In a surprising development, India received unusual praise, appreciating MK Gandhi’s teachings, from Saudi Arabia’s World Muslim League for its policy of non-violence and tolerance towards all on the eve of Gandhi Jayanti, 2 October, which coincides with the International Day Of Non-Violence. The Mecca-based organisation praised India’s global and national outlook, something the World Muslim League had never done before.
In a tweet, the World Muslim League hailed Gandhi for his philosophy of non-violence. “Today, October 2, we celebrate Gandhi Jayanti to honour the birthday and remember the life of Mahatma Gandhi, a visionary, freedom fighter, and non-violence advocate. International Day of Non-Violence,” tweeted the World Muslim League.
This was Gandhi's 153rd birth anniversary when the Muslim body tweeted that the day should be an opportunity to spread the message of non-violence internationally through education and awareness. "Every year, the world celebrates the International Day Of Non-Violence, celebrating the life of the pioneer of the non-violence philosophy, Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti. An occasion to spread the message of non-violence internationally through education and public awareness," it said.
The World Muslim League is an international non-governmental Islamic organisation based Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Two ways of looking at high praise by World Muslim League
The wishes extended by the World Muslim League is being attributed to the forging of stronger ties between India with the Arabia-centric Islamic world at large. There has been a paradigm shift in the relationship between the two countries under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The visit of Prime Minister Modi to Riyadh in April 2016 captured the spirit of enhanced cooperation in the political, economic, security and defence realms.
During the visit, King Salman conferred the Kingdom's highest civilian honour on Prime Minister Modi, indicating the importance Saudi Arabia attached to its relations with India.
The visit of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to India in February 2019 further took forward this momentum. During the visit, it was announced that the Kingdom would invest approximately USD 100 billion in India and six MoUs or agreements were signed in the fields of investment, tourism, housing, exchange of audio-visual programmes, and an agreement was signed to pave way for Saudi Arabia to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA), which was launched by Prime Minister Modi.
Prime Minister Modi visited Riyadh again on 28 and 29 October 2019, during which the Strategic Partnership Council (SPC) Agreement was signed, which established a high-level council to steer the Indo-Saudi relationship.
Twelve MoUs and agreements were signed during the visit across several fields, including energy, security, defence production, civil aviation, medical products, strategic petroleum reserves, small and medium scale industries, and the training of diplomats. During the visit, Prime Minister Modi delivered the keynote address at the Third Future Investment Initiative Summit.
This 'certification' by the World Muslim League is being seen also as a result of the pro-Muslim, apologetic stand the Modi government took when a statement by Nupur Sharma, a spokesperson of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, on Mohammed, Islam's prophet, blew over days after her utterance.
Diplomats and other functionaries of the Modi government bent over backwards to pacify the Islamic world, which was blissfully unaware of Sharma's statement between 26 May and 10 June, with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval promising to deliver the suspended spokesperson an "exemplary" punishment. The NSA's son Shaurya Doval runs a business with a Saudi partner. He is the managing director of a Singapore-based wealth management firm, Torch Investment (previously known as Zeus Caps), a company chaired by Saudi Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah Al Saud.
There have been other members of the BJP who cited historical facts about Islam and were punished for their stand.
While he was the minority affairs minister, BJP's Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi explained on different forums how this government worked the most for Muslims.