-Ghayur Aquetab Ahmed
The attack on Swami Agnivesh – a stalwart and one of the most revered face of Arya Samaj will certainly go down in the annals of Indian history as the blackest day, for the simple reason that India prides itself for its rich cultural heritage, multi-lingual, multi ethnic and pluralistic society, India – once “the golden bird” is known for its tolerance, universal brotherhood, respect to other religions and freedom to practice one’s religion.
But all these things seem to have been relegated to the back burner swept by the tide of hate-mongers, rabble-rousers and the vigilantes who live in the fool’s paradise, consider India as their fiefdom, thinking that they can get away with anything and would go unpunished.
Everything has a limit, the growing intolerance and vigilantism has taken a cancerous proportion which if not checked soon will affect the entire body and soul of our motherland. No, it does not need radiation rather it requires the radiance emanating from the righteous people of all religions.
Cutting across the religious lines, they should come forward to remove the darkness of intolerance, hatred and venom that has spilled out in the open engulfing the entire society.
How embarrassing it is that a saint and scholar of the stature of Swami Agnivesh was humiliated and beaten with his clothes torn and turban removed by the hooligans of BJP youth wing at Pakur, Jharkhand.
To add fuel to fire one BJP leader is reported to have supported the episode openly, warning at the same time that hands of anyone opposing Modi will be chopped off, the situation has come to such a sorry state and its fallout can be gauged from the above mentioned statement.
India has been home to hundreds of Sufis, saints and sages who have a huge following, irrespective of caste, creed or religion the devotees throng to these shrines.
It is very difficult to understand why an attempt is being made to vitiate the atmosphere of universal brotherhood, peace and harmony by a vicious cycle who are out to spit fore, spew venom and may go to a step ahead to “chop off the hand”.
Nothing can be more disastrous than negating one’s own ideology. Isn’t “Atithi Devo Bhava” mentioned in their scriptures? Was Swami Agnivesh not their Atithi (guest)?
This is not the only incident of this kind, the suave lady Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patekar was also once manhandled.
Now the intensity of such intolerance has risen to such a proportion that it seems to have crept into academics too. Who can forget the heckling of former Vice president Hamid Ansari?
Now this drama can be witnessed even in television debates. Was it merely a clash of two tongues? Or a clash of civility? If such incidents go on happening, the day is not far when it will turn into a “batter-ed field” if not battle-field. Where will this cynicism lead us to? The attack on Swami Agnivesh raises serious questions. Was it just the result of impulsiveness or was it stage-managed? This fact can be substantiated with the outburst of a BJP leader who not only shamelessly defended the attack but issued a threatening statement that is highly deplorable and must be condemned by one and all. It shows that an attempt is being made to silence everyone who raises his voice against the establishment and instilling a fear psychosis among those who have the audacity to challenge the establishment.
Poor Swami Agnivesh invited the wrath of the vigilante groups simply because he tried to put facts over fiction. Delving deeper into the incident of attack also comes a question as to where were the organisers? Why did they remain a mute spectator to the ongoing sordid drama? Why did not someone from them come to the rescue of a septuagenarian saint and scholar? An enquiry needs to be initiated as to why a guest was humiliated and insulted before the organisers where a hapless Swami was pushed to the ground and the organisers preferred to look the other way round. Leave alone the organisers, where were the people at the gathering? So strong were the BJP activists that none of them could muster courage to help the 76 years old Swami? Where is the question of needle of suspicion? It is as clear as crystal that at whose behest this sordid drama was staged. No mater Swami Agnivesh we salute you, your spirit, your truthfulness and your avowed commitment to humanity. You were pushed down to earth, but the fact remains that you are down to earth. You were made to fall that did not demean your stature. Your name will be inscribed on the golden paged of saintliness. You are not a fallen angel rather you are an angel to be followed.
(The writer is a freelance journalist based in Patna.)