As soon as I switched on my television during the lunch break, I came to know about today’s breaking news, “Sena MPs ‘force’ fasting muslim staffer to eat chapati“,”Sena MPs ‘force’ Muslim worker to break fast, uproar in LS”. I hope you must have the point by now. Hardly any of the news channels or papers deflected from the words they should not have so emphatically uttered.
Sometimes I feel, the fault that we are still not a united India and stuck with issues like minority rights and communal tension, lies in us and not in our leaders. After all, aren’t they from among us only? Subconsciously all of us somehow still have this notion of religious insecurity and discrimination in the back of our minds and they do not seem to be dwindling soon, especially if the media and political parties continue to add oil to this inferno.
For instance let us take this issue. The Indian Express was the first newspaper to report the incident on its front page. A group of 11 Shiv Sena MPs from Maharashtra abused and man-handled a Resident Manager of IRCTC over alleged catering services in The New Maharashtra Sadan at New Delhi. Let us assume that it may have been correct too (please note the word ‘assume’ !).
So the incident goes like: The MPs were not happy with the services they were being provided(which of course is not a problem) –> Whether they complained about this or not is something I am not sure as of yet –> They held a meeting in the Press Conference Hall –> Then they came out and started vandalizing things in protest –> Lots of abuses and threatening —-> They force-fed a Muslim Resident Manager breaking his Ramzan fast untimely (Of course! this part has different versions) –> The IRCTC suspended all its services to the Sadan in protest along with a written complain to the Resident Commissioner on July 17 –> The commissioner apologized for the incident and assured action against the guilty.
Now considering that 17th was just last week and MPs were involved of course none of us can expect an action so early unless a lot of fuss is created. So naturally the media had to be called in. Until this everything appears to be a usual course of action against any misconduct. Ain’t it?
Wait a minute! Didn’t you notice? It is a ‘minority’ community whose religious sentiments have been hurt (as if it is okay to hurt that of the ‘majority’ community). It has damaged the multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-religious (as some of them were saying) and what not, ethos of our country and everyone should rise up against it, the Government should intervene, all political parties should make statements especially the BJP considering that Shiv Sena is an NDA ally, Shiv Sena MPs should apologize (Phew! finally someone talked sense) and I think there were also suggestions that action should be taken, criminal proceedings should be undertaken (not a bad idea!)… What else? Should we hold a candle march too? Perhaps not…
Now that I must have flared up your emotions, kindly calm your nerves and tell me two things:
- If you are served bad food (especially in the hostel) don’t you feel like asking the cook to come and shoving it down his throat?
- Do you ever do it?
See isn’t it easy! For those of you who have answers contrary to my expectations let me tell you my answers. Yes, I do feel like doing it but no I never do it and will never do it also.
The real issue here was that an MP did something (abused and force-fed an employee) which was not expected of him especially in his official capacity and which appeared more to be a show of his power and not inconvenience encountered over the issue.
The second issue was that in addition to this, the victim was fasting (whether it was Santoshi mata, Shani Dev, Ramzan, Easter or whatever) and so he must have protested and the MPs should have taken cognizance of his sentiments and if they were so bent upon making the staff taste the food, should have probably asked or forced someone else to eat/taste it.
The whole point about him being a Muslim, I believe is of no consequence (After all forcefully feeding someone is wrong no matter what!). To top it up, the Government has not found time to even condemn the issue and say that we will look into the matter knowing full well their image of being pro-active on all issues and them being variously branded as religiously inclined (everyone must have been so busy today!). The media has also did not leaven any stone unturned in adding masala to the whole thing and putting it in a loop of Breaking News (which they will continue breaking till they feel everyone must have got bored. Not to forget the valuable comments and opinions). Makes me wonder whether they all have planned it out comprehensively (doing it, denying it, creating breaking news, ignoring it, flaring sentiments, calming everything down, blah blah blah!). I hope you’ll be able to fix the jigsaw puzzle in the brackets corresponding to the culprits. :p
Let us stand as a united nation against this atrocity and not let those villains who wish to fan communal sentiments succeed. Believe me, 99% the MP would have done the same thing if there was a man from any other community there so our Muslim brothers need not get all worked up and because it is the sentiments of a Muslim that have been hurt, other communities need not take a back seat as you could be in those shoes tomorrow.
The way the MPs reacted was unbecoming and immature and they should apologize for it publicly(which he has to an extent!). Even if they feel that it wasn’t their fault and that they didn’t know about the fast, considering the direction in which the issue is being taken, I believe it us the prerogative of the concerned MPs as public representatives to apologize for hurting the sentiments of the concerned person and own up responsibility (After all that was no way to complain against bad food!). It is high that our leaders grow up and behave like mature, civilized human beings and not rowdy adolescents.
Hoping that the law will take its course and appropriate action will be taken against the culprits!
Send in your own articles and thoughts to us at mlore @ manipalblog.com.