I live in a village in Kerala. When I chose to settle down here over four years ago, my house was constructed by Bengali labourers. Kerala has more than 30 lakh labourers from other states. Quite a lot of them are Bengalis. If you ask them where they are from, they will invariably answer “Kolkata”. Perhaps they are from Bangladesh.
In an excellent article in today’s Time of India, Aakar Patel says that you will find Bangladeshis all over the world. “You can go all the way across Italy from Palermo to Venice speaking only Bangla,” he says. Bangladeshis dominate ‘Indian’ restaurants in England, he goes on. The article titled ‘Akhand Bharat enthusiasts should rewind to Partition’ deserves to be read by every Indian, especially those who support the new Citizenship Act.
The Citizenship Act seeks to divide India further along religious lines. Anyone can easily see that it is particularly anti-Muslim. The BJP and its allies have always hated the Muslims. Their ideology seems to be nothing positive in finer analysis; it’s nothing more than hatred of non-Hindus.
It is true that India was divided along religious lines in 1947. But the great visionaries who created this side of the divided landmass did not seek to establish a theocratic nation. They sought to keep religion separate from politics. Religion and politics mingled in the past and the results were seldom good for anyone. One need not go beyond the brutalities of the medieval period for examples.
Mahatma Gandhi was a devout Hindu. But he would not create a Hindu India at any cost. India belongs to anyone who lives there irrespective of religious, linguistic, cultural differences. Unity is not uniformity. Today’s leaders, those who are quick to defend their gods at the cost of human beings, are taking the nation backward to the medieval darkness.
We live in a world where people migrate and miscegenate more than ever. There are millions of Indians living in other countries. Even the Islamic countries are not asking Indians to leave in spite of what India today is doing to Muslims. It is tragic that Indians in India suffer so much discrimination than Indians in any other country.
National borders are just man-made constructs. They don’t really exist – or are not desirable – except for political and administrative purposes. We should be citizens of the globe. We belong to humanity more than to imaginary boundaries.
What you do with the power you have reveals your mettle. The present leaders of India are likely to go down in history as people with puny minds and hearts.