India had almost forgotten the shame of Babri when suddenly the shame of Dadri erupted. Dadri is a village in Noida UP, hardly 50 kms away from the National capital, Delhi. Muhammad Akhlaq, a common peace loving citizen of India, was slaughtered in cold blood by a gang of hooligans who "imagined" that he might have eaten beef after slaughtering a cow. Not only was he killed, his house was ransacked, his family members grievously injured, his fridge was even searched for beef. Does an Indian citizen deserve to be insulted and harmed in this way, even if he had eaten beef? Eating beef is not a crime in India although slaughtering of the cow is an offence in some states of India, like UP, for ensuring that Hindu sentiments are not hurt. Hindus of medieval India revered the cow as a mother (ostensibly because we drink cow milk and buffalo milk).
If incidents like Babri and Dadri occur and reoccur, if riots like Muzaffarnagar and Gujrat rip open our social fabric, nobody in the world would believe that India could be a progressive and secular modern state. The world would believe that Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a better leader with a better foresight than Nehru. Jinnah had apprehended that Muslims may not be fully secure in India because assurances given by Nehru to Muslims could weaken with the passage of time.
It is a very sad fact, indeed, that our political leaders are now realising that to win elections votes of different communities have to be polarised, i.e these votes have to go to separate ballot boxes and the slogan of "Sab ka saath, sab ka vikas", may not be an effective slogan. More popular slogans would be , "Humara vikas ,unka vinash." In elections nothing succeeds more than competitive hatred and jealousy. In a direct fight love always loses, hatred wins. This a very dangerous philosophy which we should all shun, but unfortunately our political leaders are following and benefitting from these devilish philosophies.
It is a coincidence that the fallout of the Dadri incident is happening at a time when the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, is visiting India. I feel so ashamed. What would she be thinking about us? She may be horrified to know that Indians kill each other on such petty issues like who should eat what type of meat. Will she now agree to sit with us on the G4 meeting? Will she back India for a permanent seat in the UN? My only hope is that her tight and busy schedule in India may not allow her to go through the newspapers carefully.
The central government has sent advisories to state governments that incidents like Dadri should never recur. That is something very good and the credit for that goes to the Prime Minister. I hope he will come on the television also to reprimand and warn all such people who commit such heinous crimes. By doing that he could salvage the situation to some extent, even if that means losing a few seats here and there in Bihar and UP.
(Amit Kushari (IAS, Retd.) is former Financial Commissioner, J&K. Feedback at email@example.com or contact at 09748635185)