Country to stand by Ghaddaars?
By Amba Charan Vashishth
Yes. This can happen only in India because she is a unique, the largest democracy in the world, secular and socialist. USA too is a democracy, the oldest one in the world. It has many a time celebrated Hindu festival like Diwali, the festival of lights with puja and chanting of shlokas even in the White House, the official residence of the President of United States of America.
The United Kingdom (UK) is a monarchy with a parliamentary form of government. It is a democracy with a Westminster system of parliamentary government. India’s Constitution is, more or less, based on this very system. Though secular, yet its present Prime Minister Borris Johnson had no hesitation to visit an Indian guru, pay obeisance to him and perform puja. Nobody criticized him or labeled him ‘communal’.
Yet, both USA and UK did not lose their adherence to the spirit of secularism and governments there were not dubbed ‘communal’. Had this happened in India, the birthplace of these Hindu rituals, our too-vigilant opposition, the ‘liberal-secular’ intelligentsia (L-SI) and a section of media (SoM) would have raised a hell for the government accusing it of lynching the spirit of secularism.
One more unique thing is going to happen. And this too can happen only in India. It may be a new trendsetter for many secular democracies in the world. The Union Minister of State Anurag Thakur during election campaign for Delhi assembly raised a slogan “goli maro gaddaron ko” which received a spontaneous response from the audience. He received support from BJP MP Parvesh Verma also. The vociferous
( L-SI) has created a great furore over it. It is out-and-out trying to interpret this slogan as a “hate speech” and demanding Thakur and Verma’s prosecution for this “criminal offence”. But the “hate speech” against whom? The persons being accused of the ‘crime’ did not direct their slogan or insinuation, directly or indirectly, towards any individual, group, community or caste. It is agreed that a ghaddar (traitor) has no caste, no religion, no gender and no region. Then the “hate” slogan is directed towards and meant against whom? Obviously the ghaddaar, the traitor. But which individual or the group is the ghaddaar? Nobody, neither the persons raising this slogan nor those demanding criminal action against these persons have identified the persons who have been hurt physically and emotionally. Unless the persons operating as ghaddars are nailed or people themselves come out in the open to aver that it is they who have been hurt and humiliated by such slogans, the case against the likes of Thakurs and Vermas will not be able to stand the test of judicial scrutiny in courts.
This situation raises another question: since when has the government, the people and the law turned patrons and protectors of the traitors? Which Article of the Constitution extends protection to the traitors?
To proceed further, the police have first to identify the ghaddars to whom Thakur and Verma said, “goli maro ghaddaron ko”. We have so far heard of police filing an FIR against unknown persons for the murder or rape of a person when the name or identity of the persons who committed the heinous crime is not known. But in the instant case the victim is not known. Filing a criminal case against anybody, say Mr. Thakur, for a “hate” slogan — not speech — will only amount to putting the horse before the cart. It will, perhaps, be the first and the rarest of the rare examples in the history of criminal jurisprudence where the victim is not known. The investigating agency will have first to identify an individual or a group who are the ghaddaars adversely affected. If that happens, it will also be a rarest of the rare case in which ghaddaar/ghaddaars are eulogized and deterrent punishment is given to the people who demand punishment to ghaddaars so that no one else dares to do that in future.
The democracy in India seems to be passing through a period of political churning because of the too vocal, but minority of the people who constitute the elite LSI and SoM. The unfortunate part is that the silent voice of the majority remains unheard and ignored. Actually many of our troubles flow from this section which gives the impression that this ancient land of India was bankrupt of any understanding of what nationalism, patriotism and secularism meant until the British made us slaves and later left us independent. They think that Indian literature and scriptures had no understanding of these ‘virtues’. The fact is that these great men and women have either not read the great Indian classics and thought or they are so blinded with western influences on their intellect that for them the Indian thought looks absurd, orthodox and obsolete.
For them the opinion of great western writers and thinkers about India appears sacrosanct. Modern thinkers like Swami Vivekanand who took the world by storm, Maharishi Arbindo, leave aside the Bhagwat Gita and other great Indian classic scriptures are, to them, without knowledge and wisdom.
The great writer and thinker Mark Twain found India as the “cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of traditions…”
A sane voice like that of Mark Twain fails to impress these L-SI and SoM. And that is the real problem too.
Referring to the wise sayings and thought of our great thinkers in our classics does not appeal to their logic in the present age. But they take pride in quoting what Dr. Johnson said more than 250 years. A few years back, the veteran writer Ashis Nandy wrote an article in the weekly OUTLOOK quoting Dr. Johnson’s words that patriotism was the last refuge of a scoundrel. This writer wrote back that if not more, at least 99 percent of Indians are ‘patriots’ and therefore, according to Nandi’s interpretation ‘scoundrels’ and asked why Ashish was then living among ‘scoundrels’. It was so kind of the Weekly to publish it in the ‘Letters to the Editor’ column. Ashish didn’t react.
