Message of love in the time of mob lynchings

Social activist Harsh Mander

National Herald speaks to Harsh Mander, organiser of Aman Biradari on his Karwan-e-Mohabbat peace caravan

With the aim to spread the message of peace and harmony in the country engulfed in an environment of hate and violence, Karwan-e-mohabbat, a campaign, has been launched in India. This is not only an effort to raise voice against increasing violence on minorities, Dalits and tribals but also an effort to send across a message that the majority of the people in India are not fascists. They are also against the politics of hatred and violence.

This caravan against the terror of mob lynching started on September 4 and will culminate in Porbandar in Gujarat on 2nd October with a pledge to follow the path of nonviolence shown by Mahatma Gandhi.

More than 26 organisations from all over the country have now joined hands with Aman Biradari who has launched the campaign.

After crossing Assam, Jharkhand and Karnataka, this caravan will reach Delhi on September 11 and then will travel through Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and conclude in Gujarat.

A poster of Karwan-e-Mohabbat

A poster of Karwan-e-Mohabbat

When did you think of organising this Karwan-e-mohabbat against mob lynching?

Just a month ago. There was this restlessness within me for a very long time. And then we decided that we couldn’t remain quiet for any long, so we took this flight. Once we decided on it, then this caravan kept growing.

What do we gain by it?

There is fear among the minorities, especially Muslims. They feel they are not safe anywhere, not in their homes, not on roads nor in trains and buses. Earlier, when riots took place, only a particular area used to get affected. Now this mob, filled with hatred, victimises anyone anywhere and kills him. Tribals are being attacked, Christians, churches, priests and nuns are being attacked. The Dalits in animal skin trade are being targeted. The reason is hatred. It is necessary to respond to this hatred. The aim of this ‘Karwan’ is to make it clear that we, who do not belong to these minorities, stand with these victims. There is this dangerous silence the majority is engulfed in. In the various incidents of mob lynching, people who were standing nearby, did not even try to save the victims, whereas people have been saving people during riots. Now, the majority community has become a mute spectator. This ‘Karwan’ is aimed at breaking this silence, shaking their conscience.

Gopalkrishna Gandhi had remarked a few days ago that Partition happened on land but now this partition is visible reflected in the heart and souls of people. Why isn’t the Opposition making it an issue?

The secular parties are also playing politics of benefits. They feel that if they speak openly against this injustice, the majority community will be annoyed. Everybody has assumed that the majority population has become communal. This is wrong. The way Mahatma Gandhi went to those areas which were most hit by violence in 1946 and appealed for peace and harmony, we too need to do the same today. Gandhi is a symbol of radical love and peace. In today’s phase of violence and fear, a lot of courage is required for talking about love and peace. As darkness can’t be fought with darkness but with light, the same way, we have to come out to fight hatred with love.

Don’t you feel that since fascism is inherently political, it can be confronted on a political platform alone?

Yes, our politics is a politics of love. We will meet those people and families in various states who have been victims of this kind of violence. The broken strings of pain have to be woven together with love. We have to tell them that people are ready to fight for them.

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