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Defiling of Maulana Azad's statue symbolizes the fall of composite Indian ethos

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*

What a sad state of affairs in West Bengal, 24-Parganas, Kankinara that a statue of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, India’s first Union education minister, was knocked down by miscreants during clashes that broke out in many parts of West Bengal during Ram Navami processions! The bust of Bharat Ratna, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, was razed in Kakinara which has seen a spree of violence since Sunday. The vandalism of Azad’s statue was caught on camera and the video of the incident is going viral on social media.
Strangely, there has been no coverage by the national media on this tragic mishap. Azad was the symbol of interfaith bond between Hindus and Muslims and has been revered most owing to his contribution to interfaith harmony. All those who had indulged in this must be brought to books. More dangerous that the act itself is the increasing fascist tendency that is trying to divide Hindus and Muslims who have always gelled well as sugar and milk since time immemorial.
The number of casualties, according to Wasim-ul-Haq, editor, “Akhbar-e-Mashriq” Urdu daily from Kolkata, after violence during the Ram Navami procession in West Bengal has increased to 3. While on Sunday, one person died in Purulia, and one in Kakinara, another individual passed away after clashes in Raniganj on Monday.
“Ramnavami is a lovely festival and conveys the message of harmony and peace. It is a matter of concern that instead of handing pens and computers in the hands of the youth, some right wing elements are encouraging them to brandish swords, guns and other dangerous weapons in the name of religion and cultural ethos,” states Atyab Siddiqui, eminent thinker sand lawyer.
Ahmed Saeed Mailhabadi, editor of the erstwhile Urdu daily, “Azad Hind” confirmed the desecration of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s statue. “It is sad that statues are being attacked to pave way for the dangerous ghettoized mindset. India is a great nation where all the communities support each other in all walks of life,” said Malihabadi.
“The defiling of Azad statue symbolizes the fall of composite Indian ethos and the sacrifice of the centuries old tradition of inter and intra cultural harmony. Instead of condemning, I invite the Indian conscience to ponder over,” states Imam Umair Ahmed Ilyasi, the Chief Imam of India.
According to Khwaja Iftekhar Ahmed, chairman, Interfaith Harmony Foundation of India, secularism and rationalism go hand in hand. With the increasing Hindu radicalization, the rationale of Indian state has come at stake. Sometimes, for, very short term gains, radicalists adopt a course of disaster which initially appears as an apparent victory but the crisis that it leaves behind, may generate unresolvable controversies for centuries. The world has paid enough in the name of Muslim radicalism. I wish, Hindu brothers read in between the lines and jointly stand up to meet the challenge.
Even the Sangh spokesperson and hardliner, Subramaniam Swamy tweeted that this was an imprudent act of some Right Wing Supporters which was unacceptable.
According to senior BJP leader, Vijay Goel, Maulana azad was not only this country’s most articulate votary of Hindu-Muslim unity but also the only one erudite aalim (Islamic scholar) who claimed Quranic sanction for his faith in unity and the freedom of the nation.
Mahua Moitra, the Trinamul Congress spokesperson stated that the Sangh affiliates defied the state government orders to brandish weapons in a festive activity in the name of religion. In spite of the fact that the Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee directed the director general of police (DGP) to instruct all the superintendents of police (SPs) to take strong action against those who carried arms in the rallies, the miscreants brandished sharp weapons and indulged in arson and violence, told Mahua.
Sometime ago, political controversy erupted after the CPI-M accused the BJP of attacking its offices in Tripura and bringing down Lenin statues after winning assembly polls in the state.
Unfortunately, the incidents of statue vandalism in Tripura triggered a wave of similar actions across the country in its immediate aftermath. Statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr BR Ambedkar, and Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee were also targeted.
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*Commentator on social, educational and political issues, community worker and grandnephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

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