NEW DELHI: Memories buried deep have come back to haunt me.

I was born a year before independence, and my parents and I lived in Delhi. I still bear the scars of those memories of partition- the brutality of killings , hatred, anguish and my father's fearless forays and his confrontation of the mobs, my mother's anxieties ..... household stories for me. When I was 3 I saw pictures of the holocaust. The two horrors were born of genocidal politics.

I do not know how my generation can be quiet, and party to a politics born of hate and revenge, it has seen a lot. No matter how we judge Gandhi today, let us not forget that he stood fearlessly, daring to bring reason to this madness. He died for it. Today those who tacitly approved of the assassination rule us.

We have to fight harder than ever to get sanity back. This is not a BJP vs Congress debate, or a 1984 vs 2002 argument. All genocidal killings have to be condemned. We have to speak for compassion, humanity and for India. It is the land of the Buddha and of seers and poets, of Kabir, the sufis, bhakti poetry , of Ramana and Ramakrishna, of Moinudding Chisthi and guru Nanak, its also the land where Thomas the apostle landed fleeing from persecution in the 1st century, where the Zoroastrians found shelter. It is also the land which gave space to Ramaswami Naicker, the whole stream of questioning caste, Phule and Ambedkar.

The persistent attacks are more than worrying. I see in these actions a baiting of the Muslims, to provoke them to retaliate ; so that once some are provoked, we can bring in the bogey of Islamic terrorism to manage a huge concerted attack. This will lead to a state of permanent violence and the India we know will soon disintegrate in every way, which way. In short I am worried and very anxious.

My bottom line is that I am not willing to keep quiet where my principles and my country are being torn asunder. I will speak and do whatever I can. I am glad that this group exists, amongst others, and a realisation is dawning on us that every voice matters - small or big, from wherever it may come - to bring sanity back to our battered public life and space.


This is Hindutva's version of the Nazi "final solution" for the Jews, but a cleverer version.

The Muslim League and the Hindu Mahasabha were twin souls. Both wanted a divided India. Jinnah achieved his desire in 1947. The followers of Golwalkar and Savarkar are now busy fulfilling theirs. The massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 gave the green light for Muslim-killing across the nation. The message was: it is all right to kill Muslims, better still to lynch them. Lynch mobs armed with knives now rule highways, stop trucks, board trains, break into houses. This is Hindutva's version of the Nazi "final solution" for the Jews, but a cleverer version. Liquidating a community en masse is not a good idea. It attracts worldwide condemnation. So do it in stages, here and there, individual murders that will soon be forgotten. Hindutva has converted this country into a hell where Indians are no longer safe from other Indians. An ideology that has not seen fit to check the blood thirst of its followers has lost the right to call itself Hindu.

This horror is compounded by blatant hypocrisy. Loud proclamations about wiping out Islamic terror are made at home and abroad, but Hindutva terror flourishes. Terror is inhuman in any circumstance, no matter who commits it, and this applies to the brutal lynching of Ayub Pandit, a policeman on duty, by fellow Kashmiris. Kashmir, so long a civilised example to the rest of India, should mourn this tragedy and reject violence as a solution to problems.


…the names of Akhlaque Ahmed and Junaid will go down in history as black marks against the current establishment.

As a former Law officer, I can say confidently say that lynching signals a complete breakdown of both law and order. One of the state's main functions is to uphold law and maintain order. Regrettably right wing politicos, both within the government and without, have let us down. The lynch gangs think they have the government behind them, and the implicit sanction of the lumpen elements of the majority community at large. The right wing does not realise that the names of Akhlaque Ahmed and Junaid will go down in history as black marks against the current establishment.


Vigilantism can only result in the brutalisation of our public sphere…

We all have the right to walk the streets and expect the law to protect us. We all have the right to expect that we will reach home safe and sound and if we are suspected of wrongdoing, we have the right to be taken to the police station. Vigilantism can only result in the brutalisation of our public sphere; and of us all, those who wield its terrible weapon included.


It is a continuation of the violent Hindutva project…

The latest incident of lynching of a 16-year-old old student, Junaid, by a Hindutva-charged mob is deeply disturbing. It is a continuation of the violent Hindutva project despite the resistance of civil society. Our writers / cultural activists’ protest by award wapsi has been ridiculed rather than appreciated as the best possible protest in a democracy. We need to appeal to the community of writers around the world as was done during the Franco regime in Spain in 1937. People, including writers, must come forward and join mass protests everywhere in the world to pressurise the fascist regime of India to take action against such mobs, and desist from patronising and defending them in the name of the Cow!


This is a battle… for appropriating everything this country stands for…

This is a battle for resources, for appropriating everything this country stands for; and the RSS-BJP is doing it in the ugliest way — by dividing this country, and excluding any and everyone who do not believe in their regressive, bigotry-laden ideas.


So he gave the hate filled man some blood instead
When the choleric man was brought to hospital,
His haemoglobin was somewhat under five;
The doctor on attendance wrung his hands,
“the man,” he said, “should not be alive.
Nothing known to medical science explains
The sustaining thrust of this man’s veins.”
At which a bearded man in robes
Chuckled at the doctor’s puzzlement:
“It is clear your books taught you little
Of that which bears on human intent.”
“There is clearly something up your sleeve,”
Said the doc, “which I wish you would unlock
Before I treat this inexplicable brave.”

“Know then that this man’s constitutiion
Does not draw from anything he ate;
That which feeds his cussed will to live
Is not biology but the power of hate.
There are many still who are not like him —
All of whom he desires to eliminate.”
For the first time the doctor understood
Why his own ailments never seemed to heal:
Because for years he gave life to those
Whom purposeful vigilantes wished to kill.
For a bare moment the doc was filled with hate
At the sight of the sick man on the bed;
But his rage was not a natural thing,,
So he gave the hate-filled man some blood instead.


(Writers quotes courtesy Indian Writers Forum/Caravan)