[In response to Gopalkrishna Gandhi’s open letter to Narendra Modi on May 19, 2014 in The Hindu, often using Mr. Gandhi’s own words. For best results, please open both letters side by side]
[Please also note that
- The goal of this letter isn’t to defend Mr. Modi. Mr. Modi is better judged by the judiciary and his own heart. The goal is to expose the wicked heart of Mr. Gandhi.
- I structure prose better than this letter. However, I have to follow Mr. Gandhi’s format to maximize use of his own words to highlight his hypocrisy.
- I firmly believe any country is better diverse than uniform.
- I have Muslim friends and coworkers from all over – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Afghanistan, Jordan and Algeria.
- I am a firm believer of truth and truth through Ahimsa. I can’t stand twisted facts and logic Mr. Gandhi is presenting with mala-fide intents.
- I hold Mahatma Gandhi in the highest regards. I often dream of him beside Chitragupta, taking account of my life after my death. I also respect Pt. Nehru for a variety of reasons. However, here, the other Gandhi is completely wrong so I have to drag names of heroes into a debate with a mediocre person.]
Dear Mr. Gopalkrishna Gandhi,
This comes with my deeply felt sorrow. I mean and say that in utter sincerity, which is not very easy for me to summon, because I am not one of those who wanted to see mala-fide high-placed interests like you driving fear, uncertainty and doubt about republic of India into the minds of unsuspecting readers. You know better than anyone else, that even the surname Gandhi has been misused to extend claim to power in India. I am sad to note you are not making an exception when you composed your open letter to Mr. Narendra Modi in The Hindu on May 19, 2014.
Let me point to the first spin you make “while many millions are ecstatic that you will become Prime Minister, many more millions may, in fact, be disturbed, greatly disturbed by it”. In multi-party parliamentary democracy like India, this is true for ANY prime minister. If you are unhappy because of this logic, you must work with constitutional reforms, sir! To elucidate my point, if your logic is to be followed, I must say Mahatma Gandhi, your great-grandfather, brought freedom to only 30% of India. Rest 70% was either princely states or became Pakistan, which distrusted Mahatma’s assurances to core. I pray I will be forgiven when Mahatma takes account of my deeds after my death for dragging his name in debating people like you.
Until recently I believed those who said you were a just man. Justice believes in “innocent till proven guilty”. But, there you are, seated yourself at high moral ground, try to brow-beat a man against whom no evidence of perpetration of violence found. An ex-governor is writing misleading open letters at that man in an eminent newspaper of India because riots took place in that man’s government. With this logic, no prime minister of India and most chief ministers of India can’t be spared, including Jawaharlal Nehru, under whose power millions died during partition of India. Again, I pray I will be forgiven when Mahatma takes account of my deeds after my death for bringing one of the most painful episode of human history into debating people like you.
Despite all my huge misgivings about your taking disadvantage of freedom of speech, I respect someone coming from so sharply advantaged a community and family as yours, writing such an open letter in a widely circulated daily. That fulfills, very quintessentially, the vision of our egalitarian Constitution.
Revisting the idea of desh
The BJP has won the seats it has because Mr. Modi captured the imagination of 31 per cent of our people (his vote share) as the nation’s best guardian, in fact, as its saviour. It has also to be noted that 69 per cent of the voters did not see him as their rakhvala. They also disagreed on what, actually, constitutes our desh. And this — the concept of desh — is where, Mr. Gandhi, the history of India, a part of which you are, matters and constitution of India of which you are pleading. I urge you to revisit the idea of desh. Please see my comments above on how you are twisting your logic to infer legality a legally elected prime minister with absolute majority in Lok Sabha.
Reassuring the minorities
Yes, like many millions of Hindus I agree with you that post-Godhra violence should have been avoided or handled with firmer hands. However, talking in imperatives like you as “Adopt, in toto, Mr. Modi, not adapt or modify, dilute or tinker with, the vision of the Constitution on the minorities” isn’t what my textbooks taught me. I thought the imperatives of electorate are through elected representatives in representational democracy like ours. Much younger to you, I somehow am more confident in the stability and greatness of Indian democracy. Yes, if needed, I will turn to the public with a call like: “Let us make sure Mr. Modi doesn’t not adapt or modify, dilute or tinker with, the vision of the Constitution on the minorities”. However, that would need different level of courage than writing sneaky open letters. One brave man took bullets on his chest in 1948 for showing such courage for asking people of asking .
I am sorry to note that you are leading to deliberate confusion in readers’ minds when you infer the remaining 69% who didn’t vote for Modi are just the minority, just the religious minority, and just Muslims. This is reverse-fear-mongering from you because the vote is guaranteed to be anonymous in the constitution. Also, by portraying such vivid pictures as “a thug masquerading as a Hindu holding a Hindu epic’s DVD in one hand and a minatory (sic.) trishul in the other”, you are suppressing the fact that five major states of India didn’t vote in favor of BJP or Mr. Modi. Do you mean all residents of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Orissa and West Bengal are Muslims, who out of fear of Modi didn’t vote for BJP?
