In response to a recent controversial letter of the Archbishop of Delhi, Rev. Anil Couto, Union home minister Rajnath Singh has asserted that India does not discriminate on the basis of religion, and urged the church leader to shed a “prejudiced” mindset. Union minister Giriraj Singh said the priest took his orders from Italy (perhaps he meant the Vatican). In his usual rough way, BJP chief Amit Shah asked the archbishop “not to polarise” Indians.
But all these people should introspect. For years, these saffron leaders have let loose brigades of supposedly holy men to traduce the religious minorities in vile language, vandalise their religious places, and mobilise Hindu voters through the tactics of polarisation. No principle has been left sacrosanct.
Hordes of so-called holy men (and women) in saffron robes have been made MPs and MLAs so that they are enabled to unleash virulent political rhetoric without restraint and disturb the nation’s innately secular traditional social ethos. One of them has even been made a chief minister. His most conspicuous act has been to cancel years-old criminal cases against himself.
The archbishop urged his followers to pray for the country before the next election, and for its leaders, assuming that prayers can help restore calm. He has spoken of a “turbulent political atmosphere” which is a threat to constitutional principles and strains the secular fabric. Once former US President Barack Obama had hinted at the same thing before leaving New Delhi.
When the religious majority is incited by political elements to do its worst, the minorities get insecure. The archbishop’s letter to the faithful shows this. This should be obvious. We should change course, not be angry....