OPINION
हमेशा देर कर देता हूँ मैं .....
PM speaks against communalism but too late and too little
- VIPIN PUBBY
PM speaks against communalism but too late and too little




PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi at last came out with a message on social site Twitter on Sunday to state that "COVID-19 does not see race, religion, colour, caste, creed, language or borders before striking. Our response and conduct thereafter should attach primacy to unity and brotherhood. We are in this together”.
The prime minister needs to be complimented for affirming that the coronavirus pandemic does not discriminate among anyone. Indeed that’s what the world has seen so far.
 
It has afflicted high and mighty like the British prime minister Boris Johnson who fortunately has survived, to the superstars and Covid fighters like doctors besides the ordinary people. His message was perhaps also directed toward the communal colour being given to the spread of coronavirus in India although he stopped short of saying so.

His message has come too late and too little. He should have categorically called out his countrymen who had been blaming a section of Muslims for the spread of infection in the country. Although it is said that "akalmand ko ishara hi kafi hota hai” but these hate mongers unfortunately do not appear that ‘akalmand’ to understand and therefore needed a direct message.

Enough damage has already been done and the virus of communalism has entered in a big way in the country particularly after the outbreak of coronavirus and the fact that a section of the Tablighi Jamaat had added to the number of infections in the country.

Let me make it very very clear, Members of Tablighi Jamaat who participated in congregations despite government orders must be brought to book and be given exemplary punishment. Their act cannot be condoned and equally condemnable is the behaviour of those who who are dodging the authorities and are untraceable. These include its chief Maulana Saad the least that the government must do is book them under murder charges for putting to risk so many lives. 

With over one third of cases directly emanating from these Jamaatis, they have done huge damage to the society and there can be no defence of such irresponsible behaviour. Critics have been pointing out that even a Karnataka minister be booked for inviting hundreds of wedding guests or that the chief minister and hundreds of others who had gathered to celebrate the election of Shivraj Singh Chohan as Madhya Pradesh chief minister should be booked. Yes surely two wrongs don’t make a right and they should also be booked. Fortunately these gatherings have not generated cases of infections like the Tablighi jamatees but that’s just plain luck.

Watch video:

The behaviour and attitude of these jamatees has further widened the gulf that had been growing in the Indian society. There has been a sharp increase in attacks as well as a well orchestrated hate campaign  against the Muslim community. The hate brigade seems to have found an excuse to target the entire community.
 
There have been reports of members of the community being treated badly by policemen or bigots asking people to boycott their shops and businesses. Some cases of attacks on them have also been reported. A few of these communal elements have been targeted Arab women leading to strong protests from several friendly Islamic countries. Another matter of concern is that otherwise perfectly nice people are taking pleasure in forwarding videos of atrocities against members of this community.

What they don’t realise is that while the Tablighis cannot be excused for aiding and abetting the spread of coronavirus in the country, nearly two thirds of such cases have their origin in other causes including travellers who brought this virus to India. 

The prime minister should have gone ahead and also made a reference to it and should have made a direct appeal to the people to not blame a particular community for the spread of the virus. 

But then prime minister Modi is known to intervene a little late on issues such as this one. It was the same story when lynchings were taking place and when Muslims were being singled out and attacked. Even recently when daily wagers began walking hundreds of miles and were targeted by locals and when the hate brigade started talking boycotting Muslims for the wrong doings of a section of Tablighi Jamatees. 

It brings to mind a nazm by मुनीर नियाज़ी : हमेशा देर कर देता हूँ मैं .....

हमेशा देर कर देता हूं मैं 
ज़रूरी बात कहनी हो 
कोई वादा निभाना हो 
उसे आवाज़ देनी हो 
उसे वापस बुलाना हो 
हमेशा देर कर देता हूं मैं
 
मदद करनी हो उसकी 
यार का ढांढस बंधाना हो 
बहुत देरीना रास्तों पर 
किसी से मिलने जाना हो 
हमेशा देर कर देता हूं मैं 

बदलते मौसमों की सैर में 
दिल को लगाना हो 
किसी को याद रखना हो 
किसी को भूल जाना हो 
हमेशा देर कर देता हूं मैं 

किसी को मौत से पहले 
किसी ग़म से बचाना हो 
हक़ीक़त और थी कुछ 
उस को जा के ये बताना हो 
हमेशा देर कर देता हूं मैं

 

*(The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career.) 

 

 

 


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