A few kilometres away from PM Narendra Modi’s buzzing mini-office in Varanasi is a sleepy town that had awakened society some 500 years ago. The serpentine lanes of Lahartara and decrepit buildings still sing ‘Jugan jugan tohi sobat bita, ajahu na jag sabere (you have slept for million and million years, why not wake up this morning?’) This was a call from Sant Kabir—a mystic and a weaver of blissful love.
But, the wisdom is being swamped by mushrooming cow vigilante groups with hate across the Hindi heartland, where the Bhakti movement is deeply entrenched. The Gau Rakshaks armed with illegal weapons are ready to protect Gau Mata (mother cow) even if they have to kill someone.
A few cases of these self-proclaimed Rakshaks were recently reported to the police in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi and over a dozen ‘katta’ (homemade revolver) were seized. Last week, the government came out with a promise. “Let us together pledge towards a communalism-free India; let us build a new India.” It was a call for all the citizens to pledge to create a new Bharat. The same day, the Ministry of Home Affairs reported that the country witnessed 296 communal incidents in the first five months of 2017 and the highest 60 cases were reported from Uttar Pradesh.
This is not the morning Kabir was talking about, or was he? Kabir weaved a fine fabric, a tana-bana of trust and divinity. It must be highlighted that this illness of mob lynching and violence is not limited to the NDA government. It was rampant during UPA regime too. The Manmohan Singh-led government was responsible for death of not less than 25 innocents. He did nothing. The Congress did not invest in Kabir’s fabric.
On one occasion when PM Modi remembered the mystic, it was to settle scores with political opponents. Taking a dig at SP and BSP, he said: “Maya ko maya mile kar kar lambe haath, nisprehi niradhar ko gahak Dinanath (when two rich meets rich, they talk lovingly. The selfless and pious have only the almighty to save).” Earlier in 2015, the PM had tweeted: “Sant Kabir Dasji was a path-breaking and progressive reformist.” The political investment is in the opposite side, not in the ecstasy of Kabir.
Political parties are avoiding any kind of investment in Kabir because this man is dangerous, because he is critical of both Hindus and Muslims for practices, which he thought illogical. “Dinko Roja rakhat hai, raat hanta hai gay, yeh khoon va bandage, kahun kyo hhushi khuday (you keep fast in the day and kill a cow in the night. Tell me why and how Allah could be pleased?”)
The political discourse and politicians must invest in Kabir to make India a commune. They need to understand the ugliness that’s threatening society. “Iss ghat antar saat samundar, iss mein nau lakh taara (the seven seas are within you and millions of stars are within you).” How can you kill someone and justify the act in the name of god? Rakshak is a very innocent word but it depends whether it is being used by Kabir, Gau Bhakshak or Gau Rakshak.