Before the Muslim invaders came, India had throughout been secular. No kingdom, big or small, in India ever adopted any religion as its official faith. Sarv dharm sambhav (all faiths are equal) was the ruling dictum. The only exception is when Ashoka the Great adopted Buddh dharma as the official religion. To India the world is one family. India daily prays for welfare and peace all over the world. It is only after the Muslims came that they forced their religion on the Indian population. They declared that their religion was the superior among all. When British rule dawned on India, the preaching of Christianity got a great boost.
To these brown Sahebs nationalism and patriotism are outdated and abominable concepts. They think that forsaking these “isms” from the life of the countrymen will lead to ultimate peace and bliss in the country. To be a nationalist, patriot and a fighter against traitors to the nation (ghaddaars) is a matter to feel ashamed of, an act of crime. They also want that the crime of treason should be erased from our Statute Book as it militates against the 21st century ethos and times. But it was these concepts which were the sole motivations for our freedom struggle. Sending these to exile will sap the very soul of our freedom. They want the country to blindly copy the western and global thoughts and standards. Human rights and environmental issues too should be governed by western and world stand points. They desire India to be turned into a mental slave to foreign thought. On the contrary, an overwhelming majority of the countrymen wish to make India retain its Indian identity. Otherwise the Indian government will be turned into slave to the world bodies.
They find nothing obnoxious in seditious activities like shouting slogans “Pakistan zindabad”, “Bharat tere tukde honge, insha illah, insha illa”, “Bharat ho barbaad, ho barbad”, questioning the hanging of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab involved in 26/11 Mumbai attack, and earlier of Kashmiri terrorist Maqbul Butt. These are only some of the numerous instances. These activities should be respected under the right to opinion and expression. The paid stone pelters in Kashmir, for them, were innocents. For some they needed to be honoured like ‘freedom fighters’. Any act of retaliation in self-defence by police and security forces was dubbed as a ‘heinous crime’. When unruly, anti-social and anti-national elements attack innocent men, women and children, the security forces should silently stand bowing their heads before them and not to protest and cry even if they are hurt grievously. What a hypocrisy that these very ‘liberal-secular’ apostles of peace dub the hanging of 2001 Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru as ‘judicial murder’ and acquittal of his accomplice SAR Gilani by the same court in the same case as ‘justice’. But can these elite men do the same in countries like China, Pakistan, Banglasdesh, and other Muslim and other countries?
AIMIM leader Waris Pathan, a former Maharashtra MLA, in a rally in the last week of February 2020 said that when the entire Muslim community of 15 crores comes together, they can become a bigger force against 100 crore people (referring to Hindus) and that Muslims are capable of "snatching away the aazaadi" from the majority community. In other words, in the opinion of Pathan the Muslim population which did not migrate to Pakistan at the time of Partition did not do so out of their love for India but preferred to live here without aazaadi. Pathan’s utterances, in a way, amount to threatening something like a civil war between the two communities. Is it an act of piety or a crime? But the ‘liberal-secular’ intelligentsia, the Aamir Khans, Naseeruddin Shahs and the ‘heroes’ of award wapsi, as usual, continue to maintain a stoic silence.
We need to understand that goli maaro is a phrase commonly used in day-today life and discussion. “Main tumhen goli maar doonga” (I will kill you) is an oft-used phrase even within a family when a child or wife/husband is going to commit something wrong not in tune with the family’s and society’s traditions. Generally, it is an empty threat. In cases where girls and infants have been murdered after rape, the victims, their families and general public have always been demanding goli maaro un gunahgaaron ko” (kill the guilty). In the notorious Nirbhaya rape and murder case, people all over the country demanded goli maaro in gunahgaaron ko. Is it all a crime?
Even when two or more persons are discussing the conduct of some people for a long time, they usually say “goli maro yaar usko” (leave him) and let us talk something else.
When some individuals and groups chant “Pakistan zindabad” and want tukde-tukde of Bharat before the cameras that clearly means that they have no love for the country from which they derive all the benefits available to every citizen of the country. This situation requires immediate enactment of a law to deport them out of the country to go to the land of their choice to have the aazaadi of their choice. What a hypocrisy, if we allow these people to shield themselves behind the right to opinion and expression and treat those as criminals who demand goli maro ghaddaaron ko!
Our law says that murder/rape/treason is a heinous crime and if anybody does commit it, his/her sentence could be as high as being hanged till death. Recently, a new law has been enacted providing for a very high punishment or fine for breaking traffic rules. Does this law amount to threatening the innocent people? Our law does threaten, but only the law-breaker and not the innocent law-abider. If one is not a traitor, why should one feel hurt and lose sleep by people shouting goli maaro in gaddaaron ko?
The writer is a Delhi-based political analyst and commentator.