Skip to main content

God wants us to do more to keep the world going than pay obeisance in large numbers

By Salman Khurshid*
The COVID-19 lock down has come as a boon for reflection. I saw three films again: ‘Man for All Seasons’, ‘Jinnah’, and ‘Gandhi.’ The first for how Thomas More, a brilliant man sacrificed his life for a moral principle; the second for the touching scene in which the founder of Pakistan played by Christopher Lee seeks forgiveness of a little migrant girl for causing the Partition; and finally the last for a dose of Gandhian determination to overcome the shadow that obscures the beauty of our democracy.
All three underscore the truth that ultimately Man’s law cannot override God’s law.
The composite lesson that I have imbibed from my experience tells me to do course correction on discourse. It is absurd to believe that any person in India would consciously resist joining the national effort to combat COVID-19 or that any short coming caused by insensitivity or lack of understanding cannot be corrected with firmness but without rancour and hate. 
In the nature of things there will be mistakes, and in the circumstances they can be expensive and fatal.
What we need to do is to correct them, even anticipate them. But anyone who uses then to cause a cleavage between people, particularly communities is no less an enemy of the people than the virus that has challenged humanity on an unprecedented scale.
By engaging in a debate with the foul mouthed fringe amplified by myopic media anchors is giving them the unfair and toxic importance they seek for their inhuman enterprise. Passive resistance and non-violence in word and deed is the apt panacea for mental corrosion as we fortify efforts to keep our respective respiratory system secure.
Instead of debating with the deaf and blind we should do what is most reasonable and professional to keep humanity safe. Simultaneously we must prepare for the post pandemic world that promises to be dramatically different and difficult. Many of the changes that were on the anvil and inevitable will be accelerated.
We will get accustomed to heath scrutiny even as we took security checks in our stride post 9/11. Privacy will be under stress for the right as well as wrong reasons. The state will seek to accumulate more power and block transparency. 
Even as religious institutions self-consciously concede space to people who claim it in the name of science we may suffer a lapse of spirituality in our social life reducing the quality of our lives. Finding the right balance will be a great challenge and that too in severely undermined financial and economic conditions.
We thought we could put our concerns and countries first and reverse the trend towards One World, but God thought otherwise
In the past few decades political parties have claimed dominant role in our national life and political ideologies, some very warped, have sought to overwhelm higher moral landscapes integral for the health of any civilisation. We will need to reclaim that space.
But most important for a moral view point is self-esteem and dignity of the person. Although the janata curfew and the subsequent lock down have exhibited a commendable consensual compliance in the interest of society it needs to be underscored that not all decisions merit approval even if defiance is ill advised.
Furthermore, the gratitude we must and have shown to the brave and devoted service providers and managers should not obfuscate disapproval of some, particularly the police in many cases showing impatience with demands of dignity. Similarly the helplessness of migrant labour and their families cannot be explained in any way other than base incompetence and heartlessness.
Salman Khurshid
The politics of tomorrow must not only take on the binary that makes all dissent and disagreement a matter of national honour but commit the nation to a welfare state. 
Where would we be today if UPA’s National Rural Health Mission, Health Insurance for Small Scale Sector, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Right to Education (RTE), housing, right to food security et al. had received the honest cooperation of the then Opposition and by now found root in our political economy? 
Much of the migrant labour we see on the roads today are also citizens who get struck off the voter lists.
That explains why the government is so callous about their welfare. The electoral system must be corrected to ensure legitimate voters are not disenfranchised. Finally, the water downing of Right to Information (RTI) must be reversed. There is a lot more that the country deserves and the citizen has a claim on but the future government will have to be prepared to face questions and answer them honestly and sympathetically.
COVID-19 had shown that God wants us to do more to keep the world going than to turn up in large numbers to pay obeisance. If we believe in God then we must accept that he must be very unhappy with humankind to put us through this trial. 
We thought we could put our respective concerns and countries first and reverse the trend towards One World, but God thought otherwise. Furthermore it is clear that priests and intermediaries have little clout with God and we can deal directly. Besides are we being told that God’s law must be followed by Man’s law?
---
*Former Union foreign minister, Supreme Court advocate, senior Congress leader. Source: Author’s Facebook timeline

Comments

TRENDING

HSBC shareholders seek exit from funding Adani's 'contentious' Australian coalmine

By Our Representative  In a move that may embarrass India's top business house known to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, shareholders of HSBC, a British multinational investment bank, the largest in Europe with total assets of US$2.715 trillion, are likely to decide at its AGM on May 28, 2021 a plan to exit coal financing related to the Adani Group, as it begins digging the Carmichael mega coal mine in Australia, reports Melbourne-based South Asia Times.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Ciminalising 'tool' created, name: Gujarat Land Grabbing Prohibition Act 2020

By Varsha Bhagat-Ganguly, Rejitha Nair* The year 2021 in Gujarat opened its account with 647 alleged land grabbing cases under investigation, 16 FIRs filed against 34 land grabbers within 35 days of Gujarat Land Grabbing Prohibition Act 2020 (GLGPA), as informed by the Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Gujarat State, in a press conference on January 22, 2021. He further informed that of 647 alleged cases, 605 applications of land grabbing were received by different collectors who have initiated suo moto proceedings in 42 cases. The total land in these cases is estimated to be around 1.35 lakh square metre, worth Rs 220 crore as per jantri rates (ready reckoner of land prices in different parts of the state). By March 15, 2021, at least six even cases are before the Gujarat High Court. Of about 11 cases reported in the daily newspapers, in three cases, grabbing of government land is charged, and the rest are land disputes between two individuals. The promptness of the district collect

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.