Dr Muhammad Khan
PAKISTAN sent a clear message of love, peace and interfaith harmony by opening the historic Kartarpur Corridor on 9 November 2019. This message of love for the followers of another religion was derived from the teachings of Holy Prophet (PBUH). By establishing Riyasat-e-Medina, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) set the first example of peaceful existence with a message of peace, love and accommodation for other religions. This was a unique example of unity in diversity, never witnessed anywhere thereafter. The followers of Sikh religion desired opening of this corridor and the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur (also called Kartarpur Sahib) since long. Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur is situated in Narowal, Pakistan. After renovation by Government of Pakistan in a record time of 10 months, this Gurdwara has become the world’s largest Gurdwara. Baba Guru Nanak spent last 18 years of his life at this place, until his death in 1539. The Pakistani message of love and peace was retaliated by animosity and discrimination by the merchants of hate, once Indian Supreme Court gave a verdict, which promoted interfaith- disharmony and disregard for other religions. International community never expected such a biased verdict at least from Indian judiciary, which usually used to give fair verdicts, in the past. On 6 December 1992, followers of Hindutva (RSS and Vishva Hindu Parishad) demolished the historic 16th Century Babri Mosque in the Indian city of Ayodhya, the Uttar Pradesh State.
The so-called secular Congress Party was ruling India at that time, which clearly indicates the national character of India. Indian Supreme Court undertook the trial of this dispute for years and chosen a day for the verdict, 9th November, which Pakistan had already notified for the inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor. Apart from the politically manipulated verdict, Indian Supreme Court also tried to sabotage the Pakistani message of peace and love, through opening of Kartarpur Corridor and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur. This verdict and timings of announcing the verdict is a clear illustration of Indian Government’s disrespect for all other religions except Hindu religion. Within Hindu religion, the upper Hindu class (the followers of Hindutva) even discriminate the lower castes Hindus, especially the Dalits. Indian judiciary was the only pillar of Indian state, after all others pillars had adopted extreme ideologues of Hindutva. On 9 November 2019, it too had a merger into the RSS form and format. Through biased observations and even through a highly biased decision, the five judges led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi , allotted the land of 16th Century Mosque for the construction of Hindu temple and asked the Government to allot for five acres of alternative land to Muslims to build a mosque. It was after a clear acknowledgement and observation that, Babri Mosque was not constructed after demolishing the Hindu temple and that demolition of Mosque in 1992 was a clear violation of Indian rule of the law. After all, why the Mosque be constructed at a new site, why not the Temple?
Whereas, despite its economic short-falls, Pakistan is renovating and opening the religious sites for Sikhs, Christians and Hindus, Indian Government is constraining the space for all other religions except the Hindu religion. By doing so, it is promoting a culture of hate, discrimination and clampdown on the followers of other religions. In India-occupied Kashmir, Indian Government has put the Kashmiri population under curfew and siege for 100 days now. It is basically aimed at dominating the Muslim population of the occupied state. Indian abrogation of special status of IoK is a “flagrant violation of UN Security Council resolutions”. In fact, there are over a dozen UN resolutions, which bar any party from changing the status quo. Why did India change that unilaterally is an example of international violators. This means, for India is neither a domestic law to follow, nor it is bound to UN resolutions.
While within India, Indian rulers have become highly discriminatory and biased against their own minorities, there is a growing perception that they are promoting hate among the neighbouring states and countries outside the region. In a way, Indian rulers have assumed for themselves the role of merchants of hate, rather promoters of peace and love. In this drive, the BJP leadership under Prime Minister Modi has taken the lead role. Modi himself is considered the architect of this hate culture. In response to Pakistani efforts for peace and mutual respect of each other’s sovereignty in South Asian region, Indian leadership is sowing seeds of hate and disrespect for all other religions except Hindutva ideology. The merchants of hate in India are propelled by power politics and misguided ideologues which will hamper the regional peace and stability in South Asia. For a greater peace and stability in South Asian region, there is a need that all regional states should stand against the Indian hegemonic designs, which the merchants of hate are rapidly propelling.
— The writer is Professor of Politics and International Relations at International Islamic University, Islamabad.