By Rajan Narayan

IN a desperate bid to return to power Narendra Modi has started attacking the Muslim community. Modi in his speech provokes majority Hindus. In his latest attack he claimed that Rahul Gandhi would take away the mangalsutra of Hindu women. This was in reference to a wealth survey proposed by Rahul Gandhi in one of his talks.
Given the PM’s blatant attack on Muslims the Congress has complained to the Election Commission of India that the use of the “mangalsutra” imagery the PM continues his bid to create enmity between Hindus and Muslims. Narendra Modi continues to insist that the Congress eyes the wealth of the majority community’s mothers and sisters. Modi was campaining in the Aligarh constituency which has a large Muslim population.
To quote Modi “teen talaq was ruining the lives of our daughters.” Modi got the triple talaq law passed and was the protector of the lives of Muslim women. To quote Modi again with regard to the magalsutra crack, “just think our mothers and sisters have gold. In our country this gold is considered a streedhan and its regarded as sacred. But these people (Congress) have their eyes on mangalsutra and the wealth of our mothers and sisters. They plan to confiscate property and wealth based on surveys they conduct.

IF you have two homes, one for yourself and a small flat in the city for your children, the Congress will snatch one, saying you don’t need two places. They will give the extra flat to someone else (Muslims). Incidently, only in India Muslim women also like to wear the mangalsutra for they may be married into Hindu families.
Modi in his election speeches also raises the bogey of Muslims multiplying faster than Hindus. The historical slogan of a BJP has been “hum paach, hamare pachpan” with reference to the fact that Muslims are permitted by their Muslim laws to have four wives. Never mind the ground reality that the number of children in most families is related is to the economic status of the parents concerned.
In pre-liberation Goa Catholic families boasted an average of 8-10 children, likewise with many Hindu families. In Goa 2024 all communities on an average have two children. There is neither time nor wealth to take care of large families any more for most Indians.
Not only the four lakh strong Muslim minority but also the Christian minority in Goa are living in fear. They are living in fear of Narendra Modi coming back to power with 400 plus seats given the the the ongoing parliamentary elections campaigning. Some Muslim leaders have expressed their apprehensions about the manifestation of extreme Hindutva rhetoric in Goa.
At an Eid-ul-Milad celebration meet of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Goa in Panjim on Saturday, April 20, 2024 several Goan Muslim spokespersons expressed concern anxiety on the issue of protecting communal harmony in Goa.

ONE of the speakers pointed out that the Quran does not approve of fundamental practices in Islam as in the Shariat. The speaker stressed that Islam also believed in peaceful relationships in the spirit of brotherhood with other religions. It may be pointed out that from colonial Portuguese times all communities in Goa Muslim, Hindu and Catholic have lived in communal harmony.
There was only been one minor incident of communal tension at Sanvordem and Curchorem in 2006. This was instigated by hardcore Hindutva political elements. Rumours were spread that Muslims armed with weapons from outside Goa were coming in to safeguard the Housing Board structure at Guddamol which was serving as a madrasa. Muslim business establishments was targeted. Several Hindutva fanatics and their BJP leaders were arrested.
THE late chief minister Manohar Parrikar who was in the Opposition then visited the Curchorem police station demanding the release of those arrested BJP and RSS workers. Except for this, there has been no tension between Hindu and Muslim communities in Goa. But surprisingly, we have seen some tension between Catholics and Muslims in some villages in South Goa. This is to do with conflicts arising over the Muslim community wanting more land to put up mosques and madrassas and also burial spaces.
Virtually, all the Muslims in Goa are migrants. Migrants from various parts of the country including Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh have relocated in Goa as they feel safer in the state. The early migrants to Goa were from Hubli in Karnataka which has witnessed many communal riots. The Idgah maidan in Hubli is notorious for communal clashes. The Muslim migrants came to settle down in Goa and now they are second, third and even fourth-generation Muslim families.
An increasing number of Muslim girls if not boys are finishing their 10th and 12th standard and even enrolling in universities. However, the drop out rate among Muslim boys is very high at 10th and 12th standard. The Muslim minority have done well in Goa. Their standards of living are much better than their counterparts back home in Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh or Bihar.
Whether it is Hindu or Muslim migrants the minimum salary levels in Goa for illiterate and semi-literate migrant labour is much higher than say in the instance of neighbouring Belgaum. We were shocked to find that girls employed in the book publishing and printing business in Belgavi (Belgaum) were getting much lower salaries compared to Goa.
Even a new migrant in Goa may expect to get Rs8,000-Rs10,000 as a helper in a shop or in the services industry in Goa. Many Muslim families have joined the middle class in Goa. It goes without saying that Muslims in Goa want to continue to live in communal harmony. Tourism and the services sector can flourish only when there is peace.
Migrant settlers in Goa do have relatives and friends back in their states of origin. Even Muslims settled in Goa keep themselves updated on attacks on the community in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. There have been many cases of Muslims being targeted merely on suspicion of storing beef in their fridge.
In one case and only after ten years the high court found those guilty of lynching Muslim cattle dealers punished. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent statements on the eating of meat by the Muslim community is a serious matter of concern. Modi’s statement about videos celebrating Saawan-ka-mahina with the eating of meat as a reflection of Mughal mentality has been taken seriously if not hilariously.The Mughals have been out of power for over 600 years. The last Mughal emperor even took part in the rebellion against the British empire.

