Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Religious Diversity in India: Iftar beside Ganges, Muslim setting afire Ravana and communal harmony!

1. Some Muslims had their 'iftaar' on the banks of Ganga [Holy Ganges river] at Hardwar and not only the loony fringe [Bajrang Dal] but also the Congress felt that the sanctity of the place was defiled.

Apparently Congress is angry because members of SP [Mulayam Singh's Samajwadi Party] had organised the iftaar.

2. Shahnawaz Husain, the Muslim face of BJP, went to a temple in Bhagalpur. Shahnawaz is trying his luck from the constituency on the BJP ticket.

The Saffron organisations are angry, the temple cleaned up as per rituals, besides series of agitations that how a Muslim entered the temple premises.

3. At Sangrur in Punjab the IG who happens to be Muslims was chief guest at the Dussehra event and he was asked to light the effigy of Ravana.

The Muslim official duly ignited the Ravana effigy. Now it has turned into a major controversy and the local MLA is jittery at the thought of losing votes in the upcoming elections as she is trying to convince that it was not a sacrilege.

4. Bar Girls danced at the fair at the famous Dewa [Deva sharif] Urs in Uttar Pradesh and here also a major controversy has erupted thanks to news channels, who feel it was an affront to Sufism. Ironically, the same channels that have no qualms in showing 'wardrobe malfunction' and 'chance nudes' are crying hoarse about the bar girls, who were at least dressed quite decently.

5. And last but not the least. Can you believe this? A monkey raised by a Muslim and who allegedly used to bite Hindu kids, has been in jail for years. Reason: His 'acts caused communal tension' and thus it has been caged and in police custody for a long time in Orissa.

Now animal rights activists are pressing for his release. But our major newspapers refer to him as 'Communal simian', 'Jehadi monkey' or whatever and believing that it really bit selectively. All the above mentioned five stories I saw on TV in a single day (on Sunday) when I was just cursorily changing channels. Do I need to comment any further on them!

I don't know if its a lunatic asylum we are living in or it's media madness that brings out only stories of discord in a nation of 1 billion. 'Hindustan ajooboN ka des hai', this we find uttered by historical figures a thousand years ago and I wonder if any thing has changed.