Just imagine what would have happened if Muzzafarnagar was in Gujarat. And how Chief Minister Narendra Modi would have been dealt with. Our vicious English media would have jumped at his throat and named him as a villain of all sorts, naming every imaginable reason why the killings went on.
Some 43 people, Muslims, obviously, were killed, over hundreds wounded and some 43,000 Muslims fled their villages and turned homeless in Muzaffarnagar. No apology has been sought from Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav so far, though it is known that advance warnings had been given to him of likely communal riots.
What is painful to note is that between his accession to the Chief Ministership of Uttar Pradesh and now, upward of 50 communal incidents have dented Yadav’s reputation. But then he is no Narendra Modi. In Godhra, several thousand Muslims had got together to burn the Sabarmati Express coaches and succeeded in burning alive over fifty innocent Hindu women and children.
In Muzaffarnagar trouble started when a Hindu girl was allegedly accosted by a Muslim boy. The girl’s two brothers thereupon thrashed the Muslim boy to death. In turn, the two brothers were killed by an irate Muslim mob. What is wrong with the Muslim community in Muzaffarnagar? How much more barbarian can one be? But one of the local Muslim leaders is supposed to have told Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh who visited the area: “Why did you and the Congress Party and Jawaharlal Nehru stop us from going away in 1947? We have been reduced to strangers in our own land.” That is stuff and nonsense. Neither Congress now Nehru asked Muslims to vote for Pakistan. The Muslims did it on their own.
In Uttar Pradesh, 54 out of 61 Muslim seats voted for the Muslim League – and Partition, despite Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s clear early warning that it would lead to alienating Muslims from their Hindu fellow countrymen. Nobody listened to the Maulana. The reason was simple: The Muslim elite might have left in toto, but the poor had to stay because Pakistan wouldn’t have been able to give them a decent livelihood.
Meanwhile, our secularists sickening to their very depths, have been pointing fingers at their pet enemies, the BJP, propagating false stories about Muslims atrocities to worsen the communal situation further. So far not a single positive step to stop violence has emerged. It is easy to talk of old hatreds and new reactions. No analysis is available of the number of unemployed among both Hindus and Muslims and of the actual prevailing social conditions in the district. The government merely arrests MLAs for alleged communal provocation. In the circumstances this old-timer has a few suggestions to offer to re-do an ancient society. Thus, a whole new public organisation should be formed by private interested parties to run social service in the affected areas, A ‘social monitor’ should then be appointed to serve in each village or a closely-knit group of villages with specific aims and objectives. The duties of the so-called social monitor should be as follows:
(a) Make it a point to visit every home, Hindu or Muslim, just for causal talk, but essentially to understand what problems such as unemployment, are faced by each family.
(b) Encourage casual Hindu-Muslim get togethers in a small scale in one’s own home, so that some sort of ‘friendship’ slowly accrues over the years.
(c) In order to fight unemployment, give to each family three to four charkhas (spinning wheels) and free cotton and encourage them to be productive.
(d) Provide each family free seeds for growing vegetables fruits and flowers so that they can make maximum use of such limited space they have in their possession. More importantly, arrange for marketing.
(e) Arrange to provide sports paraphernalia such as footballs, cricket bats and balls to the children and encourage Hindu and Muslim children to play together every evening
(f) Arrange story-telling evening for children below the age of ten or twelve, separately for girls and boys, to propagate values and a sense of Hindu-Muslim unity.
(g) Provide picture books in the local language whether Urdu or Hindi, to the children so that they can read them in their homes.
(h) Make it a point to soften up anger over any incident and seek to get tempers lowered whenever the occasion for it arises. It should not matter who was responsible for creating tension.
(i) Always maintain a cheerful mood, always be available to anybody, at any time, for whatever reason and
(j) Finally, show that one is above and beyond any caste, creed, community and religion, and is free of prejudice.
Don’t expect them to work wonders. It will take time, may be a few years, to build a new society of our dreams.