There has been a huge uproar about the speech by Akbaruddin Owaisi. The hatred-filled content by itself is shocking enough but what is alarming is the applause that he got from his audience. This shows the danger of isolation of a community in our ever-expanding society. These misinformed and misguided mindsets are there because they remain in their own community. When they live in isolation, they promote only one mindset and there is no open mindedness. They may not have friends from other communities or participate in other festivals. Such thoughts that have been expressed by Owaisi are poisonous to the idea of India even in a drawing room, let alone a public platform.
Therefore, religion based universities must be shut down. Universities are the only place where people work and grow up with people from other communities. But the government starts promoting religion based institutions for their vote banks. Such institutions will only create more Owaisis who remain in their own island. They will never get integrated with the rest of society and this is not good for the country.
Now who can change this mindset? It’s certainly not the law. If he is put in jail, he becomes a hero for his own people. Hindus cannot say anything to him because it will further polarize the two communities. So who can correct the mindset that he stands for? Such elements can only be changed or addressed by liberal and successful people of their own community. And it is time for those liberals who spend their time in their drawing rooms to reach out to people, address the youth, change their mindset and make an impact.
When I made efforts in the Ayodhya negotiations meeting VHP, the Muslim Personal Law Board and Babri Masjid Action Committee, what I saw there was more a vested interest than a genuine care for each other’s communities. It was more stubbornness than a willingness to come to a solution. Therefore, people who are mature and have the interest of a larger good at heart must step forward and educate others for sense to prevail. Otherwise, people like Owaisi end up becoming people’s representatives by evoking anger and hatred.
In stark contrast to the walled city of Hyderabad, Kadapa, also in Andhra Pradesh, is a pole apart. Every year thousands of Muslim devotees celebrate the new year by offering prayers to Lord Venkateshwara on Ugadi. This has been a 300 year old tradition at this temple. Similarly, many Hindus visit the Ameen Peer Dargah on Thursdays and Fridays.
Over the centuries, India has absorbed many different faiths in her culture. It is some people blinded by political ambition, greed or just plain ignorance who claim to be the voice of the people and seek to make gains out of creating chaos. They need to be drowned out by voices that make sense and personalities that display character. We owe it to both our glorious past and promising future to maintain our harmony as a nation.