For a full 19 days Mahatma Gandhi had walked up the steps of Jinnah’s residence in 1946 with the sole objective of persuading him to give up his demand for the partition of India into Hindu and Muslim states. Jinnah refused to budge even an inch. He was not even ready to accept the olive branch extended by Gandhiji that he could take over the reins of power from the British and become the first ruler of Independent India.
For Jinnah all this placation and mollification appeared mischievous. “Independent India will be Hindu India”, he declared and insisted that once the British had left the Muslims would become second-class citizens under the Hindu majority. That is why he insisted that the British should grant his demand for a separate Pakistan for Muslims before they leave the shores of India. When Gandhiji gave a call to the British to ‘Quit India’, Jinnah countered with his call ‘Divide and Quit’.
The country thought that the perversion of the Majority-Minority debate had ended when the country was divided. But it has been proved wrong time and again. The present draft Bill is a standing proof that Jinnahism – the belief that the Minority is perpetually oppressed in India by the Majority – is still alive and kicking. Jawaharlal Nehru used to say: “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it”. We have not learnt any lessons from history. And we continue to commit blunders. This draft Bill, if passed into becoming an Act, would be another big blunder we would be committing.
Communal harmony is paramount in any country that has multiple religions and communities. We must strive hard to train and educate people in harmonious cohabitation. Where it is necessary we may introduce some laws and regulations also. But all that should promote harmony. The present Bill, unfortunately, will only promote disharmony. With these kind of laws the LeTs and HuJIs across the border need not have to promote terrorism in our territory anymore. All that they need to do is to encourage a minor communal riot and they can achieve what they want – huge rift between the Majority and Minority communities. This Bill doesn’t deserve to be placed before the Parliament. It should be withdrawn by the NAC forthwith.