| by N.S.Venkataraman

( September 25, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) It is refreshing to read Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment that Indian Muslims will live for India and die for India. While there are pledged admirers of Mr. Modi, there also appear to be pledged critics, who have already commented as to whether Mr. Modi meant what he has said.

It remains to be seen how the Indian Muslims would view Mr. Modi’s comment and whether they would respond to his observations with enthusiasm. There is no doubt that at least some Muslims in India view Mr. Modi and his party with suspicion. Perhaps, Mr. Modi wants to reassure them that there is no need for such suspicions and misgivings about the intentions of his government.

In any case, the Muslims , whether they are moderates or extremists, have nothing to gain by disputing Mr. Modi’s observations and should use this opportunity to integrate themselves with the main stream of national life even more than what they already do now.

The fact is that the Islamic extremists in Pakistan and other parts of the world are causing embarrassment for peace loving Muslims living all over the world, by resorting to violence and terrorist activities in the name of defending Islam. Unfortunately, many governments in the world these days scrutinise the activities of Muslim citizens more closely than they should , in view of the terrorist activities of a few Muslims in some part of the world.

The number of Muslim citizens of India are more than the population of entire Pakistan which is a declared Muslim country. While some clashes have taken place in India between Muslims and others in the past, it is necessary to keep in mind that majority of Muslims are not involved in such clashes, just as the fact that majority of Hindus are also not involved. What Mr. Modi has meant by his statement was that he recognised the patriotic fervour of millions of Muslims in India and wanted to distinguish between the majority Muslims and a fraction of Muslim population who believe in terrorist activities with the objective of spreading Islamic religion. Mr. Modi’s observations are also directed at non Muslim population in India , to ask them not to view the Muslims with unnecessary suspicions. By making such observations, Mr. Modi has made it clear that his vision of India has broad national focus and he has no narrow outlook. If any of Mr. Modi’s so called supporters think that Mr. Modi has any sectarian vision , he wanted to make it clear to them that they were absolutely wrong.

It is true that there is lot of poverty amongst Muslims in the country and they need the active support of the government to improve their social and economic conditions. Muslims must make use of the right climate now sought to be created by Mr. Modi by responding positively and forging ahead to achieve greater heights in education, profession , arts and other aspects of life.


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