India being unmade with every passing day: Activist Harsh Mander

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New Delhi, Jan 13 : The cultural fabric and ethos of India is being unmade with every passing day, says activist Harsh Mander, fearing that “hatred and bigotry” may become “the new normal”.

In his latest book “Partitions of the Heart: Unmaking the Idea of India”, Mander says that Muslims and Christians are at the risk of being reduced to second class citizens in India.

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He that the Constitution promises that India would belong to all people who are born into it or who chose it, regardless of their religion, caste or gender.

“If this pattern of routinising systematic hate violence is not effectively resisted, the danger is that it will spiral downwards into further and further cycles of grim and deepening strife, which will continue to target innocents and ultimately tear us apart as a people, destroying the idea of a humane, pluralist, inclusive India.”

He accuses the successive governments of compromising cynically with “secular and egalitarian principles”, contending that they failed both their constitutional mandate and the people of India.

Mander, who quit the IAS in the wake of post-Godhra riots in Gujarat in 2002, urges his readers to learn from the lessons of the past, saying that it is imperative that people do not allow “hatred and bigotry” to get routinised.

“Solidarity with and between religious, ethnic and sexual minorities, oppressed castes and tribal people, women, poor and dispossessed people, immigrants and working class people, and people of colour must be forged and strengthened,” he notes in the book, published by Penguin.

The 66-year-old activist, who works with survivors of mass violence and hunger as well as homeless persons and street children, further prescribes that public institutions must be protected and public dissent should be seen as the highest public duty.

He says that even if dissent is stigmatised as “unpatriotic, attacked and persecuted”, citizens of the country should not allow it to be suppressed.

India was partitioned in 1947 by its British colonial rulers, leading to the birth of two separate nations, India and Pakistan. Mander’s central argument in the book is that another partition is “underway in our hearts and minds”.

“How much of this culpability lies with ordinary people? What are the responsibilities of a secular government, of a civil society, and of a progressive majority,” he asks in the book.

Taking stock of whether India has upheld the values it had set out to achieve, the author offers a painful, unsparing insight into the contours of hate and violence.

He shares vivid stories from his own work and shows that hate speech, communal propaganda and vigilante violence are “mounting a fearsome climate of dread”.

He argues that hate can indeed be fought, “but only with solidarity, reconciliation and love, and when all of these are founded on fairness”.(IANS)

3 COMMENTS

  1. Rahul Gandhi can never win 2019 elections till he first fights (nation-wide satyagraha) to remove easily-manipulated BJP–EVMs immediately and Modi-Shah know this very well!

    Pehle EVM hatao phir election ladho aur Bharat badlo!

    Warna sab bekaar baat haye!

  2. If proponents of change were sincere/serious/patriotic (in the past, present, or future??) they were going to understand (from the rational, scientific, ground reality mindset, by personalizing, e.g., be them, treat others as you would like to be treated. For God’s sake, stop pontificating. Don’t forget Babar entered India by fighting with Lodhi, not Modi. History repeats itself. I was laughing when I watched one reaction to “topper’s” resignation. The responder was unaware of India’s own central ground archival reports like the ones for Shastri, Indira, and, most importantly, for Dr. Singh, aka, Sachar. I recommend them to read also the entire set of Muslim India/Mirror, what Azad/Shahabuddin wrote/talked. There is a MYTH that all Indian ancestry (inside the country or among NRIs) are ‘pseudo-Pakistanis’. This is untrue. They abhor, rather. Believe me, by doing so, you are further alienating your best resource of intelligence. Enough!

    • You would be surprised that I wrote my comment before reading the post. In age, I belong to the time period of Yashwant Sinha and Tejendra Khanna, as their contemporary @ Patna U. Late Shahabuddin had taught me and I took a trip with him. All of us were like-minded people in nationalism, patriotism, and competitiveness. I admit I could not say as succinctly as the writer of the post. But I endorse him, his nuggets above, and congratulate him for his courage. Unless and until we have scores of the four judges of the SCI or the four names mentioned above, both within and outside (with justice Katju to defend us) the administration. I don’t see much positive progress in the J&K problem. The inertia of the past 72 years, based on the entropy created by the past, might explode by a quantum leap and put the World Trade Center 2001 9/11 to shame. BEWARE and save India now from another partition(s). South is distressed, too.

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