Ground Zero : Stranded Sikh pilgrims at Nanded in the context of Coronavirus related Islamophobia
The gravity of situation is the same.
The positive aspect is that none of the about 4000 Sikh pilgrims stranded at Gurdwara Hazoor Sahib at Nanded has been detected Coronavirus positive unlike the Tabligi Jamaat conclave at Nizamuddin in Delhi that has triggered majoritarian furore in India thereby providing religious identity to this new member of the virus family.
It is also interesting that as per the report, none of the 12 Indonesians who reached Nanded after attending the Jamaat function has been found to be Covid 19 positive.
Nanded is one of the Coronavirus negative towns in Maharashtra where the Covid-19 cases are on the higher side.
The Sikh pilgrims –men, women and children-were caught in the lockdown. The Nanded administration is concerned over the situation.
Takht Hazoor Sahib is one of the five religio-temporal seats of the Sikhs. The Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, passed away at Nanded and this shrine is associated with him. Thousands of Sikhs from all over the globe visit Takht Hazoor Sahib every year.
The Nizamuddin event was scheduled much earlier but the same could have been cancelled in view of the evolving situation. However, the situation did not deter the Sikhs too from visiting their shrines.
More than five lakh pilgrims participated in the 3-day Hola Mohalla festivities at Anandpur Sahib beginning of March 10 when Coronavirus had already ‘arrived’. Anandpur Sahib is the birthplace of the Khalsa. Hola Mohalla was created by Guru Gobind Singh as martial version of Holi.
The missionaries of Jamaat in Delhi got infection from their Indonesian counterparts. They are the victims being attacked as the villains. The situation has unleashed hate forces of hate.
The perception when Coronavirus surfaced in India was that it might have sobering impact on the communal religio-political discourse in the wake of the likely emergence of the new world order. However, India has been witnessing the reverse as the political discourse of bigotry has only accentuated. The communal virus is turning out to be equally deadlier.
Virtually every religion has witnessed religious gathering since the outbreak of Coronavirus. Not only that. The social distancing norms were seen to be violated at several places even during the two calls given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to create awareness at the national level and appreciate the services of all the dedicated people who are holding the frontline in this deadly fight.
The communal perception needs to change.
And the perception can change only if political choices and strategies change. The impact of the communal virus are too well known and no new model is needed to forecast the damage it can cause in the future.
The fight against the virus can be won only unitedly and this is being realised by the people in the ruling party at the national level.
The main responsibility in this context is that of the BJP.
A united India should fight against both the Coronavirus and the communal virus.
The example of Sikh pilgrims stranded at Takht Hazoor Sahib has been taken up here only to highlight the fact that Faith has its own logic.
The Sikh Gurdwaras are in the forefront not only in India but at the global level in the fight against Coronavirus by way of feeding the hungry. The doors of the gurdswaras are always kept open to shelter the needy. The Sikh identity is acquiring new definition during this global crisis.
This concept of universal brotherhood that is basic to Sikhism is the counter to the communal virus too. The concept of Seva without discrimination is rooted in this doctrine.