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August 14, 2014

We must remind ourselves of the symphony of unity on the eve of Independence: Sugata Bose in LS

We must remind ourselves of the symphony of unity on the eve of Independence: Sugata Bose in LS

Trinamool MP Sugata Bose today spoke atlength on the need for a mechanism to tackle the rising incidents of communalviolence in the country. Invoking verses from the National Anthem, he calledfor political solidarity and unity of India. He said we must remind ourselvesof the symphony of unity on the eve of Independence.

During his speech, Dr Bose also quotedSwami Vivekananda: “I shall go to the mosque of Muslim, I shall enter theChristian's church and kneel before the Crucifix, I shall enter the BuddhistTemple where I shall take refuge in the Buddha and his law and I shall go intothe forest and sit down in meditation with the Hindu who is trying to see thelight which enlightens the heart of everyone”.

Transcriptof his full speech:

Tomorrow morningthe hon. Prime Minister will be at the Red Fort delivering his first speechfrom its ramparts. In the winter of 1945, Mahatma Gandhi had gone to the RedFort to meet prisoners of Indian National Army being held there by the British.

These freedomfighters had felt no distinction of creed or religion when they fought underNetaji Subhas Chandra Bose's leadership with 'Chalo Delhi' on their lips. They had dreamt of holding theirvictory parade in the Red Fort. They dined together before they shed theirblood together, in the battle for freedom. But here we are faced with Hindu teaand Muslim Tea. These freedom fighters complained to Mahatma Gandhi; why do yousuffer it Gandhiji asked. We don't, they replied, we mix Hindu Tea and MuslimTea half and half and then serve, same with food. That is very good! TheMahatma exclaimed, laughing.

We need torekindle that spirit of cultural intimacy and political solidarity amongstreligious communities if we are to be free of the scourge that goes by the nameof communal violence. Our celebration of Independence had been marred byterrible partition violence and we had resolved then never again and yet, 1984in Delhi, 1992-93 in Ayodhya and Mumbai, 2002 in Gujarat have been years ofshame for us. And in this year of grace, 2014, there have been incidents ofviolence that are cause of grave concern. I do not wish to enter the war ofstatistics about exactly how many incidents there have been or the blame gameas to whether they have taken place in BJP-ruled states or Congress-ruledstates. Quite simply such episodes must be nipped in the bud. West Bengal is aheaven of peace in this country in terms of Hindu-Muslim relations.

What are the rootsof communal violence in our country? Jawaharlal Nehru had concluded the chapterin his autobiography titled 'communalism rampant' by claiming surely religionand the spirit of religion have much to answer for. That I believe is themis-diagnosis of the ailment. I share Kharge ji's concern about the incidents of violence in our country. But wehave to be careful not to make religion the enemy of the nation. I wish toassure the member of the Akali Dal who spoke a little while ago that we are notagainst religion; we are only against religious prejudice, religious bigotry, andreligious majoritarianism. Weknow fully well that most people in our country are deeply religious. Werespect religious faith. But I would like to say to this government that whenbeautiful religious symbols are deployed in the interests of majoritariantriumphalism then we face a very major problem in our country and that is whatI fear is happening today. The victory of the ruling party in the GeneralElections emboldened the more extreme amongst its followers.

Even more than the actual incidents of violence that havetaken place, I have grim fore- boarding of underlying tensions, the sense offear and the insecurity among the minorities as they feel the cold winds of thepolitical exclusion. To the Government of the day I would like to say to you MrChairman do not remain silent about the episodes of bullying and violence. Restrainand discipline your errant followers with unambiguous words of condemnation andswift action on the ground to uphold the law. It is undeniable that adisproportionate number of incidents are taking place in poll boundconstituencies and poll bound states. Let us not tarnish our democracy bypolarizing communities, for short term political gain at the cost of long termwell being of our country.

The opening speaker from the treasury benches in his fieryspeech wearing the saffron robe invoked the name of Swami Vivekananda, well letus recall Vivekananda's immortal lines 'I shall go to the mosque of Muslim, Ishall enter the Christian's church and kneel before the Crucifix, I shall enterthe Buddhist Temple where I shall take refuge in the Buddha and his law and Ishall go into the forest and sit down in meditation with the Hindu who istrying to see the light which enlightens the heart of everyone'. I ferventlyhope we in Parliament can generate more light than heat.

I will take no more than one minute because I have beenanguished by the tenor of this debate and I want to apply a healing touchbefore Independence Day. At the anniversary of the 'Midnight Hour' of ourfreedom let us pledge to devote ourselves to maintaining peace with harmony,with honour among all religious communities. 'Honour to prudence, honour tosobriety, honour to sanity' – to quote Sarat Chandra Bose.

We sing Rabindra Nath Tagore's first verse of Jana Gana Manaas our National Anthem but the time has come to remind ourselves of the song'sbeautiful second verse, a symphony to unity, a call to weave together a garlandof love –

Ohoroho tobo ahban procharito,

Shunithob udaro bani
Hindu Buddho Shikh Jeino Parshiko,
Musolman Krishtani
Purab poshchim ashe,
Tobo shinghashono pashe
Premohar hoy gatha
Jono gono oik-ko bidhayoko joyo he,

Bharoto bhag-go bidhata
Joyo he joyo he joyo he Joyo joyo joyo joyo he

Thank you.