A tale of two speeches

Modi’s speech reflected the glory of Sufism, its impact on India, how Islam is fundamentally a religion of peace, the inclusive as well as plural nature of India and, most importantly, the need to delink terror and religion.

Written by Anil Baluni | Updated: March 22, 2016 1:13 am
modi, world sufi forum, sufi, pm modi, islam, modi, allah, muslims, modi allah, Modi at World Sufi Forum, indian express, modi news, india news Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the World Sufi Forum at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, Thursday.

Within a gap of a few days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Sonia Gandhi addressed prominent Muslim forums. Modi was at Vigyan Bhavan on the evening of March 17 to address the World Sufi Forum, which brought together scholars, clerics and theologians from over 20 nations. Sonia Gandhi’s message was read out by Ghulam Nabi Azad at the National Integration Conference organised by the Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind on March 12.
Their messages were as different as chalk and cheese. Modi’s speech reflected the glory of Sufism, its impact on India, how Islam is fundamentally a religion of peace, the inclusive as well as plural nature of India and, most importantly, the need to delink terror and religion. Sonia Gandhi had one overarching message: That India is passing through a critical phase, secularism is in danger and how it is important to unite to protect India’s secular ethos.

The pivotal theme of Modi’s address was in sync with his vision of “nation first”. His speech celebrated India’s diverse culture, its pluralism and highlighted the positivity in every Indian, which is now resonating across the world. He made it clear in very certain terms that the country derives its strength from the fact that people of all faiths (he also mentioned non-believers) call India their home. In contrast, Sonia Gandhi conveyed a very dark message, a view that there is nothing right in this country. Her references to the “critical phase” India is passing through summed it up. The undertone was one of impending gloom and cynicism.

What Modi said in front of a global and local audience inspired confidence not only in India but also in values of humanity. Somebody listening to Modi would return home convinced about the inherent positivity and united fabric of India. Unfortunately, the message of Sonia Gandhi seemed like a deliberate attempt to manufacture negativity and create fear among the minority communities so that the ballot boxes of a select few are enhanced.

Modi’s words at the World Sufi Forum provided a healing touch, something that is characteristic of a statesman. He was clear, firm and categorical in rejecting any link between terror and religion. He came down heavily on those who used violence in the name of religion, saying it is the most anti-religious thing to do. He showered praise on Sufism and spoke about how it has contributed to a spirit of peace and harmony. When Modi said that out of the 99 names of Allah not one has any connotation with violence, the entire Vigyan Bhavan erupted with loud applause. When the leader of the world’s largest democracy makes such emphatic points, who will not feel reassured!

If there was something special about the World Sufi Forum, it was the happiness all around. No sooner did Modi take the stage people began cheering Bharat mata ki jai. When he finished, he received a standing ovation. Later, a smiling prime minister heard the soulful qawwali. Earlier in his speech, he had lauded the contribution of Sufism to music and, in particular, the legendary Amir Khusrau.

As leaders, people can either inspire people and fill the air with positivity or choose to instill fear and negativity in their minds. Very often, the latter is guided by petty political interests whereas the former lot reflects their confidence and faith in the strength of the people.

Modi preferred to use the Sufi Forum to highlight India’s salient characters and dispel notions about Islam and terror. He used the platform to ask the world to unite and create a garden of peace where kindness and compassion replaces violence. Sadly, Sonia Gandhi merely went on about how there is nothing right in India, manufacturing a sense of fear, even if it meant showing the nation and 125 crore Indians in poor light.

The writer is spokesperson, BJP

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  1. J
    Mar 22, 2016 at 2:00 pm
    In short sonia ghandy's both speech and politics are f*ckall
    1. Vishwanath Lingayat
      Mar 22, 2016 at 10:35 pm
      We are proud to have such a Leader who can Inspire and feel sorry for opposition leader who is bent upon creating negative atmosphere and making eel Indians low about their own country . At least when the world leaders meet speak good about your country and countrymen . We cannot expect anything from a leader who has no vision and is surrounded by wrong advisors.
      1. K
        K SHESHU
        Mar 22, 2016 at 5:56 pm
        Speech is imaginary. Both spoke on their own party lines. They feel all is well in the country. Modi even spoke that atheists also are part of India. But in reality, they are made to suffer and are even killed by Hindu fanatics. Kalburgi and others are prime examples. Dalits and adivasis are not allowed to pray rakshasas. Reality is gloomy very differen t from utopian speeches and lauding the country with pseudo patritiotism.
        1. A
          Afzal Ahmad
          Mar 22, 2016 at 9:15 pm
          Has Mr Modi asked apology from the families of persons killed, raped, burnt alive along with loot and destruction of their properties worth billions. Unless he openly asks for apology from the families of victims or he is punished according to law of the land, these crocodile tears will not serve any purpose. After Gujarat genocide, as a back lash and revenge, terrorism came with full vigour with bomb blasts and killings. The only person responsible for all these barbarous and inhumane act is Mr. Modi. Therefore, before speaking anything he should tender his unconditional apology or face the court of law without a match fixing with police and judiciary.
          1. A
            Mar 22, 2016 at 2:49 am
            Modi has RSS ideology
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