As the world celebrates another religious festival, Eid, today, my heart goes out to the victims of hate who have lost their lives due to religious boundaries. It tries to understand how so much unbridled hate can arise in humans only because the other human does not accept a Jesus or a Mohammad or a Krishna or a Nanak as a saviour.

What is there to celebrate when a Junaid can be killed even before the mourning for an Ayub is over? Why should young children die to make us realize that the path we have chosen to tread is a cul-de-sac and can only lead to destruction and death. Either of our loved ones or of our perceived enemies.

The Indian government stands as a mute spectator as Muslims are being systematically abused and turned into second grade citizens in their own country.

Just the same way, the American government watches silently while the hate crimes against immigrants and colored people reaches a crescendo.

Secular, Liberal, Equal, Just- All have been made words of derision, used by weak people who have supposedly used them in the past to give undue advantages to the minorities.

A Republican party and its President who stands as a protector for Christian values ensures that after a long time a Muslim festival is not celebrated in the White House and humans cheer.

A BJP and its leader who do not shy from any opportunity to showcase their Hindutava agenda ensure that their federal ministers break the age old tradition of attending a Ramadan dinner hosted by the Head of the nation and the humans applaud as if some old wrong is set right.

The Heads of both these nations and their respective party leaders are the first ones to mark their solidarity and grief when a person dies anywhere in the world due to acts of violence carried out by Islamic fundamentalists. Yet at the same time, they go absolutely mute when violence and death rules in their own lands against minorities at the hands of goons running lose, emboldened by the politics of hate and angst set in motion by the great leaders. White terrorism or Hindu terror are words that are not a part of any vocabulary anywhere.

We are seeing the Revenge of the Right being enacted in front of us and are standing as silent spectators.

We are seeing the our societies being shaken to the core by the very leaders who were trusted to maintain peace and harmony.

We are witnessing a moment of decision when we have to accept whether we can live with the silence of the lambs or still have a will for the last shout out.

Should we be silent? Not any more.

Today too is the day of PRIDE- A festival to celebrate the Pride of accepting ourselves as our body made us, without any taboos or traditions. A festival to celebrate equal rights not just of the LGBTQ community but for everyone. A festival to make us believe that we can see the human spirit soaring high behind the bodies painted in rainbow colors by the creator himself.

In this world, where USA, India, Pakistan, and many other countries may decide to follow a path of hate and revenge, we also have countries like Canada, France, Norway, Ireland, who are showing the path of acceptance, equality and love for all.

For every Trump there is a Trudeau. For every Modi a Macron.

As I walked the streets of Toronto and soaked up the spirit of Pride with the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynn and saw Trudeau and Tory reveling with happy Canadians who were celebrating equality for all, I knew that enlightenment is in acceptance.

And today on this day of Pride, let us pledge that we the liberals, the secular, the dreamers of an equal, colorless world, of a world where being gay would mean being happy and not being looked at with deficiency or weakness, that we will not rest till PRIDE is restored in every nook and corner of this world.

That no mother would need to cry for a Junaid nor would we allow humans to be treated lesser than animals.

That if we take PRIDE in our religion, our region, our color, our values that would NOT make us DERIDE any other person with distinct identity.

That we will accept that building temples, mosques and churches will not make us more religious nor would that happen by following religious scriptures to the T. For the world is changing and in this new global village where distances, spaces and time zones are shrinking, only acceptance of each other as humans can bring happiness and peace.

And if we have to redefine our religions, so be it!

Let PRIDE not be limited to being a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, American, Indian, Straight or Gay.

Let PRIDE from today be in BEING HUMAN.

Posted in Times of India on 26th June 2017. Link below-


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