India — The Rainbow Nation
South Africa is sometimes called the Rainbow Nation, but the truly Rainbow Nation in the world is India, with its tremendous and bewildering diversity of religions, castes, languages, races, cuisine, cultures, etc.
Recent events in India, therefore strike against the very heart of the country, against the very identity and nature of India. An elderly Muslim was beaten up on 5th June, 2021 in Ghaziabad, UP for not saying ‘Jai Shri Ram’, accused of being a Pakistani spy, and his beard cut off.
Lynching of Muslims has been going on for several years. Muslims have been beaten up by bigots, forced to say ‘Jai Shri Ram’, accused of being cow killers, terrorists and anti nationals, spreaders of corona virus, and discriminated against in employment, housing, etc. as the Sachar Committee report disclosed. Such events have grown exponentially in recent years.
All this is a national disgrace. Unless this bigotry is stopped and the perpetrators of such dastardly acts (who are the real anti nationals, as they strike against the very soul of India) awarded harsh punishment it will totally destroy the very fabric of India.
As explained in detail in my article ‘What is India’, India is broadly a country of immigrants, like North America, with about 92-93% of its present inhabitants being descendants of immigrants and invaders, not the original inhabitants of the country (the original inhabitants being the pre-Dravidian tribals, known as adivasis or Scheduled Tribes, like Bhils, Gonds, Santhals, Todas, etc who constitute only 7-8% of India’s population today). This explains the cause of our country’s diversity. Each group of immigrants who came into India brought with them their own culture, religion, language, etc.
Hence the only policy which can work in India and keep it united and lead it to progress is the policy of the great Mughal Emperor Akbar of suleh-e-kul, or giving equal respect to all communities.
It is high time that the Indian train which has been derailed be again put back on its correct track by patriots. That is the only way forward for the Indian people.The alternative is our ruin and disintegration.
As said by the eminent Urdu poet Allama Iqbal:
“Watan ka fiqr kar naadaan museebat aane waali hai
Teri barbaadiyon ke mashwaren hain aasmaanon mein
Na samjhoge to mit jaoge ai Hindustan waalon
Tumhaari daastaan bhi na reh jaayegi daastaanon mein”
Markandey Katju is a former judge of the Supreme Court of India. He was also the Chairman of the Press Council of India.