choice is yours.
[Mike Ghouse is an Indian American committed to building cohesive societies, in the Indian context he hopes no Indian has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other. MikeGhouse is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a professional speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, civic affairs, Islam, India, Israel, peace and justice. Mike is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News and regularly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. The blog www.TheGhousediary.com is updated daily. Mike Ghouse is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Foreign Editor. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org]