The Pain of the Majority

Open Letter To,

Respected Hon. Former Vice President of India, Shri Hamid Ansari ji,

For the last 10 years, you’ve had the honor and privilege of serving as the Vice-President of India, as well as the Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha. These are highly respectful positions, ones which require their holder to be responsible and gracious on all fronts. So you can probably understand my shock and disappointment at your recent comments regarding insecurity of Indian Muslims. Apparently you, an Indian Muslim who’s had the honor of serving as the Vice-President of India the largest democracy of the world for two tenues. Well, allow me to explain to you just why your assessment could not have been more inaccurate and why it reeks from the stench of a hidden propaganda.

Being a Hindu who takes his religion very seriously, I’ve always looked at my moral conscience as being a rulebook by which I’ve chosen to live my life. Being a part of the majority, especially in a country like India, my morale conscience compels me to take care of the minority. Add to this the fact that we, as a nation, have been striving towards fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of India and that our country is governed by its constitution that was framed by B.R Ambedkar (a constitution I consider as being the best and most just in the world), and we – the majority – are morally bound to look after the minority.

In recent years however, Nehruvian thinking has hijacked the thought process of many people, encouraged mostly by the UPA government’s ten years of indulging in minority appeasement to make political gains. Earlier also the Congress Governments have deliberately indulged into appeasement politics to keep the minorities happy thereby neglecting their wellbeing . Additionally, there have been many families who have, over the years, taken advantage of this system of minority appeasement and made strides in various fields that weren’t based on merit or qualifications. Now unless you believe in that principle of minority appeasement, I see no reason why you‘d think that Indian Muslims are feeling insecure.

And let’s make one thing clear – while you may be a minority, Indian Muslims have never been denied any opportunities or have ever been treated like second-class citizens. You’ve had the honor of serving as India’s Vice-President, but we’ve also had a Muslim Chief Justice of India, as well as a Muslim Election Commission Chief. India had a Muslim President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam who has inspired millions of Indians through his thoughts . India also happens to be home to two of the most renowned Muslim Universities in the world – Aligarh and Jamia Millia Islamia, and is one of the few non-Islamic countries that offer a PhD in Urdu (and not just in Muslim universities!). In India, we celebrate all Muslim festivals with as much as love and fervor as we show for Hindu festivals and our film industry happens to be dominated by three Muslim men, all of whom enjoy the type of stardom that cannot be attained without a pan-India presence. Our Muslim cricketers have been showered with as much love as their Hindu counterparts (the Pathan brothers immediately come to mind) and Sania Mirza is considered to be India’s daughter. Simply put, Muslims have thrived in India, and yet you believe that they are feeling insecure and a sense of unease? I guess when people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment starts seeming like discrimination, doesn’t it?

During your tenure as the Vice-President of India, you were in a position where you could have set an example. Yet on your last day in office, you choose to make such an ill informed and unsettling comment that I can’t help but wonder exactly what, according to you, will finally make Muslims feel comfortable? Recently, seventeen Muslim students visited my house to celebrate Raksha Bandhan and we shared a meal together. They informed me that they feel incredibly secure because the current government gives them the right to speak anything they want to. In fact, the Muslim community, as well as us believers of Centre-right politics, wants to ask you a question – What have YOU done for the upliftment of Indian Muslims? It was us Hindus who liberated Muslim women from the purdah system, did you ever speak about that during your tenure as VP? Did you ever speak about protecting Muslim daughters from their husbands when they are victimized in the name of halala and triple talaq? Did you ever enlighten Muslim students to only study in authorized schools and not through unauthorized personnel teaching Islam (unauthorized according to both Islam, and the Constitution of India)?

I had to do an agitation under #HinduDeniedEquality because even under the so-called and so- assumed ‘anti-Muslim’ BJP government, Muslims don’t require any permission to use airport property to read the namaz, whereas Hindus aren’t allowed to conduct any Pujas on the same airport property. In fact not just at airports, but nowadays wherever you go, you’ll see and hear the namaz being fiercely practiced with loud speakers (at some places even ignoring court orders), but Hindus still have to take permission for even the smallest of things. Shouldn’t it actually be Hindus that should be feeling insecure?

In the end, your words basically reinstated what most admired Film actor Aamir Khan had done last year – enjoy all of the love and respect that the country has showered on you (who happens to be an ambassador of some of current Government’s key programs), but still spit on it in an opportune manner talking about similar lines of insecurity in India. Mr. Ansari, if you actually want to see just how secure Indian minorities feel, take out some time and try to meet a Parsi clerk, a Jewish teacher, a Shia Muslim teacher or a Protestant Christin teacher and you’ll see just how comfortable and secure they feel. Hopefully with you being the Vice Chancellor of Aligarh University, you might be able to better relate to minorities in the education system. I am sure, all Indians have immense respect for you as you are an academician, were the Vice Chancellor of a prestigious university and have held one of the most respected positions in the country for two terms, you have represented India across the world at various global forums throughout your career. But have you ever tried to understand the pain of the majority?

-Vinit Goenka

(Member Governing Council- CRIS, Ministry of Railways

Member Taskforce(IT)- Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport, & Highways

Ex-National Co-covener, Information Technology Cell, BJP )

Twitter : @VinitGoenka