is such response that India needed from Gujarat after Godhra.
But marauding mobs have a different agenda, and care little
for innocent lives. What have innocent Muslim children and
women, hard-working labourers and shopkeepers done to deserve
the cruelty and suffering inflicted on them? But if we think
that we are entirely blameless, then we are mistaken. True,
only a few crooks loot, rape and kill in the name of religion.
But we encourage them by our silence, and acquiesce in the
act by our passivity. As Marltin Luther King said "the
ultimate tragedy is not the brutality of the bad people; but
the silence of the good people"
build stereotypes based on religion. Many educated Hindus
actually believe Muslims breed prolifically, what with each
man having four wives! The truth is Muslim population growth
is roughly the same as that of other poor groups like Dalits.
Female literacy among Muslims is appallingly low - some estimates
put it at below 2%. The problem is one of backwardness and
not religion. And when men and women are roughly equal in
number, Muslim men cannot have four wives each. Yet misinformation
then there is the bogey of support to Pakistan. Indian Muslims
are the worst victims of partition. They have to live and
die here. India is their land. It is absurd to think that
all Muslims support our enemies, or are not loyal to India.
It is the likes of the Hindu customs inspector who took a
bribe of Rs 20 lakhs to allow RDx into the country to be used
in Bombay blasts who are the traitors. It is rabid Hindu politicians
who nurtured and protected mafia dons and had business links
with them who are our enemies. There are crooks and criminals
among Hindus, Muslims and Christians. No religion has a monopoly
yet we continue to harbour suspicion and ill will. Take the
recent MCH election. Most people voted on communal lines.
In fact the ruling party issued advertisements stating that
a vote for Congress is a vote for MIM, clearly implying that
if Hindu vote is split, MIM candidate will win. And Hindus
fell for that, just as many Muslims voted for MIM purely on
religious grounds. Such bigotry is the real cause of communal
conflict in our society.
in Hyderabad have a proud tradition of genuine communal harmony.
But in recent years each community is living in splendid isolation.
True, with NTR's rise to power, communal riots are a thing
of the past. Ruling TDP deserves credit to that extent. But
mere absence of violence is not harmony. We need to stretch
our arms and forge links. We need to know each other, and
learn to respect and like people across the community divide.
And most of all, we need to strengthen each other's resolve
to root out suspicion, to fight poverty, illiteracy, ignorance
and prejudice. Hyderabad, can show the way to the rest of