In a changing, maturing India, where stability and progress trump other considerations, zero tolerance for communal drum-beating is all the more important
Rupali Mehra | April 16, 2015
When the Bamian Buddhas came crashing down like an avalanche, the first person I called was my maternal grandfather. On deputation to the Kabul press in the 1960s, he was lucky to have seen the imposing sixth century monolithic statues that stood guard on the edge of the Bamian valley. He often told us gripping stories of his time in Afghanistan and through his eyes we saw a once flourishing civilisation.
In 2001 the Taliban ensured no one else could experience these treasures and bring them home to their grandchildren. There was no story left to tell.
Fourteen years later the ISIS has taken the cue. Armed with sledge hammers, drills, explosives and guns they have powdered to dust what a rich, ancient society had painstakingly built 3,000 years ago.
When the ISIS released a video showing extremists smashing the giant statues of the Assyrian deity Lamassu, drilling into the 13th century BC alabaster reliefs, reducing the ancient city of Nimrud to rubble, even the gods must have shed tears.
The UN has called the destruction a war crime. Indeed, it is nothing less. What the jihadists have done is an annihilation of a civilisation, a murder of humanity.
But such cultural terrorism is a lesson in disguise. It poses a serious question across countries and cultures. Can we give self-styled custodians of faith and culture a free hand till the effects of their chauvinism are beyond our control?
This week a regional party, the Shiv Sena, called for disenfranchising Muslims –incidentally, 14% of our nation's population. Their outlandish proposal was a kneejerk reaction to another venom-spewing regional player, the Owaisi brothers, who've dared the Sena chief to step into their supposed bastion Hyderabad.
It’s clear both are desperately trying to cling onto the last straws of political relevance. But this is not a one-off case. In recent months there have been sporadic incidents of cultural, regional and religious bullying, signaling a worrying trend.
Thankfully, and rightly so, the courts have ordered a complaint against both parties for hurting religious sentiments. But citizens too must voice disapproval through voice and vote, instead of being swayed by the noise.
Whether cultural conservatives like it or not, the fact is multiculturalism is seeped in our tradition and modernity. Be it our movies, where a Khan plays a Shyam and an Amitabh plays an Anthony with equal ease. Or our heritage, where monuments like the Hawa Mahal of Jaipur and the Bara Imambara of Lucknow are a testimony to a fusion of Rajput and Mughal architecture. Or the fact that KJ Yesudas, a Christian, sings devotional songs of Saraswati at temples – multiculturalism is in our DNA.
In a changing, maturing India, where stability and progress trump other considerations, zero tolerance for communal drum-beating is all the more important.
While we condemn the cultural and religious intolerance in other countries, let’s not forget our own dark chapter in post-independence India – the Babri Masjid-Ram Mandir issue. Two decades later, those scars remain and remind us that we cannot ever again allow vested interests to change the complexion of our multicultural democracy.
Otherwise, what happens when radicals gain ground and call the shots is being played out, just 2,000 miles away. Their people will soon have no heritage to speak of, no culture to carry forward, and no story to tell their future generations, except of death and destruction.
Since its inception, Citizen Financial Cyber Fraud Reporting and Management System has witnessed more than 12.77 lakh complaints registered (till November 15, 2023), and has saved more than Rs. 930 crore in more than 3.80 lakh complaints. This was stated by minister of state for home affair
Impacts and implications of Climate Change Vulnerability in the Himalayan Region and ways of creating ‘Climate Resilient Development in Indian Himalayan Region by making mountain communities green and resilient were discussed the side event hosted at the India pavilion at the UN Climate Conference CO
Air pollution in Delhi has been in headlines, as every year in recent times. Mumbai too has suffered from air pollution, despite being a coastal city. Apart from many other metros such as Bangalore and Kolkata, tier-I and -II cities and rural areas also have high pollution levels. Every year reports and st
The central government will provide free food grains to about 81.35 crore beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for a period of five years with effect from January 1, 2024, the cabinet decided on Wednesday. Terming it as a “historic decision”, a
Survival at Stake: How Our Treatment of Animals Is Key to Human Existence By Poorva Joshipura HarperCollins, 328 pages, Rs 499 With science now recognising animal consciousness, intelligence, emotion, and even morality, there must rise an awareness of
India`s tryst with trade through the Arctic regions, including the Northern Sea Routes (NSR), has become an impact-making endeavor recently. The Arctic of yore is now a pivot – point of geopolitics, of climate change discussions, and for economic opportunities; 40% of oil and gas reserves said to be