The Constitutional experts say that the Chief Minister who rules the State on behalf of the Governor before going for a fasting  in any nature will have to seek the permission from the Governor, if the Governor refuses permission then he /she has to resign to take up fasting. It is not clear whether the Chief Minister has obtained permission. Whatever may be the Constitutional matters the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi began his fasting with the words, “"May God give me strength to not to have any bitterness or vengeance ever for anyone".  We must remember that this is the words of the man who spit venom against the minorities. He built up for himself a hardcore Hindutva image. A good number of people in the country believe that he sided with the country s worst communal riots since independence in 1947. The 2002 riots claimed more than 2,500 lives, mostly Muslims.  


Even though a considerable number of Muslims, a few Christians and Sikhs were present in the fasting venue, the Muslim clerics from Lucknow called it a political stunt and made it clear that the community will not forgive him for the alleged roles in the riots.  It is a fact that most politicians and secular activists in the Country call it as an effort by him to reinvent himself as a National Leader fit for the top job in the Country.  The branded Hindutva poster boy further said, "We want to move together and Sadhbhavna (harmony) will be our strength. Development is our only motto. We will be a model for the world on how development can be achieved with peace, harmony and brotherhood. .… unity, peace and harmony have a major role to play in our success, our development."  It sounds like Confession of St. Augustine who wrote after his conversion, "Too late, have I loved Thee, O Beauty so ancient and so new.”  


Probably it might give a lesson to those who directly promote violence and those indirectly support by pretending to be initiating action against the perpetuators of violence.  It is not only that the Muslims are being targeted but Christians, Dalits and Scheduled Castes too. The political equation in the Country reveals that North East, Kerala, U.P, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra etc. have a decisive role for the minorities. Even though the opponents interpret his fast as politically motivated, it has a strong point to be noted that to rule this country political parties need the support of the minority community. It might be true that he realized a bit earlier than we thought because usually leaders realize only after God uses the stick silently upon them.


What is important to be noted is that whether his fast is the result of his real repentance or political stunt, it is clear that anyone who wants to be real leader has to shun violence. Violence will not yield long term results. He has realized that violence has no place in the country. It is very easy to create a fundamentalist image but it makes more foes than friends. We have two types of leaders, one is purely fundamentalists, the other is fundamentalists in the garb of secular attire in the secular organizations and both uses the opportunistic officials. I believe that both will take this expert advice from Narendra Modi.


It can also be interpreted as the faith of a sinner who under goes mental tension and depression then he decides to turns to the mercy of God for forgiveness and absolution from his grave sins committed against the innocents. So that he can start afresh a new life dedicated to serve the peoples regardless of creed, class and caste. It gives us a hope that all those fundamentalists who used violence to harm and kill innocents too may come into fasting and asking for forgiveness. Let the whole world call it political stunt but in the coming days the so called Sadbhavana (Communal harmony) concept thrown by him is going to be playing a central stage in the religio-political history of India.

Fr. Anand Muttungal
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