18, Jun 2022 | CJP Team
The last week’s coverage of bulldozer injustice by several media houses has been about the growing communal divide and the outbreak of violence, as well as the marginalisation of the Muslim minority in particular. While it is necessary to report the news of the day, one must also not lose sight of instances that rekindle hope of peaceful coexistence.
Here’s a look at some such inspiring stories of peace and harmony between different sections of society after Friday protests.
Amidst the systematic hate leading to growing anger and despair, it is important to showcase a lived reality of camaraderie, equality and sharing which is the bedrock of the Indian Constitution and secularism. That way we not only hold on to every thread of hope, but effectively project these narratives, lest we lose our will to fight the good fight. As part of our #EverydayHarmony series, CJP brings you instances where Indians share and care, every single day… our food, our businesses, our homes and our friendships. This instances show how we Indians continue to reject hateful and divisive agendas even while street violence and social media are used as part of a sinister, hate-filled political agenda to tell us otherwise. Let’s reinforce India’s everyday lived reality, and through that collectively and aggressively, uphold and defend a unique pluralism, a diverse culture and truly secular values. Donate now to help us combat hate and prejudice!
Police and people exchange roses
A heartwarming example of symbolic rejection of violence was most recently seen in Lucknow near the Tilewali Masjid. On June 17, 2022 police forces across Uttar Pradesh were on high alert, unwilling to allow a repeat of the June 3 and June 10 protests. While Ghaziabad police deployed around 5,000 personnel, Lucknow police approached things differently by distributing roses to namazis.
Devotees who headed to the masjid in the afternoon were pleasantly surprised to see the police handing out flowers as a sign of peace.
लखनऊ: टीले वाली मज़्ज़िद पर नमाज़ अता करने पहुँचे लोगों को पुलिस प्रशासन ने दिया गुलाब का फूल। पुलिस प्रशासन का कहना कि फूल के ज़रिये दे रहे हैं अमन और शांति का पैग़ाम।@lkopolice pic.twitter.com/KROUIn2Jqe
— Ashutosh Tripathi (@tripsashu) June 17, 2022
To mirror the goodwill, the devotees too gave flowers to the officers after namaz. The police administration pleasantly surprised can be seen conversing with people.
टीले वाली मज़्ज़िद पर नमाज़ अता करने पहुँचे लोगों नें पुलिस प्रशासन को दिया गुलाब का फूल। लोगों का कहना है फूल के ज़रिये दे रहे हैं अमन और शांति का पैग़ाम।#Friday #Lucknow#PeaceAndLove pic.twitter.com/H7ACkzPCwE
— Sumit Kumar (@skphotography68) June 17, 2022
The idea of using flowers as a symbol of non-violent protest was first proposed by poet Allen Ginsberg in his essay ‘How to Make a March/Spectacle.’ The idea was that protesters should be provided with ‘masses of flowers’ to give to policemen, the press, politicians, and spread love and compassion in the faces of hatred and violence.
Pulwama Muslims keep old promises
On June 12, while the rest of India watched horrified as Allahabad activist Javed Mohammad’s house was illegally demolished, Pulwama’s Muslims continued to protect the local Shiva temple. A resident tweeted, “In the middle of polarisation and hate mongering towards Muslims and killing of minorities in valley the message of harmony comes from my native district Pulwama. A centuries old temple in Payer is maintained by Muslims with pride of being care takers of coexistence.”
In middle of polarisation & hate mongering towards Muslims & killing of minorities in valley the message of harmony comes from my native district Pulwama. A centuries old temple in Payer is maintained by Muslims with pride of being care takers of coexistence. pic.twitter.com/N8n4JQyiJV
— Mohit Bhan موہت بھان (@buttkout) June 12, 2022
This is the same temple at Achan village that Hindus and Muslims restored together in 2019. The restoration was done days after the February 14 attack on CRPF men, 15 km away from the village.
Speaking to The Tribune, Auqaf Committee Chairperson Nazir Mir said the people wanted to send a message of peace and communal harmony, when people are engaged in warmongering on electronic and social media. The Committee was approached by local Pandits for the renovation and maintenance, which the Muslims have continued till date.
“We want to convey that Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits live here together like before,” Mir told The Tribune.
Calls for peace
A day after the protest, there were reports of violence. Media houses condemned the stone-pelting in Allahabad, Ranchi and other cities. Similarly, progressive groups of the Muslim community too launched into action from June 11 when a Muslim cleric in Bengal called for peace and communal harmony.
Stressing that India is the motherland of people across religion, he appealed to people to remain peaceful.
“This is my country, Bharat is my motherland. People of all religion are my brothers. That is why it is our bounden duty to maintain communal harmony and embrace each and everyone with love. सारे जहाँ से अच्छा हिन्दोसिताँ हमारा”
— ইন্দ্রজিৎ | INDRAJIT (@iindrojit) June 11, 2022
This call for peace was again reiterated by the Haq Hai Foundation in Mumbai’s Mira-Bhayandar on June 15. Women and youths came together for a silent protest asking the community not to fall victim to the right-wing elements and the politics of hate.
In the larger scheme of things, the incidents may not seem impressive but taken collectively highlight how Indian citizens are keen to maintain peace in their land.
Image Courtesy: ianslive.in