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CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

 

FROM THE DIRECTOR'S DESK
SEEMA MUSTAFA | NEW DELHI | 5 OCTOBER, 2015

I OWNED THE YESTERDAY, BUT HAVE I LOST THE TODAY?

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“Yes I am, I am also a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Jew.” —Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

I woke up with this quote of Gandhi today, his birth anniversary, sent to me by a friend. He said this when he was asked if he was a Hindu. And was killed for his uncompromising stand on secularism by Nathuram Godse, an assassin revered by many in power today. A sobering thought, as is the official government effort to reduce Gandhi from a towering symbol of freedom, democracy and religious unity into a figure virtually wielding little more than a broom to clean the litter off the streets of India. The Father of the Nation has been reduced to a Swacch Bharat symbol, with cleanliness now being his only contribution that the leaders of the day like to remember. And that too just about.

But so far they have not been able to take away from the rich legacy of resistance, ideals,vision, democracy, freedoms he left behind , and because of which the post independence generations grew into proud Indians conscious of not one, but many identities. 

So waking up on Gandhi’s birth anniversary my first thought was about these identities, of the yesterday that had told me a story starkly different to the today. And while using the personal “I” , I like to think that I am speaking for many many Indians—some who are walking the talk, some who are silent but worried, some who are sitting on the fence but ready to plungea way from the world of hate and divisiveness that is being created deliberately, on the other side. From deaths over beef, from killings over concocted ‘love jihad’ stories, from attacks on rationality and reason into the world of reason and sanity, of freedoms and rights, of secularism and democracy.

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