Justice Markandey Katju-
Upto 1857 there was no communal problem in India, and people of all religions lived amicably in the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, which were then united ), like brothers and sisters. Hindus used to participate in Eid and Muharram, and Muslims in Holi and Diwali. Muslim rulers like the Mughals, the Nawabs of Avadh etc used to play Holi, organize Ramlila etc.
In 1857 the Mutiny broke out in which Hindus and Muslims jointly fought against the British. After suppressing the Mutiny the British decided that the only way to control India was divide and rule ( see BN Pande’s ‘History in the service of Imperialism’, my article ‘The Truth about Pakistan’ online, and Mission Statement on indianreunificationassociation.weebly.com ).
After 1857 the British artificially injected the venom of communalism into our body politic, which policy has been continued by certain vested interests even after Independence ( see my article ‘Was Jinnah right ?’ published in indicanews.com ).
India is a country of great diversity, and the only policy which can keep us united and take us on the path of progress is the policy of suleh-e-kul or inter faith harmony and giving equal respect to all religions, proclaimed by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar ( see my article ‘Emperor Akbar—the real Father of the Indian Nation’ in my blog Satyam Bruyat ) which is the policy being promoted by Ibadatkhana ( see my article ‘The Ibadatkhana Movement’ published in indicanews.com ).
It is the solemn duty of all patriots who love India to combat the policy of polarization and spreading religious hatred in our country being pursued by the present Indian rulers, and to restore the spirit of communal harmony prevailing prior to 1857.
In this connection on behalf of Ibadatkhana I appeal to all people living in the Indian subcontinent, and all those hailing from the Indian subcontinent but living abroad, whatever be their religion, to play Holi on 10th March, as non-Hindus used to do along with Hindus before 1857.
By doing so non-Hindus will not be giving up their own religion. They will only be showing their solidarity with their Hindu brethren, and will be striking a powerful blow at those who are trying to divide and polarize our society on communal lines.
[Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own].