Gurpreet Singh: Open letter to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi on his birthday

    1 of 5 2 of 5

      To the Prime Minister of India

      Subject: I wish you a long life so that you can live to see the consequences of your actions, Mr. Modi.

      I hope you are doing well even under these difficult circumstances when your country is now the second-most hit in the world by COVID-19. Too bad that your lockdown did not work despite tall claims, leaving the poor and marginalized as most vulnerable. But they were never on your radar anyway.

      Let me briefly introduce myself.

      I am a Canadian citizen of Indian origin, who is highly concerned about the well-being of the country of my birth. Since you have many followers in Canada who continue to support you and your party, I also hold some rights to at least say something that irks me. No?

      From what I am seeing in the media, your fans all over the globe are super-excited to celebrate your 70th birthday on September 17. In India, they are going to do some acts of kindness and have decided to give away artificial limbs to those in need. Good for them.

      But why shouldn’t they be happy? After all, you have delivered to your constituency, even though you promised progress for everyone.

      Narendra Modi relied on his long-time associate, Amit Shah (right), to suspend a constitutional provision offering special status to Kashmir.

      Majoritarian rule turns nasty

      Until now it’s mostly your party supporters who have benefited the most. Whether it was to abrogate special rights given to the only Muslim-majority state of Kashmir or constructing a temple where once stood an ancient mosque that your party supporters had demolished in 1992, you have fulfilled your core promises.

      And who can stop you after you were elected with a brute majority for the second time in 2019?

      You have already turned India into a Hindu nation. So what is stopping you from officially declaring the country as Hindu state?

      Maybe you are little bit scared after seeing so many people coming out on the streets against your highly problematic citizenship law that discriminates against Muslim refugees coming from neighbouring countries. So you have already seen that the people are not going to accept it so easily.

      But who can prevent you when you have draconian laws such as Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) that can be conveniently used against protesters?

      Let’s talk about your birthday. I want you to have a very healthy long life and there is a reason for that.

      First of all, I believe that one’s enemy should live longer until you win by conquering the heart and soul of someone you are opposed to. That is the real victory. I hope you agree on that.

      I want your real—and not fake—critics to win over your heart and soul with their ideas. By fake critics I mean those who you rightfully pointed out in your last victory speech wore badges of false secularism.

      So stay calm, I am not even talking about them. I do not agree with you on many things, but I am in complete agreement with you about your opinion of the opposition Congress party that you have accused of being involved in terrorism against innocent Sikhs. They were massacred mercilessly all over India in 1984 following the murder of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.

      But the problem is you did the same to Muslims in 2002 as chief minister of Gujarat. This was followed by the burning of a train carrying Hindu pilgrims, leaving more than 50 people dead. Even though one commission of inquiry had found that it was an accident, you simply blamed it on Muslims and let your party people avenge the incident by targeting ordinary citizens. By using your own definition of terrorism, what should I be calling it then?

      You can justifiably argue that you were never convicted on anything. But Mr. Modi you understand more than anyone how Indian legal justice system works. Congress, too, as party can make a similar argument as the then prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, who despite his closest advisers being complicit in the Sikh massacre, was never convicted.

      Let’s not talk about what Congress says about you. It has already lost it credibility.

      But I am going to point out couple of things on behalf of the people your party and your government has been tormenting.

      Muslims are one of the most persecuted groups. It doesn’t matter if you have handful of Muslims on your side, as Congress too had many Sikhs on its side. Who cares about such sellouts or tokens when in the end, the majority is all that matters in a democracy like India?

      You made Muslims suffer in 2002.

      Even before that, your party supporters razed one of their mosques to the ground in 1992. Come 2019, you scrapped the special rights given to the only Muslim-majority state of Kashmir. In the meantime, your men carried on mob lynching of Muslims at will, with some making videos of their violent actions and posting them on social media.

      On September 5, 2017, journalist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her home in Bengaluru.

      Journalists not always safe

      By the way, some of those you follow on Twitter are very interesting people, Mr. Modi. One of them even applauded the murder of Gauri Lankesh, a journalist who was killed in 2017 by supporters of your ideology.

      I don’t really understand that on what basis you keep talking tough on Islamic terrorism while people from within your community are involved in similar activities? On the one hand, you revere M.K. Gandhi, while on the other, your party members glorify his assassin, Nathuram Godse.

      One of the MPs, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, was accused in a 2008 bombing targeted at a Muslim community. She has called Godse a patriot.

      You yourself brought her into politics and ensured her victory in the last general election. It seems that you have two different yardsticks to measure terrorism.

      Perhaps, it is fine to be a Hindu terrorist, who can kill Muslims at will, destroy their places of worship, and then get elected with your blessings. But a Muslim or a Sikh terrorist can either get killed by the police without a fair trial or charged under UAPA that is not applicable to Hindu extremists. Wow.

      The kind of legitimacy your party is giving to all these acts of violence since 1992 will ultimately lead to more bloodshed. We have seen that the history of vendetta and terrorism has repeated itself all over the world and India is no exception.

      After all, India witnessed how the ugly events of 1984 fuelled Sikh separatism, which you despise so much. When courts under you have lost the will to give justice to the people you have made to suffer for all these years, what else can they think of to get justice except taking the law into their own hands?

      So do not assume that there will be no consequences for the incidents that have happened under your watch. Quoting the Bhagivad Gita, your sacred scripture, I would like to say that what you do comes back to you. Let’s not forget that you had also tried to rationalize the anti-Muslim pogrom in 2002 by quoting the law of physics that says for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction in reference to the train incident.

      Hindu ascetic Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thajur was elected on Modi's slate in Bhopal even though she faced trial in a bombing conspiracy against Muslims.

      Turning the page on tyranny

      Unfortunately, you do not enjoy a copyright on this law and anyone can use it in retaliation to your actions. You will see all that happening sooner or later. So it is important for you to live longer and repent.

      I already know that you are a tyrant. It’s up to you now to prove me wrong by becoming kinder to religious minorities and your opponents.

      You can make a beginning by at least releasing former Delhi University Professor G.N. Saibaba from jail on your birthday. A scholar who is disabled below the waist and who relies on a wheelchair for mobility poses no danger to anyone. He is being incarcerated since the time of Congress merely because he stood up for the Adivasis, whose lands are being taken away by the extraction industry in the name of development.

      Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba has been sentenced to life in prison after speaking out against the suppression of Adivasis (tribal people) on their traditional lands.

      In spite of all your criticism of Congress, you both are partners in crime when it comes to suppressing the right to dissent. When COVID-19 broke issued a call to fight corona with karuna (compassion). But hardly any compassion was shown by the jail authorities who did not even let him see his dying mother, leaving aside the question of giving him amnesty because of the pandemic spreading in the overcrowded Indian prisons.

      Your people do not need to give away artificial limbs to celebrate your birthday. Just set Saibaba free and we will be thankful. For the rest of your report card, we can always wait for the next time. Anxiously waiting for you to act, even though, I have no hopes from you or your administrators.

      Happy birthday in advance.

      Gurpreet Singh