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To Be or Not to Be?
|by Ananya S Guha|
The kind of dislike some of us have for the minority communities, is exemplified quite well in parallel journalism on the internet.
Freedom of expression is indeed very good and revealing. We must welcome it. Yet in such reactions I see an ominous portent.
One person writing in response to one of my articles on this website on the tolerance/ intolerance discourse in our country, reacted by saying that Islamic contribution to architecture and culture was as good as nothing, comparing their intrusion into the country as that of marauders. But why country, where was the concept of nationhood then, only Akbar with his visionary foresight, his fecund imagination could articulate such thinking.
Amartya Sen has pointed this out in critical detail: Akbar's religious tolerance and a broad vision of oneness of the country. Of course who is Professor Amartya Sen for whodunits, he is just a Nobel Prize winner, and when he got the coveted award, the ruling disposition virtually ignored him, at that time there was the tussle with Romila Thapar and her broad interpretation of an eclectic Indian culuture and history. She was ignored and pooh poohed so much so that the international academia wondered what was happening in our country, that we were denigrating one of the greatest historians of the world. And we know who these people were and are.
After having been unceremoniously ousted from the last hustings, they are now desperate to come back. They say they have their own interpretation of secularism, it is mired in backwardness and extreme thinking. Of course they have their supporters and why not? After all this is a democracy. The majority must have its way, must rule, let us reverse our democracy and mire our thoughts in wishful thinking.
To tamper with history, is to handle fire. We cannot correct it with our own desires, wishes and wish fulfillment. We are not Freuds. Whatever dreams we have, we have to realize them in the present, not by changing the past. which has scripted its happenings. These happenings have been recorded and documented. So to wish it away, is alarmist to say the least. It is dangerous, this tinkering with history, and applying blinkers to it.
I am not denying Islamic militancy or Christian proselytizing elements, what about Mother Teresa? Why did we accept her work, and welcome her with open arms? Could we do an iota of what she did? Even Khushwant Singh has talked about our dog in the manger attitude, I will not do it, I won't let others as well. At the same time let me say that charitable institutions like the Ramakrishna Mission are rendering selfless service, here in North East India as well. In fact in Meghalaya where I live, they are respected and admired. We must now decide - to BE or not to BE?
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