In Our Name


The papers reported Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen saying that the systematic confrontation between two communities, is a recent happening coinciding with the BJP win in some states. About ten plus or more years ago the veteran Communist Indrajit Gupta stood up in Parliament and said every time the BJP came to power communal tensions appeared. Even when Gandhiji said that the Hindus and Muslims were brothers, the RSS accused him of pampering the Muslims and who does not know of the RSS man who gunned down the father of the nation and who now is being proposed to be deified by a statue?

The BJP states in North India are witnessing gauraksha killings almost every day. It was said that Indians by and large did not care. We Indians do care, however. ‘Not-in-my-name’ protests proved that. We Indians stood up to be counted. It was largely a nineteen cities affair that was organized by fellow feeling. It was a refusal by persons like you and me who normally Facebook and WhatsApp jokes who are now fed up of Muslims being lynched. Like me, those who participated, had watched every fresh lynching with mounting horror and in silence.

The protests were attended by thousands. By those thousands who are educated, artists, writers, professionals, students, home-makers and we who generally decide who to choose to govern us for five years and if that Government does not suit us we feel we will vote them out. We who think like that are gradually realizing that five years is a long time and the worst can be done during that time and maybe we will no longer have the power to vote them out. Especially in this scenario when autocratic Emergency like measures are surreptitiously creeping in and we, the citizens are once again feeling helpless, powerless and ashamed that we are not being able to do anything.

Then the protest came. The fact that it went against the secular structure of our nation was not mentioned by the Government. Oh, sorry, Modi did say that the cow is not to be protected by such vigilante groups. Yet, Modi visits foreign nations and as a WhatsApp joke said, he is busy hugging beef eaters while back in India his supporters raid neighbour’s fridge to see if there is beef and lynching follows. Secularism is a dirty word in the BJP lexicon. Educated and so-called empowered Mussalmans are fearful and angry. They fear that they too will face violence maybe for eating chicken, because let’s face it, how can you tell the difference? And the manner in which the BJP are barging into kitchens, it is worrying to say the least.

Who are we to comment on what others eat? One man’s meat can well be another man’s poison, literally. But who is forcing one to eat that meat? I am personally a vegetarian but there are those in my family and among friends who enjoy pork and beef and as long as I am not expected to eat that, I am fine. In Bengal Pork eating Hindus and beef eating Muslims has lived peacefully beside each other for years with some rare conflagrations very infrequently. Yet what is happening in Bengal today?

Struggling for recognition the BJP read the wrong forecasts or was given the drastically wrong advice. The official lead up to the tension in Basirhaat etc. area alongside the Bangladesh border were a series of rumours about Mamata Bannerji, the Chief Minister of Bengal hating Hindus, loving Muslims. WhatsApp messages came from BJP sympathizers to me with disgusting lectures from Mullahs at Masjids and such other provocative visuals. That it was fake news never occurred to those who send some messages. But Pratik Sinha of altnews.com busted such visuals as fake, giving the documents for the supporting. When the Pavlovian action of media bashing led to the CBI raiding NDTV, like most Indians I too seethed. This blog is in direct response to the words that Arun Shourie spoke in the protest meet subsequently. Shourie said there is a bunch of geeks in the PMO who go through the net with a fine toothed comb to find any adverse comment on the Man and take action by letting loose the hounds of hell. Trolling is a small part of it. CBI raids on trumped up charges are par for the course. Then there are the harebrained ideas such as the notes demonetization which is unleashed on the unsuspecting citizens, because Mr. Modi does not listen to sage advice – in fact sagacity is a strict no-no with this PMO. So what we as Indians have to do are not fear these geeks and swear not to allow our freedom of speech to be affected.

As it is, the hills of Darjeeling are on fire too. While demands of statehood has led to people rampaging, centuries old buildings set on fire, lives lost; yet there is no road map on this proposal. The state and the centre are bickering on what security staff should be sent and food is running scarce, Once again the Judiciary came to our help and demanded that the State ensure foodstuff reach the hill dwellers, without delay.

Basirhaat and other such places are a shameful instance of what the BJP can do to win their little place under the sun. A teenager made some sort of unforgivable Facebook entry that immediately enraged the Muslims. It is rumoured that a BJP foot soldier from a small town had created this entry and instigated the teenager to do so – allegedly. The Centre, it is said, directed the border be opened for irate Bangladeshis to enter and run amok, once again houses were burnt, etcetera, etcetera. The papers picked up the story as did the TV news. Pictures appeared of Hindus being attacked and altnews.com almost immediately showed them to be fake and completely false.

Is this to be the future of India? That whenever a political party in the centre is not in power undemocratic and violent ways will be hatched to wrest power? How long are we ordinary Indians expected to support undemocratic methods of sustaining democracy? If there is any howling to be done in the desert that is our corrupted conscience India – it is a cry for persons with idealism to come to the fore and rid the country of all but secular believers in democracy.

Provided of course Megalomaniac Modi and his sycophantic maverick followers permit us to retain democracy – this of course applies to all current political parties in Delhi and in the states.

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