A day ago, actor Jayaram called me up and asked, ' A vehicle is going to Pakistan, are you going?'
'Should I go?' I asked. Jayaram went silent for a moment.
A popular actor in India was dubbed as a traitor for saying that religious intolerance is the most heinous crime that a patriot can commit in India. BJP MP Adityanath compared Shah Rukh Khan to Hafiz Saeed, the organiser of the Mumbai terror attacks. One becomes apprehensive when considering that an actor, who has been humouring us for 20 years, had to put up with such an ascription for saying something that any patriot would want to say. Perhaps that is a sure sign that religious intolerance is becoming a big problem in India.
Should we, born as humans, fight with each other as Hindu, Muslim, Congress, Communist, Malayali or Tamil? One can see so many divisions among Hindus, Muslims and Christians, so many divisions in Congress and Communists and so on. What is the yardstick for all this? Why do we not understand that all these divisions have been created for someone to become a leader? Everywhere there are talks of 'you' and 'we'. Sadly there is no 'us.' Now the divide has even deepened us siblings into women and men.
The fear is palpable and one fails to understand why fear has become so pervasive. We kill an infiltrator at the border because he or she is an enemy. We do not find merit in thinking whether he/she has a family or children to care for. A man who pushed a girl out of a train and violated her is still being fed and taken care of by us. We carry flags and shout slogans in support of dogs that bite people and even small kids. In those lines, perhaps a genuine doubt is warranted; do we kill mosquitoes that spread diseases or let them go and focus on controlling their numbers by neutering them? Old timers have advised us that any fruiting tree should be cut if it becomes a threat to the house. Human good is supreme.
All religions were made for the benefit of humans. All our religions spread the message of harmony and peace. For example, the mosque of Vavar at Sabarimala was erected by peace loving people in order to keep communal harmony intact. Islam teaches us that other religions must be respected and that one cannot harm or block another person's religious rights. No Islamic authority says that an Islamic state should be formed. There is no religion beyond humanity and no religion calls for the killing of people based on their eating habits.
A great man liberated us from the British and that independence was used by one to shoot down that great man. India allows everyone to air their views. It is in this nation that a group of 'patriots' are trying to expel a person who called for religious tolerance.
Perhaps, a few years later, I might get a call from Jayaram saying, 'A vehicle is going to Pakistan. Are you going? If so, I am also coming.'