- Too often, he remarked, do we judge others by their worst actions and ourselves by our best principles.
NEW DELHI : This Gandhi Jayanti, we should reflect upon an important observation the Mahatma made about us-versus-them thinking and its corrosive effect on judgement. Too often, he remarked, do we judge others by their worst actions and ourselves by our best principles. This double standard, often adopted without due self-awareness of it, is worth a mull-over in various contexts today. In the context of India’s religious diversity and the social dynamics thereof, for example, Mahatma Gandhi’s caution should apply to all public discourse on the issue of Khalistan. Links of this fringe separatist drive with terrorism do have a past record, as New Delhi’s spat with Ottawa reminded us, but care must be taken that the Sikh faith and community are not cast in negative light. Since the risk of this has heightened, all deliberations on separatist violence demand reiteration by our leaders and diplomats, both globally and within India, that Indian statehood is not founded on religious belief. As the language deployed tends to encode signals of inclusion and exclusion, statistically invalid conflations of terror with any group of people must be eschewed. Let principles predominate.