Camera: Athar Rather
Video Producer: Aparna Singh
Video Editor: Mohd. Irshad Alam
Maidan mein Garba, Party Hall mein Garba, Mumbai ke marine drive pe Garba, Even Local Trains mein Garba!!
Clearly, Yeh Jo India Hai Na, here, all of us, each one of us Indians is taking part in the Garba fever across the country.
But, one minute. Is it all of us? Take a look at this video. Why was this Muslim man beaten up by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal members at a garba event in Ahmedabad? Why was he and 3 other Muslim men chased away from this garba event?
In Indore, Bajrang Dal workers removed 7 Muslim men from a garba event, and handed them to the police, who then actually arrested them!
Again, why? When did attending a garba festival event become against the law for India’s Muslims?
And, what about Salman Khan performing Ganesh arti during Ganesh Chaturthi? Something he does every year. Should someone tell Salman that the Bajrang Dal may come after him next? Because now, if a Muslim can’t do garba, then surely he can’t do Ganesh Puja, and after that, surely even bursting Diwali patakhas, and playing Holi will have to stop for India’s Muslims.
But is that the India we want? Surely not!
To my mind, if people do garba on Mumbai’s Marine Drive or in a local train, we should embrace it, usse bilkul like karo, share karo.
And in the exact same spirit, if a woman performs namaz at a hospital in Prayagraj, to pray for an unwell relative, instead of being trolled for it, she too should be embraced.
And Salman Khan performing Ganesh aarti or flying kites at Makar Sankranti must of course be embraced.
Why Are Muslims Being Stopped From Attending Garba Events?
And their reason, as we know, is absurd– to protect Hindu girls at garba events from "love jihad".
Arre bhai, if a Muslim man and a Hindu woman, both consenting adults, even if they do this totally filmi thing of falling in love while doing garba together, which Indian law are they breaking?
Iss mein galat, ya unlawful kya hai? Nothing! So, why are we allowing these people to tell us ke India mein garba kaun kar sakta hai, aur kaun nahi?
‘Hinduism Is Open, Inclusive,’ Says RSS, but Ground Reality Is Different
And, another question – on one hand, top Hindutva leaders say that Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life. We hear RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat saying that anyone living in India is a Hindu. It is the RSS chief’s way of describing Hinduism and Hindu culture, broadly, as open, and inclusive.
In reality, on the ground, this should translate as all Indians, including Muslims freely taking part in things like garba events, but what we actually see is Muslims being warned to keep away, we see Muslims being beaten up if they do dare to take part.
And so, we must ask – ke Hindutva ki theory aur practice mein aisa antar kyon?
Why this gap between what the RSS chief says and what the Bajrang Dal or VHP actually does? If their activities are against the ethos of ‘inclusive’ Hindutva, then why are they not shut down?
Yeh Jo India Hai Na, yahan, be it some senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders or Bajrang Dal members, the message they want to send out in this garba season is clear – ke the India they want is not inclusive. They want an India that is openly hostile to Muslims and other minorities, that is openly not secular.
When the RSS chief gives his Vijay Dashami speech, we can only hope that he clearly calls out this hate.