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The Agony Of Naturalized Citizens

26/12/2014 7:51 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST
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India’s main opposition and Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi greets supporters as he moves on a vehicle to submit his nomination papers in Varanasi, at Varanasi, India, Thursday, April 24, 2014. Modi's carefully crafted and well-financed campaign presents him as a can-do politician who has turned his home state of Gujarat into a haven for business and industry, and has pledged to bolster India's growth. During his campaign, Modi has not played up his party's Hindu agenda, but experts say his decision to run in this holy city is meant to send a clear message to all voters about his commitment to the BJP's brand of religious nationalism, which emphasizes India's Hindu identity. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

Naturalised citizens, no matter how long ago they left their motherland, suffer when their homeland, something that they should always feel proud of, instead shames them. I am suffering this agony now.

Lately, what has been making me sick is the decay of the foundation of India's ethical structure, its core principles of governance, its parliamentary decorum and basic standards of individual and collective behaviour.

The May 2014 Indian general elections were the first since 1984, when the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) managed to win enough seats to govern the country without doing any political horse-trading with the opposition. But that does not seem to be working out. It is because of an inconvenient truth.

The opposition--though toothless--is still managing to take big bites off the BJP agenda, as a few of the members of the governing BJP are die-hard fundamentalists, lacking the discerning wisdom required to rule. They are unable to think in the present and plan the future.

They are stuck in the glorious Treta Yuga, when Lord Rama lived and ruled India--the second out of four ages of mankind in Hinduism. This was the period when the Dharma bull symbolising morality, stood on three legs. During the first Sat-Yuga the bull stood on all four legs, and during Dwaper, when Krishna lived it stood on two. However, during the current Kali Yuga, known to be the most corrupt age, it stands only on one leg. The rest of the legs are broken; the system is broken.

Prior to winning the elections, Giriraj Singh, a BJP personality, made a controversial remark that those who oppose Modi would have to go to Pakistan after elections, meaning they would have to leave India for good.

It is not that Mr. Singh was a political novice, or that he lacked a political persona. The truth is that prior to jumping on the Modi campaign wagon, he served as a Cabinet minister from 2005-2010 and from 2010 to 2013 in the state of Bihar. In other words, he had been learning and practicing politics for a long time.

May I ask, why would he tell my ageing brothers, sisters-in-law, nephews and nieces to leave India if they did not support Mr. Modi? For God's sake, they were born and raised in India; have worked in India and have paid taxes in India too.

Or perhaps I could ask him why Pakistan would accept more than 60 per cent of India's multi-faith population, including millions of Hindus and ruin their comfortable Islamic balance?

And Singh isn't the only one. Listen to what the Hon. Minister Jyoti said, "Aapko tay karna hai ki Dilli mein sarkar Ramzadon ki banegi ya haramdon ki. Yeh aapka faisla hai," meaning, "you have to decide whether Delhi will get a government of those born of (Lord) Ram's followers or of those born illegitimately." This question had been asked by a social worker--or so she claimed to be--prior to becoming a federal minister.

Let's not forget that when she made this comment she was cloaked in a saffron colour cotton sari. Culturally, this colour denotes that the individual, who wears this colour is distancing from materialism and living a spiritual life, has gained control over emotions, has been dedicated to duty (dharma), truth, and compassion, and has been advancing on the path to moksha.

Here is Babulal Gaur, the Home Minister of Madhya Pradesh. As he could not hold his tongue either he landed himself in trouble with the remarks, "...no government can ensure rape is prevented, and action can be taken only after the act. It is a social crime which depends on the man and the woman. It is sometimes right and sometimes wrong. Unless the person wants, no one can dare touch her..."

The Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, converted something that is so good, right and spotlessly white into a black controversy. She would like to see Modi government to recognise "Bhagavad Gita our Rashtriya Granth"--the principal national sacred text.

Millions of individuals know that the Bhagavad Gita is internationally admired and has been translated into every classical international language. It is 'The Song Celestial,' as Sir Edwin Arnold called it.

I read it. I chant it. I quote it and use it as a therapeutic textbook. So does Pratima Dharm, the first Hindu chaplain appointed by the US Government. She has used it to counsel many of her soldiers (Hindus and non-Hindus alike) afflicted by PTSD, steering them away from suicide, and helping them reclaim their familial relationships.

Yet, I cannot think of recommending the Gita to be recognised as the principal national sacred text of India. Because India is not a Hindu Republic.

India, constitutionally, has no official State religion. India is required to treat all religions impartially. Therefore, neither the Bhagavad Gita, nor the Quran nor the Bible or Guru Granth Sahib can be named as the principal national sacred text.

I have been living in Canada for over four decades. During this period, I have been called all sorts of things by ignorant racist people, but have never been instructed 'to go back to where I come from' by any cabinet minister, nor called a bastard for not supporting him or his political agenda.

However, in India more often than not, I hear some minister somewhere is always ready to shoot his or her mouth off and leave the Prime Minister to deal with the aftermath. I say the PM should not only ask the citizen of India to keep their streets clean, he should also demand his ministers keep their mouths clean, as they have no right to antagonise us. Vulgarity has no place in a civilised world.

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