Hon’ble Prime Minister,
Jai Hind from a Longe Wala veteran of 1971.
You have known me since 2002 when I commanded the force which restored peace in Gujarat after the conflagration which engulfed the state. I met you several times when I was Vice Chancellor of AMU. I expressed my anguish twice to you. Once, for the treatment meted out to me by a Member of your Council of Ministers. I told you that an old soldier, and the head of a premier University deserved to be show more respect and courtesy. The second time I reported that some AMU ‘ parasites’ were spreading the calumny, which the media had lapped up, that I had swindled 120 Crores of University funds. Your words gave me strength and confidence. You simply said ‘ Go and tell them that I have known you for 15 years’.
Sir, I am writing to express my anguish again about the treatment being meted out to deprived and weaker sections of society by the so called ‘ Gau Rakshaks’. You are the person who can put an end to this madness. Despite the recent stricture of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India there has been no abatement to this hate crime, principally because of complicity of some political leaders and the police. They need to take a lesson from the inclusive and even handed nature of our Armed Forces.
I am writing a book titled the ‘ Sarkari Mussalman’ which is due for release shortly . I must quote why my family chose to stay in India
Partition was another trauma my family faced. Those members who owed loyalty to the Muslim league migrated to Pakistan. My immediate family, who had full faith in the inclusive nature and large heartedness of our society, decided to brave it out in India. Our confidence was not misplaced, till recently. There were no riots in our home town, Sardhana, ( Dist Meerut) principally because of the firm hold of my Nana (maternal grand father). He threatened swift retribution to any community which indulged in rioting. As a child I did, however hear horrific tales of the mayhem, arson and murder during partition. It affected me, though I never spoke about it. I could only drive out the ghost from my system after I entered the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla. In this great institution I was warmly welcomed, treated fairly and experienced affirmative action, being the lone Muslim in my Course of about 250 cadets.
My wife and I took care to never talk about the horrors of partition to our children. It is a closed and forgotten chapter. But it took three generations to forget. My parents who experienced it, my siblings and myself who heard about it were affected. It did not affect our children as the matter was never discussed at home. It is there fore very important for parents not to sow the seeds of discord and hatred in the minds of their young children.This is the polluting danger of periodic communal riots that rock the country. It will take three generations for the aggrieved families to forget. Those adversely affected by riots would have no stake in the country of their birth.This would certainly impact on the closely woven social fabric of our country.’
I am writing to a person who possesses grit and determination and who is scrupulously honest. I am writing because of the deep impact, on me, by a quote of Nelson Mandela Jr ‘ In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends’.
Yours in Anguish,
Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah ( Veteran)