By The Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
Mr. Sudheendra Kulkarni is an odd one out in broad, diversified and sometimes weird Indian political landscape. His way to foreign policy is like a marriage councilor who is suggesting a couple to have a candle light dinner when husband and wife are busy swinging plates at each other. His approach to solve disputes with the neighboring country is impractical, inconclusive and gravely misplaced given the situation between India and Pakistan. Bust despite my differences in opinion, I found myself sympathetic to the old man when I saw his ink smeared face on the television. We might not agree with the guy, might not even like him but that doesn’t mean he can’t have an opinion of his own.
There is a joke among people from UP and Bihar, Shiv Sainiks are so nationalists that forget Indians they don’t even spare Hindus and true to the word, they proved their patriotism by smearing the face of an old man whose crime was to organize a book launch of former Pakistani Foreign minister. Time and again Sainiks proved their bravery on hapless, innocent people bullying Jains, threatening Gujratis, beating Biharis, bycotting South Indians and harassing many other Indians from other states are few anecdotes in their patriotic saga. Any dissent or differing opinion is strong armed and country, language and culture are limited to Maharashtra, Marathi and Marathis. Surprisingly this brow beating disappears in thin air at times of crisis like terrorist attacks and frequent flooding’s in Mumbai, they were no where to be found at the time of 26/11 attacks. You might find a Shiv Sainik and their cousins MNS vandalizing a shop, teasing a girl on streets or shutting down Mumbai, I’ll tell you where you’ll not find them, at the border. You might find them fighting other Indians but you’ll never find them fighting for Indians. Inviting Javed Miadad is somehow okay and Ghulam Ali doing a concert is not.
Now coming to the matter of Pakistani’s, as far as terrorism is concerned India’s differences with Pakistan are wide open in front of the whole world. Talks have been cancelled, bullets were exchange and counterterrorism operations are daily news, government has its stand of no talks until terrorism stops but I don’t think I’d be comfortable with Shiv Sena making decisions on foreign policy. Moreover artists and dignitaries from other countries are state guests, they are regarded highly by the government and insulting them brings bad name on world stage, even if they are Pakistanis and we have to remember that they had been given visa by NDA government. Guest should always be respected, in our home and our country, if Ghulam Ali can perform in Snkatmochan Temple in Varanasi then why can’t he perform in Mumbai. Our democracy, progressive ideas and inclusiveness is what differentiates us from our neighbors. It also raises serious question of law and order in the state, if CM Devendra Fadnavis allies can hold his government for ransom and ransack his every initiative and decision then what’s the point of continuing the friendship but I guess perks of power are too much to give up.
I don’t believe we are an intolerant society, I don’t think those writers throwing away their awards are doing it out of some concern for social harmony, I don’t think the mob that murdered a man for suspicion of eating beef represent majority of my countrymen. There are people from different faiths who live side by side and whose contribution to the fabric of our unity goes unnoticed but its hard to remain silent when stupidity of few embarrasses us all.