AS far as Goa as concerned Adil Shah, one of the petty chieftains of the Mughal empire, was defeated by the Portuguese in 1576. However, the Adil Shah Palace in Panjim remains as a reminder of the brief Muslim occupation of Goa. What people choose to eat is none of Narendra Modi’s business. If you take both the Christian and Muslim minority in Goa over 30% of the population eat beef. This is because it is the most economic meat to buy in the market. There are many members of the majority community who enjoy their beef in Goa.
Muslims in Goa are worried about the return of Modi’s government to power, for they fear the fanatic Hindutva elements may be strengthened. North Karnataka which is close to Goa is a hotbed of Hindutva fundamentalism. It may be recalled that Mutalik of the Ram Sene targeted churches in Mangaluru. The Ram Sene also attacked pubs which were frequented by call workers both boys and girls in Mangaluru.
Fortunately, the late Manohar Parrikar refuse to permit Ram Sene to function in Goa. Already some BJP leaders have started talking about bringing Sanatan Dharma to Goa. There are far-right organisations who swear by Sanatan Dharma in Goa. On their part, Muslims should join hands with the Catholic community to keep Hindutva elements away from Goa.
However, the Catholic minority community which accounts for at least 25% of the population of Goa is also worried. At the level of the parish priest, there are a lot of warnings about voting for the BJP. Even parish priests are keeping track of the terror attacks on Christians in Manipur. Girish Chodankar, former president of GPCC, has been posting horror stories of what’s happening in Manipur.

LOCAL Goan NGO Street Providence has set up relief camps in Manipur. There have been reports of attacks on minority Catholic institutions in the Hindi-speaking states. Despite Modi’s praise for Christian community’s contributions to India, nobody is fooled. Cardinal Filipe Neri has asked Goan voters to support secular candidates. This means non-BJP candidates.
Unfortunately, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has been interpreting the Cardinal’s message as support for the BJP. Absurdly, the CM claims that the BJP is a secular party. What is worrying about the Goan situation is the lack of alternatives. The BJP is not acceptable to both Catholics and Muslims.
The Congress is suspected for how serious it is about the parliamentary polls for so many Congressmen have defected to the greener pastures of the BJP in power. Many disillusioned Goans have given up on the Congress as a party of defectors. This time the Congress has not spent any money on promoting its candidates. While Amit Shah and Narendra Modi are coming to address public meetings in Mapusa and Curchorem, no senior INDIA alliance leaders are scheduled to come to Goa. Both Ramakant Khalap and Capt Viriato Fernandes are weak candidates.
Some young Goans ask me if they should vote for the Goa Revolutionary party. My fear is that the BJP will win this parliamentary election by default. A large section of the Catholic minority community may boycott the election. There are also the growing number of NOTA voters who add or minus to the outcome of the elections. NOTA should be done away with. Unfortunately, the political patrons of the Muslim community like Atanasio Babush Monserrate and Digambar Kamat not even mention that Vishwajit Rane too has joined the BJP along with his father the senior Pratapsingh Rane if only informally. There is little left to say.

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