Protest against Demolition of Guru Ravidass Mandir at Tughlakabad – An Open Letter to the Followers of Guru Ravidass Abroad.
I am sorry that I could not write it before. The immediate reason of writing this is that PM Narendra Modi is currently visiting France and will also visit UAE and Baharain in conjunction with the visit. I read in the social media that the followers of Guru Ravidass intend to register their protest against the demolition of Guru Ravidass Mandir at Tughlakabad in Delhi. It their democratic right to do so in an orderly fashion and peacefully in consultation with the local authorities, if the mode of the protest is public. If they intend to register their protest through the diplomatic or consular mission of India, they can do so too in liaison and consultation with the concerned Mission. In fact, there are reports that at many places the followers of Guru Ravidass abroad have already given vent to their pent up feelings and rightly so.
I am writing this as a word of caution and advice and also the procedure to be followed in this regard as one of your fellow followers of Guru Ravidass with a rich experience as a career diplomat. We are to uphold the dignity and name of our country while earning our bread and butter abroad as responsible citizens and followers of Guru Ravidass and Babasaheb Ambedkar. At the same time, you have the right to express your mind in a disciplined and democratic way on issues of concern and interest. My advice in this regard is that you should approach the concerned Indian Mission, preferably through one of your organizations /Associations etc. , and make a request for an audience/meeting with the PM to register your protest or say your mind. The Indian Mission in consultation with the concerned, say MEA/PMO, would fix the requested meeting either with PM or his nominated Minister or high official accompanying the PM. You can register your protest/point either verbally or in writing as appropriate. With a view to get public on the action taken in this regard, you can even go to public media either through a suitable Press Release or through social media. Your point of view or grievance will reach the dignitary and other concerned. If you fail to get cooperation or support of the India Mission, which is unlikely if I go by my own experience, you can think of other peaceful and constitutional means in consultation with the local law and order authorities. Nobody should stop you from exercising your democratic right, least the Indian authorities. We should have faith in our system.
I am sorry to take your time on this routine matter. I have done so purposely as quite often I get reports and complaints from our people abroad that nobody listens to us in the Indian Embassy or nobody came out to meet us when we were demonstrating outside. I tell them the procedure to follow. I am confident that Indian Missions will listen to them and help them in conveying their point of view and complaints to the concerned. Going to the road to register your protest or complaint without informing the concerned Indian Mission and the local authorities is not only undesirable but also ill-advised. At these public protests and demonstrations, one should be peaceful and cultured. Please don’t resort to provocative and derogatory slogans. The vested interests sitting on the fence are all too eager to exploit the situation and fire the shot from your shoulder. Be careful and behave like good Indians as worthy followers of the great Guru Ravidass and the greatest leader in the contemporary times, Babasaheb Ambedkar.
With regards and all the best wishes for your further success and prosperity.
One of your own,
Ambassador – IFS (Retired)