I don’t expect to get a reply from you because you dared not write the word “Ramayana” in the quote above from your “brave” open letter but resort to word “minatory (sic.)” for trishuls. You want to hurt Hindu sentiments hiding behind vocabulary and save your skin doing so, right? Who was Minotaur by the way? A demon, right? Then call the trishuls demonic if you have firm belief for it!
I agree with you that Mr. Modi should, can and must dispel fear from every heart about communal violence and especially from hearts of Muslims. However, I beg you to prove how Adivasis had to bear significant brunt of Hindu-Muslim conflict caused by Mr. Modi. When you mention “minorities, women, dalits, adivasis” in a single breath, I suspect you are aiming political gains and not compassion. I agree with you that India is a diverse forest. In turn, I want you to agree that almost every Indian is minority of some or other nature.
While I tend to agree with you on the “Hindu-refugee” versus “Muslim-refugee” line, I shudder thinking what would happen when Pakistan will fall to Taliban. I know Mr. Modi is crude when he distinguishes on religion when compassion should take the front seat. However, states don’t run like human hearts. When Pakistan falls to Taliban, the very Muslims who didn’t and don’t trust the idea of India and created nearly religiously cleansed Pakistan, will be lining up at our doors. At that point of time, I wonder how far your liberalism will work. Once again, I pray I will be forgiven when Mahatma takes account of my deeds after my death for mistrusting inherent strength in better people (Pakistanis) over worse (Taliban).
“Bharat Mata ki Jay” and also “Vande Mataram” were shouted by people who followed Mahatma. “Jai Hind” was invented by someone who rebelled against him and joined hands with Nazis, who were focusing on exterminating Semitics. “Hind” is the root of the word “Hindu”. Mr. Gandhi, be careful of what you ask for. India’s minorities are not a segment of India, they are an infusion in the main. Anyone can burn rope to cinder, no one should dare take the twist out of it, not even twisted logic of yours.
It is a fundamental error of yours to assume that all supporters of Mr. Modi are trishul bearing hooligans who are ready to pounce on religious minority. This is because, the first pro-Modi appeal to me came 6 months back from my engineering college classmate of 1988-92, a Sunni Gujarati Meman Muslim. He was calling not because someone was holding a knife at his throat. He was calling me because he was making great money because of Gujarat boom and wanted to make sure that a quasi-liberal like me votes for his financial gains. When Modi would unfurl “a historic innings, which stuns the world”, he might not be surprising his support base, nor those who didn’t vote for him but only likes of you, I am afraid.
You are hugely intelligent and will not mind unsolicited but disinterested advice of one from a couple of latter generations. Requite the applause of your support-base but, equally, redeem the trust of those who have not supported you. When you advise unsolicited to the elected representative of a parliamentary democracy on “ask the Opposition to give you all the names and accept them without change” for reconstitution of The Minorities Commission, you generate deep mistrust in my classmate’s heart. When you extend hankering of power to “the same for the panels on Scheduled Castes and Tribes, and Linguistic Minorities”, you intend to mislead readers in believing Modi’s record has some fault against all those also. And when it comes to choosing the next Chief Information Commissioner, the next CAG, CVC, you look weak, power-hungry and afraid of never coming back to power again because I fail to see any significant conflict of Modi with any of these constitutional institutions.
Addressing the southern deficit
I think you are time-locked about the North-South divide, Mr. Gandhi. Frankly, I am not even sure why you insist on the deputy prime minister being a non-political one! Are you afraid of a strong BJP persona from South being acknowledged? And said who that BJP hasn’t got stronghold in South? Did you see the margin by which Thiruananthapuram seat was won by Congress? Did you see how entire state of Karnataka faired? Did you notice who holds the southern-most seat of Kanyakumari? My nephews and nieces and subordinates are marrying across states and languages. Appointment of a political or non-political deputy prime minister will be eyewash that smart generation will sense from a mile away. First, you conclude wrong and then you give wrong advice. How about that Mr. Gandhi?
Imperial and ideological exemplars appeal to you also. Wazir-e-Azam of Hindostan will fail to represent even 15% population of India that is Muslim. Not all Muslims, like BJP-brought-Muslim-president Dr. Abdul Kalam, are Urdu speakers, nor are all Urdu speakers Muslims and sure, that 69% of non-BJP voters weren’t majority Urdu speakers. The spoke Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Oriya and Bangla.
If I were you, I’d not advise Modi at all. I wouldn’t blatantly reveal my hunger for power like you did. I wouldn’t try to create baseless fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in hearts of minorities, scheduled castes or tribes, women or South Indians. I wouldn’t infer to cast aspersions on a man who has been cleared by the court and entrusted by the electorate.
I may not like Modi, his past, present or future. In that case, I would challenge him to work in a way that increases his vote share next time. I would encourage winning more hearts, including mine.
Gone are the days when “Gandhi” last name fetched reverence and decades old memories could be engineered to generate FUD. The country has moved on like my hostel partner and my nephews. The country now derives major income from coding logic. Please be logical and not pathological if you want to stay relevant in the golden years of your life.
For the last time, I pray I will be forgiven when Mahatma takes account of my deeds after my death for any harsh words I used in exposing an elderly person’s publication out of hunger for power, hypocrisy and dogmatic hatred, misleading my innocent fellow citizens.
I am, your fellow-citizen,