From Gandhi to Modi – Has India’s “Vision and Mission Statement” Changed?

Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of the ideal society was that of a non-violent and democratic social order in which there would be a just balance between individual freedom and social responsibility. Gandhi had a very high regard for the place of ideals in human life. Without ideals, he said, life could have no meaning because there would be no goals towards which human endeavour could be directed.

In Gandhi’s ideal society, satyagraha is particularly stressed as a means (which he describes as “love force” or “soul force”). This force, he wrote, is indestructible and the force of arms is powerless when matched against the force of love or the soul.

He admits that there was no historical evidence of any nation having risen through the use of this force. It is in this sense that M.K Gandhi puts so much emphasis on gradual, peaceful, non-violent change. He believed that a new social order could not be forced, if a change was brought through force, it would be a remedy worse than the disease. Gandhi did not wish to slacken the pace of change, but it had to be an organic growth, not a violent superimposition. The organic growth itself was to result in a thoroughgoing, radical social reordering.

The present Government has not only vanished the concept of Bapu (Gandhi) regarding secular and tolerant India but has also surpassed all the records of state-sponsored atrocities upon religious as well as social minorities.

In  Kashmir, on every alternate day, there are incidents of gashing of eyes, use of ever-new methods of persecution during unending curfews, torching of their villages along with crops and destruction of their business as well as economic life in utter defiance of international human rights laws.

The present Govt is also attempting to change the demography of Kashmir. It is pertinent to mention that on 14 June 2018, UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, released the first-ever report on the “human rights situation” in Jammu and Kashmir from July 2016 to April 2018 based on “allegations of widespread and serious human rights violations were received, notably excessive use of force by Indian security forces that led to numerous civilian casualties”.

The Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein “called on Indian security forces to exercise maximum restraint, and strictly abide by international standards governing the use of force when dealing with future protests.” He also advised that “It is essential the Indian authorities take immediate and effective steps to avoid a repetition of the numerous examples of excessive use of force by security forces in Kashmir”. The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had backed the human rights commissioner.

Although the constitution of India protects the freedom of religion and prohibits discrimination based on one’s faith, instances of violence against religious minorities have been increasing in recent years.

Religious minority groups in India are consistently subjected to inhuman and intolerant treatment at the hands of growing violent extremists. Violence and denial of constitutional rights are the usual tools with which Indian minorities are preyed by extremists.

Recently at an event titled ‘Religious Freedom in India, Religious freedom activists from across the U.S.  Criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his failure to stop the violence carried out by Hindutva groups against religious minorities, including Muslims and Christians.

At a  Briefing on Capitol Hill’, organised by the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) on the Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., the activists urged the Indian prime minister to condemn such violence against religious minorities as well as take all necessary measures to curb the rise of Hindutva extremism and punish those involved in violence.

Hamid Ansari former Vice President of India who had served the chair for 10 whole years said, “The Muslims in the country are experiencing a feeling of unease. A sense of insecurity is creeping in as a result of the dominant mood created by some and the resultant intolerance and vigilantism.”

For instance in the state of Uttar Pradesh, since the selection of Aditya Yogi as UP CM, the wave of intolerance and vigilantism started with increasing activities of extremist outfits. The threat has started its manifestation in many shapes. Schools and other educational institutions including the curriculum is being systematically changed and so are the names of Muslim cities.

Muslims face lynching, Christians are subjected to vandalism of Churches, Sikh community is denied separate socio-religious status, whereas, the scheduled castes and other communities face different intimidating tactics at the cruel and barbaric hands.

Threats of communal violence increase when local forces wait for orders before acting, or worse, are instructed not to act. These problems are compounded when responsible officials are not held accountable after the fact. No democracy can be a real democracy where the constitutional secular fabric of society, pluralistic tradition faces such serious challenges.

By: Syed Mujtaba. The writer is an observer of socio-political contexts. And can be reached at The article may not reflect the views of the EurAsian Times

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