Friday, September 29, 2023

Peace is more than just a state of mind!


Three men having moved to Kolkata, Delhi & Gujarat can have 3 different stories

Nirendra Dev
NEW DELHI, JUNE 29: This piece has no much relevance to readers in Nagaland except that I am trying to make a focused emphasis on peace.
It should not be taken as a mere cliché that ‘peace’ is a prerequisite for development. To a large extent it’s a must. One is saying so not merely in the context of Nagaland or the Northeast, it is also in the context of a State like Gujarat ~ whose developmental model is often emulated or debated.
The three pillars of economic growth of Gujarat are agriculture, manufacturing and services.
These sectors, especially manufacturing and services, and even agro marketing can only prosper in a peaceful State.
To be businesslike is not necessarily an offence, if your business approach does not clash with the freedom and business or professional approach of others. Profitability can hardly be a crime.
There is an important factor. Muslims in Gujarat have been more practical and more focused towards business and normal avenues of life. Perhaps unlike their counterparts in some other States, Gujarati Muslims have moved beyond the gory days of communal conflicts and have buried the past. They have been battered, but on their part the minorities have served the State of Gujarat well. In turn, they have contributed to the State’s economic growth and have been generally peaceful and law-abiding.
It is always erroneous to club Muslims in one State with those in another. This could be true for individuals too, for a Bengali youth or middle aged person also. If one samples three Bengalis brought up in Dimapur and Kohima and have moved to Kolkata, Delhi and Ahmedabad, there are actually three different stories. Almost fictional.
The Kolkata man has learnt the art of ‘insulting Hindus’ and even Indians; it’s intellectually sale-able; and would be more selfish whatever the provocation.
If his interest is served, he may forget his upbringing and small town friends and benefactors of Dimapur. Next time you are in Kolkata, please re-check the lunch bill, an extra item may be added easily and when caught, they could say: “Bhul hoe chhey (It’s mistake)”. Even Delhi does not do that at least in eating outlets.
I know of an Ahmedabad-based relative, who now talks the language of a Marwari in Kalibari Road, ~ 10%, 20%, etc!
In Delhi or Mumbai again, people grow up differently. In the national capital, one learns the art of ‘ho jaega’ and ‘koi baat nahi’ culture pretty fast. Unfortunately for Nagas or Mizos, the India link is provided by the ‘Delhi link’. One can refer to what former Nagaland Chief Secretary AM Gokhale once said, “New Delhi still is Aurangzeb’ Delhi” ~ not religion-wise but an image of an exploiter.
Narendra Modi is still to break that ‘Delhi-culture’ of Delhi. Tough job, I tell you.
Back to Gujarat, there are famous eating outlets at Bhatyargali area ~ predominantly Muslim Strongholds ~ near Teen Darwaza point. One was pleased to find a large number of non-Muslims thronging the area for a variety of non-veg dishes. Foodies were seen past 10-11 in night along with their families and children. When asked, some local residents and business people in the area about the ‘peaceful times’ in Gujarat, unlike, say Muslims in some UP hubs, say these Gujaratis do not feel economically trapped or socially vulnerable in their home State.
One person said, religious manipulation by clerics is less or negligible. Muslims in Gujarat very much want to remain part of Gujarat ~ and take part in the developmental journey ~ with or without BJP.
Night life is on like Mumbai and for all that, some people have to work hard. Now, you cannot expect these ‘hard workers’ in West Bengal or Tripura ~ forget our own Dimapur.
The fantastic working atmosphere one personally enjoyed with Naga politicians and civil servants and with enthusiastic encouragement from senior Naga journos of the 1990s could be a vanishing art for the new generation.
Some people know only to complain, they create a world of their own. Others prefer to work hard shoulder-to-shoulder. There could be competition but no rivalry of insiders and outsiders. That’s a big difference in cities like Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
Credit for these need not be given to Narendra Modis or Shiv Sainiks. Each city has a culture of their own and you are embraced.
The detractors of Gujarat’s political culture and political opponents of the Government of the day will have different stories to tell. Some of these stories are painted in such a manner by a powerful section of media that people tend to believe that a stranger could be easily attacked in the streets of cities like Vadodara, Ahmedabad and Surat.
The Left-Liberal English media has only harmed more. Had they written half of the gory tales in
Bengal, many lives could have been saved and West Bengal too could have marched ahead.
The truth about Gujarat is just the opposite of what is generally circulated. There are also efforts made frequently to present the western State in a poor light. Do not believe everything you read, one is saying so despite being a fanatic product and admirer of print journalism.
Yes, Gujarat is developing fast and it is a peaceful State. It is worth emulating.
This neo-transformational model of Gujarat is one of the key contributors towards shaping a ‘New India’.